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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Middle School has New Friends From Korea -Reflections from 6th Grade

What a great day to begin a visit with our guests from Korea! Over the next couple of weeks, thirty students from Korea will be shadowing our Middle School students. Fifteen are shadowing our 6th graders and we had fun meeting them for the first time today!

Each guest from Korea traveled from class to class, with a St. John’s partner, to see what American schools are like and to immerse themselves in the English language.

In 6th grade science, the guests got to see active learning with the laptops as we reviewed for an upcoming test in a FUN way. Our students came to class with digital flashcards that they created on Quizlet to help them prepare for the upcoming test. We used some of the student sets to play games with the whole class. The students were shuffled into random teams and then challenged to collaborate and identify the answers to the questions the quickest.

We also got to know each other better in Christian Faith and Life as our St. John’s students shared their New Year’s resolutions and how God can support them throughout the upcoming year in accomplishing their resolutions.

In language arts they played Kahoot games together using the laptops. They learned about ancient Greece in history, and translated a story about a secret agent in Spanish. In math, they worked on solving pre-algebra problems and got to explore the universal language of numbers together!

We all ended the day watching our school’s Geographic Bee in the Auditorium.

In talking with our St. John’s 6th graders at the end of the day, some of their additional highlighted moments occurred during lunch when they really got to know each other better.

Some of these highlighted moments were:

  • Learning how to say words in Korean including greetings and the names of different types of sports balls
  • Teaching our guests how to play volleyball
  • Teaching our friends how to play Duck, Duck, Goose and enjoying fun laughs together
  • Introducing American foods to our guests such as Cheezits and Takis

Overall, we had a fantastic day and are very honored to have guests all the way from Korea!  It was very exciting to see our students take the Korean students “under their wing,” guide them around in such a kind way, and truly show interest in learning about them and their culture as well as introducing them to our school and culture.

As we continue the visit over the next couple of weeks, our prayer is that our guests from Korea see Jesus in us, learn about our culture, and develop strong friendships with our St. John’s students! What a blessing for us all!

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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