Real Love
Real Love

Bulletin 16   |   April 7, 2021

You know those times when someone shares a link with you? You click on it, find yourself enjoying what you are reading, then you click on another link. And then another . . . and then another . . . click, read, click, read, click. . . .

As I entered Easter weekend, a train of clicks happened to me. TfT school designer Carey Franklin shared a Maundy Thursday reflection that led to a series of clicks that eventually led to this meditation called, “The First Mention of Love.” Author Tara Owens explores the nature of real love through the intense story of Abraham and Isaac, a story that foreshadows the Easter story. 

Pandemic life generally makes every weekend feel the same for me, and I was at risk of this happening during this past Easter weekend – so, I am grateful for the prompting and nudging that I continue to feel from this reading.

The word “real” always captures my attention due to the FLEx emphasis to invite learners into “real work that meets real needs for real people.” As we design such learning experiences for our students, we are at risk of forgetting the why: to create opportunities for students to participate in learning that shapes desires and loves–real love.

Our love is inspired by Easter love: the sacrificial love of God for the world. It is this redeeming love that invites and empowers us to play our parts in His restoration story. Christ has risen! He is alive! He lives, and He loves.

Reflecting with Throughline: A Resource

In Pam Zuidhof’s third grade class at Surrey Christian School, the Throughline characters are often projected via this slide so students connect their learning to the Throughlines. This slide is a simple and effective way to nurture continuous and contextualized reflection—to help students link their learning experiences to their roles in God’s story.

Document Panels: Growing over Time

Grow and Overflow: two words that describe the endless learning, energy, joy, and love of five- and six-year-old students in Laura Huisman’s kindergarten class at Allendale Christian. Laura invited her students to grow with her this year as they learned to Live the Story together while overflowing with Jesus’ love in all their work and play. Their growing document panel demonstrates their journey into God’s Story and reflects all the ways in which they actively engaged with their Storyline. It serves as a wonderful example of a K-12 document panel.

Elementary TfT: Helping Hands

The story “Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!” guided Ripon Christian second-grade students and teacher Julie Vander Molen to explore the “helping hands” in their community as they live into the classroom’s Storyline: Shine. The second graders asked, “Who does the thankless jobs of mowing parks, picking up trash, and cleaning public restrooms?” They discovered that these “helping hands” extended from city workers’ arms. After experiencing picking up trash on the school’s campus themselves, the students reflected Christ’s love by writing and delivering letters to Ripon’s city workers, thanking them for all the work they do in the Ripon community with this message: “Thanks! You SHINE and make our city SHINE!”

Manhattan Christian: Sharing TfT Learning Stories with Their Community

The teachers of Manhattan Christian, located in the Big Sky State of Montana, have shared some of their TfT-designed learning experiences with their community via their school website. Check out their wide variety of learning stories that demonstrate the core and essential practices of Teaching for Transformation.

Opening Circle Prompts: A Resource

As experienced and modeled in your TfT training experiences, many TfT schools implement the practice of opening circles, checking in with their learners before diving into the learning of the day. A common challenge for teachers is to come up with high-quality check-in prompts that invite sharing and reflection. Sources of Strength, an organization dedicated to “training, supporting, and empowering both peer leaders and caring adults to impact their world through the power of connection, hope, help and strength,” has developed a resource that contains countless prompts organized by three categories: Soulful, Strength, and Silly. The prompts are aligned to a calendar. We are grateful for their permission to share this resource with our TfT network. I am confident that you will find the exact prompt you are looking for!
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