Urban Prairie Waldorf School
Ms. Cather's Class
Weekly Update - November 1, 2019

Upcoming Events:

  • Thursday, Nov. 7: Dia de los Muertos Dinner and Dance

Don’t miss the second annual fundraiser hosted at the fabulous Folklore in Wicker Park. Get a sitter and plan to stay out late–there’s no school that Friday! Get your ticket here.

  • Friday, Nov. 8NO SCHOOL


  • Monday, Nov. 25-Tuesday, Nov. 26: Parent Teacher Conferences. Sign up here!


  • Saturday, Nov. 16, 9:30-12:oo Experience UP and Community Fair
The schedule is set for Experience UP, Nov. 16, 9:30-noon. Be a Waldorf student for a morning! Bring a curious friend or a wondering grandparent, and let them experience your child’s education first hand. Childcare available, $30.
  • Electromagnetism– Andi Pearl, Grade 7
  • Geometry in the Waldorf 5th and 6th grade – Megan Cather, Grade 6
  • Lower Grades Math – Amanda Poll, Grade 3
  • Higher Level Thinking: Women in Early America – Mat Riendeau, Grade 8
  • You, Too, Can Be a Pentathlete – Adriana Kondrat, movement
Stay afterward for the UPWS Community Fair, noon-4pm, to buy savory and sweet treats to raise funds for middle school projects, and to shop, mix, and mingle.
Morning Lesson
This was our third and final week of the Astronomy block. I wish this block was many weeks longer! There is so much to observe, wonder, and learn about! I plan on returning to Astronomy as a theme all through the rest of the year.
We started the week by reviewing the phases of the moon, and discussing what causes the moon to appear to change over the course of a month (the key word here is “appear”). The students constructed a movable lunar calendar to be able to accurately predict the moon’s phases when they know when the new moon started.
The visit to the Adler Planetarium on Tuesday complemented our study of Astronomy so well. The students visited exhibits about the Solar System, telescopes, and the historic Apollo missions. Many of them also engaged in STEM challenge activities of building and testing out rockets and lunar landing modules. We ended our visit with a sky show called “Imagine the Moon,” which explores how the moon has inspired human creativity, learning, and exploration ever since we have looked at the sky.
Another highlight of the week was an inquiry activity that the students did, from a science curriculum that our own Ms. Pearl helped to develop! The 6th graders observed 4 “star-like objects” that Galileo observed in 1610, near the planet Jupiter. The students worked in groups to observe one of these objects over 9 simulated nights. They observed that these objects did not move like stars, and ultimately concluded that they were moons. Galileo had observed the four largest moons of Jupiter: Callisto, Ganymede, Europa, and Io. The class was really engaged in this activity, and their responses when their predictions were confirmed or disproved were audible! The learned how long it takes each moon to orbit Jupiter, and one student even figured out that this difference in revolution length was the reason that different moons made different patterns over the 9-night observation period! We talked about how Galileo had witnessed these orbits, but from a view where the moons appeared in a straight line with Jupiter. I introduced this topic in order to use that model of orbit to talk about the planets orbiting the sun in the Solar System.
To end the block, we will have a quiz on Monday, and the students will complete a Solar System Travel Brochure as well.  On Thursday, we created a Study Guide for the block quiz, where I had written key vocabulary from the block, as well as a few conceptual questions, and the students worked in small groups to write working definitions for a portion of the terms. Then we came back together as a class, read the definitions, made suggestions for improving them, and then wrote them on the study guides. On Friday they took a practice quiz, which we checked together. Through taking the time to make study guides and complete practice quizzes, the students are developing important study habits and relieving some of the anxiety that tests and quizzes can likely bring about.
For the Travel Brochure projects, we will be working on them in class for the next month during Language Arts skills classes. My goal is for the students to engage in the following skills as they work on their projects:
  • Research using multiple sources
  • Note taking
  • Paraphrasing
  • Conveying information using both visual and written elements

Please visit the public library in the next week to help your 6th grader find a book on their solar system object, or print out information found online. I only cautioned the 6th graders that all online research should be done with adult supervision and guidance, so that they can find information that is accurate and written at an appropriate reading level for them. Thanks in advance!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.