Friday, May 20, 2011

Recap from 5th and 6th grade trips last week!

5th Grade - A famous saying in the South is "A good time was had by all!!" and that can certainly be said for the fifth graders who attended the field trip to Camp Carson last week. Fifth graders experienced basketball, soccer, table games like Foosball, canoeing, and a zip line that ended in a lake. Lunch was served family style and included delicious fried chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, and a yummy "dirt" pudding. But the best part of the day was the worship and pantomime done by Doug Horner. He presented the gospel in a very moving performance that ended with a communion type service that included grapes and fresh bread. Doug's challenge ended with "This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." The teachers and Doug are praying that the students will always "remember" Jesus and the the good time we had at Camp Carson.

6th grade - Why in the world would 67 sixth graders and 28 adults meet in the ECS parking lot at 5:30 A.M. on a school day? I’m sure some of those students and parents wondered the exact same thing last Thursday. However, complaints of the early arrival time weren’t murmured throughout the bus as it headed toward the Creation Museum. Instead, we had our own surround sound presentation of “Father Abraham” blaring from the back of the bus throughout the road trip.

If you haven’t been to the Creation Museum, I would highly recommend that you spend a day there. I’ve been the past four years, and I’ve managed to learn something new each time. The excitement level was high as kids and chaperones walked through the exhibits that explain God’s redemptive plan. Light bulb moments happened faster than they could be counted, and the kids were eager to share what they learned. Students were able walk through the Garden of Eden and the ark’s construction zone. Let’s just say it was one construction zone that was enjoyable!

The petting zoo was a popular spot; some students were brave enough to take an intense camel ride! The botanical garden was beautiful and filled with bridges that the kids managed to rock, run, and jump across while meandering through the garden. There may have even been a few adults that pretended to be Indiana Jones when they crossed the treacherous bridge in the swamp.

Before leaving the museum, groups also visited the special effects theater to watch Men in White. Not only were they surprised with some spectacular effects, but spiritual truths were shared in this light-hearted video. The planetarium was also a must see! I think the parents were excited for an opportunity to kick back in the reclining chairs to relax while the students were ready to blast off into an outer space adventure. A good time was had by all!

After supper and a ride on the double decker carousel at the Florence Mall, we started the journey to Country Lake Christian Camp in Underwood, Indiana. After arriving, we rode in covered wagons to our cabins. We wrapped up the day with a Bible study. The sixth graders shared insights from the museum, scriptures that they’ve studied and were reminded of when walking through exhibits, and students led the group in praise and worship. It was a perfect end to the day.

Friday morning we were served breakfast by the camp staff, and then we worked on a few different service projects. One group stained fences, another cleaned the tepees and worked in the landscape beds, and the last group weeded landscape beds, raked leaves, and spread new mulch. The students and adults served in the different areas for about four hours. During that time, they worked hard, got dirty, and didn’t complain. Every year that we have taken this trip, the teachers and parents have been amazed at the work ethic of the students. The camp staff was so impressed the first year that they wanted to provide a pizza lunch for the kids. That gesture has continued throughout the years, and the staff always comments on the work ethic of our students. The staff usually has to come up with additional jobs because the kids are eager to work; this year was no different! Not only did the sixth graders do a great job, but they demonstrated Christ’s love and a servant’s heart. Several students made the comment that they didn’t want to quit working until the job was completed. I wish you could have seen the smile on this proud teacher’s face!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Parent Education/End of Year Address

Summer is a relaxing time of swimming, sun and sports, however, it is also important that we, as parents, use this time to keep our kids engaged academically. The video below focuses on that point and gives practical ways to do just that.

The websites mentioned in the video are:

The 7th grade class trip was a success

This past week, the seventh grade students went on their three day class trip to St. Louis. Below, you will find Ms. Rudolph's recap of the trip. What a blessing it is to see our young people making a difference for Christ in the world. Enjoy!

Day One

Wednesday morning, students frantically boarded the coach with one goal in mind: sit by a friend or perish! We embarked, and after a couple hours of harmoniously suspect Disney medleys we arrived at our first destination: The St. Louis City Museum. What was once an old shoe factory had been transformed into an amazing series of tunnels, caves, and slides that kept the seventh graders busy for hours. An outside wire jungle gym, towering high above the ground was also a source of great adventure and risk for anyone afraid of heights. Pizza and blue slushies filled the students’ stomachs and lined their lips with hypothermic color as we went to our final destination of the day: The St. Louis Arch. Students were in awe of its enormity and architecture. After the Arch we shared a delicious meal at the Spaghetti Factory , checked into the hotel, and students swam until bedtime. Day one, obviously, was a great success.

Day Two

Thursday consisted of two destinations: The St. Louis Science Center and the St. Louis Zoo. The Science Center had its fair share of hands-on, interactive amusements. Students dug up fossils, created their own computerized fish, and built a replica of the arch. This was a great start to our day, however, the zoo stole the show for most of the students. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, It’s just a zoo. Don’t you work in a zoo-like environment every day? Well, yes, but this zoo’s animals don’t talk so much. An aquarium exhibit gave kids the opportunity to pet stingrays. An insect exhibit tested whether or not certain girls could stifle their screams. The weather was perfect and the animals were awake. After the zoo we had dinner and shopping time at Union Station. Somewhat of a ghost town, we had the run of the place. Boys bought flat bill hats and one girl almost bought a new straightner. It was a nice place to wind down and get off our feet. Hotel and swimming closed day two.

Day Three

Today was the most exciting day - it was time to serve as the body of Christ. We arrived at Jubilee Church early Friday morning. We split into groups and were assigned certain areas outside to cultivate. Weeds were pulled, mulch was laid, and trash was collected as we attempted to landscape the border of the church’s parking lot. What once looked like an unkempt piece of land became a really beautiful scene. And it was on this day, in these moments of working side-by-side with my students that I became entirely aware of how unique they really are. Throughout the entire trip those we worked with or innocent bystanders offered up compliments toward these students. They were impressed with how respectful and well-behaved these students were acting. They commented on their work ethic and maturity. It is unfortunate that these strangers only saw a glimpse of what I have observed all year. Yes, these students deliberately served Jubilee Church within those several hours of the day, but I have been so blessed to have observed such a large group of kids who are willing to respect and serve each other on a daily basis.

To sum it up: this class is full of really great kids. I think it is safe to say that this trip was a blessing to everyone. To the kids , they had time to hang out, take weird pictures, and buy superfluous souvenirs. Their behavior and service project were not unusual tasks because they have been in constant practice of these things at ECS. But to the adults, this trip was a refreshing reminder of what a great group of kids we have all had the opportunity to influence and encourage. And , finally, to the strangers and Jubilee Church, it was a chance for the students to show Christ’s love in an impactful and tangible way. To God be the glory.

After our project we left town and headed home. To most kids the drive home was a chance to drink more soft drinks and discover each others’ hidden talents – making weird shapes with their tongues, wiggling their ears, and learning how to whistle. For me the drive home was a chance to thank God for the privilege I’ve had to teach this group of students. I pray that I have been a blessing to them as much as they have blessed me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parent Education - Open Communication Lines

It is extremely important that we keep open lines of communication with our children. This video discusses ways to create relationships with your children where open communication can become a reality.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Parent Education - Technology

Technology is a great tool that offers great opportunities for our children. We need to be careful to protect them by preparing them to use it appropriately. Click the link below to view this months video entry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Parent Education - February

This month's entry is "Modeling Behavior for our Kids." Click the link below to view this month's video.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Chapel Small Groups

Today, was our first chapel in grades five through eight where we met in small groups following the message. The message topic was "The Fruit of the Spirit: Peace." The students met in groups of anywhere from eight to twelve students. Our small group leaders were comprised of teachers, office staff, church staff and parents. The leaders facilitated discussion on peace and challenged the students to think critically about peace and what the speaker said about it. They initiated questions that allowed students to see how they could apply the teaching of peace to their lives today, no matter what their age or grade. There has been overwhelming positive feedback already, from the leaders and the students, as this time allowed them to digest the information and get an understanding of what others believe. Students were transparent with their groups, sharing personal stories, positive experiences of peace as well as struggles they are facing that challenges the peace that they have. What a wonderful opportunity for our students and the leaders to build relationships, better understand what others believe, and heighten the personal and spiritual accountability of the students. This is but one of many ways ECS is reaching our mission to educate, equip and engage our students with excellence.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Auschwitz Survivor speaks at ECS today

What a great opportunity we had today! What has been in the plans for over a month came to fruition today when Mr. Phil Gans, a survivor of the holocaust, spoke to our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students along with some parents and relatives. We learned of Mr. Gans from the holocaust museum in Washington D.C. when our eighth graders traveled there in October and made contact with him. Phil was so gracious that he agreed to come and speak to our students at no cost to the school. We had some technical difficulties, which postponed our start time, but once he began speaking, the room was focused on his every word. He spoke of his family and their life before the war. He gave details of the period of time when he went into hiding to avoid the concentration camps. He explained how his family members were removed from the group only to be gassed and cremated, without him having the opportunity to say goodbye. He continued on with details of his stay at Auschwitz until he was liberated twenty-one months later. His message to the group was to stand up for what is right and don't be a spectator. The students asked some great questions and should be commended for their attention and level of respect for him. As a gift, some ECS students wrote some essays titled "What is a survivor?" and I created a blanket out of it. At the top, it had Survivor, Phillip R. Gans, along with his birthday. The rest of the blanket was covered with these letters that were written by our 6th, 7th and 8th grade students. He was moved by the gesture and thanked us many times. What a great opportunity this was! A special thanks to Phil for making this possible!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Parent Education - January

This month's parent education is focused on the importance of letting our children struggle. Through life's struggles, our children build character, strength and self confidence. Click the link below to watch this month's video.