Reflective poetry from an Upper Class student…
Where I’m From
I’m from Monday Morning InSPO; blue shirts and khakis.
I’m from hot lunch and bagel breakfast, and the delicious food
that my classmates and I somehow cook.
I’m from the smiling faces in hallways and of teachers that always brighten my day.
I’m from the five hour drive to LOC and amazing memories that I make while I’m there.
I’m from the stacks of textbooks and mess of notebooks,
and the knowledge that clutters my brain.
But truly, I’m from those 18 qualities I will remember all my life
and a school that I love more than anything.
“Reliability is cleaning up when nobody’s looking.”
“My mom is coming with me to cross the street, we are being reliable.”
“My mom shows reliability when she cleans her room.”
“I ask before petting a doggy – that’s good judgment.”
“Not getting a lot of toothpaste out is good judgment.”
Peace Within – Peace with Others – Peace with the Earth
As the birds chirped in the trees surrounding Japhet’s shady courtyard, Mrs. Ellithorpe and her flock of campers sat in a peace circle, reflecting on how they expressed peace that day.
The notes – which might have said, “Conor read a book to Genevieve” or “Peyton shared a quote with Mrs. A.” – were followed by the symbolic tying of ribbon on the campers’ collaborative Wreath of Peace. After sharing their notes, the children sang “Seeds of Peace” (words and music by Lazslo Slomovits) accompanied by acoustical guitar. Camp days included unique crafts like felting (the application of dyed wool onto felt to make colorful designs), playing, hearing special guests and presentations (about Greece and the Peace Corps), making and delivering random notes of kindness, and going on field trips to the nature center.
“If we are to teach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.” ~ Gandhi
Peace Camp is in harmony with Japhet’s mission – to nurture and prepare children for life by integrating character education with a strong academic program – by giving students practical solutions for peacemaking and introducing them to new ideas about the social and natural world around them.
I recently asked parents to share one word that best describes Japhet School.
Here’s what they said…
“Joy” “Family” “Education”
”Blue – for Japhet blue shirts worn on Mondays”
”Opportunity” ”Character” ”Community”
”Strength” ”Diversity” “Amazing”
If you were to peek at the school day today, you would have seen Preschool and Kindergarten students delving into the ocean, Primary Class students sharing their celebration of our 100th day of school, Middle Class students collaborating on microtechnology, Intermediate Class students discussing justice in colonial America while baking Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits, and our Upper Class students embarking on a literary study of voice through an award-winning nonfiction account of Vincent Van Gogh.
Today was a great example of Japhet School’s third philosophy statement in action:
“Students learn best when information is shared with creativity, enthusiasm, and in a variety of ways that supports different learning styles.”
After the ribbon was cut, music teacher Lynn Koch led students in singing the song “Jambo,” or “Hello,” in several languages. Upper Class students accompanied the song on ukuleles and percussion.
We’ve posted a photo album and video on our Facebook page. You can view it here! http://www.facebook.com/JaphetSchool
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast,a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Students have been exploring the character quality of courage this month.
“I use courage when I try new drinks and foods.”~ Preschooler
“When I see a thunderstorm and the lightening goes, I tell my mom and dad and they give me courage.” ~ Preschooler
“I used courage by going up the stairs by myself in the dark while my mommy waited for me.” ~ 1st grade student
“I had some hard math problems that I thought I couldn’t do. But I tried very hard, used courage, and did it!” ~ 2nd grade student
Katya, an eighth-grader, fulfilled one of her graduation requirements by preparing and delivering a 20-minute keynote presentation about the character quality of courage. Katya began by sharing Japhet School’s definition of courage.
Katya called upon other Japhet students to read each action statement, beginning with “face challenges fearlessly” and ending with “persevere in my search for knowledge and avoid whatever would try to stop me.”
She then read the book Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. In the story, Scaredy Squirrel doesn’t want to leave the comfort of his tree. Every day is the same: wake up, eat a nut, see the view, eat a nut, and go to bed. In his tree he is safe from those things which he fears: tarantulas, green Martians, and sharks. One day everything changes for Scaredy Squirrel and he isn’t afraid to try new things. Katya asked how Scaredy Squirrel showed courage. Students said he faced challenges and resolved to do nothing less than his best.
Katya and her classmates then performed a skit that she wrote in which two baby birds were preparing to fly from their nest. They were afraid but also excited about the potential adventure. Like Scaredy Squirrel, they were afraid to leave the comfort of home. They discovered it was fun to take that leap!
It was exciting to welcome students to our new home today! We gathered in the courtyard for our first day of school assembly and concluded with an all-school drum circle.
It is a joy to be in our new home!
We have many new checkmarks this week!
© Japhet School 2017