Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 5

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

 sra de luna headshot

Dear Fifth Grade Parents,

Any teacher who has taught fifth grade at a Waldorf school would agree it is a pleasure to teach this grade. The curriculum is very rich and the fifth graders have usually achieved a balance in their growth. Physiologically they have not reached puberty –although they are close to it- and they are, for the most part, physically and mentally well balanced.

For the Language class, this moment of equilibrium brings a greater flexibility in managing the class. The students are found to be more receptive and less likely to argue with the teacher.  In general, the lesson has the same format as in previous years, but there is a change in the length of the three parts.  The first part of the lesson is the same but shorter than previous years (rhythmic part- songs, tongue twisters, riddles, clapping games, recitation, oral conjugation, etc.). The students do not need to move as much as the younger ones, for the realm of feeling is experienced more strongly than the will.  During the second part of the lesson we go over grammar or other material that require greater attention and concentration (both recalling previous material and introducing new). After this the class will do some writing or reading. The students will create their own Spanish book, which will reflect artistically all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry and grammar.

Accurate pronunciation will be practiced through speech exercises, poems and reading. The children will now be given short homework assignments as well as regular grammar quizzes, vocabulary tests and dictation.  Legends of Mexico will be the topic for story telling and reading. The texts will be reviewed by answering questions about the content in oral and written form. Vocabulary will be brought from the stories and other topical themes. Grammar is developed from what was introduced in the native language in 4th grade. Students will work extensively with the conjugation of regular verbs in present tense and some irregular verbs will be introduced.

As you can see the year will be full!! You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways.  The most important part of all is to have a positive and open attitude –  “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna- Linden Tree Photography WSA Yearbook 171

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 6

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Sixth Grade Parents,

The sixth grade is a transitional year as it marks the threshold to puberty. As the faculty of thinking awakens, the learning of languages undergoes a considerable change.  The students are growing in self-awareness and the oral presentation of the teacher stops being as accessible to the children as it had been in earlier years. The student’s rising intellectual capacities need to awaken to the conceptual structures of the language. To accommodate this remarkable change we will have three lessons a week instead of two.

In sixth grade the students formulate, memorize and write down fairly complex grammar rules. They have received a three ring binder for Spanish homework assignments, grammar exercises, vocabulary, and regular practice sheets. Students are expected to take their binder home and have daily reviews of the material covered at school (10 minutes would be sufficient) to keep the language learning ongoing. The students will continue to work on a book, which will reflect artistically all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry and grammar.

So far (in the first six weeks of school) we have covered personal description (adjectives – gender, number), dialogues, introducing yourself, present tense for regular verbs and irregular to be and to have.

South America with its rich historical and mythological personalities becomes the main theme throughout the year. The history, geography, and customs of these countries become the vehicle for increasing vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. This year I have the honor to have been invited to teach about South America during main lessons.  I am looking forward to it!

Last but not least, sixth graders are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests. If homework is not done on the due date, students will be sent to Study Hall to complete it. The homework schedule is organized in a way that it does not overlap with assignments from other lessons.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or make an appointment for the upcoming conferences.

Looking forward to a great year,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna drawing on chalkboard sra de luna grade 6 chalkboard drawing

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 7

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

sra de luna headshot

Dear Seventh Grade Parents,

Seventh grade has begun Spanish lessons with great enthusiasm, energy and good rhythm. They will have three Spanish sessions during the week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. In this grade the search for answers, causes, and reasons continues. Discoveries are made and new goals are reached. The students’ new vision of the world needs new perspectives and answers. Likewise, in the language class, they are going to require a content that responds to their needs, as well as new challenges that will support the strengthening of their sense of self.

The study of voyages and discoveries forms a major part of the main lesson curriculum. For Spanish lesson, it is an extraordinary opportunity to explore old cultures of the American continent. Stories of European explorers and conquerors, as well as legends and historical narratives of indigenous people will be the main focus. The seventh grade curriculum deepens the cultural studies through geography, history, literature, and poetry.

Specific grammar work involves an extensive work with verb conjugation: present, past and future of regular verbs as well as simple irregular verbs. Vocabulary for everyday situations such as shopping, asking for directions, and other varied social situations provides a framework for these grammar studies.

In 6th grade students began an organized binder with all of the material being learned including cultural notes, poetry, practice sheets, homework/classwork assignments and grammar.  Students are expected to take their binder home and have daily reviews of the material covered at school (10 minutes would be sufficient) to keep the language learning ongoing. Seventh graders are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA 

sra de luna-Linden Tree Photography 2012 diaz de muerta 009

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 8

The Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Catalina De Luna Garza.  A review of the Language Program can be found on our website and specific insights into teaching each grade are found in these letters to the parents.

 sra de luna headshot

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

It is exciting to write this letter about eighth grade as this year marks the completion of a journey together. The main topic for this grade is Revolution; yes!  They will study the Industrial Revolution and explore the search for cultural and spiritual freedom through the ideals of the French Revolution. This search for freedom and individuality is reflected in the students as well. The work in the eighth grade becomes very independent; ideally students take responsibility for their own learning. The students usually have an increased inquisitiveness and a need to communicate their individuality.

We will study the biographies of Hispanic people -past as well as modern times- that have had an influence in the world such as: Cesar Chavez, Simon Bolivar, Neruda, Kahlo and Rivera, and others.

 “The children should meet what is typical of the life and activities of the people whose language they are learning” –  Rudolf Steiner.

 The structure of the lesson changes considerably as the rhythmical part diminishes allowing ample time for independent intellectual work: grammar, reading, writing, and speaking. In addition to reviewing basic grammar rules learned in previous years, the eighth grade will now work at an analytical level comparable to their native language arts work. They are expected to follow the rules of grammar introduced and be able to apply these rules to written exercises with some attempt at using them in conversation. Reading becomes an important tool for learning, oral and written retelling of the read material provides opportunity for the students to practice their skills.

Eighth grade will continue to have three Spanish sessions during the week. Students are expected to have daily reviews of the material covered at school (15 minutes minimum) to keep the language learning ongoing. They are expected to complete regular weekly homework assignments and prepare for quizzes and vocabulary tests.

Through the year we will have larger projects to appreciate the cultural richness and diversity of the Spanish speaking community such as:

  • Celebrating Day of the Dead by creating an offering in the classroom to remember our ancestors. We will also attend the festival held by the Mexican Consulate for this celebration.
  • We will visit a Hispanic farmers market and have the chance to buy supplies for our cooking block.
  • A Puppet show for the kindergarten is the project that culminates our journey together. The students will prepare a story for young children as they remember their own childhood in kindergarten and recapitulate their time at WSA.

If you have any questions or concerns about the Spanish program, please email me .

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

 

sra de luna with grade 8 DOTD

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 8

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

grade 8 lined bag

Greetings Grade 8 Parents:

I wanted to let you know a little bit about our plans for Eighth Grade Handwork.  In our array of handwork tools, the sewing machine is the most complex.  We work with it during eighth grade as the students learn about the industrial revolution; a practical demonstration of the incredible changes technology can bring.   It is always interesting to observe the children as they take their first turn on the machine.  Some of them go so cautiously that the machine barely runs, while others have lead foots and have difficulty stopping and staying on an even line.  They are steering with their hands, accelerating with one foot and learning to keep their fabric within the boundaries.  Add to this picture the fact that they must learn to anticipate when to stop and how to reverse and you will see why I often refer to sewing machine work as an early driver’s ed experience.

Our first project this year will be the last one you see- we will make a lined bag that will be used to keep our projects in for the remainder of the term.  This bag is a WSA tradition, and for good reason.  It has a fairly simple construction, allowing students who are new to the sewing machine to learn how to sew straight lines, to keep an even 5/8” seam allowance, and to pivot.  In order to make the lining, they have to cut and sew an exact replica of their first piece so that the two fit together.  Sewing is completed by stitching two seams – one close and the other very close to the top edge, creating a casing for a drawstring.  Once this project is complete your child should be able to repair all those shorts and hoodies that have lost their drawstrings!

With the completion of the bag the children should have a basic familiarity with the machine and sewing seams, and begin to be able to visualize garment construction.  This will prepare us for our next project, pajama pants.  Skills sets introduced here include reading and following written instructions from a pattern, sewing accurate curves, and measuring to fit.

Once the pj bottoms are completed, the children will be allowed to select a final handwork project.  Choices include pieced pillow cases with French seams, decorative pillows, and skirts.   Depending on the student’s experience and expertise, they may select a more complex project not on this list.

The eighth grade has handwork every Friday afternoon. It has been my delight to have worked with many of your children since we leaned to knit together in first grade.  It is my hope that we both enjoy our time together this year, and that we bring strong focus and good intent as we create our last handwork pieces together.

Ms. Bulmer and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with your children, and look forward to a wonderful eighth grade experience.    Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns about the handwork curriculum.

Thank you,

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher 

 

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 7

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

grade 7 felt slippers

Greetings Grade 7 Parents:

I wanted to let you know a bit about our plans for this year’s handwork classes.  In seventh grade handwork the students experience the ancient art of felting.  We will explore the uses of felt throughout history and learn about the various qualities of this amazing natural textile.  Both strength and delicacy are required for felting.  The students are expected to participate fully and learn to weigh the effects of the force they exert as they track the course of their projects from airy fluff to sturdy pieces.  Felting meets the children on a visceral level.  It is hard work to be a seventh grader, in part because the child is growing so fast and is confronted with so many physical changes.  Felting assists this transition and helps address the awkwardness of growing so quickly by awakening tactile sensitivity.  To successfully complete a felted piece, the children need to hone their powers of observation, evaluate the state of their project and decide for themselves when and where to apply force.  They learn that simply standing up and leaning into their work can have a significant effect: they must engage in order to progress.  This process of observation and evaluation supports the methodology used in science class, where experiments will be witnessed and documented.

We will begin the year with a very simple introductory project – a juggling ball.  This project uses four layers – pellets for filling, a cover (a knee high stocking), a layer of wool and another cover. This is a fun way to teach simple felting concepts that will be employed throughout the year.   Next we will learn flat felting techniques to make a circle mat.  This project requires a delicate touch, and teaches the children how to carefully edge their work for a nice finish.

From here we will move on to slippers.  This project presents an opportunity to think and work in three dimensions.  We will utilize a resist in order to create layers and shape a flat piece into a three dimensional object.  I think of slippers as the seventh grade answer to third grade hats.  When the children were going through their nine year old change we made hats as a “shelter” for their burgeoning individuality.  In seventh grade the children are in the throes of another stage of development, and felting around their own feet is a grounding experience that brings awareness to and acceptance of their constantly changing physical bodies.

As seventh graders the children will be focusing on the sciences and studying the age of exploration, when brave individuals confronted the unknown.  During our time together we will look into how it is that friction, soap and heat can turn fluff into a fabric that withstands the elements and has housed, clothed and protected people all around the world.  We will also hear stories about textiles, and how the quest for higher quality wool and more vibrant dyestuffs lent impetus to explorers who traveled the world, questing for the colors which shaped empires and defined nations.

Ms. Bulmer and I are very grateful for the opportunity to work with your children this year.   Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about our work this year or the handwork curriculum in general.

Thank you,

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher

 

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 6

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

 grade 6 interlaced embrodery

Dear Grade Six Parents:

I am writing to share some information about this year’s sixth grade handwork curriculum.

My goal for this year is to infuse the children with knowledge of fine needle work, which requires a completely different skill set than the work done in other grades and challenges the children to hone their fine motor skills very precisely.  In review: fourth grade’s cross stitch provided them with the opportunity to sew rhythmically, cross the midline repeatedly, learn pattern recognition and introduce a small needle.  Now, two years later, they are flying without the net as there are no well -placed holes showing them exactly where to put the next stitch.  They must observe their work carefully, estimate where the stitch should go, and follow that inner directive and sightline.

Towards that end, we will begin the year with needle books.  This practice piece is made from plant dyed felt, which is a forgiving fabric and allows us to learn how to begin, master the stitch, end the thread and hide ends.  The felt can handle many “missteps” and lends itself well to a smooth and even appearance.  Most of the work on the needle book will be done in backstitch, which produces a continuous line of straight stitches.  Backstitch is also the primary stitch used in their major project for the year.

That project is a herd of bison.   This is a project Carol and I have specially created for your children.

We will be working closely with each child to assist in drawing a bison picture, from which we will draft individual patterns. We will carefully preserve the childlike nature of the drawings so that the finished projects will reflect the person who made it.  After drafting the patterns we will transfer them to fabric and begin sewing.  This will prove to be a tricky bit of work, because it involves adding a seam allowance to the drawing and visualizing how the pieces should come together to make a three dimensional object.  The focus on realism and accurate measurement supports the work Mr. Smith will be presenting in geometric drawing.

As with last year’s sock project, bison will take up the remainder of the year.  Hopefully the children will enjoy watching their drawings come to life.  As we go, we will learn more about the animal. Each child will be responsible for a brief oral presentation (2 minutes) on some aspect of the bison.  The children will receive handwork grades this year.  The grade is based on the effort they exhibit, participation, including assisting in preparation and group clean up, and participation in the report project.

Please email me  if you have any questions about our handwork curriculum for this year.

Thank you,
Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher

Grade 6 sewn lion

Lion created in Grade 6

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 5

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

socks

Greetings Grade 5 Parents:

Welcome to the year of socks!  Making socks in the fifth grade is a Waldorf tradition because socks contain a world of knitting know-how in a small package.  For those of you who “speak knitting”, the following skills are addressed:  knitting, purling, ribbing, stockinette, following a written pattern, working on four needles in the round, picking up stitches, shaping and creating curves.  Basically, this translates to the following: if you can knit a sock, you can knit just about anything. Working in the round extends knitting into three dimensions – developing a spatial awareness that comes in handy during 6th, 7th and 8th grade as well.

We will start the year making a small gnome project.   The gnome will be used as a swatch, which allows us to evaluate your child’s knitting style and decide what size needles they need – and how many stitches they will need for their socks.  In addition, it offers a small sampling of most of the skills listed above.  If your child does not yet know how to knit, we will take extra care at this time to make sure that the basic skills are mastered before beginning socks.  There are several new knitters in the class this year, but we anticipate that, with some support, everyone will be able to complete this project.

The children will also make handwork books into which they will copy the patterns for gnomes and socks.  Here they are exercising writing and copying skills, and later they will learn to follow the written instructions.

In order to complete this project before the year is through, I will eventually give the children the option of taking one of their socks for homework once they are firmly established in their work. Homework is not required unless it becomes apparent that an individual will be unable to complete their socks before the end of the year.  Only one sock is allowed to go home at a time, in case the child forgets to bring it back and thus looses a week’s worth of class.  Both socks are created simultaneously, so that they repeat a skill as soon as they learn it, reinforcing the lesson.

The children are growing in so many ways. The year long project is one way we meet their increasing maturity.  Another is the double period.  This year the fifth grade will have handwork once a week for a double period on Wednesday afternoon.   Generally it takes a few weeks for the children to adjust to this novelty.  We will be sure to vary activities during the first part of the year in order to help keep them alert during the long stretch.  We have had one class so far, and the children were excited and eager to go.  Ms. Bulmer and I are truly delighted to be working with the children- their enthusiasm and excitement is contagious.

Please note that this year the children are being offered a choice of yarn types.   I am offering our traditional, gorgeous plant dyed wool/mohair blend.  This beautiful yarn is very soft.  However, it will shrink to the size of a toddler bootie if you accidentally wash it in warm water or agitate it in a machine.

Having destroyed many socks this way myself, I decided to offer a more hardworking alternative.  Therefore, we are also offering a superwash yarn.  This yarn can go through the washer easily, and will even survive the dryer without loosing wear-ability.  It is made from wool that has been treated in order to prevent shrinkage.  The superwash yarn is commercially dyed.  I am allowing the children to choose which type of yarn they use.  Should you have strong feelings in either direction, please speak with your child about his or her choice.

As always, if you should have any questions about the program, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you,

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher

Grade 5 socks

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 4

The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

grade 4 pincushion

Dear Fourth Grade Parents:

Welcome to the new school year!  I wanted to reach out to you to share some information about this year’s handwork curriculum.

Our primary medium in grade four is cross stitch.  This gives us an opportunity to focus on very fine motor skills, working with a sharp needle and learning a cross stitch technique that incorporates crossing the midline with each stitch.  Midline work actually permeates the entire fourth grade curriculum: it can be found in knotted form drawings, eurythmy movements, games classes, and class warm up activities.  Among other things, crossing the midline supports mathematical skills that the children are learning at this time.

Of course there are many ways to cross stitch, but the Waldorf style works within a carefully defined form.  Children use their dominant hand to do all of the stitching, learning to swoop the needle from the front of the canvas, across the back and out the front again in one continuous motion.  This task sharpens eye hand coordination and develops pattern recognition.

We also work with color theory.  Six rainbow colors are available in three shades each.  For our first major project, a bookmark, the children are allowed to choose two color families, giving them six different shades.  The bookmark is intended to be a conversation between these colors.  Limiting this project to two color families really sharpens the children’s awareness of subtitles of shading and hue.  While some of the color “conversations” are simple and straightforward, others are amazingly complex.  Nonetheless, the available palette guarantees that all the bookmarks will be beautiful.

Finally, the bookmark form previews the work the children will be doing with fractions and plotting points in space.  All colors on the bookmark are duplicated on the left and right sides, so if you were to fold it in half it would be a mirror image.  Essentially, this is two halves.  Once the children have mastered this process, we will move on to pincushions, which are done in quarters with the added complexity of a centerline.  In this case the form the children create will duplicate itself in all directions, including diagonally.  Our fourth graders will be using color to plot points on a gridline in all four directions.

Fourth grade cross stitch is delightful balance of form and freedom.  Through use of symmetry and simple color choices, the children create truly beautiful designs that are always unique, reflecting something of the nature of the artist.  Cross stitch one of the most popular subjects we teach in Handwork.   I look forward to working with your children again this year.   Should you have any questions about the Handwork program, please feel free to contact me.

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher

cross stitch floss

Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 3

 The Handwork Curriculum at the Waldorf School of Atlanta is led by Lisa Roggow.    Her loving care of the children is evident in these letters to parents of each grade.  

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Dear Third Grade Parents:

Now that the year is off and running, I wanted to update you regarding our plans for Handwork Class this year.   Third grade is all about crochet.  During first and second grade, the children worked with knitting, which used both hands working in unison in a balanced gesture.  Now that we are beginning the nine year old change, we are working with crochet, which focuses on building dexterity in the dominant hand.

We begin by we are just learning to hold our hook and pull through stitches.  We will practice this skill for several classes, during which the children will make three long crocheted cords, which will be braided into a belt.

Once everyone is comfortable with the form, we will begin working on a mug mat.  Crochet stitches are more difficult to count than knitted stitches, and we will spend some time focusing on starting with 12 stitches and ending with the same number when we finish a new row.  This challenge requires the children to perform multiple steps in sequence.  The crochet stitch itself comes in two parts (“catch and pull through and then catch and pull through two”).  Crocheting along a row requires the children to complete the entire stitch twelve times, use visual cues to recognize the stitches from the previous row, and remember to add an extra stitch that will allow them to turn without loosing a stitch.   All of this goes into making their first little square, which will be our mug mat.  Learning a new type of needle work is always a challenging business; the third grade will be required to work together to cultivate patience and support one another while they take up this new work.

Once we have the basics established and the mug mats are complete, we will begin working on pouches. New skills learned for this project include working in the round and changing colors.  The pouch will be a conversation between two shades of the same color, beginning with the darker shade and working up to the light color at the top.  We will learn double crochet or “tall stitch” at the top, in order to make a hole for the lacing cord, which will be done using another new technique called butterfly cord.  Butterfly cord is like double finger chaining, and again it represents a step up, challenging the children to build upon skills they have already mastered by increasing the complexity.

Later this year we will complete our study of circular crochet by making a hat.  This is a classic third grade project, because it interweaves so nicely with the shelter aspects of the curriculum.  A hat is, at its most basic, a shelter for the head.  During the nine year old change there is nothing like using your will forces to create your own protection.  You might remember those sunny kindergarten days, when the teachers made sure everyone had on their hat and boots before a walk.  Now that the children are growing into caring for themselves, they experience making this most basic protective garment on their own.

The remainder of the year will be taken up with other practical projects, such as pencil cases.  Toward the middle of the third grade the children begin to work more independently at their own pace.  By the end of the year some of the children may be working on extra projects.

It is, as always, a great pleasure to work with your children.  Ms. Bulmer and I very much enjoy our time with them.  If you have any questions about the handwork program or your child’s work, please feel free to contact me.

Lisa Roggow, Handwork Teacher

grade 3 mug mat, pencil case and hat