Category Archives: Dawn Stephens Blog Postings

Dawn Stephens Blog Postings

making the little BIG

I have been getting the same message from God in several different venues this past week. I suppose it’s something He wants me to take notice of. It’s a pretty simple concept and one that we shouldn’t need reminding of. But, obviously I’ve needed to hear it, so maybe others do too.

His message is “The little things matter to me! – It’s my job to make them BIG!”

 

 

downloadI first heard it while I was doing a devotional on Ruth. My youngest daughter and I are doing the Kelly Minter, “Living Room Bible Study” on Ruth together. Doing it with my daughter has given me such a great perspective on this woman and the book in the Bible that contains her story. This week’s lesson focused on the kindness of Boaz and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many people.

 

 

 

download (1)The second time was when I watched a video by Pete Briscoe called The Bema. It is a dramatization of a man who goes to heaven and stands before the throne of Christ where his life is celebrated. I can’t do justice by explaining how powerful the video is, so I recommend you watch it for yourself. The message that amazed me was how the little things that had no effect on him had an eternal impact on others. Heaven celebrated the littlest action when it was done in the name of Christ, and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many lives.

 

 

The third time was watching our friend day video for this week. It was by a family at our school that I invited to church on Friend Day. That took such little effort for me to do and I was basically just doing my job without thinking how it could impact lives. Listening to them tell how being invited by me impacted their lives and knowing now how many lives they are impacting by being at Central absolutely amazes me.

 

 

1377139_10153349199655431_1285784542_nThe fourth venue was on facebook when I came across pictures of 600 children in Leogane, Haiti with coloring books that I had illustrated a few years ago. The opportunity to illustrate that coloring book seemed a simple little task. Now, seeing how many lives are touched by it puts me in awe of a God who can take a simple thing and multiply it into something so wonderful.

 

A little boy had five loafs and two fishes (something very small within his own hands). 1383082_10153349189500431_849884290_nBut, given to Jesus it became a means to reach thousands. I’ve been thinking about the little things that take up my time throughout the day. The principal’s desk at CCA has been covered in papers and a list of things that need to get done. Throughout the day those little tasks get interrupted by children coming in to take plastic fruit for the little ways they show kindness and occasionally by a child who is causing a problem that needs an administrative/parental solution.

 

 

Some days I leave feeling I haven’t accomplished anything of value. Then, I realize every little thing I did wasn’t about bringing value to me. It was to bring value to Christ; and He asks for very little effort. He loves to take the little and make it BIG!

 

 

Kindling the Fire of Learning at CCA

Kindling the Fire of Learning at CCA

DSCF2619

This week we put in another PO for more kindles. This order will supply the last group of kindergarten saints with their own device. I am often asked how we use them.

We use them for reading.

During The Daily Five while the saints “Listen to Reading”, “Read to self”, and “Read with a Buddy”, they do it on their kindles.  We also use them in guided reading groups. Every student has their own account on “A-Z Reading: RAZ Kids”. This account has their own library of books they can read at their level. The teachers can use these books for small guided reading instruction.

We use them for writing.

The saints love to type on their kindles and create their own sentences and stories.

We use them for math.

The saints also use their kindles to complete their math skills. The IXL math program allows them to work at their level and advance at their own pace.

We use them for specific skills and learning centers.

The teachers have each kindle programed to the various apps and activities that each child can use. They are able to look up words and find passages quickly.

We use them for Bible and for chapel.

The saints carry them to Chapel and whenever I ask them to read a verse or talk about something from the Bible, they can easily look up the verse and locate references to share with the group.

As a principal, I LOVE the way our teachers are able to differentiate the activities for each saint at CCA and monitor what each child does. By each saint having their own device, they can work independently and in groups. Here is a look into what I see when I leave the principal’s office and walk into the classrooms:

DSCF2483 DSCF2485 DSCF2590 DSCF2591 DSCF2592 DSCF2597 DSCF2598 DSCF2616 DSCF2617 DSCF2618

Book apps, Banners, Business, and Burn-Out

 

Book apps, Banners, Business, and Burn-Out

That was just a few items on the Principal’s desk this week.

 

Book apps

BlackfishIcon_144

My week began with getting a Little Pot book app to test out from Blackfish Children’s Books. They design book apps for tablets and ipods. They have been working with my publisher to create a Little Pot Book app that I can’t wait to purchase for our kindles at CCA. A book app is different than an ebook because it has moveable objects and sounds that interact with the reader. The story can be recorded by a parent or read by a narrator. Blackfish is preparing to launch the book in just a few weeks.

I cherish the moments when God gives me a glimpse back into the author life. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being at CCA. But some days I miss writing and focusing totally on creating children’s books. This was a great way to start the week.

 

Banners

I had a second dose of creating and designing this week. I helped design new banners for the church sanctuary.  Our church family has been busy evaluating ourselves the past few months. We’ve been preparing for some changes at Central and to help us get there, we decided to update the banners in the sanctuary. They will be coming in a few weeks and I don’t want to give it away. For now, I’ll just say they are EPIC.  Friend Day is Oct. 27 and they’ll be up and ready for all our friends to see.

 

Business

dscn1615

In the world of school business, I worked on updating our reading groups which I enjoy doing every week because I get to watch our little saints advance to higher levels. Every week we have several who advance and I get such JOY assigning them to new groups so they will be continually challenged. To see the business our saints at CCA did this week, click on the pots at the right and read about what happened in each of their fruit stands. From Applesauce, pancakes, Oreos, and Oobleck, it was a fun week of learning at CCA.

 

Burn-out

415w5Kapg0L

The week ended as we finally got to light Oil Lamp. Today in chapel, we filled the little lamp with oil and lit up his cotton wick. We learned how the Bible talks about oil being the anointing of the Holy Spirit and that without having the Holy Spirit inside us, we cannot burn brightly either. The children read Matthew 25 with me today and acted out the story of the 10 virgins. Only five had enough oil in their lamps to meet the bridegroom. We asked ourselves if we were ready to meet Christ.  As I studied this lesson, God also showed me that I sometimes “Burn-out” because I don’t allow His Spirit to continually fill me.

 

A Blogging School

 

I haven’t written a post in so long. It’s actually a bit embarrassing.

 

– Sorry, Little Pot and I are going to try very hard to give you something from “The Principal’s Desk” every week.

 

So far we have had an amazingly smooth start to school.  Little Pot has had lots of visitors from fruit bearing saints! Here’s some pictures of our saints learning so far this year.

This week I have been updating our website with the virtual Fruit Stands each teacher has been busy creating.  As part of our initiative to have our saints learn more about on line communication and communicate with them and their parents on their Kindle Fires, I have asked each teacher to create their own classroom blog.

little pot awning blog

Blogs are a great way to communicate with our world. The possibilities are endless and the group of educators we have at CCA this year are much too talented to keep their amazing ideas, activities, and lessons to themselves.  The world needs to see the fruitful happenings at our school.

 

The Little Pots on the right side of my page are linked to each Fruit Stand where you can read about what’s been happening inside their classrooms every week.

 

From the Principal’s Office …. School Security

principal-officeSchool Security
.

In light of the Tragedy that happened last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, we are evaluating our own security procedures. Parents put their trust in us each day to keep their children safe. We have never taken that responsibility lightly. We do have lock-down and emergency procedures in place and will practice them even more.
.

This tragedy took place at a time when our students were preparing their Christmas program about the Gifts of Hope, Wisdom, Love, and Joy. This was a program that we wrote as a school based on what we have learned about a security beyond our life on this earth.
.
Our students began the program with Adam and Eve and the realization that our world is in need of The Gift of HOPE. It explains how tragedy and suffering happen today.
.

Romans 8:18-20, 22-24
8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time … 8:19 For the creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God’s children, 8:20 because the creation has become subject to futility, though not by anything it did. The one who subjected it did so in the certainty. 8:22 For we know that all the rest of creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. 8:23 However, not only the creation, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit also groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 8:24 For we were saved with this hope in mind.

.

The second scene of our program had the magi tell us about how important it is that we open The Gift of WISDOM. This wisdom is what we want each of our students to find. We live among some very wise people. In fact, in light of this tragedy, many will offer their wisdom of the situation. This gift, however, is not to understand the evil, but to become wise enough that we recognize Jesus Christ is the savior that redeems us from it (vs.23).
.

The third gift of our program was The Gift of LOVE. Knowing Jesus is our savior is not enough. We must realize that He became that gift because He loved us so much that he allowed himself to be put to death on a cross and then rose again from the grave.
.

John 3:16
3:16 For God so loved the World that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

.

This gift must be opened by each of us. God has given each of the choice to receive His love. All it takes is to believe it and confess it. When we confess and ask God to save us, we receive this gift and it is ours forever.
.

Romans 10:9-10
10:9 because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10:10 For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.

.

The final gift in our program was The Gift of JOY. It is interesting that when the Bible speaks of having joy, it does so in the midst of tragedies. Does something like what happened in CT rob us of our joy? What began at Christmas to save our sinful world, and was then conquered at the cross and the empty tomb, lives inside us today.
.

Phillipians 1:4-6
1:4 I always pray with joy in my every prayer for all of you 1:5 because of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. 1:6 For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

.

What security can we offer at CCA? Beyond the safety measures that we will keep in place and evaluate regularly, we promise to offer your children the security of an eternal life. And that eternity does not begin after their life on earth. It is a life that begins as soon as we put our hope in Christ, gain the wisdom of how He died to save us, and realize how much He loves us. It is a secure life that we can live with JOY.

a fourth grader’s review of “Here’s Lily – by Nancy Rue”

_240_360_Book_633_cover

Here’s Lily

By Nancy Rue

Review by

1y01130

Danielle Wenz

(4th grader at Central Christian Academy)

I just read a children’s book called Here’s Lily. This book is about a girl named Lily Robbins. Lily is in the middle school and gets teased by a boy named Shad Shifferdecker a lot because of her hair! Her hair is bright red. Lily often worries about how she looks. She gets an unexpected invitation to be in a model search fashion show and Lily becomes obsessed with modeling, fashion, and make-up. Before the big show, the unexpected happens though, and Lily must face her biggest fears. This is a great book for girls ages three through five.

I liked the book because it teaches that what really matters in God’s sight is inner beauty. There is a great Christian message which is hard to find in most books for girls. A lot of people think that outer beauty is what matters, but this book teaches a good lesson on what true beauty really is. I would recommend this book because a lot of girls do not understand inner beauty. I give this book five stars and two thumbs up.

I review for BookSneeze®

The Creation – as retold by Janice Green

creation cover (2)
Today I have the blessing of sharing you with a children’s book titled Creation. This book is the Biblical story of Creation retold by Janice Green
Janice is a retired teacher / librarian. Her ability to connect with kids shows in her writing. In a time when people (even Christians) embrace evolution as truth, it is refreshing to find a book that stays true to the scripture and the literal description of How God created the earth. Janice understands that our student’s beliefs will be challenged by the secular world and she knows the importance of giving a child a strong reliable authority of God’s word.
A difficult task in writing children’s stories about the Bible is that children will see the stories as fictional. Janice explains that the Biblical account is not to be looked at as a myth. She takes a student through each day of His miraculous works. Each page includes verses from scripture and thought provoking questions for children to discuss.
The pictures in her book are the best part. Janice is also a quilter and the pictures in her book are quilt squares (hexagons) that she used to create one of her many Bible quilts. Parents are given instructions in how to create a quilt with their own children. I love the way Janice has taken the story of creation and made into a tangible quilt and story book that students can interact with.

Kindle Fires for CCA in 2012-2013

kindle-fire-03

We’ve spent several months investigating the educational aspects of students using personal electronic mediums. (ipads and/or tablets). We’ve been studying the compatibilities of these devices with various on line curriculum companies and the benefits and risks they would bring to our school.

It was presented to our school board on Tuesday evening and the church deacon board tonight that the next year, Central Christian Academy will launch a pilot program that provides every sixth grade student with their own Kindle Fire

The following is a list of benefits these devices will provide for our students and school:

  • The ability to complete inductive studies of Scripture across different translations and concordances from one device
  • Access to online textbooks. Eliminating the expense of obsolete hardcover books. Plus, increasing the ability to use hard-to-find or out-of-print books.
  • Use of e-books allows instantaneous, highlighting, note taking, and locating of select passages.
  • Information can easily be translated to audio format differentiating information to different learning styles and disabilities.
  • Ability to create in class blogs to help further guide instruction and create better critical thinkers by promoting analysis though book discussion.
  • Access to Discovery Education and other supplemental materials online to complete test, quizzes, assignments, and projects diminishing the use of excess paper and textbooks. Also, allowing uploading of assignments eliminating loss.
  • Ease of communication via email, calendar, and agenda applications.
  • Meets and surpasses technology integration standards.
  • Access to educational access to reinforce, remediate, and enrich skills taught in class. Many applications have the ability to be monitored by the teacher to ensure extra study is being completed when needed.
  • Sets Central Christian Academy apart from all other area schools.

We are excited to see the potential this pilot program has and the impact it will make on our unique and distinctive curriculum. One thing is for sure, It is a great time to be a student at CCA!