Week of May 23rd

untitledDear 4A Families,

I was so proud of the excellent job all of the students did on their Oral Biography Presentations! The week was a very entertaining history lesson for all. Thank you for all of the work you did at home to prepare your students. Grade sheets will be sent out this week, but all students need to turn in their pink reflection sheets and bibliography first. Thank you.

Following the newsletter is an additional letter about summer review for the students. They will also have a paper copy of this letter in their filers. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thank you for reading!

Field day at Hiawatha is this Friday. Students should dress for a day of activity and wear appropriate athletic shoes. Students should also bring water bottles. We will pray for sun! Remember, this is also a half-day. 4A chose the colors of BLACK, and NEON. They can wear any combination of these colors for the day.

If you have not turned in your permission slips for field day(PINK) and the Underground Tour (BLUE), please do so by Tuesday. Thank you.

ZZ02684493The buy one, get one free Book Fair begins this Thursday through June 3rd. This is a great time to pick out some good books for summer reading. Research shows that students who read regularly during the summer have better retention of skills and are less likely to have that “summer loss”. I’d like to see all 4A students read no less than five “just right” books this summer-more would even be better. I can’t stress enough the importance of regular reading during the summer!! Hopefully, all 4A students will take part in Mrs. Harris’ Summer Reading Challenge as well. The students will also have a presentation from the Seattle Public Library to talk about their summer reading program. The librarian that comes to speak to the students always shares lots of great book ideas.

While talking about reading—all library books should be returned by next Tuesday at the latest. This is a good time to check around the house for any HR library books. Thank you!

Reading/L.A.: There is a spelling test this week for Lesson 23 on homophones. Students should know both the spelling and meaning of each word. Our whole class novel study of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is getting very interesting! We are enjoying this fun mystery/adventure as well as building our reading and vocabulary skills.

ZZ78086193Grade sheets for the Flat Stanley journals will also be coming home this week.  The first page of the grade sheet is for the 10 (or more) assigned entries, the second page is for a final entry we did at school—sort of as a test of writing informative paragraphs.  It is a separate grade.

Social Studies: The students have been learning about the early history of Seattle, and the arrival of the Denny Party at Alki Point. This week we move into the early building of downtown Seattle—which will lead us to the reason we have an underground tour! We will also learn about the Great Seattle Fire and the Klondike Gold Rush. Seattle has a very interesting early history that is always a crowd pleaser! The Washington City map test is next Wednesday the June 1st.  All students have a study sheet, and they can also practice online here.

Science: Last week the students were able to test their sails and see which designs worked well and which designs needed to be changed. This week we will finish testing our redesigns and move into the final stage of our project on wind energy.

This Thursday we will get to visit the 6th Grade Wax Museum, which is always a fun and educational event.


Important Dates:

This week: Buy One, Get One Free Book Fair May 26th to June 3rd.

events_6877aMay 24th: Student celebration for Mr. Hofbauer (secret)

May 26th: 6th Grade Wax Museum

May 27th: Field Day and noon dismissal.

June 1st: WA State city test

June 2nd: Happy Graduation to the 8th Grade Students!

June 8th: Underground Tour and picnic at Alki Beach

June 7th and 9th: Cleaning days. Bring in rags and bags!

June 9th: Half day. Finish cleaning, final lessons.

June 10th: Final Day! Mass and dismissal. Dress nicely.

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend everyone!


ssSummer Review

I wanted to take this opportunity to express how proud I am of the progress the fourth grade students have made this year, academically, socially and spiritually. Learning to take on big projects, work independently and be productive group members are all skills that will help make their transition into the upper grades successful. Your support this year has been tremendous as well. I will truly miss this class next year.

As you well know, the students have learned (and will continue to learn) many challenging and important skills this year. They have grown significantly in their reading, writing and math skills. I understand that it is often quite difficult to motivate children to dedicate time to reading, reviewing math facts or writing during summer vacation. The research is clear however; when students to not regularly read, practice math and writing skills over the summer, they lose a significant amount (up to three months) of the progress they made during the school year. This is especially true for reading and math skills.

Please note, I 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 things summer has to offer plays a very important roll in both physical and mental growth. Summer is “battery recharge” time and we all need that! The summer review I am encouraging is not intended to be long, laborious work sessions, but opportunities to build and refine skills and 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.”

To help you out with summer reading here are a few options:


Building strong reading comprehension and vocabulary skills have a positive affect on all subject areas. Students should be reading daily 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 a picture book aloud to a sibling is a great way to get some oral reading practice. What could be better than relaxing with an ice-cold lemonade and a great book on a warm summer day?

There are also many great Apps that can help with reading and comprehension. Two you might want to consider are Super Reader and Question Builder, both available on iTunes.

Mrs. Harris will be offering the annual Holy Rosary Summer Reading Challenge, which I highly recommend. Look for information in the eFC soon. The Summer Reading form will be in the report card envelope. Leslie Sumida from the Seattle Public Library will also be here in June to talk to the students about their summer reading program as well. She always shares some great book ideas to get the students excited about reading.

For those of you interested in having your child take part in a more formal program Hamlin Robinson also offers several well-regarded summer camps and summer workshops for reading, language and math as well as enrichment. http://www.hamlinrobinson.org/programs/summer


Every 4th grade student should spend some time this summer reviewing and practicing the many important skills we have learned this year. Continued visits to mathletics and xtramath on the current subscriptions is a convenient way to get in some good practice. Having the multiplication and division facts mastered for fluent recall is a high priority and is the skill that will have one of the greatest impacts on both success and confidence in mathematics.  There are several sites linked to our webpage where you can run off your own math practice sheets for all of the Common Core topics. One site I use often to get extra math fact and skill practice for the students is a site called commoncoresheets.com.    Check out the other resources on our website as well. If you do choose one of the online programs I mention below, I do also recommended a mixture of paper/pencil along with online work as the hand/mind connection is important when reviewing and building skills.

This summer once again Mrs. Heuer will be offering the Summer Math Challenge. You will find information about this program in the report card envelope along with the Summer Reading information.


Journal writing, pen pals, letters, creative stories, online programs like Story Jumper and Storybird are all great ways to include writing over the summer.  I will be putting links to several fun and useful websites for writing ideas on the webpage especially for summer use as well. The students have sign in information for both of the above mentioned sites. Let me know if you need me to send them to you.

For spelling, vocabulary and writing review, you might want to check out the special summer program offered by Spelling City. It offers self-paced lessons (learning activities and games) for grades 1-12, it is customizable, you can review the completed grade or get a head start on the next grade! They have both web and app access.

If you would like paper packets of math, reading or writing activities please email me. I will be placing the links mentioned in this letter, along with many other online practice options on the 4A website before the end of the year. You can access the links all summer.

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