Frankenstein Reflections #commentsforkids

Last week, Anastasis students finished reading Frankenstein and visited the Denver Center of Performing Arts to see the play. Below are some of their reflections.

We are all monsters underneath our bright and shiny flesh. When that monster is locked up, we can find love. When he is roaming free, all we know is hate. My monster struggles with hate, fear, and kindness. We can’t control the monster, the monster controls us. That monster is not a creature because of the hate that he contains in its cold hard heart. The monster has a heart, but it is frozen; paralyzed. Our monster knows us better than we do. That monster is the devil. No matter how perfect we may think we are, there is always something hidding, something buried that the devil is telling our hearts.    –Mak

Love can be like a wave, some days you love more than other days. How can we love when we are always the first to judge others by their apperance? I have times where I judge others by their apperance even though, I know it’s not right. I need to be aware and love on others. Why do we make fun of people who are different than us, when really we only see the 10% of them. Instead we should get to know their epic and love on one another. In Frankenstein all the creature ever wanted was to have someone love him. Even though he looked different than what society “normally” sees. “I am what Frankenstein and the world has made me.” (Shelley 73) One drop in the ocean can change the patterns in the water just like, people around us reflect and shape who we are. Lets reach out and put love into action. We all have love, even the creature that Frankenstein created had love, we just need to uncover where it is and release it into the world.    –Maddie 

I scrunch my face in digust because my eyes only latch upon the flesh. When the only thing my eyes have learned to feast upon is the cover of a book I miss out on beautiful story inside. My eyes have decieved me so I view people as monsters yet they are only creatures. They mean no harm. I learned that sometimes we must become blind to hear the heart. I seek beauty yet I act like a beast. I cast out others making them feel unloved, unwanted, and of no purpose. Yet sometimes I have felt as an outcast myself. A longing for contribution dwells within so when we are thrown out of society we become clueless we become consumed by fear. We are made to be in fellowship and we are made to love and be loved. I feel comfort when I am loved so I try contain it to myself. The world constantly tells me that if I’m comfortable there’s no point in leaving that state. I have learned that sometimes the hardest thing to do is love, but when we do… love becomes our hope for change. I must break from what my eyes want me to see. I must not see only from my eyes, but also from my heart.  –Macie

Love is the one gift that God has given us that can never be changed or taken away. Love is forever and hate is brief. All the creature wanted was to love someone, and for someone to love him in return. Our souls are not complete without love. The good news for us is that we are already so filled with love. The love from God will keep our souls healthy and living. “My heart is bad and black because of you Frankenstein, because you killed my only change at love”(The creature). Frankenstein, the play, was a show that I will never forget. It showed that our world cares so much of what others apprencence is that we don’t even look at what their true colors are. Then the more we neglect people the more their colors become duller and duller. Then once we start loving them and showing them what we were meant to do the colors will be reborn. We all need to be more aware of the one’s that feel unloved, the ones feel like an outsider. We were made to spread love in until the day our love becomes our final personal legend. –Angelina

Fear stops me at the surface, revenge is in my blood, pride corrupts me, I crave to be loved, I am Frankenstein, I am the creature. Humans are sinful creatures, some seen as monsters. There is no difference between Victor and his creation. Humans are both of them. I am both of them. When I feel like an outcast I mask my personality to fit in, I feel like a creature amongst the crowd of ‘normal’, so I change myself and become someone else. I drive past the homeless man on the corner of the street or the disabled person that looks different, yet I don’t have context, I don’t know what an amazing human they are and I won’t know because I just pass them. I desperately hate being the outcast, yet I glue them to that position. Why? Is it fear? Is it pride? Fear and pride pull me and I try, I really do try, to stick my heals in the ground and fight against them, but sometimes they succeed in dragging me away. When pride chokes me and slips into my mind I stop, I become someone God didn’t create me to be, I seek revenge against others, not for victory, but for my pride, my ego. ““I did it for science”“No, you did it for pride.”” (Frankenstein Play). We do things not even for accomplishing it, but for pride.  When fear tangles me in it depths I’m lost and I don’t fight back. We all create our own reality though. I do not have to fear, I do not have to seek pride, I do not have to ignore others, yet it’s so easy and “it’s what everyone else does”. I have a chance to take the other path, the path where God frees me. Then, I will look beneath the surface, I do not have to take revenge, I do not have to fear, and I am loved. I seek community, so often it’s there next to me, but my eyes are looking straight ahead. I must look to my side and be at the sides of others.  –Megan

Advent writings by Anastasis Jr. High

Team Fink reflections and writings about Advent


My eyes open yet I see pitch black,
My feet are planted yet my muscles never move.
You are holding my hand yet you never let go.
I tell you, “run” yet your hand squeezes harder.
I am left here in the dark with no hope in sight,
You stay with me even if you could take flight.
Love pushes every boundary I ever set,
Feet planted, eyes blinded,
You shield me from death.
My eyes do not seek you because your touch is the only thing I’ve ever felt.
Love pushes every boundary I ever set.
I crave your hopeful touch yet we never met.

Another day another dawn
Running from dawn to dusk
Is this really the end?
Trying to follow the movies’ trend?
Lonely another dawn, another day
Here I lay, on a stone
Our favorite spot everyday
The tragedy, for you and me
Under the moon I say
I will see you another day

“Love is when two people dress up, put on nice clothes, perfume, and smell each other.”
“Love is when a boy sees a hot girl, goes to talk to her, but he gets all nervous and sweaty.”
“Love is how women bring men to their knees.”
“Love is physical relationship.”
“Love is an abusive relationship.”
“Love is mindless”
“I love you mom”
That really doesn’t sound right. It’s the same word. Does it mean the same thing? Be genuine. Love is a word that’s used improperly more than any other. It should be a word of deep meaning. Instead it’s a simple description. Christmas time is a holiday about love. The roots of it all. The true meaning. Show that love during Christmas.

I provide you with a pinch of laughter when you are feeling down
I give you a smile when all you can do is frown
I am not temporary, but I stay in your heart forever
I bring community
I bind people together
You all have me in your heart somewhere…
Just dig deeper and you will find me there
I am like a fire
I thaw your heart and sustain your glow
Don’t hide me, but let me show
I can be in the dark but light up a room
Remember I am not found in what you consume
Listen to me, I am not here to annoy
Listen to me because I am joy

Here… I am standing here, wondering the worth of my life. I can’t seem to think, my head is a mess and my pants are a little too tight. It’s Christmas Eve, I’m in a store but everything doesn’t just feel that right. One girl, one boy taking things off the racks thinking of it as nothing more than a toy. So let me ask you is this what fills our hearts with joy.

Joy does not simply happen to us, we have to choose joy and keep choosing it everyday. Think of day without smiling, laughing, hoping. Without joy we are numb at our hearts. Our minds would be frozen in time. Marianne Williamson says, ” joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good thing really are.” Joy can come from the simplest moments that you would never think of. Joy is not in things, it is in us.

My hands reach out to yours. But the wall between us is not made of breakable glass, but concrete. The wall has words on it. I see Hate and Fear on the wall. I cannot see you anymore. You have faded away. Gun shots. Sharpened knives. I look right and left but it is never-ending. When I look up, I see an eraser. I touch the wall and it crumbles. I see your hands and I hold them until they leave.

Oh my what is this
A wreckage of good bliss?
Not knowing if it’s true or not?
These people don’t seem like they have been taught
Is it my inner corruptedness
Or is it God showing me this
I see riots on the streets
Wondering if we need the navy fleets
I ask God what’s going on?
Without letting another bomb
We don’t know how this started or works
But by using peace we can solve the worst

Why are we always afraid of something? Is that what keeps us from having true peace? What if we had no fear? Is that what keeps us from having true peace? I think in order to have peace we have to have fear. We have to be afraid of something to find the peace in the midst of trouble.

Do not be afraid. Do not have fear. This is peace. Solitude to the soul, serenity in the spirit. This is peace. A calm state; a mysterious, wonderful harmony. Meditation of the mind. Love, joy, and hope through all. This is peace. I stand and the world collapses in front of me. Fear settles in the air and battle is about. I fall, scared, but a light covers my soul. The fear in me escapes, battle ends, and peace wraps me in it’s arms. It is finished. Now there is peace.

Peace is the absence of fear. Serenity, meditation. Our world is run by fear. We are always fearing something. But what if we could always be in peace. Fear is the only thing that we know how to do, but let’s bring peace into our world, let’s flip on that switch.

As I stroll through a snowy forest I look around and see snow trickling down onto the cold frosted ground. I listen to a chilly breeze that makes the snow-capped trees sway, and I hear in the breezy wind God whisper to me and say peace be with my child. I walk and hear the crunch of the half-frozen snow beneath my feet. The truly Serene area that we can find in this world of chaos is truly a time of peace and solitude. I listen one more time and hear nothing but a bird chirp in excitement, I look and see a winter wonderland.

My arms cradle him
This baby boy will free us from sin
He smiles at me so I smile back
Why shall a king be born in a shack
Lying serenely in a box of hay
This baby boy will never stray away
I look at my husband in awe
I see the star the shepherds saw
I give him a hug, a tender embrace
Before King Herod and his men start the chase

As I walk through the darkest valley, I see God everywhere. I see you, God, a light filling a room of darkness. I see you, a drop of water within a fire. I open my heart to you and see you everywhere. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Emmanuel, you are with us in the darkest times.

Do you forget how to pray?
How to be with God all day,
even when you are distracted
by noise, crowd, hurry. Repeat
this word. Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Emmanuel.
God is with us. Emmanuel is a reminder
to the world. That no matter
what God is always with us.
In time of fear Emmanuel
In time of noise Emmanuel
In time of crowd Emmanuel
In time of hurry Emmanuel.
Emmanuel God is with us.

God is with us. He came to save us. He came to free us. Make us new and cleanse us. He wraps us in His tender love. Creates a reason to have joy.  Allows us to have peace and is the reason for hope. Emmanuel. While the world spits evil and doom into our life God brings us light through darkness and whispers, “I am with you.”. The one word that will keep us going. The stronghold and beautiful, incredible Christ. He was, is, and forever will be… Emmanuel. Rejoice he is always with us.

Learning Excursion Reflection: The Great Sand Dunes

Learning Excursion

Our Great Sand Dunes adventure was truly phenomenal!  The students were well behaved, and I was truly impressed with the depth of learning, sharing, playing, and building community.  What a blessing to be at a school that allows this type of learning!

Below are several quotes we shared, analyzed, and responded to the past few days. I hope you enjoy. – Lance
Nature Quotations
I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir (1838–1914)

What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. -Unknown

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. ~Osho

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes. ~e.e. Cummings

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. ~Charles A. Lindbergh

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor, though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich, the thousands of spacious city parks and botanical gardens, and in our magnificent National parks — the Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. — Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. ~John Muir

Student Responses:

Sand  Dunes The  towering  dunes.  The  flowing  stream.  The  loud,  fun  van  rides.  The  awesome  prank.  The  gas  station  stops.  The  falling  tent.  The  warm  fire  with the  star  lit  sky  above.  I’d  say  this  trip  was  one  to  remember.  Friends. Community.  Determination  and  perseverance.  Nature,  solitude,  peace. Sand  Dunes,  had  it  all  for  us.  This  trip  was  amazing.  The  tight  knit community  plus  the  ineffable,  serene  location  was  absolutely  unique  and fantastic.  There  was  so  much  that  we  saw  and  did  there,  but  getting  to  the top  of  high  dune  definitely  was  remarkable.  “Forget  not  that  the  Earth delights  to  feel  your  bare  feet  and  the  winds  long  to  play  with  your hair.”  (Khalil  Gibran)  At  the  top,  the  dunes  felt  as  if  they  went  on  forever. The  winds  would  play  with  us  and  I  realized  how  worth  it  is  to  persevere. The  experience  to  do  this  was  phenomenal  and  I  hope  to  go  to  the  Sand Dunes  again someday, hopefully  with such a great  group. – Megan

This trip was one of my favorites. Some things that I liked were the Sand Dunes. We hiked up the Sand Dune and went sand boarding and sledding that was so much fun. Also the van rides it was fun jamming to music and laughing with friends. We also took a hike up to the waterfall. The waterfall was enviable. While we were up there we had quiet time that was so powerful to me listening to the stream and talking with God. It was fun sitting around the campfire as a community playing games and laughing. Over all I loved this trip hanging out with friends, laughing and being a community.  – Alli

I enjoyed coming on this sand dunes trip for many reasons, you may ask me “Luke what was your favorite part of the sand dunes trip” and you would probably hear an answer like sand boarding. That was my favorite part of the trip, but there was more to it than just that. God spoke to me in many ways on this trip, and seeing his beauty out in nature was incredible. That’s what I enjoyed about our sand dunes excursion. – Luke

I thought that this trip was the best school trip I have ever been on so far. One of my favorite parts were just camping and being with my friends, my other favorite part was playing a prank on the girls and Mr. Fink. I also thought being out in nature helped me reflect, and come to know god better. The sand dunes were amazing as well, the only bad part was that it was super windy and sand got in my eyes, but other than that my trip was amazing. – JP

I had such a fun week in the Sand Dunes. One of my favorite parts was the waterfall, the crashing water splashing on my face. The waterfall was so serene. I like how I can get closer to my friends and class. When we went to the Dunes I felt so accomplished because I went to the highest dune. It was also so fun when I went sand sledding. I crashed but that’s the fun of it. – Lauren

My favorite part about the camping trip, was running around in the forest. I felt like that it was so peaceful at night in there. Just the laughter and nature brings a whole new camping to the trip. It’s like the trees soaked up my worries and stress, and the grass cleaned it off. Stars seemed to be having a great time, shooting across the sky. Nothing that is man built could beat this appearance. No remotes to see this on Tv, no pictures from the past, man built resources that showed it, could still not beat the creation. – Jack

Nature is filling to the soul. The trip to the Sand Dunes was an amazing experience. Camping is refreshing and is an escape from everyday life and business. Hiking to the Sand Dunes was accomplishing. It was hard but the view was worth it it look like a painting of the museum. My favorite part of these trips are the nights. Pranking each other, talking, and getting to know each other are an essential part of these trips and will be memories that I will look back at. These trips help us become one with nature and each other. – Isabella

The trip we took to the sand dunes was remarkable in many different ways. I really enjoyed being out in nature, away from the classroom, experiencing the wilderness. I will never forget those moments in the outdoors, whether it was the view from the highest sand dune, or the canyon waterfall. The moments spent in community were also extremely memorable. I loved being with my friends sandboarding, in a tree, or even in the van ride. It is so awesome that we have the opportunity in our school to go on this amazing trip. Everything we did was super awesome, the Garden of the Gods was gorgeous, the sand dunes were wicked cool, the camping was fun, and the gator farm was epic. Overall it was an incredible learning experience. -Joseph

On this camping trip I felt in nature. There were only a few things we did inside. I felt like God was right with me the whole entire time. My two favorite parts of camping were the sand dunes and the waterfall hike. Reaching the highest sand dune was such a success for me. Seeing almost everything in Colorado was breath taking. I absolutely loved the waterfall hike. When I first walked in the cave and saw it I was amazed! The way the teachers put this trip together was great! I know I got closer to God in nature!  (Samantha )

One of the things that I really liked was the hike up to the waterfall and stream.I really enjoyed the walk up there for me that was the perfect amount of walking. When we got up there you could be one with nature. one thing that stuck out to me was when I got to talk to some of the new kids to the school like JP and Grace. I got to hang out with them some more. I loved stargazing.Where I live you only see ten or fifteen a night was really cool.I really liked hanging out with Ella,Kayleigh, samantha, Makayla and Grace. They always had a happy attitude and were ready to help and serve and they were all so sweet. (Gabby )

My favorite part of the trip was hiking the Sand Dunes! The reason why the Sand Dunes were my favorite part was because I was able to climb the tallest or second tallest Sand Dune. I had a huge open blister on the bottom of my foot but that didn’t stop me from hiking all the way up. Even though it hurt a little I wanted to succeed and I did. While we were hiking up the dunes I was able to hang out with friends and I also meet some new teachers and kids. I loved when the wind was blowing even though the sand hurt sometimes. You could feel the wind playing with your hair. It was phenomenal! I also liked sledding down the sand.  It was so much fun to fall off the sled.  Then I would get back on and sled the rest of the way down. A lot of people were extraordinary at boarding and sledding like Angelina Hogan, Dylan, Samantha and others. (Maddie)

We traveled to a beautiful camp ground where we set up camp… There was something special about it. Oh yeah, we’re right next to the Great Sand Dunes National Park! My goal was to get to the top of the second highest dune in the park. The dune is called High Dune. We rented sand boards and sand sleds to take to the top with us. Some of us went to the top of the dune. It felt really good to be up there except for the sand in my eyes. I felt so accomplished up there looking out to the other HUGE piles of sand. It was a great trip. After we sand sledded down from the dunes, we went on a hike to a great waterfall and took some time to think about how great our God is. He created the mountains that stand strong today. He created all animals that roam around in the grasslands or swim under the water. He made us so we can do all the things we do today. Thanks to Him we can climb to the top of the sand dunes or play sports with others. Also we can have a good time talking and hanging out with our friends. I’m so glad I got to go on this trip. It’s an experience I will never forget.    (Ben)

I thing the best part of the trip was the time we had at the waterfall to just listen. I know we learned that God can talk to us in a whisper or a loud voice, but I did not understand that it could be even smaller then that. I was sitting listening to the waterfall, when I decided to pray to God to ask him for a whisper. I wanted him to tell me something. Now that’s not bad. But when we started to get back together, I got mad because he had not talked to me at all. Then I got madder and madder. When realized that maybe he was not going to talk to me in plain English. Maybe he had tried to talk to me by giving me signs in nature. And I had not understood him because I thought that there was only one right way to hear God and because of that I missed him. My heart was not open enough for him to get in it a way that I would understand. I am sure that he wanted to tell me something, but my heart was not ready to understand it. So he gave me something to grow on and something to learn from so the next time my heart might be ready to hear him in the way he wants.    (Makayla)

The Power of Yet

|Kelly Tenkely|

I used to think that there would be an age where I would suddenly have it all figured out.  A certain age that I would turn and suddenly be “adult” and know exactly how to make investments, and do my job, pay taxes, change a tire, negotiate a deal, what to wear to a “business casual” event, what to say to someone who is hurting. I often observe others and find myself wondering, how do they have it all figured out? You know these people (maybe you are one), those who seem to know what to do and how to fit into any situation. The older that I get, the more I recognize that none of us really has it ALL figured out.

We are all in process.

There is freedom that comes with that realization and I find myself wondering how different the future would be for kids if they understood the power of yet.

We don’t know it…yet.
We haven’t mastered it…yet.

Yet is a powerful word. It allows for failure and mistakes, but it is a mistake with a promise. We will get better. It will become easier.

If kids recognize this as part of the learning process, failure doesn’t feel like an endpoint. It becomes part of the “yet” process.

Yet is a wonderful place to be. It is where possibility exists. It is where we find flow. It is the place learning happens. We shouldn’t be afraid of yet, but instead look at the hopeful optimism driven by yet.

So, when a child struggles, it isn’t because they can’t, but because they haven’t mastered it…yet.

At Anastasis we’re are declaring the last semester of school the “semester of yet.” We will challenge kids to think about what they will do to move their “yet” forward. How will they keep their “yet” from laying dormant or becoming stagnant?

Over the spring break, I’ve read two incredible books (both very much recommended): A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and the smartest kids in the world by Amanda Ripley
Both books emphasize the importance of this idea of yet. Both books note the power of questioning to move that yet forward. Anastasis is a school powered by questions. The more I engage in the art of questioning, the more I recognize the importance of being a questioner. Questioning isn’t taught at most schools, nor is it rewarded (only the memorized answers are). There is an enormous amount of research that shows just how important the ability to question [well] is. “Questions are the engines of intellect-cerebral machines that convert curiosity into controlled inquiry.” – David Hackett Fischer
Paul Harris, a child psychologist at Harvard, notes that children ask on average 40,000 questions between the ages of 2 to 5. These questions lead to a quadrillion connections (synapses) in the brain. This is more than 3 times the number of connections in the adult brain. Harris speculates that this decline is related to the decline of asking questions. Of recognizing the power of yet. Too often we begin to think of ourselves as experts. When you are an expert you stop thinking because you already know. Those who believe in yet know that there are always more questions, new angles and lenses to think about.

What makes Anastasis teachers unique among educators, is their understanding of the power of yet. They believe (with good reason) that your children are capable beyond a set of standards. They see genius in the yet.

As we enter into the last semester of the year, may you recognize the power of yet. It is what keeps us going as scientists, inventors, writers, artists, mathematicians, geographers, historians, and change makers. If you notice your kids running out of steam (it’s too hard, the expectation is too much, “I can’t”), remind them of the power of yet!

This year I’ve been reminded again and again by “experts” in education, parents, and visitors to Anastasis just how revolutionary what we do with your kids is. This is the school teachers dream of, reformers wish they could duplicate, and parents stretch to afford. Thank you for being such an enormous part of what makes Anastasis the amazing place that it is. We couldn’t do what we do without your support! As a school, we too continue to live in the power of yet.

Bring Me the Sunset- Student poem

Bring Me The Sunset
Morning Pages #48

By Katie Anderson

Bring me the sunset in a cup,
Fill it with pinks and oranges until it’s filled up.
Serve me a full moon onto a nice plate.
Some constellations on the side sure would be great.
Give me rain and snow into a bowl,
Some thunderclouds and lightning wouldn’t be dull.
I want rainbows and sunshine in my spoon,
Next to my fork with a little room.
These days come with weather, good and bad,
They can make you happy or drive you mad.
But at this moment, my life’s at halftime,
After all you always get rain before sunshine.

Reflections from a Pilgrimage by Team Fink

After a phenomenal discussion on our 2nd religious pilgrimage, I asked the students to write a succinct one to two sentence take away from our outing(s).  I thought it might be interesting for you to read.

Pilgrimage #2 takeaway: (Buddhist and Hindu Temple)

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

Religious are wonderfully different.

By knowing more you’re seeing more.

I don’t know how it’s going to work and how I’m gonna get there, but what I believe I know, that’s faith and through God and faith I’m gonna get to where I need to be.

We may have different beliefs or practice different religions, but still we are all people and human.

By knowing more about other religions you become closer with other people.

The more we don’t know about someone, the more we dehumanize them.

Discipline can draw us closer.

Religion is yet a great way to get closer to spiritual realm and can live life in peace and love and giving to others. At the same time Religion is like a war, a battle within.

The absence of knowledge is fear.

We have different beliefs, yet we are all human.

Differences can be beautiful.

A few other quotes we have been discussing:

“What if, instead of casting ourselves as people who can explain God to others, we viewed our lives as a void into which God speaks?”  –Selmanovich

“Religion is not the pearl, but the shell that holds the pearl.”   –Samir Selmanovich

“The human heart is an idol-making factory.” — John Calvin

“God rid me of God”.  –Meister Eckhart


This time of year brings with it reflection. Moments to slow down and think about the year that is quickly retreating. 2014 brought with it moments of great joy and also moments that felt like the end of an era. More than anything, 2014 has felt like a defining year for Anastasis. The year that we began to settle into who we really are. In a lot of ways, this year has been a “We Choose the Moon” kind of a year. We’ve built an incredible community together including regular Family Worship nights, a Fall-a-bration, prayer group, book club, garden club, and a Devoted Dads group. We’ve reached far beyond ourselves and your kids are making an impact on the wider community around us with trips to Someren Glen, SAME Cafe, and Grant Street Soup Kitchen (just to name a few). We’ve transformed education and learning making kids the most important thing and teaching them to see the world differently. We’ve encouraged questions, discovery, and critical thinking. It has truly been a remarkable year!

Thank you for the many ways that you’ve supported us! I cannot tell you how refreshing and awe-inspiring it is to see the body of Christ do life together, support each other, and reach beyond itself.

I’m excited to discover what 2015 will bring! In February, we are hosting our first Education Conference ( We are eager to transform education for all kids by introducing educators from around the country to the Anastasis methods of teaching and learning. In the spring, we have a group of families spending Holy week in Guatemala. Of course, 2015 will still include all of the wonderful things you’ve come to associate with Anastasis. Field trips, service opportunities, family worship, and LOTS of learning!

As we close 2014, and you consider year-end giving, I want to remind you of just how far-reaching your donation to Anastasis is. Not only do you impact our community of learners, but you also impact the wider Denver area that we serve. If you would like to donate to Anastasis, there are a few options (one new option!!):

1. Donate cash/check by sending it (dated 2014 if you would like it to apply to this year) to Anastasis Academy 6495 S Colorado Blvd. Centennial, CO 80121.
2.  Donate online using PayPal (Go to and donate to or go to and click on the “Donate” button at the bottom of the screen. Through December 31st, PayPal will add an additional 1% to your donation.
**3. Brand new this year, you can now donate stocks/bonds/mutual funds to Anastasis! If you are interested in this option, please contact Kelly via email before December 31st.

Charitable giving that reaches further

If you’re like me, you often talk to friends and families about what happens at Anastasis. Many choose arbitrary charities to donate for year-end-giving. Please let friends and families know that Anastasis giving is charitable giving! Need help spreading the word? I’m attaching a pdf about Anastasis that you can share with family and friends.

Wishing you a wonderful end to 2014 and a joyful start to 2015! We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

Dreaming about coordinate planes: a moment of Anastasis Academy

|Kelly Tenkely|

You know that education is the right vocation when you dream up lesson plans. The other night, I dreamed about teaching coordinate planes and y=mx+b to @dweissmo’s class. This was my favorite equation in math to learn because it feels a little bit playful, like a treasure hunt. Yesterday morning I described this dreamed up lesson to @dweissmo, a teacher at Anastasis who has been preparing for this learning with her kids. “D you want to teach it as a guest teacher today?” Naturally I jumped at the chance. I don’t often get to just be with the kids in a teacher role and I miss it.

While the kids were on a field trip, I went to our back parking lot and drew a huge coordinate plane with chalk. Two things I learned: 1. I need to beef up my workout plan, squatting down to draw it out was an intense workout (more than it should have been!)  2. I would be absolutely terrible as a street-line painter. My lines aren’t even a little bit straight. Happily, the kids were kind enough to overlook this.

Anastasis Coordinate plane

I wanted to start by helping the kids remember how to graph coordinate points in (x,y) format before we got rolling with y=mx+b. I found this fun legend (thanks to Pinterest) about the coordinate plane and Rene Descartes. Rene Descartes revolutionized mathematics in the 17th century with the invention of Cartesian coordinates. He is noted as one of the first to find a systematic link between Euclidean geometry and algebra. According to the legend, this line of thinking began for Descartes when he was a child. He was a sickly child and spent half of every day laying in bed with lots of time to ponder. One day, he was watching a fly buzz around his ceiling and occasionally landing on the ceiling. Descartes wondered how he could mathematically describe to someone exactly where the fly was on his ceiling. This line of wondering led to the invention of the Cartesian coordinates.
I’m not sure how much of the story part is true and how much is legend, but flies that teach math is a pretty great way to hook kid’s curiosity and reveal how even the “mundane” can lead to incredible discoveries. I love stories of indulged curiosity and wondering that leads to something important!
I handed out pictures of flies to all of the students and asked why they thought I gave them pictures of flies. On the back of the flies were (x,y) coordinates. Many correctly guessed that their might be some link between the coordinates and the flies. I relayed the story about Descartes and then we set out, flies in hand, to our giant outdoor coordinate plane.

I asked students to stand on the coordinate that was listed on the back of their fly pictures. Without looking at what their papers said, I told them which coordinate they were standing on and asked if it matched their paper. This was a great, quick whole-class assessment where I could determine how much students remembered about coordinates. There were only a few who mixed up the order of their coordinates, and when they realized that I said something differently than what was on their paper, they were able to quickly make adjustments and self-correct.

My next goal was to teach the concept of slope as rise over run. (This was the hardest for me to remember when I first learned y=mx+b. I was constantly second guessing myself because when you list coordinates it is (x,y) but when you plot slope, it is y first and then x.) To help the kids remember this we played a little game on our giant coordinate. I had the students choose any spot they wanted on the coordinate plane. Then I I informed them that they had to move in a direction based on what I called out. When I called out “rise,” they could move up or down the y-axis. When I called out “run,” they could move left or right along the x-axis. Then, just for fun, I would call out a student who was “it”. They had to move in either a rise or run based on what I said while avoiding getting tagged. Each time a student got tagged, they joined me on the sidelines and got to choose the next person who was “it.” When I was sure that the kids had a pretty good understanding of rise vs. run, we moved onto the next portion of learning.

Anastasis: learning rise vs. run

y= mx+b When the kids first saw this linear equation I know that some of them were feeling overwhelmed. We broke it down into pieces. They already knew what “x” and “y” represented, points on the coordinate plane. That left “m” and “b”. Because we had just done the rise/run activity, I revealed that they actually knew what M stood for, slope. I demonstrated how students would move along the giant coordinate plane based on the value of “m.” They caught onto this idea really quickly! The last piece to tackle was the “b.” In my mind, “b” was always like a starting point. Like the beginning of the treasure hunt. We talked about it always being a value on the y-axis. I had written out lots of little “b=___” and “m= ____” on paint chips. One student would choose a “b” value and another would choose an “m”. The “b” would find the y-intercept and stand on the point of intersection. The “m” would find x and y points based on the rise/run and place other students on those points to create their line. We did this about 6 or 7 times before the wind got to be too much and drove us inside (spring in Colorado!).

Anastasis: Life size coordinate plane

Inside, students created a flip book for the y=mx+b equation so that they could refer back to it later. We taped two paint chips together and cut along the separate lines. On the top layer, the kids wrote out the equation. On the bottom layer, the kids wrote out notes to themselves about what each part of the equation represented.

y=mx+b paint chip  y=mx+b notes

The kids practiced choosing an “m” and a “b” paint chip and graphing based on the directions. As they went, they recorded the coordinates they discovered on a separate “x,y” paint chip.

Thanks Team Weissman for letting me live out my dreams!

Today the kids started to play with our new Sphero Robots. I can’t wait to see how they continue their learning using this awesome robot technology.

Names Matter: Remember Sandy Hook

|Kelly Tenkely|
April 20, 1999 is a day I will never forget. At 11:40am I was sitting in my Algebra 2 class at Chatfield High School in Littleton. A girl frantically interrupted our class to let us know that we were in lock down. There was a shooting in progress at Columbine High School.  It was the second year that we had cable in the classroom so we turned on the news to connect us to the outside world (this occurred before the time when cellphones were ubiquitous). On the screen we watched tragedy unfold. Our sports rivals, neighbors, friends were pouring out of the building. Tears. Chaos. Heartbreak.

We were released early from school. Then came the waiting, the praying. We waited for long hours to hear from friends and loved ones. We kept lists to help us keep track of those who had been heard from. Names accounted for, assurance of safety.

And then came the other list and the prayer changed. We didn’t want to hear those names. Those who didn’t make it out of the building. Those whose lives were taken. Hearing those names was heart breaking, they weren’t just names, they were stories. Each name represented a life lived full of laughter, tears, successes and failures. Humanity.

Names are important. In the Bible, names have a special significance because they tell part of the story. Names were very intentionally given based on characteristics. Sometimes those names were changed, like when Saul became Paul on the road to Damascus. The change of name was an indicator of a new story to be told, a conversion.

On December 14, 2012 we heard the awful message that Newtown, Connecticut was in crisis. That tragedy had come again, this time to an elementary school, Sandy Hook. Heartbreak. 26 names. 26 stories.
We’ve talked a lot about names at Anastasis. The significance of a name. The story we want our name to represent. The way that just saying a name can be like a prayer. God knows the story behind each name.

Today, Team Anastasis read the 26 names of Sandy Hook. A prayer for each life connected to those that were lost. The heartbreak will feel fresh every year for those that lost someone dear. The brokenness of humanity raw. You, dear friends, are never alone, never without Hope. Seek the light. Remind yourselves daily that amidst the brokenness we walk on holy ground. God has been here. He knows the brokenness, the heartbreak. He has brought redemption and light. Live in this reality. God is for you. May you rest in His goodness, His redemption, His reconciliation.


-Charlotte Bacon
– Daniel Barden
– Rachel Davino
– Olivia Engel
– Josephine Gay
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene
– Dylan Hockley
– Dawn Hochsprung
– Madeleine F. Hsu
– Catherine V. Hubbard
– Chase Kowalski
– Jesse Lewis
– James Mattioli
– Grace McDonnell
– Anne Marie Murphy
– Emilie Parker
– Jack Pinto
– Noah Pozner
– Caroline Previdi
– Jessica Rekos
– Avielle Richman
– Lauren Rousseau
– Mary Sherlach
– Victoria Soto
– Benjamin Wheeler
– Allison N. Wyatt