Wednesday, December 22, 2021

All Saints Day & Eagle Award 2021

On November 1st, ASA had their first K-8 all school Mass in over a year! All Saints day is a special feast day at ASA where we traditionally hold an all school Mass and All Saints Day celebration at St. Isidore. After having to make adjustments last year due to COVID, this year's Mass was the first all school Mass since Catholic Schools Week in 2020.

At the end of Mass, this year's Be Like Christ t-shirt was revealed to the students. This design was created from the t-shirt contest last Spring when over a dozen submissions included the text "Be Like Christ". You can see the t-shirt design in the video below.

Following Mass, students walked over to the gym and enjoyed a praise and worship concert from the band JMJ. Students were able to sing and dance to some great praise and worship music. It was a fun way to end the all school All Saints Day celebration. Students then had various activities in their classrooms throughout the day. 


At the All Saints Day Mass, the 2021 Eagle Award was also given out to our Home & School president, Jill Ott.  The Eagle Award is presented each year on All Saints Day by the Home and School Association to a member of the ASA community in acknowledgement of his or her extraordinary contribution to the success of All Saints Academy. Jill Ott, an ASA parent, the Home and School president, and Upper Campus library coordinator, is a force to be reckoned with and beyond deserving of the 2021 Eagle Award. Jill's leadership and organization skills are evident in the way she runs the Home & School Association, organizes school events, like Eaglefest and the book fair, and brings the Upper Campus Library to life for our students. Even with new challenges with COVID-19 in the past two years, she has found new ways to reach our community and students, bringing the library “on the road” and adapting Home & School meetings and events. Jill is invaluable to the ASA community. 

One of our community members stated the following about Jill: “She has tirelessly and selflessly volunteered countless hours as our Home & School President for years now, going above and beyond and not taking no for an answer when she really believes in something. She is devoted to ASA and making it the most incredible experience for all who are lucky enough to be a part of it. And I truly believe she is just getting started. I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next! Thank you Jill, you are a rockstar!” Congratulations, Jill, and thank you for your dedication to our school community!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Kindergarten In Motion

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to spend time in one of our Kindergarten classrooms, you know they are filled with very busy 5 and 6 year olds, who don’t seem to ever stop moving! They are filled with endless energy and a love of learning! 

Over the past few weeks, the Kindergarten students have had a chance to explore, investigate, reflect upon and discuss how the forces of pushes and pulls produce and affect the motion of objects. 

Students began learning about pushes and pulls using the movements of their own bodies. They discovered that actions as simple as walking, climbing and jumping involve using pushes and pulls. 

 

Next, they explored a variety of play stations to collect data on how many pushes and pulls were used to make things move. They also enjoyed rolling, kicking and throwing balls in order to set them in motion! Along the way, students learned what barriers are and how barriers can change the speed and direction of an object. 

As a culminating activity, kindergartners became engineers and had to work as a team to design a structure that would allow a ball in motion to travel from point A to point B! Students had a lot of fun and really made excellent learning connections as they worked through the unit on motion!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

First Grade Lets the Light In

First graders at ASA love to build, create, and have fun of course! Mrs. Schneider’s first grade students were able to do all three of those things this fall as they spent time developing their engineering design skills. First, the students read a story which presented a problem. In the story, two children built a treehouse in their backyard; however, when they went inside and closed the door they couldn’t see anything! It was too dark—there was no light. Our class identified this problem and, using the prior knowledge they had gained while investigating light this school year, they came up with a list of possible solutions. 

The 3 solutions they came up with were: 

(1) light candles 

(2) put in lamps 

(3) add windows. 

After listing their solutions, the students evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each solution. In the end, they determined adding windows was the best solution since it was the safest choice, allowed the children to see outside from inside, and did not require electricity. 

 

Once a solution was agreed upon the students worked in engineering teams to design a treehouse. They used a small paper box as a treehouse model and various materials to represent the window coverings. After creating their treehouse model the teams took it to the testing station to see if their design let in enough light and allowed light to be blocked out of the treehouse when necessary (in case the children want to take a nap or have a glow in the dark party in the treehouse:)). After testing their design, the students went back and made any necessary revisions to their design. 

 

Upon the design being finalized the teams presented their treehouse with their classmates and shared how they made some of their decisions as well as any changes they had to make in their process. The treehouse engineering design project is annually a favorite project for the first grade students at ASA. And maybe, just maybe,one of the designed treehouses will inspire a new treehouse to be added somewhere in or around Grand Rapids!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Advent at ASA

This past Sunday was the start to a new liturgical year and the Advent season! During Advent at ASA, all students, toddler through 8th grade, participate in various activities to enter into the liturgical season and to prepare for Christmas.


Our Early Childhood students are creating a hallway Advent wreath. Students traced their hands on green construction paper for assembling the wreath. Then classrooms are decorating the candles and flames together each week. You can see the first advent candle in the picture above. This wreath will provide a visual for students as they countdown the weeks to Christmas. The preschool students will also have a small Christmas caroling event on December 13th. They hope to video the event and share it with the entire ASA community.



Our K-8 students are joining together for weekly Advent prayers and reflection activities. Each week they will read an Advent reflection as a class, individually write a response to the reflection on purple paper, and then link the papers to make a chain for their classroom door or hallway. All students have prayer buddies that they will be praying and making cards for, and all classes will also share Christmas carols with each other. Lastly, they will celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas with a treat and prayer card. 



ASA encourages all families to find a way to celebrate Advent at home too. Families could complete the daily activity on the advent calendar sent home last week, spend time listening to the advent Spotify playlist that St. Alphonsus Religious Education Office created, or find their own Advent tradition. The Office of Catholic Schools also shared additional Advent resources for families in their most recent blog post on catholicschools4u.org.


We pray for all our families, parishioners, and students to have an advent session that gives hope, joy, and peace!