Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Ms. Cather's Class
Weekly Update - May 17, 2019

Of course the upcoming Pentathlon is on everyone’s mind right now! The 5th graders have been preparing for this all year. I feel both excited and honored to make this journey with them.


Upcoming Events

  • Pentathlon, May 20-22
  • Jumpathon, May 23
  • Records Day, no school May 24
  • Memorial Day, no school May 27
  • Cirque de la Prairie, May 31


Every year the students look forward to Spirit Week and Jumpathon, and it’s right around the corner!  Spirit Week is our fun student celebration lead-up to Jumpathon. The 5th graders will unfortunately not be in school Monday-Wednesday, but if you have other grade students, then they can wear the following next week:

Monday = Tie-dye or UPWS T-shirt

Tuesday = Pajamas

Wednesday = Wacky Wednesday (kids dress as silly as they want–crazy hair, backwards shirts, etc.  Just make sure they can still do class work and movement)

Thursday = Wear your color-team color and bring a jump rope for the Jumpathon!  We’ll be jumping for an hour before lunch.


I want to emphasize that it is important for them to bring their own jump ropes and water bottles to the Jumpathon. They can label them at home, or I can label them at school.


Morning Lesson

This week the 5th graders learned the story of Narcissus and Echo, as well as continued to read from a children’s version of Homer’s The Iliad. We then shifted to Greek history, where they learned about the city-states of Athens and Sparta. They were very interested to learn about the militaristic training and lifestyle of the Spartans, as well as the cultural contributions of the Athenians. We had a guest speaker, as Mr. Cather came in to talk to the class about Socrates. He engaged them in Socratic dialogues, and also taught them about the word origins and meanings of many of the words we know today, such as dialogue, category (from the Greek marketplace, “Agora”), democracy, philosophy, apology.


They worked on writing odes all week. They selected a god or goddess from Greek mythology, and read stories about them. They then worked through many drafts to create odes that they will bring to the Pentathlon. I gave mini-lessons on poetry writing including word choice, line, breaks, and structure. It is a tradition at the Pentathlon that the 5th graders have the opportunity to read their odes aloud around the fire ring, and then burn the ode at the end in a gesture of sending it up to the heavens. They will also write copies of their odes in their Morning Lesson books.


Pentathlon Preparation

It has been really lovely to see how the whole school is holding and supporting the 5th graders at this critical moment. Many teachers wished them well, Ms. Kondrat spent extra time fielding their questions and talking to them about what to expect, Ms. Pearl was often visited by 5th graders who had questions, and Mr. Garcia spent time practicing the song “Glorious Apollo” with them this week, which they will sing with the other 5th graders when we gather together.  Mr. Garcia, a Waldorf student himself, also told the class a tender story about his experience at the Pentathlon when he was a 5th grader. The class listened so eagerly and attentively. I could tell that it was just what they needed.


Here’s to a wonderful experience for all at the 2019 Pentathlon!