Upper Grades: April 8 - 12

Last week the upper grades and I told the story of the Quiche Maya people from the Yucatan peninsula to Guatemala. We used the Popal Vuh and created water color drawings mixed with charcoal pencils to help us remember different parts of their creation story. The translation we have in present day is broken into five parts. We told the story of part one to part four.

Upper Grades: March 25 - 29

The Upper Grades class thanks the local entrepreneurs who visited our class last week to share about their business successes and setbacks and help our students explore their own entrepreneurial potential. We heard from A Good Gut Feeling about the delicious and healthful foods they create, from Anvil 8 about designing board games that people want to play again and again, from Rocking Bed about building new systems of manufacture, and from Clover & Birch about making wooden toys! This week we're turning our attention to Ancient Mexico with a special block from Don Andres.

Upper Grades: March 18 - 22

Last week, the Upper Grades class attended Pentathlon practice with the fifth grade class at The Waldorf School of Atlanta. The movement teacher at WSA Mr. Moreno spent the morning working with our class on the motions and intentions for each event. He also gave them an overview of the agenda for the three day event and answered any questions we had about what to expect. Our students enjoyed interacting with the other fifth graders and excitement is building to attend the Pentathlon in April. We will be going back to WSA this Tuesday, 3/26 for more practice and again after we return from spring break. 

Upper Grades: March 11 - 15

The Upper Grades' journey through ancient Greece finally comes to an end this week. We're looking forward to visiting the Waldorf School of Atlanta on Tuesday for a joint pentathlon training session, and as the week ends we're working hard to finish up work on the Greek Mythology card game we'll be publishing -- look for copies at Springtide!

Upper Grades: Feb 25 - March 1

It's been an eventful week in the Upper Grades class! Ki Carol has transitioned to a new role, specializing in the language arts component of the curriculum. Main lessons for the remainder of the year will be taught by Ki Molly along with Don Andres, Ki Jas, and other guest teachers. The students will still get to have their special time with Ki Carol, and today was the first of her specialty language arts classes. 

Last week we joined the encamped Greek army for their ten-year siege of Troy in The Iliad, and this week we journey with Odysseus through the many adventures that will bring him safe home to Ithaca. In addition to the Trojan horse- inspired tree fort we started last week, the upper grades is working on some Greek pottery, Greek roots of English vocabulary, and the 5 Greek sports in which they will compete at next month's pentathlon. 

Upper Grades: Feb 11 - 15

The Upper Grades students worked hard on the class play in the two weeks prior to Winter Break. By week two, the students had immersed themselves into their characters and the story. The class worked together to lift each other up and enhance the production with many of their own ideas for their characters and the set. In Waldorf education, the class play serves multiple functions beyond being an additional branch of arts education. Pedagogical theater is a tool for developing individual capacities in students and also serves to strengthen the social dynamics of the class as a whole. Our end goal is not just an entertaining experience for the audience but also a vehicle for the students to stretch themselves and grow through the art in ways that may not come naturally. Our block and public performance of Gilgamesh exceeded my expectations, and it was a delight to behold the unique growth of each student in the class. This article expands on the function of pedagogical theater in the Waldorf schools: https://www.waldorfpublications.org/blogs/book-news/why-a-class-play-in-waldorf-schools

This week, the Upper Grades class is settling in to a study of Ancient Greece which will culminate in their participation in the Pentathlon along with students from other Waldorf schools in the southeast.

Upper Grades: Feb 4 - 8

The Upper Grades class spent last week outside enjoying the mild weather while working on the class play. Their play performance of "Gilgamesh" will be on Feb 14 at 6:30 pm in the church sanctuary.

We have begun training in the Ancient Greece pentathlon events in preparation for the Southeast Waldorf Schools Pentathlon in late April. You can read more about the significance of the pentathlon in Waldorf schools in this article from The Waldorf School of Atlanta:  https://waldorfschoolatlanta.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/2015-pentathlon-at-the-waldorf-school-of-atlanta/

Field Trip Reminder: The Upper Grades students will be attending a performance of "Freedom Train" at the Fox Theater on Feb 12 at 10:30am. We will be leaving at 8:50, so please arrive on time. We should be back by school dismissal at 12:30. If your student will be staying for play practice, please let Ki Molly know by Tuesday morning. 

Upper Grades: January 28 - Feb 1

Greetings, parents of Upper Grades students! 

We will be doing a lot of gardening this week, so please bring in some sturdy work gloves for the week!

I can't wait until the All-School Parent Meeting tomorrow night. It'll be my first time being at such a comprehensive meeting of The Garden School Community. Each teacher will give a brief presentation about what is unique about each childhood age/stage of development, and how the Waldorf curriculum is designed to support and enhance these unique qualities, and blow like a gentle breeze through the window of opportunity that opens in each child -- the right place at the right time! It's from 7-9. Last week I said there will be no child care, but it turns out there is some entertainment for the kids!

We just finished the Geometry Block, and I hope your children enjoyed it as much as I did.

This week, Ki Molly is with the children in the morning during main lesson time, and the focus is on practicing for the play.  Math and language arts will be woven through the day as always. 

I will close for now, but in case you need them, here is a repeat of last week's announcements from Ki Molly.

Field Trip - The Upper Grades students will be attending a performance of "Freedom Train" at the Fox Theater on Feb 12 at 10:30am to go along with our Underground Railroad studies later in the semester. "Freedom Train tells the thrilling story of Harriet Tubman, the Moses of her people, in a fascinating series of highly theatrical scenes that use dance, dialogue and music of the period:" https://classicproductions.org/freedom-train/ . Please let us know if your student will not be able to attend, so we can adjust our ticket count accordingly. If you are interested in attending as a chaperone, please contact Ki Molly: molly@thegardenmarietta.org  

Class Play - The Upper Grades class play performance of "Gilgamesh" will be on Feb 14 at 6:30 pm in the church sanctuary. All students should now have their lines memorized. Starting Feb 4, our main lesson block will be focused on our performance. Due to the tight timeline for our performance, Ki Molly will be hosting an optional play practice after early release for parent teacher conferences on 2/12 and 2/14. Students that wish to stay for play rehearsal will not be charged for After Care on those dates.

Warmest regards,

Ki Carol

Upper Grades: Jan 22 - 25

Greetings, parents of our Upper Grades students! 

I’d like to remind you of the All-School Parent Meeting on Tuesday, February 5 at 7:00 pm. It’s an adult-only event. (There will not be child care.) We’ll be hearing about how things are shaping up for next year, among other things. We really look forward to seeing you! We ask that each family be represented. 

The media policy is so important. Each familiy’s good faith efforts (and it does take effort, believe me, I know) will be felt in subtle and not-so-subtle ways for years to come.

Here is a movement I invite you to look into. Parents are taking a pledge all over the country/world to “Wait until Eighth” before giving a child a smartphone. https://www.waituntil8th.org. It helps parents support each other in keeping their hands on the steering wheel of media use. 

Here are a couple of announcements from Ki Molly:

Field Trip - The Upper Grades students will be attending a performance of "Freedom Train" at the Fox Theater on Feb 12 at 10:30am to go along with our Underground Railroad studies later in the semester. "Freedom Train tells the thrilling story of Harriet Tubman, the Moses of her people, in a fascinating series of highly theatrical scenes that use dance, dialogue and music of the period:" https://classicproductions.org/freedom-train/ . Please let us know if your student will not be able to attend, so we can adjust our ticket count accordingly. If you are interested in attending as a chaperone, please contact Ki Molly: molly@thegardenmarietta.org  

Class Play - The Upper Grades class play performance of "Gilgamesh" will be on Feb 14 at 6:30 pm in the church sanctuary. All students should now have their lines memorized. Starting Feb 4, our main lesson block will be focused on our performance. Due to the tight timeline for our performance, Ki Molly will be hosting an optional play practice after early release for parent teacher conferences on 2/12 and 2/14. Students that wish to stay for play rehearsal will not be charged for After Care on those dates.

Upper Grades: Jan 14 - 18

Greetings, Upper Grades parents!

We begin our second of three weeks of Geometry.  We continue learning to make the classical geometric constructions with compass and straightedge. We have heard about the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians and their contributions to practical Geometry.  Now we will turn our attention to the ancient Greeks. Their development of a more theoretical abstract approach to Geometry meets children at this middle time of childhood; also we will be shifting in late February, in our study of Ancient Greece, from a mythological approach to history to a factual biographical one, which continues on through middle school and high school.  I was amazed when I first learned how Waldorf education observes that the child's development is a microcosm of human development over the millennia.

We have been beginning the mornings by circling up outdoors with the other grades classes.  Ki Kathee is teaching the Maypole dance that will be held in May. At first I wondered why we were starting in January.  Soon it became clear to me that there is a lot to learn, especially with this larger mixed-age group.  In the process we are getting a lot of practice with patience, rhythm, stamina, and community life.  Learning a group dance first thing in the morning, in the cold, runs counter to our wish for comfort and instant gratification. It is great training for life!  Afterward, we go indoors and complete our warmups; we're learning to recite William Blake's The Tyger, working on a song, and when we say our morning verse every day, I require that the students stand upright, their hands at their sides (not in their pockets), and not leaning on the furniture.  It takes a lot of reminding.  We can stand on our own two feet and greet the day's work!

Have a wondrous day,

Ki Carol

Upper Grades: Dec 10 -14

Greetings, Upper Grades parents!

It was a [somewhat] quiet week as we delved into the stories and images of Ancient Egypt.  We continue this week. The children are making beautiful maps and drawings.

I sent you an Assignment Tracker.  All the children should have a hard copy of it now, because I gave them out today to the ones who said they still needed it.

Please take a look at it, and pay close attention to the fact that they have a book report due this Thursday.  

Also please support your child in making sure they have the 12’s times tables memorized.  At the beginning of the school year I found that they did not all have them “nailed.” I told them then that I wanted them to really have them memorized by the December break.  I will be checking their memorization this week. As you know, they need these math facts solid and “in their bones” so they can thrive with more advanced math as it gets more challenging in the coming years.

I hope that all of you have a lovely refreshing break, and we’ll see you back in January!

Warmly,

Ki Carol




Upper Grades: Dec 3 - 7

Greetings, Upper Grades families!

We started learning about ancient Egypt today. We’ll be focusing on that til the end of the semester. It is a continuation of our journey through a number of ancient civilizations. We learned that every year, the great Nile River brought the gift of rich soil when it flooded at the end of summer. We also learned about the sun god, Ra. Some kids have to do their lessons from home this week. You are welcome to ask me questions about this or any other topics around the school. I would love to hear from you.

Warmly, Ki Carol

Upper Grades

The Upper Grades is finishing up our block on Gilgamesh by beginning work on our play which will likely be performed in February -- details to come! Gilgamesh is humankind's oldest story, telling the story of an arrogant king who is transformed by friendship and who journeys beyond the ends of the earth seeking the secrets of immortality. 

If your child is feeling overwhelmed by their assignment tracker, please remind them that we'll have extra class time this week so as long as students are making good use of it, homework should be minimal. 

We'd love to have parent volunteers help with our staging of Gilgamesh! Lights, set, costumes -- if you have the time and interest, please get in touch!

Upper Grades: Nov 12 - Nov 16

Greetings, Upper Grades Parents!

We hope you had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving break.  Steve and I attended my family reunion up in Minnesota and it was delightful. 

For this week and next, Ki Jas is guest teaching, for the morning main lesson time, a subject she loves, "Gilgamesh,"   This is an ancient Mesopotamian poem, widely regarded as being the first story ever written down.  Important cultural developments occurred at this stage of humanity’s growth such as the growing of surplus crops, the domestication of animals, great architectural feats, cuneiform writing, and the codification of law. Some of these will be introduced as activities with the class.  




Upper Grades: Nov 5th - Nov 12th

Greetings, Upper Grades Parents,

We focus on decimals for one more week, and then we have Thanksgiving break!  Remember Friday is the Thanksgiving luncheon, and an early dismissal day. 

We used money (change) as one of our several approaches to learning about and practicing with decimals.  The students were "loaned" piles of change to count and stack.  A side interest in coins naturally developed; they were especially intrigued by the dates of the various coins, and I was especially amused at their exclamation of ancient dates.  Wow! 1988!  Um, yup.  We took this money practice into having little stores on each of their desks, which they loved! They "bought" and "sold" items that I borrowed from the supply closet.  One day they even had to buy their snacks from me!

This week we will get strong on using the four operations with decimal numbers, and converting between fractions and decimals.  

In the afternoons, Ki Molly has been working with the class on language arts.  We look forward to receiving everyone's book reports on Thursday!

I hope you have had a nice weekend!

Take care,

Ki Carol

STRINGS ENSEMBLE

The Strings Ensemble is progressing nicely, and without putting too much emphasis on performance, I think they are ready to play several tunes for students and parents at the First Friday Assembly on December 7.  I would like for the students to wear similar colors for the performance - tops in primary colors, preferably polos or button up; navy, black, or khaki pants or skirts; and no large bows or shiny jewelry.  

At this point in their progress, students should be practicing the violin at least 10 minutes per day on Strings Ensemble music, which includes exercises and scales, in addition to the music they are practicing for their private lessons. Beginning in January, I will be checking their practice routine by sending home a weekly practice chart.  Please start thinking now about possible rewards at home for practice without prodding.

~Ki Kathee

Upper Grades: October 29 - November 2

Hi upper grades parents, 


I'm very happy to be back in the classroom! 


We began our two-week Decimals block. We are building on the fractions practice the students have been doing with Ki Molly the last few weeks. 

Each child has a new assignment tracker for the week. The student puts a check mark ✅ for each assignment as they complete it. They bring it to the teacher for initials. As a reminder, the book report is due on Thursday. 

They’ll have continued math homework each night, as well as finishing the day’s master book page each night if not finished in class. Soon we’ll each have an artist’s folio for transporting these special pages back and forth. 

The class rep for our class is Nola’s mom, Kate Brown. Thanks so much, Kate! 

Warmly, 
Ki Carol 

Upper Grades: October 22- 26

Greetings, families! It was fun to see some of you this weekend at the incredible Kingdom of Halloween festival. 

We’ve been having so much fun with botany that we’re extending our block by one week to include monocotyledons, and Ki Carol will be back next week with a two-week block on decimals. We’ve also introduced a monthly book report and if those guidelines didn’t make it home last week you can access them here. Here’s what Ki Molly and Ki Jas have instore for the week ahead:

Monday: Monocotyledons vs dicotyledons, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Spelling words assigned (test on Friday!), report assigned on a monocot.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 23 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words.

  • Conduct research work on assigned plant.

Tuesday: Conifers and palms, including Masterbook dictation and illustration.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 26 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words.

  • Write report on assigned plant.

Wednesday: Grasses and cereal plants, including Masterbook dictation and illustration.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 29 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words.

  • Illustrate report on assigned plant.

Thursday: Orchids and bulb plants, including Masterbook dictation and illustration.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 31 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words and finish writing out definitions.

  • Ensure that report on assigned plant is complete. It should include a scientific illustration, the common and Latin names of the plant, an explanation of how and where it can be found, and three interesting facts about it.

Friday: Presentation of specimen reports, review of whole botany block, assembly and early dismissal. Spelling test!

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 35 by Monday. There will be a test on multiplying and dividing fractions on Monday -- next comes decimals!

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

Ki Carol will visit the class this Wednesday so the children can show her what they have been working on, and they will practice their song for the First Friday assembly!

Upper Grades: Oct 15 - 19

Happy Monday! The upper grades class wrapped up their study of Ancient India with Ki Carol on Thursday, and in the week ahead we’ll turn our attention to botany and the study of fungi, algae, lichens, ferns, and conifers. This block will be guest-taught by Ki Molly and Ki Jas, and since one week is such a short amount of time we’ll be working at a slightly brisker pace. Here’s an overview so you can support your student.


Monday: Introduction to mycology, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Spelling words assigned (test on Friday!), report assigned on a local plant.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 4 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Practice assigned Poem for Two Voices.

  • Study spelling words.

  • Conduct research work on assigned plant.

Tuesday: Introduction to lichenology, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Puffball mushroom hunting expedition and cooking (if our foraging is successful!).

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 7 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Practice assigned Poem for Two Voices.

  • Study spelling words.

  • Write report on assigned plant.

Wednesday: Introduction to phycology, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Perform Poems for Two Voices.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 10 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words and write out definitions.

  • Illustrate report on assigned plant.

Thursday: Introduction to pteridology, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Create an individual terrarium using plants we’ve studied, identified, and collected.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 13 if not finished in class.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

  • Study spelling words and finish writing out definitions.

  • Ensure that report on assigned plant is complete. It should include a scientific illustration, the common and Latin names of the plant, an explanation of how and where it can be found, and three interesting facts about it.

Friday: Introduction to conifers, including Masterbook dictation and illustration. Spelling test! Each student presents their report on a local plant.

Homework:

  • Complete math workbook through page 20 by Monday.

  • Complete Masterbook work if not finished in class.

Here are some photos from last week, when Ki Steve brought in three Indian instruments: the harmonium, the drum (this type is called a “mrdangam”), and a tamboura, which provides a beautiful droning sound. After the chant, every child had a chance to try all the instruments.

Upper Grades: Oct 8 - 12

Welcome to a new week!  It was wonderful to meet with many of you last week during our parent-teacher conferences and share and learn more about your children.  

One of the stories I brought the class last week during our Ancient India block was that of the Brahma Creation Story.  Waldorf students hear a variety of creation stories as they travel through the grades.  

One of the concepts in this story was that time did not exist before Brahma opened his eyes and brought the universe into existence.  Time began to exist when fire, planets, sun, stars and moon were created.  It was enlightening to watch the students try to take in the concept of there being a "time" without time.  And it was fun to see a light come on in one child's eyes when we discussed that growth could not occur if there were no such thing as time.  He practically quoted the line in the story that described the creation of "all the things of heaven and earth," including "the plants which burst out of the earth."  

This week we are delving into some stories from the Indian epic from thousands of years ago, which is still being dramatized in every little village across India, the Ramayana.  

You might enjoy looking at an excerpt (in the attached jpegs) from a Teacher Training program manual from Africa, written by Simon Shirley, "History Teaching Grades 4-8."  It explains beautifully why it is important to bring ancient history to children around fifth grade, and why we bring it first in stories and feelings.  Later in the year we will study Ancient Greece, first in the form of myths, then in the first written history.  It's a turning point in the Waldorf curriculum.  

Tomorrow, Ki Steve will join me, and he and I will lead the class in a chant of Kali Durge, Namo Namah, using a drum called a mridang, a harmonium, and a large tamboura, which is the beautiful droning instrument you always hear in classical Indian music.  The students will get a chance to try the instruments out. 

This week the work on the stories and drawings about the Ramayana will be woven in with math practice, creative writing practice, dictation, and more vocabulary including more dictionary work.  Next week we will begin a three week Math main lesson block, on Decimals.  

Have a great week!

Warmly,

Ki Carol



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Upper Grades: October 1 - 5

Dear parents,


Today we begin our exploration into Ancient Cultures. From the myths of ancient India, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt, to the written history of the ancient Greeks, we will move from the stories of ancient peoples to the formal study of history.  


For the next two weeks, we will experience aspects of the culture of Ancient India, especially getting a feel for how human perception and worldview has transformed over the millennia.


I hope we start getting some cooler weather!

Ki Carol