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Cracker Country Fun!

April 6, 2018

Hello! Miss Vogel here! The third and fourth graders at Holy Trinity were able to travel back in time on March 23rd when we traveled to Cracker Country. The field trip was a lot of fun and it had a lot of interactive activities. The third graders and I wanted to share some of our favorite memories with you about our trip!

1. What was your favorite part of Cracker Country?

  • J.L.: “My favorite part of Cracker Country was the toys and the garden.”
  • A.V.: “My favorite part was when we washed clothes the old-fashioned way.”
  • P.D.: “I really liked the gift shop and getting to make butter.”
  • R.E.: “I liked the candles, the house, and the store.
  • Miss Vogel: “I really enjoyed seeing how excited and inquisitive the students were about each activity. We got to take part in a lot of fun activities. I also enjoyed seeing the printing press and the candle-making process.”

2. What is one fact you learned at Cracker Country?

  • N.G.: “I liked learning about what time in the year plants grow. My favorite part was the garden.”
  • G.N.: “I learned that back then soap was made from water and animal fat.”
  • L.S.: (How Cracker Country got its name): “The word ‘cracker’ isn’t about food. It’s the crack in the whip from the cow herders.”
  • K.M.: “I learned that sand doesn’t catch on fire.”
  • K.R.: “I learned how to make soap and candles.”

Family STEAM Night

March 9, 2018

This just in--They came. They learned. They conquered.

Our elementary students and their families came and took over the school on Thursday, February 22nd for Family STEAM Night. With a fun night ahead of them, over 40 students arrived excited to challenge their STEAM skills. The evening began with a STEAM Open House. We had a number of community partners come and provide information and resources to our students and their families, including Nancy Larson Science, TECO, Hillsborough County Public Library, Catapult Learning, a computer engineer, and an electrical engineer.

Families then traveled to the classrooms to participate in four fun-filled, Olympic-themed, STEAM challenges. Ms. Hemmann and Ms. Vogel helped students build bobsleds and tested them using various ramps and slopes. Mrs. Knecht challenged families to work together using only one rubber band and five strings to stack cups. Ms. Larson built marshmallow shooters with students and challenged them to shoot marshmallows through the Olympic rings. Mrs. Mitchell assisted the students in making their own lava lamps and exploring chemical reactions. Finally, the night ended with a blast – of soda! Students and their families watched a demonstration of how Mentos reacted with different types of sodas, resulting in some epic geysers.

Thank you to all who came out to help or participate in our first Family STEAM Night!

Caitlyn DeJose

Have you ever been to Fort Foster? Well if you haven’t been, you have to go! It will be an extraordinary experience for you. Fort Foster has many thrilling activities planned for you to do. Such as meeting the Seminole Indians, and you can also go to the infirmary, or watch them shoot their muskets and look at all the cool tents. Don’t forget to go on the weekend so you can see the live reenactments of the Second Seminole War. I hope you enjoy your time there — I sure did!

Alex Martinez

The musket firing was really cool and the Seminole Natives were really cool. This one guy [Seminole Indian] had a ring through his nose. The infirmary was really cool too. They showed the medical stuff that they used. And all of Fort Foster was really interesting that day!

Faith Neil

When we walked into Fort Foster, we strolled back in time. We talked with soldiers from 1837. We watched them load and fire guns. It was loud! We walked across the bridge [over the Hillsborough River] they were protecting. We came home with fun trinkets that remind me of the Second Seminole War.

Taylor Ball

Fort Foster was super fun to go to. First, we had to drive there. It was long! Then, we had to walk on a trail. There were lots of plants and trees on the trail. Next, when we had finished walking on the trail, we saw the soldier reenactors. We got to go inside their tents. Then, we got to talk and ask them questions. We also got to go inside the fort. It was super cool. We got to see a cannon. It was big! Next, we crossed a bridge and met the Seminole Indians. We saw them make a fire. Then we left for lunch. Yummy! It [lunch] was at a big park. We also got to play on the playground. Finally, we left to come back to school. We had a fun day at Fort Foster!

Gift Like a Kid

December 18, 2017

Looking to bring the holly-jolly back into gift giving? Well, look no further than the elves living all around us. They are excited, energetic, and full of cookies!

Last week Holy Trinity held it’s annual Santa Shop. On this day our students bring a list of up to 5 people to buy for. The shop is filled with wonderful options for everyone on their list. You should see how the children look around at the possible gifts with such wide-eyed wonder and excitement. Oh, how I long for that feeling in place of the terror I experience when perusing the department stores, toy stores, and Amazon! 

Here are a few tips they shared to help reacquaint ourselves with the joys of gift giving:

It’s all about TOYS:  A pre-K student (I’ll not share her name since I don’t want to spoil the surprise) explained that last year she purchased practical gifts for her parents and siblings.  Among them: a magnifying glass, a notebook, and pens. Her strategy this year was simple.  TOYS TOYS TOYS! Everybody get’s a toy! And why not? We put so much pressure on ourselves to give something useful, educational, or meaningful. If you feel stumped, simply put on your Santa hat and go for the toys!

Don’t overthink it!  I asked a 3rd grade student how he goes about choosing gifts for the friends on his list. “You know what they like.  So get that!” Us grownups tend to second-guess our choices. Will they like it? Won’t they? He went on “Get mom mom-things, and grampa gets grampa things.” What about a friend or a pet? You’ve got it! Friend things and Pet things!

A student nearby also suggested, “If you can’t remember what they like, just get them something you like. This way if they don’t like it, they can give it back to you.” I thought re-gifting was not allowed, but according to kids, it’s always allowed if you are choosing things you would appreciate getting! So give what you would hope to receive. Chances are they’ll love it too!

TWINKLE, SPARKLE, SHIMMER:  Several of our kindergarten students chose shiny, shimmery gifts for loved ones on their lists. Get something that’s glittery or just add glitter. This is my favorite idea! Everyone could use a little more sparkle. They picked things that struck them as beautiful. Smelling the candy canes yet?

SHHHHHH!   None of the kiddos would let me peek in their gift bags, nor would they share what exactly they bought. Giving gifts is all about the surprise. Wondering what’s hiding in all of that red, green, and silver giftwrap is so much fun. Try giving something unexpected! And don’t tell what’s hiding under all those bows!

Bell’s are ringing, so get shopping! Remember to think like a kid this year. Then put your feet up, enjoy a cup of cocoa and have a Merry Christmas!

Thankful for Our Staff

November 16, 2017

As children grow they are being educated in a number of ways--both formal and informal. Sometimes they learn through instruction, and other times by example; sometimes they can be told and they get it, and other times they must be shown. Whatever the method though, they are learning.

Our children are learning who they are, who others are, how things work, what to value, and more. Things learned now can stay with a child for years, if not a lifetime. This is one of the reasons that I am thankful for the staff at Holy Trinity.

The Holy Trinity staff gives me confidence that our students are being well-instructed formally in the classroom, as well as informally throughout the day. Our staff brings an attitude and energy to what they do that communicates the love of Jesus in so many ways: taking extra time with a student to help them grasp a concept, or correcting them in a way that encourages them to do better; putting in extra hours for a school program, or attending a student's game to support them.

With our staff I can be sure that as our children learn who they are and what is important, they'll also understand that they are loved and cared for and always will be because of the love that God has poured out for us in His Son, Jesus. The love of God in Jesus is demonstrated toward our students by our staff and so I am thankful for them. What a blessing it is to see them working with our students.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pastor Andy

We’re Entitled to Title I

October 19, 2017

Did you know that your Elementary student may be eligible for free support services through Hillsborough County School District? Yes, I said free! As a private school in Florida, qualifying HTLS students are entitled to receive Title I services. So what is Title I and how do you know if your student qualifies? In Hillsborough County, 90 of the public Elementary Schools are identified as Title I schools. If the public school your home address is zoned for is one of these 90 schools, your student is eligible for services.

Ok, so now that we know who is eligible, what exactly are these services and how can they help your child? Hillsborough County has a contract with Catapult Learning, LLC to provide qualified and experienced teachers to deliver Title I services for Reading and Math. Administrators (that’s me!) meet with their assigned Catapult teacher to determine which of the students are address eligible for services. From there, the teachers make recommendations as to whether the qualifying students show academic need and could use the extra help in the subject areas covered by Title I. Our current teacher, Beth Kellar, is in her 3rd year at Holy Trinity and also happens to be a parent of one of our Tiny Tigers! Parents of eligible students are given consent forms for services and after those have been returned, Mrs. Kellar can begin to work with the students twice per week. The students work in groups by grade and/or skill level, and activities are age appropriate and fun! Mrs. Kellar also keeps communication open with the classroom teacher and the administration to ensure that focus is placed on areas in which students need the most growth.

If you are interested in learning any more details about Title I, you can visit the following website, or contact me at [email protected].

Energized? Enthusiastic? Empowered? Equipped? We sure are! Fourteen Holy Trinity staff members recently spent 3 days at the FLGA District President’s Equip Conference with over 700 fellow attendees. Have you ever heard 700+ people singing Amazing Grace together?? It was truly an uplifting experience. The staff joined together to hear inspiring keynote speakers that encouraged us in our work in God’s mission field and urged us to keep reaching out to God’s people. During the conference there were 5 workshop sessions in which the staff could choose the topic most meaningful to them. The great thing about this set-up is that because the staff chose different sessions, they all have different things to share with each other. Each staff member was touched in different way by this experience and brought back wonderful ideas and new energy for our school. Here are some of the highlights shared by the staff:

  • This year's conference was excellent! The breakout session, "Sharing Your Faith with the Homeless" was transformative. I learned that many people are spiritually homeless. Identifying the needs of the heart is more crucial than identifying tangible needs. Sharing Jesus and scripture in addition to meeting immediate needs, provides the Holy Spirit an opportunity to work and transform lives. Jesus is always the game changer!
-Ms. Russell, VPK Teacher

  • What a great conference! I learned many great ideas to apply to our kindergarten curriculum! The bonus was spending special time with our HTLS faculty who are such wonderful people.
- Mrs. Mitchell, Kindergarten Teacher

  • A favorite quote from keynote speaker Erik Dellenback, CEO of Tim Tebow Foundation. “We are unimpressive, but we have an impressive and awesome God who is for us!”
-Mrs. Alfonso, Tiny Tigers Teacher

  • Even though “the future is no longer that it used to be”, we have to stand firm and build our Christian faith because it is our future, not just our past, that affects our present.
-Mrs. Hidremichael, Tiny Tigers

  • Ms. Larson, 2nd Grade teacher, was excited about new ideas for student led chapels as well as for the time spent laughing, talking and sharing with the staff.

Not Your Standard Sandwich

September 20, 2017

With the start of each new school year, not only do teachers dust off their desks and supplies, but they also open up their files and plan for what is ahead the next year. One of the ways that the teachers at Holy Trinity Lutheran School (HTLS) organize and prioritize what to teach is by looking at the Florida Standards.

Why use standards?

Our hope at HTLS is that students will not only learn what is necessary for their grade level, but that they walk away with a strong academic foundation. Using the Florida Standards allows us to ensure that students will leave our school prepared for what is ahead. Additionally, standards are a great way for teachers on various grade levels to align their objectives and lessons to allow for continuity.

How do we use standards?

At HTLS, the Florida Standards are adapted to fit with the philosophy of the school and are used in the way that our teachers feel will be most beneficial to the students in their classroom. Think about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Some of us might put peanut butter on one side and jelly on the other, while others might place peanut butter on both sides and jelly in the middle. Either way, the end result is the same: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Likewise, a teacher whose goal is to teach students how to multiply might have a unique approach to teach that skill, but she will have achieved the goal for teaching that topic. Our teachers use many tools in addition to the standards to design and structure lessons that will prepare our students for the various journeys God has in store for them.

Have you already stopped hearing about The Great American Eclipse that occurred last week Monday? If you’d listen in to the fourth grade room, you’d hear a lot about the eclipse still today! This may be partly because the HTLS fourth graders got to witness the eclipse along with approximately 5,000 other celestial thrill-seekers at the Tampa Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) on August 21.

“There were a lot of people there looking at the eclipse on TV, through glasses, boxes, and the pinhole projectors that we got to make,” said Faith Neil, HTLS fourth grader. “And there were really nice people there that gave us their glasses to look through.” The glasses sure did make the experience “more real” for the whole class. Now don’t get me wrong; the pinhole projectors and boxes provided a great illustration of what was going on up in the sky. Both tools even helped us discover that if we made a small circle with our fingers, we could view the eclipse on the ground without the pinhole projectors. But, nothing could compare to slipping those dark glasses over our eyes and gazing up at the real deal: the moon eclipsing the mighty sun!

It was amazing to see the wonders that God created dancing in the sky that day. Everyone agreed that having a little less sunlight around 2:59 pm, when Tampa experienced about an 81% solar eclipse, was a real treat. But, that didn’t top the well-needed and delicious treat of an ice cream cone on the trip back from MOSI.

By Rhea Ramey, HTLS Parent

Pack your backpacks! This next school year’s adventure is about to begin. New ideas to explore, old friends to share summer stories with. So much will be familiar, and so much will be new! In fact, there will be two new elementary teachers joining the Holy Trinity family this fall and we can’t wait!

Katherine Larson will begin with us as a 2nd grade teacher. She has been teaching for the past 16 years since earning a BS in Elementary Education, with a minor in Physical Education, from Concordia University in Nebraska. Kathy loves sports, especially basketball, football, and volleyball and is an athlete herself. In fact, one of her recent students entered her in a triathlon as a birthday gift. “I’m glad that I did it, that I finished, and I wasn’t in last place!,” she says. Kathy decided at a young age that she would be a teacher. In fact, her second grade teacher was one of the biggest influences on the person and educator she has become. “Her philosophy was to be firm, but loving.” Kathy still keeps in touch with her former teacher and seeks her advice often. Having a strong mentor, someone you can go to for support as a student and as an individual is so important. We are lucky to have that in Kathy! And, did you know she is a Holy Trinity alumnus?! Welcome back!

Katherine Vogel will begin her teaching career here at Holy Trinity teaching 3rd grade. She is a recent graduate, with a BS in Elementary Education from Concordia University as well. Her interests include reading, spending time outdoors, and travel! She’s frequently combined her love of education and travel by traveling to China and Las Vegas to teach. Katherine comes from a family of teachers, therefore always knew she wanted to do the same. Her grandmother had a tremendous influence on her as she shared incredible stories from her own career. “I believe that no person is the same. God created each of us to be unique individuals. Therefore, not all students learn the same. The ways we learn are never wrong, just different!” Katherine loves seeing that moment of recognition when a student truly understands something new in the classroom, or when they become empowered by an experience outside of the classroom.

Individualized student attention and developing well rounded minds, hearts, and spirits are our priority here at Holy Trinity Lutheran School. All of our teachers embody this philosophy. Our new teachers are as excited as you are to see what the upcoming school year brings! So, when you meet them, don’t forget to say hello!