OCTOBER 7, 2019

Pre-Kindergarten students learn about the Cobb Island Hotel from Sally Dickinson of The Barrier Islands Center.

Pre-Kindergarten students learn about the Cobb Island Hotel from Sally Dickinson of The Barrier Islands Center.

Educational field trips have been proven to increase critical thinking and have a lasting affect on learning. At Cape Charles Christian School, we ensure that our students are offered ample off-campus learning opportunities. This month, each of our classes is participating in at least one educational field trip:

PRE-KINDERGARTEN students are participating in The Barrier Island Center’s (BIC) “My First Field Trip” program. Our children and teachers will take several trips to the BIC to learn about local and national history, music and art. So far, our students have enjoyed playing a xylophone, studying Henri Matisse and learning about Hog Island.

KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE STUDENTS will be exploring Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach on October 15. They will learn about the farm and farming and also have the opportunity to feed the farm animals, take a tractor-pulled hay ride and choose their very own pumpkin to take home.

SECOND & THIRD GRADE STUDENTS will participate in the upcoming Agricultural Awareness Day to be held on October 9, sponsored by the Northampton County Cooperative Extension. Students will learn from 4-H and Soil and Water District Educational instructors about how important agriculture is to our local community, our country and the world.

FOURTH & FIFTH GRADE STUDENTS are currently studying Deep Space in their science classes. On October 17, they will blast off to the NASA visitors center on Wallops Island. Students will experience a Solar System Program and view the movie, “Passport to the Universe”. They will also participate in the program, “Planning a Robotic Mission” and delve into the hands-on challenge, Engineering with the Rig-a-ma-jig.

MIDDLE SCHOOL has organized a mission project to support local community members in need. First, they will travel to the Soup Kitchen in Exmore to decorate for Fall and also help prepare lunch for the kitchen’s clients. Next, they will collaborate with the Epworth United Methodist Church where they also serve community members in need. Our students will again decorate the space and help provide a meal for clients.


SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Kindergarten students work with math manipulatives.

Kindergarten students work with math manipulatives.

Math is FUN at Cape Charles Christian School. Really, just ask our students – they’ll tell you as much!

Each of our teachers is using multiple creative strategies to teach math in a way that is both exciting and results in a deep understanding of the concepts:

PRE-KINDERGARTEN is learning about shapes and numbers 0-5. They watch short videos, sing math songs and paint and create art projects using shapes. They also use five frames, number cubes and various games to reinforce 0-5 concepts. To merge math with vocabulary, they are learning terms including equal, sides and verticals.

KINDERGARTEN & FIRST GRADE students are using strategies that build a strong mathematical foundation and increase their ability to compute numbers mentally. These students are using different manipulatives such as ten frames, counters and magnetic base ten blocks, all while learning multiple strategies to add and subtract.

SECOND & THIRD GRADE students use concrete manipulative strategies to learn concepts and then move on to more abstract problems with the same concepts. Our students just finished making paper monsters first, using only an odd number of parts and then using an even number of parts. They then took these concepts to the classroom practicing on paper and via Splash Math, an online gaming program. Second and third graders are also learning place value, greater than/ lesser than, and addition facts. 

Each of our FOURTH & FIFTH GRADE students is enrolled in Khan Academy, giving them the opportunity to review skills, as well as independently move ahead in math as fast as they want. They can watch explanatory videos as many times as they need, which ensures they understand concepts before moving forward. Our students love the the gaming aspects of Khan Academy including building their own avatars, earning points for practice and success and also earning badges at milestones along the way. What a great way to supplement our classroom instruction! 

MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS recently enjoyed a “hands-on” math lab focused on variables and expressions. Their challenge was to use 3 pieces of popcorn plus “some number” of pieces of popcorn in a paper bag to represent and evaluate the “sum of three and some number”. Relying on cooperative partner learning, they solved the problem. Afterward, they happily devoured their models while Mrs. Lemoyne evaluated how well they digested the concept.

To make math EVEN MORE FUN, Mrs. Cabello has started an optional after school “Crazy 8 Math Club” currently open to students in Kindergarten through second grade. As Crazy 8 Club members, students participate in activities like building glow-in-the dark structures, cracking secret spy codes playing and get-up-and-move games like “Toilet Paper Olympics”.


JULY 18, 2019

Carrie Cabello meets students were they are and helps them rise up.

Cape Charles Christian School is delighted to announce we have added incredible new teaching staff for the 2019-2020 school year. LaShawnda Holman, who taught our Pre-Kindergarten class last year, will be moving into the Kindergarten/First Grade position. We are fortunate that our Pre-K position is being filled by a familiar face - we welcome Carrie Cabello back to CCCS after a year of teaching in Indiana! Carrie is one of our founding teachers, an original staff member from 2009. She is a highly regarded leader in the field of education and we are thrilled she is back to share her wealth of knowledge and expertise in our collaborative school. 

It is with pleasure that we also announce our Middle School teaching position has been awarded to Ruth LeMoyne.  Ruth comes to us with a wealth of experience in education. She has taught Eastern Shore students for many years in various roles. As the Director of Christian Education at Market Street United Methodist Church for many years, she taught, tutored, and substituted in Northampton County Public Schools. She most recently taught 7th and 8th grade at Shore Christian Academy. Ruth and Holly Hubbard will work together to provide a robust middle school experience for our students. 

God continues to bless us with greatness and we are very excited to welcome such competent, dynamic staff to CCCS, as they join what as already been hailed as “the best staff around!”.


A Time to Focus on Kindness

OCTOBER 30, 2018

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Our students attend Chapel on Tuesday mornings. Chapel is a time when the whole school comes together for songs, prayers, games and a Bible Lesson. As a theme for the fall, we are focusing on the character trait of "KINDNESS". We will learn about ways that we can be kind to our family, school, community, animals and the world. As part of this learning, we will undertake four projects:

  • Collecting old sheets and towels for local animal shelters.

  • Making paper placemats for the Soup Kitchen in Exmore.

  • Operation Christmas Child Packing Party - Packing boxes for children around the world.

  • Collecting socks for the residents in local nursing homes.

We appreciate your children and all the kindness they give to our community!


Curriculum Spotlight

OCTOBER 17, 2018


At Cape Charles Christian School (CCCS), we value hands-on, project-based learning. Research shows that children who learn by doing are able to apply context to their lessons and are 29% more likely to retain the material. "Kids learn through all their senses," says Ben Mardell, PhD, a researcher with Project Zero at Harvard University, "and they like to touch and manipulate things."  Simply moving materials around and hands-on activities activate kids' brains.

Just some of the ways that CCCS is using the advent of fall to maximize hands-on, experiential learning include:

  • In Pre-K students have been using hands on activities to help them learn about shapes, colors, and letters. The students are learning through play, as well as structured small group activities. Our weekly themes and books help inspire the love of reading in our young scholars. Our Pre-K students were able to take a field trip to the Barrier Island Center to learn about different artists, explore new musical instruments and step back in time to discover how people lived on the Eastern Shore in the past. This month, the students will also be visiting the Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach to participate in a learning adventure filled with farm animals, pumpkins and hayrides.

  • Last week in K/1 students practiced recognizing, reading and writing their name and the names of their classmates. They rotated through hands on learning stations where they used magnetic letters to spell the different names, letter stamps to stamp out the names and keyboards to type the names. They also used other manipulatives like pom-poms and playdough to form the letters of their names. In science we did an experiment where students wrote their names with water and paint brushes on the sidewalk and observed what happened (evaporation). We drew pictures and wrote about our discovery during writing. 

  • Grades 2-3 Is learning all about dinosaurs and will be doing some in class excavating very soon with their very own dig kits. Stay tuned for pictures of this fantastic project.

  • Grade 4-5 Students are working together to create a “Human Body Haunted House”. Students and teachers alike are invited to stimulate our senses and take a guess at what organ each group has simulated. What a great project to reinforce their long-term learning theme around the Human Body!

  • Middle School just finished a unit on the Civil War. Students analyzed Pre-Civil War maps and graphs and participating in a mock 1860 election. Students also participated in a scavenger hunt and researched information about important historical figures and their role in the war. They navigated the room and hallway analyzing data to learn about Civil War destruction that occurred throughout the country during the war. Students completed the unit with a CSI-style Investigation into the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and read the case and evidence to determine for themselves if others were also guilty of committing the crime.

  • Grades K-8 Field Trip to our local community theater, The Palace Theatre, to enjoy musical traditions of Southwest, Virginia. Musician Tyler Hughes will play banjo, guitar, autoharp, and dulcimer, educating our students on these instruments and an important musical tradition.

  • Grades 4-8 are taking an upcoming field trip to the Barrier Islands Center for their Coffee Hour Lecture Series. This month’s featured program is performed by Barbara Spilman Lawson, Storyteller and Author.  She will be delivering her “Wild and Wonderful Storytelling Program.”

  • Halloween Captains Day, which we use as a chance for our school community to come together for multi-age, hands-on stem activities all relating to a Halloween theme.

It’s Time to Lace Up Your Running Shoes!

PeliCANS Running Club Starts Tuesday.

SEPTEMBER 24, 2018

Thumbs up for running!

Thumbs up for running!

Cape Charles Christian School (CCCS) is participating in the nationwide JUST RUN program, designed to promote physical activity among youth. Students in grades 1-8 are invited to join the CCCS PeliCANS JUST RUN Running Club, which will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, September 25 through November 20 from 3:00 – 3:45 PM. During this time we will combine running with stretching, drills, games and discussions about Healthy Lifestyles.

JUST RUN includes incentives for students who run at home with their parents. Students are encouraged to record their miles, which will be included in their weekly distance log kept by CCCS. An additional insentive includes logging individual and group miles to be tracked on a map with an effort towards “Running Across Virginia”.

Our new middle school teacher, Shannon Wescoat, an accomplished collegiate and marathon runner, is thrilled to coach our PeliCANS and looks forward to the first club meeting tomorrow!

To learn more about JUST RUN. Please visit: http://www.justrun.org/.


AUGUST 1, 2018


We are thrilled to introduce a new reading curriculum to our pre-Kindergarten classroom this year! Based on the Close Reading Model, our curriculum is structured in order that students dive deeply into a text through a whole group read aloud. This helps students to better understand story elements, and to build vocabulary, phonological and print awareness.

Our curriculum will be supported by Reading A-Z, which is ranked as the #1 reading instruction resource by K-5 teachers nationwide, Reading A-Z will provide an extensive collection of leveled reading resources for our 3 and 4-year old program. Our Pre-Kindergarten teacher, LaShawnda Holman will have over 2,000 books at 29 levels of reading to choose from throughout the year, ensuring each individual is appropriately leveled and challenged. Let the fun begin!


JULY 31, 2018



We'd like to extend a warm welcome to our new Pre-Kindergarten teacher, LaShawnda Holman. LaShawnda originally hails from Lynchburg, VA and has been an Eastern Shore resident for five years. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central and Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Master of Arts in Teaching.

LaShawnda has worked in the field of education for several years - most recently as a Special Education Teacher at Brookwood Elementary in Virginia Beach. Before working at Brookwood, LaShawnda taught Pre-Kindergarten for Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina and served as a Special Education teacher and department chair for Kiptopeke elementary. LaShawnda brings palpable energy and spark to our team with her electric personality and her quick wit. She looks forward to inspiring enthusiastic Pre-Kindergarten students to learn with engaging lessons and hands on activities that focus on nurturing the whole child.

Welcome LaShawnda!

(LaShawnda is pictured here with her husband, Jeremy, and two of her children, Madison and Laila, who will attend CCCS as a Pre-Kindergartner and 4th Grader, respectively.)


JULY 18, 2018

Josephine Kohler and Emma Philpot

Josephine Kohler and Emma Philpot

Planning a birthday party this summer? If so, CCCS student entrepreneurs Emma Philpot and Josephine Kohler may be abel to help! Emma and Josephine co-operate PARTY PALOOZA, an enterprise that will run a birthday party with any theme you can imagine. They will provide decor, crafts, games and activities and helpers called "Party Pals" are available to help you at your party should you need them.

Emma and Josophine started Party Paolooza last February after their teacher, Mrs. Holly Hubbard, asked their class to learn about starting a business, selling a product and/or creating a service. Since then, the girls have planned birthday parties, holiday events and even an Olympic Party for over seventy people.

To inquire about booking services or to learn more, reach out to partypalooza@gmail.com.


JUNE 14, 2018


As we look ahead to the 2018/2019 school year, we have a number of exciting faculty transitions to announce.

Long-time friend and pre-Kindergarten teacher, Valerie Travis has entered into retirement. We are thrilled to announce that LaShawnda Holman, has joined our team as our new Pre-Kindergarten Teacher. Mrs. Holman received her BA from North Carolina Central University and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Liberty University. She has taught children in grades K-6 in Virginia Beach Public Schools and Northampton County Public Schools. We are very excited to welcome LaShawnda to our team!

It is with some sadness that we announce our beloved K/1 Teacher, Carrie Cabello, is moving to join her husband in full-time residence in Chicago. Carrie has been a true blessing to many CCCS families and she will be greatly missed. However, we are beyond fortunate that Erica Johnson has accepted the position of K/1 Teacher. Mrs. Johnson has worked as our Chapel Coordinator for the past 5 years, so we have no doubt this will be a seamless transition. Erica received her BS from James Madison University and has also taught in Northampton County Public Schools. Mrs. Cabello will be missed, but we know our K/1 students are in very capable hands with Mrs. Johnson as their teacher!

CCCS parent, friend, and substitute Chapel Coordinator, Jennifer Philpot, has accepted the position of Chapel Coordinator. Jen is a wonderful teacher with deep experience in many areas of education throughout our county. She is not new to this position, as she was our original Chapel Coordinator when CCCS was first established. We welcome her back to this position and are thrilled that she is returning to fill the vacancy created by Erica Johnson’s transition to K/1 teacher!

Moving on to transitions for Middle School, we are personally saddened, but also very pleased to announce that our Middle School Math Teacher, Christine Tankard, has also begun her retirement. Mrs. Tankard has brought a supreme level of expertise and experience in math instruction to CCCS. Her math songs are her legacy and they will go on in the minds of all of her students. We thank her for her immeasurable devotion and dedication to our students’ understanding and enjoyment of learning math.

With that said, it is with great excitement that we announce Shannon Wescoat has accepted the Middle School teaching position. Shannon holds both a BA degree and a Master of Teaching degree from the University of Virginia. She brings a plethora of experience to the position, including Broadwater Academy and Chesterfield County. Shannon and Holly Hubbard will work together to provide instruction for grades 6, 7, and 8.  Shannon’s enthusiasm and expertise is a welcome addition to the CCCS family and we look forward to her contributions to our middle school classroom!

Cape Charles Christian School is fortunate to have such a wonderful faculty and staff. We wish our departing friends the best of luck in their next endeavors, and we warmly welcome our new teachers. We have no doubt that our students, as well as our entire community, will benefit from their experience, creativity and enthusiasm!

Balanced Literature in the Early Education Classroom

By Carrie Cabello, Cape Charles Christian School K/1 Teacher

MAY 15, 2018

Carrie Cabello and some of her K/1 Students in their classroom.

Carrie Cabello and some of her K/1 Students in their classroom.

Establishing strong foundational reading skills in kindergarten and first grade is absolutely crucial for future success, both in school and in life. It is a responsibility I take very seriously. I spend a lot of time reading professional articles about practices, searching for the right materials for each child, and acquiring books kids will love. It is always exciting when a child realizes they can read, especially “chapter books,” which are a big deal for any beginning reader.

The K/1 program starts with phonological awareness activities. We work on sounds, rhymes, parts of words, blending, and segmenting. From there, we add a strong base of phonics instruction coupled with sight word exposure. A wide variety of books, passages, poetry, and nonfiction articles are used to reach every student. Games, puzzles, and other hands-on experiences help us practice new skills in engaging and fun ways.

Whole group experiences using read-alouds and discussions of high-quality literature introduce us to the comprehension skills needed to understand what we read. We learn new vocabulary, story elements, character traits, and skills like visualizing, predicting, and summarizing. Readers’ theater scripts help us to work on reading with speed and expression, so students can be fluent readers.

Reading is a complex task and can prove challenging for some students. It is always my goal to help create strong, confident learners who are not only proficient but who also love to read. Having to tell students to put a book down and go play at recess is a wonderful problem to have!

Teaching Thematically Across Curriculum Motivates Students

April 16, 2018

Mrs. Savage's Second and Third Grade Classroom.

Mrs. Savage's Second and Third Grade Classroom.

Cape Charles Christian School’s second and third grade teacher, Leslie Savage, demonstrates that curriculum goals can be exceeded by engaging students in a theme which is then extended across all subject matters and throughout the school year. This powerful strategy has been proven to engage and motivate students. Lessons planned throughout the year in reading, writing, social studies, math, art, science and even physical education tie back to the year’s theme.

This year, the second and third grade class theme is Oceanography. Mrs. Savage’s classroom is decorated to make you feel like you are submersed in the ocean and everything is bubbling over with ocean life. The reading center has ocean-themed books and “dolphin stuffies”  for students to cuddle with as they absorb the literature. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) activities, maps, graphs and measurements revolve around the ocean theme, as well. In math class, students recently measured the length of whales, and marked their sizes using sidewalk chalk in the Central Park across from school. Mrs. Savage reports that “Students stood in awe when they realized how big whales really are!”

Currently, Mrs. Savage’s students are reading the biography, Shark Lady, about the ichthyologist, Dr. Eugenie Clark, and are researching Dr. Clark’s life adventures, all the while working together to create giant sea life dioramas. Students are also writing poems, stories and reports about the ocean that surrounds them here on the Eastern Shore of VA.

Mrs. Savage reports that in her 31 years of teaching she has found utilizing themes across the curriculum is the best way to excite and fully engage her students. Next year Grade 2-3 students will enter the prehistoric world of dinosaurs! What Adventures Await!

Middle school math fosters excellence through the joy of learning

March 9, 2018

Middle School Math Teacher, Christine Tankard, with some of her students.

Middle School Math Teacher, Christine Tankard, with some of her students.

As Cape Charles Christian School, our Middle School Math curriculum is driven by the desire to develop a strong foundation for our students and to infuse joy into learning throughout the process.

We believe a strong foundation in math is essential to preparing students for high school and college. We don’t encourage our students to use calculators, but rather encourage them to be able to rely on themselves and to show their work on the paper. We teach our students that you may not get a problem right the first time, but to keep on trying - eventually you will solve the problem by breaking it down into little pieces.  In this vein, homework and tests can be retaken and after school for math tutoring is offered as support. During this time, we encourage students help and teach each other. 

In addition to ensuring a strong math foundation, the Cape Charles Christian School infuses the joy of learning into our math curriculum. The intent is to show students that doing mathematics is not only easy but fun as well. As an example, our students love music and can remember the math rules if they have a little jingle/song to remind them. Over the years our middle school math teacher, Mrs. Christine Tankard, and her students have made the songs up together. This strategy gives our students confidence and we have seen very positives attitudes towards math evolve.

Mrs. Christine Tankard, the fearless leader of our middle school Math program, has taught math for over 43 years. This long tenure in teaching has taught her that, “If you shut a kid down at a young age they will never have the confidence to learn on their own.” For this reason, she grabs teachable moments as they happen and listens actively to her student’s questions. She says, “I ask them many questions of my own and I find that I learn right along with them”. 

In Mrs. Tankard’s class, Sixth Graders are expected to master the basic skills related to fractions, whole numbers, decimals, and percents. Students also focus on introductory algebra and geometry skills and mathematical vocabulary. Seventh Graders are introduced to pre-algebra. This includes solving multi-step equations and inequalities, computing and applying statistical data and probability, solving and graphing linear equations, and applying basic geometric principles in plane figures. An eighth grader is taught algebra works with linear relationships and corresponding representations in graphs, tables, and equations.

CAPTAIN'S DAY - Peace and Equality

January 23, 2018

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”

~Dr. Martin Luther King


At Cape Charles Christian School, Captain's Days are scheduled periodically throughout the school year, usually in conjunction with holidays and/or forthcoming school breaks. During a Captain's Day, all students are divided into multi-aged groups with representatives from each grade level working cooperatively together with mostly hands-on learning materials.  The days themed educational objectives span the curriculum and grade levels for multilevel and open-ended learning.

Our most recent "Captain's Day" was held on January 16th with the theme  Peace and Equality in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and six other African Americans that stood for peace and equality.   Students were divided into six groups and spent time in different classrooms learning, sharing, listening, creating, discussing and eating together. Lessons and examples of peace and equality were taught by the teachers in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, George Crum, Harriet Tubman, Matthew Henson, Euclid, George Washington Carver and Ray Charles.  

Pre K teacher, Valerie Travis taught the students about the African-American scientist, George Washington Carver, known for his many uses of the peanut and a pioneer of agricultural research. Student, Brodie Rapine was amazed and said, “You can use peanuts to make oil, makeup, shampoo, metal, and polish.”  A Harriet Tubman Readers Theatre and songs about the Underground Railroad were performed and sung in Carrie Cabello’s classroom. A plastic snowball was tossed around by teacher 2nd and 3rd grade teacher, Leslie Savage, and students in her classroom. After hearing stories of Arctic explorer Matthew Henson, students could throw the snowball to a classmate after they told a fact pertaining to Henson’s six voyages and eighteen years of exploration. 

4th and 5th grade teacher, Kate Tayloe, read a story from the book, Mistakes that Work about the invention of the potato chip and the inventor George Crum. Crum was a chef and a patron ordered french fries and kept sending them back because they were not crispy. In return, Crum made the fries extra crispy and the potato chip was invented.  The students worked together on a Venn Diagram and the majority liked the potato chip better than the french fries cooked in class. Kate Tayloe enjoys Captain’s Day because, “The day’s education focus is hands-on, fun and the children work together to learn the days educational objective”.

Math skills were taught in middle school math teacher Christine Tankard’s room where Euclid, the founder of geometry and his principles of geometry were taught and students worked together with geometric blocks. Students were fascinated when they watched a Ray Charles documentary. Ray Charles was a singer, songwriter, musician, and composer, nicknamed 'The Genius'. He was blind and became one of the pioneers of soul music. Students focused on how he was able to read and compose music using braille. After lunch, the students painted pointillism doves and were all united together - Peacefully and Equally on Captain’s Day!


December 12, 2017


As one of our fall mission projects, Cape Charles Christian School supported “Operation Christmas Child”. Students brought in various items including: school supplies (crayons, markers, pencils, notebooks, etc.), small toys, soccer balls and pumps, toiletry items (toothbrushes, soap, washcloths, etc.), items for sewing kits and fishing kits, mini flashlights and packed 123 shoeboxes that are currently en route to be delivered to needy children around the world.  

CCCS students, parents, teachers, and other community volunteers gathered together after school in Heyward Hall as our bible teacher, Erica Johnson, paired older students with younger students to assemble the shoeboxes. Students decorated the inside of the shoeboxes and wrote letters to be included with the donated products.

Many of our parents volunteered to assist students in packing. This helped reinforce lessons about the importance of compassion and giving, and to appreciate many of the simple things that can be taken for granted. When asked what she learned from participating in Operation Christmas Child, third grade student Lyla Harris replied, “I thought it was fun and amazing because when people don’t have toys, it feels good to give them something.”

Bible Teacher, Erica Johnson explains, “This is probably one of the favorite missions for the kids. They love watching the videos of the children who receive their boxes and seeing how it impacts the recipients' life.  The parents seem to really enjoy this mission as well. Over the past 4 years we've had so many parents volunteer their time to help at the packing party. It's wonderful seeing everyone involved.”

“Operation Christmas Child” is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization whose mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities. Samaritan’s Purse ships the shoebox gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S. To learn more, please visit SamaritansPurse.org.


21st century project-based learning: Tall Ship A.J. Meerwald

November 16 , 2017

4th and 5th Grade Students Hoist the Sail of the Tall Ship A.J. Meerwald

4th and 5th Grade Students Hoist the Sail of the Tall Ship A.J. Meerwald

As part of our 21st Century Project-Based Learning initiative, 4th through 8th grade students at the Cape Charles Christian School recently completed multi-faceted project work based on the retired oyster dredging schooner, A. J. Meerwald. Highlights of this work included communicating with the crew of the A. J. Meerwald via Skype during an active sail, and touring the ship while it was docked in our community harbor.

Learning outcomes of this project work including an understanding of the working history of the Meerwald as both a fishing and coast guard vessel, an understanding of the mechanics of sailing and navigating the Tall Ship, as well as an understanding of the Ecology of the Chesapeake and Delaware bays as it relates to critical fisheries. Our students were inspired by the importance of ecosystem of our bays as well as the inspiring history of the stunning ship. 4th Grade student, Reid Travis, connected the visit to work in the classroom. After visiting the Meerwald, he remarked to his teacher that he felt like one of the characters in in Shipwreck by Gordon Korman – a book the 4th grade class had recently finished reading.

At Cape Charles Christian School, project-based learning increases critical thinking and improves student achievement. Our curriculum requires both independence and collaboration and often requires the use of technology. Projects are designed in order that they have context within our life environment and are also integrated with our community. 4th and 5th Grade Teacher, Kate Tayloe explains, “When you have students begging to work on a project, you know you have done something right. Project based learning creates engaging and purposeful learning experiences, where students are intrinsically motivated to not only understand, but apply information. Given the opportunity to think creatively and critically, they are so happy to work really hard. What more can a teacher ask for?”

The A.J. Meerwarld is a restored oyster dredging schooner. Launched in 1928, she is one of hundreds of schooners that was built along New Jersey’s Deleware Bay shore before the decline of the shipbuilding industry which coincided with the Great Depresstion. Today, the A.J. Meerwarld is used by the Bayshore Discovery Project for onboard educational programs.

A Maker’s Summer: Inspiration brought to you by Two Curious Students

September 26, 2017

Grayson Brown and Beckett Neville pictured at the 757 Makerspace in Norfolk, VA

Grayson Brown and Beckett Neville pictured at the 757 Makerspace in Norfolk, VA

Summer isn’t too far of a distant memory yet is it? We learn leaps and bounds in school, but summers are important for learning and growing too. With the support of loved ones, summers provide children with with the freedom and opportunity to explore not only the great outdoors, but any number of specific interests that capture their curiosity. This past summer our students did amazing things: some traveled the world; others immersed themselves in the arts; and still others grew their independence at wonderful camps. Two of our students, Beckett Neville (5th Grade) and Grayson Brown (4th Grade), grew into creative hands-on designers by participating in classes and activities offered at the 757 Makerspace located in Norfolk, Va.

757 Makerspace is a workshop and prototyping center – a “gym for innovators”, if you will. Community members including entrepreneurs, engineers and designers utilize the space to not only engage in a community of like-minded creatives, but also to share equipment and machinery such as, 3D Printers, Laser Cutters and Shopbot fabrication tools. The Makerspace offers “Cadet” classes for children, as well as adults. Among other projects, Beckett and Grayson stretched their hands and minds with print making, learning “Scratch” programming language to make their own instruments and playing with Non-Newtonian fluid - they pushed sound waves through the fluid to make the liquids jump. When asked what they enjoyed the most, Beckett replied, “The best day was Deconstruction Day when we got to take apart old electronics. I liked seeing how things worked and all their separate parts.” Grayson said “I like that there are so many fun things to try every week and you get to use all the different equipment like the 3D printer”.

Electronics found at the 757 Makerspace

Electronics found at the 757 Makerspace

Inspired by these students and, understanding the enormous benefits of this kind of hands-on learning, Cape Charles Christian School is currently being advised by Beau Turner, Founder of the 757 Makerspace, on initiating our own small yet mighty maker space at school. Stay tuned for more information as we build our entrepreneurial and design workshop!

To learn more about the 757 Makerspace, please visit their website at 757makerspace.com or find them via their Facebook page here.

Maker Cadet classes are offered Saturday mornings at 10am for a fee of $20 for non-members.