Middle School Students Serving!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV).  As we remember the greatest gift God gave us through sending His one and only Son Jesus into the world that long-ago Christmas to be our Savior, middle school students on Friday, December 21st, put the words of 1 Peter into action by making 100 fleece tie blankets and giving them as gifts to the patrons of the Orange Senior Center. 

Students completed the service project with their Bible study life group.  Each group is made up of sixth, seventh and eighth graders.  The student leader of each group retrieved the supplies of eight fleece fabric pieces, scissors, ribbon, cards and Christmas sayings and brought them to their group which was located somewhere throughout the middle school classrooms and hallways.  Once the group was organized, group members set to work putting fleece pieces together, evening them out, cutting strips, tying knots, folding, rolling, then tying each finished blanket with a ribbon and a St. John’s Christmas services card invitation with a special handwritten Christmas saying.

Once all the blankets were finished, they were piled into a car and taken to the Orange Senior Center by a group of eighth graders where a student explained the process of making the blankets and the location of our school in the neighborhood, and that we (St. John’s Lutheran School) are praying for the patrons and wishing them a Merry Christmas.  The students then passed out the blankets and gave hugs and the patrons were very appreciative of the gift they received.  In the end, the middle school students had a wonderful opportunity to use the gifts and talents God has blessed them with to glorify and serve Him by creating the hand-made blankets and presenting them as gifts to others.

Advent Activities at SJLS!

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come

Let earth receive her King

Let every heart prepare Him room

And Heaven and nature sing

And Heaven and nature sing

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.“ LSB 387

During this Advent season the St. John’s students have many opportunities to sing Christmas praises and help others prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Many students participate and lead Advent Services and also a few of the grades participate in the Orange Circle Tree Lighting.

This past weekend a small group of Mrs. Fink’s 4th grade students went over to the Town and Country Retirement Home. We brought our own set of hand chimes and played carols for the residents there. As we walked around and played, more and more people followed the sound of the music to see where our group was. The residents were overjoyed with our singing, but also the smiles that we brought with us. 

Around school, students like to find ways to bring joy to each other during this holiday season. This week, the 5th grade music class went caroling to different classes and lifted them up with some Christmas sing-a-longs. Also, last week, some of the 1st grade students went to school offices and classrooms sharing Christmas songs with others. 

There are many ways we are able to spread the joys of Christmas to others. Let us continue to look for ways to be the light to others this season! 

By: Mrs. Jessica Fink, 4th grade

Glory-US or Glorious?

Last Saturday night, the Middle School Students taught us a little something about Glory and Christmas.  We learned that the Glory is not all about us (even though our performance was pretty awesome, it is not glory-us).  We give glory to God! And we do that because the glory of God – Jesus – came down from Heaven to meet us where we live – on Earth.

Our school Principal, Dr. Jake Hollatz, directed the 200+ student choir, accompanied by Marco Mejia and his hand-picked praise band.  And that’s not all – Mr. Mejia spent many hours choosing the music and teaching it to the student choir. Pastor Trevor shared an inspiring message to compliment the student speakers.  All of the Middle School teachers were involved at some level, working with soloist and speakers, creating video messages, writing prayers, running practices with the Middle Schoolers, and helping to keep them all focused.  In the end, it was a glorious celebration.

If you missed it, you can click on the short video, or view the pictures. Better yet, come join us Friday morning (12/21) at 11:00 AM for Christmas Chapel where the Middle Schoolers will present a encore celebration. It will be a GLORIOUS event.

By: Mrs. Stephanie Van Blarcom, 8th grade

Math Mentors

7th grade students have seen what a strong grasp on math facts and mental math strategies can have on their learning. They decided to reach out to their chapel buddies in first grade for a peer teaching opportunity to help demonstrate these skills. They worked with the first graders on adding and subtracting with numbers up to 20 and showed them different strategies of solving these problems. Together they played a number of games that required students to find the missing addend, check if addition problems were equal, use counting on strategies, and fact families.

Peer teaching has been shown to have great benefits for all students involved. Not only is active learning promoted but there is a level of comfort between students that allows for students to let their walls down and try without fear of failure. This experience has helped solidify for the 7th graders that being fluent with math facts will help present these different strategies and by using these strategies they see there are many ways to solve some of the math problems we face each day. Hopefully it has given our first graders something to remember and helps their math facts stick!

By: Ms. Caitlyn Forrest, MS Math Teacher

Solidifying Science Using Simulations

What would happen in the universe if the sun was more massive?  Why does a balloon stick to a wall?  How do you know that gravitational, electric and magnetic force fields exist?  These are just a few of the questions the 8th graders were able to explore and answer in science using PhET Interactive Simulations created by University of Colorado Boulder.

Students explored six major topics related to forces and interactions using the simulations in three ways.  First, students individually played and manipulated the simulations to explore and answer guided practice questions and solve various scenarios.  Next, students collaborated to explain and describe their understanding to each other in small groups.  Then in their small groups, students presented their answers to teacher-selected questions from the activities to the whole class giving students an opportunity to reflect on their learning.

Utilizing simulations in science is an effective learning tool for students for multiple reasons.  First, simulations give students access to investigate real-world phenomena in the classroom that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as the role of gravity in the universe.  Second, they foster fun, active, engagement experiences for all students.  Third, students can individualize their learning by having the ability to run and rerun simulations to assist in mastering the learning of key scientific concepts.  Fourth, students are able to see the interconnections amongst scientific concepts, such as in this unit—gravitational, electric and magnetic forces and force fields.  Fifth, the simulations provide natural collaboration opportunities for students to share with each other their learning experiences and practice scientific conversation just like scientists.  Overall, science simulations offer our 8th graders an awesome opportunity for scientific inquiry.

By: Mrs. Kruse, NBCT, 8th grade science

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Thankful Themes in 1st Grade!

First Grade wrote down many things they are thankful for. The top items include:
Homes, families, and animals. We will continue to learn about the first Thanksgiving this week and to share more about our many blessings from God. Our greatest blessing is of course our salvation in Jesus. We posted our papers in our classroom and invite parents to come by and read them!

By: Mrs. Glaeser, 1st grade teacher


(Mrs. Weisser (Our Wonderful Student Teacher) and Avaleigh working on Thankful Themes.)

6th Grade Outdoor Education – 2018

We live in a society where technology has become a part of our daily routine. Computers, cell phones, IPads, and the like have changed our means of communication in a number of ways; connecting with others both near and far, but also disconnecting us from others at the same time.
During Outdoor Education in the Palomar Mountains, the sixth graders were able to unplug from the daily distractions of technology and focus on communicating not only with each other, but with their Heavenly Father as well. This year we focused on how we connect, or better yet, UNITE with others in worship, while studying God’s Word and while serving those around us.
Classes the students took: Mammology, Aquatics, Initiatives, Ornithology, Low Ropes, Fire Building, and Astronomy.
Take a look at some of the sixth graders favorite memories from the week!
Myleigh Taylor – “The food and bird watching. Bird watching was epic because we got to see birds we usually don’t see in Orange.”
Lilli Barnhouse – “My enjoyment was horseback riding because it was the first time I’ve done it. Also, my favorite learning expereince was the fire class because it required teamwork and communication to build a perfect fire.”
Amanda Matthews – “My favorite part was horseback riding was because I got a really amazing horse who was really fast. Team building was my favorite learning experience because we learned better ways to communicate.”
Evan Magpali, Conner Garrett, Hunter Westrum – “Bird watching was the best! Bird watching was relaxing and something we had never done before. Aquatics was also cool because we got to study the water and got to test the water and its oxygen levels.”
Lucas Sharar – “Ziplining because you are in the air and get to see all of God’s creation. I felt like I was flying like an eagle.”
Zach Schutt – “I enjoyed fire class because I just didn’t know you needed so many things to make a fire and that there were so many ingredients.”
Grace Granger – “Free time was great to get our energy out before dinner time and after classes. I enjoyed the fire class and low ropes because the low ropes we had to work as a team and I enjoy that. The fire we learned a lot and even got to roast marshmallows!”
Robert Goodman – “Archery was a blast because it is a fun sport and requires skill. I learned about the different types of birds in ornithology and that was cool because I got to see all of the different types of birds on Palomar Mountain.”

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