Teachers at Lansing Christian know the value of learning by doing. They know the impact of meaningful student learning experiences that extend beyond the classroom.
Formational learning experiences are designed for students to engage in real work that meets real needs for real people. It is a unique way to put our vision of equipping students to engage and transform the world for Christ into action.
Teachers across all grade levels are implementing formational learning experiences to put purpose behind what students are learning day-to-day. While these experiences are rooted in curriculum and mastery of skills, they also function to deepen students’ understanding of how their knowledge and learning are tools which can be used to impact their communities and their world for Christ.
BRIDGING GAPS THROUGH LANGUAGE
Eighth grade students in Mrs. Sabins’ Spanish class are writing to their pen pals at Sheridan Road School, many of whom are refugees. Through their correspondence, LCS students are helping their pen pals practice English. During the month of December, the class also organized a school-wide winter gear drive for Sheridan Road School refugees as many of these students were experiencing their first Michigan winter. With the help of the LCS community, students were able to provide over one hundred fifty items to help Sheridan Road students and their families. Mrs. Sabins’s hope is that students will recognize and appreciate cultural diversity and will serve those in need by sharing the love of Christ. Her priority is to intentionally provide opportunities for students to grow personally, and to make connections in their local community, as well as to students in other countries.
Mrs. Sabins has also started a medical unit with her Spanish 3 class. Students are partnering with Lansing Urgent Care to prepare medical forms for Spanish-speaking patients. These students are also working to create a list of helpful phrases for doctors as well as an activity sheet for children. Mrs. Sabins states, “It is important that students see how easily they can use what they are learning in class to connect with Spanish speakers in the Lansing community and beyond.”
BUILDING CROSS-GENERATIONAL FRIENDSHIPS
Fourth grade students correspond with senior adults at an assisted living facility in Holt. Fourth grade students are sending art and letters throughout the year to senior residents, and look forward to the opportunity to meet and interview the residents. Students will use this information to write an article about the importance of the life of the senior adult they interviewed. Fourth grade teachers, Mrs. Noble and Mrs. Peterson, see this as an opportunity to not only develop and strengthen their students’ writing, but also to teach students to exemplify the love of Christ. “Our hope for this experience is for our students to be reflectors of God’s love.” says Mrs. Peterson.
LEARNING FROM THE STORIES OF OTHERS
Sixth grade social studies class students are learning about the experience of refugees in our community. As part of this unit, students are partnering with the Refugee Development Center and Sheridan Road School to host a traveling art exhibit called Refuge Lansing at LCS. This exhibit featured stories and photographs of refugees in the Lansing area. Students worked diligently to put this event together where they served as hosts. Social studies teacher, Ms. Zuke, aims to foster empathy in her students by learning about the stories of refugee students and families in Greater Lansing.
EXPLORING BEAUTY IN DIVERSITY
High school art students are painting individual portraits of refugee students at Sheridan Road School in Lansing. These portraits will also be featured at the Lansing Refuge exhibit hosted by Lansing Christian School. Sixth grade social studies students are writing a narrative story to accompany each portrait. High school art students intend to present the portraits to each of the refugee students. This experience gives LCS high school art students an opportunity to paint for a real audience and cultivate an understanding of how art tells a story of beauty in diversity.
DISCERNING OUR WORLD
Sixth grade language arts students are learning about the dangers of vaping and the marketing techniques used to sell vaping products. These students hosted an assembly for the middle and high school students about the dangerous effects of vaping. As part of the assembly, sixth grade students developed thoughtful questions to be answered by a panel of professionals that included a police officer, a public health officer, and a medical professional.
PARTNERING WITH WORLD VISION
High School biology students are learning about viruses, bacteria, and protists in untreated water. In class students are creating materials like videos, stickers, flyers and pamphlets to do the real work of raising money for people throughout the world who need access to clean water. “Students are learning to empathize with challenges faced by people around the world who do not have access to clean water,” said science teacher Ms. Joos. “Students are learning to appreciate their own access to clean water in ways they have only taken for granted before and they are growing their passion to make a difference by using their specific gifts, talents, influence, and abilities.”
“The benefit of doing this project,” says sophomore Joseph Macalincag, “is to make a difference in the world with the lessons we’ve learned in the classroom and put a real life purpose behind our work. It sparks passion in our hearts to do this project and to help save lives.” Sophomore Kjersten Heinlein says, “As students, and Christians, we want to participate in projects and do our best to make a real difference in our world.”
We want to faithfully equip our young people with the tools to make a difference. We want to carry out the call to be a light in our world. We want to equip students to play their unique role in God’s story and to demonstrate God’s love by doing real work that meets real needs for real people. This is the heart of formational learning.
by Jacklyn Chadwick, High School English Teacher