Friday, September 23, 2016

Five for Friday: 9/23/16 - Middle School, Mums, Mock Government, Minecraft, and Marches

I am joining up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for a weekly linky party. Five for Friday is a collection of five random things from the day or week. My week begins with a information meeting at church to consider the potential for a middle school at this ministry. The school board held sessions after both services to present information from the study and answer questions. On Monday, we had a mum sale to raise funds for our parent organization. They raised over $2,000 and have not totaled all of the sales. On Wednesday, I prepared all of the information to send home with students for our new Student Council. With the addition of fifth and sixth grade this year, I felt this was a great opportunity to develop leadership qualities, serve our community, and build fellowship. Friday afternoon's Makerspace session began with My students loved creating the video games they play while learning 21st Century skills in the process. Our week ended with a homecoming parade in the local community. Our cadet teacher was nominated for the court, and my students decorated our classroom window in her honor.

Here is the postcard that was sent to all of our church members inviting them to attend an information for a potential middle school. Our church was established in 1996 in Lake Ozark, MO. It was a growing community, and another local church called a missionary-at-large to open a second LCMS church in the area. To meet the needs of the community, a preschool was opened in 2003. Later, it was expanded to a kindergarten in 2012. We have added a grade or more per year depending on the families that came to us. Last year, our current students were fourth graders, and their families are beginning to think about middle school options. A decision was made to research the feasibility of a middle school. A team visited an established school and a school of about 30 years to gather ideas. Then, a survey was sent home to parents to gather data on the support of a middle school. While parents cited sports, music, and clubs as possibilities, the three main reasons included a Christian school, quality academics, and location. After additional letters and support from staff, the school board recommended their plan to the church council. Church council sent it to the voters for approval this Sunday. We are a great place for homeschooling families and students who struggled in the public school to thrive and grow in faith.

This fall, our parent organization changed their fall fundraiser from scarecrow sales to mums. The event was a huge success, but it was also a great opportunity for our newly-formed upper elementary students to serve their school. My students spent their religion time unloading several trailers of mums and sorting them by color on the front lawn. At a profit of $5.50 for a $10 plant, we made over $2,000 from pre-orders. We bought another 50 or so plants for people that picked up a few more after loving the product. The final few were sold at our church rummage sale. Our parent organization does fabulous work and is a key component to the success of this school.
With the addition of our upper elementary, the students are old enough to learn about and participate in student government. Student council is one of several activities we have added, including intramural sports, STEAM, and a Bible scrap booking club. The kindergarten through third grade can run as representatives. There will be a boy and a girl from each class. The fourth through sixth graders can run as officers. The officer candidates learn to create quality campaign posters, write a speech, and present it after chapel. All of the students will learn about the voting process prior to the upcoming presidential election. The student council will serve our community and build fellowship within the school. This new opportunity is great way to help students feel connected to their school!

I am only at number four, and I am realizing how fabulous this week has been. In the midst of lesson plans, instructing, assessing, recess duty, and the daily routine, I love that Five for Friday gives me the opportunity to remember the joys of the week. This picture is probably my favorite! On Fridays, my students participate in a simple Makerspace activity to learn about the design process. To be honest, it needs some guidance. They love the science experiments and creations, but the reflection process and usefulness needs some development. Last week, I used some of my prep time to choose my own Makerspace project. When I came across a Lego coding idea, I knew this was a great opportunity to learn about After introducing it this week, my students were hooked! You know that quiet buzz of learning that occurs when you nail the lesson? Every student is engaged and they are quietly comparing notes before going back to the activity. Perfection! They learned about functions, algorithmic problem solving, abstraction, variables, binary code, and digital citizenship. My techie heart was loving all of the 21st Century skills!

Five for Friday wraps up with a trip down "The Strip," our downtown and home of lake life activities - arcades, ice cream, restaurants, T-shirt shops, etc. The public school had their homecoming football game this weekend, and we are invited to join in the fun with other local community groups. Our parent organization (did I mention their awesomeness?) bought signs and giant shields of our new logo to attach to the float. We rolled down The Strip in style to our theme song for the year (see below). The kids threw candy and practiced their royal waves. I love seeing us active in our community and cheering for our favorite homecoming queen candidate (cadet teacher), Miss Alexis.

Happy Friday!