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Classroom Updates

Acorn News from Ms. Jan:

We had another wonderful week with some beautiful weather. It has been so much fun to see most of the children coming into school so happy and confident. There has been so much growth since the beginning of the school year and I can't wait to tell you about it all at our conferences. In addition to our usual daily rhythm we continue to water and work in our very beautiful, healthy garden. I am including a picture here, our lettuce is peeking over the top of the garden box and we have a tomato on our bush that we are watching get bigger every day. Ms. Stacy has been leading bread making with both her class and ours and it has become easier to manage and clean the mess up as each week goes by. This past Friday we made homemade cheese pizzas with the children using basil that was grown in our own garden. Some children ate it and some didn't but all got to see what it is used for. We continue to enjoy fall and prepare for Thanksgiving, pausing to give thought to all that makes us thankful.

Jasmine Kindergarten News from Ms. Diana:

We had a week filled with emotions: goodbyes, warm welcome to Ms. Kim, tears from the children returning to school after being sick a long time and then more children getting the head cold and the stomach virus. In spite of all this, our children have been doing well in class showing me that they are strong, resilient, loving; I’ve noticed so much growth since the beginning of school. They also embraced our new students and continued their work on the giant loom that gets filled every day with our colorful finger-knitting. 

Magnolia Kindergarten News from Ms. Heidi:

Brrr! Whether is stays cold past this week or not, please make sure that your child is prepared for the cooler weather we are experiencing right now. We are still waiting for sun hats to return, so it might be a good time to start looking for a winter cap to keep at school as well. Some children are still missing a light hoodie or sweater that they can keep in their cubby for layering. It’s probably time to put the sandals away, at least for school days, and get used to wearing socks with outside shoes. You may not notice the cold as you hurry to and from your car in the morning, but our play yard stays damp and cool in the shadow of the buildings all around us. With all the extra rain, our ground has become very damp and soggy. Wet feet can be uncomfortable and cause grumpiness!

Yesterday, we had such a beautiful celebration of Damodara Vrata and Diwali. The children were full of joy and warm interest as we shared this new festival. Kim, Ram, Kalindi, and Kalpana and her mother joined us at 10:00.  We shared a special puppet show of the story “The Butter Thief,” a beloved story of when Krishna was a small, mischievous boy. After the puppet show, we gathered the children closer. Kalpana lit three beautiful “diyas”  on the nature table, and they illuminated the dark classroom. Then she led us in a song called, “Krishna, where are you?”

Outside, it grew dark with the approaching rain.  Kalindi had brought candles for each child, and in groups of three, the children were called forward to hold a candle and make a wish.  Kalindi placed them in a tray of sand on our nature table, in front of a little statue of young Krishna happily enjoying his stolen butter. Kalpana sang as we awaited our turns and enjoyed the warm glow of the candles.

We ended our celebration with a snack of traditional sweets and satsumas. The beauty of Kalpana’s voice as she sang, the brightness of the candles and diyas glowing in the dark, the festive clothing our guests wore, and the sweet taste of a new treat, stayed with me all day.  Our shared celebration strengthened our little community, uniting us in reverence and understanding and love.

Grade 1 News from Ms. Contento:

This was a busy week in the first-grade classroom. We had lots of rain this week yet we still got outside as much as possible. The story this week was “The Golden Goose” by the Brothers Grimm. Students enjoyed acting out this story during the main lesson this week. We entered three letters into the main lesson books this week. They drew a goose for the letter “G”, a feather for the letter “F”, and a queen for the letter “Q”. I am going to use fairy tales and tongue twisters to teach the remaining consonants. I will introduce the vowels after Thanksgiving. 

Grade 3 / 4 News from Ms. Flores:

We began the week with completing our work with cotton. The class is still seeding the cotton we grew last year and will do a project with it a little later this year. The class then dove into a look at wool. The story brought to them followed the process of wool from the shearing process to weaving. On Thursday, we visited Ms. Lena's weaving studio and not only learned a lot but had a great time! The class learned about cotton and wool weaving and had a chance to work on a loom. If you have a chance to peak in the classroom, you can see the two pieces the class wove on our trip. They are beautiful! On Friday, we reviewed our story and our trip and created a writing to put in our main lesson books. 

Grade 5 / 6 News from Ms. Nelson:

GEOGRAPHY OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT - This week we have been learning more about the Inuit, both in terms of their life-ways as well as their myths and legends.  I also gave some basic information about the country of Canada.  At the end of the week, I switched to a focus on our neighbor to the south, Mexico, and specifically the Mayan culture.  I told the legend of how humans (in the third attempt at world creation) were created by the god Itzamna and the goddess Ix Chel.  I also spoke about my experiences as a Mayan archaeologist who worked side by side with the descendants of the people we were studying.  It is hard to limit our discussions about one of my favorite groups of people (and subjects of study) to just a few days, but hopefully I will be able to impart at least a little about this extraordinary culture to the students.  On Friday, we circled back to our work with Ancient India as we celebrated the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali.  In Art class, the students made beautiful flower mandalas, which were artfully displayed along with the clay lamps the students made, on a temporary "altar".  Please go to the WSNO Parent's Council Group on Facebook to see pictures!  Some more pictures will be posted in the upcoming Waldorf Weekly as well.  We concluded by tasting of a variety of Indian foods selected by the students themselves.  We also celebrated Opal's birthday!  A huge thank you goes to Renee Rowley, who not only picked up the Indian food for us at Nirvana, but stayed to help serve it and then clean up, an undertaking that lasted far beyond the one hour I suggested would be needed.  She helped make our celebration run so much more smoothly!

Grade 7 / 8 News from Mr. Pauzolis:

This week, we began our entry into the Elizabethan era! This period represents England's Golden Age, and gave rise to some of the most famous literary figures in history, such as Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. We began by discussing different aspects of life in this era. The children learned about the education system, which was rudimentary and not intended for girls. Though wealthy girls could study if it was of interest to them, the studies would revolve largely around being a wife, a mother, and learning how to care for servants. Many wealthy young women would be sent to the home of another well-to-do family who had an older girl able to teach proper etiquette. We discussed the average life expectancy for children and adults, which was poor, and hygiene, which was absolutely abysmal. Baths were taken anywhere from once a week to- in the case of Elizabeth I - only once a month! (Tidbit: Did you know that the pleated 'ruff' collar worn around the neck so commonly during that time was to keep insects from crawling from one's filthy body onto one's face?!) We discussed the types of entertainment enjoyed during the Elizabethan era, which included family time spent in pubs (as water was thought to be unsafe, and ale was preferable even for the kids!), and the barbaric sport of 'bear-baiting', where hunting dogs would torture and agitate a trapped bear until it became exhausted and could easily be killed. This all led to the glorious rise of the theatre and theatre life, and the popularity of the Globe Theatre. The children also undertook multiple art projects this week, including their own versions of the world-renowned portrait of Mona Lisa. 

This past Friday, we were also lucky enough to have a special visit from Zoya's dad, Jean-Marc, who led the students outside to participate in a drumming circle during their music period. It was so fascinating to see him teaching so many different drumming techniques, including a special way to wield a drumstick when second-lining with a snare drum! Learning about how different cultures hold their drumsticks, and how that affects their playing, was so interesting!

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