Merriman's Memo

A Glimpse into Merriman's Menagerie

Enter Into English

This week was another busy one, and your kids were hard workers! We went right into quotations marks this week since as we get closer to the end of this quarter, we will work on narrative writing. We learned what quotation marks look like, why they are used (in dialogue/direct speaking), and how they surround or "hug" punctuation. We worked on this through Pointer Practice along with workbook pages. We are becoming more confident and comfortable using them. We will be working on writing using quotation marks next week and will hopefully get the opportunity to write a two person conversation and perform it.

We also delved into a new set of vocabulary words. We worked in small groups to define, discuss, develop a sentence with the topic of 'ninjas,' and create a movement to help our brains remember the words meaning. This was a fun kinesthetic lesson that allowed the students to work as thinkers, speakers, and group workers. With the vocabulary this week, we began to tackle informational/expository/nonfiction text. With this two week unit, we are working on author's point of view along with main idea, sequence, and cause/effect. With author's point of view, we discussed that how an author writes about a topic helps us as readers determine how that author feels. We listened to two short paragraphs about peanut butter. Through these paragraphs, we realized that in one paragraph, the author's point of view was that peanut butter was a good food to have/eat. In the other paragraph, we determined that the author was concerned about peanut butter because it causes allergic reactions. With this short exercise, we learned that how an author writes determines what we are readers learn. We then read "Kids to the Rescue!" which was an article about two young kids who heard about the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and how they decided to do something to help save animals. While reading this, we looked at how an author uses specific words to guide the reader to understanding his/her viewpoint. (For example, this author used words like 'what a mess!,' 'dark, gooey oil,' and 'harming animals' to show that the author was upset about the oil spill. We also looked at cause and effect, specifically how the oil spill affected the turtles in the gulf. We even had the opportunity to review text features (title, heading, photograph, caption, sidebar, and map). Finally, we worked in small groups to go back into the text to answer challenging text-dependent questions covering the skills that we worked on whole class.

Social Studies: The West Region

This week we worked on identifying the states in the West region. We identified the states, determined their abbreviations, and worked on determining direction to help review them. We included the two cities that they are responsible to know (Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA) and discussed some of the things that make each city famous. We also learned about Canada and it is compared to the West region. While working on these, we also reviewed the hierarchy of landforms (i.e. continents are broken up into countries which are broken up into states which are broken up into cities which are broken up into specific addresses which are absolute locations). We also took a moment to discuss the importance of knowing one's address and phone number; we discussed that this was important in case one was lost or if one needed to call 911 for help. Finally, we took our first quiz on the West region. Congratulations to all students who passed their Southwest region quiz!

Next week we will be looking at the landforms that can be found in the West. We will be looking more specifically at mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, and lakes. We will start to work on reading informational text and pulling out the important details about the West. Once students pass their West identification of states/abbreviations quiz, they will then have a landforms of the West quiz. We will create that map on Tuesday.

Next week we will also read more about the history of North America; we will create a timeline of how North America came to be as it is today.

Kara Merriman

Thank you for all you do! I cannot believe that half the year is almost over. Your children have truly helped me to become a better teacher. I learn from them every day.

Wants: pencils and cap erasers

In Other News...

Along with our everyday activities, this week was also filled with other activities. We had a jazz performance on Tuesday which was a real treat. We also had AIMS Web midyear testing. This extremely important check in is in reading and math. We do this to see how students are progressing in the fundamentals of reading and math. This helps us as a school to better help your children succeed. It helps us identify students who may be struggling in a fundamental subject so that we may help them grow.

I have begun gathering fun crafts for the season. Next week, we will begin working on creating winter ornaments during various times. These fun-filled activities are optional and designed to help develop our fine motor skills and creative side. I am looking forward to making these fun crafts with your kids.

Next week we will continue with reading and analyzing nonfiction. We will be reading about the whooping crane after we look back at how well we worked on the text-dependent questions in small groups.

The last day of the quarter will be a 2 hour day on December 18. We will hopefully have our ornaments back from The Pottery Place by then. That was definitely a fun activity that the kids enjoyed.

Dec. 17- Skate night

Dec 18- end of 2nd 9 weeks

Dec 21-Jan 5- winter break

Jan 6- students return

Jan 7- report cards

Jan 11-open library night

Jan 15- ROAR party

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Class Party Dec 17!!!!!

We will be having a class holiday season party on Thursday Dec 17. I will be sending out more information regarding this next week. However we will be doing a small gift exchange by creating a fun "goodie bag." Each student may bring in a small party favor (pencils, erasers, stickers, candy, etc.) to exchange with classmates. There are 21 students in both classes. I look forward to celebrating this time of year!