Mrs. Williams' Class

December - January Update



This month we learned about different reading strategies we can use when reading fiction or nonfiction texts. Students discussed some of the similar strategies we can use across genres, as well as what specific strategies we use that may differ depending on the genre. We also learned about how we as learners connect new information to known information. These skills help expand our knowledge and understanding of concepts and ideas.

While reading fictional texts in class, we discuss character traits and how authors use description and dialogue to show character traits, rather than just tell the reader "This character is smart". These skills help us as inferential readers to dig deep into the text to understand the author's purpose for writing and help us understand themes in texts.

December we spent time in reading partnerships. These partnerships focused on listening to our inner conversations as a reader. Students were challenged to record their connections, predictions, inferences, questions, and visualizations while reading to share out during their partnership meetings.

In January, we are beginning to evaluate how we ask questions as readers. We are trying to branch out from simple questions, such as the who, what, where, when, and why, to more in depth questions. Students started to evaluate their own questioning skills by looking at questions they have created and rating them off of the Bloom's Taxonomy. Mrs. Albrecht, Ivy's Advanced Learning Facilitator, joined our classroom the first week back from break to help us in our understanding of Bloom's Taxonomy. We will continue to look at questions throughout January. Mid-January we will begin novel groups with new literature to help us continue our practice of recording our inner conversations while reading.


Before break, students used their knowledge of Character Traits from reading to create graphic novels in writing. Students brainstormed ways they could show their characters' traits through their actions and dialogue. These stories were created into beautiful polished pieces that were able to go home graded before winter break.

This month we are starting to respond to literature in both writing and reading. We will be reading a novel, The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going, together to continue to practice evaluating the text and writing about the text. While we write about this novel, we will be practicing citing the text properly, as well as work at finding excellent examples within a text to support our thoughts in a response.


In December, Mrs. Williams' math class completed a unit on Fractions. This unit covered identifying equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, converting fractions to decimals and percents, as well as converting fractions to the simplest form. Students were assessed on their knowledge of these skills before Winter Break and all graded assessments went home Friday, December 20th. Your student should have shown you their math assessment for a parent signature. I have received just over half of the assessments back with a parent signature. Due to the winter break and inclement weather days, I have extended the due date for parent signatures to Monday, January 13th.

Coming off of winter break, we started evaluating data! We are looking at how data is displayed in line graphs, bar graphs, and circle (pie) graphs. Students have been working on expanding their knowledge of all of these types of graphs. We will end this unit with a project, rather than a traditional math test. Students will learn more information about this math project when we get closer to ending the unit.

Social Studies

Before winter break we concluded our unit on the Revolutionary War. Students researched specific Revolutionary War battles that impacted the outcome of the war. In small groups, students presented their knowledge to the class in a Google Presentation or poster.

Students also spent a week and a half researching Egypt and Mesopotamia in preparation for our upcoming field trip to the Oriental Institute. Students learned about these ancient civilizations and what it was like for people to live in these areas. Students gained an overall knowledge of the area and regions natural resources, as well as looked deeply into 2 - 3 more specific categories such as architecture, art, food/farming, etc.

We are very excited to see artifacts during our field trip to the Oriental Institute on Tuesday, January 14th. Please try to have your child wear their I Am Ivy Hill! shirt. If they do not have this shirt available, Ivy Hill spirit wear (especially green Ivy Hill wear) would be fine.


This month we are beginning a new unit on Water! So far we have discussed how we use water in our daily lives and how water impacts humans! Students began reading about natural resources and how all organisms need water. We will continue our exploration of water for the rest of the month. Students are going to learn about the earth's make up of salt and fresh water and learn about the water cycle.


Our MAP test schedule is as follows:

Reading MAP test: Wednesday, January 22nd at 10:45 am

Math MAP test: Friday, January 24th at 1:30 pm

Please try to make sure your child has a good night's rest and a healthy breakfast to start their day!

Cracking the Code!

This month students will have a wonderful opportunity to gain some computer programming knowledge and experience! Our class will be heading to the LMC to learn what computer programming is and early programming skills. Recently, President Obama spoke regarding our students' need to have opportunities and early exposure to computer programming. Click the video to see his thoughts on computer programming in schools.

President Obama asks America to learn computer science