In Ms. Murrill’s sixth-grade English Language Arts (ELA) classes, students recently embarked on a captivating journey through literature. As a cumulative project for their summer reading novels (“Ungifted” by Gordon Korman, “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko or “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio), students were given the exciting opportunity to express their understanding through a variety of alternative assessments that allowed them to showcase their creativity, critical thinking and comprehension skills. Ms. Murrill’s innovative approach to assessing her students’ comprehension and literary analysis skills involved providing them with six diverse choices for their projects. Each project option encouraged students to explore their summer reading novels from a different perspective. Here are the options students could choose from:
- Beyond the Pages: Crafting a Captivating New Chapter: In this project, students were challenged to write a new chapter or epilogue for their chosen novel, seamlessly integrating their own creativity while staying true to the author’s style and themes.
- Imaginative Pages: Transforming a Novel into a Picture Book Adventure: Students could choose to convert their novel into a captivating picture book, using their artistic talents to illustrate key scenes and moments from the story.
- Novel Melodies: Transforming Stories into Song: For those musically inclined, this project option allowed students to compose and perform an original song inspired by their summer reading novel, highlighting its core themes and characters.
- Literary Assessment Adventure: Crafting a Comprehensive Story Test: This option required students to design a comprehensive story test, challenging their peers with thought-provoking questions that delved into the plot, characters and literary elements of their novels.
- Seussify Your Story: Creating a Dr. Seuss-Style Book: Students had the opportunity to reimagine their novels in the whimsical and rhyming style of Dr. Seuss, making their books engaging and accessible to a younger audience.
- Visualizing the Story: Creating a Graphic Novel Scene: For the visually inclined, this project allowed students to craft a graphic novel scene, capturing the essence of a crucial moment in their novel while paying attention to details, character expressions and panel layout.
Each of these alternative assessments challenged students to apply their knowledge, organize their thoughts and analyze the plot and relationships within their novels. They were encouraged to synthesize their understanding, evaluate literary elements and ultimately create something unique that showcased their deep connection with the text.
To explore the amazing projects created by Ms. Murrill’s sixth-grade ELA classes and witness their creativity in action, click on the links below:
- Beyond the Pages Project – Aiden Leyrer
- Imaginative Pages Project – Emma Buckson
- Novel Melodies Project & Song – Connor Michalak
- Literary Assessment Adventure – Clara Boerboom
- Seussify Your Story Project – Justice Potts
- Visualizing the Story Project – Paxton Malone
This approach not only engaged students in a meaningful exploration of literature but also empowered them to reach the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, promoting critical thinking and a deeper understanding of the texts they read. Congratulations to all the students for their outstanding work and creativity in Ms. Murrill’s ELA classes!
Fifth graders had the opportunity to attend a Fifth-Grade Retreat at Carolina Creek Camp. The fifth-grade students who attended were able to spend three days and two nights working on team building, getting to know each other better and growing spiritually.
Students were broken into four small groups to enjoy Bible study and group activities. The theme for the retreat was Isaiah 43:1-4 and students learned that God has not forgotten them, God knows them by name and God restores them. Students enjoyed a keynote speaker and small group Bible discussions each day. Students also learned about the attributes of God while enjoying team-building activities like crate stacking, climbing the giant ladder, kayaking, cable park (knee-boarding), adventure park (ropes course), arrow tag, ziplining and target sporks (archery and tomahawks). On the last day, our teams got to practice working together to solve several puzzles and gather the tools they needed to rescue their group leader who was “kidnapped” and stranded in the middle of the lake. It was great to watch the students learn how to work together and encourage one another while completing different tasks. Overall, the students grew closer together as a group and closer to God.
Students in the Warrior Leadership Academy traveled to London, Normandy and Oxford to experience Student Leadership University 301 last week. The goal of our student leadership program is to give our students a decade head start on their peers across the world by the time they graduate high school. This group of rising juniors and seniors began SLU 301 by navigating London in the CCS version of The Amazing Race of London! Navigating a major European city via various means of public transportation as a 17 or 18-year-old is an amazing experience…and they did a great job, culminating in a meeting for dinner at the famous Dickens Inn at historic St Katherine’s Dock.
To begin the week, our students crossed the English Channel and had the privilege of visiting the hallowed grounds of the American Cemetery at Normandy, France. CCS students took part in a somber wreath-laying ceremony honoring our brave warriors who secured freedom for the West and beyond. On the same day, the group had lunch and heard a leadership lecture on Omaha Beach. Each participant was able to gather a small vial of sand off of the beach to take home to keep in remembrance of the day.
The following day began with visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum in London where they saw artifacts and religious sculptures dating back as far as 300 A.D. up to the 18th century. It was very affirming to see the massive impact of our God in the lives of the ancients they were studying. The best artwork was, without question, the art depicting the Word of God and His power. The group then had lunch in the famed Piccadilly Circle in London, a very impressive cultural setting drowning in history in every direction.
After lunch, they attended a great lecture in John Wesley’s home church, highlighting the leadership lessons from his life of awesome impact. The old chapel was classic and beautiful. They began with prayer and singing a few lines from classic hymns. They were also able to visit the final resting places of several giants of the faith, including Wesley, his brother Charles, their mother and John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress.
They ended a great day by walking across Westminster Bridge over the River Thames past Big Ben and the Eye of London, finally ending up at the Imperial War Museum. The museum was closed to the public and booked exclusively for CCS as the group was treated to a tour and special program.
On Friday, students had an all-day excursion to beautiful Oxford, England. They began the morning with a very rare opportunity. First, they visited and had an event at The Holy Trinity Church, the home church of C.S. Lewis. Students sat in the same beautiful wooden pews where Lewis and many other impactful Christian leaders spent Sunday after Sunday.
As an educational opportunity, students listened live and in person to a living legend, Dr. John Lennox. Because it would be impossible to list his credentials, work history and impact for the Kingdom of God and in the lives of so many people across the globe here, you make click here for your information. The lecture was recorded and is part of a series for a course to be used at several Christian universities. He was gracious, eloquent and logically flawless. Students experienced a modern-day hero of the faith.
Students spent the rest of the day in town, and around the University of Oxford, where they were free to participate in any number of activities, attractions and lots of shopping. The differences in what students decided to do were broad, funny and a good testimony to the uniqueness of each and every person! Everyone hit the bus probably over-caffeinated, yet exhausted!
The group finished the evening with a great meal, a leadership lecture and a graduation ceremony. The ceremony included a recognition of the completion of the SLU conference series and a time when the President and Vice President of SLU prayed over the students. It was a beautiful culmination of a fantastic day.
CCS Warrior Leadership Academy students traveled to Washington, D.C. for their Student Leadership University 201 experience.
The conference was headlined with an awesome speech by Dr. Ben Carson. He connected with the students in a powerful way, not only sharing his unbelievable journey, but he really did a great job bringing glory to the power of God. He did all of this while teaching several powerful leadership lessons related to developing yourself for God’s service. It was awesome.
Students had the opportunity to learn from Dr. Jay Strack, Jeff Struecker (former Army Ranger who participated in the ‘Black Hawk Down’ mission), and Chaplain Barry Black (Chaplain for the United States Senate). From these lessons, students were shown what it means to be a leader for Christ with the heart of a patriot.
During the conference, CCS students toured the Holocaust Museum, The Museum of the Bible, The Smithsonian Museum of American History, as well as many monuments. While at the Hallowed ground of Arlington Cemetery, students witnessed the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the changing of the Guard.
Coach Hogan is confident our students took away many important lessons to grow and develop strong, patriotic, Christian leaders.
CCS is proud to be one of approximately 450 high schools in the state of Texas to be recognized as an AP Capstone School. This innovative College Board program consists of two courses, AP Seminar and AP Research, taken during the junior and senior year of high school. The courses teach students skills including college-level independent research, collaboration, teamwork, writing and communication that can be used in any discipline.
Original research was conducted this year by five members of the Class of 2023. We are pleased to announce that all students passed the AP Research Academic Paper and Presentation. Luc Shyaka-Ngabo earned the AP Capstone Diploma through successful completion of AP Research, AP Seminar and four other AP courses. Lucy Davis, Connor Keim, Kiley Kreitz, and Matthew LeForce each earned the AP Capstone Certificate.
“As it relates to overall AP scoring, this group was statistically the most successful AP Research class ever at CCS. However, I am most proud of their care and concern for one another throughout this process,” remarked Mr. Leonard. “This group will always be special to me because they had a genuine love for each other. I am going to miss them very much.”
Twenty-eight freshmen students began their Student Leadership University journey by attending the SLU 101 conference in San Antonio. This is the first step in a four-year pathway to develop strong, active Christian leaders who will allow God to use them to do exceedingly and abundantly more than they can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
SLU 101 is designed to encourage and equip students to be leaders now – in their homes, schools, churches and relationships. Students learned that in all things, they are commanded to be excellent. (1 Corinthians 10:31) While observing sharks and dolphins at SeaWorld, they learned about personality types and how best to build positive and lasting relationships with each other. (1 Corinthians 12:25-27) Students were challenged to dream and do big things to fulfill God’s will for their lives. They were encouraged to “eat the big frog first” as a reminder to make a habit of doing hard things first; understanding that growth and change occur when difficulties are overcome.
Throughout the conference, students were reminded of Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Fifty-eight eighth-grade students said “Goodbye, Middle School!” with a brunch followed by an awards assembly and celebration on Wednesday, May 24, in the East Gym. Students marked the end of middle school and the beginning of a great new adventure in high school by reminiscing about favorite CCS memories and thanking those who helped along the way. Mrs. Rhea, Middle School Principal, and Mrs. McGrath, middle school math teacher, began the ceremony by recognizing students who excelled in Math Olympics, achieved membership in National Junior Honor Society and maintained all A’s during their last year of middle school.
Mrs. Mary Johnson from the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter presented Katelyn Bienko the DAR Youth Leadership Award, and Mr. Bruce Williams recognized Katie Hirth and Philip Belanger for their Christian character and athletic leadership during middle school by honoring them with the Sword & Shield award. Mrs. Rhea honored Madison Mynes for her outstanding academic achievement as she received the Academic Excellence Award for having the highest grade average in eighth grade.
Eighth-grade teachers chose one student to honor with an Excellence in the Classroom award. Each teacher shared special comments about the individual who received the honor and presented a certificate to mark the event.
The final part of the program featured sweet pictures of each eighth grader as a toddler, an elementary child and finally a young teenager. Mrs. Rhea read special quotes from each student about his/her eighth-grade year; Mr. Colchado and Dr. Layton presented each student a certificate of completion of middle school. Last, Mr. Frankio, eighth-grade Bible teacher, led a prayer of protection and blessing over the eighth graders as they stepped out of middle school.
- Bible 8 – Max Ferrell
- Advanced ELA 8 – Maddie McCown
- ELA 8 – Lydia Duphorne
- Intro. to Algebra – Brooke Intrau
- Advanced Algebra I – Elizabeth Montalbano
- Science 8 – Madison Mynes
- US History – Connie Quaglia
- Spanish 1 – Jaeda Dumas
- Architectural Drawing – Heather Haesley
- Theater – Jack Moore
- Music – Jaeda Dumas
- Outstanding Fine Arts Student – Madison Mynes