Walk through the Ancient World

On January 8th and January 10th every 6th grade student participated in our annual Walk Through the Ancient World “on campus” field trip.  Each 6th grade Ancient History Class was divided into 3 teams – Egypt, Greece and Rome. Depending on what team a student was placed on, they were given a blue character card from their team’s ancient civilization. All students were encouraged to create a costume and props for their character. Many of the students memorized the lines that they recited in front of their peers (which were on their blue character card). In addition to this, each team wrote a skit script that taught their peers (and all of the parents who were in attendance) about the daily like of their teams ancient civilization.  This fun, engaging, interactive event was held in the Garage Youth Room.  A fun, education time was had by all.  Events like this definitely make history come alive!

By: Mr. Nathan Mercier, 6th grade teacher

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6th Grade Outdoor Education

For the past seven years, St. John’s sixth grade class has called Palomar Christian Conference Center, home. Every year during the fall, our sixth graders are given the opportunity to explore God’s creation and enjoy an outdoor, hands-on learning experience they will never forget. For four days the sixth graders are able to unplug and open their hearts and minds to the world of science in a whole new way. Students participate in various science classes, observe nature firsthand, horseback ride, zip-line, work through various team building exercises, grow together in God’s Word, and praise God through their voices.

This year our devotional time was focused on being, “Redeemed, Renewed, and Reformed” through Christ.  Each night, a different teacher or group of teachers led a campfire devotion, and each morning students broke into small groups to dig deeper into Scripture. Outdoor Education gives students the chance to connect to God and their classmates in worship, grow together in small group Bible study, and when returning home, share their faith with others through what they’ve learned at camp.

Thank you St. John’s for providing us with opportunities to grow in our faith! We are extremely grateful!

By: Miss Sara Doyle

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Spanish at St. John’s

For those who have attended my back to school night orientation, you know that what we do in the St. John’s language classroom is geared towards meeting up-to-date research in language acquisition (as well as meeting the California World standards and the ACTFL performance guidelines—a subject for another blog).    Acquisition occurs when several criteria are met:  1) language has to be comprehensible (understandable), 2) there must be lots of it, both in listening and reading, 3) there needs to be plenty of repetition in a variety of meaningful contexts, and 4) it must be compelling (students want to understand).  To meet these criteria I have decided to use TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling).  This method has several cycles which include, first oral story co-creation, then reading of a short story which uses the same vocabulary and structures from the oral story.  The third cycle is the reading of a chapter book (often referred to as a “novel”) which is at the students’ level.

Since the video shows the culmination of the first part of this cycle, oral story co-creation, I will give a brief description of how this cycle works.  The oral story can be started in a number of ways.  One is with target vocabulary (usually back planned from a reading we will eventually be doing).  Another is untargeted language through the creation of a classroom “invisible.”

The video below shows a story created around a class “invisible,” so I will discuss this approach.  “Invisibles” are characters created wholly by student input.  They can be human, animals or even inanimate objects which are given human characteristics (faces, arms, legs, moods, personalities, jobs, likes/dislikes, etc.—all useful language).  When working with “invisibles,” individual student skills, interests, creativity and abilities are drawn upon to contribute.  Students who have an interest in acting get to act.  Students with an interest in videoing become videographers.  Those who are particularly good at the language record the descriptions and subsequent stories (in English and Spanish). Transcribing is used for two reasons: 1) to compile our class story book and 2) and to help me remember the stories to prepare activities.  Artistic abilities are called upon to represent the characters and basics of the story in drawings which are posted in the classroom.   The sound effects person is always the student who can imitate sounds well.

For an “invisible” to turn into a class story, a problem must arise.  This usually comes from the established mood of the “invisible” and some event in the character’s life which caused the mood. We have only just begun working with this type of oral story, and I am amazed at how students arrive at universal themes (love, heartbreak, being different) with details which reflect their worries or situations in real life and give voice to them, usually in a humorous way—and most importantly, being done in Spanish and therefore meeting acquisition criteria in a highly effective way.

This video is an example of an oral story with an “invisible” named Caillou, who is not very smart, but has a good heart.  When we first meet Caillou, he is jealous.  It turns out that his relationship with the love of his life, Felicia, is interrupted by Kim Jong Un, who blackmails Caillou’s girlfriend into coming to North Korea. Unbeknownst to Caillou, Felicia travels to North Korea to save Caillou from certain death by Jim Jong Un.   To leave Caillou without him suspecting anything, she tells him she is hungry and is going to McDonald’s.  Coincidentally, Caillou swims to North Korea to confront Kim Jong Un because he dislikes him.  When he arrives there, he finds his girlfriend with Kim Jong Un.  Because he is not very smart he briefly thinks he has mistakenly gone to McDonalds and then Kim Jong Un makes several bumbling and unsuccessful attempts to get rid of Caillou.  In the end Caillou and Felicia escape his clutches and live happily ever after.

Something to keep in mind when watching is that actors have specific things they need to do.  They must bring the story to life (and as such make it understandable for the rest of the class) through their movements and facial expressions while follow my narration.  And they must understand the narration and speak at the appropriate time.  All of this requires a good understanding of the story.

By: Sr. Stone

The 6th Grade Junior Martin Luther Competition – The 10th Anniversary

As a Lutheran church and school, we are proud of our Christian heritage and the Junior Martin Luther Competition was designed as a way for us to celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther.  It was his courage that laid the foundations of our faith today.  Every 6th grade student since 2008 has spent the month of October participating in a variety of classroom learning activities that exposed them to a deeper understanding of Martin Luther’s life, his relationship with God, the condition of the early church during his lifetime, and the good news of our Salvation that is found in the New Testament.

Mr. Mercier’s homeroom finalists were Ali, Chase, and Sydney. The alternate for Mr. Mercier’s homeroom was Regan.  Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom participants were Paul, Alexis and Justin.  The alternate for Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom was Patrick.  Miss Doyle’s homeroom finalists were Hayden, Kathryn, and Brandon. Miss Doyle’s alternate was Matthew.  Their participation in class, quality responses to weekly reflection questions, results from the Reformation in Disguise scavenger hunt, knowledge and understanding of Luther’s Table Talk memoirs, memory test scores, and Luther’s Dates quiz results were just a portion of the criteria that earned them a spot in this year’s competition.  This competition consisted of several rounds of questions that pertain to the important dates in Martin Luther’s life, his favorite passages from Scripture, his Table Talks memoirs, his small catechism, and much more.

This was a single elimination event.  One incorrect answer removed a finalist from the competition.  All correct answers were confirmed with the statement, “this is most certainly true.”  After 55 minutes of intense competition, Alexys from Mrs. Stuewe’s homeroom won the competition!  After winning the competition, Alexys proceeded to nail the 95 theses on the Castle Church door.  Last year’s winner, Bella, presented her with a Martin Luther bobble head doll along with the Luther Cup Trophy that will be displayed in her homeroom for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.  Her picture from this event will also be displayed in the Middle School hallway on the Junior Martin Luther Legends wall of fame.  Congratulations to Alexys!

Past Jr. Martin Luther Winners!

    • 2008 Winner, Abby Bogh
    • 2009 Winner, Will Schmid – Who could not be with us today because he is attending college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
    • 2010 Winner, Kate Wegener
    • 2011 Winner, Caitlyn Vossen – Who was not able to join us because of a previous scheduled commitment.
    • 2012 Winner, Jake Dabrow
    • 2013 Winner, Rachael Warren
    • 2014 Winner, Skylar McMahan
    • 2015 Winner, Jordon
    • 2016 Winner, Bella

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The Gingerbread Man Hunt

What better way to get to know your new school surroundings than to follow a freshly baked Gingerbread Man! Luckily, he left helpful clues along the way.

We also took the opportunity to compare and contrast several versions of “Gingy” stories with a variety of characters and settings. We had to learn to spell f-o-x so Gingy would feel safe enough to return to our room for good. Of course, we had to promise not to eat him (even though he looks delicious). Friends don’t eat friends.

Later in the year, a little Gingy will have a sleepover at each friend’s house and write up a sleepover report for our Gingy Journal. While enjoying the excitement of the hunt, we had the chance to work on building our class community, solving problems and riddles, communicating through writing as we read and then composed notes to him, and even turning right and left as we went from place to place.

Mrs. Linda Warneke, Kindergarten

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