Friday, August 12, 2016

Setting Our Sights on a Brand New Site!

Summer is a time to kick back, break out the flip flops, put your feet in the sand, visit new places, and relax... kind of. It is also a time to tackle new projects that you have been wanting to conquer.

This summer I did all of those things! I visited Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, went to the beach, read loads of books, and spent time with those I love. I also built our school a new website! Our old site was looking kind of dated, was built with a legacy web design program, and was not mobile friendly. Time to update! With input from many others as to the content, I put together a site that I hope will be user-friendly and inviting for our current families and for those who are looking for more information about our school. 

Check it out at www.conestogachristian.net. Click around the menus. Look for information you need. Is there something that you can't find? Let me know! Do you like what you see? Let me know that as well.

Building the website was a LOT of work. But it was rewarding to see it come together. Not quite as satisfying as seeing God's amazing handiwork in the Tetons, but good, all the same.
Before the mountains were born Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. Psalm 90:2

Friday, February 19, 2016

Silver Linings

Fourth graders are delighted with their new lab!
State money was tied up in political knots, and our supplies did not arrive at the beginning of the school year. We waited as long as we could; then we had to use our own funds to purchase books and other items that we could not do without to educate our students. But for the technology department, this stalemate allowed for a silver lining. State money, once it became available, was now able to be used to purchase computers for students. Who had the greatest need? Our elementary students, whose computer lab, though workable, had been plagued with numerous glitchy problems that made using it somewhat of an "adventure," were the ones who would really benefit from an upgrade. This week, with the help of some teachers and a couple of our P2P student technology team members, the old elementary lab computers were dismantled, and brand new, purchased-with-state-money LG Chromebase
P2P team members set up computers.
computers were put in place. Students sign in to these computers with their school-assigned Google accounts and can work in Google Drive to write, draw, and create, with their work saved "in the cloud." The all-in-one computers have large clear screens and perfect-sized keyboards for elementary hands. Online research is now a simple task, and computer instruction will truly benefit from being carried out on dependable computers that can connect easily. Fourth and fifth graders are learning important skills in digital citizenship as well as being introduced to basic computer coding and practical computer use. We are grateful to God for providing in this way for our technology program. We delight in His silver linings.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tap, Capture, Post, Share - We're on Instagram!

Here at CCS we have expanded our social media presence by adding an Instagram account (@conestogachristianschool.) This way, we will be able to capture and share fun and interesting moments that happen here at school in real time. Parents, friends, family far and wide, and folks interested in looking into Conestoga Christian School will be able to get a taste of what life is like on our campus. Students, teachers, and staff learning, playing, collaborating, worshiping, investigating, and serving will fill our Instagram feed, showing all who follow what a great place this is! High school students were excited to learn that their school was on Instagram! "We have an Instagram?" more than one student remarked today when I was out shooting some photos. "Wow!" We hope you will follow us to keep up with the daily goings-on at school. Check it out!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Force Awakens

If you know me, you probably realize that I was around when the original Star Wars movies hit the theaters. Though I am not a big science fiction fan, the human conflict and relatable characters drew me in. I'm a fan. I love R2-D2, Luke, C3PO, and even the Wookie! (Honestly, I was hoping that The Force Awakens would revisit the Ewoks. I was sorely disappointed.) And of course, with technology being a huge part of my life, I am naturally drawn to Star Wars.

In the weeks since we returned to school from Christmas vacation, I have had some interesting conversations with students in the hallway about Star Wars. Everyone has an opinion about what happened between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. We had a debate about the "Dark Side" and whether it is evil or wrong to identify with those in that camp. One student stated that an online test declared him 90% Jedi!

Has your family gone out to the theater to see the film? I have found two articles that might give you some ideas about how to turn the theater trip into a learning experience. The first is a blog post on Common Sense Media's website entitled, "5 Conversations to Have with Your Kids After Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens." They say that, "While The Force Awakens is more about action than introspection, there's plenty for families to talk about after the credits roll."

Plugged In, a website run by Focus on the Family, also has an interesting review of the movie which highlights the positive elements, spiritual content, and violent content, along with a conclusion which, among other things, states that the movie can, "be a starting point to talk about courage, friendship, faith and family." I definitely agree that the newest Star Wars installment has a lot to offer besides just its entertainment value.

Hopefully this was the blog you were looking for!

I loved BB-8!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Came Early

Christmas came early to the ninth and tenth graders this year. In the first week of November, all freshmen and sophomores received their very own computers to use for schoolwork. In the past month, teachers and students have been enjoying the ease of access and quick response time of the Dell Chromebooks that our school received as a result of a grant. Students take their Chromebooks home with them and have them available in each class for research, writing, creating, collaborating, and studying. The seamless integration with Google Classroom has been fantastic for all involved. When asked how things are going with their new devices, ninth and tenth grade replies include:
"It's great having a Chromebook in school because it's easier learning. Since I'm in high school, there are many papers/essays I have to do. So it's nice having my own Chromebook to work on the assignments."
"What I like best about having the Chromebook is that I can send my teachers the homework I have done."
"I like being able to use it at home when I can't use our home computer. I like being able to relax while I type my papers/essays."
"It's fast and easy to use." 
"I really enjoy it! It's a great tool!" 
"I like that, since it is a Chromebook, you don't have to search on Google for Google docs, drive, etc. You can use the search key and search up anything on Google and get to your Google apps much faster and more easily. I also like that if you put the screen down, the document is still up when you go on the Chromebook again. " 
"I like how we can work on the computers without coming to the computer lab." 

Chromebooks have arrived!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

There's a "National (fill in the blank) Month" for everything

It's true, whatever your passion, there's a month for that! We just finished September which was National Guide Dog Month as well as National Honey Month. And not only that, there are national days for just about everything. In October alone, you can celebrate National Mad Hatter Day, National Moldy Cheese Day, and National Reptile Awareness Day (to name just a few).

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and this includes cyberbullying. As our children live much of their lives online, they can experience bullying or become a bully in surreptitious ways. Those being bullied online may be afraid to tell anyone about their hurtful experiences; they may be embarrassed or ashamed. Those doing the bullying may be saying or doing things that they would not consider if they were face to face with their victim. The bullying can happen through texting, email, social media, smartphone apps, and in numerous other ways.

At CCS we care. Our computer instructors teach digital citizenship and encourage students to be kind online. Technically we monitor and filter the internet usage of our students when they are on campus or using school resources. The well-being of our students is a top priority for us, and we realize that both the bully and the victim need emotional and spiritual healing.



Parents can help. Talk to your children and teens about their online relationships. Keep devices out in the open at home. Be aware of behaviors that signal that there may be something wrong. Common Sense Media has some excellent resources for parents. They answer questions such as: What is cyberbullying? What should I do if my child is being bullied? What are some apps that stir up drama in school? How do I monitor my teen online without "spying"? What is digital harassment? and many more. KidsHealth.org also has some great resources.

So this month take the time to learn more about this topic. And you can also celebrate Fire Prevention, Pit Bulls, and Vegetarian Awareness (though not during the Chicken BBQ!)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

2015: A Chromebook Odyssey

I have some very exciting news regarding technology here at CCS. I wanted to be sure I had all the details before writing this post. It all started last spring when our Development Director at that time discovered a grant that was being offered to receive Chromebooks for classrooms.

Chromebooks are small laptops that are very easy for students to use. Students simply sign in to the laptop with their school email address and all of their documents, websites, and Google classroom information is instantly available!

We shared with EdTechTeam, the organization offering the grant, the reasons why we wanted the Chromebooks and submitted a video as was required by the grant. Then we waited. A few weeks ago I received an email from EdTechTeam. Out of hundreds that had applied for the grant, we were one of three winners for the second quarter of the year! I had a video conversation with the president and CEO of the company, and he agreed to give us enough for every 9th and 10th grader at CCS to have a Chromebook! That is a total of 53 of these incredible devices. Our longterm goal is for each high school student to have one.

A huge thank you to Anthony Alexander in 9th grade for catching the vision that I presented to him and being the solo actor in the winning video! Check it out below.