God’s Creation and Writing!

One of the joys of teaching and learning at St. John’s is our opportunity to connect our faith with academic knowledge. This past week our language arts curriculum focused on ways animals survive in nature. This theme provided many opportunities to highlight God’s creative and magnificent design in the ways He has given animals to adapt to changes in weather, food supplies and habitats. We loved reading and talking about the ways animals use the instincts God gave them.

At our writing center the children were asked to use two books of expository fiction designed to entertain and inform, in order to find out about ways that animals cope with the drastic changes that accompany winter in many places. They wrote a sentence for two animals they read about. In order to practice a grammatical writing skill, they included a different “not contraction” word in each sentence. They finished by illustrating one of their sentences. Their work will be displayed on our First Grade Writers’ Workshop bulletin board.

By: Mrs. Cook, 1st grade

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Attitude of Gratitude: Stop-Motion, Time lapse videos – 8th Grade Christian Faith and Life

Earlier this year, 8th grade students took the opportunity to learn about what it means to live a life of gratitude.  The students had to step back and learn to recognize the blessings they have in their individual lives.  Of course, it is easy for them to see the fancy things in life, maybe they recognized a recent gift, like an iphone or the next best gaming system.  Some of them even saw the big picture of attending a caring school environment, or having a solid structure they could call home.  But what about the things they take for granted like… a bed, running water, siblings, parents who are involved, teachers who care, and the SAVING GRACE of Jesus Christ.  So the journey had to dig deeper.

We spent a full week working on projects, reading scripture, and gathering all of the knowledge about the blessings we are surrounded with each day.  Our projects culminated with a timelapse, stop motion, or paper slide story expressing what it is the kids are so grateful for in their lives.  The projects were impressive, but the lessons of gratitude prevailed.  Students expressed gratitude for those things they did not actually recognize before.  Like a parent who takes them to and from practices for their favorite extracurricular activity, their siblings that have helped to mold them to be the person they are today, their amazing God who loved them so much that he sent his only Son to die in their place for their salvation.  Capping all of this off with two days of project share was tremendous.

In the near future we revisit this attitude of gratitude, and incorporate God’s Call in their lives.  We assess spiritual gifts, and the students will learn the next step of how to live a gracious life with purpose.  The purpose which God designed them to fulfill.

Mr. Harrison, Middle School Teacher

School Counselor – Coming to SJLS Fall 2018!

The week of February 5th – 9th is National School Counseling Week, a week to “highlight the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career” (ASCA).

For the past three years, I (Sara Doyle) have been pursuing my master’s in school counseling from Concordia University in Irvine. While progressing through this program, I have been provided with opportunities to work with other school counselors from a variety of districts, as well as to work with students from the ages of six to twenty. Academic support, behavioral analysis and guidance, social skills, emotional well-being, family instability, and college and career readiness are the areas in which I’ve been able both to learn and to put into practice.

School counselors are becoming more of an essential element on school campuses each day. Teachers are usually the first line of defense when a student is in need, but finding an adequate amount of time to set aside in support of individual students is very difficult to do. The primary job of a school counselor is, of course, to be an advocate for the student, but a counselor should also support and work alongside the administration and teaching staff, providing them with resources to use with students. A school, after all, is not just one person; rather, it is a machine of people working together with a common goal, providing top of the line education and support to all students on campus.

We are so blessed at St. John’s! In addition to that educational support, mentioned above, we get to share the reassurance of the Gospel with our students. Providing students with a Christ-centered education is a blessing because Christian educators get to connect with students on a personal level. Sadly, however, there will always be students who need more support than what their teacher can solely give. St. John’s acknowledges that students need extra support to help them work through the stressors of their lives. Next year, I am happy to say, St. John’s will have its first-ever school counselor… Me!

Teaching has always been my passion, but I’ve yearned to be able to support my students in a larger way than I can now. To say I am both excited and honored to be St. John’s first school counselor is an understatement. Words cannot express the love I have for the students at St. John’s. I look forward to advocating for them, I look forward to watching them work through their trials with faith as their encourager, and I look forward to seeing how the students with whom I get to work with will impact my life each day for the better.

Happy National School Counseling Week!

By: Miss Sara Doyle, 6th grade ELA

National counseling week

National Lutheran Schools Week…Continued!

The focus of this year’s National Lutheran Schools Week centers on the unchangeable nature of God – that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  In these troubled times,  this message is especially relevant.  We will face challenges, disappointments, and unpleasantness; yet, the God who welcomed you into His family in your baptism will continue to guide and protect you daily…whatever difficulties you will have to face.  And, as is the case for all of us, when our race is over, He will guide us safely home to Himself in Heaven.  God’s promises, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, surround us.  I count on them daily.

I’ve been honored to have served in Lutheran schools for many years.  One of the great joys of a career well-spent in Lutheran education is seeing the long-term results of ministry – both my own ministry and that of my colleagues.  Former students are now parents, bringing their kids to my classroom and reconnecting with me after many years.  Other former students have become colleagues, sharing their insights, experience, and expertise with me as we minister to children side-by-side.  Being led in worship by one of my former students inspires me, filling me with joy.  Family by family, student by student, and teacher by teacher, the Word of God is spread through Lutheran schools and churches.  My colleagues and I, past and present, have been immeasurably blessed to be used by Jesus Christ to help grow His Church.  I can think of no greater honor.

I hope that, someday, some of my current students get to experience the joy and inspiration that comes with serving in Lutheran school or church ministry.

More than simply a matter of organizational pride, National Lutheran Schools Week reaffirms that the Church grows, develops, and increases its role as Christ’s representative here on earth.  National Lutheran Schools Week reminds us that God’s work endures and prospers, regardless of political climates or changeable societal preferences.  We have a God-given mission in Lutheran Schools:  we are called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Therefore, God’s mission to us does not rely upon politics or society.  The ministry to children and their families continues because God called us to do so – and He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

“And behold, I am with you ALWAYS, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b).”

By: Kevin Smith, 7th grade ELA & CFL


Celebrating National Lutheran School’s Week

As I stood to the side and gazed out upon the sea of blue and gold that cheered from the seats of this morning’s pep rally, I couldn’t help but feel a warm sense of pride and gratitude for this school that we call home.  St. John’s is just one of the 2,300 Lutheran schools in our nation; and it is just one of the many amazing schools that brings grace, hope, love, and most importantly, Jesus, to each of the 20,000 students who attend them.  The students who attend Lutheran schools, like St. John’s, are receiving an education and a preparation for life that cannot compare to any other education out there.  To grow up in an environment that provides daily and weekly reminders of how much God loves them and how they are saved by grace alone is a priceless experience that will carry these children into their adulthood and beyond.  They may not realize yet how special and vital that message is, (or maybe they do!), but one day they will, and they will look back at their time at St. John’s with the same gratitude and warmth I felt today.

I am thankful today for Lutheran schools, particularly St. John’s.  I am thankful for their ministry and their message.  I am grateful for the community they create and the lives they change.  There is truly no better place to be.

By: Lauren Morner, 2nd Grade

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Jesus in our Classrooms!

Teaching St. John’s Kindergartners about Jesus is one of my favorite things to do.  It was such an exciting time as we prepared for Advent services and awaited our Savior’s birth.  Getting ready for Christmas was a lot of fun in our Kindergarten class.

One of our favorite parts was when each student choose a part to play when we acted out the story of the First Christmas.  Each child got a part and created his/her own costume to wear.  It was fun to see the students collaborate and show their creativity while creating these costumes.  When the costumes were finished, it was time to put on a little show in our classroom.  The students did a great job sharing some of the special bible verse they had learned and telling the story of Jesus.

By: Mrs. Harrison, Kindergarten

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A tribute to Linda Warneke

Math, homework, A.R. quizzes, P.E., science labs, after-school sports, Spelling, Art, Computer Lab:  these are the things that fill our days at school and enrich our students’ lives in many ways, but it isn’t what guides us or drives us.  Last Saturday our St. John’s family gathered together to remember and celebrate the life and ministry of Mrs. Warneke.  We laughed and cried together, hugged, held hands.  In life and even in her death Mrs. Warneke was and continues to be an inspiration to many of us here.

Her sense of humor, creativity, and devotion to her Savior were on display every day of her life among us.  God’s blessings at our church and school are rich and deep.  It is a privilege to come to school every day and be surrounded by our staff, parents, and students who also inspire me and encourage me.  Our St. John’s family, while not perfect – like any family, is driven by the cross of Christ and His love.  Christ’s love permeates our campus; it guides us and comforts us.  It gets us through difficult times, like now, and takes us through times of joy and celebration, which are plentiful.

At Mrs. Warneke’s service we heard the words of Romans 8:  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” And in Romans 12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Mrs. Warneke lived those verses each day – even to her last day.  What guides us and drives us at St. Johns is God’s Word and His love, our mission to serve Him the best we can, keeping the cross of Christ before us so on Saturday we could sing boldly “Now no more can death appall, now no more the grave enthrall; You have opened paradise, and your saints in You shall rise.  Alleluia!”

By: Mrs. Cathy Meier, 2nd grade