First Grade Newsletter #4
The first graders were so proud to bring home a completed language arts main lesson book as well as beautiful paintings and drawings. I have enjoyed seeing the progression of their work as there are three additional main lesson books in process.
In our math book, we have come to the kingdom of “Mathlandia” where King Equal rules. He welcomes the work of Mrs. Plus, Mr. Minus, Duke Divide and Tally Times. This pictorial and imaginative method of bringing the four mathematical processes enlivens and deepens our work. The children come to a firm understanding of what it means to add, subtract, multiply and divide, and discover that it is fun!
As well as hearing and re-telling fairy-tales from many cultures, the children have taken turns acting out the characters. This is lively and engages all the children as they learn from one another! In our main lesson books, the letters they drew so beautifully are forming words, sentences and stories, much to the delight (and hard work) of all!
On Thursday afternoons, the students have been supplied with paper, glue and scissors and have created wonderful collages. Some created a scene from our stories, other children created pictures of their own and some enjoyed abstract shapes and designs. Beeswax modeling, form-drawing and group games are some of the other activities that we work on during the final period of our days, “STAR PERIOD”.
We welcomed The Lunar New Year with wonderful dumplings from the Varma family. The Datei and Tsui families helped us celebrate Carnaval with delicious food and whimsical animal masks. We also recently celebrated the first day of spring with vegetable sushi topped with a cherry blossom made by Maria’s mom with help from Leeland’s mom. Thank you for bringing these traditions to our class!
First Grade Newsletter #3
Before the holiday break, the first graders enjoyed regular gatherings with the second and third graders to sing and dance. We made bird feeders and now have a woodpecker, two cardinals, and many chick-a-dees outside our windows.
During Main Lesson we have begun learning about numbers as a precursor to learning math. We discovered the quality of each number from one to twelve and found beautiful representations of them in nature. Spiders and their webs were especially challenging but fun to draw. Five and six pointed stars were created with sticks, gems, jump ropes and children. We are now ready to work with the four processes.
Since we have been back to school, the children are ready and able to work hard each morning. They ask many wonderful questions and are thrilled to discover that we have almost completed our whole language arts Main Lesson Book (It will go home with them soon).
Riddles and jokes have made their way to our classroom, a day never goes by without laughter and joy!
First Grade Newsletter #2
The first graders have completed many beautiful pages in their first main lesson books. The children have discovered letters in mountains, rivers and streams. We even met a letter that can juggle! We are now embarking on our math journey. We are exploring the quality of the numbers 1-10 in preparation for work with the four mathematical processes.
The children have been joyfully singing all the songs of the season and reveling in the many musical games led by Mr. Fallu.
We had an amazing time carving pumpkins with our seniors and love seeing these wonderful young men and women any chance we can!
We have been having a wonderful time beginning to learn to knit. The children enjoy counting in many languages as we exercise our fingers in preparation for working with the cast on and knit stitches. They are eager to learn and their enthusiasm is supporting them in mastering each new skill.
The 1st Grade has been working together to create a collective picture using a flet board in class. The picture includes a house,roof,door,windows,a tree, and a few animals of various colors.
First Grade Newsletter #1
The Class of 2028 has embraced the start of the school year! Every morning as they enter the classroom, I can hear them discuss with glee classes they will have that day! “Movement today! There might be an obstacle course.” “The tomatoes are turning red. I wonder what else we will pick in gardening!” It is wonderful to see such a level of curiosity and enthusiasm coming from the students.
In class, they are working carefully to form straight and curved lines on paper (the precursor to writing) and honing their skills of observation as they notice the lines and curves that make up our surroundings. They listened wide-eyed to stories about mermaids, the King Beetle-Tamer and tigers, and they have answered thoughtfully when asked to recall the tales.
The children are enjoying all there is to do in the big playground including the new addition of an area especially built for imaginative play! Old friendships are rekindled and new friendships are delighting the children every day! It is truly wonderful to behold and I am excited to see the children grow and develop over the course of the year.
In Handwork class with Ms. Talluto, students rolled balls of yarn and then learned to create slip knots—the first step before learning to “cast on.” In a game they love called, “Birds on a Wire” students made slip knots in different sections of a very long strand of yarn, then, counting off by twos they took turns pulling out the slip- knots and the “birds” seemed to fly away.
Second Grade Newsletter #4
I hope you and your family enjoyed the February vacation. Many children have shared stories of their vacation and it has made for some lovely lunch-time conversations. I am happy that 13 families went to Glen Brook for Maple Sugaring. This was a great introduction to Glen Brook, and a nice preparation for our third grade class trip. I have heard many fun stories about the weekend.
When we returned from the February vacation we finished our Language Arts Block. It was an exciting week to return to school as we began practicing for our play, which is based on the Native American story called, Jumping Mouse. Native American stories are a nice middle-ground between the inspiring stories of the saints and the humorous fables. Children age 7 & 8 are still very connected to the earth, therefore it is easy for them to embrace these stories. During story recall, it is wonderful to see the children easily able to turn into a mouse and raccoon while reenacting our story. Our class play will be performed on Tuesday, April 4th in the Gym. We will be performing on the floor “in the round.” shows at 8:30, and 9:30 am. Then one more showing at 2:30 pm.
In February, we had the pleasure of Ms.Tasha England interning in second grade. She observed for three weeks and taught for one week. The Native American stories she shared with us were of Hiawatha and an animal story of Fox and Boastful Brave. During main lesson, we are continuing to work with phonics, playing games to practice vowels, learning new word families, adding “red” or non-decodable words to our list and other high frequency “blue” words, which are decodable. The second graders are learning about “naming words” (nouns) and “doing words” (verbs). We look forward to reading every day and I hope the children are reading at a regular time every day at home.
In January, we had a Math Block. During that time we worked with place value and carrying while doing addition was introduced. Later in the month borrowing while doing subtraction was introduced. Stories and manipulatives were used to help the children understand and have fun with these new concepts. The children worked as one large group, in smaller groups of four and then with a partner. Towards the end of that block the children were able to do math individually on worksheets.
During the month of December, we had a Language Arts block focused on Golden Legends of the saints (inspiring multi-cultural figures from around the world) and amusing animal stories or Fables. Scenes from these stories have been beautifully drawn and written about in the main lesson books. Also, the children have been doing their own drawings and writings in based on the stories they have heard. We have continued free writings and drawings since then, and will do this on a weekly basis throughout the rest of the year.
Currently, we are in a Math Block and are having play practice during a portion of our main lessons. We are practicing our newly learned 6, 7, 8, and 9 times tables, working on division tables, practicing place value, carrying while adding and borrowing while subtracting. We are seeing the relationship with multiplication and division and have been starting to learn our division tables. Please support your child in practicing the times tables at home.
Festivals and Community Outreach
During December, we celebrated Advent with first and third grades. We looked forward to meeting every day in Bonner Hall to light the candles on the Advent Wreath, sing songs and did a Jingle Bells dance together. This was a very joyful and reverent way to start our days. Ariel and Shira Magal came to school to help us celebrate Hanukkah, a festival of light. They brought 2 lovely menorahs, we lit the candles, sang songs and they gave us some sweet treats. It was a joyful event. Thank you!!
Inspired by the acts of generosity and kindness of the saints, we were compelled to do some community outreach. Towards the end of December, we went to the Maple Pointe Assisted Living Center in Rockville Center to bring holiday cheer to the residents. The children sang carols, did a Jingle Bells dance and gave gifts of lovely butterfly paintings (click here to see photos). Thank you to the parents who joined us. It was a beautiful event and many residents were happy to sing along.
Thank you for your donations to Bethany House and to the Bettis family. On a cold December day, I invited Juanita from Bethany house to the classroom so that we could give the basket of food, clothes and money. Before we did so, Ms. Juanita told the children a story of a young mother who had lost her job and became homeless. She painted a beautiful picture of how the folks at Bethany House took care of her and her young children. The children were very impressed to learn that Ms. Juanita was that young lady in need. It warmed their hearts to learn them how their contribution will help other families in need. Please see attached letter of thanks from Bethany House and the Bettis Family.
Last Friday we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Soda Bread and started the day with Irish Dancing to “I’ll Tell Me Ma”. It was a great, fun, festive way to start the day! See a short video clip by clicking here.
Social Inclusion Update
Thank you to the parents who joined our Skype Meeting last week. Our conversation was based on the Kim John Payne lecture called, “The Many Faces of Bullying.” The audio files have been sent to you and you can find them again here. I hope you can to find the time to be part of our meetings. They happen about 4 times a year in the comfort of your own home. We “meet” (tune in on Skype) at 8:30 PM, after your children have gone to sleep. This education and community sharing provides us with…
- insights into the social dynamic in the classroom
- helps us develop the skills needed to provide the children with supportive coaching to build resiliency
- ideas for how to help the children deal with situations that are arising for our group of 7 and 8 year olds
- insights into how “who we are being” influences (positively or negatively) the children, since they are always imitating us
- how to use humor to deflate “difficult” situations
- the beauty of justice without blame
If you missed this last meeting, please contact one of the attendees (Vincenzo, Maria, Mindy, Gurpreet, Shira) for an update. Our next meeting will happen Thursday, April 27th at 8:30PM. Please listen to “The Soul of Discipline” linked here.
If any social issues are “coming home” please contact me as soon as possible. Sometimes I may be unaware, or if I am aware, I can offer my “grown up” perspective.
During the first short snack recess, the children continue to have a weekly partner. Although complaints may sometimes come home, it is amazing to see the children playing joyfully with many different classmates, working our disagreements, playing games that they may not ordinarily be drawn to and cultivating friendships across genders. It is awesome! We have been playing group games during the second, long recess. This will be tapering off, happening randomly as needed. It was necessary for the past couple weeks to bring the class together as a group as a remedy to splintering or clique formations.
Thank you for enrolling your child at the Waldorf School of Garden City! It is a pleasure and honor to teach your children.
Second Grade Newsletter #3
Greetings dear parents! I hope this letter finds you well and looking forward to the this festive time of year. Below you can read about all the activities we are working on in the 2nd Grade.
During the month of November we celebrated Martainmas. Thank you for coming to this lovely event. Let us remember the gifts of light, love and charity as we go into these dark days of December.
Gurpreet’s mom helped us celebrate Devali and it was so fun! This year we learned more about the symbolism of the light, the beautiful ornate and colorful clothing worn, and Guneet even spoke and wrote in Punjabi. We did some drawings of mandalas / symmetrical flowers, and hung them in the hallway. Thank you Gurpreet and Guneet for sharing this holiday with us and for giving us samosas and chocolates too!
Thank you all for a wonderful Skype Meeting on 11/29 at 8:30 pm. You can read more about in this email.
We just finished a Math Block and I taught the children about place value and carrying. We practiced writing 4, 5 and 6 digit numbers. We are continuing to practice our times tables, and new this year, the 6 and 7 times tables. We are working on memorizing addition and subtraction facts. It’s fun to do this through playing games with cards, dice and Bingo.
Last week we began a Language arts block. We have started off with the fable of the Tortoise and Hare and the story of St Nicholas. We continue to learn sight words (aka “Red Words” words that make up their own rules), frequently used words, and Word Families. We are enjoying reading together more regularly. Children take turns reading with a partner. Please continue to read every day at home. Just like practicing an instrument, when a daily habit of reading together is created, especially at the same time of day it builds skills / capacities and enthusiasm for reading. I would like your child to read to you aloud for 5 minutes (guided by your finger) then as a reward please read to your child for 10 to 15 minutes more (guided by your child’s finger).
Santa Lucia Festival happening 12/16,This is an in school event. We will walk singing and visit EC to 8th grade. We will be making buns the day before Th 12/15, 1st thing in the morning at 8:15. We can use some help. Let me know if you are available. On Friday, we will share these buns with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. Parents are welcome to see 2nd grade in costume at 8:20 on 12/16 and hear us sing before we leave the classroom. This Friday 12/9 right after dismissal, we will be making star staffs. Please help if you can.
Most of the second graders have completed their recorder cases and they are enjoying the freedom of choosing their own colors for their knit hats. The children are learning the purl stitch, which is the opposite of a knit stitch and asks them to see each stitch with greater clarity and to work with care and attention. They are enthusiastic and joyful in their work.
2nd grade learned about food and meals as well as table settings. We have been practicing various tongue twisters as well as creating scenes at the “cafe.”
The 2nd grade listened to and spoke stories “Little Blue and Little Yellow” and “The Enormous Turnip”. We also learned lantern songs for the Lantern Walk, and learned how to count to 100. We practiced numbers by playing games including a card game.
Here is a link to some photos that I have taken this year. Enjoy.
Second Grade Newsletter #2
Greetings! I hope you have been enjoying seeing the lovely colors in nature with your family these days. Two days ago I saw some thick autumn mists blanketing the campus. Then we had our last farewell from summer last week!
The second grade school year started off with a Math Block. We spent the first couple weeks of September practicing our times tables, and remembering and practicing the four processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Simple stories involving animals or our princes and princesses from Mathematica provide a wonderful backdrop for these processes to come alive. This year, we are using manipulatives less and less, moving from concrete to abstract, as we more fully embrace these mathematical concepts in our thinking.
For the last two weeks of the block we learned about place value. First, the second graders estimated how many gems could have been inside our new huge glass jar (I received answers ranging from 600 to 1 million!). Then we spent time counting and counting. Recalling our tool from last year, the students affirmed that it’s easier to keep track by “counting in tens”. I provided small bags for only ten gems. Then, when so many tens bags were collected, they need to find another way to sort and organize the huge pile of bags. After some deliberation, a child happily shouted out, “I know, let’s sort them by hundreds!” All agreed, hundreds are easy to count, just like tens. The children knew from their tens times table that 10 bags of 10 gems equals 100 gems. All the tens bags were then sorted into “hundreds boxes” And after we counted up 9 boxes, or 900 gems, as the tenth “hundreds box” was counted, a child said, “ten hundred!” I then said, “Yes, now we do have ten hundreds and that has a very special name, called one thousand; ten boxes of one hundred gems, or ten times one hundred equals one thousand”. The children were shown the big basket of ten hundreds boxes. We have been practicing writing very large numbers. During our next math block we will take this to the next level! We will do vertical math, see the new way of writing division problems and learn how to carry.
Currently, we are in a Language Arts block. I have been telling the children Golden Legends of the Saints or wise and holy or wonder-filled Sages from around the world. I have been alternating these stories with fables. The Golden Legends allow the children to be inspired by awesome acts of kindness, generosity and courage They also help the children to cultivate reverence and empathy within themselves. The amusing Fables give the children imaginative stories of animals misbehaving and suffering the consequences of their unwise actions. The children are very amused by these stories, especially as they dramatize them! So far we have heard about Saint Lioba, Saint Francis, Lily Yeh and other saints and sages featured on birthdays such as Confucius, St. Theresa, St Hildegard, St. Vincent. I have also told these fables, The Oak and the Reeds, the Fox and the Crow, The Dog and his Bone and the Tortoise and the Hare. On days on between our drawing and writing about those stories, I am telling the story of the King of Ireland’s Son.
We have been focusing on the lower case letters this year. And together we have been writing short summaries of the stories in the main lesson books. We have read from our word family books, we have added new pages, including the ee families (eet as in feet and meet, eed as in seed and reed, een as in seen, eep as in keep), have read some short stories aloud together and have been working on spelling, phonics and memorizing sight words. There certainly is a lot to do in Second Grade!
As I mentioned at our last Parent Evening, the best way to promote a healthy social atmosphere and harmony between all types of personalities is on to cultivate empathy and resilience within the children. The work of Kim John Payne and his social inclusion method is very effective in accomplishing this feat. That is why at our last parent evening I presented the idea of doing a study together. I hope you have had the chance to read the materials that I sent home about this method.
Before studying how to cultivate resilience, I would like us to better understand what can be at the roots of bullying and how to prevent our children from going down these roads in later years. Remember, empathy is an executive function of the brain. We are not born with this capacity. It must be practiced daily. Children who are prone to teasing and bullying most often have very low capacities to empathize or feel what another may be feeling. Then after coming to understand the causes of bullying and how we can work together to prevent it, we can study resiliency and how to help our children become stronger in this capacity.
I propose that we have our first Social Inclusion Parent Study Group on Wednesday, November 16th, 8:30 -9:30 PM. I hope this will give you the chance to have dinner and get the children to bed. I hope we can schedule six more meetings before the school year ends. We will do a computer conference through the application Skype. Please listen to the first 20 minutes of the Kim John Payne CD that I have sent home prior to our call. You can download the Skype application on your computer at skype.com. Skype allows you to chat with up to 25 people at once and we can all see each other. Thank you for participating in this very important work. We can not do it without your help! Together we can help the children grow in these essential capacities which they need to forge healthy harmonious relationships in school and for life.
Our celebration of Martainmas (AKA: the Lantern Walk) will be held on Thursday, November 10th at 6:30 PM in Bonner Hall. This festival presents us with an opportunity to cultivate reverence within ourselves and our children. Our society seems so short on wonder and reverence these days. We need it now more than ever. To honor this mood, please enter Bonner Hall silently and keep the silence until we begin singing together. A separate email will go home about the festival. And we will soon be sending home the music packet. Please ask your child to sing these songs with you so that you can familiarize yourself with them before Martainmas; this way you will be able to sing with your child on our Lantern walk.
Thank you to Christie Negri and Shira Magal who have done the laundry for us! Remember, we love to work as a team to fold it, so it’s not necessary for you to do that part. And thanks to the Richards, Comerfords and Sohols for the lovely contributions from nature for our Nature Table. Remember the point is the act of getting out in nature with your child… cultivating reverence and wonder for the beauty of nature and the act of giving generously to beautify our classroom.
If you still need to sign-up for doing Laundry or bringing in items for the Nature Table, please do so. I am attaching a photo of the sign up sheets so you can see what dates are still available. Thank you!
We teachers look forward to celebrating Halloween with the first, second and third grade students on the afternoon of Halloween. I hope you received the letter that I sent home. Please remember to keep the costume simple so your child can get in and out of it easily. Send it to school in a bag (please do not send your child to school “in-costume”).
I hope you had a great weekend and a wonderful time at the Fall Fair!
Second Grade Newsletter #1
So far it has been a great start to the school year. What an adorable group of children we are blessed to have in our 2nd Grade Class! Excellent habits are being developed as our golden rules of kindness, truthfulness and acceptance are central to whatever we do. It warms my heart to see children joyfully playing together and making new friends with our new students. During main lesson the children are busy counting, adding, subtracting, and working the times tables, not to mention dancing, singing, knitting and drawing.
At recess, the children are especially enjoying playing in our new Imaginative Play Area! Ms. Davis has had students add some lovely plants into the beds. This week I saw children building fairy houses, grinding and banging with rocks, and “buying and selling” imaginary products using the big rocks the Richards family hauled from Montauk. I can’t even begin to thank Lisa and Rich Richards and Stephen Zuckerbrot enough! Rich for building the beds, both Lisa and Rich for buying and planting the plants, buying paint and painting the yellow house, hauling dirt, and hauling stumps. And to Stephen for building the new playhouse, which is a great work in progress that the children are gently using for now. This truly is a wonderful gift to the children! Thank you too, to Rosalind, Maria and Coleen (and children) for coming to help out on Labor day weekend. And thanks to John Comerford for hauling and delivering some great gigantic stumps!
Our Parent Evenings are scheduled for Thursday, September 29th, Tuesday, January 24th, and Wednesday, May 3rd, at 7 pm.
Third Grade Newsletter #3
The third grade is half way through their mathematics block and they have mastered many new concepts including long multiplication with a six-digit and two-digit numbers that include carrying. Because of their hard work, the children are proficient in long multiplication without remainders. The class has also been successful in finding patterns in numbers and finding missing numbers in sequences. We completed a one week review of place value where the children demonstrated their ability to read and write numbers up to a hundred million and define what each digit represents numerically. Currently, the third graders are reciting their times tables backwards and forwards each day. We have completed the 6 times tables, and are moving into our 7s, 8s, and 9s. The children are very excited to reach each goal! You can support your child at home by allowing them to recite the tables backwards and forwards out loud to you. Next week, we will begin learning about the measurements of length, weight, and distance. The third graders have made excellent progress in their math skills and are rapidly and enthusiastically progressing.
After our mathematics block, the third grade will begin a language arts block which will incorporate stories from the Old Testament. The children will be building their independent writing skills throughout this block by reviewing stories with their own writing. Spelling will also be strengthened through this experience. Students will be asked to write paragraphs of up to five sentences based on their recall of details from the Old Testament stories presented. Daily retelling will help the children develop clearer comprehension and reading skills will be strengthened through daily individual reading.
There will be a third grade class meeting on Wednesday, January 25th from 7:00-8:30 in the classroom. I will review our new homework routines for the second half of the school year. Please attend!
If you would like to see a video of the children playing the recorder, click here.
Thank you. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Third Grade Newsletter #2
After the third graders complete their language arts block that integrated Old Testament stories, they will begin their next mathematics block. This measurement block will give the children an opportunity to explore ancient and modern methods of measuring time and space. The children will discover why standard measurement is so valuable. In addition to measurement, the children will be working towards mastery of all times tables up to and including 12. They will be reciting the tables forwards, backwards, and out of order. This full mastery of the tables will support the children in solving division problems as well as long multiplication with two digit numbers. I look forward to sharing more about homework routines with you during our next parent meeting on January 25, 2017. I would also like to share that the third graders are reading the novel Farmer Boy and we are learning many new words through our reading. The children are writing independently in passages of four to five sentences, and their spelling skills have strengthened greatly as a result. Their progress is outstanding in all of these areas.
The children will be in a eurythmy presentation next Wednesday December 7th. Arrow to the Sun, a Pueblo Tale, which will be presented by grades 3-8 at the beginning of the Middle & High School Concert at 7pm. We will be having a dress rehearsal on Tuesday December 6th at 1pm.
In French, the third grade has been learning the names of various foods and meals. We have also been discussing our individual preferences regarding different meals.
The third grade students learned embroidery and worked with determination to use the running stitch to create a waving pattern on the edge of a felt circle. We walked the form, drew it large on the chalkboard and then practiced on paper until they were ready to bring it to their felt. The stitched it without drawing a line on the felt and this required a great deal of focus. It is a challenging exercise as they are creating a curved line with straight stitches. We have begun to crochet and they are excited to be working with yarn again. They easily mastered the chain stitch and will begin working with single crochet next week. Crochet is exciting as it is more fluid than knitting and once the children are confident in their stitches their creativity will allow them to make many things from their own imaginations.
Third Grade Newsletter #1
The third grade began the school year with a mathematics block focusing on time and money. The children learned how to identify the different values attributed to each coin and to add up various combinations of coins. After each child was clear about the coin’s the value, they practiced subtraction by making change in a classroom store where the children had to decide what combinations of objects they would be able to purchase with a starting sum of money. This was a perfect opportunity to practice subtraction through a real world simulation. In this math block, the children also practiced telling time, coupled with adding and subtracting various spans of time from an original start time. Our final review of the block included long multiplication and long division. The children made beautiful progress with their skills over the course of the first math block.
Currently, the third grade is in a language arts block. This block uses the creation stories of the Old Testament to teach comprehension and writing skills. Each day of Creation is represented by a painting and written passages. The children’s work will culminate in a bound book that will go home before the holidays. During this block, the children are writing independently for the first time, and learning how to compose full sentences and complete paragraphs. Their knowledge of sound blends, and correct spelling will increase greatly from this focused writing work. The rich Old Testament stories are reviewed each day, and the writing in their main lesson books is now built from their understanding of each story. The children have progressed in their handwriting from print to cursive. Daily reading from written work is helping to build the children’s reading fluency.
The class has been learning the names of different farm animals. We have also been practicing the story of the “Town Musicians of Bremen” to help with the animal names.
The class began the year learning dates and months of the calendar. We took a survey of all the students birth dates in order to practice saying dates out loud. In addition, with the changing season, we have begun to learn the names of various types of weather. For Halloween we had fun drawing objects as we learned their names and “putting” them in a cauldron. See photo.
Please note that during the week of Thanksgiving, the students will enjoy having Miss Dehan lead the class from Monday until Wednesday as I will be away due to a family commitment.
Fourth Grade Newsletter #2
Happy New Year!
Thank you all for the generous gift last month. I hope that all of you had a restful break and are moving through some very challenging weather with grace and ease.
Despite colds and coughs, the children have approached January with great vigor and interest.
We completed our work with fractions during the first week after the holiday break. The children explored fractions through word and number problems including stories involving division (a precursor to decimals). We continue to do daily practice with math facts which include multiplication, so please continue to work with your child throughout the week. One night per week, the children will be given an arithmetic fact sheet for homework.
Since the fall, the children have been working on writing book reports. They are currently reading The Tale of Despereaux. When the first draft of their writing is complete, it is submitted, corrected, and returned. Students then use the corrected version to write a second draft.
Our current main lesson block is Norse Mythology. The children are riveted by the tales of giants and magical gods. Through these myths, the children will be developing their skills in retelling stories verbally and in written form, drawing, character analysis, and role-playing.
Also within our language arts curriculum, the class receives an average of 12 spelling words per week which they are instructed to write in sentences for homework (a few a night from Mon-Wed). The children end the week by studying on Thursday night for a weekly spelling test each Friday. In addition, the children are learning to read and write poetry related to our curriculum or the seasons. We look forward to publishing our first set of works in the coming weeks.
I am very sorry to have cancelled our last parent meeting last. I was feeling too ill to lead it. I will announce the new date shortly.
Please continue to send healthy snacks/lunches to school and have your child prepared for the weather with layers and waterproof attire when necessary. Also please remember that completing daily homework (including an adult signature) and instrument practice (around 30 minutes) are essential components to a solid foundation for future academic and artistic success. Developing good habits through clearly communicated and reinforced expectations is vital to the process. Please join me with your continued support as we transition the children to the next level of skill development.
I look forward to seeing you soon. Stay warm and well!
The 4th grade has been working on their writing skills. We have been writing letters and sending them to our 3rd grade French students to help them develop their reading comprehension.
Fourth Grade Newsletter #1
The Fourth Grade had a terrific time at Glen Brook. During main lesson the children first worked in groups to learn their lines. They were in all different areas of the main house and they worked with great focus the entire time. We then came together and they ran through the whole play and several of the children had learned some of their lines and everyone read beautifully. They are developing a sense for the characters that they are playing. And are an incredible group of actors.
We then left for Gap Mountain and the anticipation had been palpable since the time we awoke. The bus ride was filled with excitement in their louder than usual voices. The climb up Gap Mountain was challenging at times and filled with songs and a bit of slipping and sliding. Despite these challenges all of the children and chaperones made it to the TOP! There we ate a yummy lunch that the children prepared and packed and then we headed DOWN. (Which was just as challenging as the ascent.) The children supported one another the entire hike and I was proud of everyone’s achievement.
Back at Glen Brook they had a good rest and had free time or did chores. At dinner we celebrated Lyra-Anne’s 10th birthday with spaghetti for her (long noodles are a tradition in Chinese culture) penne (for those of us not celebrating a birthday) turkey bolognese sauce, hearty garlic
bread, salad and roasted brussel sprouts. We then sang Happy Birthday and ate delicious cupcakes.
After dinner we did our chores, dressed warmly and enjoyed a dynamic campfire outing which included sings and skits performed by counsellors and chaperones. (This teacher and class had quite the treat tonight!)
It was a pleasure to spend time with your children at Glenbrook and I hope you look forward to hearing their firsthand accounts of their special time here.
Fifth Grade Newsletter #4
We are currently in a math block, working on dividing decimals and converting fractions to decimals and vice-versa. We just finished our first North American Geography block. The children created a wonderful display on the board outside the classroom: they brought in photographs of the various places in North America they visited and drew a map. Then, they learned, with my help, to indicate the geographical regions pictured in the photos. At the same time, they learned about Chinese New Year and created a Chinese Lion on a bulletin board in the hallway. The Lion scares away evil and ill-fortune so that the new year brings only good things. Under Mrs. Wenjun Zhang’s tutelage, the children also drew beautiful calligraphy characters wishing everyone a happy new year with many blessings. Please stop by and see their good work.
We also had a wonderful Lunar New Year celebration on January 27th, New Year’s Eve. During main lesson we made special dumplings and ate them for snack. In the afternoon we practiced calligraphy and sang New Year’s songs in Chinese. We are practicing a “circ du soleil” style gymnastics routine with Mrs. Solomon and we presented a Chinese New Year’s story at the February assembly.
Because we like celebrating and helping others, the class made, with the help of Mrs. Ver Pault’s community service group, over 50 valentines to be given to seniors in nursing homes. A graduate of our school, Alena Jones, conceived this project to bring a little cheer to people who otherwise might not get any mail at all. She delivered the valentines on February 14th. We are grateful that we were asked to join in this project and we had fun!
Fifth Grade Newsletter #3
The fifth grade has finished their their decimal block and has started learning about Ancient Egypt. The Children have been working hard on drawings and writing of original compositions. In addition we have worked on numerous special projects including paper stained “glass” windows, and the stockings that were sent to the soldiers near the end of December.
Other projects our class has been working on include: painted winter trees, Egyptian seals (both clay and papyrus), clay pyramids, cartouches and more. We even held our own secret Santa will exclusively homemade gifts.
The class has had a great time working with our movement teacher, Ms. Polly Solomon learning many exciting circus mainstay acts. Some of the tricks our class has been learning include stilt walking and unicycle riding. The class has really been enjoying these.
The 5th grade did a good deed. Last month on a morning walk, I noticed a 20 ft branch of a Norway Maple had fallen on two young trees: the small pine was planted on Michaelmas and a young white birch that was planted in honor of Tracy Worthy’80. Using loppers, pruning saws, pruning clippers, and other tools, the 5th grade cut the larger branch into smaller pieces so we could lift it off the young trees. Then we cleared the area and stored the wood for later use in our St. John’s fire pole.
Fifth Grade Newsletter #2
The fifth grade has finished their first block in Ancient Cultures. We covered Ancient India, Ancient Persia, Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient China. We learned about the gifts each culture has given modern civilization and some of the prominent historical figures in each culture and drew beautiful maps of each of these areas. We also discovered that the 7th grade was also learning about these same places albeit in a modern context. We created a beautiful display from both classes, Which you are welcome to see on the bulletin board near the library.
Currently we are in the second week of our math block. We have begun to review what we know about decimals (which is quite a bit because of money). We have also been reviewing fractions since the beginning of the year. We are preparing to take our first math quiz of the year after Thanksgiving.
The festival life of the class began with the making of Diva lamps to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light. The children made and decorated clay lamps in the traditional Indian style.
The 5th grade is presenting a piece of music representing Ancient Persia and Ancient India at the Thanksgiving Assembly. Please join us so you have the opportunity to hear us.
The 5th Grade has been working on the conjugation of the verbs avoir and ètere. We have also been practicing making sentences with those verbs.
The children are excited to return to knitting and have been reminding their hands of the stitches while our newer students have been working hard to master the knit and purl stitches. The children enjoyed hand painting their sock yarn and each child created a beautiful multi-colored skein and a smaller solid colored skein. They blended yellow, blue, turquoise and/or red with care and every child’s skein is as unique as they are. We have just started our work with knitting in the round and in the next weeks they will be tasked with following a detailed pattern to form their socks.
Fifth Grade Newsletter #1
The 5th Grade has had an exciting first two weeks at School. With an early trip to Camp Glen Brook in New Hampshire, we had an opportunity to tie together the concepts learned in the classroom with the environment we would be exploring at Glen Brook.
At Glen Brook, the children harvested corn for the pigs and corn for the table (two distinct types of corn); they weeded the garden and harvested squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes for us to eat. The children greatly enjoyed working in the garden with Farmer Sadie here at Glen Brook.
Main Lesson – Botany
We began the year studying botany in the classroom and we continued at Glen Brook where we did Meadow Mapping, a scientific survey of a part of Gazebo Meadow. We worked in pairs using hula hoops and Field Study Kits (containing: a clipboard, a centimeter stick, a large glass jar, colored pencils, regular pencils, a magnifying glass, and, sheets for recording data). We recorded our position in the line. Then we looked closely at the grass and checked off facts we could easily see, such as color etc. When we had filled in the data sheet for grass we drew as accurately as possible a picture of an individual clump of grass in our circle. Lastly we dropped a small colored hair tie with a diameter of 3cm over a clump of grasses and counted each blade inside the ring. Then we multiplied that number by a number figured out for us by Mrs. Stemkowski, our Middle School Science Teacher, and estimated the number of grass blades in our entire hoop. Once we were done with the grass data sheet we observed animals and insects on another data sheet and finally other non-grass plants in our circle. We did not keep any of the bugs we found we only used the jars to keep them in until we had drawn them. It was a long but very satisfying main lesson. We will repeat this study at School and compare the two different environments.
We also participated in “Meet Your Tree” which was really fun. We worked with the same partners as in Meadow Mapping, with one partner blindfolded and the second acting as the guide. The guide led the blindfolded person to a tree, and was asked specific questions about the tree study the physical characteristics of different trees. It was a wonderful experiment, and the students all took it quite seriously.
In addition to our main lesson work, we helped stockpile wood in the main house for the coming winter. In the lake, the children have had a lot of fun swimming, boating and fishing. We also played a giant soccer game with Mr. Koubel against the counselors and Gap Year Groupers. Our team played very well and had a blast. On Thursday we climbed Mt. Monadnock and later sat around the campfire by the lake singing songs and telling stories.
The year has gotten off to a terrific start and I am excited for all the adventures we will have as a class this year. If you want to see more photos from our time at Glen Brook website or Facebook page. I hope all your children have enjoyed the first two weeks as much as I have and I look forward to keeping you updated on all fifth grade activates.
Sixth Grade Newsletter #4
In February, the 6th grade had great timing for their Weather Main Lesson block. Winter Storm Niko provided a good opportunity to learn about blizzards and nor’easters. We kept track of the weather by recording daily weather reports. We also studied clouds and discovered Luke Howard, the English chemist who invented the current names for describing clouds. We learned about freezing rain and all precipitation, as well as warm and cold fronts. Thank you to Mr. Rhoads who put up our new 5 part weather station. The Waldorf School of Garden City now has a barometer, hydrometer, weather vane, thermometer and rain gauge to help us track the weather on our campus.
Sixth Grade Newsletter #3
In December’s Geology and Mineralogy Main Lesson Block, the 6th grade studied the formation of planet Earth using the collection of rocks and minerals, including great samples of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, in the classroom. We have studied crystals, especially quartz, and learned how quick or slow-cooling of volcanic material has a dramatic impact on crystal formation. Diamonds form miles below ground, and it takes thousands or millions of years to finally bring them to the surface. The 6th graders had an experience of geologic time, in which millions of years and not hours, days or weeks, are the usual way of measuring gradual changes in planet Earth. We have seen that everything on the earth’s surface today will eventually be recycled back down again in the rock cycle, over millions of years. Many students brought in samples of fossils, such as trilobites and ammonites, which represent the explosion of life in the warm seas that covered earth in the cambrian time period about 500 million years ago.
Now in January the 6th grade is in their European Geography Main Lesson Block, using Geology to understand how the mountains and rivers of Europe have formed. We have also studied the nations of Europe, including the 22 new countries formed after the break up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. There are more than 60 languages spoken in Europe and, if you ask a 6th grader, they can tell you which are the Germanic, Slavic, Celtic or Romance languages based on our study of root words.The 6th graders have researched and are reporting on 20 of the 51 nations of Europe. The class has drawn maps, flags and picturesque scenes from France, Malta, Romania, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland and many more. They have tasted Scottish Shortbread, Pasties from England and Cheese Fondue from Switzerland.
In February they will begin the Meteorology Main Lesson Block. Lessons will examine the four seasons and the role of the Sun as the creator of weather. We will be studying clouds and weather maps in order to learn how to begin predicting tomorrow’s weather.
The 6th Grade has also been busy learning the art of Calligraphy. Specifically, we have been practicing the Gothic and Italic alphabets.
Please take a moment to read Mrs. Ver Ecke’s special message from December’s Holiday Assembly!
The 6th Grade has been busy studying the conjugation of -er verbs as well as the others in the present tense. We have also learned how to express the things that we do and do not do. Finally we learned a song about conjugating the three different groups of verbs.
Sixth Grade Newsletter #2
6th Grade has been studying Ancient Rome and shared ambitious and exciting building and drawing projects with each other. Stop by the library and see the amazing display of Roman temples, aqueducts, domes, bridges, villas, lighthouses, roads and basilicas! Ask a 6th Grader what the secret ingredient in the Ancient Roman concrete mixture is – you might be surprised to learn why Roman concrete is vastly superior to our modern day equivalent and has withstood the test of time 2000 years later!
Our November main lesson block was complemented by reading The Bronze Bow, an award-winning novel by Elizabeth George Speare. Here we have come to understand how love triumphs over hate as Jewish freedom fighters struggle to overcome Roman rule in their province of Judea. We have concluded this first of two blocks on Rome by studying the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Now we are headed into a look at the Earth’s minerals and gemstones as we take a journey to the center of our Earth, a nice complement to October’s Astronomy studies at Camp Glen Brook!
6th grade is also learning Circus Arts with Mrs. Solomon. Juggling, unicycling, balance beam, and stilt-walking are becoming part of the 6th grade skill set!
With the good help of Music teacher, Mr. Fallu, 6th grade is also forming a recorder ensemble. We have added alto, tenor and bass recorders to our soprano section. Holiday songs are providing a welcome repertoire to begin our new, more complex and beautiful recorder playing.
The 6th Grade has been learning poems written by Jaques Prevert, as well as the song “depeche toi.”
The 6th grade students have been exploring elephants in preparation for sewing felt stuffed animal versions. We have drawn and sculpted and have now begun to create unique patterns from their own work. They are beautifully meeting the challenge of transforming two dimensional materials into a three dimensional form.
The 6th grade has been reviewing school rooms in as well as the conjugation of regular verbs. Despite missing many classes due to days off from school, we did learn a new song.
Sixth Grade Newsletter #1
September saw 6th Grade working hard on Geometrical Drawing in main lesson, using new compasses and straightedges to divide the circle into 3, 4, 6, 8 and 12 divisions. We then used these skills to create a beautiful thread design on foam core board. Many of these projects glowed with a colorful three dimensional quality that revealed the hidden presence of squares, triangles, and hexagons. Our artistic and mathematical experiences are deepened with the aid of math teacher, Mrs. Reyes, and we are now exploring the world of numbers and pre-algebra in a new way.
Sixth Grade spent many hours with Mrs Ver Ecke preparing for their annual portrayal of the Michaelmas dragon. The celebration was a fine experience of teamwork and timing, like that of 20 puppet masters inside a great puppet. As 6th grader, Emma Ginsberg said, “We practiced being the dragon, but on Michaelmas we were the dragon.”
October brought the trip to Camp Glen Brook and a focus on Astronomy. We had two clear evenings of star gazing with telescopes and a visit to the local Perkins Observatory at the Dublin School, nearby. During our study of the stars, 6th grade has pondered the mysteries of space, such as black holes, comets, eclipses and the effect of the sun and moon on planet Earth. Astronomy reports were researched in library class, with the help of Mrs. Loeven, and the students reported on such topics as the Kuiper and Asteroid Belts, Dwarf Planets, the moons of Saturn and Jupiter and much more.
Now the class is beginning the study of Ancient Rome, with the founding of the civilization by Aeneas, from the ashes of the Trojan War. We are taking up the questions of the character and personality of those early leaders and coming to understand how their qualities define the nature of a entire eras of human history.
The 6th grade has been learning practicing and improving their understanding of numbers in French. They have been using this to learn how to tell and track time as well.
We have been learning the names of the various rooms around a school in German. We have also been reviewing and deepening our understand of grammar and verb conjugations
Seventh Grade Newsletter #4
On Monday, March 20, 2017, we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a tour of Islamic Art. This topic connected with both the Renaissance main lesson and the upcoming main lesson on Geometry. The main lesson for February and March has been Renaissance II and Discovery; the final exam was on Wednesday, March 15, and the main lesson books were due on Friday, March 17. Each student completed a research project on an explorer, creating a personal diary of the explorer’s life and journeys. We had the pleasure of learning about Ireland from Shane Flanagan and about the coast of Chile and the Strait of Magellan from Andrea Crozier.
Beginning March 21, I have been teaching the main lesson, Geometry, with a focus on the Golden Mean and the Pythagorean Theorem. In English we are reading the novel, Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher; the students are reading 75 pages each week and having regular quizzes. In April we will begin reading I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino. In the extra craft class, students are creating their puppets and working on the script in preparation for the puppet shows on May 25 and May 26. On Thursday and Friday, March 16-17, during main lesson class, we had a guest puppeteer, Nathaniel Williams, who led drama exercises and games.
The students learned how simple movements of the body can show particular emotions when accompanied by expressive narration. We are looking forward to completing our puppets in April, so that we can begin rehearsals and learn how to play our marionettes.
On February 10th, we traveled to New York City for the Waldorf Middle School Dance hosted by the Steiner School.The amazing venue, dynamic DJ, delicious food and camaraderie of the students made for a fun night in the city. Green Meadow Waldorf School plans to host the middle school students to one more dance this year…more info to come.
On April 3rd, we will visit the Hempstead Plains preserve near Nassau Community College to plant native milkweed as a community service project.We There we will continue to work with Dr. Betsy Gulotta, a biology professor and naturalist.
On April 25th we will take a field trip to the New York Botanical Gardens to experience the wonderful Chihuly exhibit in a natural setting.
Seventh Grade Newsletter #3
Happy New Year and best wishes for 2017!
On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, we had a fun field trip to the New York Hall of Science in Queens. We began with a program called “Forensic Frenzy”—the students had to figure out who had committed a crime using evidence from fingerprints, ink and fibers. Then after we deciphered a secret message, there was time for lunch and free time to look around. There were exhibits and hands-on activities about light, colors, construction, magnets, math, bubbles, the science of sports and more. Some of these topics will be explored further in science and sustainability classes during the second semester.
The main lesson for January has been Algebra with Ms. Reyes, and it will finish up on January 27th. Beginning January 30th, I will be teaching the main lesson, Renaissance II, with a focus on science, the Reformation, exploration and Elizabethan England. In English we are reading Beware, Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer; the students are reading six chapters each week and having regular quizzes. In February we will begin reading The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood. In the extra craft class, students have been making masks; we will begin constructing our puppets this month in preparation for the puppet shows on May 25 and May 26.
In December the main lesson was Renaissance I. The students learned about the development of humanism, Renaissance Italian art and the Medici system of banking.
Ms. Diane Haley instructed the students on drawing portraits, and the final projects were amazing. For the holiday assembly, the 7th grade sang the Motet, Cum Decore, a polyphonic form of Renaissance music. For our December field trip, we visited the Hempstead Plains preserve near Nassau Community College and learned about this endangered ecosystem from Dr. Betsy Gulotta, a biology professor and naturalist. In the spring we plan to return to Hempstead Plains to plant native Milkweed and to remove invasive plant species.
Our February field trip to New York City will include a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of the American Indian.On February 10th, we will ride the train into the city, and students will have the option to stay in the city for the middle school dance hosted by the Steiner Waldorf School.
For the Martin Luther King, Jr. middle school holiday program, several of the 7th grade students gave dramatic presentations from Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous speech from April 4, 1967 called, ” A Time to Break Silence.” We closed the program with the song, “We Shall Overcome,” accompanied by violin and piano.
We look forward to learning more about the civil rights period in the month of February.
Seventh Grade Newsletter #4
As we approach our Thanksgiving break, the 7th graders are finishing up their Physiology main lesson with Ms. Stemkoski. Our reading for the month of November is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, which ties in to our study of nutrition and food. After Thanksgiving we will begin the main lesson on the Renaissance Period and begin reading the book, “Homeless Bird” by Gloria Whelan.
In October, the main lesson was Chemistry (specifically the study of fire and acid/bases) with Ms. Stemkoski. In English, the students prepared animal reports on mammals, birds, reptiles, and butterflies that live in the Sanjay Gandhi Nature Park in Mumbai, India. In their craft class with Ms. Crozier, they made felted wool models of these animals. One student modeled a bird out of wax. The class presentations included colorful artwork, posters and interesting descriptions of these unique creatures.
Our reading in October was “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan, a poignant story about an orphan who finds her way with the help of strangers. In the art classes the students are finishing up their moccasins, clay columns and stone carvings. In the extra craft class, they have been making copper bowls. The topics for the Sustainability and Science classes have been water use, the water cycle and the creation of a vortex.
Our week in Glen Brook and at Heifer International for the Coming of Age trip provided opportunities for building relationships, doing community projects, learning new skills, and plenty of time for all kinds of games. This year each student had a “solo sit in the woods” for 2-3 hours. This was a challenge to be still and open to the sounds and sights of the natural world. We are grateful to the GAPers at Glen Brook who created an amazing Haunted Trail Walk for our Halloween celebration.
With the beautiful fall weather, the students have enjoyed their morning Physical Education classes, recess soccer games and nature trail walks. They continue to have early morning classes in Movement and Eurythmy along with Physical Education. We look forward to trying out the school’s new solar oven in their gardening class over the next few weeks.
The 7th grade harvested potatoes and various herbs and that we could make special homemade mashed potatoes with our new solar cooker!(see photo)
Seventh Grade Newsletter #1
The 7th grade has begun the school year enjoying the new schedule changes and the academic challenges of middle school. We begin our days with movement and dedicate more class time to math, arts and Handwork. Our first two field trips were both exciting and informative.
The first Friday of the school year we sailed the Hudson River on the Clearwater Sloop where we learned about the river’s ecosystems and history. Once the students raised the sails they were divided into groups that went to different “learning stations” on the boat. They discovered how a watershed works, what animals live in the river, and how to steer the boat. They also spent time below deck to get a better understanding of how people live on a sailboat. Clearwater was founded by a group including the musician Pete Seeger. The boat was modeled after a sloop that was built and used on the Hudson River 200 years ago. It was used by a group looking to raise awareness about pollution. Read more here. After docking the students were treated to Italian Ices by the parents. It was a lovely day and full of learning.
Main lesson – Asian Geography
The students have been learning about the Jordan River Valley and the restored marshes of Iraq. The students will continue their studies of Eastern Asia with a focus on Mongolia, China, and India. As part of this block we will be doing Chinese painting and calligraphy. During our study of India, the students will be completing reports on the various mammals, birds, and reptiles that live in the Sanjay-Gandhi National Park in Mumbai.
On Wednesday, we had a Skype conversation with a Waldorf teacher who works with children that live in the National Park. We are now working on a short film to introduce ourselves to her students in Mumbai. In addition we have been very fortunate to have Ms. MaryBeth Thomas teaching the students Hindu chants with Dr. Dale Stuckenbruck playing the sitar.
Our Hudson River experience along with our Asian Geography block supports the general theme of sustainability studies this fall, as we learn more about the water cycle and observe river and coastal systems. On Thursday September 22nd, we traveled to the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center where we explored the bayside of Jones Beach. Led by two naturalists who works at the center, students studied the geological and natural history as well as the ecosystem of the bay. We will continue to have monthly field trips throughout the year exploring the rich, natural areas of Long Island. We also are planning a field trip to NYC in the spring to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In October, we will move into our Chemistry Main Lesson with Ms. Stemkoski.
The students are in the midst of reading The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson. It is a historical novel that takes place during the late eighteenth century in Osaka, Japan. The students are reading about 45 pages a week. They are also improving their composition skills by practicing in class.
Students are divided into 3 groups for Art, Woodwork and Handwork class. During each trimester, student will have either: soft stone carving with Mr. Somers, moccasin making with Ms. Crozier, and black and white perspective drawing with Ms. Metz. In our Friday Craft class, the students are making candles for their Chemistry main lesson and felting animals. Each student is researching a specific animal that lives in the Sanjay-Gandhi National Park (from the previously mentioned project) and felting it.
In an effort to get students up and moving prior to each Main Lesson they are having Physical Education, Movement and Eurythmy lessons first thing in the morning four days a week. The students enjoy the new schedule and it has helped to enliven the more academic discussions that follow. This fall they have Physical Education twice a week, Movement once a week, and Eurythmy once a week.
Our first few weeks of school have been full of excitement and new rhythms. The students are motivated, eager, and I have noticed how they are respectful of each other. It has been a great start and I look forward to the year ahead.
October and November have been two very busy months for the eighth grade. We finished the first part of our History block with an unexpected visit from John Adams! He came to describe all of the squabbling within the Continental Congress, the writing of the Declaration of Independence, and the responsibilities of being the second President of the United States of America.
Then, we experienced living off the land with the 7th grade during our Coming of Age Trip to Glen Brook and Heifer International. Our adventure began with “trick or treating” on the Glen Brook property for homemade candy apples, truffles, donuts and many other treats. Then it was off to a spooky walk around the dark lake where ghost and goblins awaited along the path. Along with chopping wood and cooking outdoors over a wood fire, the students completed a “solo” where they stayed alone in the woods for three hours to face the elements of nature. A trip to Heifer International completed their experience by immersing them into the cultures of Tibet (complete with Yak milk) and Poland, and learning about the Appalachian Trail.
Upon our return, we began our study of Human Anatomy. Charlie, our resident skeleton, was on hand to teach us about the bones. The students composed music and created wonderful lyrics that included the names of human bones. They sculpted their hands out of clay and learned how hard our feet and spine work to not only stand but to walk and balance. The organs of the eye and ear were also studied.
As you know, we have been continuing our weekly field trips. On our trip to Old Westbury Gardens, we met the Philips family through their letters and artifacts. We replanted oysters in Oyster Bay at the Waterfront Center and we spent time at the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Laboratory. Read more about our adventures on our blog: Living Labratory!
Finally, we recently began our Organic Chemistry block with Mrs. Stemkoski.
The 8th Grade has been reviewing conjugations of regular verbs in depth, and has been practicing expressing hobbies and chores.
Eighth Grade Newsletter #1
As you know, students are enjoying themselves each Friday during their “Living Laboratory” trips. This has been a tremendous success so far. You can read updates and see photos each Friday afternoon on our news blog on our website.
Main Lesson – Revolution!
From crops to kings, the eighth grade began the year learning how changes in agriculture practices led to people migrating to cities, new lands across the ocean, establishing new governments and breaking ties with old regimes. The students traveled through about 400 years of development from colonization to revolution, learning how the British colonists faced the challenges of a adjusting to new environment and creating a new way of life with their religions and new government. Through the eyes of Abagail Adams and John Adams the students saw families, towns and cities take sides between the loyalist British colonists and the Patriots, culminating in a fight for independence between the Redcoats and the Rebels that ultimately ended with the drafting the US Constitution. The students read Abagail Adams, an Witness to a Revolution by Natalie Bober and The American Revolutionaries by Milton Meltzer. They also listened to the Broadway Soundtrack of Hamilton. The students are continuing to practice their note taking skills using the Cornell Method and they have written four five-paragraph essays and a newspaper article on an historic event. Through this activity, the students learned on-line research skills, practiced their typing skills and learned a few formatting features in Microsoft Word. (Click for more photos)
At the advent of adolescents, the eighth graders are undergoing a rapid transformation both physically and emotionally. Studying the transformation of human consciousness through history mirrors students’ own emotional and developmental changes. The idea behind the Waldorf History Curriculum is to acknowledge their tumultuous clash of internal forces by matching it with the study of historical periods defined by revolution and rebellion–the Age of Revolution and the Evolution of Human Rights.
8th graders finished and retold a story/fable in their own words. They are working on modal verbs, “now” descriptors and a picture story.
Students are working with a partner to write and perform skits that include dialogue about meeting up with and having conversations with friends (i.e. “let’s go to the movies at 7:00pm”) Conversations include meeting times, likes, dislikes, etc.