WCS Blog

800 Juliana Drive, Woodstock, Ontario

Phone: 519-539-1492

     

ADVENT

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SNOW DAY

SNOW DAY FOR WOODSTOCK CHRISTIAN SCHOOL. Due to the forecast for snow squalls and high winds today, buses are cancelled for the day and the school is closed.

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Waiting in Joyful Hope

 

 

Waiting in Joyful Hope

 

 

 
How good are you at waiting? Waiting at traffic lights? In lines at the grocery store, ATMs or Service Ontario? There are amazing statistics about how much of our lives we spend waiting. Inevitably, we all need to wait. 
Is waiting an empty waste of time? If we believe it is, how can we reframe it to think otherwise? Each of us has experienced times we wait in dread and fear. Sometimes we wait in boredom. And there are times when we wait with excitement and joy.
Advent is a time of waiting - a time between the 'now' and the 'not yet'. We will soon celebrate Christmas and the knowledge that Jesus has come as Emmanuel - God with us - as promised.
As Christ followers, we wait during Advent and look forward to celebrating the fact that God loves us so much that he sent his Son into the world to save us. This waiting is far from empty; rather, it is full of the hope that God promises us as we prepare for Christ.
While we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus that has occurred, we also use the season of Advent to anticipate Christ's second coming. When Jesus comes again, the Kingdom of God will appear in its fullness. The just will reign with Christ forever and the earth will be transformed. During Advent, we wait in joy, in hope, and in anticipation for the wonderful event we are about to experience-the coming of Christ into our lives in new ways, the return of Christ in glory at the end of time. 
Consider using an Advent Calendar to help your family wait in joyful hope. Here is a link to 'not your usual Advent calendar' but one which challenges families to extend Gifts of Kindness.
 
Sources: www.loyolapress.com and kidscorner.reframemedia.com/media/pdf/KC-Advent-Calendar
Photo: tilecross.org.uk/wpimages/wp6c092427_05_06.jpg
 
C. Verbeek
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With-ness

Emmanuel, God with us. As we begin this Advent season, this time of waiting, "with-ness" has been on my mind. With-ness: God with us. What does this mean to you? What does it mean to you to know that God has dwelt among us. He's moved in. I love the way The Message translation portrays John 1:14. It says, "The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son. Generous inside and out, true from start to finish." During advent, we anticipate the coming of Jesus, the Light of the World. Slowing down to recognize just what this means is something that I will be working on during this season. Spending time in prayer, silence and rest to reflect on all that God has already done this school year and standing in awe with what He will continue to do. With Parent-Teacher interviews fresh in our minds, we can celebrate the learning and growth that has taken place this year! And anticipate further growth throughout the rest of the school year. Confession time: Praying for God's will to be done in all areas of my life has always been a challenge for me. I like knowing, planning, organizing - and controlling. But, relinquishing this control into the hands of my Creator is my aim this Advent season. Would you join me in slowing down? How can we show the world that we have been with Jesus? 
K. VanderPloeg
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Creation Calls



Creation Calls
The song, Creation Calls, by Brian Doerksen, is a good song for the month of November. This month between seasons, when fall has expired and it's not yet winter, is an opportune time to listen to the created world and know that God continues to speak through his handiwork. Visually, November is unremarkable. The leaves have fallen and blown into corners, gardens are stripped of foliage, grey and browns are predominant. Many November days are grey and daylight is in short supply. Creation has been stripped down to the bare essentials as we head into the harshness of winter. Thank God that we are able to experience creation through more than just the visual sense. Doerksen's song brings us to the words in Job 37 (and following) when God speaks to Job out of the storm, or to Psalm 104, one of the creation poems/songs of praise written by David. The song and words are about knowing creation and the Creator using all of our senses - we feel the wind, the tremble as thundering breakers roar, we hear the sounds of geese in flight, the wind through trees. All of these - the written word and the created world, the capacity that we have to experience, and yes, to enjoy these November days - speak to the glory and majesty of God.  Take a look. Have a listen. Creation reveals God. Creation calls. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwGvfdtI2c0)
 
C. Verbeek
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Things have changed!

Upon walking into the Grade 1 classroom, you will notice that things don't look like a traditional classroom. I, as the classroom teacher, have chosen to implement "flexible" (or alternative) seating rather than traditional desks. As you glance around my room, you may see students standing, sitting on wobble stools, a stability ball, chairs, a bench, or even on the floor with a clipboard.
Research has shown that through the use of flexible seating:
Student attention spans increase, allowing for more achievement, 
Active learning is promoted, 
A sense of community and other important social skills are built and developed
Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning, 
Students are motivated to come to school, and 
Both teachers and students love the seating options.
Each day, even each work period (and if needed throughout the work period), students choose and work in a seating location that best suits them. The typical classroom supplies that have been traditionally stored in desks are now gathered and distributed as community supplies - supplies that we all share and take care of. Folders and workbooks are stored in bins on shelves around the room, at easy access for when they are needed.
Grade 1 is not the only classroom that is implementing a form of flexible seating. Grades 1/2, 7, and 8 also are taking on various aspects of this structure in order to build a community of learners, rather than an individual - developing those basic skills that are required for students as they leave our building and head onto the amazing things that God has planned for them.
I am very excited about the use of flexible seating within our classrooms. This is my second year within this seating "arrangement" and I have seen tremendous growth in students as they begin to develop an idea of how they best learn, and what they need in order to learn.
E. Schuster
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Service Project



As you may know, each grade at Woodstock Christian School is involved in 3 service projects per year. Typically one is geared toward supporting our school or local community, another  supports a Canadian based group, and another supports a cause outside of Canada. Each service project is memorable and serves to help our students realize that there is great need world-wide and that as Christians, we've been called to help our neighbours, near and far.
This year, the Gr. 5's have started with our international service project; we're hosting a bake sale for the entire school on Thursday, November 16th in support Lagosette Christian School (LCS) in Haiti! We've been learning about Haiti and LCS off and on throughout this school year, enjoying guest speakers who've been to Haiti on missions trips, or who currently work there. One of those guest speakers was Bernice Huinink Buiter, our former principal! Bernice has been working for an organization in Haiti called "Children of the Promise" for the last 2 years as an advisor for LCS. LCS's mission is, "to provide Christ-centered quality education, equipping students for a life of praise and service in their communities and beyond for the glory of Jesus Christ." Their vision is: "to is to develop Christian leaders to bring transformation in Haiti and beyond."
This Christmas season, the money raised here at WCS will be sent to Haiti with Bernice. She will purchase all the items for the boxes in Haiti at their local market. By doing it this way, we'll help support and stimulate the economy Haitian economy.
The Gr. 5 class is excited to be a part of this plan! We're trying to raise $1,500 to help purchase Christmas gifts for each child at LCS in Haiti. Thanks to many generous donations over the course of 2 weeks, we are already at $1,232! The Gr. 5 class has also been making bookmarks and necklaces (see pictures below) to go into each Christmas gift. Please consider sending your child to school with some money on Thursday, November 16th so that treats can be purchased in support of LCS in Haiti. Thank you.
 
Axel Hiemstra (Gr. 5 Teacher) 
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Morning Meetings

Morning Meetings
 
The teachers at Woodstock Christian School attended a workshop late last year on the Responsive Classroom. The Responsive Classroom is a framework for the day which helps to remind us that the socio-emotional learning of a child is as important as the academic learning of a child. Most of us were very excited about how this framework seemed to fit into what we as teachers are already doing in our classrooms and have begun our journey's with the Responsive Classroom.
One aspect of this framework is holding a morning meeting to start each day. You may have noticed these taking place in classrooms at the beginning of each day and wondered what they are about. Morning Meetings are an opportunity for every child to hear their name said as they are greeted in some way by a classmate or teacher. It is a time to share with each other their stories and a time to listen as each child has an opportunity to share. There is a time to play a short energizer which also helps to build a sense of community and last, a short morning message to the students about the day that is ahead of them. Teachers have also altered the Morning Meeting time to include devotions to keep true to the teachings that we cherish here at Woodstock Christian to help equip our students for a life of service!
S. Kiers
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Reformation



October 31st is a day to remember Luther, the Protestant Reformation, and the 95 Theses nailed to the castle church door in Wittenberg. This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation was not about one or two big names - Luther, Calvin, Zwingli - but about a massive movement of Christian conviction, boldness, and joy that cost many men and women their lives - and scattered the seeds that are still bearing fruit in the twenty-first century. Not only was Luther surrounded by many Reformers in Germany, but lesser-known heroes of the faith rose up all over Europe. Luther was the battering ram, but he ignited, and stood with, a chorus of world changers. In an age of corruption and false teaching, the Protestant Reformers returned to the Scriptures. There they found the way of salvation. Instead of indulgences, the Mass, relics, and other superstitions, they rediscovered the ancient way of salvation: the gospel. The five solas were their attempt to summarize biblical teaching on salvation. The Five Solas are:
1. Sola Scriptura ("Scripture alone"): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
2. Sola Fide ("faith alone"): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
3. Sola Gratia ("grace alone"): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
4. Solus Christus ("Christ alone"): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
5. Soli Deo Gloria ("to the glory of God alone"): We live for the glory of God alone.
The men and women of the pre-Reformation and the Reformation rediscovered essential Christian truths in the Bible and changed the course of history. (Source: John Piper  desiringgod.org & kootenaichurch.org)
 
C. Verbeek
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Educator's Convention

Educator's Convention - October 26 & 27
 
This week the WCS staff has the privilege of joining hundreds of other educators from Thunder Bay to Charlottetown to New York state to attend worship sessions, workshops, and to listen to keynote speakers at the annual Edifide Educators Convention. Edifide is a professional association for Christian educators. The Convention is held at Redeemer University College in Ancaster. The theme this year is "A Life of Grace and Adventure". It is based on John 10:10 (NIV) 'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.' The keynote speaker will be Curt Thompson. He is a psychiatrist in private practice in Falls Church, Virginia, and the founder of Being Known, which helps people explore the integral relationship between deep, meaningful connections with God and the development of healthier minds, healthier communities, and ultimately, a healthier world. Not only will we be challenged as educators but we also be inspired, encouraged, and better equipped to teach at WCS. 
Mrs. J. Hickey
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Responsive Classroom

The Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (of which WCS is a member school) is promoting Responsive Classroom training for educators. The OACS is praying for and working toward flourishing Christian schools across Ontario. We, at WCS, were introduced as a staff to this framework at our regional PD day last April. As a result of that introduction, this past summer our staff reading book choices explored components of The Responsive Classroom Framework. This approach blends beautifully with our understanding of Christian community and with restorative practices. You may be wondering, "What is this 'Responsive Classroom' all about?" Let me provide some background. Future editorials will expand on the key principles below. Stay tuned!
The Responsive Classroom approach came  about in the early 1980s as a group of public school educators sought to share the knowledge, skills, and philosophies they had acquired through years of teaching. The result of their combined experiences is the Responsive Classroom approach, which emphasizes the social, emotional, and academic growth of elementary school students in a strong and safe learning environment. The Responsive Classroom approach incorporates the students' social and emotional growth into their academic learning, stemming from the notion that children learn best through social interaction and when they are explicitly taught social and emotional skills along with their academic lessons. The seven key principles of the Responsive Classroom approach, as outlined by the Northeast Foundation for Children, are:
* The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
* How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand.
* The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
* Children need certain social skills in order to be successful academically and socially. These include: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
* Knowing the children we teach -- individually, culturally, and developmentally -- is as important as knowing the content we teach.
* Knowing the families of the children we teach, and inviting their participation, is essential to children's education.
* How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community. (Source: https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/about/principles-practices/)      
 
C. Verbeek
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Thankfulness

Thankfulness
 
Each one of us has so much to be thankful for. We have loving homes, Jesus, the Bible, healthy bodies and minds, food, clothes, toys, parents, brothers and sisters, and the list goes on. I pray each of you will remember how much you have been blessed by God.
We, at WCS, have so much to be thankful for. We have a great school building, loving teachers, friendships, an amazing playground, good buses and bus drivers, and the list goes on. The Woodstock Food Bank was so thankful, on Thursday afternoon, when they saw how much food we donated to people in Woodstock who are in need. I pray that each of you will use these blessings to learn and to let God use you in this community.
We, in Canada, have so much to be thankful for. The trees are changing colour, we have peace, beautiful weather, a good harvest, freedom, diversity, and the list goes on. I pray that God will keep our great land strong and free.
At WCS, we will be hearing Michael Mitchell this week. His songs tell about how great this country of ours is. His visit will be exciting and entertaining. Come out on Thursday afternoon at 12:30, if you can, to share in song, how great and varied our country is.
Natalie Van Andel
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