Middle Grades: April 8 - 12

Good day, parents of Middle Grades students.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend our class play in Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 pm. Things are going great, and we are all getting excited about the outcome of all our effort. I’m also getting excited about our field trip to Red Top Mountain on May 7.  We will be gone all day, and the two programs we are participating in are awesome. Looking ahead, we have Grandfriends Day on Friday, May 1 at 11:00.  The Middle Grades students will be participating in the Maypole dance, presenting a poem and song, and playing with the Strings Ensemble. They will need to wear predominantly white, khaki, pastel shades that day. No jeans and preferably no t-shirts - polos, button-up, with khaki shorts/pants/skirts or dresses. 

Have a great week. If you celebrate Passover or Easter, I hope your celebrations will be filled with love and laughter. 

Middle Grades: March 25 - 29

Welcome back. I hope everyone had a safe and restful Spring Break. We are well into our play block. Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 25, 6:30.  The Lower and Middle Grades will be telling the story of Joseph and his brothers. I hope to see everyone Saturday at the Springtide Festival. 

Have a great week!!

Middle Grades: March 18 - 22

This week we will begin the new block for the Spring Play, which will be presented on Thursday, April 25, at 6:30 p m .  We will also be concentrating on math functions and will try once more to finish our bricks. Tomorrow we are dying fabric with mud, which we will use for the costumes of the 11 brothers of Joseph. If you sew, and can help sew them, please contact me. They will be ready to sew by the end of the week, and we will need them by April 20th.   The spelling list is shorter than usual, but we will still have the quiz on Monday when we return. 

Have a wonderful Spring Break!!

Middle Grades: March 11 - 15

The rain is giving us a break!!!!!

We did not have the opportunity to do the Celtic fairy tale block last week, so we will be doing that this week along with chores in the garden and continuing to work on our brick making.  There will also be a lot of math practice.  Since the prediction is that we will have no rain, most of our mornings will be spent outside, so please help your children make wise decisions about what to wear.  There will still be a lot of mud, so boots or washable shoes are a plus.

Have a great week!

Middle Grades: Feb 25 - March 1

Today was the day we started a new block - gardening!!  We will be postponing the planting for at least a few days - the ground may be frozen in the morning; however, the plan is to be outside and in the garden all morning every day for the next two weeks, so please make sure your child is dressed in layers, and in clothes that will stand getting dirty.  The temperature will be extremely cold for the next two days, so it is imperative that they have hats and gloves.  I was absent today, so I haven't seen the spelling tests, but if there are a lot of misspelled words, I will add them to the test this week and ask all students to spell them again. If you want to come help int he garden, please let me know you are coming.  There are many tasks, and it would be fun to have some of you joining us!

Have a good week!

Middle Grades: Feb 11 - 15

Welcome back!!  I hope everyone had a good week off.  I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing about the dwellings projects as they come in starting today.  This week we will finish up our look at the types of dwellings that are found around the world with the oral reports for each student's project, and if the weather cooperates we'll begin our construction projects outdoors, beginning with brick making.

Other things we will do this week:  plant some seeds in our garden space, work on the 7's, 8's, and 9's multiplication tables, learn the first song in our play production and discuss how to make the costumes, get new spelling words, and more.

Have a great week.

Middle Grades: Feb 4 - 8

Middle Grades,

     We have collected four kinds of mud for making bricks.  We will experiment to find the best combination of materials, then, once each child has a brick to bring home, we will make some more and decide what we will build with them for the school.  If anyone has experience with bricks, I would love to have a cohort.  Please let me know if you can/ are willing to help.

     The spelling test this week will be on Wednesday again.  The test for the new list will be on the Monday that we return from break, and hopefully we'll be back on track for Mondays for the rest of the year.

     If your child has not returned their books and book report, please make sure they come back in this week.  The book report is now more than a week overdue, unlsss I gave them an extension.  All of them are due this week.  I will distribute a new book by Friday.

     I talked with the students about their Dwellings projects, which are due when we return from break.  The model building needs to be on a hard surface for easy transport.  The report that accompanies the model should answer these  questions:  When did this structure become common?  Why is shaped like it is?  What materials is it made of and why?  Where are these houses built (what part of the world)?  What is the climate and geography of the area?   Who lives in them? 

     It needs to be hand written, and in their very best handwriting. Each paragraph should have at least two sentences, and the first word of the paragraph should be indented. I would encourage you to edit a draft, and if you can't read it well, ask them to write it again.  If your child is not able to complete this assignment alone, please make sure that the guidance you give is after they have told you what they want to say.  In other words, it should be written in their own words.  

     I also told them that I would much prefer a model that they designed and built themselves than one you design and build.  Creative use of recycled materials is a plus.  Please call/ text/email me if you have questions.

     Multiplication tables are a priority!!!  Please use whatever methods you can to help your child memorize them.  We will be practicing all four operations - adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing - for the remainder of the year, and the third graders will be doing multiplication and division problems that involve carrying and remainders, so the multiplication tables are essential.

Thursday is St. Valentine's Day.  If your child would like to give their classmates valentines, please be sure to include every student in the class. 

     i look forward to seeing you this week for conferences.

     Have a great week!!

Middle Grades: Jan 28 - Feb 1

I was very proud of our students at the assembly on Friday. Many thanks to Kate Brown, my sub for two days, who helped them get ready for their presentation. 

If your child has not yet finished their book report, please help them get them back to me this week. And the initial research for the model houses should be beginning this week if you haven’t already started to talk about it. Each child will need to write about their model house - answering the five major questions - who, what, why, when, where, with an emphasis on the geography of the area where these homes are built, including weather. 

During the next two weeks I will be introducing types of dwellings from around the world, and give their historical context through stories about the people who live in them. When the weather permits, we will be gathering mud for our brick and mortar projects as well as a small demonstration of waddle and daub technique. 

Now that it’s February we will spend some time looking at gardening books and seed catalogs in preparation for our gardening, and we will be gathering materials for the entire school to do a seed starting project. If you have half a bag of seed starting soil mixture that you’d like to donate for our projects, we would be very grateful. 

Please continue to drill the multiplication tables up to 15x12. 

I’m looking forward to seeing you at the all school meeting Tuesday night, and  the following week at Parent Conferences. 

Have a wonderful week!!

Middle Grades: Jan 22 - 25

Thanks to some donations from the students our class store was a success, and I think everyone learned more about money: how to count it, use it for purchases, spend it wisely, and save it.  We will continue our project on simple interest.  If your child has not already brought in a plastic container with a top or glass jar with top,, please send it in.  The initial investment of a penny is deposited on the first day they have their jar.  Each day after that they will double their money in simple interest.  The pennies are coming from a huge jar I have a home.  In several weeks they will have a clear idea of the value of saving and earning on the savings.  I did tell everyone that absolutely no bank will pay 100% interest ever....

The biographies have been issued, and the book reports are due on Friday, Feb. 1.  (I extended the due date by a couple of days because I was late distributing the books.)

Today we will be completing the Money Block by preparing the Main Lesson Book pages, and will begin the Dwellings Block either today or tomorrow.  

Next week on Wednesday afternoon I will be asking each child to say the multiplication tables up to the 5's by themselves.  Please go over these with your child.  After the Winter Break we will add one number per week until we can get all the way to the 15's.  (We go up to 12.)  

There are some very important dates in February coming up.  Here are the dates.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Have a great week!

February 1 - Book Report due;  First Friday Assembly; 12:30 dismissal

February 5 - evening, All School Meeting;  all parents need to be there

February 11-15 - Parent Conferences;  12:00 dismissal for students; child care available

February 18-22 - Winter Break

February 25 - Model house project and report due

February 28 - Book Report due

Middle Grades: Jan 14 - 18

Good morning Middle Grades parents. We had a great time counting money last week, and were opening our class “store” today to get practice in counting money. Have a great week!!

Middle/Lower Grades: Dec 10 - 14

PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS.  IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE WEEK..  As we bring in the end of this semester, I am sad that some of you are not with us.  Please know that i wish you all the very best for a beautiful holiday season filled with love and laughter, and I will be eager to see you again next year.

Ki Melissa and I will combine our classes this week.  It will be a time for wrapping up our basket project.  in case you didn't hear, I apparently boiled some posion ivy when i boiled the vines to strip them and make them supple, and I have a full blown case of the scratches!!  I am highly allergic to it, and my guard was down because it was winter.  Lesson learned!   Thank goodness I got the steroid shot today.  I think I'll be able to be at school tomorrow and we'll work on the baskets again, although I might not touch anything unless I have rubber gloves on.

There wlll be a little special time each day as follows:

 will be board/card game day. If your child has a favorite board game to share, please ask them to bring it.  I will be bringing mankala, parcheesi, skip-bo, several decks of playing cards, dominos, and a couple others. We'll divide into groups and try to have each group play at least 3 games.  Each of the games involves counting.  I'm quite sure that playing myriad games like this when I was a child led to my love of numbers, and my ability to "count in my head."

Wednesday is wear-your-pajamas day. We will have popcorn and almond milk hot chocolate and Ki Melissa and I will be reading stories to the class about Winter and holiday celebrations.

Thursday morning we will have tea and "biscuits,"  AKA cookies, and fruit ( with maybe some chocolate to dip it in.  So that we can accommodate all of our students' dietary needs, the cookies need to be vegan and gluten and sugar free.  The Middle grades don't have any nut allergies, but there may be some in the Lower grades, so we'll stay away from nuts in the cookies.  It's hard to make cookies without sugar, but I'm going to try my hand at using agave nectar.  I have holiday flavored herb tea, so no caffeine.  If you have a tried and true recipe, please send it to me.  Otherwise I will be relying on the internet.

Remember that dismissal is at noon on Thursday.

Have a wonderful week!!

Middle Grades: Dec 3 - 7

This week we will hear Old Testament stories about baskets and basket making and stories of light. 

We will also be completing a math review and the assessments that I began last week for the students that are here. 

We have collected honeysuckle vines and after I boil them we will start our baskets. I posted a picture of the completed primitive weaving projects. So proud of the progress they are making. 

Have a great week!!

Middle Grades: November 26 - 30

I am so appreciative of Lesley Lang for subbing all week while I was in the training intensive.  I hear that it was a tough week for everyone.  I am excited about what I learned at the Orton-Gillingham Comprehensive Training, and I will be implementing my new knowledge as soon as I can integrate the method into the Waldorf curriculum.  I will want to have a meeting with you as parents to explain what I will be doing. I am convinced that this reading method is comprehensive, sequential, and absolute fun as you go experience,  More later.

Coming Up:

This week we will be weaving wool on a stick loom, and we may start weaving a basket.  I will be asking the students to write descriptions of their projects and also a narrative of instructions on how to knit.  We will spend some time at the garden, and some instruction time outside as well, so please make sure that your children are layered.

Dec. 7 - First Friday Assembly, early dismissal;  string ensemble performance - please make sure your child is practicing, and don't forget the dress code for the performance.

Dec. 13 - Advent Spiral.  More details next Monday.

Middle Grades: Nov 12 - 16

By the end of this week, our students will have learned how to measure liquids, solids, lengths, widths, and weight, so please encourage them to help you measure at home.  We did not cover the metric system.  We will visit that sometime in the Spring.   And we haven't yet started our block on Money, but that's coming up soon.

I will be at a Training Institute all week, but I have a great substitute and class will go on without me.  At the end of the week, Lesley will begin our block on Ancient Crafts.  Between now and Christmas break we will be weaving, spinning wool, making a basket, and we may have time to make a pinched pot.  All of these will be woven into the telling of several stories from the Old Testament.  If any of you have expertise in these crafts, please give me a call, text, or email,  and then come and join us.  I could surely use an extra pair of hands!  This will be happening in the mornings between 9:30 and 11:00.

I want to share several stories of light with the students during our Opening Circle activities as the dark of winter comes upon us.  We will be talking about the importance of light, and how cultures have responded to the need of light and warmth.  We will be lighting a candle each morning, and we will be learning a verse by Rudolf Steiner about Advent in preparation for our Advent Spiral Walk.  I will also introduce them to the customs of other cultures for their celebrations of light.  If you have a story from your own tradition that you would like for our students to know about, please let me know, and I will incorporate the story/celebration into our day.

I hope that you all had a wonderful time of thanksgiving, and that our children are ready to get back to learning.

Middle Grades: October 29 - November 2

Hello Middle Grades parents,

We had a great week last week working in the garden and measuring lots of things.  This week we will continue to measure using inches, feet, yards, and maybe even a mile (using paces).  Our next block will be measuring weight.

Remember to help your child finish reading their biographies.  The actual reports are due Wednesday, November 14.  I would like for them to all be on main lesson book paper, which I will be sending home either Tuesday or Wednesday.  Please remind them to take their time and make the report beautiful handwriting.  

Middle Grades: Oct 15 - 19

We had a great time at The Phantom Tollbooth.  The general consensus was that it would have been much more enjoyable had the actors actually spoken, but the general response was positive.

This week we will be beginning a week of talking about grains.  We will explore a little history of grains and bread making, and, of course, we'll be cooking a little.  Plans are in the making to have oatmeal, rice pudding, bread with no leavening, yeast bread, and tortillas.  If you have experience with making tortillas, please come and help me.  I have a recipe, but I have no experience.  I will make sure that those students who are sensitive to wheat have an alternative to the breads.

If you have not already begun to flash card the multiplication tables, please do so.  We are up to the sixes as of this week, and all students can use some practice.  I recommend starting in order and then mixing them up.

Some of you asked in your conferences what you could do to help your child.  Read to them, even if they are reading really well.  Read a passage to them.  Ask them to read it with you aloud.  Then ask them to read it alone.  By doing this, you will be reinforcing an expressive, fluent reading style, and they will benefit greatly from the one on one time with you.

I look forward to seeing you all at Kingdom of Halloween on Saturday.  Don't forget to reserve your time.  You may not see me there; however, Madam Katrina will be floating about reading palms and telling fortunes.

As the weather changes, be sure that your child has layers of clothing.  We are now spending more time in the garden, and that is usually during the morning hours, when it is the nippiest, but they need to shed some of their outer wear when the sun warms us up.

RAIN BOOTS!!! Every Wednesday, and any day that it has rained the day/night before.

I'd like to encourage you to fill out the Volunteer Form and get your background checks done if you haven't already done so.  Between now and the end of the semester we will be doing a lot of projects, and I could use an extra pair of hands almost every day, especially with spinning, weaving, sewing, and making things out of natural materials from the forest.  Also, at the next Community Work Day we will be doing a lot of sprucing up down at the garden, and it would be great if all of you could come and hang out with me at the garden.

Have a great week.  I am going to be absent on Monday.  I have an ear infection that has spread into my sinuses and feel the need to rest, take my medication, and be ready to get back to school by Tuesday.  Many of the students have had colds and stomach viruses already this year.  I am now taking extra vitamins to boost by immune system, and trying to eat healthier.  Maybe if we all do this we'll all feel better.

Middle Grades: Oct 8 -12

I enjoyed seeing all of you at the conferences last week!  The big thing this coming week is our field trip to see The Phantom Tollbooth on Wednesday.  Please check your email for details about the trip, and please talk with your children about the importance of staying with the chaperone and not talking during the performance.

We are finishing up the Flood Stories today and tomorrow, and have already started working in the garden to get ready for the Farming Block.

Have a great week.

Middle Grades: October 1 - 5

We have planted our first garden bed, and we are almost finished with a 3-pile compost system down at the garden!!!  We planted kale, spinach, and collards seedlings, and we're counting on their being harvestable by late November so that we can harvest and cook them for our Thanksgiving Feast.  As the weather cools, we plan to plant lettuce from seed and we might try to squeeze in some snow peas.  

As the leaves begin to fall, if you gather leaves for pickup in the large paper bags, and you have yards that are insecticide and commercial fertilizer free, we would love for you to bring those bags to the school for mulch and compost instead of sending them off with the garbage collectors.

We were supposed to start our first Farming block this coming week, but the temperatures are forecasted to still be in the high eighties most days, and I am not comfortable in having the children working outside for two hours in that kind of heat.  The following week the forecast is for somewhat cooler temperatures, so I am going to present the Flood Stories Block this week and save the farming block for the week beginning October 15.  For the farming block, I would like for children to wear boots to school, so that we can go immediately from the playground to the Farm or into the woods.  If you come early and usually leave boots and backpacks upstairs, please make sure they have their boots on by playground time and have their snacks and a water bottle at the picnic table, since we will not go back into the building until about 11:00.
Most of the class has mastered the multiplication tables for 2, 3, 4 and 5, as our math block comes to an end.  We will continue to work on math in the practice periods, and our goal is that all children will be able to recite the tables up to 15 by the end of the year.  Also, our upcoming measurement blocks will be filled with math, including an introduction to fractions.  Any opportunities you have at home to encourage "everyday" math calculations would be fabulous.  After the measurements blocks we will have a Money block, so there will be a lot of counting for the rest of the semester!!
Every student has made great progress this year with reading.  When you read at home, please read aloud WITH your child, and then transition to letting them read TO you.  This is a great way to build confidence. Reading for comprehension will walk side by side writing skills, which we will do more of as the year progresses.  Do not be surprised if your children start writing their own "booklets."  When they bring them home, be sure to read them.  There are some very creative young minds in our class.
If you missed the First Friday Assembly Friday, you missed being proud.  Our class hosted the assembly, and everyone was great!!  They introduced the other classes, they sang, recited, and several of them told jokes.  And they had fun preparing for the event.
Beginning next week I will be sending a Friday email out to the parents of the Middle Grades class.  It will basically be the same information as the Monday Messenger, but will be more detailed.  I will continue to send last minute reminders and information via Bloomz.  If you have not yet joined, please do this.  It is a great way to get pertinent info to you from the grade parent and from me.
If you have not already signed up for a parent conference next week, please do that right now.  After care is being provided, but you will need to sign up for that in advance to get the better rate.
If you are still reading, thank you.  I believe that you, your children, and I are in this process together, and the more we can support one another the better.  If you have concerns, questions, or just want to chat, feel free to call or text me, 770-654-7878 (before 10, please).  This is a very important year for our children, and I want it to be a positive one.
Have a great week!!  I'm looking forward to seeing you this coming week at the conferences.
Upcoming events in October:  
October 8-12 Half days for students.  Parent Teacher Conferences in the afternoon.
October 17 Trip to see The Phantom Tollbooth.  We need at least one more chaperone to drive, and two would be even better.
October 19 No school for students.  Teachers will be attending an Outdoor Education Symposium.
October 27 Kingdom of Halloween

Middle Grades: September 17 -21

I hope that everyone had a great Fall Break, and that all the "bugs" are over.  I had a feverish little thing for three of my break days, and I'm looking forward to having everyone healthy, including me.

This Friday is a First Friday Assembly, and the Middle Grades are hosting this one, so we will be working hard on the script this week.  Book reports are due due tomorrow.  If you had trouble finding the format and descriptions, please let me know so that I can send you the handout.  If that means your child's book report is late, I will certainly take it later.

Please drill your children on the multiplication tables.  Our goal is to know them up to 15 by the end of the school year, and they are currently being quizzed on the 2, 3, 4, and 5’s.

If you have any concerns, questions, comments, please do not hesitant to contact me my email, text, or phone.  I'm looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming Parent Teacher Conferences.

Middle Grades: Sept 10 - 14

We had a busy week! 

Our new morning circle routine is to leave the playground between 8:50 and 9:00 and walk to the garden and spend just a few minutes. As the weather begins to cool down - if it ever does - we will be spending more time either at the garden or in the outdoor classroom.  Outdoor shoes - preferably rainboots, that can be washed when we have returned to the building - are a must, since we may be working in the area where the animals have been, or in muddy areas.

On Thursday we will have our Day of Remembrance presentation at 2:00.  Please keep going over the lines of the poem with your children so that everyone is prepared.  We will be practicing in the classroom, but follow up at home is important, so that no one gets stage fright!

Today we start the math block.  My goal is to help the students enjoy the art of counting, and to help them discover more than one way to solve math problems.  They will be memorizing the multiplication tables up to 12.  A table a day keeps the math ogre away.  An at home project might be to make a set of flash cards each day and add the new ones to the mix so that they are seeing and recognizing multiplication facts out of order.  We will be walking, jumping rope, writing, and reciting a lot of numbers this week.  Yay for math!!

The younger students are beginning to make great progress in reading.  Daily reading at home is a good back-up to what they are learning at school.  It can become a treasure moment for everyone to have a designated time to read each evening.  It they are books that your child can read, read it the first time together out loud, then ask your cild to read it to you.  This process can help them become so much more confident when they are asked to read in the classroom.

It's hard to believe that our first break is right around the corner.  Have a great week!