Merriman's Memo

A Glimpse into Merriman's Menagerie

Commas Anyone?

This week started with a snow day and ended with a frantic scramble as my own daughter ended up unexpectedly sick this morning. However, in between, our week was one filled with terrific thinking and lots of work.


This week we began working with historical texts to review some of our most important reading skills. We discussed exactly what historical texts are along with why we would read them. We then began to review main idea and supporting details. We looked at a variety of nonfiction text to work on identifying the main idea of a text and supporting details. We will continue to work on this as we begin reading about going out West in the mid 1800's.


Along with reading skills, we took an indepth look at commas. We reviewed combining sentences with a comma and conjunction (FANBOYS), looked and practiced using commas in a series, learned about using commas in both dates and locations, and finally ended with using commas in direct address. Parents, it was very eventful. :) We even looked briefly at combining sentences using AAAWWUBBIS words (subordinating conjunctions- As, After, Although, When, While, Until, Because, Besides, If, Since). We will continue to practice using these skills in our daily writing. Our next CFA (common formative assessment) will cover using commas correctly, punctuating dialogue, and writing a letter.


Next week we will work on using commas in a letter. We will also continue to review using dialogue in our own writing. This is a very difficult skill to use fluently. The kids are working hard at trying to remember to start a new paragraph when a new person/character is talking. Next week we will also continue to work on main idea and include cause and effect and answering TNReady-type questions.


Our state writing assessment starts February 8. The students will be given 2 75minute writing tasks. These tasks will include a passage of some sort along with a writing prompt/question to answer. There are three types of writing that the state expects them to be able to write: informative (we use TIDE to organize our thoughts for this type), persuasive (we use OREO to organize our opinion), or narrative (we use STORY to organize our story). We will be reviewing these writing styles next week. I expect students to be able to write a well-written solid paragraph. Students will be taking this assessment online and will have to type their responses. Any time you can get your child on the computer to practice typing would be very beneficial. One suggestion is to have your child type up a couple paragraphs from the reading folder book. Typing is similar to reading; the more they type, the better they become.

Our Southern Continent

This week we read about South America. We read about how the major languages there are Spanish and Portuguese because the countries of Spain and Portugal colonized that continent. We also learned about the Andes Mountain and the Amazon. Both areas have their own beauties and dangers. We realized that because of these two landforms, the majority of the South American population lives along the coasts. Finally we discussed its major products: bananas, coffee, and chocolate. After reading this, we stopped to take a minute to thank South America for its products. Next week we will look at how these products go from the ground to our grocery store.


We were introduced to the Northeast region of the US. We have only one more region to go! We will go over the Northeast landforms early next week and take a quiz on Wednesday of next week. Continue to review previous states; we will have a whole 50 states tests at the end of this.

Kara Merriman

Classroom Dojo is up and running. Please take a moment to login online; you can see how your child is behaving. It is a great opportunity to check in with your kids. This is taking the place of their ROAR charts this quarter. Students need to ear 130 Dojo points to attend the party at the end of the quarter.


Please continue to encourage your child to read. When completing the reading folders for the week, make sure your child reads out loud for 15 minutes daily. After the 15 minutes of reading out loud, then your child can continue to read to him/herself. Fluency and inflection are important skills to practice.


Our field trip is next Friday! We are going BOWLING!!! Please turn in permission slips, money, and lunch choice ASAP. If you are planning on attending with your child, you can meet us at the Smyrna Bowling Alley. If you are planning on bowling or eating something there, you would purchase what you need at that time. I am very excited for this trip.


I apologize for the lack of pictures this week. Next week will be different:) My iPad was acting up, and I couldn't get onto the internet. This newsletter was written on my phone this week.