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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California Early Tribes and STEAM!

The 4th graders have been studying the early tribes of California. They are learning about their environments, tools, and shelters.  They were tasked to create an example of a house or a tool in our STEAM lab. They used their imagination and creativity to collaborate and to work independently. They applied their past knowledge to create something new and exciting.  They found fun ways to display their learning.

Beth Clark,4th Grade Teacher

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Finding their voice, 5th grade podcasters

This year, the 5th graders are finding their voices through podcasting.  The 5th graders worked through the creative process to develop a podcast “channel” that included cover art, a creative channel name, and creating their own intro and outro music.

Podcasting allows all students to share their thoughts, knowledge, and opinions on any given topic and can be used across all subjects. Students who may not be good writers or may not feel comfortable sharing in front of their peers have flourished by creating podcasts.

The students recently created their first “All About Me” podcast episode in which they shared information about themselves. This project allowed all students to have a voice in their learning. Throughout this school year the students will continue to use podcasting to demonstrate their learning. They will be conducting debates, interviewing book characters, reviewing books they have read, and much more.

Kyle Duport, 5th Grade Teacher

 

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Anatomy of an Apple!

What a fun week the kindergarteners in Mrs. Nelsons class had exploring, experimenting, and learning all about apples. Our thematic unit was integrated into all subject areas and the students had a blast!

Science: Exploring our seasonal theme using the scientific method.

Activities included:

  • Anatomy of an Apple-Making Observations
  • Life cycle and Seasons of an Apple Tree
  • Five Senses
  • Will an apple sink or float?
  • Apple Tasting Graph
  • Apple facts/Descriptive words

Anatomy of an Apple

Students studied halves of apples and identified each part and learned what its function was.

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Will a big apple float? Will a small apple float?

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Math Activities included:

  • Counting
  • Graphing
  • Number recognition and sequencing

Roll, Count, and Stamp!

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Pick and graph it

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Social Studies and ELA activities included:

  • The story of Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman)
  • Being a good Citizen
  • Story Sequencing
  • Letter and sig

The legend of Johnny Appleseed

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Paint stamping and descriptive booklet

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Christian Faith and Life:

  • Comparing the 3 Main Parts of an Apple to the 3 parts of our triune God

How is an apple like Jesus?!?

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We concluded our apple week with a fun cooking project! We baked and ate delicious apple pies. YUM! These kindergartners sure can cook!

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Bristle Bots Alive!!

What does a toothbrush head, a cell battery, a tiny motor, double-stick tape, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners all have in common?  These are the materials you need to make your own “Bristle Bot Robot.”  During technology class in 6th grade, students were able to create and design their robot using the materials above.  As the students proceeded through this STEM activity, they had to use their knowledge of design, circuitry and physics to make sure that:

  1. The Bristle Bot was balanced and could stand up.
  2. The battery and the motor were properly connected so the motor would run properly, and the robot would move.
  3. The Bristle Bot was designed well using creativity and precise manufacturing (so pieces were placed correctly and wouldn’t fall off).

So what were the results of the STEM Bristle Bot activity?  A ton of laughter and fun!  Plus, the students gained some basic knowledge about motors, circuitry and creating a basic robot.

By: Mrs. Grack, Technology Teacher