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Posts Tagged "Habits of Mind"


December 02, 2019
By Jennifer Baham | Teaching Principal

This week we pair together CURIOSITY and PERSEVERANCE. Naturally connected, curiosity desires to know or understand something, and perseverance offers sustained intellectual curiosity. Curiosity asks questions like “How?” and “Why?”  Perseverance remains focused, seeing a task through to its completion.

SJCS teachers promote both of these habits of mind throughout the day. Group discussion, projects, simulations and presentations lend themselves to simple and complex opportunities for both curiosity and perseverance.

  • 8 Bible practices “liturgical audits” of our habits to discover what our hearts long for and how we can choose habits which orient our hearts to God’s design.
  • MS Science follows the Socratic method to form scientific reasoning like a professional scientist. Most recently the 7th graders performed fetal pig dissections, discovering “causes of death” as well as the various body systems in mammals.
  • ES science adopted FOSS Science last year. Each class composes a scientific notebook which documents student curiosity, scientific fact, and the year-long journey through topics such as habitats, minerals, or simple machines.



Whether you're with your fellow Tigers at the dinner table or cruising home during your commute, take a few moments to explore these Tiger Talk questions. 

  • What tasks draw out the most curiosity for you as a student at school or as a parent in the workplace or home?

Habits of Mind - CREATIVITY

November 18, 2019
By Jennifer Baham | Teaching Principal

CREATIVITY! This word sends many of us running the other way. Ms. Webb often shares that the biggest hurdle she faces in teaching art is breaking students’ false belief that they are “not creative.” However, the truth is that creativity is required in most of our lives each and every day.

Creativity applies to so much more than the visual arts. Creativity, or the process of expanding ideas, shows up everywhere. Creativity considers new and unusual possibilities. Creative thinking is used to generate large numbers of ideas, different categories of ideas, and ideas that are unique.

  • Math requires creativity for solving complex problems. Grade 7 Math recently created spaghetti bridges following design concepts. Bridges were tested to see which one could withstand the most weight.
  • Friendship poses myriad opportunities for creative thinking. Building relationships and living in community stretches us to think in new and necessary ways. Coming to a new school, or meeting new people, requires a great deal of new and unusual opportunities to consider and navigate.
  • Pastor Koschmann, Mrs. Koshmann’s husband, shared the gospel story with the Kindergarteners using Jack, a pumpkin who had messy insides until God cleaned away his sin. Each part of the pumpkin carving taught shapes as well as Bible truths such as the Trinity and the importance of God’s Word.
  • Mrs. DenOuden explores creative thinking around the elements of art and design in both elementary art class and Maker Space. First graders created these fantastic trucks last year!
  • Problem solving requires creative thinking. On the spiritual retreat the 7th graders worked as a team to move a blind-folded classmate through this maze of paper plates without touching one.

Whether you're with your fellow Tigers at the dinner table or cruising home during your commute, take a few moments to explore these Tiger Talk questions. 

  • Do you think God created you as a creative person?
  • Besides art class, how have you been creative in other subjects at school?
  • How do you use creativity to solve problems?

Habits of Mind - INTEGRITY

October 28, 2019
By Jennifer Baham | Teaching Principal

Welcome to the second quarter! This is a busy and rewarding time of year as teachers prepare report cards, parents look ahead to conferences, and students launch into new learning. 

INTEGRITY weaves through all of our SJCS Throughlines: Growing Believers, Healthy People, Active Learners, Effective Communicators, Collaborative Workers, Wise Decision Makers, Humble Servants, Responsible Stewards, and Engaged Citizens. Integrity means acting according to a sense of what is right and what is wrong. Exercising integrity helps us do the right thing in a reliable way. 

As Teaching Principal I see students, co-workers, and parents who choose integrity as a way of life. Here are some of the ways I have seen integrity in the past week:

  • A middle school student in my office this morning said, “I think I have the information you need to understand why I was sent here to see you.”
  • A co-worker shared her joy in seeing elementary students choose to clean up misplaced  tanbark to keep the playground looking great.
    (Editor's Note: She even snapped the picture of the responsible steward trio in this blog.)
  • A parent-teacher discussion on how to partner together in understanding a scenario and take next steps. 
  • An elementary student simply saying to a friend, “I am sorry. Will you forgive me?”
Tiger Talk: Questions For Your Family

Whether you're with your fellow Tigers at the dinner table or cruising home during your commute, take a few moments to explore these Tiger Talk questions. 

  • How do you know what is right and what is wrong?
  • Can you name a time when someone else in our family has made the right choice even when it was hard to do?
  • What is an area where you are struggling to know the right choice? Make the right choice?

Habits of Mind - An Introduction

October 14, 2019
By Jennifer Baham | Teaching Principal

Welcome to a new week, San Jose Christian Tigers! And welcome to my new part of the web, The Principal’s Blog. In my role of Teaching Principal, a great joy and most humbling calling, is to lead our community as we develop habits that honor God, offer health, and bring unity. Over the course of the school year I’ll use my blog to highlight and introduce some of the ideas and ways that our faculty bring these habits into the classrooms.

The first series comes from the Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI). Two years ago Ms. Hossink and Mrs. Truong attended a science conference at VAEI and brought back a tool called Habits of Mind. These habits support the SJCS mission to provide exceptional teaching and curriculum that engages and transforms culture for Jesus Christ.

This week we look at self-direction. SELF-DIRECTION is active participation and control over one’s behavior, motivation, and thought processes. It is taking initiative and responsibility for one’s learning. From Junior Kindergarten to Eighth Grade self-direction takes a variety of forms. 

  • In the Fireflies and JK this takes the form of student jobs. Students explore language, math and so much more as they choose activities which must be completed responsibly and according to a given set of guidelines. 
  • In some classrooms this takes the form of projects. Heritage Day (Grade 2), poster board biographies (Grade 3),  mission projects (Grade 4), and state projects (Grade 5) all require self-direction in the form of time management and student initiative. 
  • The 1:1 laptop program in middle school provides abundant opportunity for students to grow in self-direction as they practice discernment and responsibility. Middle school sometimes calls self-direction "grit".  Growing in self-direction develops grit as well as the skills of metacognition, homework ownership, and responsible technology habits. 

Each blog entry will end with suggested family discussion questions. Know that when parents show a desire to grow and make healthy choices, kids are watching and learning! This week take time as a family to consider the following questions for each member of your family: 

  • In what roles or opportunities in my life do I show self-direction? 
  • Where do I have the opportunity to be more self-directed at work/school or at home?

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