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Robotics Past, Present, & Future

Posted on Feb 27, 2019 11:29:05 AM by Hannah & Elizabeth


Greetings from Liberty Christian School in the year 2017.  In 2017, there was no robotics program and nobody knew if one even existed.   There were Legos, computers, Knex, and Erector sets.

Then one day, a parent began to explore the options for students to learn more about STEM.  In the late summer of 2017 robotics became a reality for five students, four boys and one girl.  That’s me, Hannah. LCS Robotics 2017

I was the only girl on the team. This  had its advantages and disadvantages. The boys mostly asked me to get things for them or to clean up stuff.  The boys really didn’t think much about me being there and often did their own thing until one day the coach asked the boys to do some documentation in the engineering notebook.

One of the boys responded with the comment,  “Can’t Hannah do that?”. Well... let me just say that never happened again.  My coach quickly stepped up to my defense and told the boys that I was not their secretary.  The whole dynamic of our team changed that day. I became one of the main coders last year and therefore did not do much building or driving.  We ended up having a very successful year with a great STEM project and went to the VEXIQ World Tournament.


LCS Robotics Vex ChampionshipThat was such an amazing experience.  I listened to so many motivational speakers who wanted to encourage the next generation of young kids to reach for the stars.  One person in particular that stands out in my mind is Ayah Bdeir. We have chosen her as our STEM role model because she was brave and found a way to make her dreams come true.

She is a female that had a dream and didn’t let anyone stop her.  I am sure that her girl power found it necessary to include men in the making of her Little Bits along the way but she did not let them take over her project.   She had a desire for electronics to reach the hands of all children, male and female. She did so with Ayah Bdeir Roboticsthe invention of Little Bits. They are like an electronic version of Legos.  They are so cool! She had done it, she stepped into a world where men mainly dominated and made herself known.

At the VEX IQ World Tournament she stood before me receiving the 2018 STEM
HERO award and was inducted into the REC Foundation Hall of Fame for her personal and professional contributions to young people.  Ayah said that the power of “electronics should be in everyone’s hands so that anyone can build, pro-type, and invent”. In 2014, Popular Mechanics recognized her as one of 25 makers who are reinventing the American dream for her creation of Little Bits.  Little Bits were created so that at the simplest level children and adults can play with lights, sounds, and sensors without any previous experience. How cool is that? I was so inspired by her that I couldn’t wait to get back to school to tell all my friends about it!   From that day forward everyone wanted to join the robotics team.


Hannah LCS 2018 Hi, my name is Elizabeth.  

Let’s jump forward to the summer of 2018.  I am one of the girls that was touched by Hannah’s enthusiasm of robotics and her trip to the World Tournament.  

This summer LCS began enrollment for its next robotics team. Three of their original teams members were not going to return in the fall.  After having the first year behind them the LCS robotics team was ready to recruit for year two. This year we have grown from one team to three teams.  Guess what the boy to girl ratio is this year?

I will give you a hint…. It is not 4:1.   It is 7:7! We are equal in number. When we use the term GIRL POWER we do not stress that we are better than the boys.  We just want to encourage other girls to take the step into the STEM environment and see the many fun opportunities that are there for them to try.

LCS Robotics Family 2019

This picture shows the great support of our families.  Without them, none of this would be possible. They support us and our coaches.  They come to all of our tournaments and encourage us even when we don’t get a trophy.

We have as many girls interested as we do boys.  That is a great feeling to be in a group of equally diverse students.  Our LCS Robotics 2019 2coaches make sure that each of the students are equally challenged in all aspects of the program.  We all participate in brainstorming, building, coding, driving, and working in the engineering notebook.

LCS Robotics 2019We all take turns at doing everything so that we know all about our robot and how it was designed and built.  Some of us are stronger in certain areas than others, but we continue to encourage each other to learn and grow.  Our coaches make sure that there is never a job that is labeled as a boy/girl job and therefore we are all treated with equal challenges.  Our coaches really do rock ( by the way, we have two female coaches and one male coach)!

Now let’s travel to the state tournament and beyond… hopefully, the summer of 2019 will bring us even more excited participants and our teams will grow even more as more girls are empowered to step out and feel welcomed to join this crazy, fun, mind challenging, afterschool world known as robotics.  We are beginning to understand that it is about the journey and the things we learn and take with us along the way.


Parenting With Personality: Introversion, Extraversion and the Classroom

Posted on Apr 19, 2016 3:00:00 PM by Kim Schlauch

LCS classroom

During my time in the classroom as a substitute teacher, instructional aide and parent helper, one thing that always stood out for me was the way in which individual students interacted during class discussions.  While some students were very quick to raise their hands and join in on the conversation, others sat quietly and held off on getting involved in the discussion even after they were encouraged to do so.

Why are some students so quick to answer while others hold back?  Is it simply because some are naturally more outgoing and others are just a bit more shy?  Or is it that those who seem less engaged are simply tuning out?  Regardless of the reasons, I often wondered if there was a way to better engage the class to ensure all students were benefiting from the learning experience.

Is Your Child an “Innie” or an “Outie?”

While outgoingness, shyness or distinterest may all play roles in the level of class involvement, I have come to discover that the way in which each individual student is wired to relate to his or her environment is a major contributing factor as it relates to student behavior. This discovery is based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and his theory on personality types.  According to Jung, individuals are energized by either the external world (extraversion) or the internal world (intoversion).


Extraverts get their energy from the world around them.  They are energized by other people and  thrive in situations where there is a lot of interaction, activity and stimulation and can become drained if they have to spend a lot of time alone.

Extraverts tend to be:

  • Outgoing and gregarious
  • Accessible and often noticed because of their perceived ease with others
  • Quick to speak, slow to listen


Introverts, on the other hand, get their energy from the inner world of thoughts, ideas and emotions.  They are energized by pursuing solitary activities that allow them to work quietly and alone and can become drained by too much interaction

Introverts tend to be:

  • Perceived as being reserved and contemplative
  • Prone to hold back their thoughts and ideas to carefully listen to and thoughtfully process what is being said
  • Quick to listen, slow to speak

According to Jung’s theory, while we each have a preferred way of being with the world, we all can alternate between these two energy attitudes.  However, too much time spent in our less preferred mode, as previously mentioned, can be draining.  It is also important to keep in mind that neither way of being is better than the other.

Understanding whether your child is an extravert or an introvert can be very helpful as it can aid in determining which kinds of activities and situations can bring out your child’s natural preferences and talents and which types may be more difficult and draining for your child.

individual and group activity

Classroom Applications

Here are three ways to help both extraverts and introverts thrive in the classroom:

  1. Choice is Key

    To give all students the opportunity to do their best work, the ideal is to provide them with different options to meet the learning goals.  For example, when appropriate, students could be given the opportunity to work on class assignments in pairs or on their own.

  2. Combine Social and Reflective Activities

    To meet the needs of both extraverted and introverted students, it is a good idea to balance social and reflective activities.  For example, before a group discussion, the teacher could provide a worksheet for students to complete, giving introverts the time and opportunity to think about and process the questions beforehand. Or after the class discussion, the teacher could have students complete a reflection sheet or journal entry as a way to process and reflect upon what was discussed.

  3. Expand the Parameters of “Class Participation”

    Rather than having all classroom participation points dependent upon how much students raise their hands and speak up in class, other activities, such as the opportunity to help others one-on-one or submitting written class discussion reflection sheets, can be incorporated into the mix.

To ensure both extraverted and introverted students have the opportunity to benefit from the classroom learning experience, talk to your child’s teacher to ensure there is a balance of activities that appeal to both types.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Creative Writing Skills

Posted on Mar 19, 2016 6:00:00 AM by Kim Schlauch

creative writing skills

Writing is an important skill that can not only help your child succeed academically in the short term, but professionally in the long run.  It can also be a valuable creative and therapeutic outlet by providing a means for children to better process and express their thoughts.

Here are five ways you can help your child develop and improve his or her creative writing skills.

Provide Inspiration

One of the best ways to provide inspiration is to encourage reading.  Good readers make better writers as reading exposes children to different writing styles and subjects.  Ways to encourage this include reading to and with your child.  Asking questions as you read about characters, plot and setting as you read can help your child develop a better undersanding of writing structure and spark his or her imagination.

Identify Ways to Practice

Help your child to develop his or her writing skills by suggesting creative ways for your child to practice writing.  For example, incorporpate fun writing exercises into imaginative play, encourage your child to journal or correspond with family and friends, or play word games to help build vocabulary.

Create Time

Writing takes time and mental energy, so don’t expect to be able to squeeze it into an already packed schedule.  Make sure your child has the time and mental space needed to relax, unwind, contemplate and write.

creative writing space

Make Space

Just as your child needs physical space in which to do his or her homework, the same holds true for writing activities.  Make sure your child has a writing surface (e.g. table, desk) in an area free from distractions as well as the tools and resources (e.g. pencil, notebook) required to support and foster his or her creativity.

Encourage Creativity

Creativity stems from taking risks and thinking outside of the box.  Focusing too much on spelling, punctuation or grammar Schedule a Tour at LCS Today!instead of encouraging the creative process may hinder your child’s writing attempts.  While editing is necessary in developing good writing skills, it is important to first create a supportive and encouraging environment.  To do so, focus on your child’s ideas first and then gently correct mechanical errors once you’ve provided the necessary praise and support.

One of the best ways to help your child develop his or her creative writing skills is to be a role model.  Demonstrate to your child that reading and writing are valuable skills.  Many times actions speak louder than words and can go a long way in helping to develop your child’s creative writing skills.



Reading and the Brain: Why is Reading Easy for Some Children and Not for Others?

Posted on Feb 20, 2016 6:00:00 AM by Kim Schlauch

reading and the brain

Consider this.  Children who read for 5 minutes a day are exposed to 182,000 words in a year.  Children who read for 20 minutes a day are exposed to 2 million words in a year.  The bottom line is that the more children read, the better they read, and the more they learn.

Unfortunately, in many cases, getting children to read for 20 minutes a day is easier said than done.  Some children simply lack the motivation to spend time reading and need parental encouragement in order to do so.  However, other reluctant readers may not like or want to read as a result of difficulties beyond basic motivation.

At a recent Liberty Christian School Coffee & Conversation, Mrs. Joan Collins, SpellRead Director, shared insights on how people learn to read, predictors of success in reading, reading difficulties and intervention.  Here is some of what she had to share with those who attended this informative session.

Oral Language vs. Reading Skills Development

When it comes to language development, while some aspects are innate, others must be taught.  For example, oral language, which includes receptive language, or the ability to listen to and make sense of English speech, as well as expressive verbal language, or the ability to speak and make oneself understood in English are natural and are developed in children in their early years.  On the other hand, reading and writing must be explicitly learned through conscious, applied effort.  In other words, reading and writing must be taught.


7 Essential Skills of Reading

There are seven sequential steps as it relates to developing the skills to read.  They are:

  1. Phonemic Awareness: Hearing the Sounds.  Phonemes, or individual sounds, are the building blocks of language.  Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds within words.

  2. Phonics: Spelling the Sounds.  Phonics is the system by which 26 letters (graphemes), alone and in combination, combine in ways to encode words and meanings.  Instruction in phonics helps students gain knowledge of letter-sound correspondence

  3. Decoding.  This invloves the ability to attach sounds to letters that spell a printed word.

  4. Word Identification.  This is the ability to read a word at the level of automaticity.

  5. Fluency.  This is the ability to read text quickly and accurately.

  6. Vocabulary.  This is the knowledge of word meanings.

  7. Comprehension.  This is ability to construct meaning from text.

The first three skills, phonemic awareness, phonics, and decoding, form the foundation of the learning process and offer the greatest predictor of success in reading.  Furthermore, struggles at the foundation will have a trickle up effect.

Brain Function and Reading Struggles

In many cases, struggles with these foundational skills and the resulting poor reading performance may not stem from learning disabilities, but rather from dyslexia, a disorder resulting from a disconnect in the brain’s processing of graphic symbols.

Symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Delayed speech
  • Trouble recognizing rhyming words
  • Mispronouncing words
  • Directional confusion (left vs. right)
  • Multiple ear infections
  • Slow to acquire reading skills
  • Recognizes a word on one page but does not recognize the same word on the next page
  • Slow choppy oral reading
  • Letter reversals due to left-right confusion (i.e. b and d)
  • Difficulty completing reading or writing assignments independently

The presence of multiple symptoms may indicate a need for assessment and reading intervention.

Liberty Christian School currently works in partnership with Mrs. Collins and SpellRead to provide assessment and intervention options for families in our community who may be in need of these services.  For more information regarding this topic, please visit the SpellRead website.

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