Friday, February 7, 2020

Farming & Gardening: Week One

A classic Waldorf third grade (ages 8-9) block! We will also share a lot of our activities with the students who are doing a Nature Study main lesson block.

Monday, February 3

  • spend the entire morning playing outside (63 degrees Fahrenheit!)
  • begin our classroom Weather Chart
  • The Apple Lesson

An unseasonably warm day, so we spent a ton of time outdoors! A long discussion about organizing and drawing out our Weather Chart... it will be interesting to see what symbols they come up with for each kind of weather.

Tuesday, February 4

These activities we did as a whole class.

Our Nature walk in the rain was completely lovely. Each child chose a green colored pencil in advance ("choose a colored pencil that you think is the color of a baby plant") and then they went outside and each found a brand-new tiny baby plant coming up out of the soil. It had to be so brand-new that they were the very first person in the world to stop and see it! It was a great poem and a great activity. Then they had to sketch it and notice if the green that they chose was the correct green for the color of their plant.

It is incredible to think that the Earth once was covered with nothing but fire and a barren wrinkled skin of cooled lava... and now it is covered in LIFE!

Thursday, February 6

Exploring paint mixing and trying to create some of Nature's greens (and taking a Nature walk to try to find a plant that matched the green each child mixed) was a great way to get everyone outside and looking closely at the land. They got really into it! I had planned for this to be a 10-15 minute activity but it took an hour.

I set out several different blues and yellows of tempera paint which they could choose from and combine; each child was also given a popsicle stick, an egg carton for a palette, a 9 x 4" slip of watercolor paper, and a paintbrush. Their task was to picture a green that they could find outside, mix it perfectly, and paint a large square of that color on half of their slip of paper. Then they went outside with their swatch to see what in Nature it matched and write a note beside their square of color as to where they found it. No second chances to mix your color... but you could look anywhere in the yard to try to find that exact green! This is much harder than it sounds.

We followed that with two amazing Soil videos produced by the Smithsonian Institution. Tomorrow will be an introduction to topographic maps and the Contour Model lesson.

The first thing in Farming & Gardening is to move slowly. Stop and notice where you are. See what's happening with the land. Before we all sit down and start excitedly looking through seed catalogues and making big plans!

Friday, February 7

The Contour Model lesson was fantastic and I highly recommend this kit if you're teaching this concept! It's very hands-on (the adult just explains how to use it and then the children work as a team) and they were completely engaged. My classroom was so quiet as six children worked together intently, measured, drew, and watched the contour map being created step by step.

It has been pouring down rain for most of the week, so this created a great opportunity to go outside and see where the high and low places in my yard are. Lots of spots with deep standing water to wade around in and examine! Of course, we have a lot of clay in our soil, so that affects the drainage.

We also had wonderful special guests today; more on that in the next post.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!


Wendy said...

I’ve searched and searched for Steiner’s 12 professions and I come up empty. I love your list of professions and plan to incorporate some but am curious about the “12”. Thanks - and thank you so very much for sharing such a wealth of information. Your days sound wonderful and when I come back to earth again, I want to be a student in your school!!

Renee said...

Hi Wendy, Thanks for your kind words!

Suzanne Down has done the bulk of the legwork on researching the 12 Archetypal Professions. There's no one place where Steiner wrote it all down; it had to be compiled from various sources. When I first asked her about what I could read in Steiner for this, she said some of it is not even translated into English yet! Because of all of that, I want to respect her as a colleague and not give away her work. My goal is to encourage people to reflect on it and learn about it more, sharing some but without crossing that fine line. Quite a lot of reflective practice can be done around the 12, so a quick list would not do the topic justice. I would just encourage you to keep an eye on the offerings from Suzanne!

Wendy said...

Thanks Renee - I did take a class with Suzanne summer 2018 and am looking at taking one again this summer. For now, I’m going to choose some professions I think will be of interest and appropriate for now and then work from there. Thanks, again.