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All School Project: A St. Malachy School Tradition

In 1995 St. Malachy teachers sought to enhance students’ educational experience with a unique and interesting approach to learning; and the annual All School Project (ASP) was the result of their creative innovation. More than twenty years later, the All School Project is still one of the most excitedly anticipated activities each year.

All School Projects differ from traditional classroom instruction in that the entire student body participates together in the day’s activities. All students, grades, K-6, are divided into multi-aged groups led by a sixth grader. Serving as All School Project leaders is one of the highlights of the sixth grade year at St. Malachy, allowing for growth and development of communication skills and leadership qualities. Each group travels to multiple stations throughout the day where teachers have prepared lessons, hands-on activities, crafts, and often food to help bring the year’s theme to life.



"Unlock the Treasures of Reading"

All School Project dates:

Our first All School Project day of the year centered around the Bible.




"God's Gift of Creation"

All School Project activities for this year center on God's magnificent creation. Students will explore many interesting topics including the climate and landscape of different biomes, animal and plant adaptations, and all types of creatures.

Our first All School Project Day of the year fell on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, named the patron saint of ecologists due to his boundless love for animals and the environment. Mrs. Kanke, former St. Malachy School fourth grade teacher, kicked off the day with an all school assembly about St. Francis including items from her recent trip to Assisi, Italy. Other stations throughout the day included a fun fishy craft, an animal adaptations quiz show, and presentations about oceans and lakes.

  Click here to try the 
Animal Adaptations Quiz!




"Vocations: Answering God's Call"

This year's All School Project focuses on the importance of listening to and answering God's call to direct our lives and lead us to help grow His kingdom. We will focus on the vocations of religious life including the call to the priesthood, religious orders, or diaconate; married life and single life; as well as learning to be open to God's direction for our own lives.

The last All School Project day of the year focused on Mary's "Yes" to God to be the mother of His Son, Jesus. Gathering outside on a beautiful Spring day, St. Malachy School students, faculty, staff and guests prayed a living rosary led by the third grade class.

Students put their knowledge of Mary to the test playing Mary Jeopardy!

In a craft station students assembled giant flowers for the procession before the living rosary. The colorful blooms blowing in the breeze were the perfect decoration around the statue of the Blessed Mother.

Beginning the day with a Vocations Panel gave students the opportunity to hear how God called various people to the single life, marriage and to consider a religious life. Thank you to our speakers, Sara Muchowski, Gregg & Marcia Swanson, Bob & Shauna Thoene, and Mrs. Bev Goethals.

Stations during the day included inspirational video clips focusing on how we are all called to follow Jesus and "Glorify the Lord by the Way We Live Our Lives," learning a dance to Matthew West's "Do Something," and an art activity relating to how we can "Grow Closer to God Piece by Piece."



Father Freehill, chaplain at Alleman High School and Augustana College, joined St. Malachy School for the day. After celebrating Mass, he shared his personal story of being called to the priesthood and his formation in the seminary. Blindfolding student volunteers, Father Freehill demonstrated how challenging it can be to recognize God's voice in our lives; however, if we have a relationship with Him we can hear Him more clearly and allow Him to lead us.


In our group activities for the day we focused on our responsibility to be evangelists, sharing the Good News of salvation in our daily lives through our words and actions. In the first grade classroom with  Mrs. Goethals and Mrs. Roemer, students learned how Johnny Appleseed planted apple trees as he traveled the countryside, Bible in hand, spreading God's word to whomever he met. Each student shared a message of God's love as they colored and wrote Christmas cards that to be delivered to residents of local nursing homes. Stamping red paint with halved apples, each student created a roll of homemade wrapping paper with Mrs. Kanke and Mrs. Haars in the Art room. Everyone got cooking with Mrs. Hofer, Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Vandemore assembling apple crisp which the whole school enjoyed at the end of the day while watching a movie about Johnny Appleseed.




"For the Love of Math"

St. Malachy School recognizes the importance of a strong foundation in mathematic concepts and computation skills. Students are expected to be "fluent" in math just as they are expected to read fluently. New multimedia math textbooks introduced in classrooms this year inspired the teachers to focus on math for this year's All School Project.

St. Malachy Store: Counting Money & Making Change with Mrs. Nelson & Mrs. Wilson

Identifying and counting money and counting back change are important life skills that can only be developed with practice. Students visited the St. Malachy Store in the Spanish room and had the opportunity to purchase a variety of items using pretend money. Sixth graders served as cashiers calculating shoppers' totals and counting back change.



Active Math with Mrs. Hofer & Mrs. Palmer

Students ran, jumped, hopped and raced to practice skip counting and other math skills!


Counting with Cookies: Edible Math with Mrs. Goethals & Mrs. Svitak

Students really got a taste for math in the Kindergarten classroom where they listened to a story about Grandma's cookies. After dividing, adding and subtracting to find out how many cookies there would be after sharing with different guests in the story, each group enjoyed chocolate chip cookies! Math is such a treat!


Triangles & Patterns: Quiltmaking with Mrs. Kanke & Mrs. Vandemore

No sewing machine required! Students explored how to cut squares of paper to create triangles of different shapes and sizes then arrange them to create a unique quilt square. While using their hands and putting together their own original design, students were able to apply knowledge of geometry and math to create something beautiful!



Edible Math: Estimating, Weighing and Measuring with Mrs. Hofer & Mrs. Nelson

Students' background knowledge from helping in the kitchen at home came in handy as Mrs. Hofer taught about different units of weight and measurement. Each student made an estimation of how much trail mix they would end up with after adding all of the ingredients; of course, eating their final product was the best part of the activity!


Students grew smarter while snacking with Mrs. Nelson! Each older student teamed up with a younger student and made educated guesses of how many goldfish crackers fit in a bowl. They practiced measuring fish bowls in goldfish, not inches. The lesson went swimmingly!



Active Math: Physical and Mathematical Challenges with Mrs. Haars & Mrs. Palmer

Who says math is boring? Certainly no one who competed in the relay races during the Active Math session of the All School Project! Students raced to complete a variety of tasks testing math skills from telling time, to basic computation, to physical challenges such as jumping rope a certain number of times, or getting an odd number of students to complete push-ups and sit-ups. Students got a workout for their minds and their bodies! 



Math Games with Mrs. Goethals & Mrs. Roemer

Math doesn't always require paper and pencil! Students enjoyed games and hands-on activities including Math Fact BINGO, geo boards, and shape and pattern blocks in the Kindergarten classroom. Older students were especially excited to revisit some of these fun activities they remember from the primary grades. 





Graphing with Mrs. Kanke & Mrs. Vandemore

Graphing is an important math skill that is much more fun to practice while enjoying a tasty treat! Students excitedly taste-tested apples and graphed the results of their favorites. Each group graphed their results on a bar graph by placing apple stickers in the column for their favorite apple. Who knew math could be so sweet?



"Exploring Our Faith" 

 Because our Catholic identity is central to who we are and what we value above all else at St. Malachy School, the teachers chose to focus on faith-related topics for the 2015-2016 All School Project.  The theme for the year is "Exploring Our Faith".

The culmination of the 2015-2016 All School Project was an all school field trip to Chicago. Students, faculty, staff and parent chaperones travelled comfortably aboard charter buses thanks to the generosity of those who support St. Malachy School Car Party. The first stop was Old St. Pat's Church, the oldest standing public building in the city of Chicago. This beautiful church was the first church founded by the Irish community in Chicago and survived the Great Chicago Fire. In addition to the celebration of the Mass, the second graders from Frances Xavier Warde School, dressed in their First Communion clothes, honored the Blessed Mother with a May Crowning.

After Mass, St. Malachy travelled to the South Side of Chicago to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to visit the National Shrine of St. In 1928 construction began on Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, but when the Great Depression hit, construction halted. The priest in charge of the parish had a special devotion to St. Jude, also known as St. Jude Thaddeus, who was one of Jesus' twelve apostles and is known as the patron Saint of lost causes. The priest prayed through the intercession of St. Jude that the church might be finished, promising that he would erect a shrine to honor the Saint. The church was completed in 1929 and a perpetual novena has been offered at that very location ever since. The shrine consists of a beautiful statue of St. Jude, pictured holding what looks like a golden plate with the image of Jesus' face. He also appears with a flame above his head, a symbol that he is one of Jesus' twelve apostles and received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. A first class relic, an item that came directly from the Saint, is on display at the shrine. It is a bone of Saint Jude; and all of the students, faculty and chaperones on the trip prayed silently over any hopeless or lost causes in their lives while the parish priest blessed the crowd with the relic.

 Picnic lunch at Maggie Daley Park. 


The final destination of the field trip was Holy Name Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Chicago; where everyone observed beautiful architecture, an enormous pipe organ, the Cross of the Risen Lord and hats worn by deceased Cardinals suspended from the cathedral ceiling.

The third quarter All School Project Day became part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week and focused on "Holy Places". The entire school gathered in the Narthex where Deacon Art Ries and his wife Cindy shared a wealth of information from their travels to the Holy Land through pictures and interesting stories. Students were captivated as they heard that they had actually walked in the same places that Jesus walked, saw the Jordan River where He was baptized, and touched the rock of Calvary where He was crucified. Deacon Art also blessed the children, sprinkling them with holy water from the Jordan River. 

Throughout the remainder of the day students rotated through a variety of stations relating to "holy places". Students used their map skills and knowledge of world geography as they enjoyed a lesson that took them around the world to learn about locations that are significant to the Catholic Church.  Some of the locations the students explored through maps and pictures included places where Mary, the Mother of God, appeared, as well as famous missions and the Vatican.

Another station gave students the opportunity to get moving and enjoy physical activities while still focusing on important holy places.  In the gym the students built their strength with a game relating to Moses' speaking with God through the burning bush. Students loved the "Parachute Parable" which required them to create a storm on the Sea of Galilee, then be completely still as they heard how Jesus commanded the wind and water be still. A water relay race relating to Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well as He traveled through the Holy Land had the students cheering each other on to fill their pitcher the fastest without spilling along the way.


Students learned about important holy places called shrines, specific areas dedicated to honor Saints. They learned about Blessed Mary's appearance to children in Fatima and Lourdes and how people today still make pilgrimages to these significant holy places.

At a craft station students learned about stained glass windows. They cut pieces of construction paper to create a stained glass window decorated with pictures of Saints that will hang in the hall near the office throughout the year.

The second ASP day focused on “What Makes Us Catholic”. Because the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is central to our Catholic identity, students listened to and discussed the story of the Last Supper. Next, they prepared and enjoyed eating unleavened bread. Students also had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of God’s laws for our lives while dancing to “The Ten Commandment Boogie”!

Above, students prepare unleavened bread after discussing the Last Supper and its roots in the Jewish celebration of Passover. 

During the first ASP day students learned about “Leaders in Our Faith”. Mrs. Kanke, fourth grade teacher, shared her personal experience of attending the Mass said by Pope Francis during his visit to Washington D.C. at which Fr. Junipero Serra became the first Saint canonized on American soil.

tudents also learned about Saints, the life of Pope Francis, and even held a mock election to select a Pope. In addition, each child chose a word that they felt best-described their own God-given gifts and learned about how they, themselves, could become leaders in our faith.

One of the students’ favorite sessions during the day was to “Meet Father
Pakula” where he shared stories about his childhood, his family, education and call to the priesthood. Students were excited to learn that, while playing outside one day as a child, Father Mike had been accidentally shot in the leg with an arrow! Father Pakula also chose the menu (chili dogs and tater tots) and joined the students for lunch, chatting about sports and other hobbies.