# Math Can Be Understandable And Relatable

In my math classes one of my main goals is to make math understandable and relatable. So often the subject is approached with fear and anxiety because it seems abstract and incomprehensible. I think one of the main contributors to this mindset is the way math is taught. While it is a subject that requires rote memorization at times, I am a firm believer in the importance of understanding the concepts the students learn in addition to the ability to complete the process correctly.

Some of my favorite topics to teach are fractions and pi. I find that students, and adults, learn, and remember, when the events surrounding the lesson are memorable. Learning also becomes more meaningful when it is directly related to life or can be seen in concrete examples. When I teach adding and subtracting fractions I have the kids act out a story as I narrate. They are characters in the skit and act out a series of word problems. The more exciting the story the more they get into their characters whether it be 1/5 or 1/10. When they are later struggling with a problem I can remind them of the time that they were a spy named 1/10 who had to meet up with their friend 1/10 and together there were 2/10.

One of my favorite days this year was definitely Pi day (March 14 – 3/14). Many of my older students in grades 4-6 had worked with pi before when talking about circumference and area of a circle. My third graders had not yet studied pi, but all my students could benefit from a deeper understanding of pi. I placed a series of circular objects around the room. Each student was given a string and a ruler to measure the circumference and then diameter of the objects. As the students divided each circumference by their respective diameter it was awesome to watch realization and interest dawn on their face as each answer seemed eerily similar. In each class we had a great discussion about why all the answers to the each problem were almost identical.

I am consistently impressed with my students’ interest in math, determination, and eagerness to learn more. It is a joy to help build the foundation for each of my students in such a fundamental subject.

Lydia Staats has been teaching 5th and 6th graders on the Beverly campus since September 2015.

# Third and Fourth Graders Have a Dream

During the month of February my class turned its attention to Black History
Month, as many around the nation also did. We spent time looking at one of the greatest
racial integration advocates of all times, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I anticipated that we
would watch Dr. King’s infamous I Have A Dream speech as a class and have a
conversation about it, but I was not prepared for what would come next. My students
were so enthralled and taken with Dr. King’s words that I set aside preplanned lessons to
engage my students in reality!
I encouraged my students to appreciate the fact that every American has been
afforded with a dream. We all have the license to dream. The difference between a
dream and the realization of that dream is grit. I wanted to encourage my students that
they all possess both – a dream and the grit. I asked them to write their own I have a
Dream speeches. I was absolutely floored by what I read, especially when you consider
that these students are only eight, nine, and ten years old. This generation recognizes the
struggles that our nation faces and the impact that they can make.
I hope you will take the time to read these speeches and in turn be inspired by this
next generation. I truly believe this next generation will be the one to change the world
with their love and service of others.

Liz MacDavitt has been part of the faculty on our Beverly Campus for over 5 years, currently teaching the 3rd & 4th grade class.

# Life Cycles and God’s Amazing Creation

Over the past two months, third graders on the Lynn campus have been observing the life cycles of two different insects: the milkweed bug and the darkling beetle.  Our STEM curriculum provides students the opportunity to observe the patterns of growth and development for each of these organisms and to analyze these organisms and their different life cycles.  Students observed and made weekly log entries of the milkweed bug by drawing a picture of the bug and noting the life cycle stage.  The milkweed bug has 3 stages of development:  egg, nymph and adult.  Students observed the bug grow from nymph to adult and saw these colorful black and orange bugs change more in size than any other property we could observe.

At the same time, students observed mealworms and logged their observations each week by drawing a picture, and then noting the stage of development and any growth from the previous week.  Similar to butterflies, mealworms have 4 stages of development including egg, larva, pupa and adult.  They undergo complete metamorphosis during the pupa stage before transforming into an adult darkling beetle.  Just this week, students have finally observed the black adult darkling beetle!  It has been interesting to observe how completely this organism changes through each stage of its development.

The students’ intrigue with both of these tiny creatures has been a reminder to us of the diversity and patterns in God’s creation.   We have learned that organisms have unique life cycles, but all life cycles include birth, growth, reproduction and death.  God is an intelligent creator and just as he has designed these creatures to morph and change (sometimes undergoing a complete transformation like the darkling beetle), he also designed each of us to grow physically, intellectually and spiritually.  Our ultimate hope is that each of our students will undergo a complete metamorphosis spiritually and will know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Rebecca Stuart has been teaching on the Lynn Campus for several years in the early elementary grades. This year was her first year teaching 3rd grade.

# Young Alumni Service Award

The Young Alumni Service Award was presented during last Friday’s Chapel on the Beverly Campus to Isabelle Harper, class of 2014.

The Young Alumni Service Award is given to an alum in grade 7th through 12th, who has given evidence of having integrated their faith into their daily lives, making it a distinct part of their character, a guide in their decision-making and an influence in shaping their worldview.

The recipient of this award will also be a student who is involved in their local church, demonstrates well-roundness by their involvement and activities within their town or city, seeks to be civil-minded in word and deed, and maintains average or above average grades.

Isabelle started her school journey at NSCS when she was in Kindergarten and was a student here until June 2014. She currently attends Ipswich Middle School where she and her sister Victoria ran a successful Haiti Shoebox drive.

Isabelle Harper received this year’s Young Alumni Service Award for initiative in heading up an outreach at her public school. We are so proud of her!

Rebecca Ibanez, grade 8, was recently interviewed by the Lynn Item. Her story appeared on the front page on Saturday April 1st. You can read about this remarkable and inspiring young lady and her desire to serve God and others by clicking here.

Rebecca was also recently honored by the Lynn Rotary through their Eighth Grade Recognition Program. You can see more about that here.

What a privilege to have students like Rebecca here at NSCS!

# Raising Up A Generation!

I knew at the age of nine that I wanted to be a teacher. I also had a hunger to know God. My dream of being a teacher was realized at the age of 21. My desire to know God was fulfilled when I was 22. It is remarkable to me that I have been able to blend these two dreams into one job…that is, being a teacher in a Christian school. Sometimes, I encounter people who are puzzled by my choice not to teach in a public school. Their argument is that the public schools need good teachers and that I could make so much more money. While this may be true, what really matters to me is to make a difference for the Kingdom of God and to heed Jesus’ admonition “Do not hinder the children from coming to me.” Also, a very important part of the great commission is to go and preach the gospel and to make disciples, teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded us.

Most people have some type of worldview that they live their lives by or on which they make decisions. Research shows that the children form their worldview by the time they complete middle school and head into high school. From that point on, they will live their lives accordingly. Intstilling a Christian or “Kingdom” world view is essential in making disciples. At North Shore Christian School, we intentionally integrate truth and the principles of God’s Word into our school day, in all subjects, in every way. We strive to do this as naturally as breathing. In Deuteronomy 6:7 it says: “And you shall impress My precepts on your children. Talk about them when you sit down, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up.” This is done in relationship, in everyday living. As Christian teachers, we partner with parents and are ready to teach our students not just during our Bible lessons, but as the occasion arises as we walk through the day. Isn’t that how Jesus made disciples? He lived with them, walked with them and taught them along the way and later on in their lives they were referred to as “those who have turned the world upside down!”

In Psalm 40 it says this: Walk about Zion, go around her. Count her towers, view her citadels, that you may tell it to the next generation…that this God is OUR God, forever and ever. He will be our guide, even to the end. We are commissioned by God to tell the next generation, to teach the next generation, to make disciples of the next generation. At N.S.C.S. we are making sure that these children are vessels that God can pour His excellence into, so that they will be used by Him to declare His excellencies.

I want to raise up a generation that God will use to turn the world up-side-down! I want to raise up a generation that we be able to life up a a banner (standard) of truth when the enemy rushes in like a flood! I want to raise up a generation that will be able to articulately give a reason for the hope that lies within them! Do you? At North Shore Christian School, we do, we are, we will!

Kathy Ely has been teaching for over 30 years, serving as a Kindergarten teacher for more than half of that time. She teaches Kindergarten on the Beverly Campus, where she also serves as chaplain.

# Digging Deep in Bible Class

Though there are many things that I love about my job, one of my most favorite things about teaching fourth grade is the developmental level of my students. In my experience, fourth graders are some of the best possible kids to teach.  Generally, nine and ten-year-olds are at the wonderful place in life where they still find their teacher’s humor enjoyable (and not in a “this-lady-is-so-uncool-I-can’t-help-but-laugh” sort of way) and yet also are pretty independent.  This is the year where they really begin to wrestle with information on a deeper level and think for themselves.

Because of the unique developmental stage of my students, I find it very rewarding to teach the boys and girls in my class about the Lord and His word.  Fourth grade Bible lessons at North Shore Christian require deep thinking, historical and cultural discussions, and scripture memorization.  Also, lessons include application to a student’s everyday life.

We have been moving through a series of lessons about David’s life and have again and again seen how the hand of God was on him. He defeated the giant Goliath, he was protected from King Saul (and this guy was persistent in seeking out David to kill him), and was incredibly successful in battle!  Because David continually turned to God and gave Him the glory, God remained near to David.  A difficult time in David’s life was when he got caught up in a cycle of sin and the prophet Nathan was sent by God.  God spoke to David and convicted him of wrongdoing through a parable that Nathan told.  The fourth graders recognized that though David was a good man, he was certainly flawed.  However, because he turned to God to seek forgiveness and restoration when he sinned, David remained close to Him until his dying day.   A hard lesson to learn, though, as the fourth graders understood, was that there were still consequences to David’s sins.  Just as God cleaned David of his sin when he asked, He will also clean us (adults and fourth graders alike) when we ask.  However, we must understand that consequences still exist.

See what I mean about deeper thinking? These are some wonderful and weighty subjects to grasp (and this is just one example!)  We aren’t in the business of leaving out the tough stuff when it comes to teaching our students about God’s word and His truths.  Certainly, we approach each lesson with care and appropriate gentleness but these fourth graders are really thinking… and individuals who think deeply and wrestle with wonderful (and sometimes hard) truths are exactly the people who should be representing Christ!

Kimberlee Thorburn has been teaching 4th grade on the Lynn Campus for the past 6 years.

# Science Fair at the Beverly Campus

This week our Beverly Campus students hosted an exciting evening of science!

Students in Kindergarten through grade 6 followed the scientific method and used the data collected to present their findings on many different topics.

Kindergartners researched the planets, while the first and second graders studied the human senses. Third and fourth graders explored the properties of water and its impact on human, animal and plant life. The fifth and 6th grade class researched the structure and layers of the earth, including volcanoes and earthquakes.

All of the students did an exceptional job preparing their exhibits and explaining their findings to family and friends who attended the Science Fair.

We are extremely proud of each and every one of them!

# W-I-N-N-E-R!

Nicholas Granitsas, grade 5, is this year’s North Shore Christian School Spelling Bee winner!

Lynn Campus students in grades 2 through 8 have been working on their spelling skills for several months, all vying for the chance to represent NSCS at the city wide SCRIPPS Spelling Bee in March. Last night, two finalists from each class excitedly and anxiously participated in our annual school Spelling Bee.  Family and friends gathered to support all of the students as Mr. Richard Ladd led the event as the pronouncer.

After approximately an hour of spelling, Nicholas emerged as the champion! He will go on to represent NSCS at the Lynn Auditorium in March.

C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S Nicholas!

# It’s All a Matter of Perspective

###### “ ‘For instance, from here that looks like a bucket of water,’ he said, pointing to a bucket of water; ‘but from an ant’s point of view it’s a vast ocean, from an elephant’s just a cool drink, and to a fish, of course, it’s home. So, you see, the way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.’ ” – The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The fifth grade class has spent the last couple weeks enjoying and studying Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. We’ve dug deep into the allegory, working to understand what is beyond the surface. The main character, Milo, learns many important life lessons along the way, but perspective is one of my favorites. As the fifth graders are learning, not everyone sees the world the same way, and as one fifth grader pointed out, our perspective as Christians will be quite different from that of the world. When the world sees an ocean of chaos, we see a God who calms waters and parts seas; when the world simply sees a cool drink, we see a God who provides for our every need; and when the world sees Earth as our only home, we see a God who has made an eternal home for us.

This discussion of perspective does not stop however, with our examination of literature, but spills over into our studies of the first European explorers in America, ocean currents and Earth’s weather conditions, and of course, into our everyday lives. As a class, we strive to see the world through a Biblical perspective, as well as endeavor to understand each other’s points of view. My prayer is that as a class we would grow to see the world less and less from our own perspective, but that Christ would give us his eyes to see the world more and more as he sees it.

Stephanie Gourley joined the Lynn Campus faculty this past fall as the 5th grade teacher.