elementary school

At Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, our goal is to provide students with an exceptional elementary education.  We believe this is necessary to set a firm foundation for learning.  Our qualified professional educators have a content-rich curriculum and are extremely dedicated to Catholic education.

OLL students learn and grow in an atmosphere that is structured to be calm, yet full of exciting, faith-filled learning opportunities.  Our students feel nurtured and valued by their teachers who work to create a sense of security and an environment in which students thrive and reach their full potential.

RELIGION

We believe the foundation of religion is the conviction that God is always present in our daily lives.  Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School builds the student’s faith in the one loving triune God through developing an understanding of the basic truths of the Church.  In the Elementary School, OLL students are taught prayers, Bible stories, the sacraments and stories of saints and holy men and women of the Bible.  Prayer and the teachings of the church are woven throughout each day.  All students attend Mass weekly.  They, along with their teachers, observe the liturgical seasons and participate in student-led prayer services during Advent, Lent and Catholic Schools week.  

LANGUAGE ARTS

Elementary School students learn to read in the early grades through an intensive phonics program that hones skills in decoding and spelling, promoting rapid progress in reading fluency.  Instruction in reading comprehension skills begins in the primary grades.  Elementary Students learn how to critically analyze what they read, searching for cause and effect in stories, connecting and comparing texts, and determining the author’s perspective.   Elementary School students receive full instruction in the “nuts and bolts” of the English language.  The Language Arts curriculum is enriched through the use of Accelerated Reader, Guided Reading, Zaner–Bloser and Write Source. 

The study of Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, and classic literary works contribute to the students’ mastery of the writing process.  Students progress from understanding simple sentence structure in early grades to diagramming more complex sentences in the later grades.  Writing is an essential curricular focus in the Elementary School.  Students write in various forms and genres, including creative writing, poetry, simple research writing and focused essay writing assignments.  Each student carries with them to each grade level a writing folder.  This allows for the student, teacher and family to see the growth of the student’s overall portfolio.  From rough draft through revision and production of a final document, all phases of writing are learned by students.  Elementary and Middle School students receive instruction and support to gain skill in preparing and presenting oral reports.  In various grades, students research the lives of Saints, Holy men and women of the Bible, important historical figures, or famous scientists.   

MATHEMATICS

Our Elementary School Mathematics program develops the student’s number sense, as well as build strong skills in mathematical thinking and foundational mathematical topics.  Elementary School students receive blended instruction in basic mathematical concepts and explore the concepts through the use of technology, concrete manipulative items, drawing diagrams or creating pictorial representations of both real-world and symbolically presented math problems.  This approach allows our teachers to differentiate their instruction to meet the needs of each student.  Mastery of simple concepts allows students to build upon a strong knowledge base as a prerequisite for critical thought of abstract mathematical terms and understanding more complex topics.

The Elementary School uses the online based curriculum, i-Ready.  Based on the results of the i-Ready diagnostic, students are placed into instructional lessons customized to their placement levels.  These online lessons provide a consistent best-practice lesson structure and build conceptual understanding, in addition to being engaging and fun for learners of all levels.  The i-Ready curriculum is enriched with small group activities, manipulatives, and projects. 

SCIENCE

The Elementary Science program is designed to make hands-on science engaging for all students.  Today’s students’ quality of life will be significantly influenced by science and technology. It is important for all students to be scientifically literate throughout their life.  They should be able to make thoughtful, informed decisions appropriate to their age and experience.

We believe science should enhance each student’s curiosity and develop their ability to investigate, analyze and explain the biological, physical, chemical and technological world around them.  Our teachers balance the use of hands-on experiences and direct instruction to excite students about the life cycle of various species, weather, the solar system, light, sound and a variety of other topics. 

The scientific method is taught and practiced.  Through the course of their Elementary School years, students will study biology in such units as the systems of the human body, basic cell structure, animal classifications, plant reproduction and more.  Physical science is studied through units such as simple machines, magnets and electricity.  Weather and climate are studied and connect to the study of Geography.  Students complete simple research projects, write reports, and give oral presentations on their findings.  

SOCIAL STUDIES/HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY

The Elementary School Social Studies program connects our students to their place in the world as citizens of the United States and as children of God.  Our teachers help students understand significant events in history, develop citizenship skills and learn about our country.  Elementary students are rooted in an appreciation and love for their own culture and history in western civilization, while also learning about the cultures and contributions of other civilizations.  Our curriculum fosters the acceptance of cultural diversity in our global society.  Through understanding the past and present, OLL students will be able to meet the challenges of their future.  

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School's Social Studies program focuses on guiding children to understand different interactions within the society in which they live and how these interactions affect their own lifestyle and others around them.  OLL instills the attitudes and values necessary for children to function as responsible citizens in our society.  Our Lady of the Lake's Social Studies curriculum guides students to work towards a socially just world for all people. 

SPANISH

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School students are introduced to Spanish starting in our Pre-kindergarten program.  We believe through the study of another language and culture, OLL students will gain a better understanding of the world and the many areas of diversity throughout.  Students are guided to learn Spanish through hands-on activities, games, visuals, participation, movement/following directions (Total Physical Response, TPR), music/singing, dance, dialogues/skits, guest speakers, listening, repetition, memorization, technology, reading, writing, speaking and cultural activities to help students become familiar with basic conversational skills in Spanish.  

Everyday vocabulary and useful phrases are introduced and reinforced through listening, repetition, hands on activities, following directions (TPR) and musical and visual prompts.  Students learn to utilize the language to communicate likes/dislikes, needs, wants, greetings, introductions, descriptions and an array of questions and answers.  Students also begin to cultivate an appreciation, understanding and respect of the culture and traditions of Spanish speaking communities.  Through practice, the primary goal of learning a secondary language is to understand and be understood through meaningful communication.  

TECHNOLOGY

We believe technology is a vital component of our blended learning instructional model at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School.  We provide our students with digital curricula in both Mathematics and Language Arts.  Technology is used to enrich and expand learning beyond the traditional textbook and classroom discussion.  Our goal is to integrate technology skills into everyday classroom academics.

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School provides a variety of technological equipment for use in our Elementary School classroom instruction and for technology education for Elementary School students.  Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and all Elementary School classrooms have internet access through classroom computers and LCD projection system.  Elementary teachers prepare and augment lessons through the use of educationally valuable internet sites.

The Elementary School students have as many as 12 desktop computers in their classrooms for everyday use.  Available to all students are devices inclusive of Netbooks, Smartboards, NEO2’s, Senteo Responders, and a wide variety of software.

MUSIC

Music education affords children the opportunity for experimentation, creativity, self-expression and a genuine love of music.  Our music curriculum directly connects to core subjects and brings cultures from all over the world into the classroom.  Music education increases student appreciation of all the arts and develops skills for life-long enjoyment. 

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School has two main music curricula, Music Connection and Theory Time, as well as a huge variety of other resources enabling students to cover in great depth and breadth many musical genres throughout the course of the year.  Music is hands-on singing and playing, creating and evaluating, games and moving.  Elementary School students are introduced to basic music theory, learn to play simple instruments and have choral experiences.  Each year, genres from jazz to classical are introduced and studied and students learn to identify and appreciate the works of renowned composers.  Band instrument instruction is available to fourth grade students and continues into the Middle School.  All students perform in fully staged grade level concerts twice per year, at Christmas time and in the spring.  Our Liturgical Choir provides music leadership at Mass each week with many opportunities for solos.  All students have other performance opportunities including school programs, the City of Mound Tree Lighting, Catholic Schools Week, and other special events.

ART

We believe that art is a balance of creative experiences, skill development and knowledge.  Visual arts are an important way for students to communicate and express themselves.  By developing a visual literacy, students are able to express themselves in ways that transcend verbal and written expression.  This communication is a vital part of students’ personal realization and well-being.  This realization allows students to engage in the community and be connected to others through culture and history.  Our teachers deliver unique experiences comprised of these components in an environment that is student-centered, discipline based and structured.  Students are instructed in drawing, painting, clay work and other methods and media.  They are encouraged to create works of beauty and individuality.  The works of great artists, known and unknown, from many parts of the world, both ancient and modern are introduced and studied.  Our student’s artwork is the pride of the hallways at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School and can be found displayed throughout the building.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School's goal is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to maintain a healthy Christian lifestyle into adulthood.  These skills include but are not limited to promoting physical fitness, motor skill development, knowledge of rules and strategies and teaching students to work as a team.  Social skills such as respect, teamwork, sportsmanship and cooperation are all integral parts of our physical education curriculum.

Through our Physical Education classes, students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, learn different ways to enjoy being active.  A variety of team activities are taught, inclusive of football, soccer, basketball, dodgeball, among others.  All grades focus on the same units with expectations activities edified by grade level and age appropriateness.  Grades three through eight complete the requirements for the Presidential and National Physical Fitness awards.