Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday's Top Five: Three Wishes

Miss Luchterhand
The students love Miss Luchterhand. She’s funny, she’s loud and she’s an excellent teacher. When they walk into her Language Arts classroom, they know that they are going to learn and the process will be creative and effective. 

Miss Luchterhand doesn’t believe that a minute of class time should be wasted. When the students arrive, they know to pull out their Language Arts binder and start a Pre-class Worksheet (PC WS). The worksheets serve multiple purposes for Miss Luchterhand. The front page is a review of the topics that the students covered during the year, such as parts of speech, alphabetizing and finding information.

The back is a journal question that changes every day. This exercise gives the students a chance to use their imagination, and it shows Miss Luchterhand how the students have grown in their writing skills over the course of the semester.  The students are required to self-proof their own journal entries before turning them in, thus the checklist on the top of the journal page.

This week, the students answered the journal question, “If you could have three wishes granted, what would you wish for?

When I heard this I thought, “Their answers would make a fun blog for Friday’s Top Five! I’ll pick the five most popular wishes and write about them.” Well wouldn’t you know, outside of the desire to become a famous rapping basketball player who lived in a tree house, there were no common wishes between the students. 

After staring at their answers for longer than I should have, I began to see common threads. I grouped them accordingly and did a little happy dance in my chair – there were five “themes” of wishes!

Here’s how the students answered:

1.       How I Would Like to Earn a Living –

a.       Win the Lottery
b.      Become a world martial arts expert
c.       Own a business
d.      Become one of the best basketball players in the whole world so nobody could stop me
e.      Sell lots of records and albums as a notorious rapper who everyone loves
f.        Be a producer who is the boss of everything and makes music that people could always enjoy
g.       Become a Pok√©mon trainer
h.      Work at Jurassic Park
i.         Become the President of the United States because I really think I would be able to run the country without falling into great debt with different countries around the world

2.       What I Would Like to Own with all the Money I Make –

a.       A horse range
b.      Jewelry, because I can wear it and it makes me feel good about myself
c.       Clothes, hair products and shoes
d.      A Hummer to drive everywhere
e.      A secret room
f.        An iPad
g.       A dragon

3.       People I Hope to Meet - 

a.       My friend who I haven’t seen in 9 years
b.      A famous singer so I can sing with her and get her autograph
c.       A basketball player so he can talk to me and encourage me
d.      Miley Cyrus

4.       Places I Would Like to Travel To or Live In –

a.       A tree house
b.      Hollywood where the movies and shows take place
c.       New York City
d.      To the clouds on a magic carpet
e.      To the 24th century to the world of Star Trek so I can become a Starfleet Captain

5.       Wishes that Would Bless Others and/or Myself -

a.       I want to be a healthy eater
b.      I want a Starbucks in my hometown so I don’t have to travel back to Mt. Pleasant for coffee
c.       I would like less drama and stress in the world so that people would not have to worry about anything or get angry
d.      I would like peace in the world because it would mean no wars and everyone would get along
e.      I want to be married someday and have kids of my own
f.        I wish to be a good storyteller because I love to read stories to little children
g.       I want to help unfortunate people find homes for themselves and their families because I don’t want anyone on the streets without a home
h.      I wish to bring all the troops home from the Middle East. Their families miss them and if any of my family members were out there, I would want them home too

I remember answering the “3 Wishes” question in my distant past. I wrote a paper about it in 7th grade. I wanted to become a semi-truck driver who traveled all over the country with a little monkey riding by my side. The semi had to be purple. And to be completely candid, I wanted to meet Greg Evigan somewhere along the road and marry him. Those were my three wishes – semi, monkey, Mr. and Mrs. Evigan.

I’m greatly relieved to say that none of these wishes came true.

Will the wishes of the students’ come true? 

Some wishes will linger in the hearts of the students and cause wistful smiles at their memories – like magic carpets, pet dragons and time travel. Who doesn’t secretly still wish for those?

Some will be forgotten as time goes on, and some will change as the student matures.

And some wishes will come true, just as each student’s dream to go to college came true. As skills are learned, as abilities are discovered, as character grows, as God wills, the students will see their wishes turn into realities on the road to Appropriate Independence.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Growing Fruit

Our Residential Life staff are very impressive people.  To be frank, their roles and responsibilities are a bit intimidating for a desk-dweller like me.

The Res Life staff take charge of the students every day after class and on the weekends. They implement programming, supervise leisure time, provide assistance wherever and whenever necessary, ensure regulations are being followed, and manage behavioral issues. They train students in meal planning, preparation and grocery shopping. They conduct assessments, and help the volunteers who work with the students. They also assist students in finances, personal care and health management, and work closely with other staff to make sure that all Shepherds College components are working in harmony. 

That is quite the list, isn’t it? I will never complain about typing up meeting minutes again.

Miss Sheppard

This week I heard from Stephanie Sheppard on our Residential Life staff. She wanted to share a special activity night she experienced with the 2nd and 3rd year ladies.  They’re working on building character by studying the fruit of the Spirit.

Amanda, 3rd year student

Katy, 2nd year student

Miranda and Daniela, 2nd year students

They began their evening by making fruit cobblers and listening to a song called “Full Attention” by Jeremy Riddle. The chorus goes, 

“Please keep my eyes fixed on You, please root my heart so deep in You, keep me abiding, keep me abiding, oh keep me abiding in You, that I may bear fruit.”

Stephanie and the students then discussed good and bad fruit, using an old, spotty banana that Stephanie knew would be mushy, as well as a nice-looking, shiny apple that seemed perfect, but had brown and gritty flesh. They discussed how things can appear good on the outside, but may not have insides that match. And God sees our insides. Shouldn’t they be ripe with healthy fruit – the fruit of the Spirit?

They read Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  

The girls divided into pairs and each group discussed one or two characteristics that make up the fruit of the Spirit. They were given a sheet of paper with their characteristic and a verse to support it. Based on the verse, the girls came up with a definition for each characteristic. They then came back together as a group for discussion.

Stephanie and the students created a tree that listed each fruit on individual leaves. They discussed what could happen if a Christian stopped being fruitful. If a tree stopped being fruitful, the leaves would fall off and the tree could wither and die. Could that happen to our faith if we stopped being fruitful?

Trees need healthy roots to live and be fruitful, so they talked about what roots a Christian needs in order to produce the fruit of the Spirit – the Holy Spirit, belief and trust in God, church/fellowship, Scripture and prayer. The girls added these roots to their tree.

This tree is now posted on the window in Home A as a reminder of the fruit God asks us to bear through the work of His Holy Spirit.

Stephanie ended the evening with a prayer and then the entire group enjoyed the “fruits” of their earlier labor by eating blueberry and peach cobblers. 

They wanted to share the simple recipes with you:

Blueberry Cobbler

2 – 20 oz cans of blueberry pie filling
1 egg
½ stick of butter, softened
1 vanilla cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pie filling in a 13x9 cake pan.
Mix the cake batter, softened butter and egg in a bowl. Once the batter
is stiff, pour over the pie filling and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Peach Cobbler
2 – 20 oz cans of peach pie filling
1 egg
½ stick of butter, softened
1 yellow cake mix

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pie filling in a 13x9 cake pan.
Mix the cake batter, softened butter and egg in a bowl. Once the batter
is stiff, pour over the pie filling and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Office: R.E.A.L. Instruction

Today's blog is written by Angela Houk, Dean of Shepherds College:

A learning community is defined as a place where learners gather to share information, collaborate on projects, and meet the needs of others in the community through proactive participation.  We strive to ensure that Shepherds College (SC) is a learning community for both staff and students.  One way we function as a learning community is by incorporating mini trainings within faculty meetings

On August 28, we reviewed R.E.A.L., the instructional strategy utilized in SC teaching and trainings.  R.E.A.L. is a term coined by Tom and Joni Schultz and stands for Relational, Experiential, Applicable, and Learner-based.  The relational component develops learner-to-learner and learner-to-instructor relationships by having students work together in groups, participate in discussions, and facilitating an environment where learners foster a relationship with God. 

Experiential is where students learn by doing; they wash clothes, load the dishwasher, prepare a weekly menu, complete chores, etc.   

Students are intrinsically motivated when they understand how information relates to real life.  Effective teaching connects curriculum to life experiences.   

Learner-based instruction focuses on how an individual learns and processes information.  It empowers students to be creative, independent, motivated, and self-directed. 

Elyse Fye, Bible instructor, trained staff by modeling learner-based instruction and using a cooperative learning technique called Numbered Heads Together.  

Elyse Fye
 Miss Fye taught four names for God:  God is Everlasting, God is All-Powerful, God is Provider, and God is Creator.   

Then she assessed learning by using the Numbered Heads Together strategy: Group students in a team of four.  Each member is given a number of 1, 2, 3, or 4.  Questions are asked of the group.  The group works together to answer the question.  When the instructor calls out a number (two), then each two is asked to give an answer. 

Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teacher Tuesday: The Gift of a Smile

I love this saying:

“A laugh is a smile that bursts.”

Each word is simple, yet so uplifting and energetic when strung together in this sentence. I smile every time I think about it.

So if a laugh is a smile that bursts, what is a smile?  And I’m not talking about the kind of smile that’s just a social nicety or expectation – like the kind I paste on my lips when someone is holding a camera in front of my face. I’m talking about the kind of smile that starts in your heart and soon bubbles its way up and out. The kind that wrinkles your face, makes your cheeks glow and your eyes crinkle and sparkle. The kind that makes you momentarily forget that you’re self-conscious about the gap in your teeth or that you’re nervous about a Board presentation or that you’re worried because you just overheard your teenage daughter say that she thought nose rings were cool. The kind that others stare at because it’s attractive, and bask in because it’s like relaxing in a pool of warm, liquid sunshine.

I believe this type of smile is the outpouring and overflowing of love –

Love of the moment,

Love of the person you’re with,

Love of God,

Love of who God created you to be.

At Shepherds College, we see smiles like this regularly – our staff are people who find deep joy and satisfaction in knowing the love of the Lord and loving Him in return. Our students, even in their homesickness or worries about schoolwork, smile genuinely and often – they love making new friends, pleasing their teachers and learning new skills. 

Even with all these beautiful smiles in the hallways, classrooms and dorms, there’s one teacher that absolutely owns this expression – Miss Laura Pollard.

Last year, Miss Pollard and her dog Lucy moved to Wisconsin from Tennessee.
She started working at Shepherds College as Residential Life staff in Home A. This year, she’s teaching a first-year female Health class, two sections of a second-year Communications class and the third-year Trained for Life class.  She’s also an Academic Advisor for eight of our first-year students.

Along with that generous smile, she brings her easy-going, fun-loving, quirky personality into the classroom. As a teacher, she’s not afraid to go to an extreme to make a point during her lessons. If she has to teach a concept by dressing up in a bizarre costume or singing at the top of her lungs, she’s going to do it, and she’ll be laughing at herself along the way.
Is this how you dress for an interview?

Don’t let all the smiles and laughter fool you though! Miss Pollard recognizes that God called her to Shepherds College, and she takes this calling very seriously. She’s known since high school when she started volunteering with a hippotherapy horseback riding program for kids with disabilities that she would be working in this field as an adult.  After teaching for a year in the public school system, it became clear that she wanted to navigate toward post-secondary education for adults with intellectual disabilities. 

Miss Pollard prefers the hands-on and facilitator methods of teaching. As the facilitator of activities and discussions in the classes she teaches, she enjoys watching her students take charge of how the discussion is directed. She is aware that each student comes into her classroom with their own stories and experiences, and that they can teach her as much as she can teach them. There are days when these practical life lessons communicate far more than a PowerPoint ever could. It is her hope that one day her students would become content and confident in the way God has fearfully and wonderfully created them.

We at Shepherds College are blessed beyond measure to call her friend, teacher and co-worker. She wraps up her great energy, caring spirit, welcoming personality, positive attitude and cute, southern accent with one enormous, soul-warming smile - and offers it as a gift to everyone she meets.
Miss Luchterhand and Miss Pollard

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”  ~ Mother Teresa

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