Reflecting on Dr. King’s Life and Legacy

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 

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Middle School Drama Club Elective

For the 2018-2019 school year, a brand new middle school elective was introduced, “Drama Club“. Drama Club students have the opportunity to practice acting and improv skills, work with partners and in teams, and learn the craft of stage acting. Students also have the opportunity to write and perform original scripts!

During elective class, we have an amazing time together laughing, rehearsing, and coming up with unique ways to tell stories.

All of this practice helps the Drama Club students with their most important work: sharing God’s word. The Drama Club has performed throughout the school year in chapel and at the fall pep rally. Their skits emphasize the truth of God’s love and His calling in our lives through humor and drama.

As their teacher, I am thankful for all the Drama Club students’ hard work and their willingness to get up in front of the school to share the Good News!

We are looking forward to a great spring semester-the Drama Club will be performing in chapel throughout it, and lead the school through our Holy Week chapel series before Easter.

Stephanie Ann Van Blarcom

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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

Question of the Day

2nd grade is now deep into the curriculum and the “honeymoon stage” of the first couple of weeks has worn off.  Things are starting to get busy and the pressures mount to get everything done and pack learning into the day.  While this stress may have good intentions behind it, it is important for teachers and parents alike to remember to slow down and take time for what is actually important, not just what we think is important.  For Mrs. Morner’s class, this includes spending positive moments together as a class.

Mrs. Morner has created “Question of the Day.”  It is a simple presentation filled with simple questions, but the result has been wonderful.

In addition to beginning our morning with the pledges, a devotion, and prayer, we now also open with the “Question of the Day,” which ranges from questions as common as “What is your favorite food?” and as creative as “If you were given 1,000 acres of land, what would you do with it?”  None of the questions are academic (on purpose) and it has so far allowed everyone to start the day in a relaxed way that also allows knowing each other better as a class.  It’s a period of five minutes where students can talk about their interests and use their imagination a bit.  It opens us up on a positive note and reminds us that, while the day may get busy and our work is incredibly important, spending some time together as a class is just as important and we can still make some time for the fun stuff too!

Mrs. Morner, 2nd grade

Five Bags

QOTD

Peru Project Update!

The Perú project is well under way. For those who dont know, the students at St. John’s have been supporting a small preschool in the coastal town of Las Delicias, Peru for the past 9 years. The school provides education to the poorest children in the small town.   The significant impact these donations have had over the years can be viewed here:
http://perunuevaesperanza.weebly.com/donacion-2017.html
This year we arrived at the school on June 14th, 2019 to determine how we could best help the school.  The fund had over $7,000 which was raised over the past several years by SJLS students. We hoped to do something with technology for the students, and as well to replace the awning structure donated by St. John’s 8 years ago. This original structure was only to be temporary and outlasted our expectations considerably.  Being made of metal the ocean breeze has eaten away at the structure and awning. We planned to replace it with a wooden structure. The first picture shows the original awning and it’s poor state of condition.
The present principal is a real go-getter.  Since the beginning of her time at the school she has recognized the importance of St. John’s donations and has done her part to meet expectations.  All of this can be seen in the video link given above.  The principal, Lola Kong, let us know that the best technological support we could give would be large screen televisions with USB ports. They have free access to educational videos. This seemed a very viable way we could help. As seen in the second photo, far left, the television for the 5 year olds is small and ineffective.
As well, Lola expressed the desire to have a series of shelves,  all of the same size and color to replace the makeshift shelves used around the classrooms. (see the third photo) These makeshift shelves have served a purpose but not being made for storing things, they were second best.
And finally Lola gave us a “wish” list of items they could really use:  dolls for the children to play with (see video link mentioned above—at the very end), as well as puzzles, musical instruments, costumes (firefighter, police, nurse/doctor, carpenter), hand puppets, a First Aid box, megaphone (for emergency drills), basketballs, volleyball, soccer balls, cones for PE, curtains for the 5 year old classroom, play kitchen sets, magnifying glasses, rulers, plastic chairs for adults (12 for parent meetings) and PE/emergency whistles to name a few.
Patty, my wife, and I had our work cut out for us. In my next installment I will show the progress being made.
Doug Stone, Spanish Teacher grades 7-8
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The Compliment Project

Spreading kindness like confetti.

The Compliment Project is to help promote positive interactions between each student and to build the habit of giving and receiving compliments to and from their peers. Each student in class takes a turn being in the “hot seat.” While the hot seat student sits, facing away from the paper, their classmates take turns writing positive statements about them on the paper behind them. When they are all finished, the hot seat student stands and reads what has been written about them. That students gets to keep their compliment paper and take it home to remind them of the nice things their classmates said about them. It’s amazing what a little kindness can do and the difference it can make in anyone’s life.

By: Miss Anderson’s CFL class, 6th grade