Math Mentors

7th grade students have seen what a strong grasp on math facts and mental math strategies can have on their learning. They decided to reach out to their chapel buddies in first grade for a peer teaching opportunity to help demonstrate these skills. They worked with the first graders on adding and subtracting with numbers up to 20 and showed them different strategies of solving these problems. Together they played a number of games that required students to find the missing addend, check if addition problems were equal, use counting on strategies, and fact families.

Peer teaching has been shown to have great benefits for all students involved. Not only is active learning promoted but there is a level of comfort between students that allows for students to let their walls down and try without fear of failure. This experience has helped solidify for the 7th graders that being fluent with math facts will help present these different strategies and by using these strategies they see there are many ways to solve some of the math problems we face each day. Hopefully it has given our first graders something to remember and helps their math facts stick!

By: Ms. Caitlyn Forrest, MS Math Teacher

Solidifying Science Using Simulations

What would happen in the universe if the sun was more massive?  Why does a balloon stick to a wall?  How do you know that gravitational, electric and magnetic force fields exist?  These are just a few of the questions the 8th graders were able to explore and answer in science using PhET Interactive Simulations created by University of Colorado Boulder.

Students explored six major topics related to forces and interactions using the simulations in three ways.  First, students individually played and manipulated the simulations to explore and answer guided practice questions and solve various scenarios.  Next, students collaborated to explain and describe their understanding to each other in small groups.  Then in their small groups, students presented their answers to teacher-selected questions from the activities to the whole class giving students an opportunity to reflect on their learning.

Utilizing simulations in science is an effective learning tool for students for multiple reasons.  First, simulations give students access to investigate real-world phenomena in the classroom that would otherwise be inaccessible, such as the role of gravity in the universe.  Second, they foster fun, active, engagement experiences for all students.  Third, students can individualize their learning by having the ability to run and rerun simulations to assist in mastering the learning of key scientific concepts.  Fourth, students are able to see the interconnections amongst scientific concepts, such as in this unit—gravitational, electric and magnetic forces and force fields.  Fifth, the simulations provide natural collaboration opportunities for students to share with each other their learning experiences and practice scientific conversation just like scientists.  Overall, science simulations offer our 8th graders an awesome opportunity for scientific inquiry.

By: Mrs. Kruse, NBCT, 8th grade science

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3rd Graders Vote

How would you vote?  Last week, the story in language arts was Vote! by Eileen Christelow.  The students read about how a town chooses a mayor.  Each class had many discussions and the teachers answered questions related to the process of voting, campaigning with signs and messages sent through the mail and on the television, especially since it coincides with the current midterm elections.

To apply the things we learned, the classes voted on “Proposition 2018 – Should St. John’s have school uniforms?”  After campaigning with signs and a debate, the students signed in, received their ballot and cast their vote. One class even had to do a recount since the counted number of votes did not match the number of students in class that day.

Overall, it was a fun way to have the students experience the process of an election.  Not surprisingly, the students voted no for Proposition 2018.

By: Miss Amy Neben, 3rd grade teacher

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

5th Grade Engineers!

Problem solving and team work are foundational skills for 21st Century learners. To strengthen these skills the 5th graders worked through two STEM projects during the first quarter of the school year.

For their first project the 5th graders worked in teams to design and build a bridge out of popsicle sticks. The goal was to build a bridge that could hold 10 pounds while spanning a thirteen-inch gap. The students had to communicate their ideas, listen to other students’ ideas, and work together to build a bridge.  This year’s strongest bridge held 60lbs!

Another STEM project the 5th graders completed was to design the ideal bubble wand for their three-year-old cousin.  After testing store bought bubble wands they brainstormed idea’s and then used the Tinkercad program to create their design.  After completing the design process the bubble wands were 3D printed.  After printing, the wands were tested and compared to store-bought wands.

Students are blessed here at St. Johns to have the resources to develop the skills they need to be successful.

By: Mr. Duport, 5th grade

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PE = Fun-filled Learning!

I have the privilege of teaching Health and Physical Education to elementary aged students at St. John’s.  St. John’s elementary students started the year off by learning how to effectively work together as a team and show empathy towards one another. Here is a look at what we’ve been learning so far this year:

Physical Education  

Kindergarten – Grade 1–Large Locomotor Skills and Following Directions

This is accomplished by incorporating fun games where the students usually have no idea that they are working on a goal; they are just having fun!  For example, students learned how to “drive” and learned the rules of the road playing “Hula Hoop Road Show.”  This game allows students to “drive” their cars (hula hoops) throughout the gym safely while learning how to listen for cues such as Red Light (stop), Green Light (go), bumpy road (skip), or slippery mud (side-slide).

Grades 2-5–Teamwork

Students play games where teamwork is essential.  For example, a favorite game of the students is called “Cross the River.”  Each game they play is “gamified” in that there are levels, like in video games.  As the teams finish a level, they get to level up to the next, more challenging level.  In “Cross the River” students must work together and strategize on how to safely get their team across a “toxic river” using only a limited amount of supplies.  It is so fun to see how creative and unique each student is during this time of strategizing.

In addition, grade 5 has been learning the importance of setting goals and how to stay fit. They learned how to find their resting heart rate, the FITT principle, and all about the heart.  Students were even able to see the heart using an augmented reality app during PE.

Health

Grades 2-4

Students have been learning empathy, what it is and how to show it. They are also learning about their bodies and the importance of taking care of them.

Looking forward to the rest of the school year with these amazing students!

By: Mrs. Miller, Physical Education Teacher

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Life Groups

This month, the 4th and 5th graders joined together in their Life Groups for the very first time. These groups were modeled after the middle school life groups, as the 4th and 5th grade teachers felt that this would also be a great opportunity for their students. Life Groups are a place to form new friendships, grow in God’s word, and positively impact the world. Each group consists of one student from each homeroom in 4th and 5th grade and is led by a 5th grade student. For the month of October, the groups studied and discussed what it means to be compassionate towards one another. The groups read the bible and a devotion, discussed God’s word, and prayed together. The groups will continue to meet each month and will focus on various character traits including self-control, empathy, forgiveness, truthfulness, and many others. These devotions were written in small groups by our 5th graders. We look forward to watching the 4th and 5th graders grow together in God’s word!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Learning on Catalina Island!

Wow! Our 7th graders had an amazing opportunity to venture beyond the four walls of the classroom and dive into God’s Creation as they attended outdoor education at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) at Toyon Bay on Catalina island. Snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and hands-on labs provided opportunities to explore, ask questions, and discover new information about the ocean, the island, and the plants and animals that live there.

Our very first snorkel on Monday was just the beginning of a fantastic week! The water was warm and extremely clear. Most students got to snorkel with leopard sharks, round rays, shovel-nose guitar fish, and many other fish. Other activities throughout the week included using oceanography equipment, identifying different types of plankton from the bay on digital microscopes, learning about sharks and petting them in a touch tank, observing and touching invertebrates to learn about their structure and behaviors, using inquiry strategies to explore algae in a water table and predict how scientists classify the algae, and even dissecting a squid! We also went on a night snorkel and saw tons of horn sharks, lobsters, and a huge octopus swimming along the sandy bottom of the bay!

In addition to all of the learning that took place, our 7th graders bonded and united together through activities like a whole group kayak and a rock climbing party at night. Each morning the dorm groups completed a devotion together and on the last night, the students led a worship service on the beach to praise God for his Creation and to thank Him for our opportunity to explore, learn, and enjoy time together! It truly was a week of hands-on learning and fun!

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:7-10