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If you start to look around, at least here in Kentucky, grass is beginning to sprout.  Daffodils are dotting the landscape with yellow, and crocuses are pushing their heads up and toward the sky.  During letter “G” week we read several nature stories pertaining to the end of Winter and beginning of Spring time.  We also began sprouting wheat grass, then planting a couple trays full.  I will show these pictures, once we see some pretty grass.  We will use the wheat grass in Easter baskets, instead of purchasing plastic grass, which ends up in a landfill.  If you want another alternative, shread some green construction paper and scrunch it up in the baskets. 

Having a letter of the week and combining the craft with something textural really imprints the phonetic sound within the child.  It is something tangible.  Matching up the letter and something current, like “G” is for Grass and seeing Spring’s newly sprouting grass, creates an even deeper experience.  It is like connecting the child to the web of life in a rich way. 
 
For the adult, inner work is being done and in association with the sprouting of seeds, the tending of the garden, the thinning to make room, the growing and maturing of the plant and the harvest.  Which stage are you in?  What season are we entering and how does it relate?  I am thinning the newly sprouted seeds within.  I am being born into a new Season, freshly cared for, with thoughts of intent.

Enjoy “G”.

I am catching up on our ABC category here with this and the next post.  During the week of the letter “F” we read McElligot’s Pool, by Dr. Seuss.  The kids were enjoying the rhyming, and guessing which word ended each sentance.  When it came time for the craft I ended up doing “F” is for feather, because we had also participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count.  The kids enjoyed the feathers, and were blowing them in the air and making a game out of it, which helps them understand breath.  Enjoy.

You are in for a picture-rich post.  If you want more information on this Maple Syrup Festival, please visit here.  For homeschool or enrichment communities there seems to be a unit study on this very topic, right on the website.  My kids are not old enough to go into that amount of detail.  Also, click on the pictures that tell a story to enlarge and read.  Enjoy! 

 

http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/nttidb/lessons/nh/plantnhw.html

Here we go nature enthusiasts!  The perfect activity to do this spring with your children, or for yourself.  How can you get in rhythm with the seasons of the year?  By watching nature; the animals and plants that inhabit where you live!  We have already begun our project of watching the Eastern Pine and Juniper (Red Cedar) in its winter phase!  Please see our Trees in Winter post .  I believe we are gonna pick the red-tailed hawk to follow through the year, as well.  It (boy or girl?) has a nest in our back yard.  We have gotten out the telescope to search into its nest.  But, it is going to take more time and patience on our part to discover more.  There are two trees with large nests very close together.  We are unsure who is in this other nest.  We love a great mystery though!  We also have some medicinal herbs we plan to keep a close eye on, in their transformation.

If you are an adult or kid that likes scientific investigation, and wouldn’t mind serving your Community, see the link, Citizen Scientist.  If your child would like to follow a story, and discover more about nature, click BudBurst Buddies!

Citizen Scientists

BudBurst Buddies

“Project BudBurst is a national phenology and climate change field campaign that uses scientifically approved protocols to collect data that is freely available for use by scientists and educators.”

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Spring Verse

In the heart of a seed,

Buried ever so deep

A dear little plant,

Lay fast asleep.

 

“Wake” said the sun

And come to the light.

“Wake” said the voices

Of raindrops so bright.

 

The little plant heard,

And pushed through the soil to see.

What wonders and beauty,

Of the world might there be.

(Source: Donna Simmons, Christopherus, Joyful Movement)

Becoming a storyteller has found interest in my heart.  I have built a steady rhythm within my family~home.  Within this rhythm, space has been built for stories.  Stories can become part of daily ritual, as well as apart of any adventure.  Providing yourself with practice is the only way to learn.  Pick short stories to start.  Tell your kids the story on a Monday, and watercolor a scene from the story.  Re-tell the story the next day, or Wednesday (depending on the age) and bake bread.  You could even shape the bread to be something other than a loaf.  A letter of the week.  F is for Fish.  We read McElligots Pool, by Dr. Seuss, with fish for supporting characters.  The next time re-tell the story and do some modeling.  We have been using playdough for several years, and other doughs or modeling clay.  Recently we have gotten into beeswax modeling.  The wax melts and shapes in your hand, and the aroma is very uplifting.  Molding the beeswax strengthens the kids hands and prepares them for hand writing.  Kids need movement of the body to fuel learning.  I Witness this daily.  Doing these activites mentioned strengthen the memory experience, and the story goes along with it.  We will eventually add more structured (albeit loosely) theater play.  We have many props and fabrics for costuming.

Please take a look below at Marsha Johnson’s beautiful insight on becoming a storyteller, through rhythm.  Below is a picture of a beautiful Pendleton blanket that I have had my eye on;  maybe some day after much practice storytelling, I can receive this blanket.  Mrs. Marsha Johnson can be found below on Waldorfeducators yahoo group. 

Many younger parents today have difficulty with memory, this is most likely related to the arhythmic lifestyle of the past few decades, when it is the steady strong rhythm of life’s days, weeks, months, seasons, years, community, that build and strengthen our memory body (etheric or life body which is freed in the 7th year for use in memory and academic lessons…).

So you must begin to memorize and practice. Each day, for example, at a certain time, say 7 am, do some innocent activity, this does not need to be significant, just steady each day, say at 7 am, you will clap three times.

This can be at any time during the day.

If you forget, well, do it when you remember. And try again tomorrow.

Strengthen and grow your memory body in this way, for say, a period of 1 year perhaps. Yes, for 365 days, you can clap 3 times at 7 am or 12 noon or 6 pm or whenever you decide.

At the end of this period, we can speak again of this task and see how your memory is coming along. Also many other interesting things may happen along that tiny journey….

Now for the stories, you must read them first. For at least 3 nights in a row, just before sleeping. Take those stories and go into your sleep life with these tales, and by the 3 day, after the 3 nights, you will be able to tell that story. It will be there, living in you like that brilliant blue center of the warm candle flame…it is be inside you now, like an organ in your very center, that you can draw on and enjoy the process, too, as it passes out again into the world of spoken language, of sounds and tones, with hues and shades of colors and lives, that story will be in your very warm breath of life, as you tell your most precious children, these significant tales.

In this way, it becomes alive again! This is why some stories are like literal food, nourishing body and soul, past and future, healing illness and dysharmony, stories can carry deep magic and deep meaning, if told in this way.

Some stories are like cotton candy, hardly worth the effort to take into one self, they pass through with meaningless impact, and simply in a sense steal away time and space in our worlds…..

We must learn to recognize a good ‘story’ in the way we learn to know what good bread is….what is good soup….what is fresh water….clean air….clear thinking….balanced colors….. composition of self and other, awareness of what we are giving to the children and to ourselves at the same time.

This is the LEAST TRIVIAL work we will do. We plant the seeds of the future with our stories and their content will carry the children and humanity far into the future, streaming onwards in all direction, for those who listen nearby, invisiable, for those who snuggle warm selves into us, for those yet born, those who hover nearby, choosing the right time, the right place, the right family.

We use stories as medicine, friends, and this is why you need to make it one of your top priorities: memorize and learn the stories of the Waldorf Way, the critical pieces of knowledge, the golden keys that will unlock the Gate of Humankind and allow to flow forth, the River of Shalom.

Practice. Don’t look back, keep your face to the sun, and practice….begin with what you can do and be open to change. Sometimes stories take on a life of their own and that may be just what is needed. I have had times when I tell a story and the next day the children tell me new parts I did not say, and this story grew in them and took them into further details and I am glad.

I hope this helps. You can do it, I know you can.

Think in pictures and let go of your ‘intellect’. Tell the story from your heart self, not the head self.

Mrs M

The kind people at Earth Scouts have generously featured my blog, time and again, so I would like to direct attention their way.  Earth Scouts is a wonderful organization;  a flagship program of the Earth Charter, U.S.  I hope it grows and grows!  Recently, I joined the Badge Developement Discussion Forum.  We will be creating activities for earning badges.  See what badges already exist in this .pdf below!

EarthScoutsBadgesandPatch

A “scouting-plus” program which gives a way for children and youth to become empowered in their homes, schools, and communities in positive ways.

Did you know that you can make paper yourself? For many years paper was made by hand and therefore was very expensive. People treated it with great care, and never threw it away. They always saved it after they used it, and made new paper from it. Paper can be made from wood, cotton rags, linen fabric, grass, and many other natural products. It can also be made from old newspaper. Here’s how.

Vocabulary
■Pulp – small pieces of paper mushed up with water
Time:
■Set up: 45 min
■Activity: 24 -48 hours
You will need:
■Two and-a-half single pages from a newspaper
■A whole section of a newspaper
■A blender — Ask one of your parents or your teacher to help you use the blender.
■A measuring cup
■Five cups of water
■A big square pan that’s at least 3 inches deep
■A piece of window screen that fits inside the pan
■A flat piece of wood the size of the newspaper’s front page
Here’s What You Do:
1.Tear the two and-a-half pages of newspaper into tiny pieces.
2.Before you use the blender, ask your parents or teacher to help you. Don’t use your blender from home without your parents’ permission!
3.Drop the pieces of paper into the blender.
4.Pour five cups of water into the blender.
5.Put the top on the blender. (You don’t want to have to scrape newspaper mush off the walls!).
6.Switch the blender on for a few seconds. The paper will mix with the water and become what is called “pulp.”
7.Turn off the blender.
8.Open the newspaper section and spread it on the floor or table top.
9.Pour about one inch of water into the pan.
10.Put the screen on the bottom of the pan.
11.Measure one cup of blended paper pulp into a measuring cup and then pour over the screen.
12.Spread the pulp evenly through the water over the screen with your fingers. Feels mushy, doesn’t it?
13.Lift the screen so that the pulp stays on top of it. Let the water drain.
14.Place the screen with the pulp on top on half of the spread out newspaper section.
15.Close the newspaper section so that the edges meet again.
16.This next step is very important. Carefully flip over the newspaper section so that the screen is on top of the paper pulp.
17.Place the board on top of the newspaper and press to squeeze excess water out of the paper pulp. The newspaper section will absorb the water.
18.Open the newspaper and carefully lift the screen . The pulp will stay on the newspaper section.
19.Leave the newspaper open and let the pulp dry for at least 24 hours.
20.The next day, check to make sure the pulp is dry.
21.If the pulp isn’t dry, leave it until it is.
22.If it is dry, it is paper again. Carefully peel it off the newspaper.
23.Now you can use it to write on!
Questions to Answer
■Was it easy to recycle paper?
■How could you use the paper you made?
■Next time you go to the store notice what paper products are made from recycled paper.
■Are there any recycled products that you can use for school?
■Does your family use recycled paper products?
■How many trees are used for every person in the United States every year? (The answer is in this web site somewhere!)
■How many things can you do that will save trees?
Extension Activity – Learn more about recycled paper. What is the difference between pre-consumer recycled paper and post-consumer recycled paper?

Books

Trees To Paper
A Tree Is Nice

Re-posted from http://earthscouts.ning.com/profiles/blogs/be-your-own-paper-recycling?commentId=4791315%3AComment%3A4222&xg_source=msg_com_blogpost

Originally posted by Earth Scouts Network Administrator!

I dare you to pick up your baby or child and dance.  I dare you to grab your partner’s hand and swing around the room, chanting I LOVE YOU!
I DOUBLE-DOG DARE YOU!
Get your movement on!

(this link will re-direct you to youtube)

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