/Expected Student Outcome: Student Learning

We want students to think critically

Information is important, and thinking critically with and about information is also important. We want our students at OCSI to think critically.

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What, exactly, is critical thinking? The authors of Making Thinking Visible identify activities that make up the thinking we want to happen:

  1. brain-1294854_640Observing closely and describing what’s there.
  2. Building explanations and interpretations.
  3. Reasoning with evidence.
  4. Making connections.
  5. Considering different viewpoints and perspectives.
  6. Capturing the heart and forming conclusions.
  7. Wondering and asking questions.
  8. Uncovering complexity and going beneath the surface of things.
  9. Identifying patterns and making generalizations.
  10. Generating possibilities and alternatives.
  11. Evaluating evidence arguments, and actions.
  12. Formulating plans and monitoring actions.
  13. Identifying claims, assumptions, and bias.
  14. Clarifying priorities, conditions, and what is known.
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OCSI secondary students did this recently, for example when…
  • 6th grade historians observed how apple slices they packed in salt were preserved and considered connections to why and how the ancient Egyptians preserved the bodies of their dead.
  • 7th grade scientists considered the question, “How are these molecules the same, and how are they different?”
  • 8th grade mathematicians were asked to explain why they wrote the problem they did, what the parts mean, and what kind of answer would make sense.
  • 9th grade historians learning about Hammurabi’s code came up with examples of modern civil and criminal law cases
  • 10th grade Honors English students made connections between themes in the novel and issues in modern life or current events.
  • 11th grade AP English students constructing argument essays, researched both sides of their chosen issue.
  • 12th grade Bible scholars gave presentations on a Biblical perspective of an issue, including ways the Bible can be misused regarding the issue.
  • High school woodworkers, completing technical drawings and beginning construction of their scroll saw puzzles, learned to problem solve when issues arrive on a project or in life. Often, projects run longer than expected or errors occur. Students (woodworkers) then have to think critically to solve these issues. With strong critical thinking skills, students (woodworkers) can use their planned details with logic to not only solve problems, but even to foresee them before they occur, and avoid them.
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Kim Essenburg, curriculum coordinator
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Handbook • Prayer • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Twitter • Typhoon

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P.S. Check out the elementary’s new T-shirts which feature our 5 expected student outcomes!

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October 19th, 2017|

Focusing on increasing student thinking

OCSI Connections:

brain-1294854_640OCSI focuses on thinking. We focus on increasing students’ ability to think both critically and Biblically. It’s good to see…

  • PreK students working together to figure out new and creative ways to build structures from blocks.
  • 1st grade artists exploring the concept of symmetry through portrait drawing.

  • 3rd grade writers thinking about people and places that are important to them in order to write small moment narratives.

  • 4th and 5th grade students thinking deeply about purpose and values in Bible class and at camp.

  • 7th grade scientists considering the question, “How are these molecules the same, and how are they different?”

  • 11th grade AP English students constructing argument essays, researched both sides of their chosen issue.

  • High school woodworkers, completing technical drawings and beginning construction of their scroll saw puzzles, learned to problem solve when issues arrive on a project or in life. Often, projects run longer than expected or errors occur. Students (woodworkers) then have to think critically to solve these issues. With strong critical thinking skills, students (woodworkers) can use their planned details with logic to not only solve problems, but even to foresee them before they occur, and avoid them.

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It’s also good to see staff thinking about how to help OCSI be an even better school. On the October 9 professional day, for example, staff used rubrics to assess how OCSI is doing on governance, home/community relations, personnel, instructional program, student care, and values/character formation.

Additionally, the School Improvement Steering Committee has been meeting weekly to review input from students, parents/guardians, and staff; and to write reports on how OCSI is doing. These reports will be published and made available to you before our accreditation visit in March 2018.

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As you think about upcoming events, please keep the following in mind:

  • 11/3: Parent-teacher conferences – no school for students
  • 11/11: Walkathon and PTF’s Holiday Market—see you there!
  • 11/13: OCSI Holiday – no school
  • 11/22: Professional Day – no school for students
  • 11/23-24: Thanksgiving vacation
  • 12/6: Christmas Program, 12:30 dismissal
  • 12/15: 12:30 dismissal.
  • 12/16 – 1/3: Christmas vacation

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Did you know that…?

Thank you for the privilege of assisting your with the education of your child(ren)! Please contact us with your questions and concerns.

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon

Superintendent

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Meet our elementary staff! They love your kids, and they love learning.

October 19th, 2017|

Students are thinking!

Elementary Connections:

It has been such a joy to see our elementary students asking questions and thinking critically in the classroom, on learning trips, at camp, during chapel, or even at recess. I am always impressed by how well our students question, think deeply, apply a Biblical perspective, and solve problems. Here are some of the ways I’ve seen this so far…

  • brain-1294854_640PreK students working together to figure out new and creative ways to build structures from blocks.

  • Kindergarten students exploring their five senses through an apple investigation and reflecting on how happy they were that God created them with five senses to explore His world .

  • 1st grade artists exploring the concept of symmetry through portrait drawing.

  • 1st and 2nd grade students sharing prayer requests and learning they can pray for anything.

  • 3rd grade writers thinking about people and places that are important to them in order to write small moment narratives.

  • 4th and 5th grade students thinking deeply about purpose and values in Bible class and at camp.

  • 5th grade scientists asking questions and making predictions about the chemical reactions between sugar in watermelon and yeast.

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Thinking critically about the world around us and looking at this world through the lens of a Biblical perspective are skills that we all want to cultivate and grow in our children. Developing these from a young age means that children will be better at making decisions, seeing patterns, and classifying information. Want to know more about how to encourage critical thinking in your child? Check out this article.

Upcoming dates to remember:

  • Saturday, 11/11: Walkathon & Holiday Market

  • Monday, 11/13: No school (OCSI Holiday)

  • Wednesday, 11/22-24-: No school (Thanksgiving Break)

  • Wednesday, 12/6: Christmas Program (grades 1-5), 12:30 dismissal

  • Friday, 12/15: PreK & Kindergarten Christmas Program, 12:30 dismissal

Thank you for the privilege of educating your children!

Sincerely,
Megan Roe, elementary principal
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon

Megan Roe

P.S. Join our annual giving campaign. One way you can do this is by coming to our Holiday Market.

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October 12th, 2017|

We want our students to think

At OCSI, we want our students to think. We want our students to think critically and Biblically. So, we ask our students to…

  1. brain-1294854_640Imagine, analyze, and evaluate art, in part by applying artistic principles.
  2. Consider what it means to live Biblically.
  3. Persist in order to solve problems.
  4. Assess their writing.
  5. Think about history and current events in light the Biblical principles.
  6. Consider (a) the interconnection of language and culture and (b) the importance of humility, love, and discipline when communicating across language/culture barriers as host or guest.
  7. Solve problems by applying patterns, use sound reasoning, and critiquing the reasoning of others.
  8. Analyze how scientific conclusions can be influenced by assumptions, carefully examine claims, and weigh evidence, including Biblical evidence.
  9. Evaluate performances and creations (their own and others’) in terms of quality, purpose, worldview, and beauty.
  10. Think about strategy, synthesize key concepts, and evaluate their own motivation in matters of health, fitness, performance, and competition.
  11. Analyze alternative solutions, synthesize ideas, and evaluate their product, process, and workplace ethics (in part, by applying Biblical principles).

To help students grow as thinkers, we use a variety of strategies, including:

  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Having students share how they came up with their answers.
  • Classroom discussion.
  • Emphasizing the value of creative solutions.
  • Inviting students to solve real world problems.
  • Asking students to connect what they study and what the Bible teaches.

Says Michael Essenburg, superintendent: “Our world needs thinkers. Our world needs thinkers who make positive impact. I’m glad our students are growing as critical and Biblical thinkers.”
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During the October 2 staff meeting, staff discussed what they want our students to think about.

October 5th, 2017|

Focusing on increasing student understanding

OCSI Connections:

OCSI focuses on learning. We focus on increasing student understanding of God, His world, and their place in it. It’s exciting to see students grow in their understanding of things like…

  • Story sequence by identifying what part of a story doesn’t belong (kindergarten).
  • The importance of praying for others to create community (2nd grade).
  • Place value of decimals to the thousandths place (5th grade).
  • The value of reading (grades 6-8), as part of our Drop Everything and Read Program.
  • Commercial implications of chemistry in the invention of Teflon (high school).
  • How we can extrapolate principles from the Bible that are applicable today in spite of all the ways life has changed in the thousands of years since it was written (high school Bible).

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It’s also exciting to see staff increasing their understanding as they participate in professional development on student safety, engaging instruction, and differentiation. It’s exciting to learn that staff are reading books like All Things Bright and BeautifulThe Advantage, Visit the Sick, Third Culture Kids, and The Bronze Bow.

We know that our parents/guardians want to increase their understanding about what is happening at OCSI. So, we provide an online handbook, send emails, post on our blog and social media, use Jupiter, post board minutes and policy, and post key dates on our calendar, including:

  • 10/9: Professional Development Day – no school for students
  • 11/3: Parent-teacher conferences – no school for students
  • 11/11: Walkathon and PTF’s Holiday Market—see you there!
  • 11/13: OCSI Holiday – no school for students

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Check your understanding: Did you know that…?

  • OCSI’s chaplains (Mr. Roe and Mr. Reasoner) provide counseling to elementary and secondary students?
  • Last year’s college-bound seniors received US$1,339,116 in college scholarships and grants?
  • OCSI’s guidance counseling supports the college application process. To learn more, click here.
  • In situations away from school, parents/guardians are responsible for their children’s behavior, but continued public disregard for the school’s standards will result in administrative involvement?
  • OCSI provides a list of virtual tours for Japanese colleges?
  • PTF is starting a parenting Bible study on October 6.
  • OCSI’s website provides links to previous parent newsletters and to local churches?
  • OCSI has 5 expected student outcomes, one of which is “understanding God, His world, and their place in it”?

On behalf of the Leadership Team, I want to thank you for the privilege of assisting your with the education of your child(ren)! Please feel free to contact appropriate staff with your questions and concerns.

Sincerely,
Michael B. Essenburg, superintendent
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon

Superintendent

Staff on School Improvement

P.S. OCSI has its 6-year accreditation visit in March 2018. Staff are preparing for the visit by analyzing how OCSI is doing in 8 areas. Staff are using data (including data from surveys: secondary studentsparents/guardianssupport staffteaching staff) to assess current practice and to determine growth areas. September 7-8, Dr. Mohler of ACSI visited OCSI to check on our progress and gave us a good report.

September 28th, 2017|

Middle school students and teachers Drop Everything and Read

Reading grows your brain like exercise grows your muscles! As reading grows your brain, it helps you understand God, His world, and our place in it. In addition to increasing knowledge, achievement, motivation, vocabulary, writing, and empathy (see blog here), it also strengthens concentration, relieves stress, prepares students for the world of college and work, provides a challenge, and can be enjoyable.

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Middle school students and teachers Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) for 25 minutes every Thursday afternoon. Enjoy seeing everyone reading!

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Kim Essenburg, curriculum coordinator
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Handbook • Prayer • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Twitter • Typhoon

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September 14th, 2017|

Elementary is off to a great start

Elementary Connections:

reader-310398_640What a great start to the school year! One of our goals for our elementary students here at OCSI is to understand God, His world, and their place in it. I’ve already seen our students grow in their understanding of things like…

  • How God made each child unique through the song “I Am Special” (pre-K).
  • Story sequence by identifying what part of a story doesn’t belong (kindergarten).
  • God as Creator of this world and worthy of praise (1st grade).
  • The joy of reading to others during Daily 5 (2nd grade).
  • The importance of praying for others to create community (2nd grade).
  • How our individual gifts and talents help us work together and help one another (2nd grade).
  • Steps of the writing process, starting with brainstorming (3rd grade).
  • The impact of Jesus’ short life here on Earth through the book Who Is This Man (5th grade).
  • Place value of decimals to the thousandths place (5th grade).

As students grow in their understanding of the world God has made for us, I hope it will encourage them to keep reading and learning. Parents, you can support your child at home by reading to them and by encouraging them to ask questions and learn more about topics they’re interested in. Need some ideas?

Thanks for helping us get off to a great start!

Sincerely,
Megan Roe, elementary principal
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Donate • Handbook • Prayer Guide • Facebook • Typhoon

Megan Roe

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September 7th, 2017|

We want to increase student understanding

reader-310398_640We want to see students understanding God, His world, and their place in it. This is one of our expected student outcomes, and I’m excited about understandings I’ve seen OCSI secondary students grappling with this week. Things like…
  • There is more to individuals, events, and societies than appears on the surface—by reading a short story, taking notes on it, and discussing it (English 7).
  • The phases of the moon—by holding a golf ball in front of an electric bulb, sketching what is observed, and discussing it with classmates (Science 8).
  • How absolute and relative location help us understand the world (Geography 7).
  • Parallelism (synthetic and antithetic) in the Psalms, in a quotation from John F. Kennedy, and in the opening of A Tale of Two Cities (English 12).
  • The probability of a recent PowerBall win (Honors Geometry).
  • The impact of geography on culture of native Americans—by giving a researched group presentation (US history).
  • The relationship between mass and volume (physical science).
  • Commercial implications of chemistry in the invention of Teflon (chemistry).
  • Personal connections with Bible verses—by designing a postcard (Bible Application).
  • How we can extrapolate principles from the Bible that are applicable today in spite of all the ways life has changed in the thousands of years since it was written (Bible Apologetics).
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Our world is an amazing place—created by an amazing God who loves to see us use it with delight, gratitude, humility, creativity, and compassion. We love to see the students developing those understandings!
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Kim Essenburg, curriculum coordinator
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
Calendar • Contact • Handbook • Prayer • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • Twitter • Typhoon

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P.S. To learn more about what we want our students to understand, check out this blog entry!

September 1st, 2017|

We want our students to understand

reader-310398_640At OCSI, we want our students to understand. We want our students to understand God, His world, and their place in it. More specifically, we want students to understand…

  1. That art communicates personal and cultural meaning.
  2. The plan of salvation.
  3. Their own emotions and behavior.
  4. That language should be used to serve God and others.
  5. How to speak, read, and write Japanese.
  6. The connections between numbers, operations, and patterns.
  7. That music should be used to worship God and communicate with others.
  8. The importance of motivation.
  9. The process of scientific inquiry that led scientists to their current level of understanding of the natural law by which God sustains His creation.
  10. How they can use their rights and responsibilities as local, national, and global citizens to build flourishing communities characterized by peace and justice.
  11. Why and when to use technology.
  12. Workplace skills.
To increase student understanding, we use a variety of strategies, including:
  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Helping students master key vocabulary words.
  • Providing students with feedback.
  • Having students work in small groups.
  • Helping new students feel comfortable.
Says Michael Essenburg, superintendent: “In today’s world, it’s vital that students understand. I want our students to learn that they should care for God’s creation, love God and others, make disciples, and participate in the body of Christ. I want our students to learn that we are to be content with what God provides and that God’s Word is true.”

 

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During the August 28 staff meeting, staff discuss what they want students to understand about God, His world, and their place in it.
August 28th, 2017|

Secondary students drop everything and read

Did you know that reading has the following 9 benefits?

  1. Builds knowledge
  2. Improves achievement
  3. Increases motivation
  4. Increases vocabulary
  5. Improves writing
  6. Builds background knowledge
  7. Improves understanding of text structures
  8. Develops empathy
  9. Develops personal identity

These 9 benefits are identified by the authors of Disrupting Thinking, and we want our students to gain all these benefits! So, Thursday afternoons secondary students are dropping everything and reading. They are spending 25 minutes of uninterrupted silent reading time with their homeroom teachers.

We kicked off our Drop Everything and Read program on Thursday—it went well!

  • Students and teachers were deeply engaged with books.
  • There were boxes of books or classroom libraries in each room, and activities to help students choose a book.
  • Said one 9th grade homeroom teacher, “I had kids who were so excited about certain books they had to janken over who got it. No apathy for reading in 9.1!”
  • A middle school homeroom teacher said, “My students all came with books already chosen. We didn’t even do any introductory activities, but just got right to reading.”

We’re looking forward to a lot of enjoyment as well as growth through reading this year!

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August 25th, 2017|