Our Media Center provides an environment for children to pursue individual interests and projects, either as a result and extension of classroom activities, or on the student’s initiative. The Media Center contains a variety of learning materials, including CDs, videos, and magazines, as well as over 13,000 books. A certified library media specialist is available to assist students in locating and using information, and in selecting recreational reading materials. In addition, students in Preschool 4's to 5th Grade visit the library weekly. All library materials circulate for two weeks.
Every year, it is amazing to see students become increasingly more independent, more creative, and more productive in how they work with and apply technology to their assignments. Students at St. John Lutheran School have access to a variety of technological tools and applications, as we work toward our goal of integrating technology and applications seamlessly into our curriculum, standards, and teaching practices. St. John has developed a comprehensive technology plan and continually looks to make improvements to the program as well as to the equipment used for the education of all of our students.
Teachers strive to inspire students with an enduring love of learning, including an appreciation for technology and its many uses. Technological literacy is part of students’ learning starting in Kindergarten, when students begin using iPads for academic enrichment. Students utilize a mobile laptop cart that travels to their classrooms, laying the foundation for a one-to-one laptop experience that begins in middle school. Students have weekly classes using the mobile laptop cart. They participate in activities and projects that introduce technology-related skills. Technology is embedded in their core curriculum, and all pursuits reinforce the content of classroom learning. In addition to their lab experience, students in grades K–5 have access to iPads in their respective classrooms.
Middle School Classrooms
The majority of computer use by middle school students is done on mobile devices used in classrooms as a part of our One-to-One laptop program for all middle school students. Because middle school is a period where students experience the transition from childhood to young adulthood, we spend time working with our students to assist them in developing positive habits, including with technology. In 6th grade, we introduce students to our Acceptable Use Policy and particularly discuss personal privacy in terms of technology and the internet. Laptops stay at school.
Most technology skills are taught and developed in the context of the classroom learning environment. Students learn the skills they need as they are used in the learning process. In middle school, all academic departments work closely to incorporate technology into their curricula. Students work with a wide range of applications to write, collect, analyze, create, and synthesize information in all media forms. Remaining skills, such as use of technology for collaboration, communication, and creative expression, are integrated throughout the content areas.
Technology instruction is connected to classroom learning as much as possible. Teachers shape their students’ computer experiences in varied ways:
- SmartBoards in every classroom
- Classroom iPads
- Elmo document camera in every room
- Weekly chromebook instruction for 1st to 5th grades
- One to one laptops in Middle School
- Students and teachers have access during instruction to utilize and incorporate technology into the core curriculum.
Middle School students at St. John utilize our Mac Lab, consisting of nine iMac computers for special projects and classes involving digital arts and media. In the Mac Lab, students learn skills such as stop motion animation, non-linear movie editing, sound recording and editing and Photoshop. Several projects are created by the students during the year, utilizing these skills in combination. The Mac Lab complements our PC Lab, giving our students valuable experience in cross platform computing.
Eaglevision is St. John’s in-house cable system by which our daily announcement broadcast is viewed by our entire student body. 8th grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Eaglevision program and have the opportunity to gain on-air broadcast experience, and to learn production techniques such as how to work projectors and surround-sound. In addition, our production studio is enhanced with a teleprompter and a "green screen" for weather reporting.
In addition to Eaglevision, students also have the opportunity to utilize our extensive A/V equipment and produce Stop Motion animation projects, as well as a wide variety of audio and video production projects.
Elementary students also have the opportunity to participate with Eaglevision. Throughout the school year, classes are assigned a timeframe prepare and read a daily prayer, either individually or with a few other students, helping to develop their public speaking abilities as well
St. John students are expected to read books outside of their required classroom assignments, understanding that reading is a skill that needs practice and impacts all subject areas. To assist in that expectation, St. John offers Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader (AR) as part of its Language Arts curriculum. Accelerated Reader is a web-based individualized reading program in which students are encouraged to select books at their reading and interest level and then take a five, ten, or twenty question quiz to test their reading comprehension.
Renaissance Learning offers over 100,000 titles from which a student may choose. Each book is assigned points based on the average sentence length, average word length, word difficulty level, and total number of words. Students are awarded a number of points based on their passing percentage. Teachers set point goals for each student, and in the middle school, these points comprise 20% of the student’s literature grade.
Students at St. John are introduced to Accelerated Reader beginning in 1st grade, and continue on through the 8th grade. For more information on the AR program, visit www.renlearn. com/ar/.