By Heather Harbin, MVCA Secondary Math/Science Teacher
“I don’t know how to do this.”
“I need help.”
“I tried it already.”
“I give up.”
Have you ever heard your child utter these words? Perhaps while working on a school project or homework assignment? What about these phrases:
“I can figure this out.”
“Let me think about it for a minute.”
“What if I try this? Does this work?”
My guess is that in most households, the first set of phrases is heard far more than the second set of phrases. Sadly, this is true not only at home, but also in the classroom. In a generation defined by speed, convenience, entertainment, and entitlement, it can be difficult for students to embrace the opposite: slow down, exert effort, tackle boredom, and work hard. Too often, parents and teachers fall into the trap of seeing students stuck on a problem and stepping in to help them before they’ve really labored on their own. Just as much as the students, we sometimes take the quick, easy, and efficient route instead of allowing students to engage in productive struggle. In doing so, we have to ask, are we really helping our students in the way they need it most?
A new book titled Building Thinking Classrooms by educator Peter Liljedahl is making waves throughout the educational scene. Based on over 30 years of research, Liljedahl challenges the notion that traditional classroom practices are as effective as they may seem. He posits that many classrooms produce excellent students – students who are organized, diligent, and attentive – but not necessarily excellent thinkers. Traditional methods of instruction can often encourage mimicking instead of problem solving while gradebooks reward student behaviors rather than assess student mastery. Is that what we want? Well-behaved mimickers? Or do we truly want students who can identify problems, think through problems, and create solutions?
This summer, we teachers at MVCA are studying Liljedahl’s book and reflecting on our classroom practices. We’re closely analyzing what we’ve done in the past and what we can do in our upcoming school year to encourage thinking in our students. You may hear your student come home this fall and talk about some of these different practices that Liljedahl’s thorough research has found to be effective in encouraging deeper thinking. I want to introduce you to three of these practices today.
Visibly Randomized Grouping
While individual problem solving is necessary, there are also times where students need to collaborate. Visibly randomizing students into groups of 3 encourages the most discussion, collaboration, and risk-taking in problem solving activities. Students learn to contribute and encourage their group mates and are less likely to fall into pre-conceived roles of “the talker”, “the writer”, “the smart one”, etc. In addition, students learn important social skills such as disagreeing amicably, taking turns, and valuing others’ contributions. You might hear your child talk about their groups and the grouping system your child’s teacher uses.
We think better on our feet! Problem solving on our feet at vertical surfaces (e.g., marker boards) encourages quicker start times before beginning to solve a problem and longer time on task. Students know they can take a lot of space and erase what they don’t need which reduces the pressure to only write the correct and/or final answer. You might hear your child talk more about working at the whiteboards, writing on a window, or even writing on the wall (via a special wall covering).
Keep Thinking Questions
Students love to ask questions. Teachers love to answer questions. Sometimes, however, we do a disservice to students by answering questions too quickly. Some questions are “stop thinking questions” – questions the student wants answered so they don’t have to think any more. Some questions are “proximity questions” – questions students answer simply because the teacher walks by them. Other questions are “keep thinking questions” – questions students ask because they want to keep thinking about the problem! Teachers are learning to recognize the different question types and the best way to respond to each type of question. Students may feel like they’re not being answered right away because they’re not getting the answer they want. Trust that the teacher is guiding them through the thinking process, challenging them to look at things in new ways, and encouraging them not to give up too easily. Your child isn’t being ignored if they don’t get the answer they want right away – they’re being challenged in a way that might be new for them.
I love the quote, “Problem solving is what we do when we don’t know what to do.” As adults, we have to problem solve all the time. Many of us have used our problem-solving skills to balance budgets, meal plan with rising grocery prices, fix the leaky sink or toilet, identify what kind of pest is eating our garden, and more. We want our students to grow and become problem solvers in their own right – people who are not afraid to think, to try, and to tackle whatever life may throw at them. We look forward to a new year full of thinking classrooms!
By Tammi Cooke, MVCA "Labrary" Lady
Greetings, One and All!
At the time of this writing, there are 11 days, 23 hours, 15 minutes, and 03...02…01 seconds until the end of school. Yes, this counts weekends as well, so we have far fewer school days than that.
We thought you might be looking for fun activities to do during the summer, we have compiled a few…some are free, some are cheap, and all are entertaining in one way or another. Links are included where possible to make it even easier to plan! Without further ado, here we go:
In Winchester City:
FREE Summer Bowling—click link for more info.
Kids Camp at the Alamo - click link for schedule
Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum - click link for general ticket info and schedules.
SUMMER READING PROGRAMS (as always, you will need to monitor what your student is reading, as I have no input into what others offer)
*Fill any of the three cards and win a free Ledo pizza
*Fill all three cards and win the opportunity to participate in the 1st ever Labrary Lock-In. Kids will be able to spend the night in the labrary and play games, listen to books, watch a movie and eat snacks! Lock-ins will be divided into age-appropriate groups and parents/adults/teen volunteers will be present to help supervise
$3 3-17 years
free under 3
$15 per family
Schedules and info
$5 3+ Fri-Sun
Free 2 and under
Schedules and info
I hope this helps the beginning of summer planning! See you at the pool…with my book!
Miss Cooke, the Labrary Lady
Robin Sharma said, “Starting strong is good. Finishing strong is epic.
Wow! How true is that. It is easy to start the race, to start the school year strong and do well and be super pumped about being back with friends and learning new stuff. But, the challenge comes when we get close to the finish line, close to the end of the school year as we are now. Students are tired, teachers are weary, text books are worn, but we have to finish and we should desire to finish strong.
In the apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” Paul was beaten, bruised, and at one time left for dead, but he persevered, he never gave up and he finished his time on earth strong. We need to look at Paul as the example for how we live our lives. When he began his ministry, he was on fire for the Lord, preaching, teaching, traveling in order to make disciples for Jesus Christ. He started strong and he finished strong. He was not going to allow his yesterdays to dictate his tomorrows.
As we get closer and closer to the end of this school year, we must encourage our students, your children, to not allow the “short-timers” mentality to set in. There is still work to be done, quizzes to be taken and finals to ace. The end is in sight and they know it, we know it, but perseverance must be the drive we are in.
Parents also must remain diligent in staying on top of the work that your children are still required to do. As a past parent, my children have graduated, it is easy to become complacent as the end of the school year gets closer. We, too, can start to shut down and focus on the summer activities, but we have to finish the school year just as strong as we would expect from our children.
Teachers, we need to remain focused on the task that God called us to in August of last year. We, too, know the end is near, summer is right around the corner, vacations are waiting, but we still have much for our students to accomplish. They are the reason we are here, and if we shut down early, they are the ones who will suffer. As you encourage and push you students to finish strong, may you also be encouraged to finish just as strong. Paul, writing to the Galatian church said, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
As I write this blog we are around 26 days to go. Compared to where we were in September of 2022, this is the final sprint to the finish line. Hands are tired, legs are wobbly, eyes are blurry, but we can do this. I see you out there still running strong, not giving up, teaching and discipling to the very end, keep up the pace. Reaching the last day of school will be EPIC if we know in our hearts that we have finished as we started, STRONG.
God Bless, and enjoy the sprint.
At Mountain View Christian Academy, we have been providing quality Christ-centered, biblically based education for 31 years…more than 3 decades! We are honored to be accredited through the Association of Christian Schools International. This agency leads the way in equipping Christian schools and educators to offer programs of excellence spiritually, academically, socially, and physically. Here is an article from their website on the value of Christian schooling. Make sure to watch the 3-minute video! Why Christian Schooling? (Why Christian Schooling | ACSI)
The choice you make for your children's education shapes them academically, spiritually, and in their worldview and skills. At Christian schools, the faculty and staff are equipped to address each of these developing areas of a child's life. These schools take seriously the responsibility to develop children's minds, but they don't distance God from academics. They know that developing skills in young people is essential to helping them reach their God-given potential. Christian educators help cultivate a worldview in which God has His rightful place, and they look to the Bible for guidance in answering life's big questions. These teachers enhance children's spiritual development in an intentional, nurturing manner. A Christian education at an ACSI member school will help your child grow spiritually, academically, and culturally. In fact, the recent Cardus Education Survey and other education studies show that ACSI schools develop the whole child better than any other type of school.
These attributes are true of Mountain View Christian Academy. With our strong partnership with parents, we are seeing our students soar to the top of the charts in standardized testing and being sought after by colleges and workplaces because of their strong academics and Christlike character.
At Mountain View Christian Academy, we take seriously the awesome responsibility of equipping the next generation to impact our culture and our world. We are honored when parents choose us to assist them with their God-given responsibility to raise and educate their children. Come and see what a Christ-centered education can mean for you and your family!
The following article was shared with me recently. It comes from an email sent out by The Village at Orchard Ridge, which is part of the National Lutheran Communities.
We may not have had much of a winter with regards to cold temperatures and snow, but we still have to deal with shorter days, longer nights, and less sunshine. Below you will find some strategies to help you cope with the winter blues.
It’s easy to feel down during these gray winter months. Are the cloudy days and early nights making you feel a bit moodier than usual? You may be living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that some people experience during a particular season and most commonly felt during the winter months. Some of the common symptoms include low energy, excessive sleeping, changes to appetite or diet and feeling depressed, sluggish or anxious. If you are feeling these effects, the first thing to know is that you are not alone. About 10 million Americans are affected by SAD and women are four times as likely to be diagnosed with it than men.
Five Tips to Boost Your Mood:
Chin up! There are ways to help these symptoms and get you feeling more like yourself.
1. A healthy diet
Did you know that maintaining a healthy diet is also beneficial to your mental health? A diet rich in protein, simple carbohydrates, vitamins B12 and D can actually help you combat the symptoms of SAD. So, next time you feel low, indulge in your favorite pasta dish to help you feel better. Ensuring you eat meals regularly throughout the day can also help boost your mood and energy levels, so it is important to feed your body, even when you have little appetite.
Exercising regularly has also been shown to help mental health and fight off some symptoms of SAD. Taking an hour-long walk, a yoga or tai chi class as they are simple ways to get exercise while increasing your happiness and decreasing feelings of anxiety.
Aromatherapy is using essential oils as a therapeutic technique. This includes body oils, incense, aroma sticks and oil diffusers. Studies have shown aroma therapy can help to reduce depression, anxiety and sleep problems. All of the issues are associated with SAD.
4. Good thinking
Did you know that simply thinking more positively can boost your mood? We aren’t always aware of how negative our thoughts may be, which can make a situation worse. Being more conscious of your thoughts and actively challenging your mind to think positively can help reduce stress while increasing your happiness.
5. Stick to a sleep schedule
Common symptoms of SAD are having issues when it comes to falling asleep and waking up in the morning. Maintaining a schedule for your day helps to keep you in a routine, leading to improved sleep at night. A good night’s sleep can help to alleviate SAD symptoms.
The goal of National School Choice Week is to raise positive awareness about the K-12 education options available to families in communities across the country. During the Week, participants also shine a spotlight on the benefits of opportunity in education. They help parents with access to a variety of education environments for their children. The goal for this week is to, “empower parents to choose schools for their children,” that are the right fit and will allow them to thrive and grow.
We are blessed, and at the same time humbled, that parents choose to partner with MVCA in their child’s education. Quality education cannot be taken for granted. Our children, your children, deserve to be taught in a way that is inclusive of every aspect of their education, spiritual, academic, social and physical, and includes moral reasoning, ethical standards, and civil living. MVCA has been teaching, training, and making a difference in the lives of children and families for over 30 years. It is only when parents are provided with an educational choice, and the means to make that choice, will our society see better days. We cannot stop fighting for school choice. We will not stop calling on our legislature to do the right thing for the people of this commonwealth.
What is important to recognize is that there is a choice for families now. Making sure that your child is in a right fit school will allow them to thrive and grow. To be able to succeed and be rewarded for their academic excellence. Finding the right fit school will allow them the equal opportunity to shine where they will shine. There is, unfortunately, the financial aspect of transferring out of the public system, but this, too, is changing. West Virginia has one of the most comprehensive School Choice initiatives in the country. Money is now placed in a savings account to be used as parents see fit as long as the money is used for the child’s education. In other words, the money now follows the student. We need to continue to fight for such a program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, so reach out to your state legislators and let them know that you are in favor of Educational Savings Accounts for education choice. Click the LINK to find your state legislator. Parents truly are the key to making school choice what it ought to be.
Please join with us as we celebrate National School Choice Week, and the choices that we have in regards to educating our children. Pray with us that Virginia will provide the means for parents to be able to make the choice that best fits their child’s education.
Behold, I am going to do something new, Now it will spring up; Will you not be aware of it? Is. 43:19
Our theme for this school year has been “Moving Forward.” This was ideal since we celebrated our 30th anniversary last school year and we discovered that the number 30 in scripture represented beginning and devotion. For the past 30 years, MVCA has been devoted to providing quality Christ-centered education to thousands of families. Moving Forward, we are committed to continuing our mission and ministry with the same devotion, commitment, and compassion.
With the beginning of a new year, there is always something new on the horizon. In the above passage of scripture from the book of Isaiah, God is telling us that He is going to do something new. We don’t know what it will be, but it will be good, because every good thing comes from above, and it will happen. But God asks us if our eyes are going to be open to seeing it? That is the thing about moving forward, your eyes have to be open, and we have to be moving and aware of the things happening around us. There is always something better waiting for us, we just have to look forward, and stop dwelling on the past. What we need to remember is that what happened yesterday is done and gone and we can’t do anything about it. We live in the present, and we have hope for the future. The apostle Paul shared this with the Philippian Church, but it is also true for us today.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Phil. 3:13
Moving forward is an active process. We do not wait for the right moment, we take the moments that God presents and we use them for His glory. The apostles were never called to wait once the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and MVCA will continue to move forward, producing well-adjusted, morally sound individuals equipped to transform society.
As we reflect, but not dwell, on the past year, we see how we have been moving forward with the renovations of the kitchen and the boys restroom. We see the five modular units moving forward to where they will become a pod of additional classrooms. And, we look to the future with great hope and anticipation for a new school building that will house all K-12 students, and allow for future growth.
We invite you to “Move Forward” with us, and ask that you continue to share your MVCA Difference story with others who you feel would benefit from a Christ-centered, Biblically based education.
Have a Blessed and Joyful 2023!
The ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah gives great hope for anyone who chooses to accept the record of the birth of Jesus. The names He will be called sheds a lot of light on what He will do for those who choose to accept Him. Isaiah 9:6 says, "For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
The Prince of Peace. That one attribute title of Jesus is what really gets me thinking. I like the idea of peace. I can imagine we all like the idea of peace. I like being in the midst of peace. A peaceful setting with peace and quiet. Sitting in the mountains looking over a lake or stream. Listening to the birds sing, the wind blowing softly through the pines. Breathing in the clean, fresh air. To me that is peace. Now, I understand peace can be seen in different ways by different people, but the results of peace are the same for all.
Jesus coming as the Prince of Peace was never meant to be the end of wars and conflicts, which is quite evident as I write this and ponder the increase in violence in our society and the ongoing war overseas. I believe that Jesus coming as the Prince of Peace was to bring an end of the hostility between man and God, and man and himself. The birth of Jesus ushered in a new hope, a reconciliation between Man and God. Romans 5:1 says, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The result of this inner peace leads to more love and compassion, more serving our friends and neighbors, more trusting, more civil conversations with people who may not share our beliefs and values, and the ability to be who God has called us to be. We can, and should ray for world peace, but I believe we have to find inner peace before we can have outer peace.
When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we celebrate the peace that came with that birth. The inner peace we all desire to have in our lives. Jesus promised that we can have that type of peace if we follow Him. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
This Christmas my prayer for you is that you know the Prince of Peace. That you grow in your relationship with Him, and you truly feel the inner peace that you can have through Him on this "Most wonderful time of the year."
MERRY CHRITMAS, AND GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on all the good things that we have been blessed with. I know many families who take the time prior to eating their Thanksgiving feast to go around the table and share one thing that they are thankful for. It is a great way to reflect on the many blessings that we have, but is it enough? Many times, the answers are quite shallow, and without real meaning. We are always thankful for our families, our homes, cars, jobs, friends, and of course the bountiful feast we are about to eat, but is that really all there is to be thankful for?
Please don’t get me wrong, these are amazing ideas on which we should be thankful, but I feel that we are selling ourselves short by sticking to the same answer’s year in and year out. When we have the opportunity to share what we are thankful for, I believe that we should really take the time to reflect on our lives, regardless of how old we may be, and find that one very meaningful thing that we are most grateful for. It may be as simple at a job, a home, your wonderful family, but could it be deeper than even that? Where did these things come from? Who made them possible?
I am not trying to put ideas in anyone’s head, because really, I can’t. Your gratefulness is your own. What I am thankful for will be different than what you are thankful for. The words and ideas may be the same, but the purpose and emotion will most likely be different.
So, this Thanksgiving, pray, meditate, reflect on what it is that you are most thankful for. It’s all about what is in your heart, and it is a personal issue that only you can decide. You need not be thankful for the same things your neighbor is thankful for, and you need not be thankful just for thanksgiving sake. But, surely there are things in your life that you are truly thankful for. There is always something to be thankful for.
We live in the greatest nation in the world. We live under the loving and caring hands of the God who created all things. We have because He has blessed us in an abundance of ways. If nothing else be thankful for the blessing it is to live in this great nation, imperfect as she is, but great nonetheless, and the freedom and the blessing to send your children to Mountain View Christian Academy, where they can not only gain academic knowledge, but to grow spiritually with a true understanding of grace, mercy, morality, and all of the attributes that will make for a better person and a better society.
From all the teachers and staff of MVCA, have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day!
In our society we tend to look for the fastest way to get something, and at the cheapest cost. Fast-food, microwave ovens, on-demand movies and tv shows, instant downloads, and instant search results for our research projects. We don’t want to wait for the things we desire, but at what expense? Do we move so fast, or desire to get something so quickly that we are missing something in our hastiness? Is there a direction or message that we do not hear or see because we were too quick to act?
Speed is not always best. Maybe in NASCAR, or track and Field events, but in the race of life speed is not the most important aspect to getting to the finish line. Hard work, dedication and counting the cost are what we are called to do in order to be who we have been called to be by the very one who created us.
In the movie, and one of my favorites, “Field of Dreams,” we all know the famous line spoken by the “voice”, “If you build it, they will come,” but there is another line spoken by the voice that says, “Go the distance.” Do you remember that line? It was spoken when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) and Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) were sitting in the stands at Fenway Park in Boston. Click on the link to be reminded.
It is not enough to start; what matters is that we finish. We have to “Go the Distance.” Jesus, when speaking about being His disciple, made this comment about starting and finishing.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” Luke 14: 28-30
Obviously, in order to complete a task, we first have to start the task, but with everything, finishing what we started is more important than just starting.
Too often we start something, and we do a great job for a while, but then we get tired, run down, exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, discouraged, we just give-up. We stop, we quit, we throw in the towel, but why? Did we not plan appropriately for what it would take to finish? Was it taking too long? Were we unable to be patient enough to see it to completion? Do we lack the confidence to do the job once we get started? Do we not have the endurance? Whatever the reason, the counter to all of this is GOD.
When we are in His will, following His plan and the path He has laid out for us, He will get us to the point of completion.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
It is not about who is the fastest, or the strongest, or even the smartest. It is all about the finish, and doing the right things along the way. It is having the confidence in knowing that GOD is on our side and He will see us on to completion, to the finish line.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Mountain View Christian Academy BEGAN in 1992. In 2022 we turned 30 and we had ONLY JUST BEGUN. Now we are MOVING FORWARD and looking eagerly to the future. Adding more classroom space with modular units donated to the school, but with a cost to install and make operational. That cost has been counted, and we will see this phase one project to completion, but not always in our time, but in God’s. After that, the plan is to add to the church and then to build a stand-alone K-12 school on our campus. There is a vision, a plan, and when God says go we will, and be assured, we will, “GO THE DISTANCE!”