STEM…Saving Fred!

Saving Fred… our first STEM activity of the year!

Last Friday, 2nd graders were given their first STEM challenge.  Before we began our activity, we discussed what the acronym STEM stood for…. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.   I was impressed at the number of students who already knew what all four letters stood for and represented.  What they didn’t know is that the T can have a second meaning… Teamwork!!!

After dividing up into small teams, each group was given one gummy life saver, one clear cup, four paper clips, and one very cute gummy worm named Fred!  After hearing about Fred’s tragic boat accident, where the life saver was trapped under the capsized boat, the 2nd graders worked as a team to get Fred safely back into his life saver.

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Each group worked in their own way to first retrieve the life saver and then to work Fred safely back into his flotation device.  There were many failed attempts, but each group continued to work at it, talking to each other, testing new ideas and strategies.  In the end, Fred was rescued by every group at least once.

What I found most impressive, however, is that when the group completed the initial task, we added additional challenges.  Instead of complaining or giving up, each group embraced the new challenge, adjusted their strategies, and once again, worked as a team to save Fred!

With the addition of the new STEM lab, I look forward to having so many more opportunities to give our kids the chance to apply those science and math skills, to try out new forms of technology, and especially to work as a TEAM!!

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Summer Camp: Korean Friends!

For two and a half weeks this summer, St. John’s hosted 37 students from South Korea as part of an English language camp. Students learned about American culture, literature, art and STEM from our own SJLS teachers! They were assisted by students from our middle school. Many wonderful friendships and learning opportunities were made! THANK YOU to Mrs. Demarest, Mrs. G, Mrs. Fink and Mrs. Elliot for all of their hard work and enthusiasm for teach our Korean friends!

Korean Cultural Experience

This summer Dr. Hollatz had the privilege to travel to South Korea to visit two partner schools and tour the country. St. John’s is blessed to have a total of 4 partner schools in southern South Korea that bring students to St. John’s to learn English and American culture in the winter and summer. Here are a few pictures from Dr. Hollatz’s travels this summer.

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STEM Lab Excitement!

The NEW St. John’s School STEM Lab has some exciting updates in construction!

  • Nana Wall (folding glass wall) is up!
  • Tech storage cabinets are up!
  • Ceiling tiles are nearly ready to go in!

Technology still to come:

  • THREE 85″ Flat-screen panels for instruction display
  • Apple TVs for all display panels
  • 3D printing lab (FOUR 3D printers already purchased!)
  • Integrated audio system for presentations
  • Steelcase Makerspace furnishing by Tangram Designs

Thank you to our school Auxiliary, church and outside donors who made this all possible!

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Tide Pool Learning Fun!

The 5th grade students and teachers wrapped up their school year by exploring the tide pools at Little Corona Beach.  Before going to explore the tide pools the 5th graders studied what the tide pools are made of and the different types of animals that can be found in the tide pools.  After visiting the tide pools the students then created an animal that they thought would be perfectly adapted to live in the tide pools.

By: Mr. Kyle Duport, 5th grade

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Kindergarten Movie Making 101

Is it really possible to make a movie with Kindergarteners?  Some may doubt us, but the answer is YES!! The movie making process with Kindergarteners takes time and a lot of patience, but it is a very rewarding experience when you see the finished project.  The first step we took was to pick an educational topic to focus on. At St. John’s, the theme Mrs. Grack chose was prepositions. Next, we read a book on prepositions called Bears in the Night by the Berenstains.  After reading the book, each student in our class was assigned a preposition to illustrate.

In the following class, we practiced our picture taking skills and learned about a variety of film shots from the American Film Institute.  We also learned about storyboards and their relationship to film shots by watching a deleted clip from the movie Frozen that was filmed using the original storyboards.  The third class was when we wrote our script. Each kindergarten class had to develop a storyline that included a problem and solution.  Each student in our class had a line and a preposition that they had include in the script. The themes for this year’s movies were: “Lost in the Forest on a Stormy Night,” “Where in the World are the Letterbooks?” and “How do we get to Disneyland?”

During the fourth week, we applied our knowledge about film shots and storyboards by making a storyboard that matched each of our written parts in the movie. One thing we focused on was making the storyboards as accurate as possible by including a picture of ourselves using the correct body positions and facial expressions. Next, it was time to take our camera shots.  We partnered up and worked together to get the exact photo that matched our storyboards. Some of us used the Green Screen and had to find a background that represented our storyboard picture. For example, one student wanted to be on a roller coaster with cotton candy and with the Green Screen technology, we made it happen!!

Last, Mrs. Grack applied her editing magic using Google Slides and Imovie.  As a class we chose the background music for the movie. Then, we added our audio after discussing how we needed to make our voices and words, clear, slow and expressive.  On the night of Expression Explosion, our movies debuted to our family and friends.

The movie took six weeks to produce, but we learned so much and are so proud of our accomplishment.  

By: Mrs. Grack, Educational Technology Teacher

Step Back in Time!

The third grade class invites you to take a step back in time!  Third graders experienced life in the Victorian age as they toured the Kellogg House at the Orange County Heritage Museum.  They learned about Victorian architecture, tried their hand at chores like the laundry and butter churning, tried on clothes, played with old-fashioned toys, learned about some big differences in schooling, discovered how a blacksmith made nails and brands, and explored many rooms of the house.  

However, their learning didn’t stop there!  In the weeks after our trip, students acted as tour guides through the house.  They used the app Puppet Edu to create a movie with a partner.  They utilized pictures of the museum and gave detailed information about what they learned.  At the end of the movie, they invited their audience to visit the museum for themselves.  You, too, can take a step back in time by watching their videos!  What a fun way to end a field trip, and what wonderful planning and teamwork skills the students showed as they created their videos!

By: Mrs. Elliott, 3rd grade

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