It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Of course we know that it is the birth of our Savior that makes Christmas time so wonderful, but festive music makes the season seem wonderful too! Typically we sing lots of Christmas carols in music class and my fifth grade students look forward to playing hand chimes and Christmas caroling around campus.
That couldn’t happen this year, but we still found COVID-safe ways to enjoy the music. Students in grades K – 5 did a variety of activities with Christmas music, including playing it on colored handbells, playing in a rhythm band, doing movement routines with scarves and paper plates, playing Christmas music on the ukulele, playing “desk drums,” and “traveling” to various countries to enjoy Christmas music traditions around the world! Music class may look different this year, but it’s certainly not boring!
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
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!
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!
It has never been more important to take care of our own mental and physical health so we can be there for our children’s.
“He has made EVERYTHING beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
What a trying time we are all in right now. Anxiety and depression are at an all-time high. As parents our job is to protect and guide our children but in this temperamental and unpredictable world, it can seem quite challenging at times, especially in 2020. If we don’t know what the future holds, how can we guide our own children through it? It has never been more important to take care of our own mental and physical health so we can be there for our children’s. All we can do is take care of today and leave the rest of our worries at the foot of the cross, HE has got you and your entire family in His hands. His love for you and your family is unconditional and more than we can ever imagine.
When you are anxious or stressed, take a moment to think of one or two things that you are thankful for. I am so thankful for the students at St. John’s, I say this with sincerity. As the PE and health teacher for elementary-aged children, I see students in grades K-6 each week and every day they make me smile. Their smile and excitement brings me back to the basics in life. Thank you for trusting us at St. John’s with your sweet children! As we pause and head into Thanksgiving break, share with your children things that you are thankful for. Ask your children what they are thankful for. Get outside and spend time in nature, being in nature can ease anxiety for people of all ages. Take this unprecedented time to spend time with your loved ones, be active together outside: go on a hike, a walk, go to the park, the beach, or the mountains. We are truly blessed to live in a place where it doesn’t get too cold in the winter, we can still enjoy the outdoors.
Yes, this is a challenging time, we are all feeling it in various ways, but God is transforming us and our children. He has not left us, this is one of His many promises. We will come out stronger through this, God has each of us in the palm of His hand. Remember, diamonds were not formed overnight, they were formed over time under extreme pressure. Just like diamonds, God is making us beautiful.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving St. John’s families. Praying for each of you.
Mrs. Christine Miller
For ideas for hikes in the area download the app called “All Trails” 😊