Class Notes, September 14, 2012

 Carl Sandburg said  , ” It pays to have a good forgettery. ” But in this case I’ll try to have a good remembery:
   Our study of Hindu Mythology began with the story of Atlantis and its inhabitants abusing the special powers some had. The good man Manu and some followers survived the deluge that sank Atlantis under the Atlantic  with the help of a little fish Manu saved, a fish which grew enormous. The fish towed them in their wooden boat ( the children mentioned Noah ) all the way to India. We studied the three seasons there, the Hot, the Rainy and the Cool seasons and how growing crops ( now with ordinary powers ) had to be planned around them. We learned about Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Hindu gods and their roles in the cosmos. The powerful King Sangara had many, many sons. He sought to sacrifice his beautiful white stallion, which displeased the gods. His sons defiled the pained earth with shovels in search of the hidden stallion, so Vishnu came down as a human to dissuade them. They attacked him with their shovels, not knowing he was a god. He instantly turned them all to ashes, and their souls were forbidden from rising to heaven. It falls on the grandson of the remorseful Sangara to try to redeem those hundreds of  trapped souls, with the Eagle’s help and Baghira at the Ganges, which we will learn about next week. The students have begun or finished beautiful drawings in their Main Lesson books of Manu and the great fish on the stormy sea. They’ve written a short summary or excerpt from the story on their pages.
   We began our days with recitations:” Windy Nights ” by Robert Louis Stevenson, ” Smart ” by Shel Silverstein,” Too Many Daves “, by Dr. Suess, and ” Auguries of Innocence ” ( To See a World ) by William Blake, with Eurythmic movements. In the big room we played the 16 direction game, or Compass Rose,i.e. N,S, E, W, NW, NE, SW, SE, NNE, NNW, SSE,SSW, ENE, ESE, WNW, WSW. We also played Three Man Deep, Anni Vanni, and walked number concentration exercises.
   On Recorder we worked on fingering, breathing, and started practicing ” Morning Has Come “, a round we play to begin the day. We’ll also work on the round ” Where Is John? ” and a Chilean pan-pipe song.
   In Science we did two startling experiments elucidating air pressure, which I encourage you to try with your children. When I wrote on the board, in very simple scientific method, Purpose, Materials, Procedure, Observations, Diagrams, Conclusions, I realized this was too much writing for some, and appropriate for others. So I will modify the method of recording these experiments ( I gave them all Science Experiments books ) according to individual capabilities; though, as I did successfully with their Mythology drawings, I will always ask for them to do a little more work than they’re satisfied with.
   We played Geography Charades using a big cloth map of the U.S. states and capitols. The students were very enthusiastic and participatory, each at a pace in keeping with their gregariousness or quietness; we’ll definitely do it again, perhaps with a big Animal Atlas we have. We  also did some Math Teasers.
   Our outside play included lunch outside and the playing of Kick the Can, Mr. Bear, Gardener and Bad Petrushka. During snack we read  “The Night the Ghost Got In ” and ” The Night the Bed Fell ” both by the brilliant American humorist James Thurber; the children loved them.
   On Wednesday, a liitle different program with fewer children, the students played Bioviva, a wonderfully interesting environmental board game. They were so into the game and all the nature facts that they didn’t stop until 15 minutes past snack, and only because I requested they do so. In Creative Writing, we worked on a group writing game involving many of the Parts of Speech, which we’ll continue with rest of the class. They fixed up the Fire Circle out in the woods to better accommodate the entire class. In a drama workshop the students acted out a whimsical, strange Thurber fable, which they asked to do twice. Future Wednesdays will see us at the Sciencenter, the Lab of Ornithology, the Johnson Art Museum and the Plantations.
  Let me say  what a privilege and joy it is to explore these many subjects with your children. The class is cohesive, polite, enthusiastic and caring. I trust that some or all of these qualities will carry on in the weeks to follow.
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