Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Ms. Cather's Class
Weekly Update - January 10, 2020

Dear 6th grade families,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday season with your families. The 6th graders have had a really great first week back at school.

Upcoming Events

Part of how Urban Prairie honors the legacy of Dr. King is through service work. We encourage our community to take January 20th as a “day on” rather than a “day off”. Thomas and I will be helping out at the IU Health Pilsen Food Pantry from 11-1, so feel free to come and join us, or sign up for another service opportunity by clicking here:
  • IU Health Pilsen Food Pantry, 1713 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
Shift 1: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Shift 2: 1:00 – 3:00 pm
They are asking for a headcount by Monday so please sign up this weekend. Limited to 15 people, including children, per slot.
  • Urban Prairie Kitchen, 1310 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60608
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Come help with the final push to get our amazing kitchen ready!


In Gratitude

Thank you all so much for the generous gifts you gave me before the Winter Break! My heart is so warmed by your generosity. Thank you for thinking of me!


Morning Lesson

Ms. Pearl has been leading the 6th graders through their first Physics block this week, and I hear that it is going very well. Ms. Pearl and I check in daily, and she has had such glowing things to say about our 6th graders! She reports them to be attentive and very curious, asking great questions and being very engaged in class. The 6th graders themselves have been telling me about the experiments they have conducted in class related to sound, with glasses of water, pipes of different length, strings, spoons, and even a Chladni plate!  They have been writing about and discussing the ways they experience sound, as well as the different qualities that sound can have. More on this later from Ms. Pearl…

All of the middle school classes gather each morning for our verse, some stretching, and singing. This week, we have been learning the alto and bass parts for the familiar song “We Shall Overcome,” to supplement our discussions of Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement. I think that singing with the whole middle school is really helping the 6th graders to come out of their shells a bit and sing with more confidence, as they are surrounded by the more confident voices of their peers.

Skills Classes

In Math skills this week, the 6th graders learned to play the “Factors and Multiples game”, where they work together to try and cross as many numbers off of a hundreds chart as possible by following a chain of factors and multiples. Before the break, I noticed many 6th graders still struggling with fraction operations, so we revisited multiplying fractions and adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators. The students also reviewed fraction-to-decimal conversion, and problems with exponents.

In Language Arts, we reintroduced our spelling program Spellwell. The students worked with a spelling list this week, culminating in today’s activity of writing a story with all of their spelling words. The 6th graders really enjoyed creating silly, mysterious, and scary (so scary!) stories using their words, which was a great way to end our week of word study!

In Artistic class, we did a landscape drawing using a drawing technique called “Diagonal Shading,” a therapeutic technique for drawing through shading light and dark, rather than through hard outlines. I could tell that the technique was meeting them when the entire art class was spent in near-silence, with only the tap-tap-tap of their colored pencils echoing throughout the room. Their focus and determination–without the protests and chatter that I am used to at this time–was very moving.


Have a wonderful weekend. I’m crossing my fingers for SNOW!