Class Notes, September 27, 2012

In Hindu Mythology, the story of the king Baghira who gave up all
worldy goods and became a holy hermit in the woods, gave us an
opportunity to study some Zoology. Baghira, in the wilderness, was in
the presence of so many fierce and dangerous animals and yet remained
unscathed. So in our drawing we’re including and studying the Indian
Elephant, the Indian Rhinocerous, the Bengal Tiger, the King Cobra,
the Mongoose, the Boa Constrictor, the Sloth Bear and
others. On the mythical, artistic side of that story, we’ve been
looking at some ancient Hindu tapestries, paintings and sculptures to
find an authentic representation of Brahma for our drawing. We’ve also
heard Indra and the Giants, (which made for a great scene in the play
we did at Stone Circle years ago) and Indra Slays the Dragon.
The Drawings the children are doing in their Main Lesson Books are
careful, beautiful and dynamic; and when I ask them to add a little
more here or there not one of them whines or winges, but calmly gets
back to work.
In Science we began to write up our experiments in a more concise,
summarizing format, and draw diagrams. We wrote these up in our
practice notebooks and then transferred them to our Science Experiment
books. Having done this practice method once, we will hereafter write
up experiments in our Experiment book as we go.
We did experiments involving Lift, Blowing out Candles with air
streams and vacuum, and the Candle Seesaw.
In Creative Writing we played the Parts of Speech sentence game
which the children loved. In another class,  I gave them the thought,
” I’m lost; I can’t find the path…” for a writing exercise. Forty
minutes later all the students were quietly and thoughtfully writing.
( I thought I had died and gone to teacher heaven! ). Then they
volunteered, on their own, to read their stories to the class if they
wished to. They were all so individual. We didn’t worry about spelling
which freed them to right, rite, write. But next week I’ll start a
vocabulary page so we can work on that most arbitrary and
ideosyncratic of language skills.
In Poetry and Recitation we continued to work with “Windy Nights”
and “To see a world” but added Emily Dickinson’s ” I’m Nobody “,
“Smart,” and  ” Pie Problem ” by Shel Silverstein. We also practiced
stepping out iambic pentameter and other meters using parts of Byron
and Longfellow.
In Reading during snack and lunch, we’ve been reading from Zlateh
the Goat, by Isaac Bashevis Singer, “the Mixed-up Feet”, “Chelm
Snow”, and finished “The Ransom of Red Chief ” by O Henry.
In Math we worked on some number square conundrums and clock-face
teasers. Next week we’ll do more pure number study and number
relationships. We tried working with compasses on an optics project,
with mixed results; next week we’ll work artistically first and then
geometrically, to get everybody comfortable and enjoying the skills.
In Drama we played “The Chelm Goat Mystery ” with great enthusiasm
in the big room, rotating parts and performing it a number of times.
In Music the children’s recorder playing is steadily improving and
becoming ensemble-ready which is remarkable for the short time we’ve
had together. We’ve started playing “Morning Has Come” in round form
already, but only because they feel comfortable trying it. In Musical
jamming we’ve had fun improvising or playing along with student’s
rhythms, melodies and songs on various percussion instruments, violins, viola, banjo and recorders.
Some of the games we’ve added to our repertoire these last weeks
are: Punchinello, Pruie, Stations, and Mushpot. If you’re curious, ask
your children to explain.
We’ll see you all on the Finnstitute Trail…

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