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Surrounded by Music

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One of the great joys of teaching at Ashwood is being surrounded by music almost everywhere I turn.

Walking the halls of the Grade School building is often like taking a musical tour of the world. The younger children play soaring tunes on their flutes and recorders. Morning math games echo in the halls with rhythmic taps, claps and stomps. The 4th & 5th Grade Chorus makes a joyful sound, indeed–pure voices strong and true. And then there are the strings, fiddling their bouncy tunes. I’m might also hear an odd French Canadian folk song, a beguiling round, or a silly jingle.

I have had the pleasure of teaching Ashwood’s Middle School Chorus this year. We started with folk songs, ranging from classic Americana like the Carter Family, to contemporary songwriters like M. Ward, and we sprinkled in a few Beatles songs for fun.

These were sung first in unison, and we then worked on harmony and upped the complexity of the music bit by bit. Some of our singers have even added their own sophisticated harmonies to jazz up our arrangements.

We have sung pieces from Africa, France, Russia, and England. We’ve sung gospel music, Civil Rights music, classic rock and roll, and some songs simply beyond category. I wish everyone could experience those moments when the Chorus is truly feeling the music, filling up the room with their youthful voices.

Please join the Middle School Chorus, as well as the 4th & 5th Grade Chorus and our String Ensembles, on May 22, 6 p.m. at the Rockport Opera House for our Spring Concert!

If you have a child performing at the event, we ask that he or she arrives at 5:15 p.m. in assembly dress. Students should have an early supper before arriving for the concert.

The “Ultimate” Sport

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It was not until I entered college that I heard of Ultimate Frisbee. I immediately fell in love with the game. It’s easy for beginners to learn and play. Yet, despite it’s accessibility, there’s no end to how skilled you can become at this extremely athletic game.

When I became a Waldorf teacher I began to fully appreciate another aspect of Ultimate. There are no referees, even in competitive tournament play. All officiating is done by the players on the field who make their decisions in light of the Spirit of the Game™ “a tradition of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the players rather than referees.”

The benefits of self-officiating are clear to me as a someone who has taught games and sports to children for many years. Children need opportunities to work through disagreements and conflict in healthy ways. They need chances to learn and practice good sportsmanship.

Traditionally, team sports were an avenue for those opportunities. However, as we’ve moved away from sandlot baseball to televised Little League World Championships, in too many cases winning has become more important than interacting with the other team, and adults have taken over the officiating.

Ultimate provides players the opportunity to develop the healthy sportsmanship that is so needed in our sports crazed society.

This is the second year I have taught the afterschool Ultimate Club at Ashwood Waldorf School for grades four through seven. Even after a long day of teaching I’m excited to get out on the field and play Ultimate with these enthusiastic students.

I’ve been impressed with the conduct and skill level of this year’s club team. It’s truly a joy to coach them. Adults are always welcome to join in on the fun!

We have more Ultimate planned for the summer. I will be leading Ashwood’s new Ultimate Frisbee Summer Camp, from August 5-9, a weeklong experience for students in grades four through seven.

Sign up for the “Ultimate” Summer Camp!

There’s more information on the camp at www.ashwoodwaldorf.org/summer-camp/, as well as a link to download a brochure/registration form.

Want to know more about Ultimate?

www.usaultimate.org/about/ultimate/default.aspx

Thinking About Art

Eighth Grade Projects

Building a pedal-powered ice cream maker

Ashwood’s art program features prominently in Nancy Harris Frohlich’s May 7 blog Thinking About Art. In it she refers to her experiences with Ashwood students and families at the opening exhibition of the CMCA student art show as well as her impressions of the Eighth Grade Projects at our recent open house: “These young thinkers were solving authentic problems, and through this project they learned about the process of solving more complex and challenging problems – the kind they would face in adulthood.”

More: Eighth Grade Project Night

 

Ashwood Eighth Grader Directs and Stars in Musical

Gabe as Dr. Horrible

Gabe as Dr. Horrible

For his Eighth Grade Project, Gabe Ferrero decided that he would star in and direct the musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog.” After a year of planning and rehearsals, Gabe’s debut as a director will be at the Waldo Theater, 916 Main Street, Waldoboro. Show times are Friday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday May 11 at 1:00 p.m.

The show runs to about 50 minutes. (Please note that the very young might find some parts of the story too intense.)

Set in Dr. Horrible’s Lab, a city street, and a laundry mat, this musical weaves the sorrowful tale of superhero Dr. Horrible, played by Gabe. Horrible’s problem? He’s just not evil enough. To make matters worse, he accidentally introduces his love interest Penny (Ashwood Eighth Grader Chloe Isis) to his nemesis, “the too good and quite conceited“ Captain Hammer (Lincoln Academy senior Griffin Han-Lalime). But, not to worry! Horrible’s good friend Moist (Ashwood Eighth Grader Taliesin Peck) is by his side—along with a talented cast of actors and singers—to help Horrible reach his dream.

This weekend’s shows will benefit the Waldo Theatre as a thank-you for the many years of plays and friendships that have enriched the lives of the young people in the community. Many of the actors in this show first experienced the thrill of the stage while performing at the Waldo.

Gabe would like to thank Beth Preston, Linda Blanchard, and Griffin Han-Lalime for sharing their musical talents. Thanks also to Melissa Hearth for assisting with logistics and Cayleigh Hearth for lending her hand in tech support.

May Faire Memories

Ashwood friend, co-founder, alumna parent, and keeper-of-the-maypole Bridget Qualey sent this video clip of May Faire 2007, when her daughter Emily was a student here.

Watch it and enjoy that great May Faire vibe while you mark your calendar for the annual May Faire & Open House on Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Ashwood campus.

Click on the photo to see the video

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Animal Studies in the Fourth Grade

From Nature Stories to Natural ScienceP1040198

by Lesley Finlayson, Fourth Grade Teacher

The Fourth Grade spent the month of February immersed in its second “Human Being and Animal World” block. These two blocks are truly marvelous, for many reasons. The classroom is abuzz with enthusiasm, because the children are enormously interested in animals, and throw themselves into the subject with great curiosity and interest. But this interest has a new quality now, because the children are becoming more and more aware of the distance that separates them from the world of nature. As they lose their sense of oneness with nature, they become more interested in looking at the world in a new way. A division between their rational thought and their imaginative thought begins to occur, and the children want animals that are not part of fairy tales or fables but part of the world in which they find themselves. So the teacher brings descriptions and stories of real animals, which serves as an introduction to the world of science.

The Animal Project was the culmination of the “Human Being and Animal World” blocks. Each child chose an animal that makes its home here in the landscape in which we live—an animal of Maine. I was fascinated to see how each child chose an animal that seemed, in some way, like a reflection of that child. The children got books and magazines from the library, and learned how to write a research paper, taking notes, organizing ideas and facts, then writing an essay based on the material they had collected. This was a huge step in their academic learning, and they seemed to relish it. At the same time, they were modeling their animal in clay and beeswax and— for the first time in school—making numerous, very accurate drawings from photographs.

After the reports were written and the children had an understanding of the world of their animal, they each wrote a story, told from their animal’s point of view. Several children in the class told of brushes with death: the bear cub witnesses the death of a male bear, the fisher kills his first porcupine, the turtle is almost crushed by a wagon, the fox is killed by a farmer. Several told of an important moment on the journey from childhood to the independence of adulthood: the owlet learns to fly, the otter gets lost and then finds his way home, the beaver builds her own lodge, the moose grows his first antlers. And one story details a quest for a magical healing flower, which may well be a part of a baby hummingbird’s day!

The final step for the children was the construction of dioramas, showing their animal in its habitat, going about some aspect of its day. These were beautifully done, with careful attention to detail and novel solutions to showing the landscape of Maine (including eight different ways of showing water.) They were presented to the whole school, with the children standing by their dioramas and answering questions about their animal.

During this project, I saw the children make great strides in their ability to do academic work independently, and also form a deeper conscious connection to the natural world and its inhabitants. I was also delighted by the generosity of the adults and of all the other children in our school, who were so supportive of the class during their visits to see the children’s animal presentations.

See pictures of all of the Animal Dioramas at: Fourth Grade Animal Dioramas. When you get there, click on one of the photos for a very colorful slide show!

Ultimate Frisbee Club: Sign Up Today!

g3 boy outside ultimate 2There is still time to sign up for Ultimate Frisbee Club!

All students in the midcoast community in Grades 4–7 are welcome. Bring your friends! This club is coed, and no experience is needed. You will learn all the skills and

rules you need to play. Your skills are sure to improve, but the main goal is to have fun.

The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:15–4:30 p.m., April 29-June 5 (11 sessions; no practice on May 27). Students may sign up for either one or two days per week.

Cost is $25 per student

We will meet at Ashwood Waldorf School, 180 Park Street, Rockport, at 3:15 and walk to the Marge Jones Recreation Fields on Rte 90. We will be playing on the Babe Ruth Field. Pick up is at the recreation fields at 4:30p.m.

Sign up information: Please call Elizabeth Larrow at 207-236-8021 if your child would like to join the club.

Students will need to bring running shoes or cleats, a snack, water bottle, and appropriate clothing for the weather.

Hats Off! Auction – New Items!

auction logo top hat

Only two weeks to bid on your special items!

 

Check out the new items!

Over 250 items on which to bid!

Bidding ends April 25th at 8pm.

 

Live event to follow on April 27th, 6:30pm at the Rockport Opera House

 

Example of what you might receive every month!

Example of what you might receive every month!

Creature a Month – Surprise yourself, or someone you love, with 12 magical monthly gifts. Once a month for a year, you will receive a felted item in the mail, handmade by the talented and creative Early Childhood teacher Liz Ferrero. If you’ve seen LIz’s remarkable fairy houses and charming little gnomes and critters, you know how incredible her work is, and how much children and adults love it. You choose the dates, the theme, and the recipient, and Liz will do the rest. All items will be handmade and felted, with the potential for some embroidered accents and other varying details depending on the chosen theme.

 

Home, Clean, Home!

Home, Clean, Home!

Chemical-Free House Cleaning – It’s Spring, the sun is warm and strong… illuminating all the spots in your house that could use some attention! Treat yourself to the gift of 2 hours of Chemical – Free House Cleaning with Marlee Luehman! Using only non-toxic cleaners, Marlee will give you a jump start on your spring cleaning. She has been in business for 3 years and it can be hard to break into her weekly schedule, so this is your chance to pamper your home… creating a “Healthy Haven” for your family.

 

Everybody loves Toki!

Everybody loves Toki!

Wearable Toki Art and Birthday Calendar – Everyone loves TokiArt, and you’ll especially love wearing it with these two 100 percent cotton white t-shirts, each featuring one of Maine artist and Waldorf teacher Toki Oshima’s lovely, folksy drawings. You’ll get “The Neighbor’s Tractor” (adult small), featuring a fabulous red vintage machine drawn in Toki’s trademark style, and “Afternoon Visit” (adult medium), featuring a sweet image of a cow with a blackbird perched on its head. Also,

William Alexander ’10 Accepted to USC Honors Program

william-alexanderAshwood graduate William (“Whit”) Alexander ‘10, has received a letter of acceptance to the University of Southern California’s Resident Honors Program. This highly competitive program accepts only 20 to 30 students each year. Applicants must have a minimum combined SAT score of 2050, a successful high school record with a 4.0 grade average, and demonstrated leadership ability.

William is currently a junior at the Watershed School in Camden. Admission to the USC Resident Honors program will allow him to skip his senior year of high school and enter USC as a freshman in September.

Acceptance automatically qualifies William for a one-fourth tuition scholarship for four years.

Congratulations William!

A New Approach to Teaching Science

Eighth Grade chemistry demonstration at Ashwood Waldorf School with class teacher Jacob Eichenlaub

Eighth Grade chemistry demonstration at Ashwood Waldorf School with class teacher Jacob Eichenlaub. Photo: Doug Mott © 2013

 

 

Twenty-first century children are entering a world filled with complex technological wonders that allow them to communicate with people across the globe in seconds, have vast storehouses of information, literally, at their finger tips, and look forward to a future where machines will be able to perform highly sophisticated functions previously delegated to human efforts. At the same time, understanding how things actually work, both simple and complex, falls outside the grasp of most human beings inhabiting our planet today.

Children now require a new approach to teaching science that is at one and the same time both innovative and classical. As study after study has shown, children are less and less able to sit for long periods of time being passive listeners. These future citizens of the world need and demand activity from their teachers. To meet the complexity of the world and to succeed in a society whose constant will be rapid change, they need to be taught different ways of thinking and they need opportunities to exercise these capacities.

The word science comes from the Latin scientia, which means knowledge derived from observation. In Waldorf schools, students learn science through a phenomenological approach that demands that students fine-tune their observational skills while actively discovering the patterns and laws that govern different phenomena. They participate first hand in the process of discovery through experience and are only then led beyond their observational experience to discover the concepts and laws that stand behind phenomena and connect them.

This approach to innovation and discovery models the process that has been used by great scientists throughout history such a Newton, Galileo, Goethe, Einstein, and more recently Jane Goodall and Stephen Hawking. By participating in science through observational discovery students are able to make active connections that mean stepping outside of their personal likes and dislikes to begin to penetrate the truth of the phenomena itself. It provides them with the opportunity to increase their capacity, the confidence to understand the world they live in, and the ability to exercise synthetic and analytic thinking and know which is which. In short, they learn to become conscious of the world in new and increasingly penetrating ways and, at the same time, become conscious of their own thinking about that world. Such individuals have the potential to make the discoveries yet to come and to be the human beings we will need as stewards of our global future.