2nd & 3rd Grades – In the Classroom

2nd & 3rd Grades – Camping Thursday, May 24, 2018
Last week the second and third graders camped out at Marengo Ridge Campground.
2nd & 3rd Grades – Harvest Time Thursday, May 24, 2018

Second and third graders harvesting the leaves of our labors!

3rd Grade – Violin Saturday, May 12, 2018

The 3rd graders, enjoying the traditional violin block that comes after Easter at DVWS!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Class Economy Friday, May 4, 2018

Grades 2-3 practiced their money skills this week with our new class economy!
Students earn, lose, and spend money in our system, with each Friday through the end of the year bringing the opportunity to shop our class market. Manned by two students logging payments, writing receipts, and handling cash, it was a blast for students and teacher alike.

2nd & 3rd Grades – They’ve Hatched! Monday, April 30, 2018
Four bouncing baby top hat chicks fought their way out of their shells and into the warm and happy hands of second and third graders!
2nd & 3rd Grades – Wagner Farm Monday, April 30, 2018

Our last “Friday ” (on Monday!) Field Trip to historic Wagner Farm!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Field Trip Friday Sunday, April 22, 2018

Second and third grades continued Field Trip Fridays last week with a visit to Nancy and Bob Tures’ farm, Grateful Growers, in Harvard, IL. Students saw all aspects of this tree and shrub nursery.  From collecting seed, preparing rooted cuttings, or the magic of grafting, we learned how new plants are selected, grown, and prepared for sale. We even had the chance to pot up our very own rooted cuttings! Someday these tiny trees will be growing in our schoolyard…stay tuned!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Fruits of our Labor Friday, April 13, 2018

We finished off our circular loom weaving this week, just in time to put it on the auction block for the DVWS annual fundraiser!  Starting back in September on Michaelmas day, we each took turns adding a few rounds to our weaving. As the year progressed and new lesson blocks were explored, so, too, did we contemplate amd explore colors that would reflect the mood of the season or the subject we were studying. It has been a wonderful exercise in following through and finishing what we set out to do, with all our hearts’ and hands’ work in each strand. Let the bidding begin!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Field Trip Friday Friday, April 6, 2018

We have entered joyfully into spring with “Field Trip Fridays” during our farming block. Our first stop was Esther’s Place and Lamb of God Farm, where students experienced flock to fleece to fiber!
Here are a few highlights from the trip…

Meeting Maude the miracle hen, the flock, the fleece, and the fiber!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Measurements of Guatemala Friday, March 16, 2018

A visit from landscape designer and social justice ambassador Julie Siegel capped off this week of measurement. She came and shared how the indigenous Maya people of Guatemala measure things in their lives. Handwoven bags (held by two students), compost, food, and water are the most important measurements for this people. Most of those measurements, we discovered, are taken by eye, and are estimated from trial and error and experience, rather than using instruments or tools.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Measurement is sweet! Saturday, March 10, 2018
So was our chocolate cake, made using a metric recipe and ingredients that were weighed out.
2nd & 3rd Grades – Measurement Saturday, March 10, 2018

Students in this block of measurement have been busy inside and outside: body parts, desks, classroom objects, and our playground have all been food for thought. This week, second and third graders each made their own spring scales and have had fun exploring and weighing objects that are very heavy, very light, and everything in between. We have also been conducting phenomenological experiments! That means observing a particular process and noting the outcome without judgement. When the experiment is complete and all observations have been made, conclusions are drawn and discussed. This is quite different from a typical science lesson. Instead of telling the children beforehand what outcome they can expect and should record, students are encouraged to use all their powers of observation to see what happens in a particular process. It is an exciting and engaging way to study the world around us, and one that develops free thinking.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Class Shadow Puppet Play! Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Second and Third graders closed their play block last week with two performances of their shadow puppet play, Gilly of the Goatskin and the Unique Tale.

What a whirlwind! From the early moments of learning all of the lines, to drawing, cutting out, and assembling the puppets, to finally staging the play—complete with lovely songs—the children worked diligently, enthusiastically, and with hearts full. They created something very special for our school and family community. Beyond the intense planning and efforts of readying a play, both teacher and students have much to gain from the experience—an immense sense of accomplishment, pride, and confidence as we see the fruits of our labor bring smiles, laughter, and a few tears of appreciation from our audiences.

With very special thanks to Chet Celenza for the use of his lovely play.

2nd & 3rd Grades: Calendar Saturday, March 3, 2018

Second and third grades used an old-fashioned poem to help them remember the rules of our calendar. Each child has been working hard to complete a full, 12-month calendar of their own to take home and share.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Shadow Puppet Play Friday, February 9, 2018
A sneak peek of the second and third grades’ class play, Gilly of the Goatskin and The Unique Tale, a Story From the King of Ireland’s Son. This is a shadow puppet play told with lovely paper puppets created by the students.
2nd & 3rd Grades – Handwork Monday, February 5, 2018

Second and third grades have almost finished their handsome horses and nimble gnomes! They are justifiably proud of their fine work.

Did you know there are hidden gifts to be found within the children’s experience with handwork in Waldorf schools? Current research shows a connection between fine motor skills and brain development. Knitting and crocheting involve using both sides of the brain. Eye tracking and numeracy are exercised. Eye tracking directly develops and strengthens a child’s reading skills. Number skills are essential to all types of handwork and regularly reinforce math within a practical context. Children find a self reliance through handwork as well as creative and, artistic, and expressive opportunities. There is much more to handwork than meets the eye!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Time Saturday, January 27, 2018

Second and Third Grades celebrated their newfound skill of reading a clock! As we “wound down” this fun block of calendar and time, the students felt proud of their deepened awareness of what makes a day, a month, and a year!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Calendar, Time, Geography & Climate Friday, January 19, 2018

Second and Third Grade are studying calendar and time in this block. Through the Native American stories of the cycle of the year and its related moons, students are hearing the oral traditions of the indigenous people of North America, all the while experiencing geography and climate. Our hero, the humble turtle, first carried the burden of the creation of the world on his back. He was rewarded with next carrying the cycle of the year, or moons, in the beautiful pattern of his shell. We have painted, modeled, and drawn these rich stories while better acquainting ourselves with the cycles of the calendar year.

Santa Lucia – Recap & Photos Friday, December 15, 2017

On Wednesday our students celebrated Santa Lucia!

Ms. Westlund’s students brought joy to every classroom in the form of songs and yummy sweet buns to celebrate the day.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Modeling Friday, December 15, 2017

Modeling St. Nicholas and St. Lucia


2nd & 3rd Grades – Leatherworking Demonstration Friday, December 15, 2017
Students enjoyed a special visit this week from leather craftsman Juan Carlos Huarache. Mr. Huarache showed the children how to stamp, sew, and weave leather to make a variety of everyday items to wear and use. Each student got to try out the tools a leather craftsman uses to stamp a design into the material. The finished tag was beautiful and useful!
2nd and 3rd Grades: Clothing and Fibers Friday, December 8, 2017
The second and third graders have been studying clothing and fibers this month. Beginning with fabrics made from animal sources such as leather and silk, students are gaining a better understanding and appreciation for the many items of clothing we wear every day. 
2nd & 3rd Grades: Seasonal Fun Friday, December 8, 2017

The second and third graders enjoyed decorating salt dough ornaments this week.


2nd & 3rd Grades – Reading Nook Monday, November 13, 2017
Second and third grades enjoy their new pillow-filled reading nook. It’s been a well-loved place to snuggle up with friends and enjoy a book. The children were surprised with this classroom gift last week after many weeks of hard work and good deeds done for others.
2nd & 3rd Grades – Arithmetic Saturday, October 28, 2017

Second and Third Grades wrapped up their first Arithmetic block with regrouping in subtraction. All their previous practice with place value came in handy as the miller tries to keep his storehouse of grain in order. When he doesn’t have enough in one room, he must “Go next door and borrow some more.” Then he can solve the problem of selling his grain to hungry customers! The miller in these drawing is a little puppet the students made!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Handwork (Circular Weaving) Thursday, October 19, 2017

Second and Third Grades began work on their circular weaving projects this week. This craft is a true head, heart, and hands endeavor. Students must plan ahead for working with different colors; they must feel the harmony between each section of weaving to know what will be pleasing to the eye; and they must have nimble fingers and a strong will to see it through to the over-under-over-under end!

The weavings by students have slowly begun to look more and more like a spider’s intricate web–just like the one we’re reading about in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

2nd & 3rd Grades – “Body Scale” song Thursday, October 19, 2017

Second and Third Grade students sing the “Body Scale” with music teacher Elizabeth English. Each of the seven tones in the pentatonic scale   corresponds to a place on, just above, or just below, the body.  Mrs. English sings and demonstrates a particular pattern which the children are then challenged to repeat. They take great joy in the game, and are so proud when they correctly repeat the sequence!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Shelters Friday, October 13, 2017

The Second and Third grade wrapped up their study of shelters by building a sukkah for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Built of straw and tree branches, and lovingly decorated with flowers and found natural objects, the sukkah is a reminder of the wandering life early Jews had to endure as they fled their Egyptian captors. It is also a time to honor the bounty of the harvest and give thanks and gratitude for all of God’s gifts. The children took great joy in the building and decorating. When it was finished, we all squeezed inside for a delicious treat of challah bread and honey, traditional Sukkot foods for the first days of the holiday. Many thanks to the Fasman family for sharing the bread and honey with our class.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Shelters Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Second and Third Grade students dug into their Human and Animal Shelters block this week. We imagined what the first dwelling made by humans could have looked like.

Come see some of the beautifully created shelters on display in the main entrance lobby.

2nd & 3rd Grades – Stories of Creation Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Second and Third Grades studied Genesis and the stories of creation through painting and writing.

Then they explored many of the colors in creation, while wondering…”what did the first dwelling in creation look like?”

And finally—the riddle solved! The first house, or dwelling, was the human body!

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!

2nd & 3rd Grades – Gardening and Science Monday, September 25, 2017

Second and Third Grade are excited about their weekly work of studying Gardening and Science….or is it Science and Gardening? Either way, it’s hands-on fun both in and out of the classroom.

2nd & 3rd Grades Friday, September 15, 2017
2nd and 3rd grades, working together to solve math riddles and problems
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!