Hands that hold you up
when you’re feeling down.
Hands that pat you on the back
when you get a problem
Hands that comfort you
when you get hurt on the playground.
Hands of a teacher,
whether you get something wrong or right,
from learning your ABC’s to
writing your first essay,
those hands of a teacher
always there . . .
there for you.
~ 8th grade student
During this year’s Gratitude Service, Upper Class students expressed their gratitude for teachers.
They started by showing this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaHJRLoCyWc
As the video ended, students individually stood up and shared lessons they’ve learned from their teachers…
“I learned that there’s a place for my insatiable curiosity.”
“I learned to write in cursive in Kindergarten and I LOVE to write in cursive now.”
“I learned to strive for what I love.”
“I learned that writing doesn’t have to be stressful.”
“I learned that I can have a voice on stage.”
“I learned that I can laugh while learning.”
“I learned how to find my creativity.”
“I learned that by starting the work, it means that you are already halfway done.”
“I learned that you shouldn’t always compare yourself with others.”
“I learned that not every word coming out of my mouth has to be an address to the nation.”
“I learned how to speak English.”
“I learned that accepting who you are and your abilities is better than any lead in a play.”
“I learned that grades aren’t the only part of an education.”
“I learned that maybe perfection is not necessarily what to strive for, but doing your best is what counts.”
Have you ever painted with a toy car or koosh ball? Japhet’s Preschool students have!
Koosh balls were dipped in red and white paint to create flowers, and toy cars raced through green paint onto paper to create stems.
Japhet 3rd and 4th grade students responded to the previous blog by sharing their picture of peace. What does your picture of peace look like?
Japhet students have been studying peace this month. The story below helps illustrate what peace looks like. What is your picture of peace?
“There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of Peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?
‘Because,” explained the king, “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.’”
As a graduation requirement, every eighth-grader prepares a 25-minute keynote about a character quality of his or her choice.
“Humility is a challenge for me…in things like competitive sports or even academics it is hard for me to keep calm and to hold myself back. Starting today I’m going to change and fix my actions.” He began by reading Japhet School’s full definition of humility and its six action statements. Then focused on the first action statement: “Be modest rather than boastful when I have excelled.”
Next he read a book aloud to the audience, The Tower written by Richard Paul Evans and illustrated by Jonathan Linton. In the story, a man wished to be great — the greatest man in all the village. He believed that in order for him to be great, all others must see him in a high place. He built himself a tower that rose above the entire village, and he sat there alone. He was very proud to be the greatest man. A bird visited him and questioned the man’s judgment. The bird told the man about a woman in the village who was greater than he was. Stupefied, the man visited the woman. The woman told the man that she pitied him, for he must be very lonely on his tower.
“Being seen and being great are not the same thing,” she said. “To be great is not to be seen by, but to truly see, others. To be great is not to be higher than another, but to lift another higher.”
Hearing these words, the man returned to his village. He came upon a little boy sitting alone in a tree who said he chose to sit above his friends rather than play with them. Seeing the bad example he was setting, the man destroyed his tower. He shared his wood with the village. The villagers begin to see the greatness inside the man.
Our eighth-grade student then related humility to his own story — his challenge to be a more humble person, specifically in regards to playing baseball. When he first began playing on a travel team, he says he was “one of the worst. I would get laughed at and made fun of because they didn’t think I was good enough for them … I just wasn’t good enough to slack off or boast.” He learned from his coach that he wasn’t chosen for his talent, but for his heart and effort. “That is what has made the difference throughout my baseball career. When my teammates would strike out they would cry or throw their bat, but I never did that. I knew I had to focus on the next play or I couldn’t be successful.”
He concluded with this quote from Rick Warren: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Japhet’s character quality of industry encourages students to try their best, prioritize tasks, and to put aside mental laziness and apathy.
Here’s what our 5th/6th grade students have to say about industry:
“Always work your hardest and do the best you can.”
“Using industry is trying really hard to reach your maximum ability.”
“Don’t ever think that once you are done with an assignment, there is nothing else to do.”
“Industry means taking on a challenge with a smile.”
I started this year’s Leadership Class by sharing a variety of quotes on leadership with our 7th/8th grade students. I asked students to identify the quote that inspired them and/or added to their understanding of leadership.
“Leaders aren’t born they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” ~ Vince Lombardi
Student reflection: This quote shows me that if someone doesn’t seem like a leaders it doesn’t mean that they aren’t one. We can all work hard and make a leader out of ourselves.
Student reflection: I’m inspired by this quote because it means I can still grow into a leader and that I can develop leadership skills. There is not only one chance to be a leader – each day is a new chance.
“If there is no wind, row.” ~ Latin Proverb
Student reflection: If there are not people who are going to guide you to start something, you have to do it yourself. You have to start it without that first push from anyone. This inspires me, because it urges me to act, to express initiative, and it is straight to the point.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincey Adams
Student reflection: I think once you start something that has a positive impact and inspires others you should try and continue it. This will inspire more and more people to act as leaders and there will be a positive impact on the world.
Intermediate Class students dissect owl pellets!
Japhet School's mission is to nurture and prepare each child for life by integrating character education with a strong academic program.
© Japhet School 2015