Celebrating Jesus with Word, Song, and Psalter

Members of the St. John’s Lutheran Middle School community – students, parents, and teachers – gathered in the Sanctuary on Saturday, 7 December 2019.  Their purpose: coming together to praise Jesus by participating in the annual student-led Advent worship service.  Under the direction of Mrs. V.B. and Mr. Mejia, students celebrated the birth of Jesus through the words, songs, and musical  instruments.

As you can imagine, the logistics of putting together, rehearsing, and performing a worship service with almost 300 students do not come together quickly.  As is always the case, St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students have been working toward creating this annual tradition since before the Thanksgiving holiday, utilizing their elective course and daily advisory periods in rehearsals. The results of the students’ work have been spectacular, as St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students took the reins of the worship experience and the Middle School mass choir filled the Sanctuary with songs of praise in honor of the Christ Child.

Why do we invest so much time and effort in this endeavor?  Following the injunction of Jesus Christ Himself, our mission as Christians is to “go and tell” of our life-changing, soul-saving faith in Our Lord (Matthew 27).  Can you imagine a better way to undertake such a mission than through St. John’s Lutheran Middle School students sharing the uplifting message of Christ’s birth, as delivered through inspiring words and music?

We praise our Triune God for the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ – who came to Earth in physical form to live among us, to teach us God’s Word, and to suffer and die in our place, for our sins.  His resurrection confirms that we, too, will rise from death and join Him in Heaven.

Kevin G. Smith, 7th grade

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O give thanks to the Lord!

In kindergarten, we had the opportunity to learn about and act out some of the events that took place on the First Thanksgiving.

We had a lot of fun on our Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic.  When we reached the new land, the students were given jobs to help prepare for the upcoming winter.  The boys did a great job of collaborating to make a common house out of Lincoln Logs, while the girls took care of the children in the forest.

When it came time to celebrate all the blessings between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, everyone pitched in to help.  The hunters had the job of preparing the turkey, the gatherers needed to harvest the corn, and the girls helped prepare the table for the upcoming feast.

When the feast was over, we continued the celebration with play time and game time. We of course saved the best for last, the pumpkin pie!

We truly have a lot to be thankful for.

Mrs. Harrison, Kindergarten

Fall Band Concert!

Thursday, November 21st was an evening of collaboration and celebration by the middle school music students!  These students played a concert in the church sanctuary, offering their praise to God and demonstrating the results of their hard work.  The middle school praise band and praise chorus “Musicking for Jesus” kicked things off by singing a variety of Advent, Christmas, and general praise songs.

This band included student singers, percussionists, bassists, and guitarists.  Next up was the intermediate band, composed of 5th-7th graders in their second year of band.  This group especially enjoyed playing “Creatures in the Attic,” which included a variety of unusual instrument techniques such as a trombone glissando, key-clicking, and playing whatever notes they wanted!  Then came the handbell choir, which played a couple of pieces based on classical music themes.

The advanced band played next, playing a variety of songs including the hymn “Psalm 42,” a medley of Sousa marches, and a fanfare and processional.  The concert ended with an audience favorite by both the intermediate and advanced bands—Raiders March from the Indiana Jones movies!

By: Krista Elliott, Band/General Music Teacher

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Coding and Language Arts?

The fifth graders just finished up an exciting novel study on There’s an Owl in the Shower. This novel guides students to take an in-depth look at the importance of caring for our environment.

As a culminating activity, the students coded Ozobot robots in order to retell the story while also discussing the story’s theme and setting. The students wrote out five major plot points from the story and coded their robot to travel through the story. They were also tasked with using code that would symbolically relate to different parts of the story. For example, one group coded their robot to spin in circles when it reached the part of their story that described a fight scene between environmentalists and loggers. Another group coded their robot to move backwards to symbolize the part of the novel when a young owl tries to fly but ends up falling instead.

This project helped the students practice important language arts standards, like studying theme, summarizing, and symbolism, while also helping them experience coding and robotics.

Mrs. Knego, 5th grade

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NJHS Helps KidWorks

This year the St. John’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), decided to help collect gently used sports equipment to donate to KidWorks.  Kidworks is a non-profit organization which helps children in Santa Ana, by providing academic enrichment, leadership and character development.

The service project committee this year was comprised of four members:  Chanel Soler, Chanel Kruse, Sydney Byrnes, and Ella Horwich.  This committee organized collection of the equipment, coordinating dates with Dr. Hollatz, making announcements for Chapel and Slices, and assigning NJHS members to teachers in each grade from kindergarten through 8th grade.

The donation got off to a slow start, but quickly gained momentum.  In the end it can be seen how generously St. John’s students donated.  The winning class, 8th grade, received a free dress day.  They collected almost two hundred pieces of equipment.  It was a job well done, both by the students and the NJHS members!

Sr. Stone, MS Spanish and NJHS Supervisor

Dia de los Muertos

As part of the Spanish curriculum, K-6th grade had the opportunity to be part of one of the most important traditions in Mexico and South America. They learned that Dia de los Muertos is a happy day, a day to remember those who left us, a day to remember their lives.
We had an ofrenda in which we put flowers and candles, similar to the actual ones, so the students could get a proper idea of what the holiday represents and how does it looks. We also had a traditional treat for this day: Pan de muerto, a sweet bread. The students made their own papel picado (paper cut) to decorate their classes.
Sra. Pallete

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Exercising is Fun!

At the elementary level, my main goal in Physical Education class is to make exercising fun.  If students learn at a young age that exercising can be fun, they are more likely to have a positive association with it and carry that habit into adulthood.  Just like any subject in school, PE has state standards for each grade level that need to be met. Students also learn how to create goals for themselves, learn about the different muscles they are strengthening, and the importance of taking care of their heart. 

There are tests in PE as well! However, mixed throughout all of this is a fun and energized environment. We make sure we have fun while learning. Every holiday season I implement activities that cover the standards yet involve that particular season. For example, during the week of Halloween we did a “Pumpkin Patch” relay races and “Pumpkin Patch” fitness.  The students really seemed to enjoy both activities. For our “Pumpkin Patch” relay, each team had one pumpkin, they had to push it on a scooter all the way down to the opposite side of the gym and back. This activity really worked on their core and quadriceps. They also had to carry the pumpkin down and back without dropping it. This worked on their upper body strength.  Next PE class, students asked if they could do the relay races again! Next up: Thanksgiving. Look for pictures on our sjls Instagram pages involving our Thanksgiving activity: “What’s on my Plate?”  

It brings me great joy watching the students exercise with a smile on their face.  Learning that exercise is important at such a young age is fantastic and I am thankful that God allows me to be a part of that everyday.   

Mrs. Miller, PE

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