O give thanks to the Lord!

In kindergarten, we had the opportunity to learn about and act out some of the events that took place on the First Thanksgiving.

We had a lot of fun on our Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic.  When we reached the new land, the students were given jobs to help prepare for the upcoming winter.  The boys did a great job of collaborating to make a common house out of Lincoln Logs, while the girls took care of the children in the forest.

When it came time to celebrate all the blessings between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, everyone pitched in to help.  The hunters had the job of preparing the turkey, the gatherers needed to harvest the corn, and the girls helped prepare the table for the upcoming feast.

When the feast was over, we continued the celebration with play time and game time. We of course saved the best for last, the pumpkin pie!

We truly have a lot to be thankful for.

Mrs. Harrison, Kindergarten

Fall Band Concert!

Thursday, November 21st was an evening of collaboration and celebration by the middle school music students!  These students played a concert in the church sanctuary, offering their praise to God and demonstrating the results of their hard work.  The middle school praise band and praise chorus “Musicking for Jesus” kicked things off by singing a variety of Advent, Christmas, and general praise songs.

This band included student singers, percussionists, bassists, and guitarists.  Next up was the intermediate band, composed of 5th-7th graders in their second year of band.  This group especially enjoyed playing “Creatures in the Attic,” which included a variety of unusual instrument techniques such as a trombone glissando, key-clicking, and playing whatever notes they wanted!  Then came the handbell choir, which played a couple of pieces based on classical music themes.

The advanced band played next, playing a variety of songs including the hymn “Psalm 42,” a medley of Sousa marches, and a fanfare and processional.  The concert ended with an audience favorite by both the intermediate and advanced bands—Raiders March from the Indiana Jones movies!

By: Krista Elliott, Band/General Music Teacher

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Coding and Language Arts?

The fifth graders just finished up an exciting novel study on There’s an Owl in the Shower. This novel guides students to take an in-depth look at the importance of caring for our environment.

As a culminating activity, the students coded Ozobot robots in order to retell the story while also discussing the story’s theme and setting. The students wrote out five major plot points from the story and coded their robot to travel through the story. They were also tasked with using code that would symbolically relate to different parts of the story. For example, one group coded their robot to spin in circles when it reached the part of their story that described a fight scene between environmentalists and loggers. Another group coded their robot to move backwards to symbolize the part of the novel when a young owl tries to fly but ends up falling instead.

This project helped the students practice important language arts standards, like studying theme, summarizing, and symbolism, while also helping them experience coding and robotics.

Mrs. Knego, 5th grade

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NJHS Helps KidWorks

This year the St. John’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), decided to help collect gently used sports equipment to donate to KidWorks.  Kidworks is a non-profit organization which helps children in Santa Ana, by providing academic enrichment, leadership and character development.

The service project committee this year was comprised of four members:  Chanel Soler, Chanel Kruse, Sydney Byrnes, and Ella Horwich.  This committee organized collection of the equipment, coordinating dates with Dr. Hollatz, making announcements for Chapel and Slices, and assigning NJHS members to teachers in each grade from kindergarten through 8th grade.

The donation got off to a slow start, but quickly gained momentum.  In the end it can be seen how generously St. John’s students donated.  The winning class, 8th grade, received a free dress day.  They collected almost two hundred pieces of equipment.  It was a job well done, both by the students and the NJHS members!

Sr. Stone, MS Spanish and NJHS Supervisor

Exercising is Fun!

At the elementary level, my main goal in Physical Education class is to make exercising fun.  If students learn at a young age that exercising can be fun, they are more likely to have a positive association with it and carry that habit into adulthood.  Just like any subject in school, PE has state standards for each grade level that need to be met. Students also learn how to create goals for themselves, learn about the different muscles they are strengthening, and the importance of taking care of their heart. 

There are tests in PE as well! However, mixed throughout all of this is a fun and energized environment. We make sure we have fun while learning. Every holiday season I implement activities that cover the standards yet involve that particular season. For example, during the week of Halloween we did a “Pumpkin Patch” relay races and “Pumpkin Patch” fitness.  The students really seemed to enjoy both activities. For our “Pumpkin Patch” relay, each team had one pumpkin, they had to push it on a scooter all the way down to the opposite side of the gym and back. This activity really worked on their core and quadriceps. They also had to carry the pumpkin down and back without dropping it. This worked on their upper body strength.  Next PE class, students asked if they could do the relay races again! Next up: Thanksgiving. Look for pictures on our sjls Instagram pages involving our Thanksgiving activity: “What’s on my Plate?”  

It brings me great joy watching the students exercise with a smile on their face.  Learning that exercise is important at such a young age is fantastic and I am thankful that God allows me to be a part of that everyday.   

Mrs. Miller, PE

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Pumpkin Science!

Did you know that learning the Scientific Method can be as easy as carving pumpkins and counting seeds?

2nd graders have been learning the vocabulary words and steps for the scientific method this past week using pumpkins.  After researching a little bit about pumpkins and how they are classified by scientists, each 2nd grader shared their hypothesis about how the size of a pumpkin might determine the number of seeds inside it.  Do larger pumpkins have more seeds or do smaller pumpkins have more seeds?

Next, it was time to begin our investigation and gather data.  Pumpkins were weighed, and seeds were counted.  It was a fun and mushy experience at times, plus a counting challenge, as the number of seeds we counted ranged from 305 to 583 per pumpkin.  Although our class reached their own conclusion, we did also agree that true scientists would count the seeds in hundreds of pumpkins before reaching or publishing their conclusions.

So which one is it?   Do larger pumpkins have more seeds?  Or, do smaller pumpkins have more seeds?   Grab a few pumpkins and let us know what you find out.  We’ll add your results to our collection of data.

Mrs. Katie Todd, 2nd grade

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Communication Binds Us Together

St. John’s students actively participate in learning the skills of critical thinking, collaborating, creating and communicating throughout all classes.  However, in the elective class public speaking, middle school students engage in a semester of learning and fine tuning their communication skills.  The class begins with learning that communication is all about sending and receiving information and that it is an art to making sure what a sender wants communicated is received the way it is intended.  Then, students proceed to focus on basic communication skills such as, listening, nonverbal communication and paralanguages (how we verbally relay information).  After the basic skills have been learned and practiced, students choose which types of formal public speaking they would like to master.

The pictures and video show students practicing their paralanguages by presenting a story to the class.  Communication is a significant life skill for all students to learn, practice and master.  Middle school students participating in public speaking class refine this basic skill that connects creativity, critical thinking and collaboration together.  Next up–debate!

Laura Kruse, Middle School Teacher

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