Building and Rehearsing

All week we have been laboring on our building project and rehearsing our class play. Both are going splendidly! This week we finished the foundation of the oven, laid the fire brick for the floor of the oven, shaped the  27 inch tall and 32 inch diameter sand mound that will later be dug out and leave a void for the actual oven and completed the 4 inch clay layer on top of the sand.

Next week, we will mix the cob layer that will be 6 inches thick and shape the doorway of the oven. I am considering painting the oven with lime paint and sculpting the cob layer to look like an animal…

We will continue play rehearsal next week and all children are expected to have their lines memorized by Tuesday. Hopefully there will be lots of practicing this weekend. We will focus on voice projection and diction next week when working on the play and even perhaps try some scenes with costumes.

Mountain Laurel Orchestra Concert and Class Play

One of the countless reasons why I love teaching at Circle of Seasons is our dedication to the arts. Humans have created art for as long as we have existed. It is intrinsic to the human experience and our curriculum recognizes that and engages children through this powerful conduit.

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This week we were incredibly fortunate to have the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School visit Circle of Seasons. On Friday afternoon, the school was presented with Mountain Laurel’s recorder ensemble and chamber orchestra. The recorder ensemble was made up of 5th through 8th graders and the chamber orchestra was composed of 6th through 8th graders. The musicians performed music from the Baroque period to modern movie scores. It was truly an enjoyable and impressive performance, and I feel that our class was especially gifted with the experience as they prepare to being playing stringed instruments next year.

As I sat listening to these talented young musicians, I looked around at our class and saw each child enthralled. Even those that often have a difficult time sitting still were absorbed for over an hour.

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As you have already heard, our class play this year will be two stories from the Robin Hood legend, the meeting of Robin Hood and Little John and Robin Hood and the Sad Knight. The first story depicts the meeting of two strong personalities. While they at first clash and battle for superiority, they earn each other’s respect and realize that they can do good if they world together. The second story shows the ingenuity that the merry men employ to live and survive in the forest, the importance of hard work and dedication, and the compassion we strive to hold for our fellow man especially those in need. This year each child in the class will have a speaking role and the play will be double cast. Each cast will have a change to perform. I will set the dates of the performance this week and let you know via email. The children as always have impressed me thus far with their enthusiasm and dedication. Last week, we began blocking and will continue this week as well.

Weaving  

Now that we have finished state testing, we are back and busy with Main Lesson. This week, we will finish up our Fiber and Fabrics block by learning about silk. We will continue working on spinning using a drop spindle in Fiber Arts class as well as weaving during our extra main period each day. 
Here are some pictures from our special guest, Mrs. Houston. She came and shared lots of information about natural dyeing and weaving.   

She also prepared a table top loom that belongs to COS for us to use in the classroom!


I have a feeling that the next month and a half are going to fly by! So what is on the horizon?

MAY FAIRE – COS May 13th 

The May Faire is a celebration of May Day, an ancient festival welcoming spring. Often the center of May celebrations, the maypole bears garlands and is a symbol for the growth of new vegetation and spring life.

Classes who are presenting for May Faire will begin the day’s festivities by processing from inside to the school to the maypole with song and dance. This year second grade classes will gather around the pole that is sprawling with greenery and colored ribbons. They will learn the weaving dances allowing the rainbow of colors to intertwine or create a braided wave around the pole. This colorful weaving dance is a special part of the coming of Spring. The second graders will be joined by a few other grades classes in presenting various folk dances.

Once the maypole and folk dances have concluded, children can enjoy playing games, weaving floral crowns, partaking in wholesome foods and sweets, and playing on the school grounds. Please help us welcome in the springtime weather with fellowship and celebration.

Our class will be working in conjunction with Mrs. Ostfeld’s class to run the silk dyeing booth. I believe all the volunteers needed for our booth have been found, but please visit the Sign-Up to see if there are any other place you can serve during the event.

CLASS BUILDING PROJECT 

I am hoping to begin our building project construction on May 15th. Please watch for an email to volunteer to help lend a hand in our effort. I am also still working to find a very handy person would could serve as our foreman.  Handy and interested? Email me please! Please visit our class Sign-Up to donate needed supplies! 

Fibers and Fabric, Passover Seder


Last week, we began our study of fibers and how they become fabric to clothe us. This study is a continuation of our theme of Living on the Earth. To begin this block, Christ Stitzle, a sheep shearer, visited our school and sheared the sheep. He spoke to the third grade all about his profession and answered many questions the children had. Over the course of the block, the children will process the wool from Birch and Willow from raw wool to yarn. We will then use the yarn to complete a weaving project.


  
    
   

Here the children are picking the wool, removing any large debri, before it is washed. We also had a very special guest, Mrs. Keller, visit and give the third grade a presentation on spinning wool. Mrs. Keller is our gardening teacher’s mother. She wore period clothes from the 1700’s and explained all her garments and how they were made. She discussed why people long ago had so few pieces of clothing and demonstrated how to spin wool yarn as well as told us all the parts of the spinning wheel.  

 We also joined Mrs. Ostfeld’s class and Mrs.Ostfeld’s mother-in-law to experience a Passover Seder. The children sat together at a banquet table and participated in the Seder.      

They ate bitter herbs to remind them of the tears the Hewbrew slaves shed.

They heard about the plagues and let a drop of wine  grape juice fall on their plate for each plague.

  

They class enjoyed the experience and had fun joining together to learn more about Jewish culture.

  
Of course, we have also had plenty of time to play. Here are a group of students who set up a farmer’s market at recess. There was a lot of trading and bartering going on. 

And there has never been day in our classroom that wasn’t rich with art. Here is a spring time daffodil modeled by a child in the class.

Linear Measurement and Money  

We worked a great deal with measurement before and now after our break as well. Before break the class finished our study of nonstandard linear measurement by using our cubits to measure the length of Noah’s ark, 300 cubits. We had no idea it would take so long to measure it out! After working hard to finally find 100 cubits, we decided to cut a length of yarn equal to the 100 cubits we had measured. Then we stretched it across the field two more times to reach the desired length. It turns out 300 cubits is reeeaally big! The flags marking each end are still up if you get a chance to see them.

  

  

We made the transition to standardized linear measurement by making our own rulers. We mearesured many items in the classroom using these rulers, but soon discovered that a tape measure is a much more handy tool when measuring longer things.

    

  


Once we returned from break we continued our study of money. We discussed the development of money including the concept of bartering. Each member of our class and the other third grade class brought an item form home that they no longer needed. Then we spent about 30 minutes or so trading. We had a lot of fun!  

 

  
The class also spent time exploring a jar of coins from all over the world that my husband had collected on an around the world trip. We found many commonalities in these currencies even though they were from many varied countries. We also worked a great with United States of America currency.  
    

Linear Measurement 

This week we explored the origins of linear measurement and again who people first used their own bodies to measure. We learned about cubits, spans, palms, digits, and feet.  

    
 
Then the class got busy measuring all sorts of things in the classroom. I chose which things they would measure, but they needed to choose which unit of measurement to use. It was great to walk around and hear, “Let’s measure the bench using cubits! Wait we need to estimate first!” “No, I don’t want to measure the floor with my cubit. Let’s use our feet.”