What we're reading (August edition)...

Last month we decided to share a few blogs, articles and news that had captured our attention or sparked our imagination recently. We heard from a number of readers that they enjoyed seeing some of the things that our faculty and teachers were enjoying, so we have decided to make this a regular monthly feature on our blog.

This month, we have articles on the philosophy of spaces, the economics of Jane Austen, the misuse of the English language, the importance of learning cursive, how "goofing off" helps kids to learn, and more!

Thank you to our ILS parents who brought some of these great articles to our attention! Have you read and interesting article or blog post recently? We love it when you share things you've found of interest. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments section below!

Summer Teacher Challenge: Math Logic Puzzle from Mr. Schultz

Our ILS faculty invite our students (and parents!) to challenge themselves a bit this summer with our new Summer Teacher Challenge series! We'll be sharing a variety of puzzles and challenges from our ILS teachers that we invite you to solve. Students, share your solutions in the comments section for each challenge, and you could win a prize (please see our first challenge for more information on our great prizes!)

What we're reading (blog edition)...

Summer is here, and that means a little more time for catching up on our reading! We already shared some of our favorites books from our Upper and Lower School summer reading lists (and we would love to hear what books you and your children are enjoying this summer).

Now we thought we would share a few blogs, articles and news that have captured our attention or sparked our imagination this summer. We asked some of our teachers and faculty to share some things that have found to be interesting reads lately. From articles on classical, Christian education, to commentary on baseball, exploring the concept of utopia to Lincoln's greatest speech, here are a few reads we thought you might enjoy as well.

Have an interesting article or blog post you'd like to share? Leave the link in the comments section below!


A classical Christian education is primarily concerned with cultivating faith, hope, love, wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance in the student. However, “A classical Christian education is primarily concerned with the pursuit of virtue” is not simply a noble sounding creed. Virtue formation has the potential to be a highly offensive credo.
— Joshua Gibbs, Is Virtue Formation Just Works Righteousness?
Toddlers think that everything is fascinating. They will study yesterday’s food smears or a piece of gravel with an intensity that adults reserve for the Grand Canyon or a potentially counterfeit one-hundred-dollar bill. Kindergarteners spend hours playing “pretend.” Eight-year-olds can be electrified by a teacher’s announcement that they are going to make something out of a shoebox. This eagerness drives the young child to tackle the learning curve between spitting-up and more grown-up skills. Yet somehow as a culture we take it for granted that most human beings are transformed by middle school and, ever after, will be rather embarrassed to admit to a love of learning or too strong a sense of wonder. It isn’t cool to be too impressed or too satisfied with anything.
— Anna Ilona Mussmann, We Need to Imagine
It has been statistically noted that if a person is not secured in faith when he is young, as he ages his chances for coming to Christian belief are lower. This is natural, for people are more likely to seek and confirm themselves in causes for life at its opening stages than at more advanced age, when large beginnings become more difficult in many ways.
— S.M. Hutchens, Mortal Remains
Today, though, we may know More best for his invention of a word – and for his development of an idea that would be exported around the world. This concept would shape books, philosophies and political movements as varied as Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Mahatma Gandhi’s doctrine of passive resistance and the founding of the state of Pennsylvania.

The idea, of course, was ‘utopia’.
— Tom Hodgkinson, How Utopia Shaped the World
MARCH 4, 1865, the day of Lincoln’s second inauguration as President, began in a driving rain that raddled Washington’s famously muddy thoroughfares — women would wear the mud caked to their long dresses throughout the day’s ceremonies. Walt Whitman saw Lincoln’s carriage dash through the rain “on sharp trot” from the White House to the Capitol, scene of the swearing-in. He thought Lincoln might have preceded the tacky parade in order to avoid association with a muslin Temple of Liberty or a pasteboard model of the ironclad Monitor. Though Whitman was a close observer of the President, and would shadow him throughout this day, there was no way for Lincoln to recognize him in the crowd.
— Garry Wills, Lincoln's Greatest Speech
Since 2002, student enrollment in classical schools has more than doubled from 17,000 nationwide to over 41,000, and all indicators suggest that the next decade will be one of significant growth. And we are already seeing the effects of this kind of education. As of 2015, classical schools had the highest SAT scores in each of the three categories of Reading, Math, and Writing among all independent, religious and public schools.
— Steve Turley, Why are Christian Classical Education Students Stomping the Competition?
I like your interest in sports ball, chiefest of all base-ball particularly: base-ball is our game: the American game: I connect it with our national character.
— Walt Whitman
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave a speech in Chicago last week, laying out a new mission for the platform. I can’t find a video or transcript of it, just news stories with quotations. But those few quotations are far-reaching and revealing.
— Mark Bauerlein, Facebook as Church
Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, written in the late 14th Century, tells the story of a group of medieval pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury. Six hundred years later, the Star Wars movies were filmed on the same thoroughfare. This road is Watling Street – and there is no road in the English-speaking world more steeped in stories.
— John Higgs, The road that led to 1000 stories

Other blogs and sites we enjoy... let us know what sites you find interesting and think we should check out!

 

 

 

Summer Teacher Challenge: Latin Translation from Mrs. Krumwiede

Our ILS teachers invite our students (and parents!) to challenge themselves a bit this summer with our new Summer Teacher Challenge series! We will be sharing a variety of puzzles and challenges from our ILS teachers on our blog throughout the summer and giving you the chance to solve them. Share your solutions in the comments section for each challenge, and you could win a prize!

For each Challenge, students have one week to share their solutions. We will draw a name from the correct responses, and the winner will be able to choose from a variety of great prizes. We will have some fantastic books (including the new illustrated Harry Potter books!) from which to choose, as well as gift cards to Dairy Godmother!


Our first Summer Teacher Challenge comes from 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Krumwiede. Try your hand at translating this short story from Latin into English, and the best translation will win! (For our younger Latin scholars, a glossary of terms is included in the comments section. For our older scholars, we encourage you to give us your best translation without using the glossary!)


Puer Parvus et Luna Magna
Puer parvus magnam lunam cum oculis spectat. Luna magna in eo lucet. Lux eum adit et puer parvus lunam magnam laudat, “Sum parvus. Es magna. Adsum. Abes. Eheu! Deus ea magna et parva creat!” Puer parvus ad stellas et lunam cantat. Est laetus. Deus puerum spectat et gaudet, “Hic puer mihi gaudium dat et eum beabo.”

What we're looking forward to in 2017-2018...

School may be out for the summer, but our teachers and faculty are already getting excited as they look ahead to the 2017-2018 school year. Among the many things we are looking forward to in the coming school year: a new building, new students and families, and new opportunities for learning and fun! We asked the faculty to share some of what they are excited for next year, and we hope you enjoy their responses.

What are you looking forward to next year? Let us know in the comments!

I am really looking forward to pushing inward and upward with our faculty on culture. We are working to align our culture through all grades while still celebrating the developmental differences between the Lower and Upper School practices. It’s going to be rewarding to work on this in our new building with such a thoughtful faculty!
— Ms. Kramer (Assistant Headmaster)

I am so excited to teach the upcoming fourth grade! I have taught some of their siblings, and I’m excited to get to know their unique personalities, what they are drawn to, and how they learn best. I began addressing them as “future fourth graders” in May, so I hope they are looking forward to it as well.
— Miss Leithart (4th grade)
I am looking forward to welcoming all of our new families into the beautiful new building, which will only augment the already truly rich, inspiring and beautiful teaching and care that takes place on a daily basis within our school.
— Mrs. Stone (Manager of Operations)
I am excited for the whole school to be housed under one roof. It will be interesting to find new ways in which the Lower and Upper Schools can collaborate and learn together!
— Mrs. Morrison (Kindergarten)
I’m looking forward to the separation 7th and 8th grades into two different theology classes. This will allow greater interaction with the students, and make the 8th grade curriculum which I’m developing more of a capstone experience for our graduates.
— Pastor Esget
I am most looking forward to getting to know my new students! By the end of this year, our class and classroom became similar to a family and a home; and I am excited to begin forming this special bond with a new group of students in the fall.
— Miss Malcolm (5th grade)
I look forward to the 2017-18 school year in our updated building and the upcoming excitement as I learn, play, grow, and share God’s joy with the newest and youngest Immanuel students.
— Mrs. Schmick (Jr. Kindergarten)
I’m so excited to get to know my new class next year! This year’s unique arrangement provided me with some bonus time with them, and I can already tell that they are a bright and enthusiastic bunch! I am looking forward to becoming a student of my students and finding out how to best inspire a love of learning in each one!
— Miss Reistad (1st grade)
I’m so excited for the new school building to be finished for next year, because then I can finally be next to Miss Reistad and the second graders. I really missed having both the second and third grades right next to each other. I’m looking forward to supporting each other next year in a more present way.
— Mrs. Krumwiede (3rd grade)
I am already looking forward to my first visit back to ILS. You all made a special place in my heart very quickly; I feel as if I have deep roots in this place. My goal is to get back for the Oktoberfest gathering and see the completed school building! That’s just the first visit. Let me know if you’re in Chicago.
— Mr. Thompson (Upper School Teacher)

Summer Reading Lists & Faculty Recommendations

Ah, summer! Students, parents and teachers alike have been counting down to summer break. It is a time for fun and relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and the beauty of schole.

As a part of their summer schole, students of all ages (and their families!) are strongly encouraged to make reading a part of their daily routine. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and biographies, read individually or out loud together should inspire and fuel a sense of wonder and curiosity for both students and adults.

To this end, ILS offers families a list of suggested readings for both Upper and Lower School students. Students may enjoy reading books from their own grade level, or listening as parents read aloud from more challenging texts.

With so many excellent choices from which to choose, we asked our faculty to share some of their personal recommendations to help you get started! We'd love to hear from you, too. Do you or your kids have any favorites on these lists you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!


I would recommend so many of these, but the ones that jumped out to me today, from my own summers past, are:

Hatchet
My Side of the Mountain

Both are about children surviving in the wild against all odds, and caused me to wonder how I would survive in the wild. It inspired me to read more about animals, survival crafts, and a variety of terrains. Children can do extraordinary things!
— Ms. Kramer, Assistant Headmaster
Oooh! So many great books to choose from!

I definitely recommend reading (or re-reading!) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. The 6th grade class and I had a delightful time laughing over Anne’s very relateable mishaps and scrapes. Reading Anne always inspires me to enjoy the outdoors and find “scope for the imagination.”

Some wonderful, adventuresome summer reads are Redwall by Brian Jacques, The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander, and Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Redwall is the story of a mouse-turned-war hero and combines animals, knights, bravery, and honor in a delightful tale. The Book of Three is the first in a fantasy-adventure series that were some of my favorites growing up! A Wrinkle in Time is one of those books that first made me realize that a book could change the way you think (plus, the movie will be coming out early next year!).

For older students (and adults!), I recommend The Screwtape Letters or The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Lewis has amazing skill in teaching truth through delightful story, and these are two of my favorites. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is both an intriguing and insightful story. Finally,The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite book of all time (yes, it is one book in three volumes). If you haven’t read it, DO!
— Miss Davis (Upper School Literature Teacher)
Mr. Poppers Penguins:
Mr. Popper’s Penguins was a favorite of last year’s second grade class. The students found the antics of Popper’s Performing Penguins hilarious which inspired creative suggestions of how we could feasibly get a penguin as a class pet!
— Miss Reistad (2nd Grade)
Green Eggs and Ham – might encourage you to try some yummy new foods!

Fish out of Water – because sometimes it’s okay to feel like a fish out of water.

Mouse and the Motorcycle – I still remember a project I did about this book when I was in elementary school, long long ago (but not in a galaxy far away).

Any of the historical books on the list dealing with the Civil War. Many of the battles and actions revolving around the Civil War happened in the summer. To think of soldiers fighting in wool coats and pants in summer, to think of slaves trying to obtain freedom in the north, travelling during hot summer nights, and with all the opportunities in the area we live in to see the places where those things took place, it’s all very exciting. I have fond memories of visiting the sites of the battles of Bull Run, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and Wilderness with my dad.
— Coach Able, Lower School PE
A Tale of Two Cities’ is one of my all time favorites. While I find the entire book compelling, my first read of it taught me perseverance as Dickens has no qualms with very slowly building up a story before he rewards you with a beautiful and dramatic finish. While I could never choose a favorite book, I can confidently say that Sydney Carton is my favorite character in all of literature. He teaches the reader empathy. Just when you think someone in your life is too difficult to love or have compassion for, through Sydney one sees that “every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.
— Mr. Thompson, Upper School Teacher
I loved reading so many of these books as a child, and I still love to re-read them even now! A few highlights for me include:

* From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - One of my all-time favorites! I loved imagining if I could pull off hiding out and living in a museum. Add to that challenge of solving a mystery, and it is just a wonderful adventure.

*Pride & Prejudice - Truly anything by Jane Austen is delightful, and the more I re-read her work, the more I fall in love with the characters and their stories.

* Anne of Green Gables - I recently re-read this entire series after far too many years, and I was just as captivated as I had been when I’d first read about the fiery red-head with the most brilliant imagination fierce determination.
— Mrs. Work, Director of Advancement
Robinson Crusoe is one of the greatest books of all time!! I plan on at least starting the Lord of the Rings trilogy again this summer - it has become a regular summer read for me!
— Mr. Schultz, Upper School Teacher
The American Girl Series:
I loved reading The American Girl series growing up! My name was actually inspired by my cousin’s love of the Kirsten books, so those were obvious favorites. I was also fascinated by the Molly series and learning about life in the World War II era.

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel:
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel is a timeless tale that last years first graders particularly enjoyed. The illustrations are delightful and really bring the story to life!
— Miss Reistad (1st grade)

Congratulations, Graduates!

On Wednesday, June 7th, ILS celebrated our 2017 Graduation Vespers. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship and rejoicing with our 8th grade students as they completed their time and course of study at ILS and prepare to embark on the next part of their educational journey as they move on to different high schools next fall. Along with their families, we are so proud of this ILS Class of 2017, and we keep you in our prayers and hope you will return often to visit.

Pastor Esget gave the graduation sermon, advising our graduates to be thoughtful and discerning when it comes to the advisors that will guide them in the years ahead. The sermon can be read in its entirety online.

Each one of you has received great gifts. Huit, you have a quick wit; Gabriel, you are bold and confident; Josie, you are bright and thorough; Kris, every day you work harder and smile more, the Lord Himself has adopted you and made you His own; Preston, you quietly, honorably, and respectfully do exceptional work; and Justus, you fill every day with joy and encouragement.

And all the gifts you have received can be turned against you by counselors who don’t have your best interests at heart. Tonight’s Psalm tells us there are two different kinds of counselors. They are represented by the counselors who guide earthly rulers, and the counsel that God Himself gives to you.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever; the plans of his heart to all generations. (Ps. 33.10f).

The counsel of the nations—all the counsel the world will give you—is going to come to nothing. God’s counsel is what lasts, even if it means being different or weird or out of step with everyone else.
— Pastor Esget, Graduation Sermon

Some of Our Favorite Memories from 2016-2017

Field Trips. Friends. House Team Competitions. Grandparents Day. Teachers. Mount Vernon. The Washington Chorus. School Construction. Science Camp. Spelling Bee. Class Plays. Christmas Caroling. Chili Cookoff. Reading Buddies. Student versus Parent Basketball Game. Pizza Days. Upper School Electives. Drop Everything and Read Day. Fall Parent Socials. Day of Service. Lutheran Schools Week. P.E. After-School Spanish Class. Thankful Thursdays. Journalism Club. Oration Showcase. Veterans Day. Soccer Team. Parent Coffees. Lower School Showcases. Chapel Helpers. Teacher Swap Day. Talent Show. Science Fair. Lunch Bunch Concert at First Baptist. Field Day. Patrol. Advent Evening Prayer Service. Mother-Daughter Tea. In-Class Music Recitals. 100th Day of School. Adventure Camp. ILS Day at Nats Park. Student Ambassadors. Weekly Chapel. MathCounts Competition. National Zoo. Basketball Team. The Great Zucchini. National Latin Exam. Graduation Party. 

It has been another wonderful year here at ILS, and we have enjoyed making so many great memories with all our students, teachers, and families this year. We asked students and teachers to share some of their favorite things from the year, and we hope you enjoy their responses! Let us know some of your favorite memories from this year in the comments.

Celebrating our ILS Class of 2017

As they enjoy their final days as ILS 8th graders, our Class of 2017, along with their parents, teachers, and Upper School classmates gathered on Saturday, June 3rd, to celebrate their time at Immanuel, their upcoming graduation, and the beginning of the next phase of their education journeys.

It has truly been a joy watching this class learn, grow, and lead. We celebrate their many accomplishments in their time at ILS, and we look forward to watching them as they embark on their high school years in the fall. Our door is always open, and we hope to this class, and the classes before them, back at ILS frequently in the future!

2017 Annual Field Day

Thursday, June 1st, was a gorgeous day for one of our favorite ILS traditions, our Annual Field Day competition at Ben Brenman Park in Alexandria. Coaches Schultz and Able planned a fun-filled day of competitions for all our students, from Jr. Kindergarten through 8th grade.

Students competed in the running long-jump, the distance throw, the water-balloon toss, the standing jump, the softball throw, the 50-yard dash, the 200-yard race, a baton relay, a sponge race, tug-of-war and much more.

Thank you to the many parent volunteers who joined the faculty to make sure all of the events ran smoothly. We are so grateful for your help at this event! It was a wonderful day for everyone as we come to the end of the 2016-2017 school year!