Why do animals hibernate? What does snow feel like? Are all snowflakes really different? How come baby penguins can’t swim? Over the past few weeks, my kindergarten class had fun predicting, exploring and experimenting with some of these topics.
We were able to see why animals need to hibernate by touching and feeling different types of berries that were frozen in ice. We also had fun exploring with Orange County style snow (fake). The students were able to touch and feel the texture of snow. They really loved how soft and fluffy it was. It was fun imagining how real snow might feel.
Learning about how snowflakes form was also a highlight. We don’t get to experience real snowflakes so, we had to create some of our own. We used pipe cleaners, Borax, and hot water to experiment with creating snowflakes. Predicting what would happen was so much fun. We did find out that even our manmade snowflakes were all different.
Lastly, we spent some time learning about penguins. The students had some question about why the baby penguins’ feathers looked different. They also wanted to know why baby penguins can’t swim until they are adults and how do they get food. It was a lot of fun experimenting and finding some of these answers. Winter truly is a wonderful time of year, even if you live in California.
During the month of December the 5th graders embarked upon a journey to learn more about holidays and festivals around the world through the platform of PenPal Schools. PenPal Schools is a safe, online, global community where students from all over the world come together to learn from one another. The 5th graders read about various topics including New Year’s Day celebrations around the world and both religious and secular holidays around the world. They then shared their ideas on these topics by writing well crafted paragraphs to post online. This is where the fun started! The students were then able to connect with students from all over the world to read and comment on their writing. Our 5th graders connected with students from many different countries including Norway, Canada, Ukraine, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, Sweden and many more!
The students were able to not only practice their reading and writing skills, but they grew in the area of digital citizenship through this project. When communicating with other students, we discussed making sure that the students showed their best work and treated others with respect. This was a great opportunity for our students to practice and utilize the digital citizenship skills that we have been learning throughout this year in a safe, real-life environment.
A few student reflections about this project:
“PenPal schools is very cool. I learned how people all around world celebrate holidays. For me, the most interesting one was how in some parts of the world they celebrate Christmas and New Years in the summer!” – Maddie T.
“I was so surprised that there were so many ways to celebrate one holiday. I also learned a few new traditions I can share with my family. Like covering the birthday girl or boy in flour from head to toe! I think this project was fun!” – Ella C.
“One thing that surprised me was that everybody was so nice and some people had different traditions and nobody would make fun of them and they only pulled out the good stuff about it.” – Miah L.
“Many things surprised me about this project. One is that there are so many different people from other countries. It is also interesting that so many people can write in English so well even though they speak a different language at home. It would be so cool if I could go to all of the places one day.” – Riley H.
During this Advent season the St. John’s students have many opportunities to sing Christmas praises and help others prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Many students participate and lead Advent Services and also a few of the grades participate in the Orange Circle Tree Lighting.
This past weekend a small group of Mrs. Fink’s 4th grade students went over to the Town and Country Retirement Home. We brought our own set of hand chimes and played carols for the residents there. As we walked around and played, more and more people followed the sound of the music to see where our group was. The residents were overjoyed with our singing, but also the smiles that we brought with us.
Around school, students like to find ways to bring joy to each other during this holiday season. This week, the 5th grade music class went caroling to different classes and lifted them up with some Christmas sing-a-longs. Also, last week, some of the 1st grade students went to school offices and classrooms sharing Christmas songs with others.
There are many ways we are able to spread the joys of Christmas to others. Let us continue to look for ways to be the light to others this season!
Last Saturday night, the Middle School Students taught us a little something about Glory and Christmas. We learned that the Glory is not all about us (even though our performance was pretty awesome, it is not glory-us). We give glory to God! And we do that because the glory of God – Jesus – came down from Heaven to meet us where we live – on Earth.
Our school Principal, Dr. Jake Hollatz, directed the 200+ student choir, accompanied by Marco Mejia and his hand-picked praise band. And that’s not all – Mr. Mejia spent many hours choosing the music and teaching it to the student choir. Pastor Trevor shared an inspiring message to compliment the student speakers. All of the Middle School teachers were involved at some level, working with soloist and speakers, creating video messages, writing prayers, running practices with the Middle Schoolers, and helping to keep them all focused. In the end, it was a glorious celebration.
If you missed it, you can click on the short video, or view the pictures. Better yet, come join us Friday morning (12/21) at 11:00 AM for Christmas Chapel where the Middle Schoolers will present a encore celebration. It will be a GLORIOUS event.