Football and US History

The following post was written by Humanites Intern and OLu junior, Max Krusiewicz.

BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The deafening sound of Mr. Spors slamming his imaginary drums to marching band music draws us in and stamps smiles on our faces. On the screen at the front of the room  is a slide projecting an unlikely pair: a patriot with a bayonet standing alongside a football with a sign reading, “The Revolutionary War as a Football Game!”

Mr. Robert Spors is known for his enthusiasm in teaching. When you think about it, studying history is like reading a never ending story. And without an inspiring narrator, learning would be futile.

Mr. Spors has mastered his trade over thirty-two years of working at Orange Lutheran. Being able to inform the students about US history has become second nature to him. Incredibly, many of the stories that have withstood the test of time are the battles taken place on American soil. The United States started as a feeble nation that barely survived as a country, but grew to become the biggest powerhouse in the world. Mr. Spors decides to to narrate the battles taken on US grounds in a fun and captivating way, and ends up engaging his students in the process.

Being a big fan of sports, Mr. Spors decides to incorporate the two things he loves most: teaching and football. So as a result, Mr. Spors awards us with a lecture on the Revolutionary War as a football game. Two sides line up, ready for battle, and BAM! The whistle blows and the countries engage.

History is hard for some students because it is all dates and details that seem to jumble up all over. However, if a sport is molded into the lecture, students (especially at OLu) are suddenly hooked and the important dates and details start to come to life.

Mr. Spors uses his huge personality to help his students to enjoy learning about history. The stories are not just words from our books anymore, brilliantly, Mr. Spors is kickstarting our brains to imagine what the wars were like in real life.


About the Author:

Max Krusiewicz is a Junior at Orange Lutheran. Max attended Foothill High School until his second semester of Sophomore year. When he transferred to OLu, Max fell in love with the school and writing. He became part of the Humanities and serves as the Champions of Teaching and Learning Student Intern. He also enjoys surfing and hanging out with his family and friends.


Press Conference

The following post is written by OLu Junior Humanities Academy intern Max Krusiewisz

Mr. Medina paces the room. His students are wide eyed and eager. He pauses and looks up. He smiles. His eyes twinkle. Then he opens his mouth.

“And… now.”

Immediately, the class room erupts with bursting questions.

Hold up. Let me back up a minute to explain.


It’s the first day back at Orange Lutheran, the start of the new year. As the students pile in to 8th period Journalism class they find their new teacher standing at the front of the room. It’s Mr. Medina, the Honors English 3 teacher and experienced journalist.


Most classes receive a syllabus on their first day back at school. The syllabus is designed to inform the class of the curriculum and rules of the classroom. However, Mr. Medina has a different idea in store today. He quickly introduces himself and assigns us our first mission as journalists. We are to brainstorm for five minutes on questions about our future class. When the allotted is up we will hold our first press conference on Mr. Medina about the year.


Excitedly, every student brainstorms and soon the press conference begins. Mr. Medina answers firing questions from each student, concerning grades, assignments, rules, and of course, Orange Lutheran’s school magazine, The Cornerstone.


Most classes on the first day are boring. There is a syllabus handed out, there are rules enforced, and everyone relaxes into the school year. Mr. Medina cleverly incorporated his own class into a boring thing like a syllabus and engaged his class. AND, it was fun. It geared up his journalists for the new year immediately.


As we left class that day Mr. Medina inspired us: As journalists, we are “history’s first author!”

What a way to start the school year!

The Scarlet Letter

Post Written by Emily Ward, Honors  Freshmen English 2 Teacher

To step into the themes of the story, we did a Scarlet Letter Project! We asked students to make a letter as attractive as sin and let it blaze upon their bosoms for two school days.
On the first day, we asked them to conceal the meaning of their letter, like the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale who hides behind lies for much of the story as he is afraid to reveal his true self and risk the judgement of others. On the second day, we asked students to bravely and honestly reveal the meaning of their sin when others asked, like Hester who confronts her sin. From Hester, readers learn that wisdom, character, and strength often develop through hardship and struggle, and that those who have endured the most hardship are often the most wise and compassionate people.


Stay Tuned to Hear Quotes from Student Reflections of the Experience

Socratic Circles

Using Socratic Circles to facilitate discussion is a common teaching strategy employed by several departments on our campus. In a Socratic Circle, students are given the opportunity to voice their opinions about literature or a given topic in a more conversational setting: half the class has their desks together in a small circle at a time, students don’t have to raise their hands, and they are responding directly to their peers rather than just their teacher. Often the whole group is given a grade for the overall quality of their discussion rather than individuals being graded, which helps foster a true collaborative learning community focused on the “team effort” of learning and growing together. To find out more about how Mrs. Parsons and Mr. Mabry use Socratic Circles in their classrooms, click here.



Ice Cream or Spaghetti?

Recently German 2 students prepared the traditional, Spaghettieis’ (spaghetti ice cream). The current unit is about eating in restaurants and the students learned about the wonderful seasonal Eiscafés (ice cream cafés) that open throughout Germany as the weather warms up. Spaghettiieis’ is just vanilla ice cream put through a press. The ‘sauce’ is a strawberry puree, and then the students can put white chocolate ‘parmesan cheese’ on top.
Lecker! (yummy!)

What is that Smell?

May at OLu means AP testing, senior activities, busy spring sports and a smell that begins to permeate the science hallways. The source of the smell?  Cat and pig dissections.  In the Anatomy classes all students dissect a cat.  As they explore the different anatomical features they are answering one question: What parts are involved in a simple movement such as hitting a baseball? They start off thinking that it is just the muscles but quickly learn that the lungs have to get oxygen to send to the muscles, the heart has to pump the blood that carries the oxygen, the brain has to send a signal to the muscles, there has to be fuel from the digestive system to power the muscles…. quickly students realize that all parts are involved.  Their cat dissection will culminate with a final presentation that includes many pictures of the structures in the cat.

In all of the Biology classes, students are dissecting a fetal pig.  Just like in the Anatomy courses, this exposes students to all the features of the body.  One students said, “I had no idea the liver was that big! I didn’t even know what it did until today!”  From another, “Did you know the diaphragm separates the cavities of the body?” There is many “lightbulb” moments happening in the Biology rooms!


Carpe Diem: Seize the Games

Latin might technically be a “dead language,” but the mood of Miss Sampson’s Latin classes is one of boisterous enthusiasm. This high energy teacher engages her students from bell to bell by challenging them through fast paced activities with ample support. We all know that when someone is engaged in the process of learning, they are more likely to take ownership over their own education. This is so apparent in the Latin 1 classroom. Here, Miss Sampson peppers her direct instruction with exciting iPad “Space Races” where students work in teams to demonstrate mastery over the latest segment of instruction. Freshmen love the competition and comradery, and Miss Sampson loves the immediate assessment information: at a glance, she can see which kids “got” the grammar concept, and which ones need some additional help. Click here to read more about Miss Sampson’s unique and engaging way of giving direct instruction.

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