1st Grade – In the Classroom

1st Grade – Battling the Dragon Friday, October 13, 2017

On a nature walk students battled the dragon with swords and acorns. Their imaginations are so alive.

1st Grade – Friday Feast Friday, October 13, 2017

First graders hard at work preparing peach crisp and vegetable dip for their weekly service meal Friday Feast.

1st Grade – R, W & D Thursday, October 12, 2017
Letter lessons continued with consonants R W and D this week. It takes a lot of practice to form the letters correctly.
1st Grade – Yellow Meets Blue Thursday, October 12, 2017
First graders explored what happens when yellow and blue meet.
1st Grade – Consonant Letters Friday, October 6, 2017

First grade continues lesson work with consonant letters through images. In this chalkboard drawing the dragon is hiding in his cave from the sword of Michael. Students copy the drawing then practice the formation of the uppercase and lowercase letters. They also recite verses exploring the use of the letters.

1st Grade – Winnifred and Sasha Friday, October 6, 2017

Students in first grade are following the story of Winnifred and Sasha as they adventure into the woods. This brother and sister pair, and their perils and triumphs, will provide the backdrop for many lessons about seasons, nature, and math.

1st Grade – Michaelmas Thursday, October 5, 2017
Michael’s sword will subdue the dragon! First graders had fun crafting a scene from the story of the Archangel Michael.
1st Grade – Farming Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This week’s First Grade class, harvesting potatoes and putting some fresh straw in the chicken coop.

1st Grade – Watercolor Painting Monday, October 2, 2017

This week’s first grade painting lesson explored the weight of blue as it fell from the sky into the deep blue sea.

1st Grade – Letters Monday, October 2, 2017

First grade began its work with letters this week. Images from stories are the foundation for both the formation and sounds of the letters.

One student’s lesson book drawing for the letter S. This lesson drew from the fairy tale The Six Swans.


1st Grade – Finger Games Monday, October 2, 2017
First graders engage in finger games during a handwork lesson.
All Grades – Glimpses from Beach & Nature Exploration Day Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On Friday, September 8th, the students and teachers of Da Vinci’s grade school enjoyed Beach and Nature Exploration Day! They ventured to Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park in Zion for a day filled with exploration and fun.

We are extremely grateful for the transportation by bus, which was made possible by a $1,000 biodiversity grant received from Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Independence Tube Corporation, the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation, the D. F. and M. T. Grohne Family Foundation and the Illinois Conservation Foundation.

Students took time to explore the local terrain and learn about the land and wildlife of northern Illinois. They enjoyed a hike through forests and along the beach, observing their surroundings as they went. There was a scavenger hunt and a group lunch. The very cool weather prevented the planned swimming treat, but students were able to wade and splash in the water and had a great time in the natural surroundings.

Many thanks to our teachers for enabling such a special outing for our students, and thanks to Mrs. Kristine Fiskum for the excellent snapshots of the day!

First Grade – Form Movements & Form Drawings Thursday, September 21, 2017
Part of form drawing is to have students move the form before they bring it to their desks. Here students walked the spiral to the verse Curly House of Snail.
After working in movement and other senses, students practice the forms in the air and with chalk, and finally draw them in their lesson books.
First Grade – Apple Tree Care in our Farm Program Monday, September 18, 2017

First graders removed grass overgrowth from the base of the apple trees.

First graders planned their care of the apple trees with Mrs. Faden. Last year several dwarf apple trees were planted at the front of the property.

First Grade – Friday with Friends Feast Monday, September 18, 2017

First graders ironed the napkins, put away dishes, and tidied the classroom from their Friday Feast.

First graders celebrated their first Friday with Friends Feast. The students prepared a spinach and carrot salad with lemon vinaigrette, cornbread with honey butter, and enjoyed burritos brought in by the Eastridge family.


First Grade – Foot Drawing Thursday, September 14, 2017
Students practiced straight and curved lines using foot drawing. Incorporating movement of the limbs with form drawing strengthens student awareness of space and direction.
First Grade – Straight Lines Thursday, September 14, 2017
First grade continued its experience of straight lines during the form drawing block.
First Grade – Painting Lesson Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Last week’s painting lesson explored the combinations of yellow with green and blue.  We imagined the sun in the sky and green fields. In the end we all agreed that yellow is better with blue than with green.
First Grade – Games Wednesday, September 13, 2017

First graders enjoy indoor games class. This is a great opportunity for practicing skills and cooperation. One student is hoping for a lucky roll!

First Grade – Recess Fun Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Sand is one of the very best nature-made toys. Sand can become anything—from a massive planetscape on Mars to a birthday cupcake. Imagination digs deep as the sandbox becomes a world unto itself.

First Grade – Observation, Movement, and Form Drawing Thursday, September 7, 2017

After hunting the great outdoors for tall trees and bending blades of grass, and moving their bodies in lines that go up and down and all around, first graders drew straight and curved lines in their lesson books. These activities of observation, movement, and form drawing are the foundation for letter formation, illustration, and a strong sense of spatial dimension.

1st Grade & 8th Grade – Rose Ceremony Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Rose Ceremony was a beautiful beginning to the first day of school and a warm welcoming of our new first grade class. As we came together as a community to share and honor this milestone, excitement was shining from each new face. The first graders were gathered by their teacher as the spectator circle swelled. Parents held their breaths, laughed, shed tears, and smiled as the children of the new first grade class took the first steps of their new journey as grade-schoolers. Our oldest, eight-grade student welcomed each of them with a smile, a handshake and a rose.  During Graduation in June this welcome will be reciprocated with a send-off  in another Rose Ceremony.

I’m struck by the cycle at work, and the intricate ways in which our paths are interwoven. Each young child is ushered into the school community, and will someday complete the circle – and begin it anew – as they hand out a rose as an eighth grader to begin the next cycle.

“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments.”
― Sarah Ban Breathnach

In the Classroom Monday, September 4, 2017

In the Classroom

Follow each class through the school year. Visit often to enjoy photos and information about curriculum, field trips, exciting happenings, special moments, celebrations and more.

Stay tuned—this year’s  journey begins September 5th!