Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Ms. Cather's Class
Weekly Update - March 6, 2020

Announcements:

Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences: March 12-13

I am looking forward to our conversations together! Please plan to bring your 6th grader along. They will join us for the final portion of the conference. They may want to bring a book to read while they wait. Sign up here if you haven’t already.

 

Eurythmy Parent/Guardian Education Opportunity

3/19/2020 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Come and meet our visiting Eurythmist, Mark Ebersole. The evening will begin with light refreshments and time to introduce yourself to Mark, he will then talk a little bit about Eurythmy before transitioning to the Eurythmy to get moving.

Eurythmy is a cornerstone of Waldorf education and there is no better way to start understanding it than doing it!

Please RSVP by emailing Sophie Baumgartner at sophie.baumgartner@urbanprairie.org.

Kitchen Update and Education Events
Nutrient dense and farm to fork. Come learn about the methods and philosophy behind our Urban Prairie Community Kitchen project. RSVP to Janine Farzin.
Tuesday, March 10, 7:00 pm
Monday, May 4, 7:00 pm

Our Virtue of the Month for March is patience. This week, the 6th graders exhibited a lot of patience in their art work and their time with their buddies in 1st grade. They were also led through the very patient work of editing and revising their work multiple times before arriving at a final draft!

Virtues Home Activity

This year we have been learning about the Virtues of Chivalry, as part of our upcoming block on Early Medieval History.  Teaching about virtues also meets the 6th grader on an important developmental level. In her book, Tending the Spark: Lighting the Future for Middle School Students, author Betty Staley writes: “It is during this time of vulnerability that we focus on character development, to nourish the souls of middle-schoolers and prepare for the civilizing mind,” (p. 47). (She earlier defines the “civilizing mind” as one in which “values of morality, empathy, and compassion can guide thinking, feeling, and action”). 

It is with such character development in mind that in November we started focusing on a Virtue of the Month. We have held class discussions around these virtues and done a lot of journaling about them. I have also tried to bring the virtues in an implicit way through stories in their Morning Lesson blocks, as well as class readers such as Wonder and Hidden Figures.  The virtues we have focused on thus far are:

Nov: Honesty

Dec:  Kindness

Feb: Bravery

Mar: Patience

Now I am reaching out to you for your help and involvement!  Please take some time to talk about and complete questionnaire I sent home with your 6th grader.  It is important that this work is truly done together, and is not rushed, so the due date is not until Tuesday, March 10.  When your 6th grader comes in for part of our Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conference on March 12/13, we will use this questionnaire as part of our discussion.  

Time with First Graders

The 6th graders were called on to spend time with the 1st grade class on two different occasions this week, as their teacher was absent and they needed some extra helping hands.  We went in to read to the 1st grade class on Wednesday, and then went outside to play with them on Thursday.  Before going downstairs, we talked about being role models. The 6th graders truly stepped up and were so present and sweet with their first grade buddies! I believe that these types of visits and interactions are mutually beneficial, and many 6th graders came up to me afterward with funny stories and positive impressions of their time with their younger schoolmates. Rest assured, I will be finding more opportunities in the future for us to be with them!

 

Morning Lesson

This week, the 6th graders continued their Physics block with Ms. Pearl. They learned about magnetism and did a lot of work on their writing. They worked hard to develop drafts, edit, revise, and bring their best work forward with their final copies. Ms. Pearl is guiding them well and holding them to the high expectations they so need.

Skills Classes

In Math Skills class, we focused on Metric Measurement this week. The students looked at measurement conversions and compared quantities using different units. We also played a game to practice comparing fractions and did review problems in their math workbook.

In Language Arts skills, the 6th graders practiced spelling words with ar and or. We also read from Hidden Figures and discussed our reading.

Our Artistic class was really something special this week. The 6th graders did charcoal drawings of geometric solids. The lights were out, and a single lamp illuminated the room. They worked in silence to draw the figures and find the spaces of light and dark, as well as all of the spaces in between. In their work, I noticed a marked improvement from the charcoal drawings we did a couple of months ago! Their shading is much more nuanced and sophisticated. They have learned to work better with the charcoal as well.  Please see the pictures of their fantastic work below.