Monday, September 28, 2009


I just finished Roasting Chestnuts (see How to Roast Chestnuts -- the step where you roll them in an old towel really helps) and we're having turkey and gravy and cranberry sauce and cornbread and roasted chestnuts and spinach and pumpkin pie for dinner! Yum yum. Today my students and I made jam. Super-simple Strawberry Freezer Jam -- we had 2 cups of mashed strawberries and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. The recipe suggestion was 4 cups of fruit and 3 cups of sugar. Cutting the recipe in half meant some opportunities for fraction work, one of my favorite reasons to cook with students! Tomorrow we will taste it on some hot oatmeal. I used the story First Woman and the Strawberry: A Cherokee Legend (Native American Legends)to introduce the jam-making (it's an excellent Native American legend in its own right, also the perfect tie-in to the project) and we also used a form from Barbara Dewey's form drawing book to go with the story (the one almost at the top of page 3, that looks something like a fish hook with three little loops coming down the side of it, this was the path that she walked, the loops were her stomping angrily around the three tempting foods that Great Spirit sent, the end of the form is where she smells the strawberries, stops short, gathers them, and decides to go back).

Tomorrow is Michaelmas so we are doing a Michaelmas story as a read-aloud and also one at morning circle. Can't make bread dragons, though, because it's also picture day at the school and the children will all be dressed up in their best clothes. Not conducive to getting your hands into bread dough. I also love the Harvest Loaf story in All Year Round (Lifeways)and I've done it with my Sunday School class. But instead this year we will do the Michaelmas chapter from The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Bookand "The Far Country" (All Year Round, page 296).

Happy Harvest to everyone!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Charlotte Zolotow

C.Z. was such a fantastic writer, and really loved writing about the seasons. I Like to Be Little and Summer Is ... (both by her) are also good books to introduce Fall.

I first found her poem "Autumn" in the anthology A Year Full of Poems which is excellent (I don't think you can EVER have too many books of poetry). It's found on page 100.


Now the summer is grown old
the light long summer
is grown old.

Leaves change
and the garden is gold
with marigolds and zinnias
tangled and bold
blazing blazing
orange and gold.

The light long summer
is grown old.

Charlotte Zolotow

This would be a lovely poem to memorize for circle time and lends itself well to watercolor paintings, don't you think?

F is for Fall

My students are LOVING the Waldorf idea of finding things that start with a certain letter of the alphabet and are also in the shape of that letter. When we made bread on Friday one student held up his piece of bread and said, look, B is for Bread! And, sure enough, because we braided the loaves there was a little bump and large bump on the top of his bread (viewed sideways) and it made a B. We've been doing The Wise Enchanter as our read-aloud and also making a Magic Book of our own. This morning at circle, Natalie says to me, Mama, I saw an F over the weekend! F is for Flower! She saw a hosta in bloom and the stalk made the thick upright part of the F and the two sprays of flowers coming off to the side made the shape of the letter. Then I had another child call out, F is for Fall and I really loved that idea. Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn and so we will do the poem "Autumn" by Charlotte Zolotow and then a Nature walk to find fallen leaves. We'll glue them to paper and make a leaf collage in the shape of the letter F. What fun!

There have been good parallels between what letter we are on in the read-aloud story and what letter we are on in our own Capital Letters lessons. Today was F in the story and the picture was Fish, which is what I'm using tomorrow. Our story will be "The Fisherman and His Wife" on page 103 of the Pantheon edition of Grimm's. Also the Wave running form in FD (which is why I bumped back Form Drawing to Tuesday instead of Monday's heart lesson, it goes so well with the story -- besides, for Heart we had the World Day of Peace so that pretty much did the trick, singing and stories and yoga and so on). I read My Mama Had A Dancing Heart
as a story about living peace every day and it's a good story too about the changing of the seasons. Love it when everything ties in together!!! It's one of the great joys of teaching. We did papermaking last week as a follow up to the idea that nothing in the universe ever goes away, it just takes a different form. It tied in with our recycling lessons beautifully as well as our Form Drawing (which was galaxy spirals).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jump Rope

Natalie asked me to buy her a jump rope since she's really enjoying jumping rope at school (and, somehow, we don't have one at home!). I went to Magic Cabin first but the bumblebee jump rope they had didn't specify whether it was a wooden handle or whether it was made in China, which is happening more and more often with them. So I googled "Waldorf jump rope" feeling like an idiot. I mean, everything I do doesn't have to be Waldorf, it's just that I wanted a vendor that I could support and a product that was environmentally friendly. So I found Tree Hollow Toys and they carry the jump rope made by Mercurius which is made in Germany (of course) and has a wooden handle and a cotton rope. Sold! $6.49 plus shipping and they take PayPal.

The Story of the Three Bears

I just went looking to see if the text of English Fairy Tales edited by Joseph Jacobs is available online and it is! Here's the link to The Story of the Three Bears which Barbara Dewey recommends for introducing the letter B and here is the link to the whole book. The nice thing about the classic texts used in Waldorf education is that the copyright on them has often expired and you can find them online for free.


New School Year

I just had someone email me to see if I'm okay -- yes, I'm totally fine, just swamped with a new school year! I've been adding lesson notes to the website (subscription) and am totally obsessed with Form Drawing. I've never taught this block before and I love it. The most fun thing for me is seeing the next form in the progression and coming up with ideas of a story to go along with it. For example, for the freehand circle, I did Grandfather Twilight by Barbara Berger and then we painted red and blue in our Watercolor Painting lesson to make a lavender twilight sky. Tomorrow I begin the Capital Letters block with B. I'm using Barbara Dewey's book Waldorf Reading for Homeschoolers. She recommends the story of Goldilocks for B is for Bear; this also ties in nicely with introducing Crayon Drawing since the three sides of the beeswax block crayon are Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear. I began Sunday School today. We are following the notes I made earlier and posted on my blog.

I will try to write more regularly but can't make any promises. Things here are so busy. But I did go back to Utah last weekend which was fantastic and if anyone wants to see the hunk who took me down the river in July, here he is (image 6046). Yes, I went back to see him again. :-)