Peace “Otterly” Excites!

This time of the year naturally brings out the excitement of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. The Kinders are learning that peace excites not only in receiving from others but also in giving, gratitude, and persevering through hard work.

In learning about the first Thanksgiving and all that the Pilgrims had to go through for religious freedom, we realize how much we have to be thankful for.  Many of us got to celebrate Thanksgiving surrounded by family, friends, a feast (harvested from the grocery store) that probably lasted for days, and the freedom to pray and worship God as we desire.

Just like the pilgrims had to work hard in a new land to survive, the Kinders got a small taste of what life could have been like in the past where everything was planted for harvesting and made from scratch.  They each took turns helping make homemade butter by shaking a jar of whipping cream constantly for about 10 minutes! Boy, did their arms get tired!

Kyros took her turn at shaking one of the jars of whipping cream until it turned to butter!
After minutes of vigorous shaking, the Kinders finally made butter! [We even noticed the three states of matter that existed in that small jar – solid (butter), liquid (buttermilk), and gas (air)].
We couldn’t let the hard of work of butter-making go to waste, so we had to enjoy it on some bread, of course.  Delicious! The Kinders even asked for a second serving of bread and butter 🙂

We also made some popcorn in honor of our study of Squanto, the friendly Native American Indian who taught the Pilgrims how to raise and harvest corn.  With the help of our school’s cognitive therapist Ms. Pattie, the Kinders enjoyed the experience of watching corn kernels wildly transform into popcorn!


They used their five senses to come up with some “juicy” adjectives to describe our popcorn before devouring it!


With Christmas in just a few weeks, our Social Studies unit on Needs and Wants was a great segue into the real meaning and spirit of Christmas.  The Kinders came up with a list of items they want for Christmas.


Then they brainstormed what they think we really need to live.  It’s a pretty good list, don’t you think?


The Kinders concluded that what we really need is Jesus.  God provides for all our physical needs as He promises in Matthew 6:25-32, BUT Jesus is the only way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). This Christmas we are thankful for Jesus who came to earth for the purpose of saving us from our sins so that we could have an eternal relationship with God our Father.

In Art, the Kinders were excited to create their Christmas ornaments to decorate the CCA Christmas tree!

In Math, the Kinders are showing that peace excites when we become part of the math problem!

Human Tally Marks!
The Kinder saints use a nonstandard unit of measure (markers) to find out how long Cadence is!

Finally, we would like to introduce you to the newest member of our class…

Oscar Otter!

The Kinders are reading through Oscar Otter together this quarter. It is fun to watch their “otter” excitement over finding trick words, digraphs, bonus letters, glued sounds, and chunking words together.  We have some great readers in the making!

Here are just a few of our readers in the making.


Our end-of-quarter “Peace Exists” Fruitful Event was a success!  It was a success because these Kinders were proud of their work and they truly honored God in what they shared.  This event was such a great picture of Central Christian Academy’s motto coming to life:

Where home, church, and school work together.

It was a real treat to have family members, friends, and pastors come together so that the Kinder saints could share their first quarter of learning, exploration, and fun. If you were not able to make it, check out the short video and photo slideshow below to get a glimpse of what took place at this special event!

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The God of Order

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace…         – 1 Corinthians 14:33

As we continue our theme of “Peace Exists” throughout the first quarter, we discovered that peace exists when there is order.  1 Corinthians 14:33 tells us that our Creator is a God of order.  In context, the apostle Paul explains that the church functions best when there is order. That is true also in the classroom. We know that putting our supplies where they belong after we use them allows us to function peacefully and smoothly in the classroom.  We also know that disorder in the classroom (for example, not putting headphones back where they belong) can result in frustration, discontentment, and blame. In the Peace Fruit Stand, we are learning that we can make messes, get dirty, have fun, and still restore order when we work well together.

This week we discovered that order is EVERYWHERE!

In Math, we explored the use and function of ordinal numbers. The Kinders learned that ordinal numbers, by its name and definition, tell the position of something in an ordered sequence.

In Language Arts, we launched all of the Daily 5 activities: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Word Work, and Work on Writing.  Each activity follows a set of expectations that, when followed in an orderly manner, will help each Kinder become better readers and writers.

Word Work

In Science, we learned about the States of Matter: solid, liquid, and gas.  We made observations and conclusions about water.  When a solid (ice cube) is introduced to heat, it will melt and become liquid (water).  When the liquid (water) is introduced to more heat, it changes to a gas (steam). When a liquid (water) is introduced to cold temperatures, it becomes a solid (ice cube).  We learned that not all solids are affected by temperature, but when they are, they follow these rules.

The Kinders watched a solid ice cube change its state when heat from their hands was applied to it (pictured above).  Then they worked together to make Jell-O and observed its changing state from a liquid to a solid.  The following day they enjoyed the best part – eating their work!


When there is order, peace (and the sweetest smiles) exists.

Created In His Own Image


Meet Blastoids!  He is the newest addition to our class! What would you say if I told you that Blastoids is the result of integrating Academic Content Objectives (ACOs) in multiple subjects in a fun, creative, student-led, teacher-facilitated environment? Blastoids is an example of project-based learning (or PBL).

For more information on PBL, check out this short video.

Blastoids is a product of the Kinders’ collective work.  Let me share with you the process we took to create him.

In math, the Kinders spent a little over a week learning about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.  To help them connect shapes to the world around them, we went on a shape hunt around the school and collected objects in a variety of shapes.  The Kinders even saved some of the disposable containers from their snacks!  The Kinders quickly discovered that shapes are EVERYWHERE!  We couldn’t take everything we found with us (because that would be called stealing), so we took photos of them on my phone and printed them out later on.  After our shape hunt, we found ourselves with a pile of random items in the middle of our classroom.  The Kinders needed to address the driving question: “How can we display the 2D and 3D objects collected during our shape hunt?”


After some collaboration and communication, the Kinders decided to take it to a vote.  They came up with all kinds of ideas and finally narrowed it down to building a robot together.  “But how do we do that?” one Kinder asked.  This question sparked a conversation about a recent Bible lesson about God’s creation of man.  Genesis 1:27 says,

So God created mankind in His own image,
in the image of God He created them;
male and female He created them.

We were reminded through this verse in Scripture that we were created in the likeness of God. And all that He had created prior to this verse was so masterfully done with varying shapes and functions.

The Kinders were given a brief exercise to imagine God’s created world with everything made only of squares.  Then they attempted to draw self portraits using only squares (as pictured above).  Though we all thought each drawing was quite adorable, we concluded that God’s artful design of us and everything else He created is so much more beautiful with all of its varying lines and shapes.

“God is so creative!” a Kinder joyfully exclaimed.

“So, if WE are created in His own image and God is creative, that must mean that we are creative, too! How can we use our creativity to build this robot?” I asked.

The Kinders proceeded to share their ideas, established different jobs and roles (with teacher assistance), gathered supplies, and got to work. This project did not address a real world problem like most project-based learning does, but the students had to problem-solve and learn to work together peacefully when they hit snags in their creating and building approach. It was a rough process for them to work through since most of them were concerned about what THEY wanted to do. However, each time they were reminded of their purpose and goal, those key social skills (of turn-taking, showing patience, sharing ideas, listening to others’ ideas, and working together in a peaceful manner) would resurface. They were able to move forward and create a final product.

So in the midst of covering content in the subjects of Math, Bible, and Art, the Kinders were developing some of the social skills necessary to be successful now and in the future!


Here are a list of other things the Kinders are learning and developing in school:

  • Building reading stamina during Read to Self and Read to Someone (pictured below) for Daily 5.
  • Adding details to their drawings to share an idea or tell a story during Writer’s Workshop.  They will be adding words to their pictures next week.
  • Applying lessons from Adam and Eve; Hannah and Samuel; and Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac in the Bible.
  • Logging on online to IXL independently (for additional math content practice) in the Media Center.
  • Learning number sense, days of the week, months of the year, patterns, shapes, addition, and tallying during calendar time.
  • Identifying, writing, and counting numbers 1-20.
  • Studying the five food groups and the importance of each in our daily food intake.
  • Exploring a variety of lines and shapes in Art.
  • Using loud vs. soft and fast vs. slow through song in Music.

The Kinders are excited about using Kindles next week in Language Arts and Math!  I, however, am excited about watching their “likeness of God” continue to unfold this year in the Peace Fruit Stand!


In the Beginning…

IMG_2937What a GREAT first week of the school year! I prepared some Jitter Juice (Sprite and punch) to help make those first day of school jitters disappear, but apparently I was the only one with the jitters!  Each of the Kinder saints were excited about being in Kindergarten! (We still had a few sips of the yummy juice to make any hidden jitters go away!)

One of the first questions I asked the Kinders this week was “What is peace?” Some of their responses were: “Peace is…relaxing, chillin’, going to the beach, being nice.”  We will seek to answer that question throughout the school year in our study of God’s Word, our interactions with others, and through our classroom learning.

Here are a few things we have learned so far as we opened up the Bible this week.  The Scriptures tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…God saw all that He had made, and it was very good (Genesis 1:1, 31).” There was peace and perfection in His creation. Peace existed in the beginning. Peace comes from God.

We discussed what Peacemakers and Peacebreakers look like, sound like, and how they affect others. We already see how peacemaking is important in all aspects of our day:  the way we use our crayons and pencils, eat our snack and lunch, open and close the door, walk in the hallway,  and talk to our friends and teachers, to name a few.

Check out these photos to see how we are learning and practicing how to infuse peace into our school day!


Read to Self is the first of the Daily 5 exercises in Reader’s Workshop to build independent readers and writers.  The Kinders learned three ways to read a book:

  1. Read the pictures.
  2. Read the words.
  3. Retell the story.

Most of them are reading the pictures for now, but as they do, they are making meaning of the story and are working on building reading stamina.  We have been practicing Read to Self in 3-minute increments and will  work on increasing our stamina in the coming weeks.

The Kinders also shared their “All About Me” bags with their classmates.  This was a great opportunity for them to use their peacemaking abilities and listen quietly while one classmate shared the items he/she brought from home.

We also discussed the proper and improper ways to handle math manipulatives.  They worked together in small groups to collaborate, share, and create in a peaceable manner.


Peacemakers keep each other safe and follow classroom and playground expectations. When we do so, peace is also fun!

The Kinder saints have graduated to the big school playground!

We ended our week with our first chapel of the year.  This is one of my favorite times of the week because we get to gather together as a school and worship God through song and Bible teaching from Mrs. Stephens (and occasional guests).

Chapel on Fridays

These saints are a bright, creative, loving bunch!  I am so thankful to be their teacher!

Don’t forget to check out your Kinders’ self portraits hanging on the wall by our classroom!

Greetings from the Peace Fruit Stand!

IMG_2904Welcome to Kindergarten!  Seeing the classroom filled with parents and students during Parent Orientation Night made me all the more thrilled to get the new school year going!

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”  This year, our Kinder saints will focus on PEACE and how it exists, excites, expresses, and expands in our home, school, and community.

I look forward to getting to know each of you better throughout the coming school year.  Here’s a little bit about me…


I have been praying for each Kinder saint by name and can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in and through their lives this year.  Thank you for letting me be a part of it. Let’s unite together to make Kindergarten a fabulous year!

What a Difference a Year Makes!


Little did these sweet Kinders know on the first day of school (as pictured above) that they would grow, stretch, strengthen, love, and encourage one another and their teacher throughout the year.  Our kindergarten year has now come to a close and I am excited about what God will do through these full-fledged Firsties next year!

Our Kinder year at a glance…

To help the future Firsties transition smoothly into their new year, some of Mrs. Rhodes’ former first graders gave them a sneak peak on what they will be learning next school year.



The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

– Numbers 6:24-26