Bannockburn Christian Academy - Austin Texas Private School

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Archive for September, 2015

The Rewards of Reading

Of course reading is a reward in and of itself. We all know that. My parents constantly had a book or magazine in their hands during my childhood. I learned early on that if I wanted to eat, I had to get that book out of mom’s hands and move her toward the kitchen. Now my children have learned the same lesson…

Reading is a joy. It can also mean prizes of a more tangible nature. Each year, Bannockburn Christian Academy scholars participate in a series of reading rewards programs.

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Bluebonnet Books

The Texas Bluebonnet Award Program was brought to my attention by BCA mom, Traci Huckabee. I was born and raised in Kansas and knew nothing about Bluebonnet Books. I do now. The TBA selection committee takes suggestions from librarians, teachers, parents and students and comes up with a list of both fiction and non-fiction books. These titles are considered for student interest, relevant content and literary quality. This year third through fifth grades will read from this list of distinguished books and join thousands of other Texas school children to vote for their favorites. Voting takes place in January but we’ll read these books all year long.

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Pizza Hut Book It!

I participated in Book It! all through elementary school. In my small, rural hometown, Pizza Hut was really the only restaurant we had. It was a huge treat to read those books, go to The Hut and choose that delicious personal pan (pepperoni, obviously). Well, thirty years later, kids can still enjoy this special meal! First through fifth grades read all year long (the program spans October through March) and if they turn in their classroom reading log each week, their teacher lets me know. Once a month I hand out coupons good for those personal pans!

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Six Flags Read to Succeed

Now this reading program might be my favorite just because it makes it possible for our family of four to spend a day at Six Flags each summer without taking out a second mortgage. Kindergarteners through fifth graders earn a FREE Six Flags ticket by reading! The savings is substantial and the kids only have to read six hours to earn it! I will send home reading logs specific to this program. Its deadline is in February.

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Summer Reading Medals of Excellence

Last Wednesday, September 23 during Chapel, I presented Summer Reading Medals of Excellence to twenty-nine BCA scholars. These children read all summer long, kept a log and turned it in during the second week of school. It’s so easy to lose skills over the summer if we don’t stay in practice! Summer Reading encourages kids to read during their vacation because who doesn’t want a shiny, medal to wear for the entire world to see? That’s why they do it. We run the program to sneak in a bit of learning in between their trips to the beach, skinned knees and Minecraft marathons.

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Yes, reading is its own reward but at BCA, we add a cherry on top for good measure. If you want detailed information about any of these programs, please come see me!

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Lisa Wellman, Librarian

Building Community in Pre-K

Morning meeting is a regular part of the day for all BCA students. Its primary purpose is to be a time of community building within the classroom. This special time has become one of my favorite parts of the day. In morning meeting, every member of our classroom is acknowledged and heard.

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We begin our meeting with a greeting. We sit in a circle and the activity begins with the teacher. I greet the child sitting next to me with either a handshake, a high five, a fist bump, etc. We look our peer in the eyes and say, “Good morning [student’s name]”. We pass the greeting around the circle making sure to smile and look our friend in the eyes. It really is a precious moment to see these four and five-year-olds show respect and acknowledgment to their classmates.

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The next step in our meeting is share time. Four and five-year-olds have A LOT to share which is why this time of our morning is our absolute favorite. Scholars get uninterrupted and undivided attention. The person speaking holds Mr. Bananas, our class pet. Everyone else looks at the speaker and listens intently. This is their time to shine!

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Next in the line-up we will engage in some type of group activity. For my little ones, we usually stand up and move our bodies with a game or song. Our favorite right now is “Bop ‘Til You Drop” by Greg and Steve.

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Last, we read our morning message. Our morning message usually informs our students about the day or asks a question for them to ponder. Responses are then shared among the scholars.

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This important community building time is happening across all grade levels every morning at BCA. Ask your scholars about what is happening in this special time within their own classroom!

Laura Gail Ellis, Pre-K 3-Day Teacher

 

Exploring with Our Five Senses

This was a fantastic week in first grade! We finished our second week’s unit on Exploring with Our Five Senses with exploring the senses of smell, touch and hearing. For sense of smell, we analyzed a series of scented jars with fragrances such as cinnamon, vinegar, garlic, and vanilla. My first grade scholars had to guess and describe the smells.

Next we used a bag of “feely” items to help us explore our sense of touch. During this activity, students were able to feel a variety of items, describe these items, and finally, guess the identity of each item.

Last, we discussed our sense of hearing by examining different musical instruments such as a ukulele, egg shaker, and hand drum. Everyone was amazed at how the instrument’s vibrations produced sound waves we could actually hear!

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To build on our sense of hearing discussion, we incorporated a culminating STEM activity – STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. My students used creativity and problem solving skills to invent an instrument that uses vibration to produce sound.

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Each student was given a variety of recyclable materials such as bottles, boxes, plastic tubs, cans, and paper towel tubes. Students were given the opportunity to attach other unique items with string, tape, or rubber bands. At the end of our STEM activity, students gave their instrument a name and presented their creation to the class.

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As a teacher, I was so proud of their creativity with developing original instrument designs, along with their tenacity to solve problems by making changes and improvements.  One could easily see how proud they were of their creations as well!

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Melissa Davis, 1st Grade

What does Creation mean to a Kindergartener?

The first Bible lesson that I always teach my class is the story of Creation. This year was no exception. In order to make the story REALLY come to life this year, I wanted to add a little flair and an element of FUN to a story that many of my students have already heard.

I find that sometimes we skim over things that we “already know” and forget to dig a little deeper. In order for the students to REALLY get the depth of the story, we made gak  with my students.

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We mixed cornstarch with water and added a bit of food coloring to our combination. After this, I gave each student a bowl of the mixture. We talked about how when God created, He simply said, “Let there be…..”  and the thing appeared. We had a short conversation about how out of NOTHING God created everything! I prompted my students to say to their mixture, “Let there be a GIRAFFE!”

But nothing happened.

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We tried again with a different part of the creation story. My students decided to try mountains. They said, “let there be a MOUNTAIN!”

But nothing happened.

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I asked them why this happened and the conversation was amazing! My students eagerly responded with, “because we are not God!” “Only God can do that!”

By adding a hands-on element to the lesson, my students are beginning to see that God is much bigger than us and much more powerful.

After the lesson, my students happily played with the gak. 🙂

Kristen Smith, Kindergarten Teacher

 

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