Storyline

“What if education was primarily concerned with shaping our hopes and passions-our visions of the ‘good life’-and not merely about the dissemination of data and information as inputs to our thinking? What if the primary work of education was the transforming of our imagination rather than the saturation of our intellect?” James K.A. Smith

We are a story-formed people, and the teacher is the main storyteller in the educational setting. Our teachers are using Teaching for Transformation (TfT) to invite students into God’s story. TfT helps students discover the biblical narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. A phrase often used to describe Storyline in TfT is “see the story–live the story”. Storylines could include a classroom Storyline or a school wide Storyline that is used in lesson planning and unit planning. Storyline helps students discover how they can be co-creators with God in the present.

TfT believes that every unit and every learning experience tells a story. The TfT program tries, using the story discovered in each unit of study, to create a powerful and compelling image of God’s story. The TfT program invites students to imagine his or her place in God’s story. The TfT program does this by connecting the story of each unit with opportunities to tangibly practice living the grand narrative. Each student and teacher will begin to create a personal “storyline” and articulate how they see themselves living in God’s epic drama.

Our teachers have been training in TfT for the past year and we will be incorporating it into our upcoming year as we unpack the new BC learn plans for our classrooms. We are excited about this approach to learning and we know the students will be engaged in this learning model.

TfT is a trade mark of the Prairie Centre for Christian Education (PCCE)

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Faith Is An Acoustical Affair, We See By First Listening

Martin Luther once said that faith is an acoustical affair, we see by first listening.

If a nonbeliever walked past a group of believers sharing communion, what would they see? They would see a group of people eating bits of bread and drinking little cups of juice. Until they heard Gods words from Mathew 26:26-30, they would not see a communion service or understand what the bread and juice represent.

If a nonbeliever walked past a person being baptized in a river, what would they see? They would see people being dunked into water. Until they heard Gods words from Mathew 3, they would not see a baptism occurring. They would not understand the significance of being immersed in water as a symbol of leaving our old ways behind and surrendering to Gods ways as we emerge from the water a new living being in Christ.

Teaching is an acoustical affair as well. Students must hear what is being taught before they “see”. Teachers describe the students “seeing” by having the light bulb turn on, or having an “aha” moment, or having a switch in their head turn on.

The new direction of teaching is to incorporate as many experiential learning activities as we can. Students do “see” by doing things and engaging in work that needs to be done for a project to complete.

All year our staff have been training in Teaching for Transformation (TfT). We have been intentional at putting our biblical through lines and our story lines into our curriculum. We have been using the foundations of TfT to plan our new BC education curriculum for implementation this September 2016. The TfT training involves design of formational learning experiences that allow students to get into the messiness of problem solving, collaboration, creativity, and discernment that will take place in the classroom.

The “acoustics” of teaching are changing, if you walk down the halls, you would notice a shift away from the teacher in front of students disseminating information and moving towards a new formational learning experience teaching students to “hear and see” in a new way.

#darrelljohnson, #martinluther

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Creativity and Building Community

Recently our Grade 8 classes held their Renaissance Fair. This event was an afternoon and evening where our Grade 8’s had the opportunity to make presentations of learning to their family, friends and our entire school community.

Our teachers create real work with a real need for a real audience with their classes. The Renaissance Fair is a perfect example of such an activity. It provides each student with a formative learning experience that makes learning subject matter fun. The Renaissance Fair gave the students the opportunity to display a life skill that was needed to survive and live in the Renaissance Era. Students researched, visited local Artisans and spent time learning and honing a craft. Students learned about metal forging, baking, weaving, leatherwork, woodworking, weapons making, painting, candy making, and more.

To add a sense authenticity to the event, our teachers started roasting a whole pig first thing in the morning. The pig roasted all day and in the evening we served a “pork on a bun and ale” light dinner to the event guests. I have to qualify that last statement; the “ale” was ginger ale. Food and presentations of learning are a great combo to success.

I love it when teachers take learning out of the classroom.

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Service, Generosity and Justice

Recently our school held our Grade 6 Market Day. Our school is all about creating formational learning experiences where students do real work with a real need for a real audience. For the months of January and February, the Grade 6 wing explodes into a fury of activity with Market Day learning. Data survey collection, business plan formation, dragons den presentations, product research and development all work together to produce one glorious day.

The concept is simple; develop an idea into a tangible product to sell to consumers and make enough money to pay back your business loan and strive to make profit. The profit all goes to Opportunity International Charitable Organization that provides micro-loans to third world countries allowing people the opportunity to create micro- businesses that will provide income which enables them and their families to be fed, clothed, and educated.

Oh ya, do all of this in a five-hour window on Market Day.

This years event raised $4,250 for Opportunity International. That means that the total micro-loans of $3,761 was also raised and paid back. The micro-loans ranged from $40 to $414 depending on the product that was being made. Some of the ideas generated were: the bakery basket, Burgerama, sticky goodness, crepes, the bag boutique, happy hotdog stand, trivia spin, frozen frenzy, jarred up, martian mallow hot chocolate, floats for life, the grilled cheezerz, popcorn city, hair necessities, heat packs, pie in a jar, brunch in a cup, and many more.

The real formative learning evidence lies in what the students take away from the experience. Here are some quotes from students that participated; My favourite part of MarketDay was the day of. It was really fun because we got the real experience of a business. 

Now that I have learned about people in poverty, I can find more ways to help them. 

I liked doing MarketDay stuff instead of normal Math, LA, and Theme. I liked doing the business books because it felt like real life business. But some of it was hard. 

I learned that a business isn’t just about making money for yourself. Do it for the Lord and don’t be greedy. Like the Bible says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

I have learned that it is more rewarding to do work for Christ than to do work for yourself. I have also learned that you should always have a Christ-like perspective in business and all things you do. 

This is real learning!

market day 1market day 2

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Protect / Educate / Respect

Our Middle School has been advocating Good Digital Citizenship (GDC) for three years now. We have been at the forefront of bringing standards of GDC to our students in Grades 6-8. Its great to see other schools and organizations now realizing the importance of these standards and start to implement them. The government of Saskatchewan has recently published their plan to implement digital citizenship in their schools. Their publication has some interesting studies that reinforce our need to continue teaching GDC.

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has compiled a list of standards for students, teachers, and administrators that outline the technology related skills that students need to master. Among the list is the development of Good Digital Citizenship.

The ISTE has listed four standards:

  1. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
  2. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
  3. Demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
  4. Exhibit leadership for digital citizenship

Dr. Mike Ribble has research on the nine elements of digital citizenship that match our Langley Christian Middle School GDC elements. I like his addition of grouping the nine elements into three categories; Protect, Educate, and Respect.

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to read more on this, cut and paste this URL into your web browser:

www.publications.gov.sk.ca/redirect.cfm?p=74447&i=83322

 

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Hour of Code

This week has been designated in North America for students of all ages to experience writing code for computer graphic design. The organization “Hour of Code” has written many one hour tutorials for teachers of all grades to bring into their classroom during this week. The goal of this program is to expose students to what writing code is, what is does, and how it works. This exposure may spark an interest for a student that may pursue a career in computer graphic design.

The tutorials are engaging and exciting. We had several classes do their hour of code yesterday, the results where amazing. As I walked into the rooms, each student was quiet, focused and engaged for the whole hour! I heard comments like, “this is cool”, “I want to do this for a job”, “I just made BB-8 pick up scrap metal”.

In each tutorial, students can use the pre-organized drag and drop commands or venture into writing Javascript commands. Students worked in Minecraft, Star Wars, and Frozen graphics to create their puzzle or game. Check it out at home you will be amazed at how easy it is, give it a try!

https://code.org/learn

Check out our middle school instagram @lcsmiddleschool, #HourOfCode, or our twitter @_berkleyglazer, @LCSlangley

 

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New BC Education Plan

 “THE WORLD IS CHANGING…

Parents want their kids equipped to succeed. So do teachers. So do we.

The world is changing – and we have to change too. Technology and innovation are reshaping society – and the future. 

That’s why it’s critical we refine our education system, designed in the last century, so students can succeed in the 21st Century.” — BC Ministry of Education

The above excerpt is taken from BC’s curriculum website… we are on the cusp of change and what an exciting time to be a part of education!

There has been a new paradigm shift to educate for a “way of being” rather than just the delivery of “knowledge”. Which, as a Christian School, we have already known is best way to approach education. This now gives us the space and opportunity to refine and be even more intentional with this in our classrooms.

The Ministry of Education for BC has rolled out a new BC Ed Plan that will commence September 2016. In preparation for this, our teachers and staff are currently doing Professional Development for understanding new strategies in delivery and formation of education in BC. September 2016 will see the implementation of this new initiative in Grades K-9 with High School to follow in September 2017.

The New BC Ed Plan has developed Core Competencies that we want our graduates to attain during their education experience K-12. The Core Competencies focus on the student to develop confidence and aptitude in: Communication, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Positive Personal and Cultural Identity, Personal Awareness and Responsibility, and Social Responsibility.

As Parents of school age children you should read them at the new ministry website;

https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/competencies

When you read the profiles for each competency, you quickly see the “I am” statements written from the students’ perspective. This is a refreshing look at the learner and a learner profile for each student. Getting to know students for how they learn and who they are as learners provides us with a foundation to build on that is unique and individual for each student.

This change in education delivery will bring a new way of assessment and reporting on students’ progress. We are waiting for the Ministry of BC to send out their latest publication in this area so we can formulate how we will assess and report.

How do you see this New BC Ed Plan helping your child as a learner in our educational system?

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Real work with a Real need for a Real audience

Our school recently held a cross graded theme week that involved our entire student body. We had 1,010 students buddied up and paired in classes that matched an older grade with  a younger grade. Together our students explored earth keeping which we called “EEK Week”. Students worked on exploring water renewal, our carbon footprint, our energy consumption, forestry and mining resources, first nation’s perspective and sustainability. It was awesome to see our older students engaged and being positive mentors for our younger students. Stories of younger students sad that the week was over was testament to the friendship bonds that were created.

Our week ended with an evening open house for our students to show their families exactly what they accomplished and what they learned giving them a real audience to showcase their learning.

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Earth Keeping is real work that our students have learned brings a real need; for us to work collectively and personally work to be good stewards of this world God has given us.

 

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Grounded and Growing

Realeeeky

This year our school has chosen the theme “Grounded and Growing”. The theme has its roots in Ephesians 3:14-21, where Paul is talking to the church in Ephesus and encouraging them to continue growing in their faith in Christ. Our tag line of “Grounded and Growing” is found in verse 17 where Paul writes, “I pray that God will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power to grasp how wide, how long, how high and deep is the love of Christ”.

We are planning a cross campus theme week to look at how being rooted in Christ can translate to caring for our world in a practical way. We will be ‘Exploring Earth Keeping’ around us. All classes in grades K-12 have been paired up: older and younger grade levels are matched as buddies. Together they will be exploring a variety of interesting and fun ways they can be Earth Keepers. Our theme week will occur October 5-8. We will end the week with an “Open House” to celebrate and present their learning on October 8 from 6:00-8:00 PM.  This will be a time for parents and students to come to a “Gallery of Learning” Walk located in our Middle/High Campus.

This year, Langley Christian School celebrates our 60th anniversary as a school. We will continue using this theme as we acknowledge and give thanks to God for His faithfulness to our school community. Throughout our 60 years, we have truly been “Grounded and Growing”. We will have several celebrations for this starting in the Spring of 2016.

Please plan to attend our Open House October 8, from 6-8 pm.

 

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Real work with a Real need for a Real audience: Part 2

I was approached by two of our Grade 12 students to publish their research project they did for Social Justice 12 course. Mehala Breederland did her project on eating disorders and Elizabeth Humphrey did her’s on self harm. In the middle school we have a motto that we ask students to do real work with a real need for a real audience. So I agreed to publish the girls work, here is the second project by Elizabeth.

Self Harm

The last thing we want for those we care about, especially our children, is for them to be in any form of pain or discomfort. When we think of pain, we think of physical pain, the pain you can see. There’s a different kind of pain that a majority of our population experiences and yet doesn’t fully understand. This pain isn’t visible, it accumulates in the deepest part of the mind, I’m talking about emotional pain. It is easily hidden and can go untreated for years.

In todays society, teens are constantly being bombarded with messages, that for the most part are not very up lifting. Through advertisement, music, literature and in some cases, the home, they are being told what to say, what to think and what to feel. to a teen or young adult these things are crucial to “fit in” or to seem desirable to their counterparts. From wanting succeed in what seems like the impossible task of completing school, and in work, and just in general to succeed in life, it can all become too much. This sense of being overwhelmed  engrosses teens and most are not entirely sure how to handle this wave of  new unwanted emotions. Their healthy coping skills become compromised, and are replaced with a multitude of unhealthy coping skills.

The most common unhealthy way of coping is self-harm or self- injury. It can radiate from cutting, burning, pulling out hair, starvation or isolation. Cutting is the most practiced form of self-harm. Yearly, 1 in every 5 females and 1 in every 7 males engage in cutting. In order to understand what teens are going through, you first need to understand what they are doing to their bodies. Cutting, by definition, is an attempt to interrupt strong emotions and pressures that seem impossible to handle. A great number of teenagers who do cut are wanting to feel alive. Sounds weird right? Hurting yourself to feel alive. For some, seeing the blood reminds them that their heart is still pumping. For others,the pain reminds them that they can still feel. Having that constant feeling of being overwhelmed or unwanted can wear on your body. Many feel like they can’t  properly identify with their emotions, and they turn to self-harm to feel again. Cutting, and the emotions that tag along with it, is something that most teens struggle with alone. In Langley Christian there are about 5-10 students that are seeing our school counsellors regarding the issue.

Teenagers in private school are more prone to self-harm. The reason being, that the exceptions can be set unrealistically high. With wanting to do well in school, while also wanting to fit in, and fit in everything else in between; it can be overwhelming. With the added weight in their shoulders, teens who participate in self-harm now have to worry about people finding out, and assuming these three things:

  1. People who cut are trying to get attention. The truth is, most people who self-harm are doing it in secret. When people start to cut they don’t do it to manipulate others for attention. In fact, the shame and fear stop them from getting the help they need.
  2. People who cut are crazy and a danger to others. This is completely false. Cutting is a way of coping, and those who have not done their research on the subject are not aware of that.
  3. Cutting is an indicator that that person wants to die. Like I mention earlier, self-harm is a way to reassure that they are alive. They don’t necessarily want to die.

Growing up, children are taught the essentials of life. They are taught out to eat, walk, talk and how to properly act in social environments. What about our emotions? We are never really taught how to properly handle our emotions. There is no class teaching us how to properly act when certain high emotion situations occur. the reason being for this is every single person on the plane will process those situations differently. Some, are naturally able to deal with there emotions, and others need guidance.

Parents, here are some tips on how to guide your child through this difficult time. 

  1. Take the time to identify with your own emotions. Find a healthy way to express your emotions. whether its through counselling or any activity that helps release stress and anxiety.
  2. Do your research. Education yourself on self-harm, its helpful to get information form  a professional on the issue.
  3. Talk to your child. Be aware that sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. Be gentle and don’t force your child to talk to you. Your teen may feel embarrassed, ashamed or worried about your reaction or any punishment you may enforce. Make sure to ask questions and to LISTEN to what your child has to say. Do not be alarmed if your child resists your efforts to talk. They might deny it, get angry, cry, yell, or clam up and say you don’t understand. If any of these things occur, stay calm and don’t give up.
  4. Seek professional help. Finding a therapist will allow you child to deal with their emotions in a healthy manner, without the dear of judgment.
  5. STAY POSITIVE. It  may be hard, but just make sure to offer support and encouragement. Stay envelopes as much as possible, but allow your child to have their space when they ask. you don’t want them to feel smothered in any way.

The Idea of self-harm is hard to wrap your hard around. But, it needs to be talked about. Too many people are going through this personal hell alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Both at school and at home we need to facilitate a safe place for someone struggling with self-harm to get the help and resources he/she needs.

 

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