Happy New Year!
Mershon's January 2014 Newsletter
Last semester we focused on parts of speech and basic sentence and paragraph structure. This semester we will master complex sentences with dependent clauses and subordinating conjunctions. I can already see how much better students are at identifying good sentence structure but we need to work on applying it to their own writing. We will shift our focus in writing from personal narratives to expository text including persuasive essays and research papers and I will be grading harder on sentence structure and organization in their essays.
During the first and second nine weeks, we read poetry, literary non-fiction, fiction and drama. This nine weeks we will study informational text. To help students understand this difficult unit, we will pair a fiction novel with the informational text we need to cover. We have just started reading Maniac Magee, a Newbery Award winning book by Jerry Spinelli about a homeless teenager who changes a whole town. It sounds sad but it is a really funny and uplifting story. Students are already excited about reading this book so I know they will do well pairing informational text in this unit. We will focus on main idea and summary, vocabulary in context, and making inferences about the text. We worked on these skills last semester too but we will apply them differently to informational text and we will learn some new testing strategies as well.
Starting this Tuesday, students will have a book celebration due. There is a menu of choices on the back of their reading logs including a variety of activities with writing, creativity and technology. They should pick based on how far along they are in the book and they only have to complete one activity per week. The first one is due on Tuesday, January 21st. I will give out new reading logs each Monday and they are due the next Monday.