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The “Season” of Mini-term

December 2, 2020 | Ms. Jonker

It’s good to be back. Yesterday during indoor park, the entire on-campus crew was doing a “Just Dance” video for “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and I realized how lucky I am to spend my days with this group of wholehearted and energetic students! I truly regret not taking a picture!

Some other highlights from the first couple days back have been filming a student-led video project, watching Advent worship skits, and playing kickball. Read on for more about what we’ve been doing academically.


Each student is in one elective that meets for thirty minutes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Some electives are taught by 8th grade teachers and some by other MSS teachers. Students get to interact with a variety of age levels in their elective. The students have navigated the quirks and hiccups of being on different zoom calls while staying in the same physical classroom. They have done very well, and are having fun, too.


For our STEAM cycle this term we have the opportunity to learn from experts from the SUEZ water company. Students had their first session with a representative of SUEZ today. We learned words like “raw water,” “finished water,” “conserve,” and “reservoir.”

The big question for this STEAM project is “How can we have a healthier relationship with water?” We are learning about the beautiful role water plays in God’s creation, and we are learning about how to care for water better. For the final project, students will create PSA’s educating and encouraging their MSS and Hoboken community about water conservation and care. The fourth and fifth grades are collaborating on this project!

Images from

Language Arts

In language arts we are studying the poetry of Langston Hughes and learning some background information about the Harlem Renaissance. Yesterday in class we discussed his poem “Harlem.”



What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.
      Or does it explode?


After discussing the meaning of this poem a bit, one student aptly asked, “But what does this have to do with Harlem?” What a great question to be asking at the beginning of this unit! For their final project, students will write and recite a poem, using Langston Hughes’ style as their inspiration.


In math we are diving back into multiplication. Students are learning how to multiply larger numbers using the distributive property (we call it “breaking apart” the problem into smaller ones). Students are using arrays and area models to conceptualize this. Conceptualizing multiplication in this way provides a strong foundation for learning and reviewing the multiplication algorithm.



Kat Jonker

Teacher, Grades 4

Kat Jonker is energized by how passionately Mustard Seed School nurtures each student to blossom into the person God has made them to be. She’s honored to teach and learn beside the fourth and fifth grade students here.

Ms. Jonker’s always been surrounded and inspired by dedicated teachers--including her mother! When she began teaching private violin lessons as a high school student, Ms. Jonker began to think about teaching as a career. Soon she realized her passion for teaching and learning as an Elementary Education with an integrated science major at Calvin College. There she flourished as an assistant teacher at Calvin’s middle school chemistry camp. She also led elementary nature programs at Calvin’s ecosystem preserve.

Music remains one of Ms. Jonkers passions and you’ll sometimes get to hear her playing in worship. She’s an avid violin player and spent a disproportionately large amount of her college life in string quartet rehearsals. She listens to music constantly and likes to keep it eclectic, so if you have any music recommendations, send them her way.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is Ms. Jonker’s home town. Through God-gifted communities of faith there, she found her roots in grace and a life of service.

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