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Teaching for Transformation Blog Series: Formational Learning Experiences

March 04, 2020
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

On Friday, March 13th, our school will be hosting Oostburg Christian, Brookfield Christian, Randolph Christian, Delavan Christian, Racine Christian, and Central Wisconsin Christian in an all day in-service to continue our training in the Teaching for Transformation framework.  Specifically, we will be learning about how to design Formational Learning Experiences - exploring and imagining how teachers invite, nurture, and empower students to play their role in God’s story.

Invite - Through daily lessons, teachers invite every student to explore their role in the Kingdom story.  God created each of us for a specific purpose to fulfill His plans. What an invitation to be a part of His Kingdom story!  In 4th grade science, students are currently wondering and learning about how God’s design of human anatomy has a specific role in helping the body to function.  So too, our role in God’s world is important and has a purpose. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:15-16

Nurture - Through building relationships and opportunities for deep conversations, our teachers nurture every student to desire to be a peculiar person.  This comes through teaching students that their identity is in Christ rather than what the world promotes. Just as Christ was a peculiar person in His time, so we too can be a people who love the unloveable and reach the unreachable. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.  But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:16-18

Empower - Through projects and student engagement, SCS empowers every student to practice their life’s expression.  We don’t want our students to just learn about their role in the world; we want them to practice it, even at young ages.  Our students can express their part in God’s story through a variety of opportunities in and outside of the classroom. During this season of lent, students at the elementary school are expressing ways they will spread joy, just as Jesus’ sacrifice spread joy to the world.  “But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

As a community, what is your role in inviting, nurturing, and empowering our students to play their role in God’s story?  Please join us in this important work! You have upcoming opportunities through spring programs, Grandparents Day, and other events to have powerful conversations with our students.  Please continue to pray for our work and for these students.

In God’s Story,

Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

Teaching for Transformation Blog Series: Inviting, Nurturing & Empowering

January 31, 2020
By Ann Steenwyk

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

As you know, our teachers are embarking on a training that focuses on teaching our children how to live in God’s story.  Teaching for Transformation uses a variety of core practices that encourage our students to engage in the following:

Wonder - Our teachers invite students to see God’s world with wonder and awe, evoking thankfulness and gratitude.

Wisdom - Our teachers invite students to discover wisdom and a deeper understanding of God’s plan and call.

Work - Our teachers invite students to respond to God’s call to work in the world, with action in love to God and our neighbor.

How do SCS teachers invite, nurture, and empower students to play their part in God’s story?

For example, the last few months, our Math Curriculum Team has been discussing how to adapt lessons to get students to think about God’s story through math and His ordered creation.  You might think this would be difficult in the area of math, but our teachers are planning lessons to help students make these connections.  

  • In 2nd grade, students were asked to think about and then draw their thoughts, “Does subtraction have anything to do with what Jesus did for us?”  You can see all of the results in the 2nd grade hallway.  
  • In 8th grade, students were asked to respond to, “Name as many pairs of things that are correlated relating to God or your faith. Then identify if they have a positive or negative correlation.” Results are displayed in the middle school hallway.
  • At the high school level, the journal question for Mr. Bolkema’s Precalculus class goes like this: “In chapter 6, we learned about a method of mathematical proof called mathematical induction.  The first step in the proof requires you to suppose or assume something. If trying to prove the validity of the Christian faith, do we begin with a supposition or an assumption? Why or why not?  Do other religions begin with a supposition or an assumption? Why or why not?”

In order for this work to truly make a difference, we need to empower every student to practice and express what they are learning.  Next year, several teachers will be creating Formational Learning Experiences for our students, with the goal for our students to make real life connections with real issues in our community.  Maybe there is a role you could play in this. How would you like to see our students involved in transformational work in our community, in God’s Kingdom? See me if you’d like to get involved!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." - Romans 12:2

Blessings,

Ann Steenwyk
Director of Academics & Instruction

Teaching for Transformation Series: God's Story at Work

December 18, 2019
By Ann Steenwyk

  

Dear Parents and Friends of SCS,

"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this."  Isaiah 9:6-7

In this beautiful, joy-filled time of year we are reminded that we are a part of God’s epic story.  The story started with a perfect creation, which was then wrecked by the fall of the very ones He created to care for His creation.  Because God loves us, He came down to earth as an infant and walked on earth with us. He then redeemed us. Now, we are an integral part of the restoration of His kingdom. 

We were created to play an important part in God’s big story.

Our work at SCS is all about forming our children to live a life worthy of His story.  Our lives are not only shaped by information and knowledge but also by learning how to live a Christian life through the lens of redemption.  How does SCS invite students to play their part in God’s epic story? Talk to our 7th graders about Mr. VanDrunen’s $5 challenge. Ask our high school students about the recent presentation from Teen Missions or the upcoming service trip to 7 Bridges in Atlanta.  Check out the relationships our b1 group students are building with students in Nicaragua. From bell ringing to supporting children in Mexico, our students are beginning to play their part in restoring God’s kingdom.

We are looking forward to seeing how the Teaching for Transformation framework will continue to challenge our students and our whole community to live in God’s story.  God promises that “the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” Can you imagine what the Lord must be like when He has an intense, passionate enthusiasm for what He is concerned about getting done?  SCS is a part of it.  Praise, glory, and exaltation be to Him alone!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Ann Steenwyk

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