Monday, August 24, 2009

My Road Trip Itinerary - 2009

I'm moving my Road Trip Itinerary from the left hand navigation bar to here since it is now in the past but folks may still enjoy reading about it. In fact, I'm going back to Moab over Labor Day Weekend. The original plan was to go sky-diving but I don't have health insurance so it seems smarter to just do some hiking, camping, swimming, and relaxing.

Next year I hope there will be a cool new road trip itinerary for 2010! This last one certainly changed my life in many profound ways.

July 23 - leave Tennessee

arrive home in Maryland

total miles driven: 6612

July 22 - leave Oklahoma

spend night in Tennessee

July 21 - leave New Mexico

spend night in Oklahoma

July 20 - leave Utah

spend night in New Mexico

July 19 - leave Arizona & return to Moab

cool off at the Mill Creek Canyon swim hole

hike to see petroglyphs

July 18 - hike Grand Canyon National Park

July 17 - leave Utah

spend night in Arizona

July 16 - whitewater rafting down Colorado River

visit Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument

have a few pints and play pool at The Moab Brewery

July 15 - visit Arches National Park

see dinosaur footprints at Copper Ridge, part of the "Dinosaur Diamond"

hike Dead Horse Point State Park

camp at Horsethief Campground

July 14 - fall in love with the town of Grand Lake, CO

buy two Maruca handbags at The Grand Lady

visit Dinosaur National Monument

taste Merlot ice cream at Bedrock Depot

leave Colorado

spend night in Utah

July 13 - wake up in a tent on top of a mountain!

drive Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park

see "Pirates of Penzance" at Rocky Mountain Reportory Theatre

July 8 through July 12 -

attend storytelling & puppetry workshop with Suzanne Down

while in Boulder CO:

shop Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins

walk at Wonderland Lake

shop Elfriede's Fine Fabrics

have tea at The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

walk Boulder Creek Path

shop Boulder Farmers' Market

visit Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art

hike Flagstaff Mountain

July 7 - leave Kansas

arrive in Colorado
Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten

July 6 - leave Missouri

visit The Oz Museum

visit Oz Winery

spend night in Kansas

July 5 - leave Ohio

visit Lincoln Log Cabin

spend night in Missouri

July 4 - leave Maryland

spend night in Ohio

A Sprinkler and a Tree

Hurricane Bill having affected our weather here on the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard, the weekend brought strong winds and intensely heavy rains. Sunday morning the girls and I woke up and discovered a large limb had fallen into our backyard. They immediately asked if we could keep it there so they could use it as a fort and I said yes. Then Natalie got the brilliant idea of placing the lawn sprinkler inside the fallen branches so that they could pretend it was the canopy of a rain forest. Today after school (The First Day of School) we came home and I set up the sprinkler for them. You would have thought these children had all been given the greatest treasure on earth! They played for two solid hours with a sprinkler and a fallen tree limb. It was the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time.

Music Resources: Recorder and Singing

The Music teacher at our school and I have a very positive relationship. This year when we sat down to talk, I requested that first and second grade students be introduced to the recorder (this had previously been done starting at third grade). She was open to the idea and we'll be doing it! She also really liked the idea of using the pentatonic scale, since this gives the children fewer notes to learn before they can play "real" songs. It is also so pleasing to the ear that it gives a greater feeling of success in the young child. We talked about how she wanted better resources for teaching the recorder and also more seasonal songs and some little skit or story perhaps that would be suitable for the Thanksgiving dinner. I was happy to help! Here are the resources I lent her:

Playing and Teaching the Pentatonic Flute and Pentatonic Recorder by David Darcy - includes CD
(link is to his website/online store so you can see what else he's written)

Waldorf Teacher's Companion to the Pentatonic Flute by John Miles/Promethean Press

Let's Dance and Sing: Story Games for Children arranged by Kundry Willerth

Let Us Form a Ring by Nancy Foster/Acorn Hill

Movement Journeys and Circle Adventures: Movement Enrichment with a Therapeutic Approach for Early Childhood by Nancy Blanning and Laurie Clark

Let's Sing and Celebrate: 105 Original Songs for Seasons and Festivals by Colin Price

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wild Justice

Cleaning out my classroom, I'm finding different notes that I wrote to myself and here's one example. The Strong National Museum of Play publishes a very interesting periodical with articles and book excerpts on topics relating to play. I just found a note of a title that I'd like to read, based on the book excerpt. I don't think I would buy it, but I'd definitely check it out from the library. It's called Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animalsby Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce. Fascinating premise!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Paper Scissors Stone

I'm finding now, as I need to buy main lesson books in bulk for my classroom of 13 students, that Paper Scissors Stone is much cheaper than A Child's Dream Come True. A MLB is $3.50 at a Child's Dream; it is $2.25 a Paper Scissors Stone. That's a substantial price difference! I'm looking at the 12x9 inch size. I like the rounded corners and the variety of cover colors. I need 13 for our first Language Arts block (Capital Letters/Fairy Tales for 1st grade & Fables for 2nd grade). Our Language color is going to be Golden.

I'm also going to get two of the rolled beeswax candle kits (10 sheets each) so we can make our own candles for circle time, one of the 12 color boxes of Stockmar modeling beeswax, and a box of 16 Stockmar stick crayons.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Extra Chores

The mice could get back out of the jar, by the way. Oh well.

So, I have had a discipline revelation. Things here have been going well, nice routines and daily rhythm, except for the fact that the girls are pushing their boundaries in the Respect department. I know that it's hard for them to go back and forth between two houses and I respect and understand their need to push on the boundaries. I also understand their need for the boundaries to stand firm. This is comforting for children. Gene Campbell over and over used the term "loving authority." The problem is, what is the logical consequence for rolling eyes, back talk, lagging feet, or a refusal to do a task? It took me a while to figure it out. At Tidewater, we invite children to leave the circle and find their manners. We also talk to them. But these things weren't giving the children the firm boundary that they wanted. The behavior was repeating and if it is repeating than that means that the message hasn't gotten through.

Then I realized that if I am spending all my time talking to people about their behavior, I can't get a SINGLE job around the house done. I can't do the dishes. I can't make dinner. I can't get dressed. And let's not even talk about five minutes of privacy in the bathroom. The children were nagging each other constantly, bossing and tattling and disrespecting each other and me. It was awful. However, Extra Chores are the solution. Bad attitude? You need some extra chores. That will calm you right down. Would you like to stand there and argue with me about it? Let's add another chore on to the list. We can keep doing this indefinitely.

1 - Not only has this freed up a lot of my time but the house is nice and clean which makes everyone feel better. A tidy space has a very soothing effect on the soul.

2 - The smell of peppermint in and of itself is helpful. Mood uplifting, Reviving and refreshing, Encourages Communication, etc.

3 - And doing some physical work is a great way for the kids to calm back down from whatever was making them upset. It works for adults too. Feel crabby? Scrub the kitchen floor. The work will make you feel better and so will the satisfaction of a job well done.

If I ask you to wash your dishes after breakfast and you ignore me and refuse to do it for an hour, that's fine. You can wash your dishes plus something extra. This is a nice simple consequence with endless permutations (would someone like to dust mop all the floors in the house?) and exercise releases endorphins, making it one way for people to feel better when they are grumpy.

Plus, instead of being a pain in everyone's neck, you are now the person who folded and put away all the laundry which we all appreciate very much. If you are the child who was feeling uprooted and lost, this helps you find your grounding and reassures you of your value in the family. So it seems to bring a lot of balance to the situation. I'm not nasty about it by any means, it is just a calm and simple consequence.

It has also gotten me energized to do more housework. By having a constant list in the back of my mind of my Wishlist of Extra Chores AND all this free time, I can get my own chorelist done as well as some of the extra things that have just occurred to me. My house is remarkably clean. It is also much quieter and calmer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Minty Fresh Kitchen

A little more mint in our lives? Can't hurt. We still need more in the realm of Mouse Deterrent. So I am switching to Peppermint Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap for ALL my general household cleaning. Previously this was Toby's bath soap so Natalie came into the kitchen after her nap and remarked, "It smells like somebody's been washing a dog." I scrubbed down all the kitchen counters with it. According to the article linked to above, you can also use it as a dishwashing soap which I am also going to try, simply because I am out of my regular kind and this would save me a trip to the store! How environmentally friendly of me. ;-)

We also invented a new kind of mousetrap. I have nearly a dozen quart Mason jars which I use during the school year to hold nuts, dried fruits, and crackers and simply scoop them out into small containers when I'm packing the lunches. I had them all lined up on the counter, ready to be washed, when I thought: I bet a mouse that got into this wouldn't be able to get back out. So I have them all open and lined up along the counter where a mouse could jump up onto the open jar top and climb in (to get the chocolate chips which I cunningly placed inside). Then -- hopefully -- he or she will find that it is impossible to get out. I wonder if tomorrow morning I will have a line of jars of mice?

Today we had a wonderful day. I ditched the idea of doing back to school shopping (washcloths, cloth napkins, film, boxes of tissues, a Thermos for each girl) because I can easily do that online and why drag the children from store to store? So instead we went for a walk on the beach. Today was a very mild day, not as hot as it has been and partly cloudy, so we walked from South Beach down to the Chestnut Cabin and went into the little SCA Museum to look at all the fossils people have found locally from Calvert Cliffs. Then we walked back. It was probably a mile and a half all told. The children spent a good deal of time in the water (no jellyfish today -- hooray!) fighting with the waves. I think that the beach is SOOOO much better for children than the pool because you have the will of the water. Like the value of playing in a running stream for the kindergarten child. Natalie was lying down in the water and feeling it lift her up. Leah was running around composing songs about being a mermaid and talking about how much fun it was to be in the water but actually she was out of the water and just talking about it. So funny. Becca was obsessed with the waves. She is only 4 and I was on high alert for a wave to knock her over and cause her to lose her balance so that she wouldn't be able to stand up. She was lying full down in the water and it was crashing over her and lifting her up. And she kept backing up closer and closer to the Bay and yelling Farther Farther! And she never freaked out, even when I was running to get her out. She just went back in, like a kid who falls off a horse. She would say, I'm really wet and then dash back to the water and scoot back so far into the waves while lying on her tummy that I couldn't believe she was so brave and wanted to go so far in. Farther Farther! Mom, I'm a water girl!

After showers, lunch, naps (nice loooong naps), the girls did bike riding in the yard and blowing bubbles. It was a wonderfully sweet simple summer day.

Snow White and TV

I know that I can't control what goes on at the other house, but it breaks my heart to see my girls playing with their silks, cherry tree blocks, and the figures of Snow White and the seven dwarves which I needle-felted for them and to see them set up one of the cherry tree blocks as a TV so the dwarves can watch it...

New Webpage

I'm adding a new page to the website under FREE Resources. It will focus on free online directions for art and handwork projects. Please share links if you have them!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Main Lesson Books

I just counted the number of stories I picked for the Sunday School curriculum and there are 15. Nice number! Also handy because there are 32 pages in a Main Lesson Book so this gives us room for 15 double page spreads. And I like that we go from A to Z, even if we don't get in all the letters in the middle. It seems cooler that way!

Time to buy a dozen main lesson books (Wide - $3.50 each). We'll do our Form Drawing on newsprint. Better for whole arm movements anyway.

Additional Art supplies: a tin of 16 stick crayons ($23.50), two tins of 8 block crayons ($12.50 each), and the Basic Palette of 6 Stockmar watercolor paints (20 cc size - $39.95 for the set). Craft supplies: 2 packages of 15 color Stockmar modeling beeswax ($24.00) and a beeswax candle rolling kit ($15.95). We'll save the felting needles and the roving for later in the year. Total with shipping = $212.39.

Musings on a Bible Alphabet

Okay, so I just made a spreadsheet of the Sundays in the S S year and there are 37. The last Sunday (the week before Memorial Day weekend) is always the end of year class play. So that leaves 36. I can do the alphabet plus time for preparing for the play very comfortably in there. Yes, you may be saying, but what about the 2-day cycle? What about the forgetting and remembering? Well, so I can do some of the alphabet or all of the alphabet. Probably just some. I love the 2-day cycle. Next question. Do I do the alphabet in order from A to Z or do the stories in the order they appear in the Bible? And if I do the stories in the order they appear in the Bible, do I leave space in between them so that they will be in A to Z order in the MLB at the end of the year? I think we will do them in the order they appear in the Bible but NOT leave spaces in our main lesson books. I don't see any reason to recreate a traditional alphabet book, especially since we already know we'll be leaving some letters out.


What letters do I do and what stories do they accompany?

S - Snake - The Story of a Beautiful Garden

O - Ocean (porthole) - The Great Ship That Saved Eight People

T - Tower - The Tower That Was Never Finished

N - Needle - The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave

B - Baby - The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River

R - River - The River That Ran Blood

V - Valley - How Moses Looked Upon the Promised Land

K - King - The Wise Young King

Z - Zigzag - this story "The Wise Man and the Little Bee" is from another book

W - Wave - Jonah and Nineveh

L - Lion - Daniel in the Den of Lions

Q - Queen - The Beautiful Queen of Persia

H - Horse - The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem

A - Angel - The Angel by the Altar

M - Manger - The Manger of Bethlehem

Ideally, I would like to get in C is for Cave and P is for Prince somewhere in there, because I know it would be easy to find stories for them, but we need 8 weeks at the end to get ready for the play. I'd have also loved to do Proverbs 23:5 with E is for Eagle. But looking at this as a whole, I love that the birth of Jesus comes right at Easter time so it goes full circle.

Anyway, this is just a brainstorm and we may find that instead of a 2-week cycle we do each story on its own day. In which case, I'll have to come back and think up some more.

This is very cool: you can also look inside this book with Google Reader.

Sunday School Planning

I just got the call from the new S S Superintendent that I have been given the combined class of 1st through 5th graders.

Previously my class was 3rd/4th/5th grade and we used the Waldorf Old Testament Stories content. However, if I have first and second graders now (the church is diminishing in size) in my class, I will need to rethink.

Time to trot out the Bible Alphabet curriculum! I had an idea some time ago about, if I got handed the 1st and 2nd grade class, doing the Waldorf way of presenting the alphabet with Bible stories instead of fairy tales. So, for example, W is for Wave would come from Noah and the Ark. A larger class means more money for supplies so now I have to plan the Alphabet (I'll use Hurlbut's Story of the Bible -- available free from The Baldwin Project to guide my storytelling) and purchase lots of supplies. I'll be shopping for main lesson books, beeswax candle kits, modeling beeswax, and beeswax block and stick crayons. Good thing I just bought Coloring with Block Crayons Empahsizing the Primary Colors: A Manual of Coloring Techniques for Teaching to Children . I'd like to incorporate more Form Drawing this year as well. I have already chosen the end of year class play which will be a puppet show (using needle felted puppets) of Noah and the Flood. You can find this play by Eugene Schwartz free online in the Waldorf Clearing House Newsletter - Fall 1984 edition. This means felting needles and wool roving must be purchased as well. Sounds like a job for A Child's Dream Come True!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bob & Nancy's Order

I was the winner at the Bringing Waldorf Home silent auction of the $50.00 gift certificate to Bob & Nancy's Bookshop, Here is my tasty basket of literary delights:

Basic Sculptural Modeling: Developing the Will by Working with Pure Forms in the First Three Grades by Hella Loewe

Animal Legends: 2nd Grade Language Arts Block by Donna Simmons

Making Picture Books with Movable Figures by Brunhild Müller

I'm eager to see Donna's book. I quite like her Saints block and I am hoping to get a lot of use out of this one as well. The movable pictures book comes at a great time for me as well. Last time I taught the Fables, which was in a summer camp, I had wanted the students to each make a moving picture of The Fox and the Grapes. I wasn't able to think it through enough in advance to try it with the group, but it has always been in the back of my mind. Isn't this story just perfect for a moving picture?

Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.) Fables.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

The Fox and the Grapes

ONE hot summer’s day a Fox was strolling through an orchard till he came to a bunch of Grapes just ripening on a vine which had been trained over a lofty branch. “Just the things to quench my thirst,” quoth he. Drawing back a few paces, he took a run and a jump, and just missed the bunch. Turning round again with a One, Two, Three, he jumped up, but with no greater success. Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: “I am sure they are sour.”


Monday, August 10, 2009

Organic Cotton String Bags

Making my list of supplies to buy for the classroom. I wanted to find a place that sold organic cotton string bags (similar to those I saw used in the Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten for children's extra clothing). Great idea! We ask families to send in extra clothing for emergencies, and then the teachers are stuck sorting through two large plastic bins of gallon sized Ziploc bags each time we need to help a child get their extra clothing. I loved the idea of string bags which are simply hung on the hooks in the coat room. We have plenty of extra hooks and vertical storage is always preferable!

Here is a link to where you can buy these lovely bags.

String bags. Art supplies (modeling beeswax, watercolor paper, 3/4 inch brushes, watercolor paints). The teaching clock. The prepared slides for the microscope. There goes my annual budget.

Trolls in the Garden

My to-do list today including weeding the garden and, bearing in mind Gene Campbell's advice that we should all stop wearing out our jaws talking in an endless stream of jibber-jabber to our children using abstract terms about topics that they couldn't care less about (next Tuesday we are going to go to spend the night at Grandma's house so we will need to remember to pack your pajamas), I introduced it with a story.

After naps and snack and playtime, we all went outside to sit at the picnic table and I began the story with Once Upon a Time. Here it is in brief.

Once Upon a Time there was a kingdom which was ruled by a very wise and good king. The whole kingdom was surrounded by a high stone wall and no harm could ever get inside those walls. For many years, the people who lived there were safe and happy. But one day the Trolls who lived in the woods outside the walls discovered that if they dug tunnels under the walls in the dark of night, they could creep through the tunnels and into the kingdom and no one would see them. So they began to dig tunnels under the walls and come into the kingdom. These Trolls were mean. They were big and green and they had many heads. But the Trolls weren't very smart and when daytime came, they would just freeze and stand completely still in the streets, thinking that this meant that no one could see them. (And we froze our bodies completely still and then looked at each other and yes, the girls could still see their sisters even when they were motionless. Someone should tell this to the bunnies, by the way.) One morning the king woke up and looked out his window and saw that his kingdom was full of green many-headed Trolls! He called the guards and they picked the Trolls up and threw them over the walls and told them to never come back. And so the kingdom was safe from Trolls once more.

So we went through this whole story and then we went to get the Trolls out of our garden/kingdom. The children LOVED the story and I have never in my life seen anyone weed with such enthusiasm. They begged me to be allowed to weed again after dinner and Natalie announced at bedtime that when she got up in the morning she was going to change straight into her clothes and go outside and do some weeding.


First Grade, Day One

My booklist for the first day of First Grade:

Poems and Speech Exercises for Grades I & II
by John Miles

Form Drawing: Grades 1 through 4
by Laura Embrey-Stine and Ernst Schuberth

Treasury of Children's Poetry
ed. Alison Sage

Painting in Waldorf Education
by Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart

Will-Developed Intelligence
by David Mitchell and Patricia Livingston

Will-Developed Intelligence is an awesome resource for the Handwork curriculum in a Waldorf school! I have been teaching knitting for several years now and just always begin with making our own knitting needles. After reading Patricia Livingston's article about Grade 1, I realize that I was setting sail before building my ship! Check this out:

"Meanwhile, the golden box just sat in the room creating a mood of quiet anticipation. I waited until everyone was ready and then slowly took off the lid. In the box were beautiful golden threads! I carefully took them out and held them up to show the class, handling them as though they were pure gold. We were all thrilled and delighted! Then I said, 'If you would like to have a golden thread on your desk, fold your hands, and don't touch it until we are all ready to begin.' When each child had a golden thread (golden yarn), they stood up again and learned to tie loops and bows and take them out without making knots, and also learned to take out knots when they did. We wanted the threads to look perfect before we put them away and returned them to the gnome."

From here she goes to on to teach slip knots (magic knots), finger knitting, and then introduced the knitting needles and balls of yarn. They began by making chains using one needle and then after they could make 12 perfect loops on one needle they graduated to learning to knit. It is so helpful to hear how a handwork teacher does it, isn't it? So simple, so step-by-step. And I already have a golden box, hurrah!

By the way, I decided that I wasn't comfortable using Puck the Gnome for a classroom setting, so I am beginning the school year with King Beetle-Tamer by Isabel Wyatt. But I began Puck the Gnome tonight as a bedtime story at home. Natalie LOVES it -- it is so appropriate for age 7!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Online Resources

The final page of that handout was this. There are many wonderful resources and I only gave a few examples from each category. It should be enough to get you started!

• Waldorf Clearing House Newsletter
(archive of past issues)

• Barbara Dewey’s Newsletter
(she also offers teacher training for homeschoolers)

• Suzanne Down’s Newsletter

Blogs with Teaching Notes
Melisa Nielson
(this is her St. Patrick’s Day blog entry with lesson notes)

YouTube Videos
Eurythmy and Waldorf Education

• Eurythmy DVD

• Waldorf in the Home online store
Kelly Morrow’s Watercolor Painting Workshop (grades 1 & 3)

This online store also contains CDs of workshop recordings on child development, parenting, and other aspects of Waldorf education.

School Supplies
• Paper Scissors Stone

• Nova Natural

• A Child’s Dream Come True

Book Box #3

Curriculum Overview (Grades 1 through 8+)

Towards Creative Teaching
ed. Martyn Rawson

The Educational Tasks and Content of the
Steiner Waldorf Curriculum
ed. Martyn Rawson

Teaching as a Lively Art
Marjorie Spock

School as a Journey
Torin Finser

Waldorf Education: A Family Guide
ed. Pamela Fenner

AWSNA Curriculum Chart (large)
ed. David Mitchell

Curriculum (Grades 1 and 2)

A Path of Discovery Volume 1: Grade 1
Eric Fairman

A Path of Discovery Volume 2: Grade 2
Eric Fairman

Putting the Heart Back Into Teaching
Stanford Maher

Eugene Schwartz’s notes
• First Grade Curriculum

• Second Grade Curriculum

Live Education Sample Lessons
(organized by grade level)

Form Drawing

Form Drawing: Grades One through Four
Laura Embrey-Stine
Ernst Schuberth

Form Drawing for Beginners
Donna Simmons

Form Drawing
Hans Niederhäuser
Margaret Frohlich

The “Write” Approach Book 1: Form Drawing for Better Handwriting
Joen Gladich and Paula Sassi

Creative Form Drawing: Workbook 1
Rudolf Kutzli

Creative Form Drawing: Workbook 2
Rudolf Kutzli

Looking Forward: Games, rhymes and exercises to help children develop their learning abilities
Molly von Heider

Beginning with Form Drawing
Live Education!


A Steiner-Waldorf Mathematic Resource
Eric Fairman
(best for lesson prep)

Teaching Mathematics in Rudolf Steiner Schools
Ron Jarmon
(best for assessment)

Teaching Mathematics
Roy Wilkinson

Active Arithmetic! Movement and Mathematics Teaching in the Lower Grades of a Waldorf School
Henning Andersen

Math Lessons for Elementary Grades
Dorothy Harrer

Teaching Mathematics for First and Second Grades in Waldorf Schools
Ernst Schuberth

Mathematics for Waldorf Homeschoolers Grades 1-3
Barbara Dewey

Henri Matisse, Pianist and Checker Players, 1924
National Gallery of Art


From Nature Stories to Natural Science
Donna Simmons

Science As Phenomena
Barbara Dewey

Handwriting & Alphabet

Teaching Children Handwriting
Audrey McAllen

The “Write” Approach Book 2: Form Drawing for Better Handwriting
Joen Gladich and Paula Sassi

Soul Development Through Handwriting: The Waldorf Approach to the Vimala Alphabet
Jennifer Crebbin

The Wise Enchanter: A Journey through the Alphabet
Shelley Davidow
(best for presenting the alphabet the Waldorf way to a child who learned it traditionally)

Roy Wilkinson
(“The Alphabet” p.10)

Waldorf Reading for Homeschoolers
Barbara Dewey
(gives a specific order to teaching the letters with Grimm’s fairy tale suggestions)

LMNOP and All the Letters A to Z
Howard Schrager

LMNOP alphabet wall cards
(a CD is also available)

Pigs from A to Z
Arthur Geisert


An English Manual for the Elementary School
Dorothy Harrer

Teaching English
Roy Wilkinson


Eurythmy for the Elementary Grades
Francine Adams

Leaving Room for the Angels: Eurythmy and the Art of Teaching
Reg Down

Come Unto These Yellow Sands
Molly von Heider

Teacher Resources

A Handbook for Waldorf Class Teachers
Kevin Avison

Resource Guide for Waldorf Teachers
David Mitchell
(booklists to prepare for each block – helpful but you may find you buy too much)

The Foundations of Human Experience
Rudolf Steiner
Lectures: 1919

Practical Advice to Teachers
Rudolf Steiner
Lectures: 1919

Discussions with Teachers
Rudolf Steiner
Lectures: 1919

The Renewal of Education
Rudolf Steiner
Lectures: 1920

The Kingdom of Childhood
Rudolf Steiner
Lectures: 1924

Bookstore at Rudolf Steiner College catalogue:
Download here:

Teaching Challenges

Phonic Rhyme Time: A unique collection of phonic rhymes for precise practice in speaking and reading
Mary Nash-Wortham

Take Time: Movement exercises for parents, teachers and therapists of children with difficulties in speaking, reading, writing and spelling
Mary Nash-Wortham
Jean Hunt

Resource Teacher’s Developmental Exercise Manual
Association for a Healing Education

Sleep: An unobserved element in education
Audrey McAllen

The Extra Lesson: Movement, Drawing, and Painting Exercises to Help Children with Difficulties in Writing, Reading and Arithmetic
Audrey McAllen

Difficult Children: There is no such thing
Henning Köhler

Working with Anxious, Nervous, and Depressed Children: A spiritual perspective to guide parents
Henning Köhler

Why Children Don’t Listen: A guide for parents and teachers
Monika Kiel-Hinrichsen

Book Box #2


Coloring with Block Crayons
Sieglinde de Francesca

Drawing with Your Four to Eleven Year Old
Donna Simmons

Drawing Simple Animal Forms
Live Education!


Painting in Waldorf Education
Dick Bruin and Attie Lichthart

The Waldorf School Calendar 2008
published annually by the Chicago Waldorf School

How to Do Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Painting And Teach It to Children
Rauld Russell

A good evaluation of the Waldorf painting books that are out there, plus a link to purchase Rauld Russell’s book through Marsha Johnson:


Learning About the World through Modeling
Arthur Auer

Educating the Will
Michael Howard

Four Seasons/Four Elements

Earth Water Fire and Air: Playful explorations in the four elements
Walter Kraul

Autumn: Nature Activities for Children
Irmgard Kutsch

Winter: Nature Activities for Children
Irmgard Kutsch

Spring: Nature Activities for Children
Irmgard Kutsch

Summer: Nature Activities for Children
Irmgard Kutsch

Sunflower Houses
Sharon Lovejoy

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots
Sharon Lovejoy

Poetry Collections

Journey through Time in Verse and Rhyme
Heather Thomas

Poems and Speech Exercises for Grades I & II
ed. John Miles
Promethean Press

Around the Year
Elsa Beskow

Treasury of Children’s Poetry
ed. Alison Sage

Talking Like the Rain
ed. X. J. Kennedy

Poetry of Earth
ed. Adrienne Adams

A note about
Lists all books by an author including co-authors and alternates

Fairy Tales and Folktales

The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales
ISBN 0-394-70930-6
(Pantheon edition, most often referred to in the Waldorf teaching of the alphabet)

The Interpretation of Fairy Tales
Roy Wilkinson

Favorite Folktales from Around the World
ed. Jane Yolen

Magic Wool
Dagmar Schmidt
(flat wool pictures)

Making Magical Fairy-Tale Puppets
Christel Dhom
(needle felted puppets and mobiles)

Rose Windows and How to Make Them
Helga Meyerbröker
(Star-Thalen p.54)

Find authentic fairy tales in the nonfiction section of your library -- check 398 in the Dewey Decimal System


Aesop’s Fables
Ann McGovern

The Fables of Aesop
ed. Joseph Jacobs

The Fox that Wanted Nine Golden Tails
Mary Knight

Borrowed Feathers: and other fables
ed. Bryna Stevens

Lights Along the Path
Rebecca Schacht

Native American Legends

Tales from the Igloo
ed. Maurice Metayer

Story Collections

Nature Stories
Margaret Peckham

One, Two, Three!
David Adams

Verses and Poems and Stories to Tell
Dorothy Harrer

The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book
Isabel Wyatt

The Book of Fairy Princes
Isabel Wyatt

King Beetle-Tamer
Isabel Wyatt

Puck the Gnome
Jakob Streit

The Festival of Stones
Reg Down

Big-Stamp Two-Toes the Barefoot Giant
Reg Down

The Magic Knot & Other Tangles
Reg Down

Books of Plays

Plays for Grades One through Four
Michael Hedley Burton

25 Plays Inspired by Waldorf Teachers
David Mitchell

Let’s Do a Play!
Colin Price

Book Box #1


Kids Knitting
Melanie Falick

Will-Developed Intelligence
David Mitchell

The Children’s Year
Stephanie Cooper, et al.

Zen and the Art of Knitting
Bernadette Murphy

Red Berry Wool
Robyn Eversole

Just Hats
ed. Nancy Thomas

A First Book of Knitting for Children
Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton

Knitting for Children: A Second Book
Bonnie Gosse and Jill Allerton

Knitted Animals
Anne-Dorthe Grigaff

Knitted Toys
Zoë Mellor
(gingerbread man p.69)

Simply Felt
Margaret Docherty

Feltmaking and Wool Magic
Jorie Johnson

Making Waldorf Dolls
Maricristin Sealey

Kids Crochet
Kelli Ronci

Living Crafts magazine (Summer 2008)


Festivals Together
Sue Fitzjohn, et al.

The ECOlogical Calendar 2009
ISBN 978-0-7649-4438-3

The Nature Corner
M v Leeuwen & J Moeskops

Let’s Sing and Celebrate!
Colin Price

Crafts through the Year
Thomas and Petra Berger

Festivals Family and Food
Diana Carey

The Easter Craft Book
Thomas and Petra Berger

Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah
Michael Rosen

Seven Spools of Thread
Angela Shelf Medearis

Who Is Coming to Our House?
Joseph Slate

Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
illus. Adrienne Adams

Cat in the Manger
Michael Foreman

The Last Straw
Frederick Thury

The Little Troll
Thomas Berger
(legend for Advent)

The Donkey’s Dream
Barbara Helen Berger

Five Plays for Waldorf Festivals
Richard Moore

Festivals with Children
Brigitte Barz

Stories for the Festivals of the Year
Irene Johanson

Saints and Virtuous People

Saints and Heroes
Donna Simmons

The Legend of Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas
Jakob Streit

Saint George and the Dragon
Margaret Hodges

Saints: A Year in Faith and Art
Rosa Giorgi

Saints in Art
Rosa Giorgi

A Calendar of Saints
James Bentley

One Hundred Saints
ISBN 0-8212-2816-1

Stories of the Saints
Siegwart Knijpenga

One Dark and Stormy Night
John Ryan

I Once Was a Monkey: Stories Buddha Told
Jeanne Lee

Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents
Sarah Conover

If You Have Two Loaves of Bread, Sell One and Buy a Lily: And Other Proverbs of China
Guy Zona

All Year Round
Ann Druitt, et al.

The Key of the Kingdom
ed. Elisabeth Gmeyner

Bringing Waldorf Home conference

The four posts that follow will be the contents of ONE of the TWO handouts that I passed out today at the workshop. It lists every book I brought with me to the conference for people to peruse. The first italicized first book in a category refers to the book I recommend if people are on a limited budget and can only buy one book for a subject and wish to know which book is the best overall resource. However, different books work for different people which is why I brought so many for folks to drool over. :-) It cost $65 for me to photocopy all the resources I handed out today. But we had an awesome time and I hope people really left with something in their hands that was concrete and doable, as well as some inspiration in their hearts!!! We wrote up a 9 month curriculum plan for the 1st and 2nd grade years, did some practice drawing exercises with beeswax crayons as well as a main lesson book illustration for R (Rumpelstiltskin), did the first form drawing lesson (straight line and curve) for 1st grade and some mirrored forms (traced in cornmeal on a paper plate) for 2nd grade, modeled little mice with beeswax, practiced mixing two yellows, two reds, or two blues to find the true colors, then did a color story (When Red Comes to Play) for 1st grade and a painting of a mouse in a meadow for 2nd grade, practiced a rhythmical times table exercise with beanbags, and then we ran out of time! I passed out the dowels to make knitting needles but we didn't have time to make them in the session.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grand Junction CO

There is a Waldorf initiative in Grand Junction, CO!!!

I just found this out 30 seconds ago when I was on Christopherus for something and saw a quote from someone that said, Thank you for coming to Grand Junction, CO. I googled it and found River Canyon School. This struck me so deeply because I am flying into Grand Junction on September 4th since I'm spending Labor Day weekend in Moab. How funny! I wonder if any Waldorf families from that area read this blog?

Notes on Grammar: Class 2

So I thought I would explain a little bit about what I meant by my generic heading "Grammar" for December in Second Grade. Here is what is presented. The greater bulk of an intro to Grammar happens in Third Grade. Live Education has a wonderful book on it, combining the subject with the Old Testament Stories.

Second Grade Grammar Notes

  • lowercase letters

  • simple capitalization - beginning of a sentence, I

  • simple punctuation - full stop

  • simple parts of speech - name words in blue, doing words in red, how words in orange, picturing words in green

  • Teaching English by Roy Wilkinson

  • An English Manual for the Elementary School by Dorothy Harrer

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mentha x piperita

In other Mouse Repellent News, I have recently discovered that mice hate mint. Simply use Peppermint Essential Oilto repel them. In places Mouse Radio cannot reach -- such as the drawer under my stove in which I keep my muffin pans -- I am placing cotton balls scented with peppermint.

A note: I looked this up online before posting the suggestion and reviews are mixed on whether Peppermint essential oil is safe for use in the first few months of pregnancy. If you are pregnant, please do your own research on this and make your own determination before you try it as a mouse repellent!

Lesson Planning Pages

I just want to say that Melisa Nielson has a wonderful Waldorf homeschool planner and that you can see sample pages from it here. It is a dandy combo of homeschool planner and daily appointment book. To order ($40.00) click here (visit the Shop and type "planner" in the search box).

However, I find that a 3 ring binder with 9 tabs in it works fine for me. 9 tabs, or 12 if you homeschool all year round, one for each month. I find that I'm always printing things off the internet that I want to remember -- directions for a seasonal handwork project, for example, or Eugene Schwartz's notes on what is taught in each school year. Find a poem for the block you're doing in May? Punch it and put in in behind that tab. Come May, you'll be able to find it! Or I'm making spreadsheets of things I'm ordering to help me keep my budget on track. Or endlessly making lists of the books that would be good for a block. If I'm going to do that, I may as well keep my daily/weekly lesson plans there in that binder too, so that it is all in one place.

Type up a sheet and slip it in the cover of the binder with the child's name and the school year. Simple is the key. I like a blank white piece of paper so that I can sketch or draw diagrams, webs, or lists, etc. and I'm not constrained by those nasty little lines. You can buy plain white 8 1/2 x 11 paper already hole punched, which is handy. Three columns or three rows for Head, Heart, Hands. Date at the top of the page. Then plan your day. I write daily reflections on the back. That way, my notes on what worked and what didn't are also in the same place. I don't want to carry the binder around during the day so I usually make notes at night about what I'm thinking for tomorrow, take out that sheet and clip it to a clipboard, hang the clipboard on a nail on the wall -- or it will get L O S T -- and then take the paper back down and put it in the binder at the end of the day with my reflections. Think about it at night and plan for the next day. Some people do their notes in colored pencils so you could assign a separate color to Head, Heart, and Hands and do away with the lines completely if you wish.

Second Grade

Obviously, I teach both first and second grade in my classroom, as well as third grade Old Testament Stories for Sunday School, so I have a lot of notes to make as I get ready for this year! Don't we all. :-)

This is my version of the outline for the Second Grade year. This is using the Language Arts/Math/Social Studies/Science main lesson block rotation with the exception of December which is where I stuck Grammar. By December, your child should be learning how to read. If your child is not reading by halfway through the second grade year, please consider some outside evaluation. There are excellent remedial books available which are consistent with the Waldorf philosophy; Bob & Nancy's Bookshop ( has an entire section devoted to these resources. Continue with Knitting. Crochet is the new handwork learned this year.

September: Aesop's Fables
(don't forget Arthur Auer's book on modeling for this block)

October: Shapes & Number Patterns

November: Native American Legends
(far north, pacific northwest, southwest)

December: Grammar

January: Hibernation & Migration, Animal Homes

February: Saints and Virtuous People, Jataka Tales

March: Column Algorithms, Word Problems

April: Native American Legends
(northern plains, southern plains, southeast, northeast)

May: Thornton Burgess
(and on through the summer, especially nature walks with a sketchbook)

First Grade

I am having a grand time gathering my notes for the conference this weekend. I have 6 big bins lining one wall of the living room with books, art and handwork supplies, puppets, and so on. I am going to get a real workout lugging all this stuff around! But one of the things that I got good positive feedback on last year was that I brought my book collection for people to peruse and make their own notes on what resources they'd like to buy. There's nothing like actually seeing the book to know if it will work for you! First and Second requires a lot more books than Third and Fourth because you are getting into so many new things... like reading, for example. So I have even more books to bring in.

Since I'm taking the time to write up notes for the First Grade curriculum, I thought I'd post some stuff here. Some of it will take the form of articles which I will add to the website. Some of it you only get if you come to the conference. But the general outline of the school year (my version) I am happy to share. So here it is. This is using the Language Arts/Math/Social Studies/Science main lesson block rotation with -- obviously -- Form Drawing to begin the year. Knitting is the new handwork learned this year.

September: Form Drawing
(this then becomes the Monday Heart lesson for the rest of the year)

October: Capital Letters
(consonants that make one sound)

November: Quality of Numbers

December: Winter festivals/World Cultures

January: 4 Seasons
(this is a great time to begin the Weather Tree from All Year Round)

February: Capital Letters
(consonants that make more than one sound, vowels done in eurythmy)

March: 4 Processes
(equals the raven, math gnomes)

April: Spring Festivals/World Cultures

May: 4 Elements
(wind, water, fire, air -- continue into summer)

If you give 2 hours to Head (your main lesson block content), 2 hours to Heart, and 2 hours to Hands, you may end up with a schedule that looks like this:

8 am to 10 am
10 am to noon
1 pm to 3 pm

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Grand

I discovered when going out West that the Grand Canyon is simply called "The Grand" if you're anywhere within 500 miles of it. Looking for a nice background photo for my computer, I found this one.

No photo can ever do it justice. Standing on the South Rim and looking at that thing, it just blows your mind. There is nothing but canyon from one end of the horizon line to the other. It is the world. It is everything. There is nothing else but The Grand.


Cleaning Glass Candleholders

Getting things back in order for my Sunday School classroom. Here is a tip for getting the last melted stub of a beeswax candle out of a glass candleholder: simply put it in the freezer for a day! The wax will contract due to the cold, which causes it to slightly loosen its grip on the glass. Give a firm tug and it should come right out. However, bear in mind that being in the freezer will make the glass more fragile. Please be careful.


Saturday, August 1st, was Lughnasadh, also known as Lammas. I don't know if the people at my church did this on purpose or not but today was a Food Pantry Offering day. It felt so good to trot in there with two boxes of food to donate. I've certainly taken my fair share of help when my family needed it, including food, and it was a great feeling to be in a position to give back and have a turn to help those less fortunate. According to my day planner's notes on celebrating the Grain Harvest, "It's very important to share what we have, produce from our garden or dry goods for your local food pantry."

Today was a great day. First I gave back to my community. :-) Then I met with the other Sunday School teachers to talk about and plan for the upcoming school year as well as to figure out how to get our Children's Choir up and running again. Then I went to the Pancake Breakfast at the Community House and stuffed myself on chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, and orange juice. After that I decided to wash my truck since all those unfortunate bugs had been running into it at 90 miles an hour. That's right folks, I haven't washed it yet after my long road trip. And, believe me, you can hit a lot of insects in six thousand miles. So I came home, changed into a little black bikini, tied on a hot pink sarong, and went outside to play Cool Hand Luke. I don't have any male neighbors so really I was just entertaining myself. I had to buy a large carwash sponge anyway for my puppet-making workshop with Suzanne Down, to use as a needle felting base, so I had one on hand. Why pay for a carwash when I can get the maximum use out of my $1.90? I also have a bucket. Free. And I have dish detergent right there by the kitchen sink. Also free. It was a lot of fun to hang out in the driveway and scrub away. Then it rained so I came back inside.

On the way home from the pancake breakfast I stopped and bought myself a HUGE bouquet of flowers and I've decided to clean my room. I always take care of everyone else first so why not me for a little while? I can't even see the floor of my bedroom for the boxes of unpacked books and the piles of laundry that I never put away. It's just plain silly that I should wake up each morning and the first thing I see be complete chaos. How can I be at my best for my children? So I am putting fresh sheets on the bed, taking out all the junk, cleaning my room until it sparkles and shines, and putting a big vase of flowers in it. Worth every penny of the twenty bucks I spent. And I consider it a fair trade -- a carwash for a bouquet of flowers. The flowers last longer and add more beauty to my day and scrubbing my car gets me outside, gives me some sunshine and fresh air, and even a little exercise.

Mouse Radio

Here is the latest and greatest invention in the war against rodents. Mouse Radio! Well, it's called something else: Victor® Sonic Mini PestChaser® Ultrasonic Rodent Repellent. I explained to the children, after our second catch-and-release trap didn't appeal to the snarky suspicious type mice we have living in our home, that we were going to get mouse radio. It was only for mice, not for children, so they wouldn't be able to hear it but it was going to play music that mice HATE and they will choose on their own to move out of our house. The units plug into wall outlets and we have one in the kitchen, one in the laundry room, one in the dining room, and one in the bathroom. The sonic waves don't travel through walls or furniture so you have to position them to bathe the area where the mouse have been hanging out in annoying sonic waves. The waves travel outward in a cone shape. The directions are so funny, they describe it as creating an acoustically untenable environment which rodents find offensive. I have to say that a slight buzzing noise comes from each unit, like the sound a TV makes when you've turned off the DVD player but accidentally forgot to turn off the television and you wander through the living room and think, what's that sound? But they aren't buzzing in the room where I sleep so I don't mind it so much. And we immediately saw a difference in our home. No sign of mice anywhere. 2-4 weeks is supposed to be the window for full eradication. If they can't stand the noise where their food sources are they will eventually just split and leave town.

Just to show that I have nothing against mice per se, and -- in fact -- just like Rose Fyleman's poem, "I think mice are rather nice," I have made this list of favorite mouse books.

An Ode to Mice

The Mouse Bookby Helen Piers

Alexander and the Magic Mouseby Martha Sanders

Anyone think of others? I'd love to have these lists be collaborative -- write a comment and share your favorites!

Mice in the Kindergarten

Mice certainly get their fair share of attention in Waldorf education! Think of all the little verses, poems, finger plays, and puppetries in kindergarten. The seasonal verses, particularly in Autumn. The cleanup verse in A Child's Seasonal Treasury, ("Cleaning Up," page 9). If you go to the link (, click Look Inside, then Search Inside This Book and type "mouse" you will be able to see the verse.

Mice in Grade 2

Mice are back in a big way in The Fables of Aesop ed. by Joseph Jacobs ($3.00):

The Cat and the Mice

The Kite, the Frog, and the Mouse

I also like the collection by Ann McGovern($4.99) for her simpler retellings. I like Jacobs' volume for the variety of fables. I recommend having them both. She includes:

The Lion and the Mouse

The Mice in Council (this is another version of Who Will Bell the Cat?)

Mice in Grade 4

Then they get their turn to be in the spotlight again in the 4th grade Man and Animal (Zoology) block.

See some photos of main lesson book pages posted by Donna Simmons.

According to Towards Creative Teaching, which is an excellent resource for this block (as well as for many others -- keep in mind it's just $13.95), the Mouse is a trunk animal.

"To be a trunk-animal means to lead a life doing only what is useful for self-preservation." p.33

Sounds like a mouse to me!