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Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 16-17) :) Color outside the lines! :)



I am at the end of my 17th week of being a first time professional teacher.  I’ve been on Thanksgiving break all week…which is officially week 17.  I haven’t blogged on week 16 until now…well…because I’ve been on T-Giving break!

Last week, as we closed down our 16th week to get ready for this great break I’ve been on, we had an all School Thanksgiving Chapel service.  The chapel service is how Friday ended.  We were done by 10:30 AM that Friday and everybody was so excited to get off campus and begin our full 9 day break!!

Before I talk about what I learned from the All School Chapel Service, I simply want to say, it is a true challenge to try to teach the Students of Room 1501 the entire week, when they know they have a full 9 days of break coming up.  ADD, ADHD, SPASTIC KIDS, TROUBLE MAKERS & RULE BREAKERS come out of the cracks and push any adult irritation button they can find. 🙂

I didn’t mind.  I was one of those students too.  In fact, I’m going to guess that you have trouble focusing at work when you know a big vacation is coming up.   So, I planned for it.  I prepared for the week to be of a lighter subject in Room 1501.  It made for a good week. “If you can’t beat em…join em!”  And when I say “beat em”…I mean it in all senses.  LOL

On Friday, this Chapel service was really great.  See Pic. TGiving Chapel pic

We sang songs, watched video footage of different people saying what they were thankful for.  Played some silly games, prayed, listened to a great message from Pastor Patrick Youngs and then we ran for the parking lot to begin our Thanksgiving Vacation.

I was reminded of something at this chapel service.  Again, it was an all School Chapel Day.  This means that ALL students K-12 were in attendance.  As the chapel service progressed, there was great excitement coming from the 4th Grade and below age groups.  When the speaker asked for a response, this age group complied enthusiastically.  When the worship leader was leading us in song, this same age group sang at the top of their lungs!  They laughed out loud when things were funny. They were fully engaged.

I think this age group is special.  I wish this age group’s carefree and uninhibited demeanor is how we all behaved for the rest of our lives.  I think this type of Child is what Jesus meant when He said, 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”  Luke 18:17 NLT

These kids were inspiring to watch and listen to.  They were fully engaged and they obviously didn’t care about the High School and Middle School Age Group’s potential of making fun of them for such “silly behavior.”

I think you know what I mean.  These young kids would do about anything.   They have great courage and are unrestrained.  Some of the sophisticated types might call them, undignified.

That word, undignified, is found in a great Bible story of King David…He came dancing into town in front of the Ark of the Covenant after a great battle.  His wife saw him  and didn’t just roll her eyes but scolded him for such undignified behavior that was not befitting of a king.  I love King David’s reply….In fact…here is the story… It is found in 2 Samuel 6:16-21

16 But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.17 They brought the Ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the special tent David had prepared for it. And David sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. 18 When he had finished his sacrifices, David blessed the people in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 19 Then he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people returned to their homes.20 When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”21 David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord.22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”

When was the last time you were undignified in an honorable child-like pure way?

When was the last time you rolled down the windows of your car and sang the song on the radio as loud as you could?

When was the last time you struck up a conversation with a total stranger?

When was the last time you made a mud pie or played in the dirt?

Run through a sprinkler?

When was the last time you giggled so hard, your stomach hurt?

Built a sand castle?

Play with play-dough?

Build a fort using only blankets and couch cushions?couch fort

Finger paint using only pudding?

Jump on a trampoline?

Watching the young kids at the All School Thanksgiving Chapel reminded me of how cool it is to be a kid.  Something happens in us when we “grow up”.  I’m not sure its a good thing.  In another passage of scripture Jesus said, “”Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 NIV

If I were Jesus I would have had the Apostle Paul add another Spiritual Gift to the lists found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 … I would have had Paul add… “The Spiritual Gift of Immaturity.”

I have this gift.  Just ask the students in Room 1501.  I say things that the average Bible Teacher doesn’t say.  I say things the typical preacher doesn’t say.  It has gotten me in trouble with the people I like to call, “Old Grumpy Pants!”  It will continue to get me in trouble. I’m really okay with that fact.

Life is so short.

We all need to lighten up.

Go get the crayons out.  Color a picture.  Color outside the lines.  Then…bring it to me or send it with your student.

I’ll tac it on the wall of Room 1501. color outside the lines

It’ll inspire others to be child like.

It will brighten someone’s day.

It will give me a story to tell.

I’ll bet God will use it to change a life.


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 11) Parent/Teacher Conference…

Just finished Week 11 in Room…



This week was one of those weeks that forced me to practice patience and be reminded that High School is a lot more than the classroom and academia.  This week was PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE week.  It also was a NO SCHOOL Monday with Columbus day, so we only had 2 full days of school this week.  Thursday and Friday were 1/2 days because of Parent Teacher Conferences.

This week was the first time I have ever been on the teacher side of Parent/Teacher conferences.  I didn’t know what to expect.  When I used to attend Parent Teacher conferences from the parent side of the meeting…I always felt like it was time for the teacher to think that I was a bad parent because my kids weren’t doing as good as they could be.  I was always nervous going in, as a parent, on parent/teacher conferences.  I was always a bit insecure about what kind of parent the teacher thought I might be.

I think those past experiences helped me to help the parents who walked into Room 1501…relax.  I love their students and I was excited to tell them how good they are doing and how proud I am of their kid(s).

I could tell that some of the parents coming in were nervous.  I could see it in their eyes and body language.  It was obvious to me how much the parents loved their children.  It was fun to watch the parent’s nerves calm down when I began to mention their student by name, express gratefulness that their student was in my class, share details of their talents and strengths, and tell them that I felt they had a great kid.  Some parents teared up a little.

My experience from the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences taught me that every parent thinks and wishes they could do a better job of parenting.  I learned that every parent gets nervous, when confronted with what others think about their child, and how it might reflect on them as a parent and person.  I learned that every parent has a bit of panic, mixed with hope, that every teacher is helping shape their child to be successful in the world.  It was obvious to me that most parents recognize that they cannot raise their child(ren) on their own.

Every day, every parent releases their child out into the “wild” and out of the control of their loving arms.  I can really see it in the moms of the world.  I’m convinced nearly every mom…even when deeply frustrated with their students of Room 1501…wonders if they will see their child again at the end of the day.  What if the car crashes?  What if there is a shooter at the school?  What if there is a tragic accident on the sports field?  What if?  What if?  Seems to be a lot of worry in our world.  I guess it begs to ask the question as to if worry is sinful.

I heard a preacher recently talk about how worry is sinful and evil.  I was frustrated at the lack of Biblical truth behind that teaching. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that worry is evil.  It may say that worry is useless, but it is not evil.  I do not think that worry is a sin…I think worry is useless and a waste of time.  I challenge any “disagree-ers”…to show me the Bible verses that say Worry is evil or sinful. Some might argue that worry is a lack of trust in God.  I”m not sure you can prove that by using the Bible.   Worry could be an intense love for the things you care deeply about.  Worry might be because you recognize that God asked you to steward some things of His and you want to do an excellent job.   The only way I will agree that worry could be a sin is if the worry consumes us, controls us and causes us to behave sinfully.  However, I do not think that worry in and of itself is a sin.  The Bible is loaded with a lot of “little” things that it calls sin…worry is not one of them.

(At the end of this blog…if you’d like to do a Bible Study on Worry, I will include some Bible verses for you to do so.)

I would venture to say that Jesus worried.  I think it is a fair guess to say that Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, had such anxiety, stress, and pressure, that blood came to the surface of skin.  This condition is called Hematidrosis. (read about it in wikipedia here). Jesus begged the Father, three times, to let Him out of the crucifixion.  I think Jesus was worried at that moment…without sinning.  I don’t want to get off subject too much, but the reality is…worry is useless…but I do not think it is evil or sin…in and of itself.   In fact…agreeing with that might cause you to worry less. 🙂

When I met the parents of the some of the students of Room 1501…and noticed a little worry on their faces…I know for a fact that I was privileged to be able to help them relax and worry a little less about their students.  Their worry/concern helped me to realize something about being a teacher…

I think the greatest thing I learned by being on the Teacher side of Parent/Teacher Conferences was…as the Bible Teacher in Room 1501, I get to spend more time with these parent’s kids than they as the parents get to.  I have lunch with them everyday, I have them in class in a Question and Answer format…everyday.  I see them walking through the corridors and hanging out with their friends…everyday.   I see them laugh, fight, love, work, play and relax, every day…Monday through Friday…everyday…did I say every day?

So…as a first year teacher experiencing my first Parent/Teacher Conference…I will never take teachers for granted again.  (I recognize I have said that phrase a lot since becoming a teacher)…

Teachers do not just educate our personal children, they are one of the most critical contributors of turning our boys and girls into Men and Women.  Can you think of another person or organization that gets to spend that much time with our kids?  The Church on the corner doesn’t get that much time.  Our kid’s friends down the street don’t get that much time.  Television doesn’t get that much time. Teacher’s do.  Where your kids goes to school might be one of the most developmentally important decisions we as parents make in our children’s lives.  Hmmmm.

I learned a lot this week from my experience in Room 1501.

End of Blog________________________________

Beginning of Worry Bible Study…if interested…

  • Matthew 6:25-34

    “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
  • Luke 12:24-34

    Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?  “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Matthew 11:28-30

    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
  • John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
  • Colossians 3:15

    Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16

    Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
  • Psalm 55:22

    Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
  • Proverbs 12:25

    An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
  • Philippians 4:6-7

    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 Peter 5:6-8

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
  • Psalm 23:4

    Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Hebrews 13:5-6

    Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
  • Psalm 56:3

    When I am afraid, I will trust in you.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6

    Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
  • Romans 8:38

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,


Having Done in Room 1501 Week-8 (1st bad day)

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic



Week 8?  No way, that’s crazy.  I can’t believe how fast it has gone by.  Are you humming, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” yet?   I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to decorate Room 1501 in Christmas Decor or not.  My gut says that I’m not going to decorate…don’t call me a grinch….if that bothers you…then come on in to Room 1501 and decorate it!  🙂  

8 weeks in and it is clear that Room 1501 students are getting comfortable with me as their Bible teacher.  This is good and not so good. This is the first week I’ve gotten frustrated with one of the classes in room 1501.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get control of the class to the point where they were all listening and engaged. They were talking over me, and simply not engaging in what I was trying to teach.  I don’t fully blame the students.  I’m learning that classroom order is multi-faceted.  

I have to acknowledge as a teacher, that it is not just the students job to keep the classroom in order. Is it not true, in any situation where order is needed, that all parties are responsible to maintain order?  The person up front must be teaching in an engaging way…AND…the listeners must accept responsibility to practice the discipline of sitting still and engaging in the material being taught.   On this specific day, I was revisiting some material we had already gone over, and it was clear the students were tired of the subject.  I kept trying to capture their attention.  First, I simply asked the few who were talking to please “listen up.”  Secondly, I raised my voice tones a little more to try and make it obvious that I was trying to get them to listen.  Third, I added a little drama to my teaching by pacing and walking around the classroom….all to no avail!  

Room 1501 classes are only 40 minutes long.  In my many failed attempts to get the class to tune in…I actually used 30 minutes.  I’m pretty sure nothing was learned, but it was 30 minutes of pure effort on my part.  So…with only about 10 minutes left I told the class how frustrated I was.  I told them that when I was a student, the teacher would throw chalk and erasers at us when we behaved like this.  I told them I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw dry erase markers and erasers at them…but since I couldn’t do that…I told them all to get out of my class.  I told them that if I got in trouble for kicking them all out of room 1501 with 7 minutes of class left…that they were all busted too!

As the class nervously and quickly exited the room, many of the students walked by me with heads down, saying, “Sorry Mr. Renner.”  It made for a long night for me.  I went over and over in my head what I could have done differently, and this one silly incident caused me to wonder if I’m any good at teaching.

As I type this, I now find it somewhat humorous that I can have 7 weeks of great teaching with great student response, and then only one bad class nearly causes me to believe I’m bad at teaching.  LOL.  I’m becoming more dramatic as I age.  I’m going to assume that most of you have experienced something similar.  We all have great gifts that God has blessed us with and we can have so many great responses…but ONE BAD RESPONSE nearly does us in!  Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to??

Fast forward 24 hours…and nobody got in trouble, and everybody came in the next class day with a great attitude…even me.

As I shared the experience with a few teachers, they simply rolled their eyes at me and said…”Please…Welcome to teaching!”  Not all days are a good day.  I suppose I should just say, “duh.”  I know this, but for some reason that day really got at me.

There was good that came from it all…that specific class of students in Room 1501 were amazing the rest of the week.  I especially smiled, when the worst culprits from that bad day…were now the ones who asked the class to quiet down when it started getting rowdy.

I guess the moral of the story is this.  It takes all parties cooperating for peace to exist and thrive.

I suppose, if I’m really admitting to my own past behavior as a student, I deserve to have some days where the students in Room 1501 cause me some gray hairs.  That is exactly what kind of student I was… too often.   Some people call it Karma.  I call it, God’s sense of humor!”

I suppose it would do me well, right now,  to remember what I have preached so many times.  “Our battles are not flesh and blood.”  To quote the exact Bible passage…

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

You and I are going to have a few bad classes.  Bad days.  Bad jobs. Bad relationships days.  Those days are not the norm.  Those moments do not define who we are.  They are just life. The Bible challenges us to focus on the good.  Even after watching some 10 O’clock news channel, I still believe that there is way more good in this world than there is bad.  The bad just hurts more and thus feels more real and prevalent.  The 10 O’clock news usually only focuses on the bad, and that tends to be all that we see, causing us to think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

It has not.  You are good.  I am good.  God is great.  You and I will become what we are focused on.  I think it is fitting to quote the Bible verse that is resonating in my head right now about this topic.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Philippians 4:6-8.

There are so many things happening in Room 1501 that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable!  I know the same it is true for you and your workplace, your home, and your life!  Don’t give the bad so much credit.  It doesn’t deserve that much attention.

Tomorrow is a good day.  When you get up in the morning, get on your knees for just a moment and give God thanks for what you are about to encounter.  Invite Him into every decision that you are about to make, every meeting you are about to attend, and every action you have yet to do…Then the God of peace will be with you.

That will be a good day…no matter what happens.

Here comes Monday!