Last Monday, March 2nd, we celebrated Read Across America Day. Our day was filled with lots of fun STEM type activities to help us connect with some of our favorite Dr. Seuss books. Dr. Hollatz started us off by reading The Foot Book, since we were all wearing crazy socks. We practiced skip counting to find out the number of girls’, boys’, and adults’ feet we have in our class. We talked about taking care of our earth after we read The Lorax, then balanced pom poms on top of Truffula trees we’d made. Fair treatment for all was our topic after hearing Yertle the Turtle, then stacked as many turtles as we could. Everyone had a chance to work together to stack 100 read cups to represent a giant hat after we read The Cat in the Hat. We ended our special day with two cool gifts to take home. Everyone got to choose a Dr. Seuss eraser and pencil! Oh the thinks you can think!!
By: Mrs. Cook, 1st Grade
From sea to shining sea, American schools celebrated “Read Across America” this week. St. John’s Lutheran School was no exception. In every classroom, teachers discussed their own favorite, age-appropriate books during informal book talks. Students, therefore, were exposed to unfamiliar books, prompting many to jot down titles and authors on cards provided by their teachers. Teachers also provided a “free reading” period of time in their teaching schedules, further emphasizing the enjoyment and creative stimulation that reading for pleasure can provide. Students gratefully took advantage of their teachers’ gift of reading time.
By far, the favorite part of our SJLS “Read Across America” activities was the costume choice that many students (and some brave teachers!) made to honor a favorite literary character. The halls were filled with min-Harry Potters, junior-Where’s Waldos, and faux-Dr. Seuss characters. Discussions and laughter overflowed on campus, as students attempted to guess their peers’ literary characters.
Students focused on reading. People wore costumes. Laughter erupted. All told, the day was a complete success. Oh, the places we went!
By: Mr. Smith, 7th grade
Throughout the month of February, second grade has been spending a lot of time learning about important people in our history. We began by writing in-class reports on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, which enhanced both their writing skills and their understanding of our country’s past. Now, they are working diligently on their own reports on an important American of their choice. But we still have more important Americans to honor: them! Over the course of the next week or two, the students of second grade will get to share what they would do as president of the United States, and consider what it be like if they were the ones sitting in the Oval Office. They will be asked to consider what would be hard about being president, what they would enjoy, what problems they would solve, and more! They may be young now, but you never know! These may be questions they may get to answer for themselves one day!
By: Mrs. Lauren Morner, 2nd grade
Recently, our 6th graders dove into the Engineering Design Process. Each student individually took on the challenge of designing and building an insulating device that can hold 200mL of hot water and trap the most heat for 20 minutes. To prepare for this challenge, the students studied the transfer of heat, differentiated between insulators and conductors, and researched good household materials to use as insulators.
Once the research and designs were created, it was time to build their devices! Each student built their own unique design and tested it. Once they tested their device the 6th graders had the opportunity to analyze their trial one data, reflect on the effectiveness of their design, and modify their thermos for a second trial!
To reflect on the whole Engineering Design Process from start to finish, the students wrote a personal narrative to add to their middle school writing portfolio. They published their narrative on Flipgrid and had the opportunity to encourage one another by commenting on each other’s videos.
Whew! Our 6th graders worked hard to sharpen their 21st Century skills as they thought critically, used creativity to design and build their thermos, collaborated with others, and communicated their experiences with the engineering design process!
By: Yvette Stuewe, Middle School Science
Mrs. Nelson’s kindergarten class had SO much fun celebrating the 100th day of school! We have been learning and growing for 100 days and that called for a celebration. Our class has been working hard learning how to count to 100, write our numbers to 100, and challenging ourselves figuring out different ways to break 100 apart into equal groups. On the 100th Day we were able to use our skills to complete many fun 100 themed activities.
We made fun hats with 10 colorful strips and put 10 stickers on each strip. 100 stickers to wear all day.
We used number recognition and counting to stamp our way to 100 gumballs.
Each student brought a different food item to class. We made predictions about what type of food would be the heaviest, lightest, highest volume, and least volume. Each student counted out 100 pieces of their food by making 10 groups of 10. We weighed each item and them compared and contrasted. When we were finished we dumped the leftover (untouched) food into a giant bowl and created a delicious 100th day trail mix. Yum-yum…we enjoyed it for an afternoon snack.
As part of our weekly homework each student brought in 100 pieces of an item of their choice. We had a show and share and then displayed our eclectic groups of 100 on a collection board.
100 Sprinkles Smarter! We made fun cupcakes with 100 sprinkles on each. We counted out 10 sprinkles of 10 different colors.
Each student wrote a sentence and illustrated a picture about one thing they have learned in the first 100 days of kindergarten. We have learned so much and have grown academically, socially, and spiritually.
Thank you, Jesus, for a successful first 100 days of school!
By: Mrs. Laura Nelson, Kindergarten
Have you ever wondered what might happen to a bird species over 20,000 years? The 8th graders explored this idea in science while studying natural selection . First, students learned the concepts of existence, diversity, extinction, anatomy, genetic variations, mutations, survival, reproduction, traits, predominance, suppression, adaptations, and natural selection. Once they were confident in their understanding, they chose a bird specie and researched it. From this foundation, creativity was unleashed, synthesis took place, and depth of understanding was showcased.
Students had to envision realistic changes and adaptations that could take place with their bird over 20,000 years to enable it to survive and thrive. Students drew 2 dimensional drawings of the way their bird would look in the future along with the habitat it would live in. They also used the 3D CAD design tool Tinkercad to design a functional beak. Once the beaks were printed, students video recorded the testing process of their beak trying to pick up the intended food source. Students created the background production of their project using a green screen app by Do Ink. They used their two 2D drawings along with the video of their beak test to create the three layer background.
When students were satisfied with the three layers of their background production, they pulled the footage into iMovie. Here they synthesized the story of their bird specie from the present to the year 22,020 using realistic and deep explanations rich in factual scientific vocabulary. This science project gave the 8th graders the opportunity to explore an interest (each chose their own bird specie) to gain knowledge, understanding, application, analysis, evaluation and creativity of the science behind natural selection and adaptations.
MS 8th Grade Science Teacher Laura Kruse
Dancing Days were here again
For the St. John’s Middle School girls.
Crazy ways were evident
With the hip hop moves and swirls.
I said it’s alright
You know it’s alright …
But before we get in trouble with Led Zepplin for stealing their lyrics, we should get back to the blog information. 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls PE finished our dance unit. We had all kinds of fun – we stayed active, and we even learned some things along the way.
This 3-week “mini unit” is always welcomed with great anticipation by the girls. 8th graders choose their own (appropriate) music for their dance routine, and they also have the privilege of choosing the music that the 6th and 7th grade groups will use in their routines.
Each group (ranging from 3 to 7 girls) was required to include four specific dance moves in their routine. They all did this well – check out the videos.
Mrs. VB, PE & ELA8
The past few weeks fourth grade focused our attention and readings on the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is always an emotional few weeks as we approach tough conversations about race, culture, segregation, and discrimination. Subjects and pains that are not cured, as Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech still stands relevant to this day. Although the days of Jim Crow Laws and segregated buses are long gone, discrimination based on race, gender, culture, religion, disability, etc. are unfortunately in our communities.
This year, Dr. King could have turned 90 years old, possibly able to address my students and this country himself. Instead, we are left as a community of parents and educators with the responsibility of pursuing his dream and reminded of the “urgency of now.” Each day we have a responsibility to lift our nation from injustice and to stand solid on the rock of brotherhood.
Making a connection to Dr. King’s speech can be difficult for some students, as the pains of our nation’s history seems to be that of a terrible fairy tale or dark legend. Bringing Dr. King to life, reading through his speech, making connections to our world today, and letting it sink in that these atrocities were happening with our parents/grandparents as witness help students identify these truths. Parents and students were encouraged to have conversations at home. Through these conversations a student in our class learned that his grandmother’s principal took part in one of the many civil rights marches during the 60’s and has since been recognized with the state’s “Diversity Award” in 1998! Stories and testimonies like this allow students to be present within the narratives of our country.
We spent the week working through and analyzing one of Dr. King’s most well known speeches, I Have a Dream. Students took notes on a graphic organizer, highlighting portions of the text that embodied Dr. King’s vision for our nation. Check out our work samples below! We thank our Lord for the impact of civil rights leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King. He remains another great example of how powerful His love truly is. I pray that He continue to bless our children with courage and strength to stand against inequality like Dr. King, as they are the leaders of our future!
Ms. Emily Goins, Fourth Grade Teacher