Sunday, May 2, 2010

Goat Farm with Omar: Our Second Field Trip

There were so many jaw-dropping moments at Omar's Goat Farm. Two baby goats were born two weeks before our field trip. They seemed to love the attention from children! We participated in the milking of the mama goat, playtime on the see-saw (the kids and the "kids" taking turns on the board), feeding them straw and raisins from our hands, and learned about what a goat needs and what they provide for us. We even had time to take a walk through the orchard of fruit and nut trees---what an unforgettable day!

Herbal Laboratory with Jenny Q: Our First Field Trip

At Jenny Q's Herbal Laboratory we explored raw herbs and identified their source (bark, seed, flower, stem, leaf, root) and medicinal uses.

Then we learned how to make tinctures from the raw herbs and made our own aromatherapy sprays. All the kids made a calming peppermint spray.

Last but not least, we made a chewy herb candy (loaded with tahini, peanut butter, carob, and herbs!) and discovered it to be truly delicious!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's in a Day at the Living School?
(Besides fun, exploration, experimentation, and learning!)

* Morning Circle

Daily Schedule
Recite the morning verse
Sing morning songs
Weather chart/ day of the week / date
Free questions/ chat about whatever they are thinking about

* Yoga:

Sun salutations and floor poses which they have all memorized (the first couple rounds with animal noises and one silent round)
“Dead man’s pose” listening to marimba
“OM” which never fails to make them say they’re sleepy!
Now they are focused for reading/writing.

* Reading/Writing:

Alphabet flash card game: We go through the letters, their sounds, and words that start with that letter. Whoever gets it first gets the card for their pile which they count at the end.

Letter Blocks: We spell out words using vintage wooden letter blocks we bought at the swap meet (which interestingly enough is a little more challenging for them than simply writing the words because they have to really search for the letter they need.)

Writing: So far, usually single words with similar letters. Soon we will begin formal sentences and after begin writing short stories. We are going to have the kids narrate a simple story (probably about themselves) then each of them will write a few of the sentences from the story. We think this will be a fun way for them to learn sentence structure. The first two weeks we did vowel lessons, which we go over every day as a quick repetitive reminder of what the long and short vowel sounds are.

Reading: Last week we started to have one of the kids read/ sound out a Bob book with the teacher while the other kids work on developing their number roll (they like using those big receipt paper rolls). Every one of them managed to sound out all the words in the Bob books and they are so proud of themselves after they read it!

* “Dice Number Game”:

From there we segue into lunch via an outdoor physical math game we invented from a cardboard box called the “Dice Number Game.” Now they play it on their own, going forwards or backwards depending on the plus or minus number they land on.

* Adding and Subtracting:

This week we are introducing them to our hand-made math worksheets. We will also begin using objects for counting, adding, and subtracting.

* Lunch and Gym/Sports with Barnett at the park

* Fairy Tale and Art:

We read a Waldorf fairy tale and they draw and write a sentence or word about their picture.

* Free Play (Just came up with the idea of seeing if any parents have extra soccer balls or other balls to use during this time)

* People and Plants Program

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Seed Foraging Expedition

Collecting seeds to start the schoolhouse seedbank.

Seedling Germination Chamber

We transplanted seedlings from this seedling germination chamber which Anna and Laura planted with a variety of lettuce on January 1, 2010 to demonstrate the concept of overcrowding. The next class, we made one altogether from scratch using a clear plastic bin, pebbles for drainage, a screen, soil, and tomato and artichoke seeds.


These are a sample of some of the seedlings that we pulled out of our "seed viewers." The kids watched these seedlings grow in the seed viewers from day 1 for three weeks, demonstrating every stage of "germination." We planted these lima bean and popcorn seedlings in our homemade compost, sand, clay, and perlite mixture. In this lesson we learned the words "germination," "seedling," and "transplant."

Butterfly Feeders

After reading story lessons about the importance of pollinating creatures like butterflies and bees, we made butterfly feeders out of foam, sticks, bottle tops, and cotton balls soaked in sugar water to attract these creatures to our raised garden bed.