Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Grade - Fourth Day

Today was ok - I have some kinks to work out, but Yoav is really loving school - he begs me to "do First Grade" :)
Morning and Circle were fine and the boys continue to have fun with the games.  They both wanted me to do Pease Porridge (with clapping together - my hands together than clapping against theirs) with them exclusively, so I suggested they do it with eachother, which was so sweet, but, sadly by the time I found my camera, they had moved on to something else...

We did all the Figure 3 forms in the Ernst Schuberth "Form Drawing for Grades 1-4" book.  The first form was as below, which I presented with the image of a person standing on the earth.  The top drawing is Yoav's.  I was completely shocked to turn around from the board and see the bottom drawing on Elie's desk.  I actually asked him who drew it, thinking maybe Yoav wasn't perfectly happy with his and had done a second one.  Obviously, it was Elie who drew it.  I was particularly shocked because he's really not very into drawing yet, so I was surprised at how well it was drawn (straight lines, vertical line pretty close to perfect center, very nearly perfectly perpendicular...)  My preference is for Elie *not* to participate in Form Drawing.  I think Form Drawing is too awakening for his age.  A friend did her "school" stuff today outside and said it worked really well - for various reasons, but one of the reasons was that her younger child was busy in the sandbox.  So I think I might try the same to see how it goes.

Yoav's Form Drawing on top; Elie's on bottom - form is from Ernst Schuberth's "Form Drawing for Grades 1-4"

Yoav drew this made-up form after we did a plus form.

After the Form Drawing, Yoav wanted to do some free drawing (he seems to be itching for free drawing after Form Drawing when he has to draw "a certain thing").  In this picture, all looks well - both boys are drawing trains on train tracks.  But, moments after I took the picture, Elie put a crayon mark on Yoav's drawing and Yoav flipped out, leading to much crying and a break in the day - we eventually got back to our soaking watercolor paper a few hours later...

For some reason, Elie likes his desk to be RIGHT next to Yoav's.  Yoav does not at all like this - he wants room for his elbow and paper and probably is (rightly so), worried about Elie being so close.  I'm not really sure what to do about this.  Certainly I can leave free drawing for afternoons, but watercolor painting will also sometimes result in the same problem.  Maybe benches would be better than desks.  I could also do the Main Lesson in the living room at the big square coffee table - I tested today and Yoav can sit properly with a couch cushion plus a pillow.  Then the boys could sit on opposite sides.  I have to think more on this - would love to hear ideas on managing siblings during Main Lesson!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Grade - Third Day

Today was another really good day.  So I'm going to chalk yesterday's difficulties up to insufficient sleep.

We started off the day with breakfast and a bit of clean-up and then headed out for our little walk.  

The kids both enjoyed Circle.  Yoav is enjoying the finger movements more than ever before.  A new type of movement we do is clapping games - we're doing Pease Porridge where I clap my hands together and then clap against his hands and he's really enjoying it - he asks to do it over and over.  I added in a tongue twister (Peter Piper Picked a Pickled Pepper...) and both boys loved that, with Elie coming up with a new ending instead of the word Pepper (think potty humor and a 3-year-old male brain LOL).  That set the boys off laughing and spewing wackiness.

Yoav doing (and very much enjoying!)"Where is Thumbkin?" fingerplay
Yoav's favorite part of Circle is the games.  His favorite is the jump rope one, but he also loves the bean bag game - I sing, "Do you have a beanbag head?" to the tune of "Do you know the muffin man?" and switch around to things like, "Can you hop with a bean bag head?"
Yoav loving (and getting a little kooky) our beanbag game.
I guess Elie was throwing his beanbag - it ended up on the roof and I couldn't get it off...
One of the beanbags ended up on the roof :(
For Form Drawing, we followed Ernst Schuberth's "Form Drawing: Grades 1-4" for the third day.  We reviewed line and curve and then I drew a horizontal line.  I asked Yoav what was the feeling of the line (per the Schuberth book) and he said, "Like a warm cozy bed." which I guess is somewhat expected, because Schuberth says to call it the straight line lying down - the "resting" line.
Form for today (drawn on MLB paper) - "resting" line

Our Morning Activity was cooking - we made chicken soup. 
Making chicken soup
Our Afternoon Activity was Craft - we made Rosh Hashanah cards using potato prints with watercolor paint.  Yoav made a Star of David (he drew the star on the potato and I cut); I made an apple.
Potato print
We used thick watercolor paper cut into 4"x6" rectangles and we rounded the edges with our cool new corner rounder.
Yoav stamping
Yoav LOVE LOVE LOVED this craft.  He said a few times that he loved it and it was so much fun.  As an aside he had such a funny comment about a card he made for my in-laws.  He said, "I'm going to make this one for Saba and Safta because I love them so much.  They're the kind of people who love everything I make for them."  Then as he was painting it, he said, "Look how much love I'm putting in!  SO.MUCH.LOVE!"  :)

The craft took a little too long (for Elie).  He wanted it to be over and for me to stop helping Yoav.  It took us a bit to figure out a good method, how much paint, cutting paper, etc.  We ended up switching from thinner watercolor paper to thick watercolor paper when I saw that Yoav was painting the whole card rather than just doing the print.  Also I had the cards prepared as 8"x6" cards folded in half rather than 4"x6", but it just seemed unnecessarily to have them be folded cards once we switched to the thicker (more expensive) paper.  For next time, I'll know to mix the paint with minimal water for the print - Yoav was having fun squirting water into the blob of paint, but you really just need a bit of watercolor paint with one or two squirts of water (I didn't want a thick print).
Yoav painting around the stamps
Yoav's finished card
My finished card

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Grade - Second Day

Just showing a few quick photos from today - we followed Steiner's indications (from "Practical Advice to Teachers") to let the kids draw yellow paint with green paint and then yellow with blue and to discuss that the yellow/blue is more beautiful.  Even though my green was a really beautiful shade of green (just random luck!), Yoav seemed to think it was obvious that the yellow/blue was more beautiful together though he did also love the color of green we had...

Today was not nearly as blissful as yesterday.  Mostly because none of us got enough sleep - the sun woke us at 6am because the blinds weren't properly positioned (we otherwise would have slept until around 7 or even 7:30).  I really somehow need to be as organized as possible (we had a little argument during Circle between them when I left for a moment to get, whoops...the camera LOL).  Other times also, though, it seemed that issues happened when there was a lull - it took me a while to get set up for painting - though I had the paints pre-mixed, this was the first time painting in this room and I had trouble soaking the bigger paper, since we usually use smaller paper.  I want to get a cheap plastic storage container big enough to soak the paper in.  There's a bathroom by the schoolroom, so with a plastic container, I'd be able to soak the paper there rather than in the kitchen.

Also, Yoav did NOT like doing the story recall - he told me to "just tell the story".  I tried to get a bit out of him, but he seemed annoyed by my interruptions ;)  I'll have to read up on the how-tos of recall so it'll be smoother.

OK, making this short because I have to review and organize the craft materials for tomorrow!

Elie painting

Yoav painting (he came up with the idea of using the sponge to white out a rectangle of space on his own - we've never even done sponge/potato printing, though, coincidentally, we'll be doing it tomorrow for craft!)

Yoav's finished painting

Yoav carding wool (for handwork - leading up to learning to knit);
I used this video/instruction to learn how to card.

Dog happily sleeping with newly-carded wool

Monday, September 12, 2011

First Day of First Grade

So, I did it - we got through the first day.  I've been quite nervous about this - wondering how Elie would take to the change and how Yoav would react to Elie's participation and if Yoav would follow along or want to lead...

Today was really fantastic....  Better than I ever could have hoped for.  We had about four hours of perfect harmony - Yoav loved every minute of it, and Elie loved parts of it (Circle) and played along for the rest (drew and played with his truck while Yoav spent an HOUR on a drawing!)

I followed Marsha Johnson's (waldorfhomeeducators Yahoo group) First Day suggestions pretty closely.  I used that, plus the first day suggestions in Steiner's "Practical Advice to Teachers" and the first day of form drawing suggestions in Ernst Schuberth's "Form Drawing for Grades 1-4".

We woke up early today at 6am (Elie fell asleep early last night and Yoav was just excited to start First Grade!) and started off with breakfast and some cleanup.  Then we went out for a quick walk, singing my walk transition song first ("I Love to Go A-wandering") - the walk involved us leaving out the front door, going past one house, taking a path to the back yards and walking along the forest to our backyard :)  So that got us a little nature walk and got us to the backyard to do Circle.

Circle was wonderful - the best we've ever had!  Elie lately has really enjoyed finger movements and follows along with the words and movements if I sing slowly.  The format worked well - it was more fun that last year when I just did finger plays and movement verses - this year I'm including some game, all of which the kids loved and couldn't get enough of...


(Nancy Foster, “Let us Form a Ring”, notes on p. 31)
Let us form a ring
Dancing as we sing,
Ring-a-ring-a-rei-a, Ring-a-ring-a-rei-a
Now we turn ourselves around,
Watch the birds fly up and down,
Kick-er-i, kick-er-i kee!

Clapping Game

(From Mrs. M “Fall Circles for Grades 1-3”; did this one line with Elie, then next w Yoav so they'd both be doing it with me)

Pease Porridge hot, Pease porridge cold
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old
Some like it hot, some like it cold
Some like it in the pot, nine days old!

(clap knees-clap own hands-clap other’s hands-repeat - do three times through)

Jump Rope

(From Mrs. M “Fall Circles for Grades 1-3”)
Tie rope to door knob or fence... swing gently and let child jump over...

Round and round the earth is turning,
Turning always round to morning,
Then turning round to night.

Finger Plays
(From Mrs. M’s Flute Book - to prep for flute instruction)
Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am
Here I am.
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away
Run away.
Where is Pointer?
Where is Pointer?
Here I am
Here I am.
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away
Run away.
Where is Longman?
Where is Longman?
Here I am
Here I am.
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away
Run away.
Where is Ringman?
Where is Ringman?
Here I am
Here I am.
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away
Run away.
Where is Baby?
Where is Baby?
Here I am
Here I am.
How are you today, sir?
Very well, I thank you.
Run away
Run away.

(From A Child’s Seasonal Treasury):
I have ten little fingers                    [Stretch hands out in front.]
And they belong to me,                [Point to self.]
I can make them do things,                [Rub hands together.]
Would you like to see?                [Open hands, palms up.]
I can shut them up tight,                [Make fists.]
Or I can make them wide,                [Extend fingers.]
I can put them together,                [Clasp hands.]
Or make them all hide,                [Put hands behind back.]
I can make them jump high,                 [Raise hands overhead.]
I can make them jump low,                [Place hands on floor.]
I can fold them quietly,                [Fold hands together.]
And hold them just so.

(From A Child’s Seasonal Treasury):
Whisky, frisky, hippity hop,
Up he goes to the treetop.                [Roll hands up and clap at top.]
Whirly, twirly, round and round,
Down he scampers to the ground.            [Roll hands down to lap.]
Furly, curly what a tail,
Tall as a feather, broad as a snail.            [Bend arm in a crescent.]
Where’s his supper? In the shell.            [Cup hands, look inside.]
Snap, crack, out it fell.                [Clap two times, open hands.]

Hebrew Movement

Ooga ooga ooga,                     Cake, cake, cake,
bama’agal nachuga,                     in a circle we celebrate
nistoveva kol hayom,                     turning around all day
ad asher nimtza makom,                 until we find a place
lashevet, lakum, lashevet, lakum,             to sit, to stand, to sit, to stand,
lashevet v’lakum                    to sit & to stand!
(From A Child’s Seasonal Treasury):
Jump the river - Place two sticks one foot apart to form river.  Children take turns jumping over.  Widen the gap as children try to jump over widening river.
(Mrs. M - bean bag game)
To the tune of Muffin Man:
Do you have a bean bag head, a bean bag head, a bean bag head?
Oh do you have a bean bag head, so early in the morning?
(put bean bag on each head and march around in a circle in the room; then Can you hop with a bean bag head, etc...)

Toss and catch game (Mrs. M)
Use soft ball to toss and catch, starting close and moving further apart to a cute rhyme of any sort or counting (doing this to 1,2 buckle my shoe - on 1, throw to Yoav, on 2, throw to Elie, on words, they both throw back to me and I take a step backward)

Standing Poem
(traditional Waldorf)
It’s Golden in the Garden,
It’s Golden in the Glen,
It’s Golden, Golden, Golden,
September’s here again.

Seasonal Song
(most of this really does not describe the season now in Israel, but I like the last line and it's not so far off, and I couldn't find one and didn't write one that would fit better )
(From A Child’s Seasonal Treasury, notes in book - p. 37):
Yellow the bracken, Golden the sheaves,
Rosy the apples, Crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillsides, Clouds grey and white.
Autumn good morning, Summer good night.

IAO Verse (use Eurythmy poses)
(Eric Fairman, “Path of Discovery”)
Ee, ee, ee: We reach for a tree.
Ah, ah, ah: As far as a star.
Oh, oh, oh: Round the world we go.
Oh away! Ah away! Ee away!

End of Circle
(From Mrs. M):
Hear and listen, listen and hear,
Now the lesson time draws near!

At this point, we went inside and as we stood by the school room (with the door closed), I said our Start Day verse:
Start Day
In sunlight shining bright
In reverence to Hashem
The strength of humankind
Which You so graciously
Has planted in my soul
That I with all my might
May love to work and learn
From Hashem comes light and strength
To Hashem rise love and thanks!

I started off relatively easy (for me to memorize) and will gauge how it goes and add more/change as needed.  I have all my homeschool planning (schedules and day-by-day plans) on Google Docs, so I printed all the verses and taped them onto 4"x6" cards so I can carry them around and study them as I have time.

We then went inside the room, Yoav Ooohed and Aaahed.  I gave both kids a rose from the garden which I put into a vase in the school room (great Mrs. Johnson suggestion!) and I used some of the language from Mrs. Johnson and from Steiner - that it's the first day of First Grade, it's an important day, that this year we will be learning a lot of the things that adults know - how to read, write, play an instrument, knit.  Then I showed the kids where I put things - each child has a drawer in a vertical bookshelf for chalkboard/crayons and chalk, then there's a drawer for yarn, a drawer for painting supplies and a drawer for drawing paper.

And then we began!  I drew a straight line on the board (top to bottom) and said it was a straight line.  Then we stood straight and tall with arms straight up, walked along the jump rope in a straight line, practiced drawing a straight line in the air, then on the chalk board and finally on paper for a Main Lesson Book.  Yoav at first when he drew on paper did it from bottom to top, but I reminded him that we draw from "Heaven to Earth", pointing to the top of the line down the bottom and he understood and redrew.  Next we did the same with a curve.

Next was time for modeling wax. Each child got a bit of reddish/brownish Stockmar modeling wax to make a line and curve.  I don't remember if Yoav asked what we were making or if he just understood (I was making a line and curve as well).  It is so interesting (and probably a good subject for a future post) how content he was to make something so simple, when, in the past, we've had such a hard time with modeling wax - he always wants to make something far beyond his ability (like a fire truck, which he insisted on trying to make last time) and he ends up in tears (don't worry, we do this very rarely - I try it every few months to see if there's any change).  Since the day was so structured and so exciting, he was happy to make the line and curve, he could feel that it was important work we were doing!  We stuck the shapes onto the drawers (I know it looks like an aleph - we didn't talk about that, though - I'm tentatively planning to start the Hebrew letters in Third Grade).

Next Yoav decided he wanted to do a free drawing, which seemed fine until I realized how long it would take!  Yoav has the patience of an ant.  I was going stir-crazy, watching him slowly draw, sometimes getting distracted by Elie (when I would jump in and remind him that his tree was growing and growing - I really really had a hard time keeping my mouth shut!!!  But of course, as we all know, patience is a virtue so I certainly don't want to interfere!)  This was the result of his efforts - too bad he won't be drawing the chalkboard drawings for letters for me since he already draws better than I do!

When Yoav FINALLY finished his drawing (btw, Elie drew on his chalkboard with crayon during this period and later I was able to get it off with a mix of dishwashing detergent and baking soda!), I lit a candle, sang "Mother of the Fairy Tale" (from Nancy Foster's "Let us Form a Ring") and played on the pentatonic xylophone.  I told the story about the crab, which Yoav loved (as he loves all told stories) and watched me tell the story with a big smile on his face!

At the end, I used my new snuffer to put out the flame (which this kids thought was magic and asked if the "thing" could make the candle get lit again LOL) did my end story verse ("Snip, Snap, Snout, Our tale is ttold out") and end Main Lesson ("Birds in the air; Fishes in the water; Stones on the land; I’m in G-d’s hand) and we had lunch, tried to rest a bit afterwards and then went to Yoav's horseback lesson in the afternoon.

Yoav was thrilled with the first day and told anyone who would listen about the school room and what we did.

I'm so exhausted (so I'm sorry for typos or bad grammar) - I'm going to get breakfast and our watercolor paints ready for tomorrow and then hopefully get to sleep soon...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Starting Tomorrow!

We are starting tomorrow with our first day of First Grade!  I can't believe it!  I was so organized early in the summer, but now I feel a bit unprepared - I'm going to post this and review some verses and my story!

I'm hoping Elie won't participate much, but of course he has to have a desk like Yoav ;)  Both kids get a white painting board, a lap-sized chalkboard and a roll of crayons.  Yoav has eight sticks and eight blocks in his - it's a regift of this crayon roll from three years ago!  I put the eight block crayons in the four first top and bottom slots and then two stick crayon per each of the remaining four bottom slots.  I washed it and put on a new ribbon to make it look new :). Elie got regifted Yoav's crayon roll from last year with a blue, yellow and red stick crayon.

On my desk, I have a pitcher of what will be water, a candle and snuffer for story time and bean bags for Circle.

Off to finish memorizing - I'll post details about the first day in the next few days...

Wish us luck!