Class Notes, October 2012

Perhaps your child has already regailed you with “Pinnately-lobed,
Pinnately-compound”, our song about leaf shapes in our study of
trees. We’ve learned tree shapes, leaf shapes, alternate, opposite ,
whorled, parts of a leaf, and began to explore inside and out on the
grounds, the more prevalent tree families in our area. Next we’ll look
into each family for their familiar and non-familiar members. They’ve
all done beautiful, careful botanical drawings in their Botany books.
We’ve been working with pastels, first in free-form
drawings/paintings and then “au plein air”, outside, using the trees
in our hedgerows as models. In this way we’ve added a heart and warmth
element to our study of trees.
In geometric movement in the big room, we overlapped two pentagons
and pentagrams to make decagons and decagrams which we drew up in our
books with rulers. How difficult that is; and how they’ll welcome
using Pythagorus’ proof for creating a pentagon with a compass. Later
we went back to the big room using overlapping equilateral triangles,
three children in each to create a twelve sided polygon
which the children slowly began to realize was the numbers on the face
of a clock.
It was interesting that we ended our last bloc on Hindu Mythology
with the visit of a Hindu-based group who were doing a four day silent
meditation at the FOL building.. The woman preparing their wonderful
meals shared some Indian food and dessert with any children in our
class who wanted to try it. She also corrected our pronuncition of
Pandu, Draupadi and Durodhana, all characters in the stories we were
reading at the time. They loved her pronunciation. We had full use of
our classroom but were asked to be quiet in the hall; the children
were remarkably considerate.
The class asked to try three-part rounds on the recorder, and did a
wonderful job; now they’re including three-part singing as well as
recorder. They’re becoming very adept at picking  up many of the songs
we sing and use on the recorder, and becoming more relaxed and
comfortable with them as a means of expression and focus.
In Physics we’ve been continuing experiments in Air Pressure and
Air Streams and writing them up, with diagrams, in our Experiment
books.
In Recitation we’ve been expanding our repertoire and adding
seasonal verse, but also memorizing some pieces for performance at a
winter festival perhaps.
In music we’ve worked on set pieces as a group, on whichever
intruments, melodic or percussive, each child enjoyed. “Shady Grove”,
“Wraggle-Taggle Gypsies” and other folk tunes have been a solid and
pleasant place to begin.
We’ve played the game Borderline, which sharpens the students’
sense of which states border which, and which bodies of water border
which states. Sock Pickle, (which they love), Snake in the Grass, Pruie and Devils
and Frogs are just a few of the games we’ve been playing.
On Wednesdays we worked on concrete and abstract nouns, compound
and collective nouns, and experimented with Probability exercises. We
played a kind of hybrid tennis volleyball game in the big room and
their skills sharpened rapidly. We enjoyed our afternoon trips to the
Cornell Plantations and the Lab of Ornithology.

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