On being just and honest and kind and true and loving in a messed-up world.
On being just and honest and kind and true and loving in a messed-up world.

Bulletin 12   |   February 10, 2021

Christian education roots itself into a foundational truth that says the transference of knowledge and skills is not enough. The Story matters. Learning always involves spirituality and morality as well as information
Martin Luther King, Jr. understood that without a moral compass, we live in a “messed-up world.” In 1954, he shared these words at Detroit’s Second Baptist Church:

The trouble isn’t so much that we don’t know enough, but it’s as if we aren’t good enough. The trouble isn’t so much that our scientific genius lags behind, but our moral genius lags behind. The great problem facing modern man is that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood.

The wisdom of these words endure and speak especially to the purpose of FLEx. We aspire to design learning opportunities for our students (and ourselves!) to practice being “just and honest and kind and true and loving.”
And how do we know whether these learning experiences make a difference? Check out the text message below from a parent whose son was involved the first TfT learning story we share in this Bulletin:

Who would have known that TfT would impact sleepover activities?!?

Elementary TfT: Allendale Christian School

How do you thrive in a year full of closings, canceled trips, and constant changes? Try spreading kindness to as many people as possible. It all started with a dream that Allendale Christian 5th-grade students would spread kindness to leaders in their country, state, and city. From there, it grew to so much more: students took the lead to create something beautiful. They were inspired by their class novel, R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. The book’s theme was to always “choose kind,” and the class focused on the contagious nature of kindness. As this newspaper article captures, the 5th graders in Miss Kirchhoff and Mr. Vandenberg’s class were determined to spread this fruit of the spirit as they live into their deep hope: “to be part of God’s restoration team for the greater good of His glory in the classroom, creation, and community as you use your heart, soul and mind.” 

Black History Month: Empowering students, schools and communities

Many of our classrooms across the TfT Network are engaging their students in learning that recognizes that it is Black History Month. This article from PBL Works contains some FLEx ideas that will invite our students into local learning  stories in which they are empowered to practice a Throughline way of being as they work towards creating change.

Secondary TfT: South Christian High

Curtis Copeland, PE teacher at South Christian High, is challenging his Strength and Conditioning class to live into their Storyline: Mind, Body, Spirit, even in the midst of the pandemic. Curt’s students were tasked to plan, design, and create a weekly fitness routine to benefit a community that must quarantine. The students began to see how Strength and Conditioning can be more than lifting weights: the skills can build the strength advocated in Deuteronomy 6:5 (“to love God with all your…strength”) by creating a routine that conditions each participant to practice physical movement with a spiritual mindset.

Learning Targets: Acts of Hospitality as “Clear Is Kind”

For every teacher who loves the use of learning targets, there is a teacher who struggles to see their worth. Dordt University professors of education Matthew Beimers and Dave Mulder launched their new podcast Hallway Conversations by sharing an honest reflection of their journey incorporating learning targets into their practice. They address this question: Knowing that “clear is kind,” are learning targets an act of hospitality within a classroom? Check out the Feb. 3 episode.

Throughlines: An invitation to collaborate and grow a collection

The staff at Lethbridge Christian School have been compiling a book list to align with the Throughlines. They have generously shared it with our network of schools with the hope of seeing it grow. So, lets grow it! We invite K-12 teachers to add titles of books/poems/podcast episodes that coincide with each of the Throughlines. Each page on this Google spreadsheet features a different Throughline, and there is a minimal amount of information required. We are excited to see how this resource grows into a K-12 collection used across the TfT network.

For every new individual title you contribute, you will be entered into a drawing for a TfT T-shirt. We will draw two names every two weeks over the next six weeks. Be sure to enter your first name and email address in the column labelled “contributed by” so that we can contact you.

Virtual TfT Site Seminar Story #3: Honoring Different Perspectives

We continue the sharing of TfT stories that were shared in our fall TfT virtual site visit. Today’s story is from the Matt Berka’s English 10 class at Southwest Christian as he incorporates FLEx into persuasive essay writing.
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