Inside SFS

2017 Elementary Summer Notes

We’ve compiled the various Elementary Summer Notes in one place for easy reference. Please click on the class you’re interested in to jump to that section.

Happy summer! The following is a brief summary of the summer assignments for each grade. For more details regarding each of these assignments please contact the front desk as there are copies of each assignment available if needed.

First Grade       Second Grade      Third Grade      Fourth Grade    Fifth Grade

  First Grade

Reading and Writing

Frequently read aloud to your child regardless of their reading level. If they are interested, let them “share the book” with you. “Reading” along with you helps them develop the skills to handle a book, an interest in distinguishing the marks on a page, and, through discussion, tools for understanding a text. However, don’t force your child to work on reading if they are not excited to do so—there will be plenty of time this year for them to improve their reading skills. 

Allow ample opportunity for your child to write at whatever level they are able—their spelling does not need to be correct for writing to be beneficial. Not only are they working on handwriting, they are developing an awareness of the sounds in words, and the knowledge that they can express themselves in print. 

Finally, include your child in the types of literacy activities you engage in—share with them a book you love, a favorite recipe you have read over and over or a letter or an email you received—we will start the year getting inspired by how people use reading and writing in their lives, and these memories will surely come into play.


Play many games with dice, cards and counting—these experiences will help your child build their number sense and early math skills. 

School Shopping List for First Grade

  • A backpack to transport items to and from school
  • A lunchbox for Friday lunches (we strive for Zero Waste)
  • A water bottle that will live in the classroom all year. 

  Second Grade 

We sent home an optional summer work packet at the end of the year.

I’ve had several requests about book lists. As many of you are trying to get books early to take on vacation, I thought I would pass along the list ahead of time. The series books in this list are leveled by Fountas and Pinnell which is the system we use to track where everyone is at and guide our instruction. It is completely okay to have your child read books above or below your child’s level. They are just meant to be a helpful guideline.  

With the summer packet, you will receive this list with your child’s level highlighted. As the reading series lists does not specify this, I’m hoping that those of you that need to order/check out books right away may be able to identify where you child is at by referencing books you know they read or you can reach out to us. 

Fountas and Pinnell Reading Series


  Third Grade

Please make sure that your child continues to read and be read to over the summer as a child’s reading level can slip as much as a year without practice. It will be important for a strong start in Third Grade for your child to know the addition and subtraction facts by heart as we will be moving on one and two-digit multiplication and division. Please help with this with flashcards and practice at home if the facts haven’t yet been mastered. 

Reading Project: Please help your child find a biography at their reading level to read and report on. Enclosed is a biography report for your child to fill out and hand in in the fall.

3rd Grade Summer Letter from Laura

3rd Grade Biography Report

  Fourth Grade

I would like for your fourth grader to fill it out a questionnaire, so I can learn more about them before the school year begins. I know that summer goes by quickly and schedules are often filled up, so I have three options for completing this questionnaire and getting back to me. Please choose the one that works best for you and your fourth grader.

  • Fill out this Google Form and submit your answers
  • Make a copy of this Google Doc with your answers or fill-out the Word Doc attached to this email and share it with me at
  • Respond to these questions in a handwritten or typed letter to me and send it in the mail before the last week of summer.
    • Send to: Paige Sandoz - 300 Gaven Street, San Francisco, CA 94134

I spoke with Laura last week about her end of the year letter to you and what she recommended the fourth graders do to be prepared for the start of the school year. I want to also say that I encourage students to read a just right book daily this summer. Here is a booklist curated by Melissa Holman-Kursky for fourth graders if you are looking for book recommendations. If students keep a log of what they read and/or complete the book report Laura included, I will collect those at the beginning of the year. I also encourage students to practice their addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts often this summer. If your child finishes a “Pirate Packet” this summer, they can turn it in at the beginning of the year as well.

In addition to those assignments to prepare for fourth grade, I would recommend your child practice their typing/computing skills. Starting in fourth grade, and increasingly as the grades progress, tablet/computer use is part of each child’s academic work. Each student will have an iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to use to complete various academic assignments. We will publish many written pieces using Google Docs, so typing practice will help make this initial process smoother. There are many websites out there that are fun ways to practice, here are some I recommend:

If you are looking for more reading, writing, and math support or extension opportunities, these are some options that are worth considering:

  • Newsela - a website with grade-level news articles with a variety of Lexile levels that we will use during the school year for current events topics.
  • Khan Academy - a website for users to practice a variety of mathematical concepts by grade or topic with explanatory videos.
  • Youcubed - challenging multi-step mathematical problems, similar to the math problems of the month in the Tuesday Note Home.
  • The 4th Grade Summer Math Skills Sharpener - a workbook that reviews key math concepts from third grade.
  • 642 Things To Write About - A creative writing workbook with prompts for short stories. This is a link to the product on Amazon, but it can also be found at local bookstores and at 826 Valencia.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to partnering with you all in the coming school year.


4th Grade Reading Log

4th Grade Book Report 

  Fifth Grade


I LOVE getting mail, so please write me a letter telling me about yourself! This is your chance to tell me anything you want about yourself before the school year begins. It must be at least one page handwritten or a half a page typed. If you want some suggestions of things to talk about, you can answer the following questions:

    • What’s your family like?
    • What are you up to this summer?
    • If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
    • What’s your favorite book? favorite movie? favorite place outdoors? Favorite food? Favorite ice cream flavor?
    • What are you really, really good at?  
    • Who is someone you look up to and why?
    • What did you write your 4th grade Perspectives piece about? What did you choose to investigate for independent study?
    • What’s something that you love about nature?
    • What do you want to know about me? Now’s your chance to ask me anything!
    My address is:
    Talia Goodkin
    The San Francisco School
    300 Gaven Street
    San Francisco, CA 94134
  1. Make sure to include your return address so I can write you back!


Read I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín.

This book touches on a variety of 5th grade themes- refugees, protest, assimilation, media, and courage, to name a few. It is rather long, so make sure not to save it for the very end of summer. Summary: This historical fiction book is about a sixth-grader Celeste who loves her home, family, school and friends until her country, Chile, is taken over by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. People suddenly vanish; her doctor parents, who run a clinic for the poor, are called “subversive” and must hide. She’s sent thousands of miles away to an aunt in Maine, where she must adjust to a different culture, language, and climate. Two years later, she returns as a young teen to a tattered nation after the dictatorship has ended and  sets out to find her parents and help her country heal its devastating wounds.   

Read one more chapter book of your choice.

Here is a great list of popular 5th grade books. I will be asking them on the first week back to write me a short summary of the book they chose. I know some 4th graders read One Crazy Summer in book club; however, if they weren’t in that book club group, this could be a good choice for a second book as we will be reading the next in the series, P.S. Be Eleven during the year.


Summer journaling: I hope students have ample opportunities to write this summer! Whether it’s grocery lists or choose your own adventures or letters to each other, I want writing to be part of their everyday routines. I would love for students to keep a summer journal in which they record their stories, musings, and secrets. This is entirely optional, but for those that do choose to partake, I will take them to Palega Park to play ping pong for an extended recess within the first couple weeks of school if they bring in their summer journal for me to see. ;-)

Writing practice: Here are a bunch of fun writing prompts for kids who want more writing practice. I like to do these as “free-flow” writing where I set a timer for 5-10 minutes and try to just write without worrying too much about it being perfect. They can go back and revisit and revise if there’s a certain one that was sparking lots of ideas. This is a good exercise for kids who tend to freeze up when it comes to writing.

Typing: One of the best things you can do to prepare your child for these longer writing assignments is to help them become proficient typers. Students already have the accounts that they used in 4th grade, which they can use for continued practice. You can also find fun free or inexpensive game websites such as Typer Shark, Keyboarding Games for Kids, and Free Typing Games  (though there are many more great ones out there).

JUST FOR FUN: In case boredom strikes…You can tell them that this: I’m challenging them to check off as much of this summer fun checklist as possible :-) .



Dreambox Learning

Although there is no required summer math work, new Fifth Grade Math teacher Melissa Doezema recommends that all students do some math to combat the “summer slide.” To help our students keep their mathematical minds active over the vacation, SFS has purchased a subscription to Dreambox Learning for all rising 5th and 6th grade students. Melissa sent letters to families week with instructions for accessing and logging into Dreambox. If you need that information again, please contact the Front Desk.

Posted June 21, 2017