How We Got to Now by Team Weissman

Team Weissman has been learning about How We Got to Now (Steven Johnson).

They’ve created dominoes (to show the domino effect of innovation) and realized that the dominoes were limiting in that they couldn’t show everything that they wanted to about an innovation. As a result, the kids decided to create websites that are connected to the dominoes via a QR code so that they can add additional information.

The websites they built (totally independently!!):

Glass (by Chase & Hunter)

Time (by Carter & Noelle)

Clean (by Brock & Tyler)

Light (by Ella, Kaleigh, & Maddie)

Sound (by Camryn & Charleigh)

Cold (by Ben & Samantha)

Notes from KT: Detox Week

Team Anastasis,
The first weeks of school are usually pretty hectic; it is a time to re-establish routines, get to know new classmates, and switch gears from “summer brain” to “school brain”. This year the first weeks of school have felt different. Calmer. I commented to Shelly several times over the past week how quickly everyone seems to have fallen into a routine…the way it feels after we come back from a week off, not months away from seeing each other. It is a nice change of pace for the first weeks back!
The first weeks of every school year we call “detox” week. Our detox week is a time for students to remember that they matter. It is an opportunity for them to re-frame the way they think about learning. It is a time for them to share their passions with each other. It is a chance to realize that working together is more productive than competing in learning. It is a safe time to explore creativity and individuality. It is also the week that new students start to discover that the relationship with their teacher is different here; that the goal of coming to school isn’t an “A” at the end of the semester, but real learning and growth.
I love this week! We see kids begin to come back to life; the spark in their eyes that can only come through discovering something new. For some kids, this week is life changing. Others are a little more hesitant; they don’t trust the freedom that we offer yet. They wonder when the “real work” will start and when they will settle back into mediocrity. For these students, the detox week is a glimpse of things to come, the freedom in learning and exploring.
The culmination of detox week is Identity Day and Ice Blocking. Identity Day is an opportunity for students to share an area of passion with the school community. As a school, we take a moment to see the world from another point of view. It is a spectacular day of honoring each child for who they were created to be and celebrating each other’s gifts. This is a day to build community! Thank you to all who joined us. It is important to us that ALL of our community comes together to get to know each other. Ice Blocking is, of course, one of the favorite days of the year. We look forward to the chance to play together, to be silly, and get to know the whole community on a new level. During Ice Blocking barriers are broken down, friendships forged and a community bound together for a year of life and learning.
As we wrap up Detox Week, I am so excited for the upcoming year! This week reminds me of the incredible community that has been brought together, that this is a place where learning looks like life. That the questions this year will be as important as the answers.
Thank you for being a part of Team Anastasis!


|Kelly Tenkely|

Breaking Bread and Learning as Life

|Kelly Tenkely|


Anastasis students gets some truly incredible learning experiences. Our students have served at The Crossing Denver Rescue Mission throughout the year and we’ve built a relationship with some of the chaplains who serve and homeless being served by the programs at the Crossing. This week instead of our students making the journey downtown, they came to us. What an awesome thing for those who our kids have served to come and serve/minister to us.

Chaplain Danny took his time to come and give our students some insight into what the program at the Crossing looks like from the inside. While our students have served meals and gotten to know some of the staff and residents, they haven’t really had the opportunity to get the inside track about all that the program entails. Accompanying Chaplain Danny were men who are making their way through the program.

Each of the program participants stood up to share their story and background with our students. They all began the same way, “I’m not really a public speaker…I’m a little nervous.”

I’m here to tell you, whether they know it or not, these men ARE public speakers!

The stories they shared were humbling. I think that as kids who only know life in the upper-middle class suburbs, it can be easy to assume that they are far removed from a life of homelessness. As the stories unfolded, the students became more and more aware of just how delicate the balance really is. That they aren’t nearly as far removed as they might have imagined. We heard from men who had good paying jobs who went from a nice house and family to a life of poverty. We heard stories about men who felt depressed and defeated when they lost their job and turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. We heard from former boxer, DC Barker who was a champion, very successful as an athlete, had traveled all over the world and met all kinds of people, had lots of money, and who had a wife he loved more than life. When his wife died, he fell into a downward spiral that included some drug and alcohol abuse to make him forget what he was missing. We heard from a 23 year old who lived a life very similar to the lives that our students have. He was a student with good grades, a high school athlete, popular, friends with everyone, upper-middle class family, parents in the medical profession. As a sophomore in high school everything changed for him. He wanted to be liked and accepted by everyone and as a result fell in with some kids who influenced him in very negative ways. He owned his part in the decisions but told the kids how hard he found it to stand up and say “no” to whatever poor decision was being made. “I wanted to be liked.” This need for acceptance from everyone led to drug and alcohol abuse and time in jail. He was homeless at 18.

The testimonies from these men was powerful, but the real blessing came in sharing a meal with them. In the casual setting, eating together, the conversation flowed. Laughter was shared, stories passed, words of wisdom offered. Something happens when you break bread together. All pretense fades away and suddenly everyone is on equal ground. DC Barker had the kids in stitches as he told boxing stories, places he has traveled, and sandwiches that Elvis taught him to make. Robert passed on words of wisdom he had recently learned, “instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.” 23 year old Michael talked about his upbringing and encouraged the kids to stay focused and pay attention to those that they surround themselves with.

This is learning that looks a lot like life. This kind of learning changes hearts and attitudes toward others. This kind of learning leads to compassion, understanding, relationship and action. I can’t think of a curriculum company around that can teach what our students learned yesterday.


A few words of reflection from students:

I really enjoyed hearing all of their stories, but I think that Michael’s story impacted me the most. The fact that he was a little younger made him easy to relate to. It really got me thinking when he said that all his trouble started when he started hanging out with the wrong group of friends. This has been on my heart a lot lately, especially going into high school. His story really encourages me to be intentional about hanging out with the right kind of people.

After listening to the stories of Robert, Matthew, Michael, DC, and Danny, I feel a strange peace inside of me. I expected them all to feel sorry for themselves and almost complain about their past life. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the discussion. All of them said their stories not with sorrow but almost as if they were talking about a different person, an old them if you will. As DC stated, “the trigger that helped me to go up was my past.” That was really refreshing to hear. Something else that intrigued me was how they were so passionate about their faith. They were constantly relating everything in their life to God. This made their faith look childlike which, in my opinion, is extremely spiritually rewarding. This makes me want my faith to look this way and I know that if I stay focused I, eventually, will.

Student Voice: Hayley

Hayley is a primary student at Anastasis Academy. Today, she shared her view of Anastasis.

Anastasis Voices

Noelle and Hayley


“I like to use the iPad to do my learning so much. What I really like is that we do plants, we get to grow them. That inspired me to grow plants at home. Now, instead of doing a lemonade stand in the summer, I’m going to do a plant sale.

The work [at Anastasis] is fun. It’s never boring here. I like that when we do things I have choices to do it. We don’t do the two sided worksheets and that’s all. We get to do learning all different ways. I like how we do math here because I actually understand it. It helps me be smarter with math.”


Learning happens everywhere #1


The Anastasis Jr. High has been writing and compiling their reflections from the their trip to the Great Sand Dunes, they are too good not to share with everyone!  For the next few days, I’ll be posting all of their reflections.  Enjoy!

|Mrs. Tenkely|

On October 9th, the Anastasis middle school set off on a journey to The Great Sand Dunes. Some were jumping with joy, others not so much. The excitement of having school away from school was great! As we packed the 3 vans, each of us knew something great was going to go down. As you read the responses below you will see 2 things. First, the greatness of God’s power to be able to reach into hearts. Second, the power of community and how nature brings us together as a school. 

          -Caroline F

The Great Sand Dunes:
We were arriving to the Sand Dunes, and as we were turning the corner, there were the most  beautiful Sand Dunes I have ever seen. My breath was taken away and they looked as they were paintings but made from God. When we arrived to the base of the Sand Dunes, we started hiking up to the top. When I reached the top, I felt like I had completed Gods painting, his creation, and that I was unstoppable. 
          -Maddie H
The hike at the Great Sand Dunes was absolutely amazing. I had a blast climbing up  the great sand with my friends. When we got more than halfway, everybody started to slow down including me, but God gave me the strength to push through. When I got to the top, I saw all of the marvels of the world. God loves us enough to give us all his beauty to use and to take care of. I will never forget this trip because of how it impacted me. 
          -Micah D

There I stood at the foot of the dunes. The crystallized sand played with my eyes and the light breeze tugged at my hair. My classmates around me took in the scenery, then eagerly started forward. Crunching underneath our feet, the sand seemed to pull at our shoes and yank us deep into the sand, but we pushed our heals deep into the dirt. Time passed slowly, with the warm, brief, wind blowing here and there, and the crisp fall scent filled our noses. With each dune we approached the more tired we became but quickly encouraged one another to keep moving. When we finally reached the top, a sense of accomplishment filled inside of us, then we gazed at the view. The sky had churned to a brilliant shade of blue, and the crisp fall leaves seemed more vibrant from a distance. At that very moment, God’s love washed over us. It’s hard to describe the feeling exactly. It’s almost as if God gave each one of us a stroke of assurance, that he will always be there for you. It’s a moment I will never forget.

          -Alexis B

Community is something we don’t often think about, though I did think about it on this trip. We were at the campground having fun, roasting marshmallow, playing night football, and climbing trees. It felt like there was no sadness because everyone cared about each other. If someone falls, we help them up. That didn’t come easily. The real bond happened when we climbed up the Great Sand Dunes. Going up the dunes we encouraged each other and the bond happened. When we got to the top, every one was happy. When we got to the camp site, after a small 1/2 mile hike, every one was exhausted. No one was in little groups any more. We were a community.
          -Zac C
Our class went to the tallest dune in north-America it is called, the “star dune.” We also went to a waterfall. I felt like God was with us on this trip. It was amazing to see the beautiful scenery.  When we got to the base of the dunes it looked a lot smaller than it really was, but when we got to the top it looked so much bigger. I think we should get out of our house, get outside, and get a better angle on life. I thought it was nice to have class outside in peace and to get out of city life.
          -Grant M

The day we climbed the Great Sand Dunes, I was tired. I was so worn out that I didn’t think I could make it. When we got to the top, I was amazed with the beauty. I thought about how God made everything surrounding the dunes. Without the help of our Lord, I probably wouldn’t have made it, but I knew God gave me the strength to climb that mountain.

          -Braden H
We climb together, hoping the top is near.
The sand gets hotter, our hopes get smaller, and our bodies weigh us down.
We encourage and help each other; no one is left behind.
We work together and we strive together, As a community.
We trudge onward, hoping the reward is near. 
And it is; Our work has paid off.
Sitting at the top of that dune, literally jaw-dropped;
and the Creator’s beauty is ours to adore.
          -Kaylee W

On the day of the sand dunes hike, I thought to myself, great another hike that I am going to hate and probably complain about the whole way. When we got there, I was amazed at what God had made for us to enjoy and to take pleasure in. When we were hiking, I was just hanging out with my friends. I had this sudden urge to climb to the top first. I believe that God gave me the will to push on. I have this Huge fear of heights, and I did not even think about it the whole time. I really saw in the hike that, “You can do all things in Christ who gives you strength”. PHILIPPIANS 4:13

          -Blake J

My trip was challenging through physical and emotional pains. From the physical pains of climbing up the Great Sand Dunes to the emotional part of I can’t do this I want to go home. When I got to the top I was proud of myself, and if I knew how hard it was I probably would have still come. Mr. Fink and Mr. A, I think were trying to teach us a lesson of, no matter how hard life can be if you don’t give up there is an amazing view at the top. That is how I felt through the climbing of the Great Sand Dunes.

           -Kelsey F
When we were heading to the waterfall hike, I looked back at the Great Sand Dunes and it looked easy to climb, but it was not easy at all. This is like faith. When you let God in your heart, it’s easy at first, but then as you get older it gets harder. When we were climbing the dune it’s go harder and harder. Even when life gets hard, keep trying hard and God will help you
          -Ben L


Anastasis Academy: Day of Play Cardboard Challenge

Maybe you have heard of Caine’s Arcade?  It is a little movement, started by an 8-year-old.  This video will restore your faith in humanity and inspire you big time!  It inspired us at Anastasis Academy, so much so that when the second video came out, inviting us to a Day of Play, we were all in.

On Friday, Anastasis held our own Day of Play.  We collected boxes (lots and lots of boxes), tape, markers, pipe cleaners, glue, aluminum foil, rubber bands, tubes, scissors and paper.  Then, we let the kids at it.  There were no parameters, no specific rules or directions.  The goal for our students was to dream as big as they could. It is amazing what happens when you invite kids to dream and build apart from any rules or expectations of what the end goal is.  Our students (k-8) gathered in our big “all in” room and built to their heart’s content.  The amazing part: no two ideas were the same.  We had plink-o, a fortune-teller, a minecraft adventure, a time machine (complete with crystal), ski ball, tilt the ball, an old-school computer made of new parts, a hotdog/snow cone stand, dance dance revolution, ferris wheel, tanks, and a mechanical bull.  You read correctly, a mechanical bull.

The students spent about 3 hours dreaming and building.  Some had plans they created the day before, others came in with a blank slate.  After all of the building (and a break for lunch) we gathered to play each others games.  It was SO much fun!  Students even created their own prizes that could be won (mustaches and uni-brows anyone?).

The casual observer might have watched this all go down and seen chaos or a waste of time.  A closer look would have revealed the rich learning taking place.  The problem solving, critical thinking, discovery, planning, rich conversations, kids working together, designing, creativity.  Have you ever seen those words describe a worksheet? A lecture?  This was such a RICH learning experience in so many ways.  Best of all: it built and fostered a culture of working together, learning from each other and enjoying each other.  That is no small feat.

I saw genius today. I am SO proud of these kids, they truly are geniuses.  Two of our students (different classes and ages) built a tank together.  The tank shot rubber bands and launched a “cannon” water bottle.  These boys decided that the rubber band shooter and cannon should have a “safety” just in case something slipped so that they wouldn’t accidentally shoot anything.  The way they worked this out was truly brilliant.  The cannon water bottle was held in place by a popsicle stick safety.  The rubber band shooter was attached to pipe cleaner that kept the rubber band from releasing unless the safety was off.

Our youngest kids built and manned a hotdog/snow cone stand.  My favorite part of the stand was the signs that they created for it.  One of the signs read “Snow cones choose a color: limeade, raspberry, blueberry, grape.”  I love that it said choose a color, not choose a flavor.  SO stinking cute!

A dance-loving student created the cardboard version of dance, dance revolution.  She created a dance mat with different colors on it.  Then, she climbed behind her box and flashed construction paper colors. When the color showed up, the player had to step on the matching color on the mat.  Periodically, she would hold up signs that said things like, “you are on fire” or “fail”.  Brilliant!

Check out our Day of Play below:

Student Centered Classrooms

In education, you hear a lot about Student Centered Classrooms, this phrase is among the right buzz words to say these days. To be clear, the concept is a good one if comparing classrooms where the teacher is merely the distributor of information to a classroom where the process and art of apprentice, journeyman and eventually a master craftsperson of learning is occurring.

Two questions come to mind with the concept of Student Centered Classrooms. The first has to do with the classroom part and the second the student centered part.

By saying classroom, are we automatically implying that an education occurs in classrooms as in a defined space? All of history tells us this is simply incomplete. Without meaning to, are we telling students learning occurs in a school classroom only? What about in the home, on the field, riding the bus or playing with the water hose? The classroom wording might be a bit limiting.

The student centered implication is possibly even more loaded. Should the learning in the classroom (of life) be limited to the students?  Maybe our need for more professional development is a result of our failure to learn in the context of life? Or, maybe the content we are teaching is devoid of the context? Learning content without context is theory, or so it seems to a developing mind. It makes sense to let the students tell you what they need, but what about teachers who are able to identify what learning needs to occur for them?

I wonder if we develop a mindset that is closer to reality, we all start learning when we are born and stop when we die, would we bring an end to the idea of a student centered classroom all together? It would certainly change how we define student, and classroom. If we were developing contributing citizens now, rather than at some point following higher education in the future, would we be better at taking care of each other?

Comfort as a Result of Destruction

As you know, we do things a bit different at Anastasis Academy. For years, I have listened to people say Revelation is too complex, loaded and graphic for children.  While I wouldn’t completely disagree, I have always believed God’s Word is capable of changing us, all of us, regardless of our age. So we decided to read through Revelation together at school.
The students listened intently each morning in devotion as we worked our way through the pages of John’s Revelation. We discussed metaphors, characters, details, the literary genius and our view of God grew with each chapter. Often I was taken back by the insight and wisdom of our students. God’s Word was working in their minds and hearts.
One of my favorite passages in all of Scripture is Revelation 19.  The description of Christ and the details of the event sends chills down my spine each time I read it. The historical struggle between Truth and disobedience come to a stand off. God is done with the destruction of wickedness and it’s influence on his Creation. We read this passage on the last day of school during our devotion time.
As I read the verses, we allowed the story to paint a picture for us.  The attendants of heaven, all dressed in white, stand along side the Rider on the white horse who has come to make war against the evil rulers of the earth. In a moment, a sword comes out of the mouth of the Rider and destroys the wicked rulers of the earth.  In the details, birds are invited to come and gorge themselves on the flesh of the dead.
This was heavy for us. Even amid our highly uncensored culture, the details of this Revelation are hard to wrap our heads around. I asked the students what they thought of the passage. With solemn faces, some mentioned the sadness, some taked about the realities of war, some even mentioned the blood shed.
“Kaylee, what do you think” I said.
“Well, I think it’s comforting. The Jesus that destroys the evil rulers is the Jesus we all serve. It’s comforting to know he is in control.”
Wisdom comes from God, it shows up in young and old alike.  It’s true, there is comfort in knowing that with a word, the Rider is able to destroy evil and it’s power.  Even the army of heaven, all dressed in white, was not needed. The story gives no indication of them even moving from their position.  With a word, it’s finished and birds come to fill their bellies with the flesh of the once powerful, evil rulers.

Herd Mentality

I’m told one of our Change Makers (a.k.a.-teachers) had a great discussion with our Jr. High students today. I wasn’t there for the discussion, but overheard a few comments. The phrase herd mentality was mentioned.

The phrase brought a number of memories to mind, in fact, it made a smile come to my face. We chased chickens when I was young, got run over by relocating flocks of sheep, and moved many cattle from pasture to pasture among many other herd-type situations. I can’t count the number of minutes, that surely add up to days, we spent chasing a band of horses who didn’t want to be caught.

We once visited the Navajo Nation when I was a student teacher. A Navajo teacher told a riddle, he called it a math problem.

If you have 10 sheep on the top of the hill and 4 leave, how many do you have left?

The answer is not 6, it’s neither 5… or 7 (if your math is off some). The Navajo didn’t give the answer, he just smiled.  It was his way of being able to tell who he was dealing with.  The answer is… 0.

All these memories serve as a reminder of what herd mentality looks like. If one animal does it, the rest do it.  In fact, this instinct can be tied so deeply, it can lead an animal to its death. Many buffalo have run off of a cliff following the animal in front of them.

It turns out that the buffalo are not the only ones to make this mistake.  You don’t have to look around very long to see the herd patterns you’re in.  Watch for monotony, it’s a good indicator of herd pattern. We often do what is being done as modeled by someone else.

It seems that Christians are particularly good at herd patterns.  It’s often hard to distinguish the blurred lines of timeless Christian faith and American Christian culture.  To make it worse, if you step outside of the herd patterns, it is almost guaranteed that someone will doubt your salvation.

Questions are one way to check herd boundaries. In Christian culture, questions seem to take a back seat to answers.  How did we arrive at this equation?

Questions = Doubt = Lack of Faith

You know what can be found outside the herd, or flock, or gaggle? [A pause while you look up gaggle?] Freedom, and life, and creativity, and new possibilities, and greener pastures, and a whole array of other wonderful assets. One could argue that you can find these within the herd- and what about safety?  True, but when’s the last time freedom felt new?

I’m not sure what the Jr. High specifically talked about today, but I’m glad they did. I hope our students wander into the big, wonderful world with eyes wide open. I pray they will be able to discern the herd patterns and look for opportunities to lead rather than follow all the time. Our students will be Change Makers because we are introducing them to the possibility of such.

I secretly chuckle inside when someone refers to Jesus’ words about us being a flock of sheep like it’s some flattering reference. It seems Jesus called us a flock for many reasons, most are not complimentary. The focus in the metaphor is who Jesus is as Shepherd, why would it be flattering to be referred to as a sheep?

Do it Again…

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, Ch. 4