Archive for September, 2016

Portraits, Portraits Everywhere!

This post was written by TK-6th Grade Art Teacher, Merrily Boyd and originally posted on the Enrichment News Blog on September 26, 2016.

As students finish up their first art project of the year, you’ll start to notice many faces adorning the walls at GRACE.  “Why all the self-portraits?” you might ask.  “Why do students start art class each year with the same project?”

Kindergarten self-portraits at GRACE

One of the fun things about self-portraits is that they are never the same from year to year.  Of course, as I explain to students, they grow and change from year to year and their portraits will reflect those changes!  A student’s kindergarten self-portrait project will hardly resemble their fifth grade self-portrait.  Not only do students’ skills improve (sometimes drastically) from one year to the next, so that they can more accurately represent their physical appearance, but they also get new haircuts, lose teeth, get glasses or braces, and so on.  I encourage students to show the little details that make them unique at the particular time that they are working on their portrait so that in future years they can look back and remember what life was like in first grade or third grade, for example.  You may see details like freckles or band-aids or a favorite headband–all of these are students’ way of capturing a moment in time and showing just how God designed each of them to be completely unique and special, different from every other person.

Each year we look at some famous self-portraits from art history, including a few by Rembrandt.  He painted over 80 self-portraits during his lifetime, showing himself as a young man, then a successful middle-aged artist, and finally as white-haired and aging.  What an amazing record he left!  I encourage students to hold onto the self-portraits they make in each grade as one way they can look back when they’re older and remember their time at GRACE.


Self-Portraits by Rembrandt van Rijn (1629, 1640, 1669)

While self-portraits are the subject, the way we create them varies for each grade level.  This provides an opportunity for students to learn many new skills and techniques and experiment with a variety of media.  Kindergarten students create collages of their faces from cut paper, while first-graders use markers and focus on filling the background space.  In second grade, students use glue to outline their image on black paper and fill in with chalk pastel, adding a horizon line and favorite place in the background.  Third grade students read I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont and take inspiration from the book’s illustrations, showing themselves in a familiar room (all in black and white, with the only color resulting from splatter-painting).  In fourth grade, we view art by mixed- media artist Romare Bearden, who was born in North Carolina, and combine a background collage with a contour line self-portrait.  Fifth-graders really strive for accuracy, studying the Photorealism of Chuck Close and practicing the grid method by referencing a photo they take of themselves using PhotoBooth on their MacBooks.

By GRACE’s Grandparents’ Day celebration on October 14th, all students will be finished with their self-portraits, and you’ll see their beautiful artwork decorating our school.  I hope our grandparents and other visitors will enjoy looking at and talking with students about all of the “faces of GRACE” that will line the halls!

“I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”  Psalm 139:14

GRACE and Common Core

Over the past several years, GRACE has carefully monitored the development and changes that have resulted from the adoption of Common Core Standards by the public schools.  GRACE pursues academic excellence at every grade level and is committed to utilizing the best curricular resources in each grade and subject area. GRACE Christian School has not adopted Common Core and continues to provide students with a rigorous college preparatory academic program taught from a biblical worldview that exceeds Common Core Standards.  We do, however, have some comparison with these standards since Terra Nova, PSAT, SAT, and ACT are now Common Core aligned.

The instructional program at GRACE follows an established review cycle for all content areas and curriculum. Teachers use both traditional textbooks and supplemental digital resources to help students master the course objectives for each class. In the past five years, we have become more proficient in utilizing digital tools for instruction.

Specifically, GRACE differs from the Common Core methodology for math in that our elementary and middle grades continue to emphasize and teach students mastery of math facts as a foundation for all the math that will follow a student’s school career. The method of teaching subjects such as Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and higher level math classes at GRACE remains the same as in the past and follows a traditional approach. In subjects like math, the sequential nature of the material requires the use of traditional textbooks. The math books we adopted for use in the past met our course objectives with solid instruction, but did not include updated digital resources. Math teachers supplemented the text by providing student access to math-related websites that reinforced the topics taught in class and provided students with access to extra practice and supplemental instruction on each key concept. This year, new middle and high school math textbooks were adopted as part of the curriculum review cycle. New textbooks were purchased that are similar to previous versions, but also include digital resources and the inclusion of some common core topics, such as a greater emphasis on probability and statistics. While traditional content has not been removed from the series, additional material has been included that will appear on standardized tests. The new text is from the same publisher and is very similar to the previous edition.

GRACE will not adopt Common Core as the only set of standards for our school in any subject area as the high standard for curricular goals we have historically set for our students supercede the level and expectation of these standards. We are confident that GRACE students have always and will continue to receive academic instruction that far surpasses the minimum requirements set by Common Core. Additionally, our teachers remain committed to teaching every subject from a Christian perspective.

The Maker Movement and Standards

This post was written by Carol Gehringer, our Media Coordinator for TK-6th Grade and originally appeared in the 21st Century GRACE Technology Blog on September 22, 2016. 

As you may know, our school is in the process of adding a MakerSpace to our Crossroads campus and MakerCarts to our Raleigh campus. While they will be similar, they will also be different, geared to their target audience.

Why are we doing this?

To recap my earlier post, a makerspace “allows students to be designers, tinkerers, innovators, and creators, to build 21st Century learners with skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.”

As a school, we view teaching technology and teaching with technology as integral components of our curriculum. So why would we be interested in something that is not necessarily high tech? For us, the answer lies in an ISTE blog post from 2014:

“The maker movement values human passion, capability and the ability to make things happen and solve problems anywhere, anytime.”

This is what we want to encourage in all 21st-century learners!

21st-century learners need many skills, and the Maker movement doesn’t back away from tough academic standards.  To read more about ISTE’s standards that are being met by the Maker movement, see The maker movement: A learning revolution (7/21/2014). I’ve listed a few highlights below from the 2014 standards:

ISTE Standards for Students

  • Standard 2: Communication and Collaboration.
  • Standard 4: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making.
  • Standard 6: Technology Concepts and Operations.
ISTE Standards for Computer Science Educators

*Click here for more on the ISTE Standards for Students (2016). MakerSpace activities meet these standards:

  • Empowered Learner
  • Innovative Designer
  • Creative Communicator
The Maker movement is more than a dedicated space, more than an after-school club–it is a movement that is helping our students:

  • Become creators, not just consumers.
  • Try and fail and try again.
  • Strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Meet critical ISTE standards.
I’ll leave you with one more article about the Maker movement and standards: “Building a Makerspace Culture to Support Standards and Learning: 10 Ideas and 16 Resources (July 1, 2016).”

We are very excited about the MakerSpace and MakerCarts at GRACE and can’t wait to see the rigorous and exciting work our students will do!

Annie is Coming to GRACE!

In the spring semester, the Theatre Department will be performing Annie!
An interest meeting will take place on October 20, 2016 at 4:00pm in the 801 Buck Jones Campus dance studio for all 3rd-5th grade students who would like to audition. Parents are encouraged to come.
This year’s musical will have students from 3rd-12th grade. We are excited to be able to offer specific roles to our 3rd-5th grade students.

Donate Your Denim

Eagles in Action is a new community service club at GRACE working closely with Habitat for Humanity. The insulation used for building the houses is made from denim so it can easily be handled by volunteers. For more information on how Habitat is using denim see this article that appeared in USA Today.
Please consider donating your old denim (jeans, shorts, jackets) by dropping your items in Mr. Pibl’s room at the 1101 Campus by October 13th. Contact Victoria Schenck at with any questions.

Book Fair is Almost Here!

Hold the Date — Book Fair is coming!

Monday, October 10-Tuesday, October 18: TK-6 classes will preview our in-house Book Fair on Monday & Tuesday, bringing home a wish list for parents to consider. The Book Fair will be held in the Raleigh library, but will move to the Raleigh Gym on Thursday night to accommodate all visiting grandparents on Grandparents’ Day.

This year, we will host a Family Night on Tuesday, October 11th from 5:30-7:30pm. Parents can shop the book fair while their children participate in maker activities in the Art Room. Mrs. Boyd will read and sign her book, Sleepsinging. Copies will be available for purchase that night.

Book Fair Volunteers needed — High School Students & Adults!

We need you to help make our Fall Book Fair a success! Here’s how you can help:

  • Family Night, Tuesday, October 11, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm
  • Moving the Book Fair for Grandparent’s Day, Thurs., October 13, 7 pm-8:30 pm
  • Help during the Book Fair on Grandparents’ Day, Friday, October 14 10:15 am-12:30 pm
    Moving the Book Fair back to the library, Friday, October 14, 12:30 pm-1:30 pm
  • If you are interested, contact Mrs. Carol Gehringer ( ). Interested students can earn community service hours; contact Mr. O’Brien for more information.

Merrily Boyd’s Book, Sleepsinging Available at Fall Book Fair

As some of you who have been at GRACE awhile may know, several years ago Mrs. Boyd (GRACE Art Teacher) had a great opportunity to illustrate a children’s book, Sleepsinging.  Written by Lynn Fowler, who was a GRACE parent at the time, Sleepsinging is a sweet book about a little girl who loves singing and sings all the time, even in her sleep (much to her brother’s dismay).

Illustrating this book was Mrs. Boyd’s first venture into the “real” world of illustration, and she learned a lot about  how much work goes into a children’s book–from storyboards, to making sure characters and backgrounds looked consistent across the pages, to editing, and then to final publication, the whole experience helped her grow as an artist.

GRACE is happy to announce that Sleepsinging will be available at the upcoming book fair, which opens the week of October 5th.  Books will be $15.00, with a third of the proceeds going back to GRACE!  Mrs. Boyd will be glad to sign and personalize any books and will be in the gym during the book fair on Grandparents’ Day (Friday, October 14th).  She will also be reading Sleepsinging at Family Night on Tuesday, October 11th from 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm.

GRACE Theatre Presents: The Miracle Worker

GRACE Theatre is proud to present The Miracle Worker by William Gibson. This show is presented with special arrangements with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

The Miracle Worker

The Miracle Worker dramatizes the volatile relationship between teacher, Annie Sullivan, and her charge, Helen Keller. Trapped in a secret, silent world, unable to communicate, Helen is violent, spoiled, almost sub-human and treated by her family as such. Only Annie realizes that there is a mind and spirit waiting to be rescued from the dark, tortured silence. Annie’s success with Helen finally comes with the utterance of a single, glorious word: “water”.

Performance Dates and Times

  • Friday, October 14, 2016 at 7:00pm
  • Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:00pm
  • Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00pm

Ticket Prices

  • Adults $10.00
  • Students: $8.00
  • Faculty & Staff: $8.00
  • Seniors: $8.00
  • Children: $8.00 (It is the recommendation of the director that that this show will be best enjoyed by students in the 6th grade or older)

Purchase Tickets Now!

Homecoming Week Details

GRACE’s annual Homecoming Spirit Week is September 26-October 1. Join us at one or more of the festivities listed below and see our community come to life through Eagle Spirit! The Homecoming Committee is always looking for volunteers; there are many ways you can help. Check out the Homecoming Volunteer Sign Up to see where there is still a need.

Spirit Week Dress Up Days: 801 Campus (TK-6)

  • Monday – Pajama Day
  • Tuesday – Wacky Day
  • Wednesday – USA Day
  • Thursday – Team Spirit Day
  • Friday  – GRACE Spirit Day, 6th Grade DumDums* for Candy Land theme

Spirit Dress Up Days: 1101 Campus (7th-12th)

  • Monday – Pajama Day
  • Tuesday – Superhero Day
  • Wednesday – USA Day
  • Thursday – GRACE Spirit Day
  • Friday – Candy Land Day

Candyland Themes for Middle and High School Students on Friday

  • 12th – Nerds
  • 11th – Junior Mints
  • 10th – Sour Patch Kids
  • 9th – Sweet Tarts
  • 8th – Swedish Fish
  • 7th – Crunch
  • 6th –  DumDums

Homecoming Schedule of Events for Friday, September 30

  • 12:45-1:00pm: Homecoming Parade in the 801 Campus Parking Lot with Elementary students comprising the spectators, middle school students walking in the parade with class banners and high school students walking or riding in student-decorated floats.  Members of the homecoming court will be part of the parade as well!
  • 1:15-2:00pm: MS/HS Pep Rally in the 801 Campus Gymnasium
  • 2:15-2:45pm: Elementary Pep Rally in the 801 Campus Gymnasium
  • 7:00pm: Come out for the 2016 Homecoming Football game against cross-town rival Cary Christian School.

Homecoming Football Game Details: Friday, September 30th at 7:00pm

  • Wear your ORANGE and cheer on the Eagles to a victory against the Knights!
  • PTF and Golden Eagle Business Sponsor The Marks Team will be giving away pom poms and foam fingers to help you cheer on the Eagles.
  • Our youngest fans will enjoy balloon creations and eagle temporary tattoos
  • There will be shuttle service to the Athletic Field from the 801 Campus (and the 1101 Campus if 801 fills out) starting at 6:15pm and continuing as needed after the game.
  • Eagles Club will have concessions with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cheese steaks, funnel cakes, fried Oreos and more.
  • Alumni are invited to visit the Alumni Hospitality tent throughout the evening.
  • During half time, the 2016 Homecoming Court will be presented and the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned.

Homecoming Dance Details: Saturday, October 1st from 7:30-11:00pm

  • All high school students are invited to the annual Homecoming Dance held in the Chapel at the 1101 Campus.
  • Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased in advance either via the online order form or before and after school with a cash or check.
  • All non-GRACE guests must turn in a Dance Guest Form to Mr. Whelpley by Thursday, September 29th.
  • All girls must have their dress checked prior to the dance. Dress checks are Wednesdays after school, but check the calendar for additional dress check days during Spirit Week.  Consult the Dance Dress Code for guidelines for semi-formal wear.


Book Fair Volunteers Needed

The GRACE Fall Book Fair will be held on the 801 Buck Jones Campus from October 7-14 and there are opportunities for both high school students and parents to help.

  • High school students who want to help at the GRACE book fair on the 801 Campus can earn community service credit. Contact Mr. O’Brien to sign up.
  • Parents who want to help at the book fair should contact Mrs. Walker at

Specific times and tasks appear below:

  • Friday, October 7, 2:00-4:00pm: Help set up the book fair in the library
  • Tuesday October 11, 5:00-8:00pm: Help in the library at the book fair while parents shop or help younger students with an in the art/music room
  • Thursday, October 13, 7:00-9:00pm: Help move the book fair into the gym
  • Friday October 14, 11:00am-12:30pm: Help in the gym at the book fair while parents and grandparents shop
  • Friday October 14, 12:30-1:30pm: Help move the book fair back to the library

Technology in Early Elementary Grades

Students in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten learned to program Bee Bot using basic directions to travel to specific color shapes on the Bee Bot Mat. In order to be successful, students had to think about the multiple steps that Bee Bot needed to make. We would like to use Bee Bot as well as other robots with all our elementary students. Some of the applications require the use of a tablet or an iPad. You can help by donating a new or used iPad or Galaxy tablet as indicated by this compatibility chart. Thanks in advance for helping us expand this fun and educational program.