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Classroom Updates

Acorn Nursery News from Ms. Jan:

We had another wonderful week with the children.  On Tuesday, many of you got to experience, firsthand, what happens to our little group of children when our RHYTHM is changed or altered.  As many parents saw with the gate being locked, having to turn around and go to the other gate, say "goodbye" to parents in a different way/place, remain with parents for a longer time while walking to the other gate and anticipating having to separate from their parents and entering the play yard from a different place caused an effect such that pretty much all of our children began in tears on Tuesday morning.  This leads me to gently remind you to please be on time in the morning.  When children come late they enter a situation where play has already begun in the yard and it is difficult to separate from parents and join in.  We are going to be closing the gate by 8:40 and children that come after 8:40 will have to check in at the office and be brought to the yard by Ms. Sue, Ms. Margaret or Ms. Erin.  If you have trouble meeting that 10 minute window come earlier.  There are some parents and children in the front yard by 8:20-8:25.  Getting there early will allow your child to enter school with all of their classmates which makes it much easier for everyone.  Everything that we do at school is based on our rhythm.  That's how we potty train several children at one time with success.  They all use the bathroom at the same time.  We don't have discipline issues because we have a snack right at the time the children begin to get hungry and a nap at the time they begin to fall apart from exhaustion.  It is amazing to see the confidence and safe feeling that the children have through knowing exactly what to expect and what comes next throughout the day.  When a child asks for mom or says they miss dad we can tell them exactly what is coming next and what will happen "and then mom/dad will be here."  Rhythm is the magical element that helps us manage our days with these littlest ones.  

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

For those of you who are new to Waldorf, I’d like to explain what the Michaelmas season is all about and how we celebrate it in our kindergarten. The traditional story has been told all over the world in many different cultures.  Sometimes the names and situations change, but it is always the tale of either St. Michael slaying the dragon, or St. Michael inspiring a human, often St. George, to slay the dragon and save the village. In this timeless tale, good overcomes evil, which is a very important message for young children to understand. In the kindergarten, we don’t emphasize the battle against the dragon as much as we emphasize the courage and faith it takes to overcome an obstacle. Parent help needed: Grandparents and Special Friends Day is coming up at the end of October.  A flyer and address card went home with students this week.  Please return the address card by Monday, September 24th to school and we will mail an invitation to your family or friend.  There are extra cards available in the office, or you can email the address information to

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

We had a wonderful week in First Grade. We finished up the first language arts block. We included some of the capital letters and worked on beginning word sounds. I can see my students are excited to start writing words out. They are practicing writing words they see around the classroom. On Wednesday we created a watercolor painting during the main lesson. This was the first time I had the entire class paint at the same time. I was so proud of how they handled themselves during class. I told an African fairy tale on Friday and the students acted out this very fun story called, How the Frog Came to be the King of the Rivers and Marshes. During this coming math block, I will continue to tell fairy tales from around the world. 

Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:

This week we began our Language Arts block. We started with some fairy tales about people being treated poorly for their differences and drew up some class rules about how to treat each other and ourselves with respect. Following that, the children began looking at short vowel sounds through fables. We discussed the /oo/ sound and the /ah/ sound and head two new stories. The children began working more deeply on handwriting as well. 

Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Flores:

We had a busy week as we worked to complete our study of liquid measurement. The class had so much fun sharing their recipes and food with their classmates! Thank you all for sending in the samples. It made our week! We ended our week talking about food preservation. This makes for a smooth way to transition from liquid measurement into our farming block. While we are really close, we are not quite done with our block, so we will begin our farming block after Tuesday. In our circle time, we began learning our lines for our Michaelmas Play. This year the third graders will be our farmers, and the fourth graders are the messengers. Everyone seemed quite excited by their new roles. For those of you who are new to the school, we do this play each year and each grade has a specific role that is passed down from the grade above them. Receiving the new role signifies their new role in this older grade. Very exciting for all! We are also continuing speech work, times table memorization and attention and memory games.  

Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

This week we learned about Parvati and Shiva, one of the great love stories among the Hindu gods, as well as their son, Ganesha.  The students were particularly excited to learn how Ganesha got the head of an elephant, as well as other details like the broken tusk, since they have been studying my chalkboard drawing for weeks.  I then started to recount an abridged excerpt from the Ramayana, which is one of the first great epic poems in the world (there are nearly 24,000 verses).  In it, we learn of the scholar Ravana who gained the power to be invulnerable to harm from any god or demon.  Eventually, he rose up to be king of the rakshasas (demons) and attack both heaven and earth.  To defeat him, the first god Lord Vishnu agreed to be reborn for the fifth time as a human being, Prince Rama of Ayodha.  The story I am telling is about his adventures, along with those of his companions: his wife Sita, his brother Laksman, the monkey god Hanuman, the bear king Jambavan, and a host of others, as they strive to overcome Ravana.  We had a special guest on Thursday, Ms. Campbell, who shared with the class more about the Hare Krishna faith, which is her religion.  I was very impressed with the focus and insightful questions the class brought to her presentation, and grateful to my colleague for the thoughtful and warm way that she presented to the class.  Thank you, Ms. Campbell!  Throughout the week, the students have been summarizing the stories they have heard either on their own (if they feel confident) or as a group under my leadership (if they feel they need more support).  In order to keep up the pace, the whole class will sometimes write together, as we did when recounting the tale of how Ganesha lost his head.  I have also been guiding the students through a variety of illustrations, as I try to find the balance between structure and freedom that they need to produce a successful effort.  I am really proud of all the hard work the students have done, especially those who are new to the class. This can be a very different way of learning, full of unfamiliar skills.  The students' willingness to try and do their best is very inspiring to me!  This week, I will be starting to send home assessments of our first block (circle geometry) in the order in which the students completed all their work.  This will primarily be a rubric showing their progress in a variety of areas, along with some comments.  Please be looking for these throughout the week, and let me know if you have any questions.

Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This week began with the children taking their Middle Ages block quiz. I will be returning their graded tests Monday morning (those who need to retest will do so next Tuesday, September 25th, after school). The remainder of the week began our entry into Physics III. We dove right in, beginning our study of electricity, circuits, and motors. The concept of static electricity was introduced through some fun and fascinating hands-on experiments. We made our hair crackle and stand on end, and witnessed how a mixture of cornstarch and oil would reach tiny tendrils out to a statically-charged balloon. We also made flakes of pepper jump up from a bowl of salt onto a statically charged comb! We discussed how electricity works on the subatomic level, examining the flow of electrons versus the flow of electricity. We concluded the week by introducing the fascinating figure of Benjamin Franklin, in his pre-Statesman years, as he explored and redefined the science of electricity.

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