Road to the American Revolution

Our fifth graders had the opportunity to experience life as a colonist in the 1700s through some exciting interactive activities.  Through a role-playing activity our students were emersed in a colonial simulation. The students had a unique hand experience to better understand how the colonists felt about the taxes bestowed upon them by the King and British Parliament; “No taxation without Representation”.

The second activity the students engaged in was an interactive app. The game immerses the students in a colonial setting and empowers them to make choices that show how colonists experienced the time leading up to the Revolution. It puts students in the shoes of a young printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As the students navigate the city and complete the tasks, they encounter loyalists and patriots living and working there and receive a better idea of how each side felt about the British in Boston. These interactions were helpful to show how tensions were mounting which ultimately led to the Boston Massacre.

The students were anxious to participate in these unique early colonial experiences. Learning about history can be informative and FUN!

By: Mrs. Schirrmacher, 5th grade

God’s Love Endures Forever

The phrase, “His love endures forever” is repeated 5 times in Psalm 118 showing us that God’s love is unchanging in the midst of changing situations.  In Psalm 136, it is repeated 26 times as a reminder of God’s never-ending love for us.  As my class reflected on God’s love enduring forever, they also reflected on the things for which they are thankful. 

After brainstorming a “thankful list” on their own, each student wrote a psalm of thanks and repeated the phrase, “His love endures forever” after each item.  It was a great way to think about all the good things that God has given to us, even during these uncertain times.  As we continue to live and adapt in this ever-changing pandemic world, it is with thankful hearts that we can praise God for his endless love, mercy, kindness, and faithfulness that never fails.

Give thanks for the Lord, for he is good.  His love endures forever. Psalm 118:1 and Psalm 136:1

Middle School Elective: S.T.E.A.M.I.S.A.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics Interactive Simulation Activities is a new elective class offered to middle school students. An objective of this class is to spark the interest of students by encouraging them to think broadly, participate and contribute in activities by integrating the five named subject areas.  One such opportunity occurred this fall when 7th graders combined the skills of Science (motion), Technology (iPads), Engineering (animation) and Arts (story telling) to produce their own cartoon using the App Toontastic. 

Students developed an original story and then self-created their own visually appealing animation and narration to tell their story as a cartoon.  This S.T.E.A.M. activity certainly did not disappoint when it came to seeing students using their own initiative, creativity and innovative productivity!

See their work!

7th Graders Bring Joy to 2020!

Our 7th graders did not have the opportunity to attend Outdoor Ed at Catalina this year but that did not stop them from learning about the kelp forest and bringing the kelp forest to St. John’s! We discussed what we could do for an extra special project in lieu of the time that we would have been in Catalina.  The students came up with the idea of building a life-sized kelp forest!

Each student selected an organism in the kelp forest to research and become an expert on. Next, they shared their research in a video posted to Flipgrid. The class watched each other’s Flipgrid videos and took notes on the various organisms to collaboratively learn from each other. In addition, the students created a realistic life-sized model of their kelp forest organism. Each class created their own kelp forest. As a result, we have three beautiful and unique kelp forests in our science lab! 

Beyond the life-sized kelp forest, Mrs. Grack, our Technology Director, joined in the fun and introduced the students to Makey Makey circuitry kits. The students used Scratch to code a game or interactive experience within the setting of a kelp forest. The Makey Makey kits allowed the students to work with circuits to design an external controller, using conductive materials, to control the game or interactive on Scratch. 

Our 7th graders really stepped up and put a tremendous amount of effort and enthusiasm into this unit! They clearly demonstrated the 21st Century skills of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication! So proud of them! 

Kelp Forest Video- Individual Student Projects

Science Lab Kelp Forest

Higher Order Thinking in Social Studies Using Minecraft?

By Angie Bender, Middle School Teacher

After completing our social studies unit on Medieval Europe, students in the seventh-grade were tasked with demonstrating their understanding of the role of a medieval manor by constructing a feudal manor using Minecraft. Minecraft allows students an opportunity to work on mathematics, visual arts, storytelling and digital learning in an engaging environment. Some students gain their first experience learning how to code while others continue to hone and advance their coding ability. 

Class time was given to students to design their manor. Some students used iPads and others used their laptops. Once the Minecraft design was created students then had to record a four-minute video explaining what life on a manor was like. Many students added a final touch by incorporating medieval music to their video.

Technology is evolving everyday and at St. John’s our students to explore, build and create so that they have an opportunity to develop a passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Here is an example of the final Medieval Manor Minecraft Video Project from Avery and Olivia:

Minecraft Village