Notre Dame Academy Elementary School Educating Today's Youth to be Tomorrow's Leaders

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Mrs. Williams joined the faculty of Notre Dame Academy in 2012. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master’s of Science in Educational Leadership degrees from Mount St. Mary’s University.  She holds a Professional Clear Single Subject Credential in English/Language Arts.  Prior to joining Notre Dame Academy, she taught language arts and religion at two parish schools in Los Angeles.  Mrs. Williams’s passion is teaching writing, and she loves seeing her students form connections with the world around them as they read.  When not at school, Mrs. Williams can be found reading with her daughter.
 
In Language Arts, students deepen their critical thinking and analysis skills as they read a variety of expository and fiction texts.  Students also focus on writing mechanics, paragraph structure, developing vocabulary skills, and expressing clear and coherent ideas in both writing and class discussions throughout the year.  Fostering 21st Century Skills is an important facet of Language Arts.  Students engage daily with technology to develop proficiency and fluency in creating, interacting with, and editing multimedia texts.  In the NaNoWriMo elective, students write, edit, and publish an original novel.  Their published, hard-copy books join the growing library collection of current student and alumni novels.  In the Book Club elective, students read a high-interest novel together.  They also create podcasts and movie trailers highlighting their favorite books as a service project for the public.  
 

Recent Posts

Congratulations to Elle!  Elle's response to a Time for Kids debate question was chosen for publication in the April 14 edition of the magazine.
The 7th graders mentored the 5th graders this month to help them edit and practice their speeches.  We're excited for the upcoming Annual Speech Contest!
We've been focusing on expository texts this month.  In this Classifying Tree Map, we categorized and explained the different facets of an informative article.
We've been focusing on expository texts this month.  In this Thinking Map, we used a Whole-to-Part (Brace) Map to organize the structure of an informative article.
Language Arts students are hard at work!  In 5th grade, we are starting to read the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  6th grade recently finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, and we are embarking on a biography unit featuring Matthew Henson and Harry Houdini.  7th grade finished reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and is transitioning to an autobiography unit featuring Eleanor Roosevelt and Jackie Robinson.  While students are reading in class, they are also reading an independent reading book in their Lexile Proximal Zone of Development range outside of class this month.
The 26 NaNoWriMo writers are hard at work!  This week, they finished at least 75% of their novels, which currently range between 12 and 66 pages in length.  I am so impressed with the creativity, hard work, and effort these students are putting into their stories.  In two weeks, we will begin the independent publication process, and I can't wait to share their amazing achievement with you!

Analyzing Literature

We focused on moving beyond basic comprehension and truly analyzing literature this week in Language Arts.  
 
In 5th grade, students took an in-depth look at this week's issue of Time for Kids on the Hyperloop.  Students compared the Hyperloop to other modes of transportation throughout the world as well as analyzed how innovative the Hyperloop is compared to Ford's Model T car.  
 
In 6th grade, students read a realistic fiction story called "The Good Deed" by Marion Dane Bauer.  The students debated what constitutes a good deed and which character is the story actually completed a good deed.
 
In 7th grade, the students read the science fiction story "The Last Dog" by Katherine Paterson.  The students studied the allusions and flashbacks in the story and analyzed how these elements contributed to the story's theme.
 
The NaNoWriMo class is on a roll!  The students finished the first 25% of their novels this week, which so far range in length from 4-22 pages.  I was so impressed by the complexity, character development, and imagery in these novels.  Keep up the amazing work, NaNoWriMo!

First Month of School!

We are having a great time in Language Arts!  In 5th grade, we just finished reading two great stories in the textbook called "A Fresh Idea" and "One Hen."  In 6th grade, we just read "The School Play" by Gary Soto, and in 7th grade, we finished reading "Seventh Grade," also by Gary Soto.  The NaNoWriMo elective has finished their extensive prewriting for their novels and started their books this week!  Their enthusiasm and passion is contagious!