Presidents in the Making

Throughout the month of February, second grade has been spending a lot of time learning about important people in our history.  We began by writing in-class reports on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, which enhanced both their writing skills and their understanding of our country’s past.  Now, they are working diligently on their own reports on an important American of their choice.  But we still have more important Americans to honor: them!  Over the course of the next week or two, the students of second grade will get to share what they would do as president of the United States, and consider what it be like if they were the ones sitting in the Oval Office.  They will be asked to consider what would be hard about being president, what they would enjoy, what problems they would solve, and more!  They may be young now, but you never know!  These may be questions they may get to answer for themselves one day!

By: Mrs. Lauren Morner, 2nd grade

Presidential Picture[2]

Natural Selection and Adaptations Explored Using STEAM

Have you ever wondered what might happen to a bird species over 20,000 years?  The 8th graders explored this idea in science while studying natural selection .  First, students learned the concepts of existence, diversity, extinction, anatomy, genetic variations, mutations, survival, reproduction, traits, predominance, suppression, adaptations, and natural selection.  Once they were confident in their understanding, they chose a bird specie and researched it. From this foundation, creativity was unleashed, synthesis took place, and depth of understanding was showcased.

Students had to envision realistic changes and adaptations that could take place with their bird over 20,000 years to enable it to survive and thrive.   Students drew 2 dimensional drawings of the way their bird would look in the future along with the habitat it would live in. They also used the 3D CAD design tool Tinkercad to design a functional  beak. Once the beaks were printed, students video recorded the testing process of their beak trying to pick up the intended food source. Students created the background production of their project using a green screen app by Do Ink.  They used their two 2D drawings along with the video of their beak test to create the three layer background.  

When students were satisfied with the three layers of their background production, they pulled the footage into iMovie.  Here they synthesized the story of their bird specie from the present to the year 22,020 using realistic and deep explanations rich in factual scientific vocabulary.  This science project gave the 8th graders the opportunity to explore an interest (each chose their own bird specie) to gain knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation and creativity of the science behind natural selection and adaptations.

MS 8th Grade Science Teacher  Laura Kruse

Dancing Days!

Dancing Days were here again

For the St. John’s Middle School girls.

Crazy ways were evident

With the hip hop moves and swirls.

I said it’s alright

You know it’s alright …


But before we get in trouble with Led Zepplin for stealing their lyrics, we should get back to the blog information.  6th, 7th and 8th grade girls PE finished our dance unit. We had all kinds of fun – we stayed active, and we even learned some things along the way.  

This 3-week “mini unit” is always welcomed with great anticipation by the girls.  8th graders choose their own (appropriate) music for their dance routine, and they also have the privilege of choosing the music that the 6th and 7th grade groups will use in their routines.

Each group (ranging from 3 to 7 girls) was required to include four specific dance moves in their routine.  They all did this well – check out the videos.

Mrs. VB, PE & ELA8

Real World Math

“When are we ever going to use this math?”, “Where do you actually see this math in the world?”. As a math teacher these are the sayings you get from many middle school students. To take math from the pages of our textbook into their daily lives and give it application to careers the 7th grade students completed two projects. 

What better object to tie into math than an Apple iPhone. 7th grade honors math looked at the cost of an iPhone versus the cost of manufacturing to see how percent markup works and affects our lives. The results were quite shocking for some of them! They were fascinated to see how the percent markup has changed with different models of the iPhone. Conversations of supply and demand arose as many talked about waiting to buy newer models or the advancement of technology causing phones to last longer.

Meanwhile the 7th grade math classes looked at what goes into creating an enlarged image. Many of the students who have taken our art class elective have used grids to enlarge images but we looked at the math behind it all. Students got to choose a candy they wanted to enlarge. Using ratios of the candy wrapper to the size paper they would enlarge on they came up with their scale factor. From there they drew their grid and began the process of recreating proportional. They got to see how important it is to be precise and use rulers accurately. Students saw how computation mistakes would throw off their scale factor and the importance of having a strong number sense. It was one tastiest math project!

Ms. Forrest, Middle School Math

Reflecting on Dr. King’s Life and Legacy

The past few weeks fourth grade focused our attention and readings on the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is always an emotional few weeks as we approach tough conversations about race, culture, segregation, and discrimination. Subjects and pains that are not cured, as Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech still stands relevant to this day. Although the days of Jim Crow Laws and segregated buses are long gone, discrimination based on race, gender, culture, religion, disability, etc. are unfortunately in our communities.

This year, Dr. King could have turned 90 years old, possibly able to address my students and this country himself. Instead, we are left as a community of parents and educators with the responsibility of pursuing his dream and reminded of the “urgency of now.”  Each day we have a responsibility to lift our nation from injustice and to stand solid on the rock of brotherhood. 

Making a connection to Dr. King’s speech can be difficult for some students, as the pains of our nation’s history seems to be that of a terrible fairy tale or dark legend. Bringing Dr. King to life, reading through his speech, making connections to our world today, and letting it sink in that these atrocities were happening with our parents/grandparents as witness help students identify these truths. Parents and students were encouraged to have conversations at home. Through these conversations a student in our class learned that his grandmother’s principal took part in one of the many civil rights marches during the 60’s and has since been recognized with the state’s “Diversity Award” in 1998! Stories and testimonies like this allow students to be present within the narratives of our country. 

We spent the week working through and analyzing one of Dr. King’s most well known speeches, I Have a Dream. Students took notes on a graphic organizer, highlighting portions of the text that embodied Dr. King’s vision for our nation. Check out our work samples below!  We thank our Lord for the impact of civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King. He remains another great example of how powerful His love truly is. I pray that He continue to bless our children with courage and strength to stand against inequality like Dr. King, as they are the leaders of our future!

Ms. Emily Goins, Fourth Grade Teacher 

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The Algebraic Calendar Project

6th grade has been working a lot with algebraic equations as it is their first big step into the world of algebra. They have mastered how to identify equivalent equations with variables by using the associative property, commutative property and for the first time the distributive property.

This calendar project then allowed the students to enrich their understanding even more by having them create their own algebraic equations with the solution in mind. Each student generated a calendar for their birthday month in the year 2020. But not just any ordinary calendar… an Algebraic Equation Calendar! Instead of writing the date in the calendar boxes, the students created an algebraic equation whose solution matches that specific date.

Mrs. Barillier – MS Math

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Newton – Force – Magnets!

This week third grade learned about Isaac Newton, force, and magnets. The students enjoyed experimenting with magnets seeing them first hand attract and repel. The classes also enjoyed predicting what the magnets would stick to around the classroom and learned how very useful they are in everyday life!

Miss Lincoln, 3rd grade