Week of June 5-9

Dear 4A Families,

Happy first full week of June everyone–and happy graduation to our 8th graders on Thursday.

Next week, on Wednesday, June 14th, we will be taking our end of the year field trip to Alki Beach on June 14th.  All students will bring a sack lunch this day.  I will be contacting all parents that signed up to drive/chaperone later this week with details.  Thank you—and pray for the sun to come out!

Math: Corrected math tests were returned last Friday. Please check your child’s filer for this  test if you have not seen it yet. For our last two weeks the students will be doing some review and doing some geometry and measurement work.

Reading:  This week, students enjoy pulling together all of the pieces of the mystery! It’s the point in the plot where the rising action turns to the climax and students are able to connect the clues. We only have one chapter left in this spectacular novel!

Language Arts/Spelling: We will have our final spelling test this Friday, June 9th. The students all received a copy of the word list last Friday.  I have been enjoying reading the Flat Stanley Journals–it is a big task, but I plan to pass back the grade sheets for both the journal and final entry the students are finishing up (graded separately) on Thursday.  Please check your child’s filer for goldenrod and pink stapled grading rubrics.

Religion: We are wrapping up our final units focusing on Pentecost/Gifts of the Holy Spirit and The Beatitudes. Students will use their bibles to look up readings that support our lessons.

Social Studies: Why did the streets flood and the toilets explode regularly in early downtown Seattle? Why does Seattle have an underground?  Why did a huge fire and the gold rush help make Seattle successful?  Your children will be able to tell you all about the crazy early history of Seattle in our interesting and crazy final SS lessons.

Science: In this lesson, students construct an explanation of how energy is stored, released, and transferred in chain reactions, such as falling dominoes. In the activity, Build a Chain Reaction (Part I), students are presented with an engineering design challenge to create their own chain reaction machine–a project they will continue in Lesson 5. Students experiment with a “Chain-Reaction Starter Kit.” This kit includes a lever and a ramp, which serve as the first two steps of a chain-reaction machine.

Looking forward to a wonderful week ahead with the 4th graders. 

Attached below you will find a letter regarding summer learning.  Please let me know if you have any questions.


Summer Learning

We wanted to take this opportunity to express how proud we are of the progress the fourth-grade students have made during this challenging year.  They have grown academically, socially and spiritually.  Learning to take on big projects and work independently and cooperatively are skills that will help make their transition into the upper grades successful.  Your support this year has been tremendous as well.  We will truly miss this class next year.

As you well know, the students have learned so much this year! They have grown significantly in their reading, writing and math skills.  We understand that it is often quite difficult to motivate children to dedicate time to reading, reviewing math skills or writing during summer vacation.  The research is clear however; when students do not regularly read, practice math and writing skills over the summer, they can lose a significant amount of the progress they made during the school year. This is especially true for reading and math skills.

Please note, we consider some of the most important aspects of summer to be time to play and be a kid!  Being outside and taking advantage of all the wonderful adventures summer has to offer plays a very important role in both physical and mental growth. Summer is “battery recharge” time and we all need that!  The summer review we are encouraging is not intended to be long and laborious.  In fact, the best practice sessions are consistent, limited in time, but very focused.  A regular skill practice routine will build and refine skills and good work habits. What we do not want is a “low academic battery” when school begins next year.  That being said, here are some suggestions for avoiding the “summer slide.”


Just like exercising keeps muscles in shape, reading keeps the brain in shape. If you don’t exercise, you lose muscle, and if you don’t read, you will lose literacy skills.

Research shows that children who don’t read over the summer lose at least two months of reading development. This is often referred to as ‘the summer slide’ or the ‘summer learning loss.’ On the other hand, students who do read over the summer may gain a month of proficiency in reading. Reading over the summer is not a suggestion to keep kids busy; it’s a critical requirement to help students stay on track for their entire educational career and beyond.

Building strong reading comprehension and vocabulary skills have a positive affect on all subject areas.  Students should be reading daily (at least 20 minutes) in books at their instructional reading level (not too easy—not too hard).  Choosing books from a variety of genres, fiction and non-fiction is the best way to build strong, well-rounded reading skills. Don’t neglect oral reading!  Opportunities to read orally to build fluency, expression and pace should be included in summer reading time. Reading aloud together as a family is also a wonderful way to enrich vocabulary development. Reading a picture book aloud to a sibling can be a fun and helpful way to get some oral reading practice as well.  Be sure to talk to your child regularly about what he/she is reading!

You will find information on the Holy Rosary Summer Reading Challenge in your child’s report card envelope. All students are strongly encouraged to take part! I will also post on our website in the Summer Reading tab, a packet of reading comprehension activities you can run off if you choose, with answer sheets for parents.


Every 4th grade student needs to take time this summer to review and practice the many important skills we have learned this year. Students must have their multiplication and division facts mastered for fluent recall as they begin 5th grade. There are several sites linked to our webpages where you can run off your own math practice sheets.  One site we use to get extra math fact and skill practice for the students is a site called commoncoresheets.com.  Scroll down to “math drills” to run off time test sheets.  Check out the other resources as well.  The students will have access to their Happy Numbers: https://happynumbers.com account all summer.  This is an excellent site to review and build skills.  We highly recommend students try to build in 30-45 minutes a week on this site. Students are encouraged to continue using Xtramath: http://xtramath.org  during the summer as well.

We will be putting together a packet of math practice pages for all 4th grade students that will review and reinforce many of the important skills we have covered this year that will be sent home on the last day of school.  Students are not required to complete the packet, but we do encourage it!   Those students that do complete the packet can bring it in at the beginning of the year for some special treats from their 4th grade teachers!  This packet will come home with the students the last week of school.  You will also be receiving the Holy Rosary Math Challenge information in the report card envelope.


Journal writing, pen pals, letters, creative stories, online programs like Story Jumper and Storybird  are fun ways to include writing over the summer.   There will be links to several fun and useful websites for writing ideas on the webpage especially for summer use as well.

You will find Summer Reading, Math and Writing/LA sites linked in the tabs at the top of the webpage. I will have lots of great sites linked you can use for quality summer review and practice ideas.

It has been an amazing year, but we are not done yet.  Your support in helping your child keep focused and on track during these last important weeks of the school year is very important—and appreciated.  If you have any questions or ideas to help with summer studies, let me know.


Mary Simpson