Thursday, October 18, 2018

October - The Shining Loaf

We followed our week of looking closely at Corn with looking closely at Wheat. Our beautiful story this week helped us learn about the entire process from grain to bread and each of the traditional jobs involved:

  • sower
  • reaper
  • thresher
  • miller
  • baker

Naturally our class ended the week with tasting -- and sharing -- our Amish Friendship Bread starter!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time


We talked about Autumn and the colors of the season, then took a Nature Walk to look for the persimmons which have been ripening and falling into my yard from our neighbor's tree. We walked in the rose garden and picked up several persimmons to add to the ones I had already been collecting.

(Don't pick persimmons off the tree. The only way to know that they are ripe is to pick them up when they fall. I leave my persimmons whole and pop them right away into a bag in the freezer. I thaw them before cooking. This process makes them sweeter and also easier to deal with. To collect the pulp, smush each persimmon against a wire mesh strainer. The pulp will come through to the underside, and the skin and large seeds will be left behind.)

Our recipe was Vegan Persimmon Butternut Squash Soup. The older children had ground A LOT of cornmeal the week before and wanted to bake with it, so they reprised last week's Corn Muffin recipe using their own ground cornmeal. That meant we got to have hot corn muffins alongside our soup!

We also ground wheat berries (our co-op sells several types; I chose hard red winter wheat) in the grinder and compared the feeling of the grinding and the texture of the result to the Indian corn we had been working with.


We looked at wheat stalks and took them apart to find the grains of wheat hiding in their grain heads. Separating the wheat from the chaff was very exciting! I had extra stalks of wheat available for each child to take home.

I also brought in a variety of other grains, which I found at the co-op as well, so that we could compare all of the colors and textures:

    oat groats
    rye berries
    spelt berries
    red quinoa
    brown basmati rice
    black forbidden rice
    white arborio rice

Of course, the children wanted to try grinding all of those too! We sang "Yellow the Bracken" at circle time and I introduced a new movement verse, "When the Wind Blows" from The Singing Year. This is track 66 on the CD, and if you look in the book on page 75 it gives the movement indications. In this simple song you pretend to be a windmill spinning at different speeds as the wind speeds up and slows down. It was great fun. We also loved watching our Rainbow Ribbon Streamers flying in the wind outside.


And, of course, today was Stone Soup day. Today was also an exciting day because it was Day 10 of our Amish Friendship Bread cycle! In the morning before the school day began Becca fed the starter and then carefully measured out the 1 cup portions of the starter for students to take home. She already had the bread in the oven when the children arrived, and they were very eager to taste it alongside their Stone Soup. The Amish Friendship Bread recipe was a perfect fit with our story, "The Shining Loaf," which is all about how wonderful bread is when given joyfully as a gift. If you got a starter from us today, look back in my previous blog post for directions on how to feed and grow it, or look in The Southern for recipe ideas.

Here was our list of group contributions to the Stone Soup this week:

sweet potato
russet potato

As a special treat, instead of board game time today when we came in from our outside play time, I read the picture book Vincent's Colors.

I had been thinking about finding pictures of wheat sheaves and windmills, two of the things we had been talking about which children weren't likely to have a mental picture of, when suddenly I thought of Vincent Van Gogh! He did wonderful paintings of wheat fields. As I looked through the complete collection of his paintings, I found paintings of every step in the process:

  • The Sower
    October 1888, page 434
  • Green Wheat Fields
    May 1890, page 628
  • Wheat Field at Auvers with White House
    June 1890, page 654
  • Wheat Fields near Auvers
    June 1890, page 670
  • Wheat Field with Crows
    July 1890, page 690
  • Wheat Field Behind Saint-Paul Hospital with a Reaper
    September 1889, page 554
  • Sheaves of Wheat
    July 1890, page 699
  • Peasant Woman Binding Sheaves [after Millet]
    September 1889, page 553
  • Reaper with Sickle [after Millet]
    September 1889, page 553
  • Noon: Rest from Work [after Millet]
    January 1890, page 610
  • The Thresher [after Millet]
    September 1889, page 550
  • Peasant Woman Cutting Straw [after Millet]
    September 1889, page 551
  • View of Montmartre with Windmills
    Autumn 1886, page 194
  • Field with Ploughman and Mill
    October 1889, page 556

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