God’s Greatness revealed through Speech and Poetry
If I were to ask a student how God’s greatness is revealed to them through speech and/or poetry, I would receive a wide eyed look of fear and witness a physical body slumping. That student would immediately be thinking “No way! It can’t be that time of year.” The dreaded speech writing and poetry memorization of second term!
The gift of language and communication is a tool we use as believers to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Mark 16:15 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’.” The gift of language and communication is a tool we use to create and sustain community and fellowship with believers. Phil 1:5,6 “because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints. I pray that your partnership in the faith may become effective as you fully acknowledge every good thing that is ours in Christ.” The gift of language and communication allows us to praise and worship God. Rom 15:6 “so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Writing and memorizing a speech is a long and arduous task! Students are asked to think of an interesting subject and write about it. Students take God’s gifts of experiences, reflection and knowledge to develop a story that is worthy of sharing. Students employ God’s gifts of memorization and courage to present their speeches to familiar and unfamiliar audiences. What may begin as a laborious task, ends with an experience of acquiring a deeper experience of what is in, and of, God’s vast creation. As believers, we learn more about different aspects of God’s character, imagination and creativity. In this knowledge, we are blessed with a deeper understanding of God’s greatness.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for man. For the Lord will reward you. Christ is the real Master you serve.” My name is Marisa de Vries. I’m a grade eight student at Woodstock Christian School, and have been attending WCS since Senior Kindergarten. I really like this bible verse from Colossians because I know that I am doing my best to serve God.
This school holds countless memories for me. I have formed relationships with teachers who care, amazing friends and classmates, and I enjoy the privilege of a Christian community and education every day. I am taught by Christian teachers who teach me about God and share their journey with Christ. I’m surrounded by a community that serves God. I have classmates that are on a journey with Christ just like me. I have peers who support me and peers who I can support.
I like to learn about God through all of the subjects I learn at school, and use the talents God has given me to honor Him through sports events, choirs, and electives. Every day, as classmates, we are challenged by our teachers to encourage, build others up, be kind, and set a good example to our community. Most importantly we are all called to serve and live for God to the best of our abilities.
At our school we have leadership teams, these are ways that the students can serve God by helping our teachers and community. Students have the opportunity to deliver lunches to classrooms on pizza and sub days, or help the primary teachers get their students ready to go outside, we can also help Mrs. Koopman in the office and so much more.
Our school also reaches out to the surrounding community. The grade eight class takes a monthly visit to Caressant Care to play games with the seniors there, and visit them. We also plant trees with an environment program. This gives us an opportunity to be stewards of God’s creation.
Woodstock Christian School is a great school. I have loved the opportunity to attend to a Christian School. This school has been a stepping stone in my journey with Christ. Every teacher and every classmate has helped me take the next step of faith.
-Marisa deVries, Grade 8, WCS
Poetry and Why We Need It
There are innumerable ways to define poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously said that poetry is "the best words in the best order." Poetry is often identified visually by the blank space left on the page when the poem is printed in lines, but not necessarily. Poetry can have rhythm and rhyme, or not. It can be properly punctuated, or not. It can be fun or serious and is to be enjoyed in a different manner than other writing.
From an article about why we need poetry in schools…
Poetry helps us know each other and build community. When read aloud, poetry is rhythm and music and sounds and beats. Young students feel the rhythms, get curious about what the sounds mean, and perhaps want to create their own. It's the most kinesthetic of all literature. It's physical and full-bodied and activates your heart and soul. Poetry opens venues for speaking and listening, also important areas of language learning. Poetry builds resilience in kids and adults; it fosters social and emotional learning. A well-crafted phrase or two in a poem can help us see an experience in an entirely new way. Find the poems that wake you up, find the poems that make you feel joy or sadness or delight. Find those poems that communicate with the deepest parts of your being and welcome them in.
(Sources: edutopia.org, webexhibits.org, poetrysoup.com)
Sea-Wash (by Carl Sandburg)
THE SEA-WASH never ends.
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows?
Only the old strong songs?
Is that all?
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
A Limerick (Anonymous)
There once was a young lady named bright
Whose speed was much faster than light
She set out one day
In a relative way
And returned on the previous night.
The skiing elective for Wednesday, March 1 has been cancelled as the ski hill will be closed. Students are to bring whatever items they need for their alternate activity.
Praying to our God: Who is Over all, Through all and in all
Over the past month or so, the Grade 8 class has been focussing on the concept of prayer. We have studied prayer in Bible class, we are also examining more closely how to pray during our devotional times. In fact, we have also been meeting together with the Grade 7 class to learn about how to pray. We are using the Five-Finger Prayer model to help guide our learning and understanding of prayer.
Each week as the Grades 7 and 8 classes meet for devotions, usually on Friday mornings, we focus on each important area. As I have been preparing to lead the areas in which I am responsible for, I have again been reminded through the Five-Finger Prayer model that God is over all, through all and in all. As we go through each day, immersing ourselves in prayer it is clear to me that God is in control of everything. He is worthy of all of our praise. God is at work in our lives for which we need to give Him thanks. As we pray for others, we can pray with hope that God will work in their lives as well. We need to constantly bring our sinfulness to God in confession to Him. God hears our prayers for our own needs as well, we need to ask Him for peace with what He gives to us.
It is a busy time of year for us here at Woodstock Christian School. Science Fair projects need completing, speeches and poems need fine-tuning, many assignments are due and tests are approaching, all so we as teachers can give an accurate assessment of student learning in the coming days. Please continue to pray for each student, staff member and parent as we finish term two. May we all experience our God who is Greater than all things during this stressful time.
Mr. T. Schaafsma
Science & Creation Studies Learning: Means by Which We Know God
On Friday, February 17th, the teaching staff met to discuss science learning at Woodstock Christian School. We enjoyed time spent in devotions, reading relevant articles, discussing current curriculum and Ministry guidelines. In the afternoon, one of the science teachers from London District Christian School led us through an interactive workshop of science learning, providing more ideas to make science come alive in our classrooms.
God makes himself known to humanity through his general revelation - creation. General revelation does not reveal Jesus Christ or His work of redemption for sinners. Thus there is a need for what is called "special revelation." Article 2 of an old but 'rich' document written in 1561, the Belgic Confession (on the means by which we know God), states the distinction in the following words:
We know Him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to see clearly the invisible things of God, even his everlasting power and divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All which things are sufficient to convince men and leave them without excuse. Second, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation.
As educators, we are grateful for the many means by which we can share the wonders of God's creation with our students. Brian Doerksen's song "Creation Calls" speaks into the beauty and majesty of what God has created.
Lying down beneath the stars, I feel your presence there
I love to stand at ocean shore and feel the thundering breakers roar
How could I say there is no God when all around creation calls…
C. Verbeek, Principal
Libraries - one of my favourite topics to discuss!
Libraries were once somber quiet places where books were warehoused and librarians kept them in order. Have you ever thought of how a library is different today than when you were a child? Have you ever wondered what the “modern” library of the future may look like? At the recent Ontario Library Association conference, attendees were shown what a futuristic library might look like and the role it has for its community. I could hardly imagine some scenarios that were presented of what you could do at your local library in fifty years! Some existing libraries already bring more accessible use of technology to the next level with their “Maker Spaces” and the use of 3-D printers. Here the library’s role is not only to have the information about something but also equipment to produce it and share it! But the one common thread which runs through the past library, the present library and the future library is the availability of knowledge and understanding and also the need for space for community. There is a lot of “community” being shared at the WCS Library as well. I have said this before but I am always so grateful that the WCS board has always prioritized budgeting to develop the best possible library for its students with the funds available. And I am privileged to work in it!
This week we will begin our winter electives program for students in grades four through eight. The electives experience runs for five consecutive Wednesdays and gives students opportunity to work and play with other students from different grade levels in a place or activity beyond the classroom.
It also allows parents and friends of Woodstock Christian School to be a part of student learning and show students a new and deeper way to use their abilities to bless others. It is good to share our role as educators, giving others the opportunity to bring lessons and learning to life for students and to model to the students how their learning can also influence their future.
Stay tuned for photos and updates about the learning and community being experienced through this mid-winter program.
England, Haiti, South Korea, India, Germany, Holland, Lithuania...and the list goes on. Last Thursday we celebrated the many cultures represented by our students. It was great fun to see, touch, taste, and learn a little more about some of the countries around the world that our families have originated from. This diversity in cultures and backgrounds strengthens our school as it helps our students become more inclusive, accepting, and loving towards others. This diversity helps us learn about other countries, appreciate the differences in others, and recognize how God is working through His people here and around the world.
I am thankful that our school not only embraces diversity in cultures but also welcomes diversity in our learners. We have students with a variety of learning profiles with distinct strengths and needs. We believe that God created each student in His image exactly how He intended them to be. God does not make mistakes! God needs his children to have a variety of gifts as he has unique plans for each one in His kingdom. This diversity in our students strengthens our student body. As teachers, it is our job to partner with parents to help each student accept and embrace how God how created them and others. We strive to meet the needs of our learners and pray that they will all grow and flourish.
Yes, we are a school that is strengthened by a diverse population. We are also a community that is bound together by our love for God. Our God is a great God. Our God loves everyone and calls us to do the same. Our God is above all, through all, and in all!
There is a beautiful picture book in my collection called The Matchbox Diary.
A little girl visits her great grandfather and happens across an old wooden cigar box that holds several smaller matchboxes. Inside each matchbox is an unlikely object with no meaning to the little girl, until her great grandfather shares its story. Together the little girl and the old man recount his emigration from Italy, his first tough years in America, and his yearning to record his life in some fashion because he could not read and write. I highly recommend this book, not just for the story, but also for the fabulous illustrations. An amazing book!
As we celebrate our heritage this week and appreciate each others’ stories and backgrounds, may we also celebrate how God has created differences. Ask questions this week. Tell your stories and discover also what God has done and how He is working in the lives of people past and present.
FOG DAY. WCS BUSES CANCELLED FOR MORNING ONLY DUE TO FOG & BLACK ICE. BRING YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO. LDCSS BUS WILL LEAVE AT 830AM OR WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO. BUSES WILL RUN AT END-OF-DAY. SEE PARENT HANDBOOK FOR FOG DAY PROCEDURES.