Lower Grades: First Week of School

Hi Garden Families,

The school year is off to a fun and busy start!  The children enjoyed touring campus, receiving their new crayons and crayon rolls (a big thank you to Abby’s grandmother for making them for us!) and getting started on their lessons and activities!

As traditionally done in Waldorf school’s, the first block is Form Drawing.  The children are brought to awareness that all forms around us are a combination of straight and curved lines.  Moving and drawing the forms helps to develop focus and intention, an awareness of the top and bottom and left and right places both in space and on their papers.  Form drawing helps to develop their will and is a precursor to both writing and geometry. 

Along with using their stick crayons for Form Drawing, the children used their new red, yellow and blue block crayons and found they could make the secondary colors of orange, green and purple when they overlapped specific colors.  The idea is for them to discover how to use these crayons to create art work they can feel good about.  We also began modeling with clay (if they happen to bring clay home, please have them bring it back.  It should stay at school), making balls, pots, and canoes.  The children experienced the color yellow while wet-on-wet painting as well as learning the basics for the set-up and how-to of this style of painting.  Also during this short week, the students had Spanish class and Practical Arts (a.k.a Handwork) with Don Andres, Yoga with Ki Nina, and Nature Exploration with Ki Sonya (I’m sure you all heard about the box turtle; if not, ask them!).

If your child was tired, now you know why! 

Our class Parent Night is August 28th.  I hope you can all be there as you will learn more about what your child is doing at school, how their days are structured and some of the fun activities coming their way.

Warmly,

Ki Melissa

Grades May 14 - 18

Hi Garden Families,

We had a fun and busy last week of school!   Our first annual field day was a success.  The children enjoyed the varied games and activities and the rain held off!  We were able to enjoy our last visits to the creek and being together in the woods and garden.  All the students brought home their work in folders on Thursday and Friday.  A year of memories on paper, though so much more lives in their hearts!

Thank you all for sharing your children with us this year!  We loved getting to know them and teach them.  Have a safe and happy summer.  We are looking forward to seeing everyone next year.

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades May 7 - 11

Hi Garden Families,

It is amazing to think here we are at the last week of the school year!

Thank you for joining us for our Family Tea on Friday. The Kindergartens and Grades children preformed so beautifully.  We are so proud of them!

This past week the students completed title section dividers in their master books and worked on wrapping up a few projects. They also enjoyed playing some favorite math games. During Nature Study, Ki Sonya took us to our pond for a macro invertebrate hunt. They students found such a variety of creatures, some that helped us to see our pond is in good health as well! 

This week we have planned a school-wide field day on Thursday morning. There will be games and activities rain or shine (unless there is thunder). Either way, getting wet will be part of the fun. 😃

Thursday afternoon the Grades children will be given their Master Books to bring home.  They will have time to enjoy looking through them together as a group. 

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades April 30 - May 4

Hi Garden Families,

It was a warm and sunny week and we enjoyed being outside often and for longer periods of time!  We had visits from several local entrepreneurs this week who shared both their own start-up stories and helpful ideas for creating businesses.  The students loved hearing about this and developed fun and interesting concepts for creating their own businesses!

We had fun adding more plants and flowers to our upper garden area as well as visiting and playing with our farm animal friends in the Learning Farm.  The Lower grades continued developing their own fairy tale and the Upper grades wrote thank you cards to for our guests and worked on mental math.

We will be heading to the creek more often in the last two weeks of school as well as wrapping up some on-going projects and revisiting math concepts.  Please help your child come prepared with appropriate layers and extra clothing.  We look forward to seeing you all at our Family Day Tea this Friday!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades April 23 - 27

Hi Garden Families,

Thank you all who attended our play on Saturday.  We are so proud of all our students!  They practiced long and hard and each one of them gave their all on Saturday!  Thank you to our homeschool parents and students who came daily the last three weeks.  It made a difference for the children and the quality of the play as well. 

Last week was a busy week of play practice and prop making.  The Upper grade students dyed the fire silks for the play and the Lower grades wet felted Iduna’s golden apples.  The children also modeled the life cycle of a butterfly in clay while enjoying a story about a little green caterpillar’s metamorphosis.  We played in the creek and had a wonderful wetlands walk with Ki Sonya where we discovered a baby turtle, water spiders, tadpoles and a dragonfly nymph among many other interesting nature friends.  

As the weather warms up, the children get wetter during creek play.  Please help your child come prepared with extra clothes and a wet bag for those wet items.  It is also the time to change from rain boots to closed-toe, rubber-soled water shoes if desired.  

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades April 16 - 20

Hi Garden Families,

The students have been practicing and are working hard to get ready for our class play this Saturday at 2:00pm. In class, the Lower grades worked on the golden apple props and their own fairy tales in their master books. The Upper grades are working on grammar, including parts of speech and spelling.  The Grades class also completed repairs and maintence on our forest shelter as well as continued developing our herb garden by planting chives and lettuce seeds.  All children have enjoyed learning about the life of honeybees as well as song birds, which they modeled using clay. In Music we have been learning songs for our family tea in May.  Congrats to Amelia for finishing her knitted hat! 

We are looking forward to Saturday!  Please have your child to the school by 1:00pm.  The performance starts at 2:00pm.  As customary with Waldorf plays, we ask that you refrain from taking videos or photographs during the performance. 

Warmly, 

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

At Creekcess on Tuesday, we used the swing to cross from one side of the creek to the other, getting thoroughly wet.

At Nature Study with Ki Sonya, we did an archaeology dig in the sand box and the sand boat. We found bones, antlers, shells, crystals, fossils, and Native American artifacts. We cleaned them and laid them out on a grid as we had found them so we could record their locations.

At the Environmental Art Festival, we walked the new art ribbon trail that winds through the pine forest and the mowed right of way. Students from our school and from three local art studios entered artwork that they had completed. We also displayed our Nature at Night wildlife posters and our tile mosaics. We looked at the art displayed all along the trail and voted for our three favorites. Then we ate lunch outside at the picnic tables.

Grades April 9 - 14

Hi Garden Families,

The children have worked hard this past week getting ready for our play.  They have worked on memorizing their lines, figuring out stage measurements, working out stage placement and adding dramatic inflections to their lines.  We also have fun exploring at the creek, learning about bees during Nature Exploration where we listened to stories, observed and drew bees, and modeled them with clay.  The weather finally remained dry enough for us to complete our mosaics on cinder blocks!  We also had a very fun story-telling session during handwork!  Finally, the little herb garden near the stairs to the playground is thriving thanks to the grades students. In addition to herbs we have planted tomatoes and lettuce, and marigolds. 

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

During creekcess on Tuesday, the grades students excavated some blue clay for art projects and created a large burrow in the creek bank for a young male beaver to move into.

Students' wildlife art posters were displayed in the Nature at Night art exhibit on the basketball court. They will also be displayed at the Environmental Arts Festival this Friday!

Ki Sonya

Grades March 26 - 30

Hi Garden Families,

The Grades class enjoyed their first week of the Performance block.  They practiced reading for various roles, played dramatic games and worked through various ideas for props, backdrops and costumes.  Friday, roles were assigned and scripts sent home.  Please have your child/ren bring their scripts each day to school.

We wrapped up the current social entrepreneurship session with a final meeting  where we assessed the Springtide school store success and brainstormed ideas for how to save, share and spend the profits.  The children enjoyed making stars from sticks in Nature Exploration as well as had fun creating leaf and petal designs which were then laminated. In Advocacy the students have created Rules of Respect for All and we have been discussing ways to make wise decisions about interactions with others. 

We hope you have a relaxing and restful spring break!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

This week the grades students worked on the drawings they will enter in the Nature at Night wildlife poster contest. Each student drew one or more nocturnal animals onto their lovely watercolor backgrounds. These will be mailed to the State Botanical Garden in Athens for judging.

The grades students discovered two killdeer parents. These wonderful birds, related to the plover, are living in our back parking lot and probably keeping a close vigil over their nest. We hope to see their chicks soon, which look like cotton balls with two little toothpick legs.

Ki Sonya

Grades March 19 - 23

Hi Garden Families,

We are excited to start our Performance block.  This week the children will hear the story of Iduna and the Apples.  Also during this coming block, the Lower grades will continue to work on writing their own fairy tale.

Last week the Lower grades crafted the base-line for their story which will be a sequel to The 13 Clocks.  They will be copying text they create together as well as adding an individual spin to their copies.  The students will also illustrate their own stories.  The Upper grades finished the Norse myths this week with the Valkyries and Ragnarok, the final battle.  As I told about Ragnarok there were shouts of hurrah coupled with loud NOs. It is a rousing tale.

All the students worked hard this past week to get ready for our Springtide Festival.  They hand-crafted a wide variety of products during their Social Entrepreneurship period and the items that didn’t see Saturday will be available for sale in our school store.  The children are also working on drawing of “Nature at Night” to enter into a contest which features nocturnal animals.

It looks like another week of all four seasons in five days!  Please send your child/ren with appropriate gear! 😊

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades March 12 - 16

Hi Garden Families,

The Grades students had a good time in our warmer weather and enjoyed a little extra creek time.  In class, the Lower Grades finished the story, The 13 Clocks, worked on spelling and grammar, practiced telling time, and began work on making our own clocks. In the Upper grades, the students heard new stories about Thor and Baldur, and continued lessons in spelling and grammar.  This week we will be finishing the Norse myths block with the stories of the Valkyries and the final battle, Ragnarok.

In Modeling, we all worked in making the basic human form with clay. We wet-on-wet painted from the Norse Myths (Upper) and nighttime scenes (Lower).  During Social Entrepreneurship, the students continued making soaps, assembled mushroom logs and made and labeled lip balm.

Have a wonderful week!  We hope to see you all at our Springtide Festival this Saturday!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

The grades students enjoyed this week's Creature Feature on Snow Dogs. They visited with Ki Sonya's two dogs: a 12-year-old Samoyed named Story and a 5-year-old Great Pyrenees named Prancer. They learned about pack hiking, dog sledding, dog rescue, and using Samoyed hair to make hats, scarves, and mittens.

The students are preparing to enter a wildlife poster competition coordinated by the State Botanical Garden in Athens. The theme is Nature at Night so we talked about nocturnal animals and practiced drawing some of them.

We added new suet to the suet feeders for the woodpeckers and put a fence around the herb garden to keep the rabbits on the outside.

Ki Sonya

Grades March 5 - 9

Hi Garden Families,

We had a busy week in the Grades and enjoyed meeting some new friends as several children came to try out our school.  It was wonderful to watch our current students welcome our guests so effortlessly, willingly helping them navigate our days and readily including them in all our activities.

This week the Lower grades continued in The 13 Clocks, while working on penmanship, summary skills, parts of a story, spelling, sight words and grammar.  They are also learning the Vimala alphabet, our chosen form of cursive.  We continued working on math facts as well as revisiting reading an analog clock.  The Upper grades heard the Norse version of the Creation, and have begun to hear the stories about the gods and goddesses.  We had our first spelling evaluation, started lessons in grammar - verbs in the past, present, and future (like the Norns) and heard book reports from several of the students.  This coming week they will continue to hear Norse myths, and we will have a spelling evaluation and continue to study grammar.  We also worked on mental math using all four processes and also learned some of the number rules for division.

In Social Entrepreneurship, the students made labels for the bug spray, worked out a design for bat houses and made treasure soap.  In (clay) modeling, we formed a basic human figure with one hand and then used both hands to add arms.  Nature Exploration led us on a study of ants as well as gathering more twigs so we can make picture frames. 

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

This week during Nature Study, the grades students used the wooden chorus frogs to learn about frogs and toads and create a frog pond chorus.

In the Creature Feature program, Ki Tess from The Amphibian Foundation shared a tree frog, a toad, two geckos, a snake, and a bearded dragon with us.

The houses from around the world that the grades students designed are now on display at Kennesaw Public Library. They will be there until April 8th and then rotate to another library.

Grades February 26 - March 2

Hello Garden Families,

The Grades classes got off to a great start in our new blocks.  The Lower grades are working in a language arts blocks where we are focusing on fairy tales, beginning with The 13 Clocks.  This week we focused on the setting and characters of a story, sight words through games and vocabulary from our story.  In Math, we continued working in our practice books with addition and subtraction.  The Upper grades welcomed two new students, and began a block on Norse mythology this past week by hearing the Norse story of creation and discovering the nine worlds and the world tree. The students also had opportunities to use multiple types of lettering, and wrote with fountain pens.  In Math, they continued practice in multiplication of large numbers.  This week the students will begin learning rules of numbers for long division.

In Advocacy, we listed the many characteristics of people, and drew a Venn diagram, with a large overlapping center, to show the things we have in common and the things that make us individuals.  In sculpture, we worked individually with our left and right hands molding small bits of clay into various shapes.  During our social entrepreneurship class, we have a special guest visitor and made her special recipe for bug spray!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

This week the grades students got a closeup look at 30 different seashells from the Gulf of Mexico and created some seashell drawings for their master books.

We learned all about birds and met Perdido, the Great Blue Heron puppet. Working as a team, we built a Great Blue Heron nest of sticks and dried grass and placed three large blue eggs in it. For our Creature Feature program, Ki Eve, a naturalist at Chattahoochee Nature Center, showed us two of their injured birds of prey: a red-shouldered hawk and a barred owl. We learned some of the great adaptations that raptors have and some things we can do to help them survive.

Ki Sonya

Grades February 12 - 16

Hi Garden Families,

It was a full conference week and we enjoyed meeting with and talking with all of you about your child(ren)/our students! 😊 Thank you for making the time and effort to join us!

The Grades classes kept busy for the last week of our Mathematics block. The Lower grades completed their journey of 0-100.  They also continued working with money, focusing on pennies and nickels. The Upper grades spent more time with multiplication and division as well as working with equivalent and improper fractions and mixed numbers (which were delicious as we used brownies as a mathematical prop;).  Both classes will continue to focus on these math concepts in the coming weeks, mainly during our afternoon practical periods. 

In our next block, Ki Melissa will be working with the Lower grades in a fairy tale block based on James Thurber’s magical book, The 13 Clocks (full-time students—do not read ahead!!! 😊). During this block we will be working on conventions of grammar, sight words and spelling, parts of a story and creating our own fairy tale. Ki Kathee will join the Upper grades for the Norse Myths block, working on many of the same concepts with the class at a higher level.  Both will include art projects based on the reading.  We are excited to get started!

We hope you are enjoyed your “winter” break!  Get and/or stay healthy!  Spring is alive and well!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

Grades February 5 - 9

Hello Garden Families,

The Grades students had a busy week at school.  The Lower grades are up to 80, worked on writing the one’s times table and will work through the two’s and three’s times tables this week.  The Upper grades continued working with the four processes and also reviewed  and learning more about fractions during our main lesson time.  On Thursday, all grades students are joining Ki Jas and Don Andres downstairs to make items to sell at our Springtide festival and in the school store.  The children are working in groups to plan and create products, signage and crafts.  In Handwork, the children are working on both knitting and crocheting depending on their grades.  In the Garden, they are readying beds both outside the church and in the garden itself for spring planting.  We also enjoyed several outings into the forest to study and play during the day and while there we tested the creek water with Ki Sonya, built a bridge and played many games during Spanish with Don Andres, made twig frames with Ki Kathee, learned about the wind with Ki Melissa and enjoyed some fun at the creek in the warm sun!

Please remember appropriate weather clothes and rain gear for the week!

We look forward to meeting with you for conferences! 😊

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee

This week the grades students learned more about snakes and their color patterns. We made snake bracelets with beads, representing the coral snake, the scarlet king snake, and the milk snake. We prepared a garden bed for planting onions. We felt different animal coats and talked about how they help an animal stay warm in winter. During the Wednesday Creature Feature program, Ki Kim and Ki Tim shared their two greyhounds, Riley and Max, and taught us about the greyhound rescue program in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.

Ki Sonya

Grades January 29 - Feb 2

Hi Garden Families,

In the Lower grades, numbers, numbers, numbers abound!  The first and second grades have been counting, adding, subtracting, and grouping numbers 1-60, and next week well be adding 20 more!  This week they played several games that require addition and subtraction, and we continued to count by 5s and 10s.  The Upper grades continued working on the four processes through copying and solving practice problems as well as playing various card games to practice speed for our math facts.  The children are adding and subtracting into the thousands places, multiplying two digit numerals times one digit numerals and working on seeing the connection between multiplying and dividing.  Using dice to add, subtract and multiply is a great way to get faster with math facts as well as card games and flash cards which directly supports working with higher level math skills.  We will continue our practice next week. 

All grades are continuing with Spanish class.  This semester the children are now having Upper and Lower grades classes as well as whole group class time with Ki Andres.  The children are enjoying using mosaic tiles to create designs that will be used to decorate the garden.  We spent time again working on creating spheres of clay using only our hands.  Ki Sonya introduced us to Ki Michael who showed us Kernal the corn snake and the children learned interesting information about various local snakes.  In Anti-Bias/Advocacy the children made list of their favorite things, and then we took a survey to see what the most popular favorite thing was.  It was food, with activities coming in a close second.  😊

We look forward to seeing you at our parent meeting Tuesday evening!

Warmly,

Ms. Melissa and Ms. Kathee

Grades students created poems and artwork for the Georgia River of Words contest. The houses from around the world that we built last semester are going to be displayed at public libraries throughout Cobb County.

Grades January 22 - 26

Hi Garden Families,

The Lower grades spent a lot of time with numbers.  Our goal in this block is to be able to calculate simple mathematical functions - adding, subtracting, multiplying (grouping), and dividing (how did we group) using the numbers 1-100.  We started with 1-20 and will continue to add 20 each week.  Most of our work was done using manipulatives - beads, acorns, wooden blocks, abacus, number line, and place value sheets.  On Friday, the students had a page of calculations to answer using the symbols for adding.  If you find teachable moments at home, I encourage you to ask them to do some mental math and problem solving using math.

The Upper grades class dove right into focusing on the four processes in mathematics.  The students enjoyed the challenge!  The equations are geared to each child’s ability level and then we work to progress from there.  We also revisited place value, naming numerals and values within the numerals as well as writing out values with words.  We played math games using both dice and cards.  Please continue working with your child/ren on memorizing their basic math facts.  Once they have them down, it allows them to focus on higher level math more easily, rather than be slowed down by basic calculations.  Thank you!

All grades enjoyed wet-on-wet painting rainbows where they experimented with blending colors.  They also are at the beginning stage in Landscape Art where we will eventually be creating mosaics on cinder blocks.  The students diligently worked on creating their spheres in woodworking and we began modeling spheres with clay as well.  We began a unit on Anti-Bias and Advocacy this week with all the students.  We started with ourselves.  They drew a picture of themselves, and as they drew we had opportunities to talk about color - skin, eyes, hair, etc.  In the next session, they will make lists of the things they like and draw pictures of their families.  From families we will move to community, and in the process, we will be discussing the validation of each person, each person's family, and the community that we live in.  Finally, in Music the Upper grades began to learn the diatonic flute.  The Lower grades continued to explore the sound of their voices and how to sing; they are learning solfegiotto, which will lead to an understanding of musical notation, and they sang some singing games.  All students are learning a song for the Candlemas celebration next Thursday; we hope you can join us!        

Warmly,

Ki Melissa and Ki Kathee 

The grades students created pinecone bird feeders with peanut butter, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, millet, dried mealworms, and blueberries. We hung them from trees throughout the school's 15 acres to help the birds make it through the rest of the winter.

Ki Vicky, a wildlife biologist, shared her bat facts, bat stories, and live bats with us in the first of our weekly Creature Features.

The Garden School Water Kids did their first water quality monitoring of 2018. We completed a visual stream survey of our little stretch of Little Noonday Creek and submitted the information to Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.

Grades January 16 - 19

Hello Garden Families,

We almost had a start back to school 😊, but we will try again this Monday!  

The next block for both the Upper and Lower Grades will focus on mathematics.  We will be practicing the four processes (and continue fractions for the Upper Grades) through a variety of games and activities as well as direct instruction.  We will continue our many other specials and activities and are looking forward to seeing everyone together again!

Warmly,

Ms. Melissa and Ms. Kathee

Grades Dec 11 - 15

Hi Garden Families,

We had a fun-filled last week  before break at school!  We wrapped up our Stories of Light block.  The Upper Grades children shared information about Sweden and Norway as well as about various ancient places created specifically for honoring the Solstice.  We also celebrated St. Lucia’s Day by making wreathed crowns and candles as well as bringing cookies to all around our school.

Thursday's Advent Spiral and performance were lovely and we thank all of you for attending and helping us to make it all go smoothly!

We enjoyed our final Games class having egg races and egg tossing with Mr. Lee.  He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered! 

We also want to thank each of you for sharing with us your most precious gifts, your children, this first semester.  We have felt truly blessed to be sharing each day with them.   

Have a safe, warm and happy holiday season!

With Love and Light,

Ms. Melissa and Ms. Kathee

Grades Dec 4 - Dec 8

Hi Garden Families,

We had a fun and busy week!  The children are enjoying the Stories of Light, stories from around the globe.  The upper grades children have been doing some research at home and sharing about various places and their geographical make-up.  It’s been fun having them help “teach”!  The upper grades children will also be sharing about a particular spot in the world where an ancient culture observed and celebrated the sun’s path through the sky this Friday.

We had a fun time in the snow Friday and enjoyed our long weekend of adventure!  This Thursday, we hope to see you all at our school Advent Festival and are planning a school sing-along for !

Warmly,

Melissa and Kathee

Grades Nov 27 - Dec 1

Hi Garden Families,

We had a lovely start to our “Stories of Light” block.  The children enjoyed the stories Ms. Kathee began sharing from around the world.  This week the upper grade students began to share information with the class they learned about various regions in the world, and will continue to do so over the next two weeks.  During this block we are working on spelling, sentence structure, conventions of grammar and writing paragraphs.  The lower grades are working with Ms. Melissa and the upper grades with Ms. Kathee.  In the afternoons, the lower grades are focusing on telling time while the upper grades are learning about fractions, and all are finishing up morning work in language and crafting for the holidays.  The children made beeswax candles, continued working on their woodworking project and copied and colored a native Hawaiian pattern.

This past week some children helped build bluebird houses in the garden, others helped re-package our sauerkraut and pickles as well as prep lunch, drew native plants and animals to participate in a drawing contest, wrote in their journals, practiced our verse and songs, flute and instruments for our Advent Spiral, learned and sang in Spanish while some children completed projects they have been diligently working on in Handwork!

Warmly,

Ms. Melissa and Ms. Kathee