Archive for Muskegon Christian School

March (Reading) Madness captures MCS!

Every year we offer up special opportunities for our students to develop a love of books during the month of March.

To kick off March (Reading) Madness this year, our staff inspired students with a video featuring themselves and challenged the students to commit to reading up to 700 minutes during this month (based on grade).   On March 6th, a few members of the Muskegon Lumberjacks shared a book with the students (and a few personal stories and hockey facts as well).

Kids were caught reading everywhere around the school!  Kindergarten students explored favorite Dr. Seuss stories together. Local author Susan Ream shared her book with the students in the gym.

Fairy Tales were a Highlight!

We particularly love sharing classic tales with students.  Ms. Potts fourth grade students created books that retold a well known fairy tale story from a different perspective (eg. The Three Little Pigs from the wolf’s point of view) and then read them to first grade students.

Our teacher’s reenactment of the classic story Chicken Little proved that our teachers have a flare for the dramatic and that this story never loses its appeal.

Reading Goals were Reached

We were able to raise over $2,500 from the Read-a-thon for the PPO.  More importantly, students were reading  and experienced great new books in novel ways.

Way to read, MCS!

Courtroom Experience Brings The Boston Tea Party to Life

“Not Guilty!”  That was the conclusion the jury came to in the ‘trial’ of fictitious character Samuel Bigglesworth for his involvement in the Boston Tea Party.  Mr. Bonnema’s 5th grade class participated in a mock trial as a culmination of a project to determine whether the Boston Tea Party was the sole factor in starting the Revolutionary War. The students developed both the prosecution and defense cases, and also created character witnesses to testify. The trial was presided by Judge (and our Principal) Dan DeKam, with Mr. Bonnema as the Bailiff, and the 5th grade Spanish Immersion class as the jury.

The student who pretended to be defendant Samuel Bigglesworth shared that preparing for the trial was kind of tricky.  “You only have so many questions you can prepare to answer – and they might have better questions than the ones you thought of!  I learned that people like Samuel were fighting for civil rights and considered the things England was doing acts of war,” Eli summarized.

In addition to the mock trial, the class also visited the Muskegon County Courthouse, met with a Muskegon County judge, witnessed a mock trial performed by the Prosecutor’s office and learned about trial procedure from the Assistant Prosecutor to Muskegon County (and MCS dad) Tim Maat!

“The project was a great civics lesson as well as a fun way to learn more about the Revolutionary period of our country’s history,” Mr. Bonnema concluded.

Contact Us and Come Explore MCS!

Would you like to talk with some of our Spanish Immersion students and staff?  (You’ll be amazed at how quickly our students learn to master a second language!)

Do you want to explore all of our classrooms including preschool and Kindergarten?  (We have activities to keep your young ones busy!)

Have you wondered what we offer at Muskegon Christian School and what makes us unique?  (We think we’ll surprise you.)

We offer more at MCS

More opportunities for students to actively engage with the curriculum through Project Based Learning.  A staff that is passionate to discover with our students how God reveals Himself through his Word and His world.  Traditional English as well as a Spanish Immersion programs from Kindergarten through 6th grade (with partnership with WMC Schools for a complete PreK-12 educational experience).  We are an educational community that wants more for our children and offers a quality education that prepares each student for a lifetime of Christian discipleship.  And we’d love to meet YOU!

Please contact us to schedule a tour so that we can show you what makes Muskegon Christian School unique – and how we offer more.

MCS Students Get a Job and Travel to Washington D.C.

Imagination Fuels Learning at MCS

How do you learn about basic financial principles when you are 7 years old?  Start a business!
And what better way to learn about Symbols of America than by taking a trip to Washington, D.C.?

The “2nd Grade Mall”

Every winter, our 2nd grade students participate in the creation of a “2nd Grade Mall” in the gym as a fun application of the concepts they are learning.  They first spend a month studying goods, services, consumers, producers, income, budgets and how God calls us to use our money as part of their curriculum, with a special focus on production and the buying and selling of goods.  In preparation for the mall, each 2nd grader spends time making ‘products’ to sell at their store. They are able to see what it is like to make 17-25 of the same product and to set up a shop marketed to other 2nd graders in the mall.

On the day of the mall, some of the students were very set on earning ‘money’ by selling their items, while other students were eager to close up shop and to see what everyone else was selling. They were each given $11.50 in play money to spend at the mall.  Items for sale included baked goods, bookmarks, paper planes, balloons, and even snow cones!   Some students shopped a lot and ended up with no money (but lots of treats) while others ended with lots of money (one had earned over $40).
After the store, students shared their thoughts on the event:

  • “Working at a store is actually fun!”
  •  “I learned if you wanted to get more money, sell more stuff.  If you wanted to buy more stuff, use your money!”
  •  “I learned that some people don’t always like the price of your product.”
  •  “I learned what it will be like when I get old.”

The students had a great time while also learning how earning money, goods and services, producers and consumers all tie together.

First Graders Take a Trip to Washington, D.C.!

One of the highlights of 1st grade at MCS is the annual (imaginary) trip to Washington D.C., an amazing trip that takes place in the space of 3 hours throughout the MCS building and serves as the culmination activity for their Symbols of America unit.  This trip involves a number of parent volunteers who take on such roles as check-in attendants or security staff  (and who seem to have as much fun as the kids on this journey)!

Students must show proper ‘ID’ and check in with their tickets and luggage, then clear the rigorous customs and inspection area.  (Yes, they even have to remove their shoes!)  They then move onto the ‘plane’ in the gym.  They enjoy a ‘tour’ of popular D.C. landmarks including the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building and the White House.  Tired from a full day, they change into pajamas and rest at their ‘hotel rooms’ in preparation for their ride back home.  What a memorable experience for students and ‘staff” alike!

Save the Date for the 2018 MCS Star Wars Auction!

We are excited to be hosting our annual Muskegon Christian School Auction at  The Century Club in the heart of downtown Muskegon on Friday, May 4th at 6pm.  Our goal is to raise over $40,000 from this auction and all funds raised will help support our teachers and students at MCS.   This auction is our biggest event of the year and we love how it brings together our community leaders, donors, current parents, and friends of MCS.  We would love you to be a part of it!

We are currently collecting items for our auction!  Especially popular items include gift certificates from local businesses, getaway and ‘staycation’ items and once-in-a-lifetime (think ‘bucket list’) offerings.   Do you have a donation for us?  We love new and creative gifts to offer at our auction!  Hundreds of people attend our annual auction and your donation would be noticed by many more through our advertising efforts and in our booklet.

Or if you’d like to give in a different way by underwriting our event, we also offer great sponsorship opportunities.  Whether you are a basic X-wing sponsor or a Millennium Falcon event sponsor, each sponsorship includes:

  • Your company’s recognition in promotional material & in the Auction booklet
  • Social media mentions
  • Receipting for tax purposes
  • That good feeling you get when you’ve supported a great cause ( our students!)

We are a 501(c)3 and all donations will be receipted for tax purposes.

Donations can be mailed to:
Muskegon Christian School, Attn: Auction Committee, 1220 Eastgate St, Muskegon, MI  49442
For more information on this event including donation and sponsorship opportunities, please contact us!

Look for updates and sneak peeks on items up for bid here on our blog and on MCS Facebook page.
Plan to join us on May the 4th for an epic auction adventure!

Spanish Immersion from the Viewpoint of our Students

What Our Kids Had to Say

We recently interviewed a few of our Spanish Immersion students to get some feedback on what the immersion experience has been like for them.  Students usually start the program in Kindergarten but can join as late as midway through 1st grade.  By fifth grade, they can conversationally bounce back and forth between English and Spanish with ease.  It is really amazing to experience their mastery of the language!

We’d like to share our conversation with a couple of fifth grade Spanish Immersion students, Abby and Maria.

How did your Spanish Immersion experience start?

Abby – At the beginning, I didn’t know Spanish at all and the teacher spoke Spanish.  She wouldn’t tell you how to say each word but instead just talked to us all the time and we just somehow started understanding her.
Maria –  I didn’t start Spanish Immersion till 1st grade while the other kids had started in Kindergarten or even earlier.  The teachers helped me a lot.

What’s the most challenging part of Spanish Immersion?

Abby – The silent ‘h’ is tricky because you have to figure out if it’s in a word or not.  And learning the accent took some time – if you speak Spanish words in an English accent they don’t sound right.
Maria – But learning how to spell Spanish words is much easier than English.   In English there are many more tricks you need to learn. In Spanish, you can usually sound it out.

What advice would you have for students new to Spanish Immersion?

Maria – Keep trying!  Sometimes you feel like you can’t do it because you don’t understand, but it gets easier.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  I asked a lot and the teachers helped me.
Abby – Keep an open mind.  When I first started I came in the classroom and the teacher only spoke Spanish.  I would sit there and feel a little lost, but it got easier pretty quickly.

Tell me about a time that you were able to use Spanish outside of the classroom.

Abby – We’ve traveled to Florida and were in a situation where we needed help and the people there only spoke Spanish.  I was able to translate between my parents and the staff.  And here at home I will hear people speaking Spanish in a store and sometimes go up to kids my age and speak to them in Spanish.  Every time I do they will be surprised and say something like ‘You speak Spanish? – I do too!’ That’s really fun.
Maria – (Laughing) I sometimes eavesdrop on people in stores but then I can help them sometimes too.

What would you tell parents who are thinking about Spanish Immersion for their child?

Abby – It’s great – they should do it.  I loved that we did lots of songs and games when we learned Spanish that helped us.  And by learning both Spanish to English I’ve learned a lot of root words.  It makes you smarter.  It will also help me get better jobs because I can speak in 2 languages.
Maria – I want to be a flight attendant someday and travel the world and this will make me more able to get this job.

Further Thoughts from the Parents

Maria’s mom gave us some feedback on the Immersion experience at MCS as well.

“It was a rough go for the first few months, but she has grown to love it.  I’m amazed at how she thinks in Spanish. She doesn’t translate, she knows and understands.  Although her Spanish spelling and grammar are almost perfect, her English spelling is a little behind.

We are excited for the opportunities this opens for her. She is already talking about being a translator, teacher or flight attendant someday so she can keep using her Spanish.

I would not say this program is for everyone. I think a family has to be committed to it and see the big picture. I do think it is an amazing program and has opened up something for Maria none of us had, or could even imagine. I often think about kids all over the world learning English and their native language and I love that my child will also be bilingual.  She helps her siblings with their homework regularly. She has recited the Bible in Spanish in church.
My older kids wish they had the opportunity – they are quite jealous of her ability.”

Designing Toys that Reflect The True Meaning of Christmas – A Project Based Learning Experience

Our 3rd grade Spanish Immersion class engaged in Project Based learning by addressing this problem: You are the next toy inventor and you need to design a toy that shows the “true meaning of Christmas” that you could market and sell.  This project was tied into their social studies curriculum where they were learning about economics and research and development. Each child had to first come up with a toy that they designed as a sketch on paper, then work together in groups to discuss ways in which they could combine ideas from each person in the group to make an even better toy.

Maestra Studer shares, “My idea was to have the students stop after the sketches – but they had bigger plans!  They wanted to build the toys they had imagined.  I told them that they should use recycled materials and things that they had at their disposal (ie. do NOT go out and buy supplies).  They could then create their toy as a group and we’d decide as a class on ONE toy to present to the whole school.  God amazed me through the gift of these students’ creativity!  Each of their ideas were pretty well thought out and there was a lot of passion behind what they had come up with.  We ended up creating a ‘Toy Museum’ where ALL their toys were on display for other classes to come and visit and ask questions from the toy designers.”

One group of students worked together to make an oversized travel pillow with a hidden compartment that stored a nativity set (so that you could share the Christmas story where ever you went!).  There were two projectile toys –  “The Star Launcher” and “Jesus comes to Earth” where the goal was to aim at the world with ‘heavenly’ objects.  One group made a game where you raced to build your tower of bricks up the star in the sky; another made a board game where 3 players raced in their “Journey to Bethlehem”.   All games included a recommended age range, price point, and rules of play.

“I was excited to see the passion my students shared as they explained their games with other students and shared how their toys shared the Christmas story”, concludes Maestra Studer.

To learn more about Project Based Learning at MCS, click here!

Third Graders Move Their Classroom to the Museum!

The BIG Lesson

Every year,  Muskegon Christian School third grade students are able to use the Lakeshore Museum Center as their classroom for an entire week.  Last week, Miss Hall’s third grade class experienced The BIG Lesson, spending their week learning about the Native Americans that first settled in Michigan and the fur traders who came later. Students were able to learn about what life was like for the Native Americans before and after the Europeans came.  They  practiced grinding corn, made clay pots, and learned other Native American traditional skills like using hot rocks to boil water. Then they became voyageurs, ‘paddling a canoe’ and experiencing what it was like to be a part of the fur trade. They were able to see the different furs that the traders were trapping and trading (like mink and beaver pelts) that would end up in the closets of fashionable Europeans halfway around the world.

They ended the week with a wax museum for parents.  Students were transformed into either a Native American before European contact, a Native American after European contact, a French Fur Trader or a British Fur Trader.  They shared their point of view with parents who ‘pressed their button’.  After the official program, students were able to explore the museum exhibits with their parents and share some of the knowledge they had gained over the week as well.

A Partnership That is Loved and Lasting

The BIG Lesson is a wonderful yearly tradition and great resource for our school.  I am so thankful for this opportunity to engage with our curriculum in partnership with The Lakeshore Museum.  I’m also thankful that Jane joins our class every year to help out,” 3rd grade teacher Erika Hall shares.  That ‘Jane’ is Jane Thomasma, a retired MCS teacher who taught here for decades – and was Erika’s 2nd grade teacher as well!   Jane was actually the one who introduced our school to The BIG Lesson experience at the museum 11 years ago.  Jane still volunteers at this event every year and is so valuable as a resource and helper.

What did the students take away from this experience? “I learned how to make fire with two sticks -it’s really hard!” said one student.  “My favorite part was making the clay pots.  The Native Americans used them to hold their food” explained another.  They all came away with a better understanding of life in early America.

ABC Fashion Show! Exploring the Alphabet in fun new ways at MCS

Mastery of the alphabet is the key to reading and writing, so Kindergarten teacher Kari Bonnema began this school year with a fun, interactive ABC Bootcamp for her students.  For the first 26 days of school, Kari’s students focused on one letter each day.  “Training” each day involved charting pictures for each letter, exploring sounds and actions to pair with the letter, practicing writing each letter, and engaging in fun alphabet games.   Students were also encouraged to bring 1 item from home that started with the letter of the day.

Parents were able to celebrate their child’s ‘graduation’ from ABC Bootcamp at a fun program that began with an alphabet fashion show!  Each student walked individually down the “catwalk” modeling a paper vest pasted in different pictures reflecting their letter.  They then pointed to and named items on their vest  – ‘Trumpet’, ‘T-Rex’,  & ‘Tray’ for example – while striking a pose.   At the end, students joined together to sing and act out the full alphabet.  They demonstrated that they both had mastered the letters and had fun doing so!  Parents and children closed the program by reading their alphabet books together and enjoying a snack.

“I want my students to open their eyes to the alphabet that is all around them and have fun discovering it,” Kari explains.  Learning should be fun at any age, but especially in Kindergarten!

 

Grandparents Day is Friday, October 13th!

Grandparents Day is one of our favorite days of the year at MCS!  We invite all Grandparents or special friends of students Kindergarten – 6th grade to join us at 1pm on Friday, October 13th as we celebrate the theme “MCS Grandparents – Blessing Generations”.

Our program will begin at 1pm in the Three Oaks Gym (aka the old WMC gym) followed by coffee and cookies in the MCS gym.  At 2:15pm, Grandparents will be invited to visit their grandchildren in their classrooms, have their photos taken together, and visit the Scholastic book fair together in the gym!

Come early for the best seats and parking.  We plan on a full gym!