Written by Mrs. Wright
“March is Reading Month” had an enthusiastic kick-off. In its first week, students decorated their lockers with their favorite books, teachers decorated their classroom doors with a favorite book or book character. They also provided their class with a treat. Students were given the first weekly chart to record the minutes they spend reading each day. The charts will be collected on Thursdays and put into a drawing for a bike. Bikes were donated by Deacon Al Krieger, The Alvin Glick Foundation and R. Darryl Mazur . Other events include Drop Everything and Read, EMU Drama Group, Reading Rotation, Dress as your Favorite Book Character, a Reading Party and Celebrity Readers. Moms, dads and grandparents are welcome to set up a time with the teacher to read to a favorite classroom for 10-15 minutes.
Written by Mrs. Wright
The Library is a very busy place this month. We start off with our Scholastic Book Fair. The students get a chance to shop and bring home their lists of wants. Fortunately, parents have the final say in what they are able to purchase. (I remember when my daughter came home with her book fair “wish list” that totaled almost two hundred dollars!) Actually… that would be very awesome and beneficial to the library. All kidding aside, this is a major fundraiser that allows me to order current books in print, informational text students can use for research, and various programs for the library. Please stop down during parent-teacher conferences.
Once a month, I teach a lesson on nutrition. Amy Kaiser, our cafeteria supervisor has supplied us with a plethora of material from the Department of Agriculture, including workbooks for our kindergartners, posters, videos, and many enriching activities. Be sure to ask your child about “Try it Tuesday.” This is where Amy introduces an unusual food, into another food, to get students to try different nutritional choices. It’s always fun to hear what they have experienced on Tuesdays!
I came across this interesting “tidbit” that I want to share. Do you know how much reading matters? A child who reads 20 minutes per day is exposed to 1.8 million words per year and scores in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. A child who reads 5 minutes per day is exposed to 282,000 words per year and scores in the 50th percentile on standardized tests. A child who reads 1 minute per day is exposed to 8,000 words per year and scores in the 10th percentile on standardized tests. So take that FORTNITE! Keep reading! God Bless!
Name: Cyndi Brinker
Elementary School: St. Johns
High School: Lumen Christi
College and Degree: EMU Bachelor of Science El. Ed., University of Phoenix, MAED in leadership and supervision.
Brief description of your career path that lead you to SJS: We moved to Nevada where I began teaching middle school for 21 years. I’ve always wanted to teach in a private school, especially at St. John’s. Happily the opportunity arose when we retired in Nevada and move back to Jackson.
Three traits that describe you: Crazy, funny, artistic.
Tell us about your family: I have four children. Jeremy is 41, Jason is 40, Justin is 37, and Michele is 34. My husband and I have been married for 42 years. We were married at Saint John’s church. We have 6 amazing grandchildren, 3 girls and 3 boys.
Who’s your biggest inspiration? Artists. Especially MC Escher, and Chuck Close..
What do you like to do in your free time?: I garden sew and of course art. I really enjoy DIY.
What are you reading/listening to these days: I enjoy medical mysteries and police mysteries, right now I’m reading Jonathan Kellerman. I specifically listen to music that the kids are listening to so I can relate to them on a more personal level in the classroom. I absolutely can’t do rap, though.
Favorite quote: "In this life we cannot do great things, we can only do little things with great love." Saint Teresa of Calcutta
Favorite children’s book and why: "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L’Engle. The reason I like this book so much is because I enjoy the Christian undertones and the fact that it got me started on children’s literature which I dearly love.
Favorite food: Chocolate and spaghetti, but not together.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you: Kids are always surprised that I know and understand the music they listen to. Even the ones that their parents wouldn’t approve of. What they don’t know is that because of this, I can cut them off if they’re singing a song that’s inappropriate.
Favorite thing about the subject you teach: Absolutely everything! I love to see students’ ideas as they create.
Teaching motto: In art every single thing you ever do has mistakes in it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
How has teaching at St. John’s made a positive impact on your life? I’ve taught art for many many years, over two decades, but I’ve always taught older children. What I’ve enjoyed most about St. John’s is getting to know young ones on a whole different level. My teaching experience has been always at the public level. What I enjoy the most is the fact that we can talk about Jesus Christ and God openly in the classroom and even pray and I’ve enjoyed that so much.
Original artwork by Mrs. Brinker
We have been busy in the tech lab. All students from Kindergarten to 6th grade participated in an hour of code. Most students continue to code and 3rd grader Christian H completed six code adventures. Thanks to a grant from Michigan International Speedway and a donation from the Quillen family, we purchased a Makerbot Replicator + 3D printer and several large spools of filament. We have been busy making shapes, dinosaur skulls and the solar system. In addition to our OSMO stations, we now have OZOBOTS, they are small dome shaped robots that respond to coding colors that students put down on paper. With the new iPads we plan to order with Race for Education funds, students will also be able to color code in the OZOBOT app.
Both 5th and 6th grade students attended Adrian College yesterday for a hands-on science field trip. Students used their STEM skills to cushion an egg for an egg drop. They also looked at various types of cells under a microscope, ranging from plants cells, to human blood cells, to the cells of a frog's heart. In the other sessions, students worked in pairs as chemists to perform a chemistry experiment. Finally,they enjoyed an animal counter with cockroaches, turtles, snakes, bearded dragon lizard and their favorite, a rat! The Adrian College students did an awesome job working with/teaching our students and we thoroughly enjoyed the day!
The kindergarteners each took a solo turn on the Gospel Acclamation in Dr. Heller's music class.
Our children are busy learning a variety of songs for our Christmas Concert, "Tell the Ancient Story". The preschoolers are having fun adding bells to their song for the first time today!
Students who are learning the mechanics of reading are getting quite familiar with printing the corresponding letter or letters they hear, in the sand tray. They also enjoy printing their Red Words (non-phonetic words) over a bumpy screen and arm-tapping the spelling aloud. Both the reading and the writing processes are coming along, nicely.
Students in the Writing Skills program are learning how to embellish basic sentences. Their writing becomes more interesting to read and they are delighted to see how many ways they are able to vary their writing.
Older students are learning various study skills and test-taking skills that help them with their classroom assignments. As these skills are practiced and become more automatic, they are proven to be valuable tools that can be used throughout the school years. Sixth graders read novels throughout the year and may work in a small group to ensure better comprehension and get familiar with new vocabulary words.
It’s been a joy working with such awesome students! By keeping groups small, students get the one-on-one instruction they need and they get to know one another very well. I’ve enjoyed watching many long-term friendships form and blossom in The Learning Center.
Have a Blessed Advent, Mrs. Terrie Wright
Hello all, let me introduce myself. I am St John’s new art teacher, Cynd Brinker. I was born and raised in Jackson, attending both St. John’s and Lumen Christi. My whole teaching career, spanning 21 years has been in a small community in Nevada. 19 of those years I was an art and technology teacher. I also produced 17 years’ worth of yearbooks. Michigan kept calling my husband and I back home and we finally had the opportunity to, and here we are. I am so happy to be back home to St. Johns.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the students at St. Johns and we have been doing some very fun projects. For my younger students (K-2) we are creating what is called process art. In process art, it isn’t about the final product, but in the joy of the process. We have experimented with many different painting techniques from using salt with our watercolors, wax resist painting, and painting with Q-tips and leaves (and sometimes even paintbrushes).
Currently my third through sixth graders are creating a 3D illusion artwork. When the piece is completed the viewer will be pulled right into the picture. To add more interest to the work, I took pictures of students as they appear to be falling. Students will cut out their picture and paste it right into it to make it look like they themselves are being pulled into their own artwork. How fun!
If parents wish to donate to the art program, there are a few things we use a lot of: Clorox (non-bleach) wipes, tissues, paper towel. In addition, I am always collecting cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt containers with lids. We also use empty squirt bottles like ketchup and mustard containers. Empty toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls are also useful. Also on my wish list would be glitter glue and all kinds of “shinies” like sequins, and littles stars, snowflakes, etc.
Many students reach middle school deciding they’re “not good at it.” My goal as an educator is to boost students’ confidence in their creative abilities and help them have the courage to take chances in the art they produce. The arts, as a whole, are very important to a child’s development and it is my one goal that they have a safe environment to create without worrying about whether they are “good at it” or not.
I have thoroughly enjoyed taking over the library this year. My predecessor, Therese Idziak was fabulous and very organized and made this job a very exciting adventure. I have a great appreciation for all she did for St. John’s School and our students!
We have been doing so many wonderful things in the library. I have an enthusiastic group of fourth graders who give up one recess per week to assist with book check-in and shelf organization. They are such a big help, and learning quite a lot about the workings of the library. Please give these students a huge “Great Job” when you see them; Audrey Clark, Lyla Flippo, Joclyn Howell, Libby Reece, Ella Root, Elina Snabes, Mackenzie Whitney, Rylie Willaert, Bella Wrozek, Mallory Arco, Emma Curtiss, Gabby Denton, Kate Foster, Brea Johnstone, Noah Lampman, Bree Okoniewski, Diego Perez, Isabella Perez, and Codi Ruge.
Once a month I am helping Mrs. Kaiser, our cafeteria supervisor with a lesson on foods and nutrition. We have many books and resources about foods and eating healthy in our library. We’ve studied the various food groups and even tried different foods, such as humas. The kindergarten class received a book titled The Two-Bite Club from The U.S. Department of Agriculture that talks about having two bites of the five food groups on our plates. I asked the little ones where potatoes came from and one little girl raised her hand and replied, “From Polly’s.” (I guess I need to talk about growing vegetables!)
Our big event this fall is the Scholastic Book Fair! What a fun event! The fair will run next week, October 30- November 2. The students will be able to shop and purchase next week. The fair will be open during parent-teacher conferences for your browsing and buying. The theme this year is Reading Rodeo, so…. Ya’ll come on down to our little Ponderosa!
God’s Continual Blessings!