Sunday, April 25, 2010

dreamer's scroll

wishes and blessings for our children

in radiant spirit
a wish unspoken
in hand is written
to move the child
with force unseen
as such are dreams
mothers and fathers
loving beings
bestow their blessings
to transform the world
with community
and strength of family

Over the weekend, I met with the parents of the children whom I will be journeying through sixth grade with at Davis Waldorf. Radiant beings with open hearts and open minds, the parents needed to see in whom their children's academic and social lives have been entrusted. I introduced the parents to my educational philosophy, and my vision for the students in addressing the academic component of their journey.

Perhaps, and I hope this is true, they saw in me, one who would genuinely care for the holistic wellness of the children. Joining the wonderful community of Davis and the families of Davis Waldorf, I believe that my own family will become part of an amazing circle of people with transformative power.

Through the concerted work of the caregivers and parents, and faculty at Davis Waldorf, I believe we have the capacity and the spirit to make a global impact: our children will influence the world, so we need to give them the love and the tools to influence it in the best possible ways.

It starts with a little blessing, a wish, the dreamer's scroll. I asked the parents to all write a message for their youngsters, an energetic thought, a wish of boundless nature. We tied each into a scroll and placed them all into a clear glass vase. It will remain in the classroom all year, and through eighth grade. Perhaps, at graduation day, the children will open them. We will see how that unspoken wish may have come true or had somehow aided the youngster in his or her journey.

I had a good feeling when the meeting was over. The parents appeared to support me in my vision. One offered his property for an overnighter to view the stars in our astronomy block. Others, seasoned campers, offered to help in our trip to Mount Lassen to view the volcano for our minerology block. Others wanted to arrange home visits. I said I welcome all those opportunities for parent involvement. And for home visits, I also welcome a plate of fried calamari!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

grade two math

partying with the little ones

I had begun my math block with class two at East Bay Waldorf upon returning from spring break. The second grade child, so full of liveliness, is experiencing both uncertainty and freedom in discovering their separateness from each other and the world around them. The teacher must guide them and help them build self-discipline and self-confidence.

Our four-week math block will be spent reinforcing previously introduced concepts such as multiplication. Here is what we did with learning our multiplication.

Climbers, Creepers, and Crossings. The king and queen lived in a castle blessed with a bounty of fruit trees and a vegetable garden. One day, an old beggar knocked on the heavy door and asked for some food. They turned him away, and he placed a curse on the castle. All the fruit trees and vegetables withered away. The king and queen were left with very little food. The beggar returned some time later and asked for food again. This time, even with barely enough for themselves, they offered him some morsels. He was so thankful, he revealed he was wizard and returned life to the castle garden. He even produced a magical vine. This vine gave out tendrils that ran up and down, the climbers. It gave out tendrils that ran side to side, the creepers. When a climber meets a creeper, they form a crossing. If you have 4 climbers and 5 creepers, how many TIMES do they cross? 20 times! 20 is 4 times 5.

Tables of the Royal Party. So happy for their new bounty, the king and queen wanted to hold a party. They needed up to 9 tables for their guests. At each table they needed: 1 vase of flowers, 2 buckets of ice, 3 pitchers of water, 4 pizzas, 5 blueberry muffins, 6 loaves of bread, 7 mushrooms, 8 carrots, 9 bowls of soup, 10 apple pies, 11 candles, and 12 fortune cookies. Well, if you have 6 tables set, and you wanted 4 pizzas per table, how many pizzas altogether do you need? 6 tables times 4 pizzas is 24 pizzas total. 6 x 4 is 24.

Math Outside. The day was gorgeous and I decided to take the children outside to enjoy the school grounds. With practice book and pencil in hand, the children joined me in a game of "I spy." I said, "I spy pine cones resting on a hay bale." They counted the cones, "4!" And I said, "What is 4 + 4 + 4 + 4? Whisper the secret answer in my ear." One by one, they whispered, "16." With each child, I would say, "Great, now only William and I know the answer, ooh, now William, Jane, and I know the secret answer!"

We have also been engaged with form drawing, painting, and language arts. With May Faire just a week away, we have also been praticing a song or two for the spring festival.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

family feast

a peaceful easter sunday

On our Sunday Easter morning, we celebrated spring and rejoiced in the togetherness of family. We prepared a simple meal. Ricky baked bread from scratch, and Joey helped her mommy slice a bounty of sweet strawberries. My parents joined us for brunch and we felt blessed with a peaceful day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

eggs-pressionist easter

oblong abstract art

With left-over acid dye from Ukranian dyeing (bought from Steiner College Bookstore), the kids and I painted more eggs for Easter and we came up with some fun abstract work by dipping the eggs and also dripping dye onto them. The style almost resembles watercolor veil painting. Mostly, we had fun seeing how the dyes would find their own paths in traveling along the surface of the eggs, creating subtle organic shapes and abstract eggscapes!

Our Syrendell shop at Etsy has an ebook for learning how to use natural egg dyes!