Friday, February 24, 2017

While studying sports related words with a client , the word < court > came up. 
I asked myself, " What is that < u > doing?" It does not seem to have a phonological role. 
Upon looking to etymology I found my answer. The word < cortus> moved from Latin and through French. The French added an ou digraph. Although the pronunciation is different from what < ou> represents in other words, it is still a grapheme in the word. The < r > changes the pronunciation. 
Looking at the meaning of court became interesting! It origionally was used to refer to the enclosed gardens people came together in to discuss issues of the day. The people who gathered there were ' cohorts'. The word 'court' was also used to refer to the King's residence. People who came to court wanted to woo the king to do something in their favor. It is the same reason we go to court today, only we want to woo the judge in our favor. 
Today ' court ' is also used to refer to a place where some sports are played. I realized these courts could be inside or outside. They are all enclosed spaces where people come together to play a game. The difference between a court and a field is that a court has a floor or foundation of some type. 
All of this came to light just because I wondered where that < u> came from.


In SWI class for the past two weeks we have been investigating words that we use to praise. Awesome, perfect, nice, super.... and the list goes on. What we found is that over time we have moved away from understanding the denotative meanings and early connotative meanings of many of these words. I think we all agreed that we would never call anyone's work "nice" any longer. 

 The denotative meaning of nice: " foolish, stupid, senseless" also " weak, poor, needy, simple, stupid, silly, foolish" . From Latin 'nescius' " ignorant, unaware, literally, not knowing".

The connotative meanings developed sense the twelfth century. From " timid, fussy, fastidious" and on to " dainty and delicate". Further traveling to " precise, careful, agreeable, delightful"  to it's present day use, " kind, thoughtful ". 

Is it really a complement to say someone or their work is, " nice? " It certainly has not been for most of the work's history. It seems to me that it is a word we use when we want to semi-compliment someone who is agreeable and average. Someone who never, " rocks the boat," or discusses controversial topics. As someone who speaks out about the truth about language, explaining how phonics fails children who do not memorize words easily. I definitely would not fit the adjective, " nice". In fact I cannot imagine living a life spent turning my gaze the other direction when I see lies being told and children being harmed. In the 1800s is was a common occurrence to hear the phrase, " in polite company." This meant your expected cohorts would all be well to do and obey the rules of "polite" conversation. No calling out the elephant in the room at these gatherings unless you wanted to be shunned by the only community that it was "appropriate" to socialize among. The more I think about this word and how it was used, the more I realize it was used as a tool of society to keep women in their place. Thank goodness we have moved on from a time where women " knew their place ". I think we also need to move on to much more complimentary forms of praise that are authentic and genuine. 

The results of our investigations ( denotative meanings indicated): 


 terr + i + fic---->  <terrific>   " causing terror or fear " 

wonder + ful ---> < wonderful > " marvellous thing, miracle, object of astonishment " 

per + fect --> < perfect > " to do completely"  

awe + some --> awesome  " inspiring awe"

< great > " big, tell big, stout, massive" 

fantas + ic --->  < fantastic >   " existing only in imagination "

fab + ule + ous -->   < fabulous >   " mythical, legendary " ( fable ) 

< super > ---> " first rate, excellent " 

 < spectacular > This word is analyzable but cannot be put into a word sum. ( at least not by me at this point)   " a sight, show that is amazing to see"

magn + i + fic + ant --> < magnificant > " great, elevated, noble, distinguished "

There are more! I hope you readers are inspired to continue this investigation. We certainly had a great time investigating these words. We plan to start using them when they actually apply! 















Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MLB Pages - Man and Animal I & II

This is going to be a large post because I'm including both of the main lesson books Leah created for Man and Animal. Please note that she did them in sixth grade and so the amount and quality of writing is more than what you would expect from a fourth grader. I hope they are helpful, regardless.

We used the fabulous, fantastic, and free East African Teachers Training Manual 6: Human and Animal Studies.

I really like the diagram on page 29 of the "Threefold Human Being." I used this to help me choose which animals we'd study for each of the two blocks.

    "Thus we may see, as illustrated in the diagram, that just as a baby is born head first and slowly develops the trunk and limbs, so in the evolution of creation the ‘head’ creatures in the sea came first, then the ‘trunk’ creatures like the fishes, insects and reptiles and finally the ‘limb’ animals in the mammals. The different creatures are specifically linked to the form of the human being.

    On the opposite side of the diagram we may see a different division of the animal kingdom whereby the creatures are linked to the human being through the functions of the three areas of the body."


So in our first block, we did three groups of animals (head, trunk, limbs), and in our second block we did three different groups of animals (nerve/sense, rhythmic/breathing/blood - carnivores, metabolic - ungulates).

To give the briefest possible explanation of the anthroposophical view, the human being is the animals put together and so the animals are the human being taken apart. This view is what separates the Waldorf "Man and Animal" block from the traditional teaching of Zoology in the public school.

Here are the pages for Leah's main lesson book. I've tried to include notes as to the source of the story or illustration where I can. Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the photos with ease.

her idea:  to draw one man and one animal for Man and Animal I
and two men and two animals for Man and Animal II

Man and Animal I was our fourth block of the year

self-portrait as a celestial being inspired by this picture

my version (watercolor pencil)


from my very first Waldorf chalkboard drawing

12 Phyla:  Porifera, Echinoderm, Cnidaria, Platyhelminth, Annelid, Mollusk, Arthropod, Fish, Amphibian, Reptile, Bird, Mammal



jellyfish poem which we found online

life cycle of the jellyfish

pull down to reveal...

beautiful jellyfish artwork which we made with a guest art teacher

too-wet paintings of a snail and an octopus

the snail was inspired by this one and the octopus came from instructions in the Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart painting book

I love how she incorporated the octopus and snail into her title

page of soil with earthworm facts in the tunnels (her idea)

page inspired by this chalkboard drawing

"Fishes" poem for two voices from Georgia Heard's Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky

creating a fish by drawing the watery environment around it, inspired by this illustration from Live Ed!

"It Starts with a T and Lives in a Shell"
page about turtles and tortoises

wet on dry watercolor painting inspired by this one by Rick Tan

again, I love her fabulous titles and borders - so creative!

on to mammals... painting a seal by painting the watery environment around it, inspired by this one


"32 Things My Hands Do"

metaphors and similes which have to do with animals
this idea is from Roy Wilkinson's The Human Being and the Animal World and it's a good one for ending this block


Man and Animal II was our ninth block of the year

kicking off the block by participating in the annual Great Background Bird Count, done all around the world every February

"Sparrow" poem by Kaye Starbird, from Eric Carle's Animals Animals

map of all the bird feeders in our yard

"The Eagle" poem with young bald eagle talon illustration traced from the Eagle page in Maryjo Koch's Bird Egg Feather Nest

chapter 5 from Kovacs' The Human Being and the Animal World:
The Harvest Mouse
and then the poem "The Harvest" by Alice C. Henderson

for many of the remaining animals we used chapters from Thornton Burgess's EXCELLENT Burgess Animal Book for Children, copyright 1920

my edition is leather bound with the original pictures but apparently the modern edition only contains the stories - well worth getting however


chapter XXXII Buster Bear

chapter XXVII Reddy Fox

chapter XXVIII Old Man Coyote

"An Almost Dictionary Definition of Lions" - I love her titles!
chapter 13 from Kovacs and we must have watched a nature documentary for this as well but I have no idea which one

here we switched to Horns and Antlers by the inimitable Wilfrid S. Bronson

chapter 1 has a fantastic explanation of the stomachs



Ruminants AKA Cloven-Hoofed Cud Chewers


describing the step-by-step path through the four stomachs


horns vs antlers

then we returned to Thornton Burgess

XXXV Lightfoot the White-Tailed Deer


chapter XXXVI Flathorns the Moose

a moose submerged happily in watery vegetation

every leaf with a moose fact on it

have I mentioned how creative and adorable she is?
I LOVED her work for these blocks!



I hope this has been fun and inspirational!


My other blog posts from teaching Man and Animal:


This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!