Second Grade: October 14 - 18

It was wonderful to meet with you all at parent conferences.  Sharing stories and gaining insights from the ones that know “my” students best, is always helpful and often entertaining!  We have such a wonderful group of children and parents alike.  I am grateful to be a part of your lives during this special time!

During our week of half-days, we continued working in our math block, finishing up a unit on geometric forms.  Drawing circles, spacing out gems, marking these spaces, and then adding lines as we skip count around the circle gives the children concepts about numbers and their values in a unique and creative way.  They enjoyed the process as well as the final, colorful designs.  This week we also used our bodies to link the number five to our circles (four limbs and head), used string to build these designs three-dimensionally as a class in circle, and also took a quick look at prime numbers along the way.  Next week, we will finish up our circles and move into place value as well as a sewing project with felt squirrels. 

Please send in slippers (rubber soles) and warm clothes to start our mornings in the dome.  Label everything as the shedding of layers tends to add layers to our lost and found pile.  We visit Lost and Found periodically as a class, and labels help make reuniting items much easier.

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: October 7 - 11

The second grade is happily settling back into their desks in the dome as the cooler weather is finally here! Please send appropriate clothing for our cool mornings as needed. If your child does not yet have rubber-soled slippers, please send in a labeled pair. It makes transitioning from the wet grassy outdoors into the dome easier and cleaner, and slippers help keep their feet warm. Thank you!

We began our first math block this week. We spent time working with creating geometric forms and working with number families. Using circles, gems, and lines we are drawing forms on paper and then coloring them. We will continue working with geometric forms in the coming week and then move into learning more about place value for the rest of the block.

I look forward to meeting with each of you this week to share all about your children have been doing and learning. Please remember we have half-day dismissal all week. The grades children will not have lunch at school, but please still send in a snack. We are offering aftercare as usual starting at 12:30.

With gratitude,

Melissa

Second Grade: September 30 - October 4

The second grade class finished up their first Saints block learning about St. Clare and St. Francis. They wrote and drew about these saints and the selfless lives they led. During this language block, we practice various reading/spelling words, reviewed various letter formation and worked on sentence structure.

The students worked in their math journals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. During this time, we focused on numeral formation and fact families. The children have been copying fact families from the board and many of them are now able to create their own from the three given numbers. On Tuesday and Thursday, they wrote in their journals about fall break and their siblings. The children are working on hearing and writing those sounds to spell words. Both journals have been wonderful experiences thus far.

Next week we will start our math block. This involves less writing typically, and many more games!

Thank you for signing up for conferences. If you haven’t yet, please check your email for a link. Thank you also for those parents who were able to attend our class night! We will hold another in the spring to focus on the coming awakening for many of your children as they leave the dreamy land of early childhood.

The cooler temperatures will (hopefully) start next week! Please send sweaters and rubber-bottomed slippers! The dome is cool in the early morning! Label everything!!

With gratitude,

Melissa

First Grade: September 30 - October 4

Hello First Grade Families! 

I lift my arms to the clear blue sky,

I stretch them wide and I stretch them high.

Firmly on the earth I stand,

To my neighbor I give my hand.

Last week we finished our second block (our language arts block) and now we will be moving on to a math block. The letters that we have gone over thus far are C,O,A,D,W,T,M,S. Last week, we listened to two more stories and added three more letters to finish up our block.  The first was The Marriage of Mrs. Fox and the second was Little Red Cap. These stories brought us the letters F, L and R. 

In our math block this week, I will be introducing the students to children who live in this fascinating world of superheroes. The superheroes will help the students with navigating through the numbers 1-12 with the adventures that will come about.

Best,

Ki Aja



Second Grade: September 16 - 20

The second grade class worked had to learn the Saint George and the Dragon poem for our Day of Courage celebration. The worked with their partners at impromptu moments during the school day without being asked as they were so excited about the task ahead. It was really wonderful to see their desire to do well blossoming as a class. Thank you all so very much for jumping in to help make our festival special for the school and our class! They did a fantastic job!

During our Saint George block, we heard several versions of the story of Saint George and the Dragon, as well as various poems. The students copied and illustrated a poem and some children even created poems of their own. We will continue to work on language skills (and some poetry) after fall break as we learn about Saint Francis. We also learned about "r-controlled" vowels such a "er", also known as "bossy-r" as we worked on our poem. Many phonics lessons are brought in through copy work, as well as learning sentence structure. Overall, the students are really showing wonderful penmanship skills too!

In math, we have been reviewing fact families and numeral formation as well as counting by threes and memorizing our fives times table. As your child writes letters or numbers at home, please remind them they all go top to bottom (or heaven to earth, sky to ground, or any such pictorial phrasing as you can think of). Formation in this manner makes writing less laborious and also helps immensely as we move into beginning cursive next semester. Our weekly form drawing lessons on Fridays also are directly tied to proper letter formation and to beginning cursive instruction.

Please enjoy your Fall Break! When we return, we will start with our class curriculum night Monday, September 30th from 6:30-7:30. This is an adult-only time where we will look more deeply into our year ahead, and to answer any questions you may have about what is happening in second grade. See you there!

With gratitude,

Melissa

Second Grade: September 9 - 13

The second grade class enjoyed the first week of our Saint George (and Saint Francis) block. We heard one version of the story of Saint George and the Dragon as well as two other verses focusing on courage. In the story we will share at the Day of Courage festival, Saint George subdues the dragon, and while not all our stories share that theme (the dragon does not always give up so willingly), the underlying message for our students is overcoming their own dragons. We shared about our dragons, such as becoming angry at our siblings or being scared of certain things both real and imagined. It's made for some very interesting and insightful conversations. We spent time painting and drawing dragons, copying verses and practicing our long, shared verse. Each child took home a copy of the verse they will be speaking at the festival. Please help them memorize their verse by saying it for and with them. If your child can read it, please remind them to still memorize it. I will be there to prompt them when needed. We will practice at school this week together as well, in preparation for Friday's festival.

Fridays we focus on form drawing through fables. We have been reading Anansi the Spider stories and also learning more about spiders as animals. The students love the stories of mischievous, but caring, Anansi, a little reflection of all of us. Following the stories, we work on drawing forms. Form drawing helps us develop our will as we must slow down and draw with thought and care. This school year our form drawing focuses on mirrored forms. We are taking this step by step as we first draw one side of the form and then reflect the opposite form the next class period. These forms also directly link to handwriting (letter-formation) and will help the students as they move into cursive letter formation this school year.

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: September 3 - 6

This week the second grade enjoyed class each morning in our forest classroom. We bring our crayons, coloring pencils, and paper and have our main lessons in the (much cooler) woodlands. It is wonderful how the children sit surrounded by trees and the sounds of nature and yet still maintain their focus during their work time. They work both silently and steadily at their desk-benches. The new weatherproof chalkboard is really wonderful (thank you Ki Derek)! With just a few extra supplies and our snacks, we are set for the first half our our day.

This past week we finished up a period focusing on nouns and verbs through Aesop's fables. We defined both terms and created short sentences using them. We also began writing in journals. Journaling is a free writing and drawing time. We will sometimes have topics and other times chose our own. The children are encouraged to both draw and write. Writing is inventive, no spelling "like in books" is required. This allows the children to focus on the sounds they hear in words and to just get their thoughts on paper without concerning themselves if their spelling is accurate. It frees them up to enjoy the process and is a special experience.

Math journals were also begun. In these journals (a.k.a. composition notebooks), the students will work on both numeral formation and math equations. All-in-all a productive week in the woodlands as we close our first block of Fables.

Our new block will focus on Saint George and Saint Francis as we get ready to lead our school celebration for The Day of Courage. We are looking at reworking the usual event and will let you all know the details in the near future and how you can help. Stories of saints and other heroic persons help the children see a higher ideal of humanity. During this block we will continue to focus on sentence structure and grammar as well as basic math equations.

Our class meeting night will be Tuesday, October 1 at 6:30. During this time, we will all visit a little, talk about our class structure and blocks for the coming school year, and hopefully answer any pressing questions you may have. I'm looking forward to seeing you all there!

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: August 26 - 30

The second graders enjoyed the week learning and playing together. We heard Aesop’s fables about ants, herons, rabbits, bees, and wasps. With each animal, we shared what we already knew and learned more interesting facts about them. We focused more on naming words (nouns) and doing words (verbs). Soon will be learning about describing words (adjectives).

We also spent time learning to draw each animal with block crayons in a step-by-step manner. Coloring with block crayons in Waldorf education is a special task. Rather than draw outlines and fill them in, we use the various edges of our crayons and start from the center, often with an oval or circle. This allows us to work with our shapes rather than be trapped with an outline when we want to fix or add details. The children enjoy this method and continue to develop their skills daily.


Spanish and Mandarin continue to be interesting and fun classes. The children sing, work, and move while immersed in the languages.

This past week we modeled various animals with clay, painted circles of the primary colors to work with blending colors as well as using a clean brush to remove color from our paintings. In handwork, students are working with knitting before moving on to crocheting. In Environmental Education, we also learned more about insects and their habits. Our Friday Creekcess is always a fun ending for a week full of learning!

Please remind your families and children of our school’s media policies. Along with living a low-media lifestyle, we ask that the children refrain from talking about media-related games, movies, etc. in our school.

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: August 19 - 23

The second grade class had a fun and busy week at school. Please continue to send in water bottles and creek clothes. Your child should be prepared every day for getting wet (lucky them ;)! Also, we ask that parents do their best to send in healthy snacks and lunches. Please do your best to avoid sugary snacks and heavily processed foods as much as you can. Thank you!

During morning circle we practice many mathematic skills through movement. We have been counting, adding numbers, skip counting, and chanting multiplication tables. We do this while stomping feet, clapping, passing and throwing beanbags and large and small balls. We work independently, with partners, and as a whole class. It’s a special time during our day as we build our personal skills, class unity, and we practice class verses too! Please continue to arrive at school by 8:40 (and that they have used the restroom as needed as we don’t stop during circle time except to drink water) so your child doesn’t miss this important learning experience!

For our fables block, we heard several Aesop’s fables. Prior to each story, we spend time talking about what each animal is like in its natural habitat. It’s a time where the children share what they know about various animals and learn even more about them. Following our fables we draw pictures, and practice writing through various activities. This week we focused on naming words (nouns) and doing words (verbs), and we copied short phrases for several animals and how they move. We also had fun alphabetizing our first names! We learned to use the first letter in our name, and then second (or third!) letter along with the alphabet chart as needed. We also took a couple extra creek trips this week as our schedule and the hot temperatures allowed for it!

Let’s also welcome Zion Summerfield to second grade! He is a welcomed full-time student to our happy class!

Finally, thank you all for pitching in for our class water crock! It has already made it easier for the children to keep their water bottles full (and there is less water on the floor too ;)

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: August 12 - 16

The second grade class had a busy and fun first week of school. We moved around campus regularly, from dome, to woods, to the building to beat the heat! The children were really wonderful about it all, and took the changes in classroom space with ease and in stride.

This past week we began with some fables that teach to being our best selves, such as The Bundle of Sticks , The North Wind and the Sun, and The Oxen and the Wheels. We decorated our own sticks with yarn to create our classroom bundle to remind us that we are strongest when we are kindest to each other! We also reviewed letter and numeral formation and practice some math and circle skills we learned last year. The students enjoyed meeting Ki Emily, who leads our Movement classes, Ki Gaby, who helped them wind many balls of yarn (and also helped with various tangles ;) in Handwork, adventured around campus with Ki Derek during Environmental Education, and also began to learn to read music with Ki Kathee. The children enjoyed their Spanish, Mandarin and ASL lessons as well! It was a full week!!

Next week, we will spend time with more fables and focus on drawing animals together, creating summaries for the stories as well as continuing to review lessons from the last school year. We will be working on mathematical word problems based off our read aloud of My Father's Dragon as well as playing various number games.

We have kept water bottles full and will plan on doing the same next week! The weather should "cool down" into the 80's (!), so we will continue to focus on hydration and transitioning in and out of the dome, woods and building for classes as needed. Please help your child to drink plenty of fluids in the afternoon and evening as it helps them replenish all that is lost during the day. After our start back to school, long nights of restful sleep are important too!

Thank you all for your support and sharing your children with us! We are off to a wonderful start and are looking forward to a full and fun school year!

With gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Second Grade: August 8-9

Welcome back to all our second graders and their families! We had a wonderful start to our school year! The First Assembly went well and the students handled the sitting and listening with grace and ease (I am already proud of them as a class!). We spent time in our classroom, out and about on campus, and in the creek (check those back-packs!). Using the Aesop's fable, A Bundle of Sticks, we touched on how being agreeable with each other makes us stronger as a class. We also conversed together about some basic class expectations. We also did some "potty talk" where we learned (reviewed) how to use our compostable toilet, and we also practiced gulping water (as opposed to tiny sips) periodically to stay hydrated.

Next week, we will delve into a more work-oriented day, reviewing our letter formation and sounds, and numeral formation and recognition. There will be daily fables and activities as well as we relax into our first full week of school.

Please continue to send in those (labeled) water bottles! We re-filled them many times over with the heat, work and fun throughout the days. If you need to chat for any reason you can reach me at my email: melissa@thegardenmarietta.org and we can set-up a time to connect!

With Gratitude,

Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: May 13 - 16

Thank you all for a wonderful first year together!

The Lower Grades spent this last week together playing inside and outside, finishing up projects, cleaning and enjoying each other’s company before we parted for the summer break.  Each child took home two master books and a folder containing the work they did for the year.  Please take time to share in their pride and accomplishments.  These pages reflect the work, stories and activities the children put on paper.  They were so excited to see them and it is always fun to watching them see the progress they made throughout the school year!

Thank you to Nina Grega, Abby’s mom, for being our room parent this past year.  Nina has recently joined our Board of Trustees and will focus on helping to guide our school in the coming year.  Candace Parks, Major’s mom, is stepping into the role of room parent for the 2019-2020 school year.  Welcome Candace!  

We are also saying good-bye and sending happy wishes to Christina and her family as they start a new adventure together in the Netherlands sometime this summer.  We will miss you Christina and family!! 

Finally, thank you all for sharing your children with me this past year!  Each child brings a special and unique energy to our group and each is treasured dearly!

Have a safe and wonder-filled summer!  

See you all next year!

Warmly,

Melissa

Lower Grades: May 6 - 10

Thank you all for your loving thoughts and prayers.  Each one has meant the world to me.  Thank you also for the sweet and thoughtful teacher appreciation gifts.  Each of your children is a special and important part of our class and community and it is my absolute pleasure to share their school days with them! ❤

 The Lower Grades kept busy during their last full week as first graders!  They finished up form drawing with Ki Aja and enjoyed time in the creek.  We are working to finished up for our Master Books that are about to be bound.  Our class was able to host a trial class for ASL on Friday and they loved that experience!

As the school year closes, each day is enjoyed more fully knowing it will be several weeks until we are together again.  This sends an interesting range of emotions and experiences through the class.  Being both excited and sad for this school year to come to a close can send some children’s emotions on the roller coaster.  If you find this happening with your child, please reassure them this is normal and that all will be well! 😊

 For our final week, we will spend lots of time IN the creek (weather permitting) and enjoying our favorite activities. Please send ample extra clothes.  Please also plan on coming to the shed to help collect your child’s belongings and check lost and found for a final time.  

Wednesday is Field Day and THURSDAY, our last day of school, IS A HALF DAY! 😊

Warmly,

Ki Melissa

 

Lower Grades: April 29 - May 1

The Lower Grades had a busy week.  They spent time creating subject pages for their mater books.  The books will come home with them at the end of this school year.  The children also moved and drew spirals for the last Form Drawing block with Ki Aja.  The Grand Friends Tea was a big part of the week as well.   I hope you all enjoyed the event as much as the children did!  Ki Aja will continue teaching the Form Drawing block for our Lower Grades class through next Wednesday.

 Warmly,

 Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: April 22 - 26

The Lower Grades finished up their Play block this past week.  I cannot say enough on how proud I am of the work and effort they put in to learning their parts, movements and songs.  Each student came away feeling successful and enjoyed the process as well as the final outcome.  Enjoying drama at their age is the main goal.  Having such a wonderful play was secondary, and yet they did both with total success.  A big thank you to Ki Kathee who had the vision and skill to lead us through the block.

This coming week we will finish the year as we started, with a final block of Form Drawing.  We will continue playing math and language games as well as spend time doing activities the children enjoyed all year.  Please remember to check backpacks for wet gear, and to continue sending your child in with a change of clothes.  As the weather heats up, we will be outside more and more and will spend time in the creek as our schedule allows.

 Warmly, 

Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: April 8 - 12

The Lower Grades are working hard on memorizing lines and songs for our upcoming performance.  Each morning we spend around an hour practicing with the Middle Grades class.  We will also begin working on props and costumes.  In our classroom, we are focusing on beginning blends.  These are two-letter combinations such as /st/ or /cl/.  With these blends, each letter makes its own sound, but they are blended for words such as “stop” or “class”.  We enjoyed getting in the creek for play, helping to paint signs for our campus, handwork, as well as our Spanish and Mandarin classes.  Everyone loved meeting Officer Elijah and his K-9, Narbo.  It was both informative and entertaining to meet them and learn how they work as a team to keep us safe!

This week, we continue with our play practice and many other lessons both in our classroom and outside.  Please send water bottles daily!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: March 25 - 29

The Lower Grades enjoyed our first week of the Play/Language Arts block. We spent time each morning practicing for our play that will be April 25 at 6:30pm in the church’s sanctuary. The children have their various roles and are all the learning songs. We played dramatic acting games and worked on memorizing the extensive list of colors in Joseph’s technicolor dream coat. For Language Arts we read, drew and wrote about the fairy, Tiptoes Lightly, and the Barefoot giant. We learned about “ing” and revisited “Magic e” (silent e).  

The weather was lovely and we spent a lot of time outside. The children worked in the garden and explored the wetlands with Ki Sonya. In Handwork, we are working on pot holders and hats with rounded tips that work on our skills with decreasing. We also painted a spring tree and practice drawing rabbits to celebrate spring’s arrival. Spanish and Mandarin are both moving along happily and busily. 

Spring Break should be a fun and, hopefully, relaxing time for all! Once we return, we will continue with our Play and Language Arts block. If the weather is staying warm, we will also resume water play in and around the creek. Please help your child come ready to change their clothes as needed! 

Enjoy! 

Warmly, 

Ki Melissa 

Lower Grades: March 18 - 22

The Lower Grades completed their last math block for the school year. We spent time with each of the four operations practicing and memorizing math facts. We also painted wooden pegs for our math gnomes and the children sewed felt hats and capes for them which they brought home on Friday.  Any unfinished gnomes went home with the needed supplies to complete them with the exception of a sewing needle.  The students used the blanket stitch to edge the cloak(s) and hats.  They worked very diligently and with great pride and delight on this project. Many children improved their sewing skills dramatically as well, as we worked on slowing down and/or improving our stitch consistency working on making even, thoughtful stitches. 

Our next block, led by Ki Kathee, focuses on our upcoming performance with the Middle Grades of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.  Our performance will be held Thursday, April 25th at 6:30 in the sanctuary (where we hold our First Friday assemblies).  During this block the children will spending time daily practicing their roles, lines and songs and also working on costumes and props.  We will also work on our language skills through stories and writing and continue to practice our developing math skills during the school day.  

This past week we again painted mountain scenes while wet-on-wet painting and also practiced drawing rabbits in a field with block crayons with great success.  We enjoyed our outside play while gardening and nature exploring where they made sun prints with Ki Sonya.  Handwork continues to be a favorite class.  In Mandarin, the children finished papers of practice strokes for Chinese characters and continued learning Spanish through various games and songs.

Warmly,
Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: March 11 - 15

The Lower Grades spent the week with Times and Divide Gnomes.  We began the week with our times tables for 10’s, 5’s and the 2’s.  All year, the children have been skip counting through movement activities during morning circle.  This is the base for learning multiplication tables.  During this week, we used bean bags and other movement activities as we learned the tables themselves (10=10x1, 20=10x2, etc.).  We used the gnomes’ gems and together made equal groups which we then skip counted.  Finally, I wrote the various tables on the board, we looked for patterns within the tables, and the students copied them into their Master books.  It was wonderful to see them making the connection between our skip counting games and multiplication!  We also divided gems into equal groups and as we learned more about division and remainders, finally dividing a pan of brownies equally among us (which, really, was the best lesson of all and certainly, the tastiest…just ask them 😉).  We also spent time estimating how many gems were in containers of various sizes and then, as a class, we counted them to see how close we were to the actual amount.  Next week, we will continue to work more with estination, the four process and also on drawing basic geometric shapes.

Last week, we painted wooden pegs the same colors as the math gnomes and this week we began sewing hats for them using the blanket/quilt stitch and felt.  We will continue working on them next week as well.  The children are continuing knitting, working on hats and now flute cases for next year.  The pride and ownership they take over their handwork projects is lovely to see!  If you happen to have an extra skein of yarn to donate, that would be great.  We go through yarn faster than water!  We aim for natural blends, but we are flexible given our yarn appetites. 😊  The Middle Grades are working hard in the garden and each class now has their own garden bed.  The Lower Grades planted strawberries this week and also each student brought home basil seeds to plant and to give them a start at home.  Spanish and Mandarin classes are moving right along with their games, songs and activities.  

As we enter spring (I think it might be here for real now?!), please send your child ready for muddy, wet play.  Even if they think they won’t want to join in wet playtime, that feeling often changes when they are with their classmates outside.  Your child may leave their rain gear at school as we have our backpack “shed”  and can leave items over the weekend.  Finally, please be certain your child has a labeled water bottle daily.  It’s getting hotter in the afternoons, we stay busy, and hydration promotes learning and wellness.  Thank you!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa

The Lower Grades enjoyed our second week of our math block.  We met Plus and Minus gnomes as all as King Equals.  The students worked with both operations adding or subtracting 1, 2, and 3 (or 10-13) from numbers through 100.  We used gems, number lines, our fingers and mental math skills as we learned.  Being able to solve equations in a variety of ways with a variety of tools allows us to become more flexible in how we think about and work with math equations.  The children enjoyed the on-going story as well as working on their skills with number.  This coming week we will work with both multiplication and division.

We also modeled cubes into boxes and worked on both drawing and painting mountain scemes.  The students really enjoyed the process of laying colors on their paper with crayons.  We mixed red and blue paint to create purple mountains, and then red and yellow to create a sunset (or sunrise).  The children are enjoying both Spanish and Mandarin and the many songs and games in both classes.  Ki Sonya has kept them busy working in the garden and exploring our campus during nature study.

Please remember to join us for our upcoming Media Lite talk on March  22nd at 10:00.  Bring a friend!

Warmly,

Ki Melissa

Lower Grades: Feb 25 - March 1

The Lower Grades started their new math block this week meeting four gnomes that must find the Secret of Numbers to break an enchantment cast upon them.  We reviewed basic numeral formation, Roman numerals, and the concepts of odd and even numbers.  The students enjoyed being able to tell if a number into the millions was odd or even!  Next week, we will spend more time with both addition and subtraction and work on discovering the secrets and math facts for both operations.

The children wet-on-wet painted a mountain scene and also drew another mountain scene with block crayons while we worked on layering colors.  For clay modeling, we turned our spheres into cubes and then into boxes.  It takes patience and dexterity to create sharp corners for both cubes and boxes using clay.  Hats and flute cases are on our knitting needles, and knitting is a popular free-time activity.  During creature feature, the children met a turtle and a bearded dragon, each having a turn to feel the dragon.  All the children touched her, and were impressed with how her skin actually felt.  We also enjoyed nature study with some creek time on a warmer day as well as time in the garden this week.

The rain seems to be here to stay and the cold isn’t gone yet either.  Please send your child with boots, raingear and extra clothes daily.  Each child has space in the shed to store extra items, so feel free to send them in to be kept at school.

Our Fundraising event is Saturday eveningMarch 9th.  Please consider buying tickets and attending, and bring friends if you’d like!  We are a small school, so all parent participation is helpful, needed and deeply appreciated!  We are also sponsoring a Media Lite talk in March 22nd at 10:00am.  We’d love a solid parent turn-out for that event as well!  It promises to be an informative and positive session to help us all tame that media monster! 

Warmly,

Melissa