It has been a good week and we have felt the Lord’s goodness as we continue to grow and learn.
I am thankful for these students and the joy that they bring to life. They consistently love to laugh, which results in them often hiding in the classroom in order to surprise their teachers (including me). It’s a wonderful thing to see so much joy being experienced in a place that for so many around the country and the world has been a place of difficulty and struggle. These students are loved so much by their teachers that care deeply not just for the person they are right now, but for the person that they will become throughout their lifetime.
Part of what makes us distinctive as a school is the care that we have for the whole person and the future ability of that person to be a productive member of their community based upon the word of God. We are excited to continue that journey each day and each year with these students and we are thankful for the work that God has given us to do.
Law 1 & Law 2 Review
This week, we reviewed Law 1: “Love God with everything!” and Law 2: “Love your neighbor.” We really started to talk about what that looks like as a class within the context of our school. This year, we have several classes each week with other age groups (Chapel, Jesus Movie, Gardening, Board Games and all of our Art classes). This has expanded their ability to consider their neighbor.
We talked about the importance of them looking out for the younger students and including them in their world, not just sticking next to their current friends their own age. We have had good discussions about how we can care for younger students that haven’t learned as much of the bible and also for all of our friends that are new this year. We talked about the joy of learning the Bible and how, even if we are at different points of understanding, we are all moving in the same direction which unifies us.
We had a really good moment on Wednesday afternoon where I had witnessed only a couple students making sure things were picked up after recess and how they needed to all feel the responsibility of cleaning up. We talked about how this type of activity shows love for there neighbor and it would even help the younger kids at recess to become aware of the need to clean up, which then helps everyone to have a clean and ordered environment in which to learn and play. After that discussion, they all pitched in over the next few days to help with no reminders from recess supervisors and I was so encouraged. They did so well and I can only hope it continues with the same enthusiasm.
Heroes of Faith: Harriet Tubman
Miss Davis came to finish our lesson on Harriet Tubman on Wednesday and she wrote this message to inform you all of what your child learned:
“Yesterday we finished up our study of the life of Harriet Tubman. What an inspirational woman! Every single student (the boys most of all) were exclaiming about what an amazing story it was. I was thrilled to see the students impacted by this character's courage and faith.
Harriet Tubman's story takes place on a backdrop of terrible, unjust suffering and these things are never pleasant things to discuss. But I reminded the students that if we don't take the time to learn the reality of history, we too may be prone to act the same way our ancestors did. Oppression continues to happen around the world, in many different forms.
Harriet Tubman maintained faith in the face of great suffering. She risked her life, time after time, so that others could be delivered. The students were reminded of how deliverance is so important to God, as is demonstrated through Moses in the Exodus story. The students will also be working through the book of Exodus this year in Bible class! Overall it was a wonderful exploration of this woman's faith-filled life.”
Blue Punch, Coupons and a Surprise Party Day!
This year, our class will be challenged to earn points towards a variety of awards and activities. In the past, students have enjoyed “Grab Bag” where they would get to either pick a prize or hold onto a ticket that could be saved to earn an activity with a friend. This year, these students are older and have moved into a new system of incentives.
Here is an explanation of our point system this year:
Blue Punch (Individual Positive Behavior Points)
Each week, students in my class have the chance to earn positive behavior points (noted in class charts for parents to access). For the first week, they had to earn eight points in order to meet the required amount for the week. Once they have received eight points for three different weeks, they will then move up to nine points. As they climb in the point system, they will have to obtain that number for three weeks (the weeks don’t have to be consecutive). Each student has a blue punch card (due to our class color being blue) that will account for their individual point earnings each week. If they achieve the necessary points, their punch card will receive one hold punch on Friday mornings.
Coupons (Individual Point Prizes)
When a student has received four blue card punches, they will have the opportunity to choose from a plethora of coupons with activity options including, ice cream with a friend, garden harvesting with Mr. Hartnell, iPad games with Mr. Aaseby during recess, gymnastics with Mrs. Loeffler, juice making with Mrs. Watson, baking with Mrs. Bennecker and the list goes on. With many of those items, they will be able to choose a friend to join them as well, which just makes everything more fun!
Demerits (Individual Negative Behavior Points)
Your child can also receive demerits as part of our behavior program. When students are disobedient, harmful to others, not caring for their things or others’ things or are being reckless or disrespectful with their words or behaviors, they will receive a demerit (also noted in class charts for parents to access). Depending on the severity of the offense, students will lose 1-3 points per demerit. Situations that cause a student to receive a demerit will be communicated to you by 6:00pm the day of the incident via an email from me. This will allow you time to communicate with your child in the evening about this offense so they know that you and their teachers are on the same page and expecting a change in their behavior.
Surprise Party Day (Class Prize)
As a class wide incentive, the students have chosen to work towards a surprise party day. The goal is for them to reach 100 points as a class by the end of the first quarter (October 14). These 100 points can be earned in a number of ways including, every student comes to school with their iPad charged to 80% or more, everyone follows the entire morning routine without teacher reminders, everyone is sitting in the seat with all their materials ready for class shortly after the course teacher rings the bell, everyone finishes their chores at the end of the day, everyone gets to art class on time, students take care of one another, they demonstrate one of our laws/values through their actions, etc.
There are also ways for the class to earn extra points which includes, 10 points for the week if everyone received a blue punch, 5 points if everyone had their iPad charged every day for a week five points if the exemplar of the week was from our class and 10 points if the students of the month was from our class, etc. Since the prize this quarter is a surprise party day, we have 100 small paper party balloons located around the white board in our classroom that get colored in as they earn points. This visual helps them to stay focused and also excited about doing the right thing.
If you have any questions about this system or if your child is confused about something related to this system, please don’t hesitate to ask. We had a great first week with all the blue punches and balloon earning this past week and I hope it helps to encourage their positive behavior to continue.
May the Lord bless you over this long weekend as you enjoy one another and take time to rest. I pray that it is restful for you all. Please feel free to email me about anything and I will get back to you as quickly as possible. Thanks for a great start to the school year!
Picture highlights from the week: