Peer Editing with High School Students

The 5th graders have been working hard on their state reports. They are currently working on writing a research report on the history of their chosen state. This is a big project! The students spent many hours conducting their research and writing about what they had learned.  

To improve their writing each 5th grader was virtually paired with a student from Orange Lutheran High School. The fifth graders sent their rough drafts to the high school students using Google Docs, which allowed the high school seniors to read and comment on the 5th grader’s work.  The high school students went above and beyond to help the 5th graders improve their writing. They offered helpful tips and some even wrote notes to their 5th grader partner to encourage them in continuing to grow as a writer.

The high school students also emphasized the importance of being able to express yourself through writing. The 5th graders were so excited to read the feedback they received from their high school partner! I have never seen students so excited about revising and editing a research report! The 5th graders worked hard to improve their writing by taking the advice offered to them by their partner. This was a memorable experience for our 5th graders and a great opportunity to learn from an older student.

By: Mrs. Keelie Knego, 5th grade

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Promoting Poetry Protégés

There are many things I love about teaching 8th grade at St. John’s Lutheran School. 8th grade is such a special year. Special privileges, the Washington DC/ NYC trip, the 8th Grade Play and that “top of the hill” feeling that all 8 th graders experience. But, my absolute favorite is teaching the poetry unit in 8th grade Language Arts class.

Poetry as a communication style has survived the test of time. Even now – maybe especially now – with all of the “quick” forms of communication we employ (email, text, tweets, instagram, snapchat stories) a poem can slow us down and capture our complete attention. A poem can launch us into future dreams, conjure up a full range of feelings, or call to mind special remembrances.

Poetry starts inside our being and, after the words come out, the real joy can come from carefully editing and revising the poem until it is more than communication. It is a work of art.

In my poetry unit, students get an opportunity to try their hand at many different forms of poetry. They teach each other the elements and forms of poetry, write their own poems, and learn appreciation for songs – poems set to music. The 8th graders display their poems on poetry posters in my room during Expression Explosion.

But enough from me, let’s hear from our 8th grade poets!

By: Mrs. VB, 8th grade

Happy Chinese New Year!

On Friday February 16, 2018 the “Year of the Dog” began.  4th grade was blessed to have some Chinese students join our class for a while.  They made new friends and learned about our culture as we learned about theirs!  In our California History studies we learn about the Gold Rush and that includes the Chinese immigrants that came to our country in hopes of striking it rich!  We also learn of the hard work by many Chinese who helped to build our Transcontinental Railroad.

In the chapter book we are currently reading, By the Great Horn Spoon, we learned about the Chinese entrepreneurs who started businesses in large cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.  To celebrate the Chinese culture and to bring in the new year, the 4th graders made artwork depicting the Chinese language symbol for “Year of the Dog” as well as a dragon.  The dragon is often used in parades for the dragon dance.  Chinese dragons are a symbol of China and are said to bring good luck.  Happy new year from 4th grade!

By: Beth Clark, 4th Grade Teacher

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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

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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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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