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

Minecraft in World History Class?

Seventh grade world history students have been learning about the development of feudalism in medieval Europe. Feudalism arose as a way of protecting the kings property and creating stability for the lords, ladies, knights and peasants. Everyone in society lived on a manor in the middle ages. Students were given the task to demonstrate their understanding of the role of the manor by designing a manor on Minecraft. Each student was responsible for creating their own manor, which needed to include a castle, horse stables, peasant cottages, and blacksmith shops, just to name a few.

Technology is big part of education and when we incorporate familiar programs – such as programs like Minecraft – into the classroom, we can bridge the gap between their learning and their everyday encounters with technology. There is no limit to how this assignment can extend beyond the classroom. It has often been explained to be like Legos due to the constructive nature and the style of materials with which one is to build. The building materials are all cube shaped and the vast majority of these materials measure one meter squared. Although Minecraft is considered a game we will not be using this project in game mode. Students will individually design their own manor in Creative Mode. What is appealing about Minecraft is its customization.

By Mrs. Bender, Middle School Teacher

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1st Grade & Folktales!

First Grade has been learning about folktales! Our favorite was “The Mitten”. We read many different versions of this old folktale and then we compared and contrasted the literary details. Each story had different animals that insisted on using the mitten as a warm sleeping bag! In almost every book a small animal who came in last was the one that made the mitten, “POP!” Our favorite version was by beloved children’s author, Jan Brett. In that story a bear sneezes and animals fly in all directions, while the young boy still finds his missing snow white mitten. We also read the folktale “The Gingerbread Man” and “Hansel & Gretel”.

Sometimes a folktale teaches a lesson. We learned that folktales are fiction stories that have been passed down for many years, usually by storytelling. Many cultures have timeless folktales that still hold meaning and are still changing a little as people share them with a new generation. The stories are different than fairy tales, partly because they have common folk instead of kings and queens as the main characters. They often start with, “Once Upon A Time… “ To complete our folktale fun we will complete an AR test on a folktale and write our own missing mitten story. Here are some pictures of us reading!

By: Mrs. Glaeser, 1st grade teacher

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5th Grade One-to-One Laptops

The first week of January our fifth graders embarked on their exciting journey of using their personal laptops as aids to improve their education.  They started by using their laptops daily in the classroom to easily access their textbooks and interactive materials online.  We have livened up math by having the students use their interactive materials to help them with the struggles of adding and subtracting fractions. They are able to watch videos that go along with their Scholastic News to enrich their reading.

The fifth-grade students have begun using their personal laptops to aid in doing their state report projects.  This is a major part of fifth grade and will take them about three months to complete.  They are being challenged to use Google Slides and Google Docs to improve their reports and presentations.   They recently made a state collage using Google Slides.  They will put this collage on the covers of their state report binders with pictures of important state features.

The students are enthusiastic and eager to be able learn and grow in new and exciting ways.

By: Mary Schirrmacher, 5th grade teacher

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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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