Tuesday, February 1, 2011


sixth grade visits europe

The sixth graders of Davis Waldorf School (no, we really did not take a filed trip to Europe - but that would have been molto fantastico!) came back from their winter break to learn a little about geography. The three branches of geography are physical (biomes, cartography, coordinates), human (cultures, populations), and environmental (resource management).

We learned about the different biomes of the world (forest, grassland, tundra, desert, marine, and freshwater). The students created dioramas of their biomes, which we called "bioramas." They were spectacular! Some had fashioned trees from wire and frayed rope, animals from beeswax, snow from old cotton jerseys, and rocky cliffs from clay.

We learned about latitude and longitude, and how to make accurate maps using a grid technique.

To study human geography, the students are researching European countries for their reports. It is a big undertaking for the sixth graders as they are learning to choose the right resources and compile information about the land, the culture, and landmarks. They are writing creatively and using illustrations to create beautiful reports.

To bring in the global, environmental consciousness into our work, I had the students list their observations of things outside our classroom. It was not surprising that when I had them categorize their observations between human, human-made, and nature-made, most things they listed were human-made. I had told them that it was very important how our geography is closely tied to human impact, that it was our responsibility to always be mindful of how we interact with our earth.


Edibaba said...

It is Fantastic!

Dear Friend, look at my handmade Waldorf dolls...
Sorry, my my blog is in hungarian yet...

Best wishes, Edit

onegoldensun said...

Hello Rick, I can't tell you how inspiring you and your wife are to me, as a Waldorf home-educator. I am so excited to take some of your ideas to mold into my own work with my oldest daughter for grade 6 next year. Your art is phenomenal, and your enthusiasm is contagious! I am planning to embark on my own journey through the teacher training soon, and really do draw so much inspiration from your blog. Warmest blessings! It is lovely to share this journey with you all.


Rick Tan III said...


Blessings on your journey through teacher training! Let me know how things go.


Paul Astin said...

Hi Rick,

I am a 6th grade teacher at a Waldorf-inspired public school in Agoura Hills (near LA). I just found your website today as I was looking for some ideas on my Geography main lesson for next year.

Thanks for your very authentic and sensitive writing here. I am eager to explore more. Also, your chalk drawing is utterly intimidating! Great really.

I hope we can stay in touch.


Paul Astin