Acorn News from Ms. Jan:
They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and we realized after this week without the children how much we missed them all. I think our usual rhythm was welcomed back both by the adults and children in the class. We spent the week holding and snuggling with the children and reestablishing our rhythm and expectations. We continue to be so impressed with how easily the children recall our daily rhythm and do what's expected without being told. Several of the children remind us of what we're supposed to be doing if we go awry. What a wonderful Winter Faire we had on Saturday. It was so nice to see so many of you there. We truly appreciate your special efforts to come out and support our community. Thank you to all of you that donated baked goods and volunteered your time to the Faire, we really appreciate you all! There are several more gatherings for this month and we look forward to seeing you there.
This Thursday we will have a special visitor at school. Shhh, this is a surprise visitor, I know you will hear about this special event from the children. I am telling a story with a puppet show to introduce the children to the visitor that will be coming. Hint: He is NOT Santa Claus.
Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:
Thank you for all your help with the Winter Fair, for the long hours you have given selflessly during set-up and clean-up, also for the numerous donations. I hope that you and your families enjoyed the delicious food, the fair events and the beautiful gifts created by the parents and the friends of our community. Tonight, the festival of lights is starting for many families and I would like to wish you a joyous and healthy "Hanukkah" and "Advent".
Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:
It was so fun to see you all at the Winter Faire. What a fun and magical day it was for everyone. I also really appreciated spending Wednesday evening with most of you, as we worked on lanterns and sang together.
As I mentioned in last week’s letter and at our Parent Evening, we will be lighting the first candle in our Advent Wreath tomorrow morning. You are warmly invited to join us right after drop off time. You can leave your shoes in the hallway or just inside our room, as well as any purses or bags. Then we’ll gather in the play room. Children are invited to bring in a shell or stone to decorate our wreath, as we honor the Mineral Kingdom with the first candle.
The first light of Advent is the light of stones,
Light that lives in seashells, in crystals, and in bones.
On Friday, we had another really wonderful Forest Kindergarten. We set out in the opposite direction, towards Walnut Street and meandered our way up the path, where we reached the “zipline playground.” At snack time, we headed across the walking path towards the little circular meadow and found a shady place to eat. A flautist who was practicing nearby treated us to a couple of magical selections as we enjoyed our meal. Then we headed back to our base camp for more playtime and lunch. Naptime followed, and boy was it hard for me not to fall asleep after all the activity!
Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:
The first-grade class finished writing the vowels into their main lesson books last week. They enjoyed the story “Land of the Singing Sounds.” Students are also learning a poem that includes all of the long and short vowel sounds. I have written the keywords and point to them as we say the poem so that they can start to recognize some word families. We will continue this poem so that language arts stay alive while the children go into the coming math block.
In Waldorf Education we believe that with a change of teeth, the capacity of thinking reveals itself and there is an eagerness for learning. This first school year is still marked by a “dreaming living” in the world. This is a ripple effect from the early childhood years. Students connect to the subject matter through rhymes music movement etc. Teaching math in the first grade is done mostly through storytelling and imaginative illustrations.
In the second main lesson block we will continue counting up to 100 and rhythmical counting by twos, fives, and tens. They will continue regrouping numbers with their gems. Students will be introduced to the signs of the four processes. Each process (plus, minus, times, and divide) is introduced through four characters. I will continue using the math story to add the new characters. Students will start to write the equations into their main lesson books.
Grade 2 News from Ms. Mullen:
We are continuing our journey through our heroine and heroes block. We are currently learning about the silent e via stories of Saint Francis. Again, if you have any powerful stories you would like me to share with the class please let me know as soon as possible. The children seem to be really invested in the stories this block! It's very exciting to see.
Monday begins our advent celebration and we will begin with our solstice spiral, which is a bit like a meditative labyrinth walk. We use the greenery left over from the Christmas tree fundraiser to create a spiral shape on the floor. This is a quiet and contemplative morning activity that takes place in the sun room which is lit by candles. The children walk the spiral one by one with a natural object in their hand. They then set the object within the spiral and then walk out quietly. The object will be provided by the school, so they do not have to bring anything this year.
Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Brown:
In our 3rd/4th grade class we welcomed Rose! It's hard to believe she hasn't been with us all year, she has been such a natural fit. We also began a Hebrew Block. It is my understanding that Ms. Flores spent a lot of time with the Hebrew Creation Story and Genesis last year. We will only be spending these next three weeks learning about the story of Joseph, and through the story, we will focus on comma usage, sentence structure, and verb tenses. Last week while the students heard the first two parts of the story of Joseph, I introduced prepositions and prepositional phrases. As a class the students have been focused and very helpful and I greatly appreciate that. I would like to remind families that on Mondays students are given their spelling words for the week and are meant to write each word four times, while studying the spelling and pronunciation of each word. On Friday they should return their Language Arts folder, with their spelling words written, and their reading log filled out for the week. The students should all be prepared to take a spelling quiz each Friday. Most of the students were prepared this Friday, but some of them mentioned they have lost their Language Arts folder and were not able to write their words throughout the week. I will provide folders to those students who cannot find them, but hope they will spend time throughout the week studying their new words and reading in their library books or another chosen book, logging their minutes in their reading log.
Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:
We jumped right into our creative writing block by writing some free verse based on our observations using our senses in nature. We went to the Kaboom playground and the side yard of the school, both on remarkably cold days. From each of these experiences, the students made a seven line poem. I have also been reading a variety of poems to the class. Their favorites so far are the cat poems by T. S. Eliott that were the inspiration for the musical Cats on Broadway. Later in the week, we started exploring feelings with regard to the senses. We imagined what happiness looked, sounded, felt, tasted, and smelled like. The class then used these images to create a ten line poem which contained similes and metaphors. We wrote this poem together, but students could modify it to ensure that the images selected spoke to them personally. On Friday, we delved a little deeper by exploring sadness. This turned out to be one of the most intense main lessons I have ever had. Most students of this age tend to shy away from difficult topics or simply look at it from the surface, but not this class. I was amazed and humbled by the stark honesty of several students in sharing their images of loss, death and dying, and other painful subjects. By the time we had completed what sadness felt like, some students were in tears, and the environment was quite intense. I decided that we needed to stop at that point, have an emotional check-in which included hugs for any who wanted one, and then go outside and play in the sunshine. When the class returned, we told each other jokes to lighten our spirits. Some students let me know that they found what we were doing to be cathartic, while others reported that it was really hard to do. Despite the intensity of the emotional response, I would like to still press on with the topic on Monday, as I feel that exploring something like sadness, and finding the words to express this, is both instructional and healing. If you would like to discuss this further, however, please feel free to contact me.
Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:
This week began by finishing up with the Elizabethan era (including a review for the test on Monday). Afterwards, we spent the week going over our school play, A Christmas Carol. Students have tried out for different parts and read through most of the play (I am finishing up the final act right now). We have discussed the characters, their motivations, staging ideas and more. I've enjoyed seeing the children dive into the play, but it has been truly fascinating to see how they've approached acting!
This upcoming week will start with a block quiz on Renaissance and Elizabethan history, after which we will focus all of our energy on the play itself. Constant read-throughs are going to be important, but practicing their lines will be **absolutely critical**. I strongly encourage having the children rehearse their lines at least one a night with you!!! If they have fewer lines, rehearse them twice. The quicker they get this done, the more enjoyable the play will be for them.