Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Ms. Cather's Class
Weekly Update - February 2, 2019

Our week was somewhat truncated, due to the cold weather, but nonetheless I really enjoyed rejoining the 5th grade class for Morning Lesson, after my 3-week block with the Middle School.  I felt like I was able to bring a fresh perspective and renewed energy to our Morning lessons!

Upcoming Events


  • Chinese New Year:  Parents and guardians are welcome to attend this year’s Chinese New Year Assembly to welcome the Year of the Pig.  All classes will participate, and 3rd and 7th grade students will perform a pageant in Mandarin.


         Please arrive promptly by 2:15 pm if you would like to attend.

  • Midwinter Break:  February 16-23


  • 5th Grade Parent Night: Save the Date! We will meet on Wednesday, February 27, from 6:00-8:00 pm  in the 5th grade room. I hope to see you all there!



Morning Lesson

This week we began our next Ancient Civilizations block, in which we focus on Mesopotamia and Egypt. Originally, I had planned to spend one week on Mesopotamia, and the remaining two weeks on ancient Egypt. However, the mid-week days off prevented us from having a full week, so we will continue Mesopotamia into next week as well.

On Monday, the 5th graders heard the story of “The Land of Two Rivers,” about the fertile land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. They learned how the rivers, which spring from the mountains, carry rich soil into the otherwise semi-arid land, and deposit that soil in the floodplain of the river valley, where ancient people could plant and harvest crops such as barley, wheat, dates, and figs. They created maps of the Fertile Crescent in their Morning Lesson books.  On Tuesday they heard the ancient Mesopotamian creation story of Marduk and Tiamat, where the god Marduk defeats the fiery dragon goddess Tiamat, and creates the earth and the sky with Tiamat’s body. The students acted out parts of this story on Friday. On Friday, I began telling the epic of Gilgamesh.

Along with the story content, I will be working with the class on some grammar skills as well. This block, we will focus on:

  • Appositives
  • Parentheses
  • Colons
  • Semicolons
  • Dashes

We’ll look at these in an inquiry-based way, where the children will read sentences with these elements and be asked to comment on the differences in the ways they are used.

In addition to encouraging the class to use the above writing conventions in their own compositions, we will also work on writing paragraphs based on:

  • Main Characters
  • Setting, and
  • Descriptions

I’m really looking forward to this block!


Skills Classes

The winter cold took our Language Arts, Botany, and some of our Math Skills time this week, but we did have one Math class and a Painting class. In Math skills, we worked on converting fractions to decimals using long division. The 5th graders worked on this skill with partners after a whole-class lesson, and it was great to hear them talking through the process with a classmate. I want them to build up their procedural self-talk when it comes to multi-step math processes, and one way to get them in the habit of this is to have them verbalize what they are doing to a partner. In Painting class, we read a nonfiction text about Mesopotamian ziggurats, and then they painted a ziggurat.