Our middle schoolers were off on an adventure all last week exploring the upper peninsula of Michigan. They kayaked, star gazed at the Headlands International Sky Park, took a ferry to Mackinac Island and biked 8.2 miles around the island, spent some time on the beach and dunes, played games, and enjoyed the fudge capital of the world!
The 6th, 7th & 8th graders are currently in a creative writing block. The students have been given writing assignments daily that have centered on observation, descriptions and poetic devices. One of the assignments was to create a written picture of what they value and how that has been alive in their past and how it continues to be a part of their lives now. They also discussed what they hope for the future. It was an interesting assignment and the photo is one student’s take on it.
This week our school celebrated Candlemas and classes made homemade candles from melted beeswax. Our middle school discussed how, despite these recent cold days, the world will soon start to wake from its winter sleep. As Candlemas marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, we reviewed our work in astronomy and the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Even in these days of wet snow and bitter chill, we can find the light as we know spring will soon be upon us.
This week grades students celebrated Deepavali, or Diwali, the joyful Hindu festival of light. It was a beautiful reminder that other traditions and cultures have much to teach us and share with us. The 4th-8th grade students took Wednesday to create intricate rangoli outside our main entrance. Rangoli are a traditional part of this celebration and are usually created using rice powder, turmeric and kumkum powders. After practicing the forms we were going to create, we used chalk to draw these beautiful freehand geometric designs. At Thursday’s all-school assembly, however, we were treated to a beautiful rangoli created by parent and early childhood assistant Sweta Jaganath. This example was made using the traditional method and materials. She surrounded the colorful design with many candles, representing the diyas, or lamps, used in India. During assembly we also heard the story of Rama and the demon king Ravana. This important story forms the heart of the Ramayana, India’s cultural treasure of an epic poem. It also forms the heart of Diwali, for when Rama destroys Ravana—and good prevails over evil—Rama returns home to find a joyous welcome created by thousands of lit diyas and many decorations to celebrate his return. Students finished the morning by working together to craft their Martinmas lanterns for Friday’s lantern walk. These overlapping festivals, both celebrating our own light in the darkness, prepared us well for the beauty of the season ahead.
The 6th, 7th & 8th graders began a new block this week! We have now turned our gaze to ancient Asia and the geography of the land and people. It is a very interesting block, especially as we can see similarities and differences in its historical story to that of other civilizations that we have studied. We have also embarked on a challenging geometric drawing and the beginning stages of it are shown here. It takes a great deal of detail and precision to keep it all together!
Our grade school students went on their second Pantry Walk of the year on Friday. It was a smaller group than usual this week because 2nd, 3rd, and 6th grades were away enjoying a field trip. Each week until Thanksgiving break they will take our community donations to the Wauconda/Island Lake Food Pantry. Thank you for your donations so far! Please keep donating as you are able. Our next Pantry Walk is this Friday, October 19th.
Waldorf education echoes the essence of Michaelmas. Each and every one of us has gifts to bring to the world. Michaelmas is a reminder of the process of becoming as we strive toward our full potential. For children, Michaelmas and themes of courage are manifested in activities of the will, so in the spirit of Michaelmas during this season, we give them opportunities for deeds that engage their wills and help them to think outside of themselves to others.
Our Walk was accompanied this week by Beth Bejnarowicz, mom of a DVWS alumnus. Many thanks to her for the great photos of the day!
The 6th grade ventured to Old World Wisconsin on Friday to take part in a history quest. It was an exciting experience in which they had to explore a village from the 1800s and find information about a historical person. They had a great time and learned about how historians research. They also played games from the 1800s and enjoyed their time on the beautiful grounds.
The 6th, 7th & 8th graders finished up their block on astronomy this week. They covered a lot of ground in just three weeks and are amazed at how much there is to our universe. They studied the sun, the moon and its phases, as well as the famous astronomers who changed the way we look at the world—Ptolomy to Kepler and Galileo.
Grades 6, 7 and 8 enjoying folk dancing with the teaching duo Jutta Distler and Terran Doehrer (Jutta & the Hi-Dukes).
The 6th, 7th & 8th grades started their first block of the year in astronomy! They discussed many things including the earth’s rotation and why we have day and night, the seasons, and much more. One of the most powerful aspects of astronomy is that so much of it is based on observation and imagination. Constellations like the zodiac connect us to the heavens above as well as humanity’s past and the stories of how they came to be still speak to us today.