Sunday, April 2, 2017

April Events

I hope you have all had a wonderful spring break!  I had a great break and I'm excited to see all of your kiddo's smiling faces and hear all their stories on Monday!

It's hard to believe, but we only have 9 weeks left of school.  This last quarter of fifth grade just flies by, and I will be emailing a lot about end of year activities.

As I wrote earlier, we start the state required PARCC testing this week on Tuesday.  We will test from 10:30 - 12:15 Tuesday through Friday this week in language arts and math.  Next week, we will finish math and then take science.  We will test everyday from 10:15 - 11:15 the 10th through 14th, and also on Thursday the 13th from 2:00 - 3:00.  Please avoid pulling your child from school at these times if at all possible, and please make sure everyone is well rested and well-fed.  We will modify the amount of homework due to testing for these two weeks.

At the beginning of the year on the school supply list, we asked for each 5th grader to have a personal set of headphones or earphones.  Some students never had their own set and have been using a few of the schools, and many others have been taken home or some have broken.  Can you please make sure your child has a set of headphones or earbuds at school starting Monday?  Some of the PARCC tests have videos or audio components and we need to make sure every student has access to them.  Thank you for your help with this!  

Finally, it is time to start preparing for the end of fifth grade activities.  One of these is our annual trip to Stone Canyon Outdoor Education.  This is a day filled with wonderful group activities and exciting and challenging adventures such as zip-lining and a ropes course. Our class will be going on Monday, May 22nd.

The link to register your child is now open through our RevTrak online payment system.  Also, please know that it is Outdoor Ed's policy that we do not bring parent chaperones on this field trip. 

  • In order for your child to participate in this field trip/program you must register (includes online permission form)  & pre-pay on-line by going to: RevTrak > Elementary Schools > Elementary Schools E thru L > Gold Rush > Field Trips. The RevTrak link can be found on GRE’s website under Parent Info or click hereRegistrations MUST be completed by Friday, May 19, at noon.
    • Online registration is for your student only- please do not register yourself or younger siblings.
    • Free/Reduced students will have the option of selecting "no payment" but must still register. 
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March News

Happy March!

I just thought I'd touch base with the latest happenings in class:

**Parent teacher conferences will be held March 8th and 15th.   If you would like a conference, please use the online scheduler to sign-up.  Please let me know if you have a conflict and need another date as I have some flexibility before school on other days those weeks.  

**If your child is going to Cimarron next year and you are interested in having him/her attend the Colts Corral Transition Program this summer, the dates and links to register are available here.  I've heard wonderful things about this two day event from both parents and students and how helpful it was for incoming 6th graders to attend.  

**The annual statewide PARCC testing will begin right after spring break.  Fifth graders test in Language Arts, Math, and Science.  We will be testing in the morning during the week of April 4 - 7, and April 10 - 14, as well as one afternoon during the week of April 10th.  If you can avoid pulling your child for appointments or activities during those times, we would greatly appreciate it. 

**Our annual fifth grade trip to Stone Canyone Outdoor Edventures is scheduled for Monday, May 22nd.  I will send a lot more information as we get closer to that fun trip, but thought you would like to put the date on your calendars.  

We have three weeks until Spring Break and we are going to pack them with great learning!  Here are highlights (as I know I get a little long-winded) for each subject area:

Math: Our next unit focuses on multiplication and division with fractions and decimals.  

Reading: We will wrap up our focus on making inferences with a look at how we infer in poetry and then begin our new reading strategy focus of determining importance across all genres of text.

Writing: Students have been spending time focusing on how to respond to reading with a variety of lenses: theme, author's purpose, point of view, and more.  We are now creating a final piece in which students have picked their favorite reading response and are extending it into an essay with goals from both our opinion and information writing units.  

Social Studies: We have just studied early explorers of the Americas as well as the first English settlements and their successes and failures.  We are now going to be looking at the establishment of the thirteen colonies and comparing the government, ideals, and lifestyles of each region of the colonies.

Technology: Our class will be one of the first classes in the school to extend our understandings of problem solving, critical thinking, and coding to the school's new Lego Wedo kits.  Make sure to ask your child about the STEAM lab today!

I hope you all have a great week, and let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What's Happening in Fifth Grade?

It has been a really wonderful beginning to our school year together.  The first two weeks have been filled with activities to get to know each other and to build a collaborative community in our classroom.  It was so nice to see so many families at Back to School Night and to have time to read with each child individually on our assessment days.  Thank you so much for making all of that possible.  I am so excited about the year ahead with all the wonderful young minds and personalities we have in our class!

I wanted to let you know about how we will be starting all of our curriculum units this year.  We have a lot of great learning to do!

Our first unit is on properties of numbers and multiplication and division strategies.  We began the year reviewing different properties of numbers such as factors, multiples, square, and prime.  Next, we will be looking at a variety of ways to solve multiplication problems and to read and write story problems having to do with multiplication.  Our goal is to analyze a variety of strategies for multiplication and to find an efficient and accurate method for students to use in multi-digit problems.  We are also working on being flexible thinkers and problem solvers so that we can question or own work, other people's strategies, and approach math in more than one way.

This week, we will begin having a nightly math sheet to complete that is due the next day.  Next week we will begin adding math fact practice to our homework routine.  Students will be expected to do math fact practice beyond the nightly math sheets for 30 minutes a week.  If you would like additional ways to practice math facts, please read this resource.

We are spending the first several weeks establishing our routine for reader's workshop and discussing metacognition - paying attention to our thinking while we read.  The first reading strategy we will focus on is using our schema and making connections to help us understand new text.  As fifth graders, we want to grow beyond just naming connections to our lives and other texts as we read.  Fifth grade readers should be able to discuss how confirming, modifying, or adding to schema help them understand their text more deeply.  Readers should also be able to make connections across a variety of texts and genres to make connections on theme, message, or content.

Students will be responsible for completing an online reading log this week.  Students are expected to read 100 minutes a week as homework.  The log is due every Friday before school.  The link can be found on the homework tab of this blog.
This week, we will be finishing up one of my favorite beginning of the year writing assignments, titled "10 Questions".  It is based on the interviews that Time Magazine does in every issue.  Students will be interviewing themselves for a personal "10 questions" assignment.  These will all be composed and turned in through Google Classroom.

Our first in-depth writing unit is on narrative writing.  We will spend a lot of time over the next few weeks generating ideas of where to get unique stories from our own lives such as time with special people, places, or milestones such as first times or last times of an experience, or a time that provoked a strong emotion.  You can ask your child about the ideas they have come up with and help share your own unique stories.  Students will also be developing stamina for writing by writing portions of the stories from their idea list every day.  We will be talking about how to raise the quality of our writing to show the significance of the moment and engage our readers.

Students received their first weekly spelling list this week.  Students are responsible for studying the spelling words in any way that is helpful to them.  I do not collect spelling homework.  Students will demonstrate practice of spelling by their score on the Friday spelling test.  Spelling and vocabulary will alternate weeks, so we will do spelling for homework this week and vocabulary next week.

Last week we spent time reviewing the steps of the scientific method to prepare for a semester of great science learning.  We spend a lot of time focusing on inquiry - or asking great questions.  So, please encourage questioning about the world around you with your child and discussing how scientists might go about answering those questions.

To start our Earth Science unit surrounding Earth's renewable and nonrenewable resources, as well as Earth's surface and how it changes, we will be discussing Earth's water and experimenting with water vapor.  As we spend time looking at resources, I would really love to show the impact of resources on our own lives.  If you would be willing to send in a copy of your water bill or utility bill showing usage and cost, either from home or work, it would be a great resource for us to analyze.  Of course, I would erase all personal information before sharing it with the class.  You could email it to me or send in a paper copy.

Digital Citizenship Week
To celebrate the fact that Gold Rush is now 1-to-1 with technology, and to review being the importance of being a responsible digital citizen, we will be doing lessons this week around online responsibilities and safety.  Students have also brought home a technology device contract that I would like for you to review together and both sign.

I'm looking forward to diving deep into all these subjects with the kids.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.  Thank you for all you do!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Welcome Survey

It was so fun to meet all of you today!  I am beyond excited for the year we are going to have together.

Parents, please fill out this welcome survey by Friday the 12th just so I can get to know you and your child a little better.

We will meet on the front playground between 8:20 and 8:30 on Monday morning.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Hello!  My name is Allison Hawk and I am so excited to be your child’s teacher at Gold Rush for the 2016-2017 school year.  I am truly looking forward to a wonderful year working with you and your child.

I grew up in Littleton and received my undergraduate degree in biology and psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  After working for several years at a non-profit serving at risk youth, I returned to school and received a Master’s Degree in education from CU Denver.  My first seven years of teaching were spent teaching 4th – 8th grades in Denver Public Schools.  My husband was a teacher in Douglas County, and I decided to move districts after moving to the area and watching what a great family the schools here in DCSD create.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to open Gold Rush in 2008 and feel lucky to work in a school with such an amazing principal, staff, parents, and students.  After teaching fourth grade for five years at GRE, I decided I was ready for a change and moved to fifth grade three years ago.  It was a fun change for me, and I am looking forward to another wonderful year with great curriculum and amazing children.

I live in Highlands Ranch with my husband and our twin 9 year old daughters who will be in fourth grade this year at Gold Rush.  I spend a lot of time with our extended family entertaining and enjoying my daughters.  Other hobbies I enjoy are reading, walking, enjoying music, and following CU and Bronco football.  My biggest passion though is working with children and I am committed to creating the best possible learning environment for your child.

As you know from the GRE website and our principal's emails, our beginning of the year meetings will be just like last year.  We will be having a meet the teacher event on Friday the 5th and the first day of school for everyone will be Monday the 8th.  Every child will need to have a scheduled time for completing math and reading testing on our school-wide assessment days, August 18th and 19th.

I am looking forward to meeting all of you and having a fun and successful year!  Please feel free to contact me anytime at Enjoy the rest of your summer!


Allison Hawk