Archive for June, 2015

Metamorphosis

by Christine Humphrey, Secondary Science

Transformation… the caterpillar into the butterfly. So simple, so elegant. So easy to overlook.

“Seeing a butterfly, of course, is the opposite of disappointing. The indica­tion that the canvas of nature bears such a mark of authorship, one among many other signs, is one of those ex­periences in life that give you hope, in a culture blighted by cynicism, that the enchantment we sometimes feel is no illusion after all. On the contrary, it points to the ultimate reality, lying only just behind the reality we observe. A butterfly dancing in the sunlight is a finger tapping you gently on the shoul­der, a still small voice from somewhere behind saying, ‘Don’t be fooled.’”(David Klinghoffer, Metamorphosis the Book: The Case for Intelligent Design in a Chrysalis p. 11)

As my students & I watched the video Metamorphosis during the spring, I asked my students (and myself) to consider the word transformed. Metamorphosis can be defined as a profound change from one stage in life to another. Indeed, for the caterpillar, most of its caterpillar cells will die; and a few (imaginal cells groups) will then begin to differentiate into the new adult features of the butterfly. Transformed comes from that word metamorphoo. Thinking about that, Paul’s words in Romans take on a new light for me: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). Literally it is like he is saying (which I believe we also see in Scripture) the old you has to go, so the new you can come. I picture most of the caterpillar cells disintegrating, as the new cells start to do what they were designed to do. How does this happen for us? By the renewing of our mind. Wow! The butterfly has that ability already inbuilt into it from when it was first hatched as an egg. We, as believers, have the transformative power of the Holy Spirit to enable our metamorphosis. Even as God providentially provides the way for animals to become what He designed them to be, so too He provides the means and the power for us as well to become what He has designed us to be. Humbling, indeed.

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Mirror, Mirror

by Lori Merkley, 3rd Grade Teacher

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all.” I’m sure most of you know this famous quote from Sleeping Beauty. Its negative connotation makes most of us cringe and yet it should serve as something else to us: a warning. Culture is laced with images of beauty.  Gorgeous male and female models grace the cover of magazines and bulletin boards. T.V. ads try to convince us that if we just look as stunning as the actors in the commercial we too can own that, be that, or achieve that… well, you fill in the blank. As Christians we tend to shy away from the mirror, so as not to get caught up in the lust of the eyes. After all 1 Peter 3:3-4 says,

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

I highly agree with staying away from that mirror; the one that only leads to an outward beauty. But there is another mirror in which I do think we should look at. In fact we should daily gaze at it intently. That mirror is the reflection we have in another person’s eyes, actions, and views. You are there you know, in their thoughts, their ideas, their actions. Let’s face it, if you have had children, you know how many times you heard them repeat something you have said and not particularly liked how it sounded coming out of their mouths. Or, how many times have you heard of children making the same poor choices as their parents? The mirrors are all around us; in our emails, our friend’s behaviors, even in the gossip you accidently hear about yourself. The question is are you taking note of it? Are you gazing into the mirror to see that the reflection back is one that brings praise to your Heavenly Father?

I had a mirror put up in front of me this year and frankly I was taken aback at who I am, versus who I thought I was. It was a humbling and eye-opening experience, one I plan on growing from. It was God’s warning to me, the way He chose to remind me that I haven’t yet arrived and that people are watching. So, I plan on sitting in front of the mirror a little more this summer. Gazing not at my own beauty, but rather His. Diligently looking at the flaws inside of me and doing the necessary surgery or exercise to conform that ugly image back to my creator’s image of me. For you see He has the original design in hand and if I gaze into His mirror long enough, than maybe I can look more like the beautiful woman He intended for me to be all along.

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Avoiding the Summer Slump

Summer is here! That means no more books or math or studying for three months, right?

Well, not if you want to hang on to all those hard earned lessons that your student has been learning over the past nine months. The summer slump (also known as the summer slide – but not the fun kind!) is real and here are a few facts about it:

  • All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. (Cooper, 1996).

What Can You Do About It?

While reading during the summer may not be the first thing your child wants to do, it should definitely be part of their summer break. Here are some suggestions to get kids reading:

  1. Provide casual opportunities for your children to come in contact with reading material about their interests. Keep a variety and rotation of books and magazines around the house related to their interests, and make others available to see which ones they might pick up on the way to acquiring new interests (Edutopia).
  2. Visit libraries, used and new bookstores, or online booksellers with your child to help reveal his interests and promote new ones. What captures his attention as he browses the library or bookstore shelves? If he enjoys books about certain topics or by specific authors in the past, ask the librarian for additional suggestions (Edutopia).
  3. Make reading aloud a natural part of family life. Share an article you clipped from the paper, a poem, a letter, or a random page from an encyclopedia (RIF).
  4. Challenge your teen to become an expert. An expert on any subject they like—from sports stats to spelunking, coins to carburetors, or anything in between (RIF).
  5. Find a cause — teens can get smart on an issue that matters to them. Encourage them to take things a step further and get involved in what they research!

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The Challenge of 6th Grade Reading

by Russ Bruxvoort, 6th Grade Teacher

There are two huge challenges that face sixth grade students each year. The first challenge is the requirement that they each read thirty books during the school year. The second one is the commitment to memorize Romans 8—all 39 verses of it! Each student is tested in ways that they have not been before. When they are done, almost everyone of them love both trials.

In sixth grade I want my students to develop a love for reading. We do not do book reports, projects, or in-depth analysis of any books. We just read. This year we read 10 books in class, and students were begging me to read to them every day. I also give them time to read, and most importantly, access to great books. This year’s sixth grade class read 695 books, which averages out to 40.9 books per student. Here are some quotes directly from my students:

“I used to hate (reading), but I found out how many wonderful books there are!”

“I like reading when the book is good, especially when Mr. B. is reading it to me.”

“I feel great (about the reading I did) and feel like I really accomplished something.”

“I have learned that sometimes reading can be fun.”

Our reading list this year (in order of student preference):

  1. Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan
  2. Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper
  3. The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier
  4. A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck
  5. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
  6. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
  7. Breaking Stalin’s Nose, by Eugene Yelchin
  8. The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis
  9. The Magician’s Nephew, by C.S. Lewis
  10. A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park

The second time I blew my students out of the water was when I told them that we were all going to memorize Romans 8. Most were not excited about it, and they wondered if they could do it. They memorized 3-4 verses a week, and then once a month they reviewed what they had already memorized. These reviews were said orally to either Dr. Loyd, Mr. Cuckler, or myself. That last day when they quoted all of Romans 8 was an incredible day. They all did so well! God’s Word was implanted in them in a way that they had never experienced before. I asked them what they thought of this experience, whether they loved it, liked it, disliked it, or hated it. Eighty-eight percent of the class was glad that they had done this. They were challenged and overcame it. I am so proud of my students!

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