Category Archives: Hamilton

End of the School Year Goodbyes

One would think that the end of the school year, with the long, sun-filled summer days just waiting for all the fun, that students would be excited to ditch the books and start relaxing. While this is true for many students there are students who have difficulty transitioning from one school year to the next.

When anything comes to an end it is a little bittersweet. This is especially true for students who have come to love their classmates and teachers. Here are some ways to make the transition to the next grade a little easier because, believe it or not, even teachers have a tough time saying goodbye!

Create a Memory Item

Sometimes it is hard to let go of a great thing. This includes school and your teacher. Letting go can be easier when you create a tangible thing that you can look back at and have happy memories. Create a memory item like an autograph book, an enlarged photo of your class and teacher, or a collage of all fun moments throughout the school year.

Write a Letter

Saying goodbye for the summer can be a little easier when you put it in words. For students moving on to high school at another school writing a letter to each of your teachers from the past years can help you process the move. We also suggest writing a letter to yourself. You may find that when you read the letter in a year or so from now that all of your worries about the transition were for nothing or not at as bad as you thought it would be. Plus, it’s a fun way to look back!

Plan for the Summer

If your child is concerned about seeing friends, then make some plans now to do a few things right away to kick off the summer. A beach trip, museum date, or park hang out can be just the thing to allay any fears that a child won’t get to see their best buddies.

Visit the New Class

Whether your child is staying at NSCS or moving on to another school, it is a good idea to get to know the next year’s teachers. For most of our students they know the classrooms and teachers all year during chapels and school-wide activities so this anxiety is usually quickly forgotten.

For students graduating from NSCS take some time to visit your new school and get to know what your classes will be like in September.

Saying goodbye can be hard but remember that with every door that closes, God opens a window. Enjoy a wonderful and relaxing summer break!

 

The Benefits of Theater Productions

If you have ever been a part of a show, you know the energy and excitement around putting on a production is downright palpable. Whether your child is a main character, part of the ensemble, or a crew member, theater productions have so many positive impacts for students.

There is substantial research about the positive influences you people glean from being a part of a performing arts or theater production. The Center for Online Education publishes a comprehensive list of 10 Salient Studies on the Arts in Education that carefully lays out the reasons why arts education should be encouraged and supported in our schools.

Beyond what the studies have shown, is what we as teachers and parents can see with our own eyes every time a student immerses themselves in the theater arts. Here are just a few of the positive influences we see here at North Shore Christian School as we prepare for our theater production next week.

Self-Confidence

Performing in front of an audience shows young learners how they can trust their skills, talents, and creative ideas. Even if your child gets “butterflies in their tummy” on show night, they grow from overcoming that fear and completing the task they set out to do.

Concentration

Many parents and teachers remark that being a part of a theater performance helps their child learn to concentrate more. Long hours are put into practicing blocking, memorizing lines, and arranging props. All of this work helps young learners focus their minds.

Empathy and Cooperation

Taking on a role of someone in a play or musical means you have to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” This is a form of empathy and a way that actors learn to connect with their character. In addition, being a part of a theater group means a child learns how to work with people of different skills, abilities and backgrounds. This is a vital skill that will be needed later in life.

Enhances Learning

Not only is theater a way to improve or strengthen a child’s empathy, confidence, and confidence, but many schools believe it is a ticket to learning. Memorizing lines, ;earning to play a character, understanding the flow of a production can help students in the classroom as well. Theater brings to life the ideas that up-until-now have only been on the pages of books or plays. Education and theater are therefore partners in learning and enhancing learning.

North Shore Christian School is pleased to be performing “Ella Enchanted” adapted by Amelia Smith from the novel of Gail Carson Levine.  Amelia is the director of the theater production. She has been on staff at NSCS since January 2019.  Grades 3-8 are participating in the production.  Come join us this week on the Lynn Campus!

 

Online Safety

Summer is almost here and for many of us that means playdates, camps, and all sorts of fun activities. We want everyone to have relax and enjoy themselves, but we also want everyone to be safe. One the areas that we hope our students use their common sense and guidelines taught by their teachers and parents is safety online.

When we think about summer, usually we envision lots of outdoor time and, weather willing, beach time! Unfortunately, even Mother Nature needs a day off from the the sun to water the plants and trees. It’s on those rainy, cloudy days that you may have a chance to play online. Here are few guidelines to stay safe when you are watching your favorite YouTube videos, investigating your interests/hobbies, and trying out some new games.

Stay Private

No matter what games, channel, or video you are watching, never give out personal information such as your name, age, where you live, or your phone number. Don’t even give out information that may help someone find you like the name of your town or school. Along this same line, don’t give out your picture –  even if the person claims to be your age. You have no idea who is at the other end of the connection.

 

Follow Your Family’s Rules

Whether you agree or disagree, the rules your mom and dad put forth are there for your protection. This might include who you can connect with, what you can watch, and the hours you can use the computer. Never agree to get together in person with anyone met online without parent approval and/or supervision.

Report Dangers

If you see or hear something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, tell an adult. This includes posts on social media and chat rooms that may or may not include your friends.

For parents: Kids Health – Internet Safety online has put forth some red flags that you may want to be aware of in case you believe that your child is being targeted by an online predator. These can include:

 

  • spending long hours online, especially at night
  • phone calls from people you don’t know
  • unsolicited gifts arriving in the mail
  • your child suddenly turning off the computer when you walk into the room
  • withdrawal from family life and reluctance to discuss online activities

Have a safe and enjoyable summer. We will see you in the fall ready to start a new adventure!

 

The Benefits of Math Manipulatives

Math manipulatives: you’ve probably seen them in your child’s classroom. The manipulatives might be in the form of beans, popsicle sticks, erasers, tiles, blocks, and the list could go on and on. Have you ever wondered why teachers use all these items during math lessons?

Math scholars have been using hands-on stuff to teach math for centuries. Just think about the first abacus as one of the earliest math manipulatives. We have come a long way since the abacus. Today, there are items that your child can manipulate: stuff they can touch, move, and handle to help them understand math concepts. Just think about how many times you have used your fingers to count off something or used play money in a board game. Those are math manipulatives at work. Here are a few ways that these items can make a real difference in the classroom when it comes to helping students understand math.

Understanding Abstract Ideas

Mathematical concepts such as adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying can seem very abstract to young children. By using items that a student can touch, manipulate, and organize on their own, those concepts become more concrete. For example, if a student is given 25 straws and asked how many there are, s/he can count them one-by-one or organize them into 5 groups, each containing 5 straws. That is the foundation of understanding multiplication and division. Understanding how grouping can lead to multiplication then makes that math process become more real to a student because they saw it with their own eyes.

Student Engagement Increases

Some students naturally understand math concepts, while others need to be able to relate the concept to something in their own life. For students who need a little help, manipulatives can get them more involved and engage them in the process further. With the math now lifted off the paper and put in a child’s hands, they become more interested and invested in the process and outcome of the problem-solving.

 

 

Students Gain Ownership of their Learning

Using items such as teddy bear counters, straws, or Legos can help a child take control over their own understanding of math concepts. When students use manipulatives to create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate their mathematical ideas, they begin to develop a more positive math disposition and take ownership of their own learning.

Student Confidence Grows

In the years before teachers regularly used manipulatives, students were left waiting to hear from an adult if their math work was correct or incorrect. Now with items on a child’s desk they can physically confirm their reasoning with the evidence in front of them. This can give students a powerful feeling that they are in control of their learning.

Ask your child about math manipulatives s/he uses in class. I think you will be surprised to see how far your child’s learning can come using these items under the guidance of our teachers. Here are a few resources about further benefits that manipulatives create in the classroom.

Resources:

Research on the Benefits of Manipulatives

Scholastic Books and Math Manipulatives

Hand2Mind: Why Teach Math with Manipulatives

 

Teachable Moments for Preschoolers

In our busy lives, most of us find that our days are planned from the moment we wake up until bedtime routine begins at night. School, work, sports, after-school activities, and church events make up the parts of our days and weeks that are planned. Then there are those unplanned moments in our day that can leave lasting impressions on our children, which is where the learning really happens. Those teachable occasions are great learning opportunities, so it is important to seize those fleeting moments and make the most of them.

Teachable Moments in the Classroom

Teachable moments are usually unplanned learning due to interests, events, or questions from your child. These critical times happen in the classroom often and teachers have opportunities to zero in on the student’s sudden interest and go with it. For example, during the string of hurricanes over the last year, students naturally wanted to know more about the weather and what causes extreme weather. Teachers know to use those interests and questions to further learning in the classroom.

At our newest campus of NSCS in Hamilton, our preschoolers and prekindergarten students love these teachable moments. Our teachers provide the perfect nurturing environment to practice not only academic skills that will lead to success throughout the school years, but also instill in them the idea that imagining, creating, and wondering about the world around you can be just as invaluable as the ABCs and 123s.

Teachable Moments at Home

Parents can also use these techniques at home. There is no better time for this than during the highly inquisitive age of preschool and prekindergarten when everything is new, interesting, and waiting to be discovered.

Toddlers are especially curious about things they see around them. They are almost like little sponges that just want to learn and learn and learn. Parents can take advantage of this time in their child’s life to teach basic concepts in fun and natural ways. Here are just a few things to try at home with your little ones. If you have some ideas of your own, please share them with us as we love finding new and different ways to capture the excitement for learning at an early age.

  • Make counting a part of your toddler’s daily life. Count the steps up to your house, the number of Goldfish they are snacking on, or even the number of teeth in their mouth!
  • Naming items can help your preschooler understand that words associate with the things around them. For instance, name the body parts as s/he gets dressed every morning. Name the animals in their books. Name the colors, items, and actions you see all around you.
  • Talk about directions such as left, right, near, and far.
  • Read about things that interest your child such as the dogs you saw on your walk, the language they heard being spoken at the market, or the rainbow they saw in the sky after a rainstorm. All of these things can become teachable moments.
  • Even watching television can become a learning moment. Ask your child about the characters, setting, plot, etc.
  • Take pictures of the same part of your yard during each season and talk about the changes you see and why that might be happening.
  • Look at the prices of items at the grocery store and how some items cost a lot and some not as much. Sort items by size, color, or any other way your child thinks they could be sorted in the cart.
  • When cooking, talk about ingredients and how they come together to make something yummy.

Teachable moments can be spontaneous or something that you keep in your mind for when your child shows an interest in a concept. The key is to take those moments and make it meaningful for your child. That is when the deepest learning occurs.

 

Reducing Test Anxiety

Does your child ever get anxious before a test? Rest assured they are not alone. Students commonly report that they feel nervous or anxious before taking tests. This is especially true when the tests are standardized and they don’t quite know what to expect.

North Shore Christian School gives the TerraNova Standardized Test this month. The TerraNova Test is an achievement test commonly given to students in grades K-12 that measures achievement in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, vocabulary, spelling, and other areas. The TerraNova testing is published by CTB/McGraw-Hill and has set the bar for the highest standards in research, item reliability and validity, and technical quality.

There are some things parents can do to help their child feel more prepared and less anxious when it comes to this type of test or any that they may see in their future schooling. Start by reminding your student that it is very normal to feel a little nervous before any test, be it a classroom test, a final exam, or even the SATs. Here are a few tips that you can practice with your child, whether it is for our standardized tests this month or tests in the future.

Be Prepared

Most standardized tests are not something that a student can study for, so prepare in other ways. For example, have all items that will be needed on test day, such as pens or pencils ready to go. Some students get their bags ready the night before and lay out their clothes so they are not pressed for time the morning of the test.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Study after study has shown that getting adequate sleep can not only help with concentration but can also help keep a student calm. A lack of sleep can exacerbate that nervous feeling the morning of a test.

Eat a Good Breakfast

Fueling up on a protein-rich breakfast can help keep a child focused throughout a long test. Pack some nutritious snacks for breaks that may be allowed during testing days.

Arrive Early

Some students feel more confident once they have arrived at school and the waiting is over. So try to get to the test a few minutes early to steady your nerves and give yourself a few deep breaths before the test begins.

Have a Positive Attitude

Have a conversation with your child about how they need to think positively about their talents and skills before the test. Remind them that this is just a test and not a measure of who they are as a person. It is merely a way of helping teachers and schools know what to work on and how to improve learning for their students. Doing his/her best is all we can ask as parents and teachers. If your child is anxious about taking tests, then talk to your child’s teacher and let them know so they can help.

International Luncheon 2019: NSCS Beverly Culmination of March into Missions

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loves is God’s child, and knows God… God is love. John 4:7a&8b

 

What is March Into Missions?

March is a special month on the NSCS Beverly Campus. The entire month is dedicated to raising awareness for missions around the world, and for those closer to home. We call it “March Into Missions.” This is one of our most favorite months of learning and celebrating together.

In 2019 ,we embarked on new missions as well as continuing a mission project we started earlier. Four of our outreach projects this year included: DCF Foster Care Outreach, continued support for New Missions: Support for Wasley, help for displaced peoples, and student experiences in Kenya. Check out our previous blog about the missions that our students and teachers took part in this year.

Our students learn so much about the power of giving of their time, and how we are so blessed in our lives. They enjoy talking to family members and friends about the work they are doing and sharing how others can help missions, either near or far. Our students are phenomenal at giving of themselves.

 

The International Luncheon

The culmination of this wonderful month was our annual International Luncheon on March 27th. Students, along with the help of their families, prepare wonderful dishes for the entire school to share together. Faculty members and students had the opportunity to dress in traditional clothing of their native counties, and share stories from those cultures. We saw many amazing outfits from our teachers! Even Mrs. Heinz got into the spirit with a traditional Japanese Kimono.

The lower hall smelled divine with the aromas of all the wonderful dishes prepared. The hall was decorated with flags and keepsakes from nations all over the world to remind us that there are people everywhere that need and deserve God’s love. We enjoyed so much sharing a meal together and learning from each other. Thank you to all the parents and teachers who shared prayers in their native language. We are so blessed to have just over half of the families in our school represent ethnicities other than caucasian. This is an unusual phenomenon for the North Shore of Boston! Truly, we experienced a little slice of heaven today as people from many tribes, nations, and languages gathered to celebrate how God loves us all!

 

Time Management Skills to Teach Your Child

Is your child always running late or procrastinating doing work? Time management skills are one of the more difficult competencies to learn. Even adults can attest that they lose track of time or often feel rushed. How can you help your child learn time management skills (and maybe help yourself at the same time?)

Do a Time Assessment

Depending upon the age of your child, try a little experiment to see how long s/he believes a task will take and then compare it to how long it actually takes. For example, make a guesstimate how long it takes to do normal tasks like getting ready for school, doing homework, chores, and the nighttime routine. Then compare the amount of time you thought it would take to the time it actually takes. This time assessment can help your child become aware of the relativity of time.

Establish a Plan

Does your child have activities or sports after school as well as homework, or maybe a job? Help them establish a plan on how the time will work out. For example, If school gets out at 2:30 pm and there is an average of an hour of homework, a two-hour sports practice, and dinner to account for, how will your child prioritize and get it all done? Some families create a daily or weekly planner so everyone knows what days there are activities. Take a close look at the times and have your child map out how it will all fit in. The more they are involved in the discussion the better they will be at carrying out the plan.

Set Priorities

Seems like we are all busy in our society, so talk with your child about prioritizing what they need to do versus what they want to do. If your child needs to do homework, practice the violin, clean their room and still wants to have time to play on electronics then they will need to prioritize. Talk to your child about what should come first, second and so on.

Talk About Stress

We all know that feeling when we are running late or feel panicked that we forgot something. Talk to your child about what it feels like when they feel stressed because they did not plan well or are being rushed. How could this change if they start earlier or prioritize their time? For example, if they woke up 10 minutes earlier would the morning routine be less chaotic. Or perhaps getting homework done before dinner would leave time for something they want to do like games or video game time before bedtime.

Be a Role Model

Our children look to us for clues on how to act and plan. It can be a struggle, but be a good role model in planning your time. Talk to your child about why you do certain tasks at a certain time. Keep the conversation going since time management will look different at each stage of schooling and in life.

Do you have time management tricks you use? Tell us about them and share your expertise.

 

Celebrating Literacy Week 2019

To quote the renowned Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Just like the good doctor, we love reading at North Shore Christian School. In fact, we love it so much that we celebrate Literacy Week next week on our Lynn Campus. As a part of this celebration, we are also hosting a Scholastic Book Fair on March 21st. Who doesn’t love getting a new book and supporting our school all at the same time?

Reading is such a vital skill in our society today. It not only develops the mind, but it can also help our students discover new ideas and promote curiosity and imagination. It is so rooted in our everyday lives that it is tantamount to breathing; sometimes we don’t even realize we are doing it.

How, then, do we encourage our children to become lifelong readers? There are many steps we can take as parents that can support even the most reluctant readers to pick up a book and enjoy a story of their choosing. Here are a few suggestions.

 

Make Reading a Routine

Days can be filled with lots of activities, sports, homework, and other obligations. Try to make reading a part of your regular routine even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Many parents find that reading together at night is a great way to share time with your child while, at the same time, encouraging reading. Reading as part of a nighttime routine is also a good way to wind down with your child and strike up conversations about the reading or even about their day.

Be a Role Model

Our children watch what we do and adjust accordingly. Be a reading role model for your child. Find your own joy in reading, be it in books, magazines, newspapers, or whatever medium you like. Share what you like about what you are reading with your child. For example, if you like a good mystery, explain to your child how you like the intrigue or excitement of solving the problem. If you enjoy catching up on the sports section in the newspaper, explain which players you follow or what stats you look for when you read.

Make Books Available

The key to reading is having books available. Create a reading nook in your child’s bedroom or, better yet, make it in a room where the whole family can read, like the den or living room. Get your child their own library card and make frequent visits to the library. Remember, books make fantastic gifts that your child can pass along or trade with friends.

If your child loves movies, find a book that has a film adaptation so you can read, then watch the movie after you have finished the book. That gives amazing opportunities to compare and contrast what the book was like in written form versus on the big screen.

Take Reading Mobile

If you find yourself in the car often driving to activities or on vacations, then make reading part of your trip. Audiobooks are readily available and can treat the whole family to a story during a long car ride.

How do you plan to celebrate literacy week? Ask your child what they love about reading and how they are celebrating in their classroom.

S.T.E.M Afternoon: Circuit Building and Heat Energy Experiments

S.T.E.M. Afternoon

Our lower elementary students worked with our 2nd grade teacher, Ms. Bekas and focused on studying heat energy. Our upper elementary students took a close look at electricity and circuits with our 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Gourley.

In both cases, our students were posed a scientific question and were challenged to solve it using materials and information about their topic provided by the KnowAtom curriculum.

Electricity and Circuits

What fun our students had building circuits using wires, batteries, lightbulbs, cardboard, switches and some tape! After learning about the types of circuits such as: simple, series and parallel circuits our students focused on the question: “How does the amount of current in a circuit change when more light bulbs are added to a series current compared to a parallel current?”

It was amazing to see how adept our students already are at creating a circuit, understanding what a short circuit is and how to operate switches. They discussed how circuits work, what a current is and what things conduct electricity and what insulates it. Ask your student what the results of their experiment were and how they might think differently about the electricity that runs all the appliances and lights in your house.

Heat Energy and Mixtures

Our 2nd graders also had some fun creating mixtures of water and hot chocolate as they explored the question: “Does heat energy affect the speed of Dissolving?”

After collecting materials that included three temperatures of water (cold, room temperature and hot water), our students timed how long the hot chocolate package would take to completely dissolve.

Prior to experimenting, our students discussed what they already know about energy and heat. From there, they created a hypothesis about which temperature water would dissolve the hot chocolate fastest and slowest.

What do you think happened? Was it the hot water that dissolved the hot chocolate the fastest or the cold water? Or perhaps was it the water that was left at room temperature? Ask your child what the results were.

Does your child like to solve problems or experiment? Join us for our next S.T.E.M Afternoon or Saturday. Check out the next dates on the NSCS calendar.