Tag Archives: Blog

basketball on the bench

Athletics in Lynn – Going Strong All Year.

By Todd McMillian, Middle School Social Studies

“What Team? North Shore! What Team? North Shore!! What Team? North Shore!!!” These words became the NSCS Girls Basketball team chant. It revved them up during a game and brought them closer as a team.

basketball on the benchThe girls basketball team, led by coaches Ari Ramsarran and Lily Rivera had a new starting lineup this year due to last year’s 8th grade graduates moving on to high school. The girls enjoyed friendships and experiences on and off the court, and improved week by week as the season progressed from its start in mid November through its end in late February. 7thgirls basketball grade team members included Cynthia Muriithi, Jade McMillan, Anastasia Mason, and Eliana Grullon. 6th grade members included Violet Saia, Danielle Nalesnik, Tiffany Dorsey and Akeelah Osun. 5th grade members included Kaylee Ashley and Shannon Ashley. We look forward to seeing what this team can achieve next year with a full slate of returning players.

The boys basketball team, led by coaches Alan Nahigian and Evan Betti, have laid down a solid foundation for the years ahead. The boys really enjoyed being a part of the program, worked hard in practices, and competed well in every game. The team will graduate 8th grade team members Matti W’Gebriel, McLaren Cook, and Sebastiano Di Modica. 7th grade boys basketballteam members include Isaac Portugal, Reid Smith, and Matthew Stuart. 6th grade members included Jayden Kelly and Daniel Brown. 5th grade members included Noah Thomas, Ian Bogertman, Josh DeSouza, Brendan Sharwood, and Alex Zemlyansky. Walter Ainsworth served tirelessly as the boys team manager, helping out with any needs during practices and by manning the stat book during games.

In other athletics news, NSCS is starting a co-ed Spring Track and Field Team! The program will be led by Miss Corinne Previte. Miss Previte is USATF Level 1 and 2 certified in sprints and jumps. She currently coaches at Gordon College along with teaching 5th grade at NSCS. Track and Field team members will experience different events that include distance, sprints, jumps, throws, relays and more! More details coming soon!

 

History Fair

An Evening of Remaking History

By Liz MacDavitt, 3rd/4th grade teacher

On February 10, 2020 NSCS Beverly celebrated our students’ hard work at the History Fair. It was quite the celebration of what students have been learning this year, with projects representing “The History of Me” (K), “Famous Americans” (1/2), “Fifty Nifty States Parade of Floats” (3/4), “The Civil War” (5/6), and “Unsung Heroes of the American Revolution” (7). Students in all grades worked so hard to produce high quality projects and focused their in-class efforts on strong presentation skills. Parents, extended relatives, and friends enjoyed visiting each class’s displays and revelled in hearing from excited students. The following day, each class visited other classrooms to view each project. This year’s History Fair was a great success!

In 3rd & 4th grade, projects like the “Fifty Nifty States Parade of Floats” allow students to dig deeper into topics studied in class. Students have the freedom to learn more about people, places, and events in history while representing their newfound knowledge in creative and artistic ways. For this project, each student selected one of the 50 states and built a state float to represent important places, natural resources, landmarks, scenic attractions, agriculture, and historical events found in that state. These creative floats were accompanied by a one page essay on their state’s statehood process, or a well-known historical person/event in their state. To add to the fun of this project, students were awarded bonus points for dressing as a famous historical figure or sharing a popular food from their state. All of this hard work and creativity was celebrated the night of the History Fair! Their floats were amazing, eye-catching, unique, colorful, and accurate representations of 25 different states that make up this great country. I was so impressed!

Although projects like this are time consuming and may cause us as teachers to press pause on regularly planned lessons, they are important. Aside from teaching students more about history and their selected topic, this project taught students a great deal about time management as they followed a timeline of due dates, self-starting as they completed the majority of their research outside of the classroom, and that creative, artistic inspirations definitely have a place in the classroom. Some of the steps of this project were new and challenging to some students, but the end results were projects that had been completed carefully and with excellence. As a teacher, I love projects that allow students to display their learning in a variety of creative mediums, and it seems that so many students learn and remember more content when they are given the freedom to create and use their own talents and interests to enhance their schoolwork. This will forever be one of my favorite projects because I can see how seriously students take their research and how much they learn from it as a result. There are older students in this school who had done this project with me in 3rd & 4th grade who still talk about their state float and what they learned! This is a testament to their hard work and to the value of a well-done History Project at NSCS. 

For now, we’re back to regularly planned lessons, which are equally important, but do stay tuned for more creative and exciting projects before this year ends! 

 

kids on tech

Tech Wise

By Pam Heintz, Head of School

Whether it’s a buzz, beep, chime, or ding one thing is for sure – our minds have been programmed to respond to the subtle attention-grabbing noises (or vibrations) that our smart phones make.  We can hardly stop the almost involuntary response that over takes our body as we seemingly unconsciously reach for our device. What exactly are we checking for anyway? For adults, it is most likely one of two things – work or our children.  

But, what about our children…what has them so enamored that they can hardly pull themselves away from their technology?   I read an article recently which shared some sobering statistics. The article, which was put out by Focus on the Family (click on the link to learn more https://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/tech-guide/) indicated that children ages 8-12 are on technology about 6 hours/day.  This amount increases to about 9 hours/day for children ages 13-18. I encourage everyone to read this article, it was eye-opening, to say the least.  

While the article shared several good ways that adults can monitor their children’s screen time, as well as some available filters that are on the market that they can incorporate to help limit their child’s ability to view or participate on inappropriate sites, it doesn’t completely solve the problem of children and technology.  Our kids will eventually reach an age (and that age is getting younger and younger) when they simple are a bit more tech savvy than mom and dad. In other words, the filters we may be using to protect our children may easily be bypassed by our children. So, what exactly do we do to help protect our children from overdosing on technology, or worst, becoming what some have coined as a tech addict?   Researchers have argued that the part of the brain that is stimulated and effected by certain substances that can lead to an addiction, is also the same part of the brain that is stimulated when we our engrossed in our technology.   To learn more about this phenomena check out this article, https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/fcd/teen-technology-addiction.  

Over usage of the screen is epidemic and experts are urging parents to take the reins and help limit the amount of time children spend in front of a screen.  According to research shared by CBS (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/parents-need-to-drastically-cut-kids-screen-time-devices-american-heart-association/), “Kids and teens age 8 to 18 spend an average of more than seven hours a day looking at screens. The new warning from the AHA (American Heart Association) recommends parents limit screen time for kids to a maximum of just two hours per day. For younger children, age 2 to 5, the recommended limit is one hour per day.”  

What can we do as adults to combat over usage of technology in our children?  Below are a few simple suggestions. Try adding a new suggestion each week until your child is spending a more appropriate (and healthy) amount of time in front of the screen.

  • For every 30 minutes of screen time, have your child read for at least 10 minutes.
  • If your family is not already in the habit, build in family dinners.  Pick a consistent time each night that dinner will be served…try preparing dinner with your child!  
  • Commit, along with your child, to leaving cell phones, laptops, iPads, and/or tablets on the kitchen counter each night before bedtime.
  • In the mornings instead of your child reaching for their technology first thing, how about leaving a Bible verse or inspirational saying next to their bed so when they wake up it’s the first thing they see as a opposed to the screen.

For more great tips to help your children combat the screen, check out this article https://www.verywellfamily.com/tips-for-limiting-electronics-and-screen-time-for-kids-1094870.

What is RTI All About?

By Janelle Sweet Dean of Academics & Curriculum Beverly Campus

What is RTI??? It is an intervention program we have held on the Beverly campus for the past two years! This teaching strategy is used in many schools in many different ways.

RTI blog

Often, we associate the word intervention to suggest negative connotations, however, in education, it can imply a positive meaning!  Literally the word intervention means:  A situation in which someone becomes involved in a particular issue in order to influence what happens. In education, RTI technically stands for Response to Intervention. So, if we consolidate all of this, our RTI program on the Beverly campus is using a format where our teachers are involved with specific training in the areas of ELA and Math.

The goal is to influence students with targeted instruction to enable them to grow and strengthen learning strategies specific to their needs.  RTI provides children with enhanced opportunities to learn.  RTI is not a particular method or instructional approach, rather it is a process that aims to shift educational resources toward the delivery and evaluation of instruction that works best for students(Readingrockets.org)

Our school uses Response to Intervention (RTI) to help students be successful in all content areas.  In addition to classroom teacher input, we utilize student assessments to measure areas that a child would benefit from language arts or math intervention.

We began this RTI program last school year and found it to be successful! We categorize skill groups and place children in a grade band for tutoring over a 6 – week period.

3rd 4th RTIWe have had an ELA group and a math group.  By combining the expertise of our teachers, we are able to have three different ELA focus groups.  In the first-grade band, the teachers focus is on phonemic segmentation, letter and sound fluency, and letter naming.  2nd grade RTIOur second-grade band focuses on trick word fluency, phonics, oral reading fluency and guided reading.  Grade band 3 focuses on writing conventions and mechanics, (spelling strategies, punctuation, capitalization) and writing process review.  Our fourth-grade band focuses on reading fluency and fluidity, and comprehension of abstract text.

Our math RTI was broken up into three grade bands.  The focus has ranged from application and practice, fact memorization, drills, and concept review.

The afterschool RTI program for this school year is at the half-way mark!  We planned the program to run for six weeks this year with hopes of extending the time-frame in the future.   With many thanks to our teachers and students, it has been another successful and well-attended year.

Hare from The Lost Words

All Nature Sings

By Jill VanderWoude, Advancement Associate

What a gorgeous weekend we had. 65 degrees in the middle of the winter is as lovely as it is unusual. I am sure most of us spent considerable time outside on Saturday and Sunday, and for good reason!

Not only is it good for us adults to get outside, it’s our responsibility to get our children outside too. Warm weather is a convenient motivator, but what happens when seasonable winter weather returns? Are we getting our kids outside?

Studies show that kids who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors. Clearly, time spent outside is a good thing.  It is worrisome then, that the average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen. (https://childmind.org/article/why-kids-need-to-spend-time-in-nature/ )

Yikes! That is alarming news. We remember playing outside, right? I cherish my childhood memories of building forts, hunting for things in the dirt and being a spy in the woods. I wanted that same childhood for my children, so when they were little, I made sure to send them outdoors. It’s true – it is work! When our kids are very little, we have to work at it and commit to spending time together outside. You have to get dirty and loud in order to model how to play. Once they get the hang of it you can sit back and watch it happen. It is a beautiful thing.

However, as they get older, play changes and so do their interests. I’ve noticed with my teens that they resist going outside. Don’t they remember when every day was an outdoor adventure? Making mud pies and jumping in puddles may no longer be entertaining, but I still insist they head outside in search of new adventures.

Why is it so important? Well, there are numerous apparent reasons: it’s good for your health, builds imagination, encourages risk taking and increases one’s socialization. Moreover though, spending time outside is the best way to investigate God’s creation.

The Lost Words bird“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  Job 12:7-10

In England, they have eliminated from certain dictionaries a number of words related to the natural world to order to make room for more “modern” words. A book entitled The Lost Words was written in response to this. It is a collection of poems about these very important words, now removed. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

The Lost WordsOnce upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone. Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow wren…all of them gone. The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”

It is upsetting to think that the next generation may not appreciate or know God’s world from firsthand experience. Perhaps they will only have read about it from a computer screen or seen a clip of nature from an app on their phone. Harvard Medical School recently published the following affirmation of outdoor play. “If a child grows up never walking in the woods, digging in soil, seeing animals in their habitat, climbing a mountain, playing in a stream, or staring at the endless horizon of an ocean, they may never really understand what there is to be lost. The future of our planet depends on our children; they need to learn to appreciate it.” https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/6-reasons-children-need-to-play-outside-2018052213880

So the next time you look outside and wonder if it’s worth venturing out, consider this. Whether it’s covered in snow, dripping with rain, whistling with wind or filled with the sun’s rays; this is our Father’s world!

 

*All pictures used in this blog are from The Lost Words book by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

Blog, Blessing

A Blessing for the New Year

By Mrs. Angie Weyler, Preschool TA

I was flying home after spending the holidays with 16 family members in 1 house for 9 days. Phew. My husband gifted me with the best Christmas present ever–a seat by myself in my own row on the flight home, while he graciously sat in the same row with our 3 girls and took care of their every need for the 3-hour plane ride home. Again, the best presents aren’t necessarily wrapped. 

The flight home was the first time in 9 days I was able to sit, clear my mind, read, pray, and just be still. There were no more cookies to bake, no more meals to cook, no more presents to wrap, no more holiday movies to watch, no more. Period. For 3 hours I was able to just sit with Jesus and hear what He wanted to say to me for the upcoming new year. 

Since no one needed me to open their snack or adjust the volume on their headphones or take them to the bathroom (again), I opened the book my mother gave me for Christmas–To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings written by John O’Donohue–and got lost in the simple, yet profound words of wisdom. I was hardly surprised when one of the first blessings entitled “A Morning Offering” so beautifully and appropriately prepared me to usher in 2020. I have included an excerpt of this inspiring blessing below. 

From the blessing “A Morning Offering”

Blog blessing

I pray we all take time this year to give God a few moments of silence every single day to fill our tanks, strengthen our hearts, sharpen our minds, and refresh our souls. When we are intentional and determined to drown out the noise and give God the quietness of our lives, He repeatedly and faithfully and powerfully shows up. Time and time and time again. 

Praying we all get our own row this year and allow God to take and bless the few moments of peace, quietness, and solitude we have each day for His glory and the betterment of this world. 

 

book, teach like Finland, blog

Teach Like Finland

By Corrine Previte, 5th grade teacher

This past summer, I was able to take an Advanced Human Development class at Gordon College towards my masters. One of the assignments was to write a paper pertaining to childhood development. I decided to write about the development of children in the Finnish school system. Why did I decide to research this topic? Finland is one of the top-rated schools in the world and I was curious on why that was. This led me to dive straight into my research.

Over the course of my research I came across a book titled “Teach like Finland” by Timothy Walker. A Boston native himself, decided to take the plunge and teach abroad in Finland for a year. He soon discovered that maybe the Finns were doing something right. For instance, students in Finland take fifteen-minute breaks for every forty-five minutes of instruction. During this time, students usually went outside to play and socialize with friends. Walker had begun to notice that children would come into his classroom with a “bounce in their step” rather than “dragging their feet.” According to Anthony Pellegrini (author of Recess: Its Role in Education and Development) his findings “confirm that frequent breaks boost attentiveness in class” (Walker, 2016, 11). Another professor from McGill University believed that “giving the brain time to rest, through regular breaks, leads to greater productivity and creativity” (Walker, 2016, 13).

After reading this part of the text, I started implementing this strategy into my classroom with my fifth graders and have found that the kids are more motivated to learn and ready to tackle their next task. One of my students stated that “brain breaks are fun, they just help us get ready for things, like tests.”

Another strategy I have used that is recommended by the Finns is mindfulness. I am currently using “Ready, Set, Relax” by Jeffery S. Allen and Roger J. Klein, which is a research based program. According to Teach like Finland, mindfulness not only helps kids remain attentive but it also helps them have greater empathy, emotional control, and Previtte's classroomoptimism. It also helped with their cognitive control and stress physiology and showed “greater decreases in self-reported symptoms of depression and peer-rated aggression” (Walker, 2016, 52). By using this program, I have noticed that after we have done a mindfulness activity, students are more relaxed and able to transition smoothly to the lesson we are about to begin. Students are also eager to do it and want to do 1-2 mindfulness activities before we even begin a lesson. One of my fifth graders stated that mindfulness is “fun, it feels good because we get to sit down and relax after recess, it calms me down. It helps me to stay focused.” Another student stated that “I like it because it relaxes me and makes me feel less stressed.” Overall, as a teacher in the United States, I think we can all learn something from Finnish schools and maybe if we can’t implement all of their suggestions, we can implement some of their techniques in order to create a happy, healthy, and peaceful learning environment.

Celebrating Christmas Around the World

By Taylor Morris, 3rd/4th Grade teacher

It has been said by many that this is the most wonderful time of the year and as Christians it is not hard to see why.  December is a much anticipated time of year as we recall our Savior’s birth and are reminded that He will come again. This is a time of celebration and of many traditions that are continually being carried on. This week through the rest of December  3rd graders on the Beverly campus are learning about Christmas traditions around the world. They are finding that even Christians around the world have different traditions than we do. 

Society tells us that this time of year is all about asking for and receiving the things we want, but as Christians we know we have been given all we need through Christ’s birth. The third graders are focusing on different traditions and cultures around the world and will be presenting their projects to each other so that everyone will learn about all of the different places. The places being studied are Ethiopia, Australia, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, and Germany. 

Morris grade 3/4Students will be presenting their findings with a stocking report. They will show each other where the country they are presenting is on the map, relate their celebrations to how we celebrate through comparing and contrasting, tell us how this place says Merry Christmas, and either dressing up like people do in this place at Christmas or making a traditional holiday food. In class we are also reading about other places in the world to learn more about them. We are making our best effort to think outside of ourselves at this time of year when it would be so easy to just focus on inward. I am excited to see what each student learns through this process. The third graders are so excited to take on this task. Gifts and decorating are wonderful but at the core we are really concerned about the true reason for this season

 

Hamilton bulletin board

Thanksgiving in Hamilton

By Kristy Camp, Early Childhood Program, Hamilton Campus

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.  Psalm 69:30

In this season of hustle and bustle, we pause to give thanks to God for all that He has created, given, and blessed us with.  It is a time of preparation for the birth of that beautiful Savior, and also for gathering with family and friends.thanksgiving Feast Hamilton

During this month, my TAs Jan, Deb and myself have been speaking often to my class of preschool/preK-ers about giving thanks, being thankful and what it looks like to thank God for what he has bestowed upon us.  We’ve read some books about the Pilgrims, Natives and the first Thanksgiving.  We’ve read other books about what Thanksgiving looks like today in our homes and how we center around the table with family and friends.  We’ve read passages in our Bible, stories about God’s people who give thanks for hardships, trials and also joys and victories.  But most of all, we just talk to them about how blessed we are that we can come to school, worship and play with our friends, have good nutritious food to eat, shelter over our heads, and a beautiful campus that we can enjoy for its nature and green space.  And they get it!  The children may be young, but they show thanksgiving everyday in their actions toward one another, their kind words, or just the caring they have for each other and also us, the teachers.

thanksgiving feastAs we closed out November, it was our great joy to share in a Thanksgiving feast with the children at school.  Many wonderful parents helped set up and prepare a delicious spread of food for the children and each other to enjoy.  I was truly thankful to see the children all sitting together and enjoying the special meal.  They were kind, gracious and polite, all of the things you hope to see in your class.  I was proud as well as thankful.

As we move into December my prayer for them is that they remember what being thankful is and feels like as we begin our Christmas season.  We will continue to speak often of being thankful in the classroom.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Hamilton class thanksgiving

 

A Monday in the Life of a Middle Schooler

I was blessed to take part in the ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) Middle School conference which took place at North Shore Christian’s Beverly campus last Monday, October 28th. A good number of our own 5th, 6th, and 7th graders participated, along with many students from four other Christian schools of New England. As a 7th grade teacher, I was given the opportunity to listen alongside these students, and lead some small group discussion. Most importantly, I enjoyed encouraging these students in their own learning, and their creative expression of themselves, their faith, and their goals for making an impact.

Speakers Tim Eldred and Brian Aaby led the ACSI conference, as a part of their OneDay ministry program. The day was divided into three sessions, each of which included games, interactive questions between speakers and students, and time to reflect and pray. All of the games encouraged students to get out of their seats and interact with students from different schools, and I enjoyed watching the students getting to know each other and step outside their comfort zones.

 

The three segments that the students participated were titled Image, Imagination, and Impact. During the Image session, Tim and Brian led students in thinking about their own self-image, and how this is impacted by both the negative and positive words that have been said to us about ourselves. Students were given time to draw a self-portrait, and share things that they liked about themselves, and things they disliked about themselves. Brian and Tim led a role-playing activity in which students played the roles of a self-critical person, and Jesus, trying to imagine what Jesus would say in response to self-conscious thinking. It was clear that this activity had a huge impact on some of the students I talked to, because it gave them tools to use when they found themselves stuck in patterns of thinking negatively about themselves. 

Tim and Brian also led students in an activity where they chose 16 attributes that described themselves. 12 of these attributes were positive, and 4 were negative. Students were then asked to narrow this list down until they came up with the 4 attributes that best described themselves. Then, in small groups, we looked at these lists, and students really opened up about the ways that they felt about these traits. All of the groups were instructed to consider the positive sides to the negative trait, and conversely, the negative side to their positive traits. We then brainstormed about how these traits could be used to positively impact our community and the people around us.

Finally, in the afternoon, students were given a task to work on as a school group on their Impact Project. This project made space for students to brainstorm and discuss tangible ways that they could positively impact their school or community. THey were asked to identify a need in their school, a desired outcome, create a purpose statement, and organize meeting times to include anyone that was interested in contributing.

I found this to be an incredibly empowering assignment for these students. The NSCS Beverly group got to work right away organizing a student-led group in which students in our school hope to pray for students in their school, as well as anonymously send encouraging notes and gifts. They were in agreement that this could be a tangible, powerful way to encourage one another and spread God’s love throughout our school community. 

This activity enabled the teachers to give the students the prompts they needed to structure their conversation, and then step aside and let the students actively and intentionally work as creative, thoughtful leaders of their school. I was so proud to watch them do this, and a week later, they already have their first meeting set up to make this project become a reality. I can see how taking ownership of their ideas will allow them to make a difference in their school as an independent, student-led group. The students were excited to contribute to something that was their own, and something that really mattered to them. 

This conference was so impactful for this very reason. Every activity empowered these young people and gave them space to view their own worth and potential from Jesus’ perspective. I was amazed to see how Brian and Tim validated these students in their struggles and questions that they are facing, and how these men recognized our students as leaders and change-makers, regardless of their age. This conference served as a wonderful platform for these young people to collaborate and brainstorm, and share their thoughts and ideas about real issues that matter to them. I am so thankful that I was able to take part in this, and I think this conference really made an impact on the lives of our students.