Saturday, October 31, 2015

True Grit

I have to confess something-- I absolutely love watching John Wayne movies. I grew up loving The Searchers (with Natalie Wood), McClintock, The Quiet Man (with Maureen O'Hara!), The Sons of Katie Elder and so many more. John Wayne was tough. He was savvy and always up for the challenge. I learned  to face a challenge head on and not give up watching these movies. 

The other day in our faculty meeting, we discussed hard work and how we might challenge our students to work through problems and challenges. So many students want to give up when faced with something hard. Working through adversity and challenge will make them stronger, as students and individuals. 

I shared an article with the teachers entitled, "How to do Hard Things", that a colleague had sent me. Here is the link to it:

We had an excellent conversation about what this means and how we can encourage our students to press forward. It made me think of the verse:

“through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Romans 5:2-4 NIV

I am not claiming that studying for a history test is true "suffering", but in a world where helicopter parenting attempts to protect children from any discomfort or challenge, allowing our students to work through problems on their own is not a bad idea. A student gets a C or D because they haven't studied well or they haven't turned in an assignment or two on time. Many parents will attempt to negotiate with the teacher to wave late grade penalties or to do extra credit. Instead, why don't we allow students to learn a valuable lesson and understand the natural consequences to their choices and actions?

We want to guide and develop students to think for themselves, solve real life problems and not retreat from problems, but embrace them as an opportunity to grow and learn. 

One of my teachers sent me this quote after our discussion:

A life verse for me is Colossians 3:23, "Do everything as if for the Lord and not for man". It is my sincere prayer that our students will embrace this truth. I hope we can develop students who do what is right because it is the right thing to do and to bring glory to God. 

Encourage your kids to keep pausing forward, to try new things, to solve a problem and to not give up because it is hard. It may be difficult to watch, especially if they make a mistake or get hurt, but it will ultimately help them strengthen their character!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Annual Fall Auction

Each year, for many years, our school has hosted an auction to raise money for our school. Although families do pay tuition, it doesn't cover 100% of the funding needed to run our school. To help cover the shortfall, we do a few events each year. This event has both live and silent auction components. 

I truly look forward to this night each year. Students, staff, families and friends of our school donate a variety of items for the event. Art pieces, handmade items, tickets to sporting events, vacation packages, luxury purses, dolls, antiques and more are sold. 

The fellowship and opportunity to come together to support a worthy cause, the ministry of our school, is truly a celebratory occasion. 

As always, God continues to provide and send people to partner with us as we "educate for eternity". Thank you to all the individuals who worked so hard to make last night a big success. If you were not able to attend this year, I pray you will join us next fall!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Brain Teasers

One of the aspects of my job that I dearly love is teaching one of our Step Up classes (Gifted program). I work with our sixth grade group and so enjoy still being able to teach. 

We begin our class each day with some type of brain challenge/mind teaser/lateral thinking skill. Today, I put this problem on the board:

The challenge was that each spoke had a number that denotes how many connections it had. You have to draw the connections so that all spokes match their number and all end up connected. This stumped several students because they were overthinking it!

Here is the answer to the challenge below:

It is truly exciting to watch students try to problem solve and be challenged academically. Many of them are used to knowing all the answers quickly. I want to not only encourage a great work ethic, but foster a love of inquiry, creativity and curiosity in my students. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Way to go Readers!

We received this certificate for our participation in the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge this summer. 

Way to go students (and parents)!!

I know many other students read minutes but didn't log them, but I think this was pretty impressive. 

Keep up the good work, Royals!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Spotlight on First Grade

While roaming my hallways at our school this week, I have seen so many wonderful examples of learning taking place.  I was excited to see what the first graders were learning and doing. 

Their theme right now is US symbols.  They have been studying patriotic symbols and their meaning.

Yesterday, they were watching a live webcam of an eagles' nest with two eagles, Romeo and Juliet.  They have learned all types of facts about eagles and made charts about them.  They even called me in my office today to tell me the eagles were back in their nest.  (They weren't in there when I was in their room yesterday!)

They are also learning about our flag, what the stripes and colors mean and what the stars symbolize.

I also saw evidence of center organization, math work and phonics work.

Keep up the good work, first grade!

I Spy With My Little Eye

I LOVE roaming the halls at my school and doing walk-through observations of my teachers and their classrooms.  Why, you ask?  Because I see AMAZING people doing creative, important work with our students!

Here are a few of the great things I saw today:

DNA double helix - 7th grade science work

Art Class work in the hallway - trees and pumpkins


 Transitional Kindergarten - Morning meeting time for phonics, calendar, math and more

Kindergarten -Letter Lessons and Listening and Rubrics