Edmonton Christian Northeast School is exactly that — it is a school. Schools are places to learn STUFF. But at Edmonton Christian, we believe that we have an amazing opportunity for the students not only to learn the STUFF of the prescribed curriculum, but also, in doing so, to explore and learn their place in God’s STORY.
The curriculum STUFF that the grade 4 students at ECNS needed to learn recently was the use of decimals in addition and subtraction. The STORY they learned was that God loves all of us and can use our gifts and skills to love others.
The grade 4 class, and teacher (ECHS alumnus) Liz Rachul connected with the Mustard Seed Church downtown and found out that they have a program that provides sandwiches for those community members who for various reasons cannot join the inside meals served at Mustard Seed. Ms. Rachul provided the students with a grocery list and challenged them to check three different stores to find those ingredients within a $100 budget. Totalling the cost of multiple loaves of bread and all the other ingredients needed, created lots of real-work practice in addition and subtraction of decimals. Students had to stay within budget. Not $0.05 over! Once that work was done, the class picked a plan that was on budget and purchased the ingredients.
The next day they were toured through the Mustard Seed Community Support Centre by Sara Nicolai-deKoning (also an ECHS alumnus!) before making the sandwiches to be distributed.
They learned the STUFF while participating in a beautiful STORY. Deep learning accomplished by doing real work, meeting the real needs of real people! Deep learning that invited our students to live lives of renewal. Did they accept the invitation? Here is what a few of them wrote:
“I learned that lots of people don’t have homes and that one sandwich means a lot.” Jaeda
“Another thing that can be done is to be kind to the homeless.” Ashleigh
“I can help the Mustard Seed by donating my birthday money.” Aleina
“The Mustard Seed community church is a good place to be if you are lonely, sad, homeless or just need to talk! One meal can make a big difference in someone’s life. It also makes you happy.” Ryanna
Now that seems to be a Math lesson that really added up!
by Brian Doornenbal
Great idea Liz… I’m stealing it!