WCS Blog

800 Juliana Drive, Woodstock, Ontario

Phone: 519-539-1492

     

A Christmas Tree Blessing



A Christmas Tree Blessing
 
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. (Psalm 96). "
“'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. " 'I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'" - Ezekiel 17:22-24
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. (Psalm 96). 
Source: crosswalk.com
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Our World is Small

Our world is smaller than it has ever been, in the context of seeing different cultures and hearing different languages. I have the privilege of teaching language at WCS, in both French and English. Throughout the year in my classes we are able to study both the language and the culture of different communities in France, Quebec, Ontario and Korea. It is sometimes the most interesting for students to see how communities who live very far away and speak a totally different language, still can have so many similarities to us.
While looking at language learning as a whole, I realize that there a lot more to language than just speech. One can understand what a person is saying through their facial expressions, by seeing their hand gestures, their communication with drawings, pictures and writing. There is even communication through humming familiar songs. By one way or another, bridges can be built to allow communication to happen. It is not always or often perfect, but sometimes the mistakes allow for the best learning and connection to occur.
It is so incredible that people from different places and cultures in the world, who have different walks of life and speak a totally different language can also love and serve the same Lord. The Christmas message that we will be focussing on in our churches this month and at WCS this week; the message that the angels brought to the shepherds outside Bethlehem many years ago, is the same message for believers in all languages and in all parts of the world. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”  “C'est qu'aujourd'hui, dans la ville de David, il vous est né un Sauveur, qui est le Christ, le Seigneur.”
Our Saviour Jesus Christ has come and we wait in hope for when He will come again. This is a message worth communicating in whatever language you experience and can share.
 
R. Sikma
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Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Thank-you parents for the prompt and efficient way in which you signed up for PTCs this year! We at WCS are blessed to partner with you in the education of your child(ren). Research shows that students learn more, have higher grades, and have better school attendance when parents are involved in their child's education. That's why attending parent-teacher conferences is so important: it's a great way for parents to become involved and stay involved throughout the school year. By attending conferences, you also send a positive message to your child that school is important. These conferences are intended to by two-way conversations. If you have questions or observations, the conference is a good time to share those with the teacher. Share what you know about your child, their interests and how they spend their time outside of school. You may want to ask your child if there is anything they want you to share with the teacher at the conference. Your information helps the teacher better understand and teach your child. Some classrooms will have conferences in which the student is included. Typically these students will have a portfolio or collection of work which they will share. Students show and discuss their learning - not just the end product, but the learning process with their parents. Be sure to check out the book fair with Usborne and the Christian Book Supplier vendors. Looking forward to seeing you at the PTCs this week! (sources: Mrs. Verbeek, meachamparknia.org & kidshealth.org)
 
C. Verbeek
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Community

“Community”
 
Community ~ one the three words in our school’s tagline. Community has been recognized as one of school’s foundational pillars. God created us to need other people and to live in community. In the Bible, there are loads of examples of the importance of living in community. For example, Romans 12:5 states, “so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
Since I have started teaching at WCS, I have often been amazed at the strength of our school’s sense of community. It can be easily felt and observed at the numerous events and functions throughout the year including our back to school dessert social, golf tournament, chapels, Springfest, drama performances, track and field day, and graduation. It is not just current parents and students who show up to these events, but numerous grandparents, extended family members, alumni, and friends of WCS.
The Winterfest auction was held this past Friday evening, and it was another great example of community! Countless hours were spent by volunteers working over the past several months to pull off this event. Thank you! People packed into the gym for a night of talking, eating, laughing, good natured teasing, and spending thousands of dollars, all for the glory of God! It is humbling to be part of something so much larger than the sum of our individual parts. I am thankful to be member of a school community dedicated to providing excellent Christian education to the children in Oxford county.
Don’t miss out on one of our next community events, Angels Alert! Come join us in early December as we celebrate together the birth of Jesus Christ. Blessings on your week, WCS.
 
Mrs. T. Bulthuis
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Tree Planting

Tree Planting at Hodge's Pond
Last Friday, students and teachers from our seventh, sixth, and fourth grade classes put on their overalls, boots, warm
winter coats, toques and gloves and boarded the bus for some community earthkeeping work at Hodge's Pond, south of
Woodstock. Our bus driver, Gerry Huinink, remembers decades ago when Hodge's Pond was the site of summer
camps and outdoor recreation for families. In recent years, the former mill pond became warm and stagnant, so the
dam has been dismantled and the natural flow of Cedar Creek and accompanying wetlands restored. A partnership
between Ducks Unlimited, Oxford County, Stewardship Oxford, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority
(UTRCA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has been established in order to re-naturalize this site.
WCS students have worked with the UTRCA frequently in the past eight years planting trees and shrubs throughout
the county. The latest phase at Hodge's Pond includes plans to plant 1200 native trees and shrubs. WCS students were
the first of many groups of local students who will work to expand the natural habitats for wildlife in this area. Our
Grade 7 group planted 120 deciduous trees and bushes, while the grades 4 and 6 group planted about 130 trees,
including maple, tamarack and others. Students were industrious, efficient, and enjoyed being given specific
instructions and tools to do the planting work. Students returned to school chilly, dirty, but pleased with having had the
opportunity to work outdoors, and to provide new habitats for wetlands wildlife such as herons, turtles, snakes, and
birds. Future plans for Hodge's Pond include opening the area for public use as a natural space for hiking and enjoying
wildlife. We are thankful for this opportunity to work with community partners to be keepers and restorers of creation.
C. Verbeek, Principal

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Community

Community
 
Community is a word we hear a lot of these days. Topics and trends come and go but one thing being paid a lot of attention to in our world today is the correlation between community and connectivity. Think about the ways technology has brought connectivity to people, but ironically studies have continued to indicate that currently there has never been a time as we have today in which so many people out there do not have “community.” They are genuinely lonely. The Christian periodical Relevant Magazine comments on community. It poses the following questions: “What about our relationships with other believers that God has placed into our lives? What about mentorship, discipleship and friendship? What about community?” 
Read more at https://relevantmagazine.com/life/whole-life/10-unexpected-benefits-real-community. 
The article continues by listing ten direct benefits of healthy community. It is a worthwhile read! Hopefully there are many different types of community we currently engage in. An example of a very functioning and helpful community was the one that met at the Membership Meeting held last Thursday evening. The community of people supporting the education of our children gathered and not only talked about the functioning of our school, but we also heard Pastor Martin Dam speak about guiding our children in experiencing and relating to secular culture and questioning how that fits with our Christian belief system. He spoke of the challenges of doing that in a culture in which many choices available do not lead to God. The community which gathered at this meeting received mentorship, discipling and of course support  through friendship. We are all in this together, all traveling a road, following Jesus’ instruction and trying to honour Him in all that we do. Sometime we forget that actually the rituals or habits we participate in are there for our mutual blessing. We are blessed through community.
 
M. Dieleman, Librarian
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The Bigger Picture
 
We, at Woodstock Christian School, are part of the bigger picture of education. There are times when we focus on our school and our particular joys and challenges. The annual Christian Educators' convention helps to provide perspective and is a wonderful reminder that we are part of something bigger. We are part of the education system in Ontario - the independent schools sector. We are part of a larger community of provincial and national Christian schools. We are part of God's family and His story, partnering with parents to raise children who will learn how God has gifted them and how they can use their gifts and skills as citizens and in service to their communities.
Did you know that more than one quarter of independent school enrolment in the province of Ontario is in Christian schools? The Edvance group of schools represents 75 schools in Ontario & the eastern provinces which contribute an enormous service to the population. As Christian independent schools, we are in a unique position to collaborate with our families. We are blessed to be able to unfold the beautiful story of Christ. God has called us to be people and schools which show and build character, competence, and courage. We are part of God's bigger picture - part of His story - as we learn and serve in our communities.
 
C. Verbeek, Principal
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Why Project Based Learning?

Why PBL (Project-Based Learning)?
 
“Project Based Learning can be transformative for students. By presenting students with a mix of choice and responsibility, cognitive concepts and practical activities, within an environment of real-world authenticity, projects engage students in learning that is deep and long-lasting.” This quote comes from the website of The Buck Institute for Education (http://www.bie.org/about/why_pbl).  This is one of the leading organizations that provides support and resources to educators who use the practice of PBL in their classrooms.
Over the past couple of months our Eighth Grade students have been engaged in two major PBLs, the Gaga Ball Project and more recently a Fractured Fairy Tale Project, which they have been working on in partnership with the Fourth Grade class. As an educator, I have been using PBL to some extent for as long as I have been a full-time teacher. Watching students engage in deep and long-lasting learning is very encouraging. However, knowing that we at Woodstock Christian School are able to provide these opportunities to our students from a faith-based perspective opens up so much more potential for students.
Our school-wide theme for 2018-2019 is “Walk with God and Talk with God”, based on James 4:8, which says, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you”. As we work to unpack what this means in our classroom this year, students are given the opportunity to apply this thinking to the real-world authentic learning that occurs in Project Based Learning. What a privilege it is for me to be used by God to serve Him at Woodstock Christian School!
 
Mr. Tony Schaafsma, Grade 8 Teacher
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Community Prayers

Community Prayers
 
For many years, staff and Board representatives of WCS have attended the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast for the City of Woodstock. This event provides an opportunity for the Christian community -- pastoral teams, ministry leaders, Christian business people -- to seek the well-being of the community and to pray for our leaders, as Scripture commends. It is an opportunity to build stronger bridges between City Hall and the faith community. It has been a blessing to meet and pray with community leaders and to see their heart for families throughout the city, for students, for those who struggle. Our WCS Forward Drive campaign booklet this year focuses on prayer and includes a prayer for community written by Trevor Birtch, Woodstock's Mayor.
1 John 4:12 "No one has seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us." The City of Woodstock and its citizens belong to You, God. Endow our mayor, and city council with your wisdom in decisions they make. Fill them with compassion, with discernement to listen as they lead their constituents. Give them courage to speak and live Your love and truth to those they serve. Hold the families of the city leaders as they support their loved ones. Protect them, enfold them with Your Spirit even as the enemy continues to attack. We know Jesus Christ already has the victory! In His name we pray, Amen.
C. Verbeek, Principal
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A Mindset

    As someone thinks within himself, so he is.  Proverbs 23:7

            A mindset is a belief about yourself and your basic traits relating to your intelligence, talents and personality.  An individual may hold a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  A fixed mindset is a belief that traits are fixed and cannot be influenced nor increased.  A growth mindset is a belief that traits can be cultivated through attention and effort.  Believing that your qualities are fixed, or can be cultivated, leads to a host of thoughts and actions that carry an individual down entirely different paths of growth and development (Dweck, 10).

                The students of grade 7 began their year learning about mindset. Angela Watson is a Christian, wife and educator.  She has created a 10 lesson unit on Growth Mindset.  Grade 7 began the year in this curriculum.  We explored the terms, definitions and practical applications of mindset.  We learned the difference between a fixed, and a growth mindset.  We identified our responsibilities in our own learning and contributions at WCS.  We became aware of, and put to use, language that develops and supports a growth mindset.

                The following visual is helpful in distinguishing between how a fixed, and a growth mindset, responds in a learning environment (www.quora.com).

Most importantly, we learned what God’s word instructs us about how he created us and how he desires us to think in order to grow and flourish in his will.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:14

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.  Phil 4:13

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Rom 8:5–6

God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Tim 1:7

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  2 Cor 10:5

Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.  Phil 4:8   

                                                                                                                      Lesa Racicot- Gr. 7

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Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
 
One of the ways that we measure student learning at WCS is through the use of the MAP test. MAP is an acronym for Measures of Academic Progress. Several years ago, we were using the Canadian Test of Basic Skills to measure how we, as a school, were doing in terms of educating our students as compared to provincial and national norms. The CTBS no longer suited our needs and was somewhat outdated, so the search was on for a more reliable and current test.
  We are now into our fourth year of testing using Northwest Evaluation Association's (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). Edvance (formerly The Ontario Association of Christian Schools) has highly recommended this test for participating Christian Schools. The test is designed not only to compare students' scores to norms but also to measure individual student progress over time in reading,  language usage, and math. The MAP on-line test adapts the level and complexity of the questions to be appropriate for each student's level of learning. As a result, each student will have the same opportunity to succeed and maintain a positive attitude toward testing. Another advantage of MAP tests is that we receive detailed, accurate information about student growth. Over the past two years, NWEA has done some terrific work in building in assistive technology supports. We are excited about the new features for this year's test.
Students will start the testing this week. Testing will occur three times this year, once during each of the fall, winter, and spring terms. If you are interested in learning more about MAP, here is a link to further information:  nwea.org/assessments/map/  and/or  nwea.org/content/uploads/2017/08/Parent-Guide.pdf.
During parent-teacher conferences, there will be opportunity to ask questions about  MAP testing and results as well. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to speak to staff.
 
C. Verbeek, Principal
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Terry Fox Run

Terry Fox National School Run
 
What a privilege it is to be able to participate in the Terry Fox Run. This is a way that we can show others we care and that giving is a way to show God’s love to those around us. It is a great example of “Walking with God.” Students in grades 2-8 will be joining approximately 4,300 schools across Canada in the Terry Fox National School Run. To date an outstanding $750 million has been raised for cancer research - a sum that has transformed the lives of people living with cancer today. We are inspired to continue the Marathon of Hope that started 38 years ago at St. John's, Nfld. on a cold April 12 day. 
This is our 10th year of participating in the Terry Fox Run. We have raised a total of $16,829 for cancer research! Everyone knows someone who has had to deal with cancer. There is hope! Students will once again be thinking of someone touched by cancer to write on their "I'm Running For..." sticker. WCS will be raising funds again this year and we will participate in the run on Wednesday, Sept. 26. Your continued support ensures that research teams are able to explore innovative approaches that result in improved outcomes for patients with cancer. Students in grades 3-8 have taken a pledge sheet home with them last week. Here is the link for online fundraising: http://www.terryfox.ca/WoodstockCSWoodstock.
If you have any questions just contact me.
Mrs. Hickey
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