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
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
First Grade has been learning about winter and enjoying our colder days at school.
We read many books about the season including, SNEEZY the SNOWMAN, THE MITTEN, and THE SNOWY DAY.
Did you know that THE SNOWY DAY by Ezra Jack Keats was the most checked out book EVER at the New York Public Library system?
It continues to be one of our favorites.
We made our own winter book about making a snowman and took it home to read to our families. Our book is titled, “The Snowy Day” by us!
In our pictures we are reading our book to our classmates. We will finish our winter unit next month and enjoy some hot cocoa with friends!
Mrs. G and her Class
As a school librarian, I couldn’t agree more emphatically, but it was truly something to behold when our upper grade students welcomed Mr. Auxier for our annual Author Day after having read his novel as part of their language arts classes. Sweep is set in Victorian England and features exploited child chimney sweeps like Nan Sparrow, a twelve year-old orphan who is about to outgrow the dimensions of a typical chimney stack. Students not only resonated with Mr. Auxier’s captivating presentation, including a book talk incorporating yo yo tricks, but he also silenced the audience with a moving solo that was instantly recognizable from the pages of his book.
The Q and A was rich with deep questions by students who had read closely and had many insightful observations, and I was proud of how our students had made their way through what was a very challenging book—nearly 400 pages in length, replete with advanced vocabulary with words like bespoke and obsolescence, in a context of the labor reform movement of the 1800s. Not your typical reading fare for 4th through 8th graders. But, I suspect that Mr. Auxier’s impact doesn’t end there. We are left with the reminder “That’s how it works, doesn’t it? We are saved by saving others.”
Deanna Barber, Librarian
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
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
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