Teachers introduce classroom storylines this year
Every story has a tale to tell. The words on the page follow a path and carry us along through the story. In a book, this makes sense. In a classroom, it also makes sense!
Starting in September 2018, teachers at Immanuel Christian Elementary School introduced classroom themes, or “storylines”, to encourage students to explore their place in God’s story. Each teacher has incorporated this storyline into different lessons and activities.
In Kindergarten, for example, teacher Kathryn Ferrie introduced her students to the classroom storyline, “I am a Child of the King”, and together they made crowns and talk about how each student is child of God with a place in His Kingdom.
Laura Witten, Grade 5 teacher and Teaching for Transformation coordinator at ICES, says her students are exploring the theme of “Where in the World…Do I Belong?” Each month, they “take a trip” to a different country.
“My deep hope is that in 60 years, they will remember learning about all the diverse and beautiful countries and people in this world,” says Witten. “And that they know there are areas all over Earth that need Christ.”
Recently, she asked her students to share their reflections on what it has been like to have a classroom storyline. Here are some of their replies:
My place in God’s world is Canada. But, I’ve learned that even though I live here now, one day my true home will be in heaven, even though I don’t deserve to go there. I think God has placed me in Canada to be an advocate for Christ and share Him with those who don’t know Him. (Amia)
God has placed me here to help the people who need it, like the homeless or the hungry. We can give them food, and teach them about God. (Whitney)
I love that we get to explore other places in the world! (Holly)
The idea of a storyline comes from the Teaching for Transformation (TfT) program, developed by the Prairie Centre for Christian Education, which provides leadership and support to Christian educational communities in the Canadian prairie region. TfT provides a framework for the development of authentic and integral Christian learning experiences. Its focus is Christ in all things, and all subjects! Students are taught to see and live out God’s story.
Teachers participated in a storyline workshop last May to develop their unique classroom themes. Each theme is personal to that teacher, and is meant to enhance ICS’ TfT throughlines (for example, Creation Enjoyer, Beauty Creator, Order Discoverer). Through the school’s TfT program, teachers and staff believe that every unit and every learning experience tells a story. Here are the 2018-2019 ICES storylines by grade:
Grade One: Shine Your Light
Description: In grade 1 we will be thinking about how we can shine our light for Christ to people within our classroom, our school and our community. There will be devotions, songs, activities and events throughout the year that will allow students to actively participate in shining their lights in our community.
Verse: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
Grade Two: Growing God’s Way in our Communities
Description: That our students have a heart for God and that they learn how to be His hands and feet. In grade 2, we will be participating in several projects and units to help reach this goal: Monthly senior visits, Compassion Canada water and Christmas project, and sharing family faith journeys.
Verse: For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations. Psalm 100:5
Grade Three: Journey With God
Description: God’s plan for our salvation before the world was created. He desires a relationship with us. As God used Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to advance His plan, He also has a plan for us.
Verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Grade Four: Trust the Light
Description: Jesus is the light of the world. His light guides us as we journey through the treacherous waters of life. As we experience and come to understand his provision, love and protection in grade 4, students begin to trust Him more and more.
Verses: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:13
Grade 5A: Fight the Good Fight
Description: Fight the good fight come from II Timothy 4:7. It expresses the idea of doing your best for the lord. The key to the verse is that it does not say I won the fight or won the race rather fight the good fight and ran the race to completion. This shows that all we need to do is our best for the Lord. He is not asking for more than that.
Another aspect of fighting the good fight is that we are doing what is right because it is the right to do. We take on the good fight because it is right even regardless of what others or the world says.
Verse: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II Timothy 4:7
Grade 5B: Where in the World…Do I Belong?
Description: Through this storyline, student will learn to be advocates for Christ on earth, while exploring the amazing gift of being Children of God, and citizens of heaven. Students will be invited to practically explore what God’s world is like, considering the people and places God has created. They will also explore who God has made His people to be, the unique identity we each have as children of a good and loving God. Essentially they will begin to understand what it means to be ‘in the world’ and not ‘of the world.’
Verses: But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:16-18
Posted by: Sarah Sutton, Communications Officer, Immanuel Christian Schools
Date posted: March 27, 2019