Handwork at the Waldorf School of Atlanta

As human beings, we use our hands regularly in our daily lives. At Waldorf, the Handwork curriculum is broad and includes skills such as knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, embroidery, felting, paper crafts, pattern design, and machine sewing.

Many of the benefits of the Handwork program are obvious: hand-eye coordination; basic math skills such as counting, the four math processes, and basic geometry; the ability to understand and follow a process from concept to completion; and the ability to focus on a project for an extended period of time.

There are also more subtle rewards that complement these obvious benefits. Students must prepare and care for materials. Many of the created items have a practical use – a case for a flute, a needle book, a pair of socks. Design and color choice allow for individual creative expression. One of the most far-reaching benefits of Handwork class is the social aspect. While there are times when quiet is needed, such as when you are learning a new stitch, most of the time the atmosphere in the classroom is social and conversational, not unlike a quilting bee. Students learn to speak politely to one another. Throughout the process, respect is fostered.

At the Waldorf School of Atlanta all first graders learn how to knit. This basic skill uses both right and left hands, and brings a steady, calming rhythm to the younger child. Crocheting, which emphasizes the right or left hand, almost always follows in the second or third grade. Cross-stitch is paramount to fourth grade as the children begin crossing over from childhood to adolescence. In fifth grade, knitting in the round, used to make hats, mittens, and socks, is a three dimensional, mathematical activity leading up to critical thinking in the middle school. Long-term hand-sewing projects involving concepts, patterns, and mathematical computations are usually found in sixth or seventh grade. The eighth grade Handwork curriculum often involves machine sewing, which perfectly integrates the student’s study of American History and the Industrial Revolution.

We hope you enjoy the Handwork series on our blog:

Grade 1 handwork

Grade 2 handwork

Grade 3 handwork

Grade 4 handwork

Grade 5 handwork

Grade 6 handwork

Grade 7 handwork

Grade 8 handwork

Our Handwork Teacher is Lisa Roggow.

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Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 1

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.

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Dear First Grade Parents,

Teaching the first grade has been a delightful experience. Since the very first day, the children in class were waiting expectantly for their first Spanish lesson. They have two classes a week; sessions started at twenty minutes long and will gradually grow to a forty-minute lesson.  The form and content of the Spanish language class for lower grades is very similar to the morning circle in main lesson.

The class is organized in a rhythmical flow of “in-breathing” and “out-breathing”; keeping a healthy rhythm is essential for 6 and 7 year olds. In the beginning of the class the children stand up and begin to repeat verses, songs, and movements. As children’s capacity for imitation and recitation at this age is at its peak, the child can absorb the language in its totality, instinctively, by habit.

During the second phase of the lesson, the children sit down and are prepared to receive a content that requires greater concentration. We play games where some brief dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. In the beginning pupils respond chorally, but some individual questions would appear from time to time. They also hear stories that are familiar to them in their native language, such as “The Little Red Hen”, or “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. This concentration time is followed by activities such as dancing or games that provide a more relaxed form. Finally we all recite our closing verse to conclude our time together.

Spanish is extremely rich in poetry, and has many examples of lively and imaginative poems. Through such offerings the child enters the soul of a culture, even though he/she may not yet understand the meaning of what he/she is repeating. The formative qualities of language enrich the child’s feelings. Little by little, all this world of songs, verses, and movement is transformed in later years into rapid learning allowing the child to have a total experience of the language.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna Garza, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna at holiday fair

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 2

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 Second Grade Parents,

Second grade Spanish class will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays this year. We started with a brief review of the songs and some of the games from last year and pretty quickly new songs and poems had to be included.

In the first three grades the children are totally immersed in the spoken foreign language. They learn through their innate ability to imitate and memorize. At this time their speech organs are more flexible and it is possible to learn more accurate pronunciation as well as the natural cadences of the language.

Just as in every grade, rhythmical organization of the lesson is essential. Previous activities are continued and enlarged upon. Students will learn verses and songs involving movement or finger games; they also learn to follow simple commands. Vocabulary is based on learning about themselves and their immediate surroundings, such as: body parts, colors, counting, the classroom, animals in nature and pets, simple conversation about themselves and their needs. In addition to relevant songs and verses, story telling and crafts accompany the celebration of seasons and festivals to bring a sense of the culture of the country.

The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. They have developed strong abilities to memorize and repeat and many of the children will be ready to speak by themselves. Towards the end of second grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in the second grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs. Perhaps the greatest change in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness that language has a social function that allows communication.  They realize that there are other people who communicate in a different way.

The world of nature reflects the mood of the second grade main lesson with nature stories. The Language class content closely follows the main lesson: fables, legends, and stories of saints. As mentioned above, children are beginning to “wake up” and notice that there are differences among human beings. Fables provide the opportunity of looking at these human characteristics embodied by animals in a humorous way. In Spanish we have important writers of fables. Outstanding ones are Iriarte, Samaniego, and Lope de Vega.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

sra de luna grade 2

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 3

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.

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Dear Third Grade Parents,

Since the very first day of school the third grade students have been working hard.  We have 2 Spanish lessons each week, Tuesday and Friday. We are lucky to have Ms. Dilworth bring some Spanish into her lessons; so children get dosages of Spanish here and there.

For third grade, the class continues to be mostly oral. Students are very excited because of our new element in the lesson: they will be creating their own Spanish book!  We start the class with a greeting verse, followed by songs, clapping games and speech exercises. The content that comes next requires greater concentration. We play games where dialogues are practiced, or new vocabulary is introduced. Towards the end, students work on the creation of their first Spanish Word Book.

The third grade curriculum, as for all the grades, is a reflection of the main lesson curriculum. The class content closely follows the one of main lesson: farming, trades, domestic chores, the produce of the earth, building, and time. The children learn intuitively through the mood and the visual context of the class. Towards the end of third grade most of them will be able to answer questions in simple, short sentences. The main grammar concepts in third grade are nouns, adjectives and action verbs.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in this year lies in the child’s growing awareness; children begin to feel separate from the world. Imitation begins to disappear, individuality acquires a new importance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Spanish lessons, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail.

Sincerely,

Catalina De Luna, Spanish Teacher at WSA

grade 3 Spanish Book

Spanish Language program at the Waldorf School of Atlanta – Grade 4

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 Fourth Grade Parents,

Fourth grade is a time of change for language teachers. The previous three years are completely oral, and now is the time to move on to writing, reading, and the teaching of grammar. Obviously the oral phase never ends, and from 4th grade on the oral experience expands and is joined by writing and reading. The process is very similar to the way a child learns his/her native language. First they listen, then they imitate, later they read what they have written and in older grades explore the grammar of the language they speak.

In the language class students read by writing the material they have memorized in previous years.  By reading material with which they are already familiar orally, they are able to establish a solid basis in their reading. This process facilitates good pronunciation.

Basic grammar rules will be “introduced”, as many of them were acquired unconsciously while learning all those verses, songs and poems in the previous years. We will work differentiating all the pronouns, learning the basic rules of gender and number, and we will start to explore basic conjugation of verbs.

As stated before the oral phase never ends. Recitation in this year is powerful, repetitive, and if possible should have a lot of alliteration.

The class has a similar rhythm to main lesson. We begin with a rhythmical part, where we do verses, poems, songs, and speech exercises accompanied by gestures and clapping games. This lasts around 10 minutes. (the material is repeated for a period of 4 to 6 weeks). Then comes the feeling/listening part of the lesson, where material is reviewed and new content is brought to the students through different activities. Reading out loud chorally and then individually will be done during this part of the lesson, which lasts up to 15 minutes. Finally we have the thinking part, where book work is done. Students will quietly work in their Spanish book for about 15 minutes. At the end we all say a verse together to conclude our lesson.

You can enrich your child’s Spanish experience in many different ways:

  • Look for and enjoy Hispanic festivals in town, share the information with other parents (look for Day of the Dead festival in November – a family festival)
  • Do not miss the opportunity, but do not push, of finding Spanish around. If you visit a Hispanic restaurant, take a closer look at the menu, they might have a bilingual menu. If you know some Spanish, use it, practice it, be a model for your children. If you see me, greet me in Spanish. Some grocery stores have a Hispanic or international aisle, take a look at the foods they offer, find if they have bilingual labels.
  • The most important part of all this is to have a positive and open attitude “open your windows to a new culture”; your children will notice it.

Studying languages is a window into the soul of a culture, into its genius, individuality and musicality. It is well known that learning another language expands one’s thoughts and ability to penetrate the feelings and the soul of the other culture. Through the art of communication we cultivate an interest in others.

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 working outside with grade 4

Sra de Luna working outside with Grade 4 students.

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.

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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.

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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