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Posts Tagged "Classical"

Why Choose Pre-K at CA?

July 13, 2016
By Lynette Fowler

Why Choose Pre-Kindergarten at Cornerstone Academy?

We wanted a place that would encourage loving the Lord, manners, hard work, respectfulness, a family centered dynamic, and strong academics.

– Ashley Williams (Pre-K Parent)

  1. Biblical Instruction: Our students are taught Bible daily; however Christ and His teachings are implemented in our instruction in every subject. For example, when learning about triangles, our class might also learn about The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). We learned about the twelve disciples during our Community Helpers week. It was a great connection for our young minds to realize that Jesus had helpers, just like we have people in our community to help us.
  2. Power of Play: Preschoolers love to play. It’s an important part of their development and how they learn. We use toys in our teaching instruction to help increase vocabulary and inspire learning. For example, during our Zoo Unit we built zoos with building blocks and Legos. They were given animals to put in their exhibits. Without realizing it, students started using math skills as they asked questions like: “Which zoo is longest? shortest? tallest?" They also found themselves building vocabulary and practicing fine-motor skills. This is a valuable learning opportunity that our young learners love.  
  3. Phonics Based: We learn one letter a week based around a specific theme: H is for harvest, I for insect, T for transportation, etc. This strategy allows us to focus on the letter and really emphasize what each letter looks like, how it is pronounced, and what sound it makes. We also learn how to write and sign the letter with our hands. Learning one letter a week is a slow process; however it lays a beautiful foundation for learning to read.
  4. Qualified Teaching Staff:  The Lord has really blessed us with an incredible teaching staff. All teachers have a teaching license and/or degree. Many of our teachers have different strengths and backgrounds. Mrs. Shannon Key taught for 8 years as a Special Ed. Teacher and has a strong teaching emphasis in Phonics. Mrs. Lynette Fowler, Director and Teacher, has a strong math and science background and brings that skill set into our classrooms.

 

"We chose CA because we were looking for a school that would reinforce values that we teach at home. We are very intentional about the people we place in the lives of our children when they are young. We know that the teachers at CA are people who will not only educate them to the highest standard but will also work alongside us as parents to shape and mold our children’s character."

- Caroline Kelly (Pre-K Parent)

  1. Sign Language: We love teaching our little learners sign language. Sign Language helps develop fine motor skills. By moving their hands in different ways, they are developing muscles that will help them hold pencils later on in their educational career.

  1. Music Instruction: I cannot sing the praises and benefits of music enough in a classroom. Most of our content and classroom procedures are learned through songs. In Math, we use songs to learn the formation of numbers, and in Science, types of dinosaurs. Phonics, letters and sounds are taught through music. Students are learning enormous amounts of information without the restrictions of deskwork. We have very cheerful classrooms full of music and movement.

 

"Jordyn loved the songs, bible verses and all the activities"

- Tonya Richards (Pre-K Parent)

  1. Extra-Curricular Activities: Part of our daily schedule is Physical Education or Music taught by a trained teacher. Physical Education is a wonderful addition to our program that develops gross-motor skills (balance and core strength). Another part of our program is class with our music teacher. She focuses on the basics and foundations of music, such as rhythm and beat.  Our school also offers violin lessons.
  2. Community: The environment that God orchestrates in our building is my favorite part of our program.  Every administrator, teacher, aide, parent volunteer, and office staff member has been placed here by God to interact with our students in such a way that points them to Christ. Another benefit of being a part of a larger school (CA is Pre-K through 12th grade) is that we have older students who love our youngest school members. Middle school students come into our classroom to read books and play puzzles, while high school students may come to model prayer.  Our younger learners love when older students interact with them. It’s exciting to learn from other kids!

 

"We also loved that with this school EVERYONE is involved with our child's future."

- Tonya Richards (Pre-K Parent)

 

  1. Affordable and Available- Our four-year-old class is less expensive than most daycares in the area - and with the same flexible hours. Our doors open at 7:30 am for parents that need to attend work; however, school starts at 8:00 am. We have flexible hours with pick-up times at noon or 3:00 pm. We also offer AfterCare until 5:30 pm. For more information on our schedules and pricing, please check out our website.

 

These are only a few reasons to love our school, and it doesn’t give God the recognition He so rightly deserves for inspiring and creating an atmosphere of the working body of Christ. If you want a school that loves children, loves teaching, and continually points their students to Christ, consider Cornerstone Academy.

(This article was not only written by a Pre-K Director and Teacher, but also a mother of a Pre-K student.)

Tags: Classical, Pre-K

I Love Reading Shakespeare

June 24, 2016
By Chelsea Carrier

5 Reasons I Love Reading Shakespeare with Middle School Students

Chelsea L. Carrier

 

When my 7th and 8th grade students first hear that we’re going to read Shakespeare, many slouch in their chairs, groan, gag, and roll their eyes. But each time we open A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, they find out how accessible and enjoyable the Bard can be, and I’m reminded of five reasons I love reading Shakespeare with my middle school students.

1. It’s accessible.

In honor of the Bard’s death on April 23rd, my students and I drank tea, ate donuts, and read a few sonnets. Then they had a challenge: write a sonnet in 10-15 minutes. The form might not have been as precise as the bard’s, but hopefully the resulting verses dedicated to potatoes and sushi not only helped them remember the rhyme scheme and standard lengths of a Shakespearean sonnet, but enabled them to recognize Shakespeare as something they could regard with a bit more familiarity than fear.

2. It’s challenging.

Language has changed dramatically over the past four-hundred years. Not only does Shakespeare's language include archaic words, but poetic devices. Add that to the fact that we are reading aloud, something not everyone enjoys. Both drama and Shakespeare require a level of vulnerability - everyone feels awkward and self-conscious, and sharing that draws us closer together. In fact, I probably hear more encouraging remarks among the students to each other during this time because for once, all of them are intimidated by the reading, and it brings them together.

3. It’s relational.

Since my students are encountering Shakespeare for the first time, we read the plays together in class. They love this, if for no other reason than they don’t have homework. As we read, I often stop them so we can discuss, and while many times the pauses enable us to clarify the basic plot or highlight a witty comment, we are also able to reflect and sympathize with the characters’ experiences, both tragic and comedic.  

4. It's physical.

Drama is the marriage of the abstract and the concrete, the literary example of the Word becoming flesh. Plays are meant to be performed, so when we read, we don’t simply sit around the room and read parts. We move the tables and chairs aside, do a few drama warm-ups (voice exercises, tongue twisters, and concentration games) and then we perform an informal dramatic reading. Sometimes I’ll stop the students in the middle of their reading, and we’ll discuss what the character would be doing in that moment, and then we back up and actually do it.

5. It’s enjoyable.

What? Yes, actually, during these weeks multiple students come in and ask, with anticipation in their voices, “Are we going to read Shakespeare today?

Part II: Ten Things I Love About Mock Trials

May 12, 2015
By Dr. Faith Acker

Ten Things I Love about Mock Trials: Part II

Faith Acker

 

In my last post, I discussed five traditional benefits of mock trials. They are a wonderful pedagogical tool, provide great practice for real-world situations, and help students learn to think and to express themselves more clearly. These are all good academic defenses of mock trials, but the mock trial structure also has some less traditional benefits.

6.  Objections! The trial process is filled with rules and structure, as well as opportunities to challenge others who do not follow this structure. Learning how to challenge or contradict other people respectfully is one of life’s most important lessons. If practiced in secondary school, it will help these students in college (especially if they enroll in secular colleges), their careers, and even their relationships. While I don’t advocate shouting “Objection!” at a classmate, employer, or spouse, I do encourage my students to raise questions—and talk through the answers—not only in the mock trial process, but in all our English classes.

 

7.  Pathos reigns supreme. Trial arguments require not only logos (clear logic) and ethos (appeals to standards), but pathos. The most persuasive opening statement in the world still must survive the emotional appeal of a bereaved witness pleading for the other side. Trials, of necessity, include all forms of rhetorical appeal, students must learn to identify (and respond appropriately to) whatever rhetoric the world offers them.

8.  We study opposing views. Learning to understand differing schools of thought is an important part of the classical education, and both mock trial and debate allow students to anticipate and analyze differing opinions. My ninth graders are currently working on a mock trial of Creon (from Antigone), and at least two of them are annoyed that I’ve put them on the “wrong” side. Defending both sides of a given position is at the heart of the classical (Socratic) methodology, and it will also help us—as Christians—practice respect and discernment.

9.  Trial preparations are frustrating. Life is full of unexpected complications, such as the closing statement that mysteriously deletes itself the night before a trial, the witness who does not remember key details, or the irksome lawyer who makes repeated objections. Learning to deal with frustrations with grace is an important part of life; it is an especially crucial part of Christianity. We are called upon to live our faith not only in the blessed times, but also during the trials, and the annoyances and panics that plague long and complicated projects (such as mock trials) offer safe opportunities to practice appropriate responses.

10.  Trial preparations enable grace. Life is full of unexpected complications, and these also allow others to show us grace. Many of my students are (like me) fiercely independent and self-motivated. As Christians, we are expected to live in community, and in addition to serving others, we also sometimes need to allow others to serve us. During our Lancelot trial, one of my most independent students (who has many great skills, but is not the most accomplished typist) was driven by necessity to ask for last-minute typing assistance from a classmate. For her (and for me), learning to accept help with grace and gratitude is an important spiritual lesson.

As a teacher, mock trials require extensive (and sometimes exhausting) preparations and planning, but their benefits are tremendous. They are challenging and exciting in the moment, and some of these benefits will (I pray!)  last these students for decades.

The Word Became Flesh

April 14, 2015
By Chelsea Carrier

The Word Became Flesh

A few weeks ago during dismissal, I sat at my desk for a moment and watched my students leave. Usually I join the students in putting up chairs and gathering my belongings before I grade papers, email parents, and discuss teaching strategies with colleagues. My eighth graders had started one of my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird, and already several of the kids had come to me saying how much they liked it and how far ahead they were. But something didn’t seem right, and as I watched my my students leave, I wondered, How many of them actually get it? I wasn’t so much concerned with whether they grasped who wrote what book or why a character made a certain decision or what a hyperbole is, but who Christ is, what the gospel is and means. After the last student shut the door, I couldn’t help crying, which (at least this time) turned to praying. I opened my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird and flipped through the chapters we were reading about Scout’s first day of school battles with the new teacher, Miss Caroline:

Atticus stood up and walked to the end of the porch. When he contemplated his examination of the wisteria vine he strolled back to me.

     “First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—”

     “Sir?”

     “—until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” (39)

Since my first time reading Mockingbird, I have appreciated Atticus’s simplicity and wisdom, but as I read these lines again, I realized I had a new opportunity to share the gospel with my students.

The next day, I had my students write journal entries (funny or personal—their choice) based on the following prompt:

            I just wish (insert a person here) would understand…

When they finished, I told them we would be rewriting the entries from the other person’s point of view. Then I shared Atticus’s words with them, along with the following verses:

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

I then asked them, “Who climbed in our skin and walked around in it?”

We talked for a few minutes about how the God of the universe, who wasn’t under obligation to create us, much less understand us, came down and climbed into our skin, walked around in it, and then died for each person in the room. With that grace and knowledge, we ought to walk around in other people’s skin because Christ chose to do the same for us. Climbing in someone’s skin can be:

  • as simple as imagining you are the person and reflecting on the situation,
  • as convicting and compassionate as prayer,
  • or as practical as physically doing whatever it is the person does--whether it be washing the dishes, watching the kids, or helping with homework.

 

As I read the student’s journals, the ones where they had to write from a different point of view, I noticed that most of these entries sounded more like letters. Some of the letters had to be hard to write, as they were from the perspective of someone who had offended or hurt the writer in some way. The beauty came from the students’ insight and compassion. The letters were characterized by an ability to give any offending parties the benefit of the doubt, not excuses, but a realization that we are humans broken by sin.

Scout never could understand Miss Caroline or the Cunninghams.

I may not understand a student’s inattention.

You may not understand your son or daughter’s mood swings.

And we won’t understand until we imitate Christ and climb in each other’s skin. Whether we remember, forget, or even fail, we can rest in the truth that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

 

Works Cited

The ESV Study Bible. Ed. Lane T. Dennis. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. Print.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1982. Print.

Latin's Not Dead

April 09, 2015
By Tracey Carrin

Why Study a “Dead” Language?

Amo, amas, amat…amamus, amatus, amant.”  This is the mantra of every current and former student of Latin. Last week, as my 5th grade class chanted this verb, a hand shot up to ask a pressing question:  “Why do we study Latin since it’s a dead language?”  Well, young one, I’m glad you asked!
 
How can something so ubiquitous be dead?  (ubiquitous, from the Latin ubique, meaning everywhere)  Latin is a language (language, from the Latin lingua, tongue) that is hard to escape.  Its remnants (remnant, from the Latin remanere, to remain) litter our English language like shells on a beach, each one a wonder to find and investigate (investigate, from the Latin investigare, to track or investigate).  I propose that this language is far from dead, but vibrantly alive in the language we use every day.
 
True, Latin is not a modern spoken language.  The Roman Empire from which it sprang has long since disintegrated.  However, the Romans left behind ideas that shaped Western civilization, including their prolific language.  The structure of English comes mostly from German (as well as many of our monosyllabic words), but even so, 60% of our vocabulary has a Latin origin.  An even higher percentage of our words that are two or more syllables come from Latin.  There are two main reasons for this abundance. 
 
First, in the 4th century, St. Jerome translated the Bible into the vulgate (or common) Latin. Then in 1382, John Wycliffe translated that work into English.  At the time, English was a new and somewhat underdeveloped language.  Words like propitiation and sanctify did not have an English equivalent, so the Latin words themselves were adopted into the malleable English language.  A thousand Latin words slipped into our language through the door of the Wycliffe Bible.
 
The second reason we have a generous amount of multi-syllabic Latin-based words is that all of academia in Europe knew and communicated in Latin during the Enlightenment.  It was the international language of the well-educated.  New ideas created a need for new vocabularies in science, astronomy, medicine, and philosophy, and thus found their expression in the “dead” language of Latin. The academic preference for the common “lingua Latina” spawned vast amounts of vocabulary.  Today the fields of law, medicine, and science are filled with Latinate lexicons.
 
But why do we study Latin today?  Are there still good reasons, even if you will never become a doctor, lawyer, or scientist? Educator Dorothy Sayers, whose essay The Lost Tools of Learning has inspired the resurgence of classical education in our country, offers us this startling perspective on the importance of Latin during a 1952 speech entitled “Ignorance and Dissatisfaction,” given in Cambridge, UK, “...If I were asked what, of all the things I was ever taught, has been of the greatest practical use to me, I should have to answer: the Latin Grammar.”
 
Classical education fosters sound thinking, writing, and speaking.  These skills are not merely philosophical niceties, but benefit the student in practical ways.  Latin has a positive and profound impact on the acquisition of these skills. 
 
At first glance, you may wonder, as my young student did, "Why do we study Latin since it's a dead language?" As we look closer at this language of weighty influence, we realize that Latin is not dead.  It's immortal.

 

Citations:
 “The Adventure of English: Birth of a Language,” BBC Documentary, 2003. YouTube, 2014.
*Note: This is a wonderful series, but due to some language and content, parental discretion is advised.
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9/29/17 - By Dr. Faith Acker
4/18/17 - By Lynette Fowler, Pre-K Director
2/15/17 - By Lynette Fowler, Pre-Kindergarten Director
7/13/16 - By Lynette Fowler
6/24/16 - By Chelsea Carrier

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