As we begin the month of November, so too will we embark on a new unit in Reading. This is a non-fiction unit in which the kids will learn how to effectively read non-fiction. The reading content will center around extreme weather such as hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, to name just a few. However, we are not explicitly teaching about extreme weather. We are teaching the kids how to become strong non-fiction readers by previewing a text before reading it, using text features to enhance their understanding of the text, using context clues to help with tricky words related to the content, how to read hybrid texts (texts that blend fiction and non-fiction), and how to summarize and synthesize the non-fiction information they are reading. These are only a few of the techniques the kids will learn as we embark on this journey into the world of non-fiction. This unit will be our focus for the next couple of months.

You can support your child at home by continuing to encourage and support reading as much as possible and by providing your child with rich text in both the fiction and non-fiction genre.

Writing Workshop

During Writing Workshop in September, the kids will mine through the seed stories they have written in their Writer's Notebook as they select a story idea for their first realistic fiction piece. I will model how to take a story idea for realistic fiction and create a main character who has fully developed internal and external characteristics and one or more conflicts to solve. By doing this, they will see how we use techniques such as figurative language, dialogue, apt word choice, details and description, and paragraphing to create a detailed realistic fiction piece that shows vs tells about the character, his or her struggles and how he/she works to solve those problems. Once the kids have selected their own story idea, they will learn how to create a story arc to develop the plot of the story. They will create scenes for the story arc (all modeled by me first) and then ultimately begin their rough draft using their story arc and planned scenes as a guide.

Math Workshop

After building a strong conceptual and practical base in multiplication strategies, we are ready to divide one-digit numbers in Math Workshop (Topic 5). We'll focus on how multiplication and division function as inverse operations, and we'll review fact-families. From there, we’ll study remainders and the strategy of using partial quotients to solve division problems.

Science

As we shift into Science, we will begin with a focus on Life Science. By the end of this unit the kids will be able to construct an argument detailing how plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. This Science unit will be very hands on and involve many engaging partners and group experiments.

Important Dates

November 1: No School (Teacher Professional Development Day)

November 22-26: Fall Break 2 (Thanksgiving Break)

October Update

Halloween Bunch!

Everyone's Favorite Grandma

Party!

Group Learning

MathWe are currently finishing up our introduction to multiplying three digit by one digit multiplication. We will move into Topic 4 which focuses on developing understanding of multiplying multi digit numbers by 2 digit numbers using strategies based on place value and the properties of operations.

In reading workshop, students will read far and wide, picking up any nonfiction text that speaks to them. Then students will move in to research teams that will look into topics related to extreme weather and natural disasters. They will work on synthesizing information from what they know and what they will learn. Students will then be researching extreme weather and natural disasters. Students will practice the skills of close reading as well as comparing and contrasting.

Science

For the first time the students will be exploring our new Science curriculum called "Stemscopes." Students will be constructing an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. Students will also observe the different parts and structures of a plant. Students will then act as a model of how our various internal body structures interact to function as body systems necessary for animal survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. Lastly students will match physical traits with how they support an organism’s ability to survive, grow, and reproduce.

Writing

Our next unit will focus on the genre of narrative writing. In this unit, the students will learn how to craft a descriptive narrative with a believable character. We will begin by drafting seed stories based on our own lives. This will help inspire the kids with ideas for future narratives modeled off of themselves. Ultimately, the kids will mine through the seed stories they have written in their Writer's Notebook as they select a story idea for their first realistic fiction piece. I will model how to take a story idea for realistic fiction and create a main character who has fully developed internal and external characteristics and one or more conflicts to solve. We will begin workshop each day by working on a class story that I will model and the kids and I will craft together. By doing this, they will see how we use techniques such as figurative language, dialogue, apt word choice, details and description, and paragraphing to create a detailed realistic fiction piece that shows vs tells about the character, his or her struggles and how he/she works to solve those problems. Once the kids have selected their own story idea, they will learn how to create a story arc to develop the plot of the story. They will create scenes for the story arc (all modeled by me first) and then ultimately begin their rough draft using their story arc and planned scenes as a guide.

Important Dates

10/5 and 10/7 Parent Teacher Conferences

10/6 Picture retakes

10/18 - 10/22 Fall Break

Digger Dash 2021

DD 2021 was a great "sssssuccsssesss" for Ms. Russell's Rattlers! Thank you parents for coming out to support our runners and for the financial donations!

Digger Dash Schedule

10/1/2021

New Schedule

8:40 -9:10 Word Work

9:25 - 10:05 Specials

10:05 - 10:15 Snack

10:15 - 10:45 Reading/Writing Conferring and Small Groups

10:45 - 11:45 Writing

11:45 - 12:15 S.S./Science

12:15 - 12:55 Lunch/Recess

1:55 - 3:05 Math

3:10 - 3:20 Community Circle

Math

We are currently studying Topic 2 in Math entitled “Fluently Add and Subtract Multi-Digit Whole Numbers”. This topic addresses finding sums and differences, estimating sums and differences, adding whole numbers, adding greater numbers, subtracting whole numbers, subtracting greater numbers, subtracting across zeros and reasoning. As a reminder, your child will have weekly homework. This will be given on Monday and is due the following Monday.

During Reading Workshop in the month of August, students began to learn and practice how to think deeply about their reading, determine if they are truly reading “just right books” at their level that will help them grow as readers, and analyze characters’ traits while providing evidence from the text as support. This month during reading workshop, the students were reading books at their independent level. I was and will continue conferring independently with readers as well as working with kiddos in a small group format as I focus on the aforementioned skills. They will use sticky notes, graphic organizers, and record their thinking in their Reader's Journal as they annotate their text.

Our reading focus in September will be on interpreting characters. Students will focus on several strategies including finding a book they want to read, reading as if they are in the book, figuring out confusing parts, noting important things to talk about, doing the work the book is requesting, finding the flow of the book, and making movies in their mind. All of these are strategies used to read intensely. Throughout this unit the kids will learn how to make inferences about character traits, how to discuss the importance of story elements, evaluate characters’ responses and change, analyze parts of a story in relation to the whole story, and determining themes and cohesion. I could really use your support at home….please encourage your child to read. Volume matters!

Social Studies

We are currently studying Colorado History. We began this unit by studying the geography of Colorado and how the geography of the land impacts the people/how people impact the land. As we continue, we will study the early Native American tribes that occupied our state as well as the Europeans who later settled here and positively/negatively impacted the Native Americans. Our study of Colorado truly focuses on how people impact the land and how the land impacts the people.

Writing

We are learning about the genre of opinion writing. Students are learning how to create a strong thesis statement (claim), support that statement with powerful reasons and a multitude of examples, and provide a strong concluding paragraph. So far, we are practicing our skills by writing opinion essays about important topics relating to us (for example, favorite type of ice cream, favorite genres of music, favorite restaurants, favorite type of animal, etc.). Students will be learning to be persuasive in their writing and convince others to believe in their thesis statement. As we further develop our skills in opinion writing, we will broaden our topics and begin to craft thesis statements based on bigger ideas that impact larger groups such as our community, country, our world.

Important Dates

No School Friday, September 24th

Digger Dash Friday, October 1st from 10:15-10:45 (fourth grade only)

1st day of 4th grade REminders

*Bring a water bottle everyday filled with water only, no other beverages are allowed in the classroom.

*Know how you are getting home and if you are meeting siblings, where you will meet up.

*We will have a snack break, so please feel free to bring one to enjoy!

Hello! I've Been Waiting For you!

Hi! My name is Jessalyn Russell and I am so excited to be your teacher this year!!! We are going to do so many fun things and of course we will learn a lot. I hope you have had a fabulous summer so far.

This will be my 20th year teaching and my 7th year at Gold Rush. This will be my 1st year at GRE teaching 4th grade; but I have taught 5th grade, 5th/6th grade math, 4th grade, 3rd grade and was a Gifted Instructional Teaching-Coach. I also coached middle school girls basketball and softball. I have also spent 6 summers teaching English in the Czech Republic with International Needs Network.

Before moving to Colorado I lived in Phoenix for 13 years, but was raised in Northern New Mexico. I am a huge baseball fan and love the Arizona Diamondbacks (even though they are awful this year.) I enjoy creating and building things and would probably be a contractor if I had to choose another job. I also am a rockstar Aunt to 2 nephews, 2 bonus nephews, and 2 bonus nieces.

I love reading, musicals, history, math, sewing, crafting, and gardening.

I truly believe that this year is going to be great! I look forward to meeting you all and enjoying a great year.

My education

• 1998 graduate of Aztec High School in Aztec, NM.

• 2000 graduate with an AA degree from San Juan College in Farmington, NM.

• 2002 graduate with a BA in Elementary Education from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM.

• I continued my education in Arizona, earning a Structured English Immersion Endorsement, Early Childhood Endorsement and a Gifted Education Endorsement.

My Favorites

Food: Pizza, French Fries, and Gummies

Movie: A League of Their Own and (the original) Karate Kid

Book: To Kill a Mockingbird

Color: Yellow

Drink: Americanos and Bubbly Waters

Fast Food: Chic Fil A, Taco Bell

Singer: Jack Johnson and Mat Kearney

Subject: Math and US History

Teams: Arizona Diamondbacks and U of A Wildcats