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Middle School Category

Middle School Trip to Gulf Hagas

Gulf Hagas, the “Grand Canyon of the East”, is a three-mile-long slate gorge located in the mountains of central Maine. Last week Ashwood Waldorf School’s Middle School students enjoyed a two-night camping trip to the area crowned by a day-long hike along the rim of the gorge. It was an amazing trip: waterfalls cascading through narrow passages, sheer slate cliffs, crisp fall colors, and even a moose on our way home. Our profound thanks go to all of the parents who helped make the trip possible by cooking and shopping and providing equipment. We’d also like to send a big shout-out to our chaperone/guides: Buck O’Herin, David Ray, and John Luft.

Amy Watson, Seventh Grade Teacher, and Laura Purdom, Sixth Grade Teacher

Photos by John Luft.

 

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

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.

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.

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.

Ashwood Receives Agriculture Awareness Grant

painting by Ella SimonAshwood Waldorf School has received a $1000 Agriculture Awareness grant from Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAIC) to support a partnership with Aldermere Farm in Rockport, Maine.

In the spirit of MAIC’s goal to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society, Ashwood’s middle school students are participating in Aldermere’s Farm Hands program. Each week this fall, the teens visited the farm to work with the young Belted Galloway calves, learning to halter train, groom, and lead Aldermere’s famed “belties.” A second group of Ashwood students will participate in the program this spring.

“This has been a wonderful group for jumping right in, learning the skills, and implementing what they’ve learned,” said Aldermere Program Coordinator Sarah Post. “It’s fabulous how quickly they’ve been able to do everything, and they have such a tenderness with the animals.”

The work done by the students is a service to the Farm because it allows the calves to get use to being around people, and to be well tempered and manageable.

© 2012 Madrona Wienges

© 2012 Madrona Wienges

The eight-week program offers each student four weeks of hands on work with the calves and four weeks of drawing and painting en plein air. For the artisitic portion, students studied the anatomical structure of the cow in order to be able to accurately render their drawings. Ashwood Eighth Grader, Ella Simon described the process: “First we sketched the landscape. Next, we transferred our composition very lightly onto painting paper. Then we began to paint. We painted trees and the fields; some of us included a barbed-wire fence, and lastly we added the cows. Our class has enjoyed the time we spent at the farm and loved working there.”

Farm Hands Gallery

8th Grade Graduation, June 8

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Image from the Class of 2012 graduation invitation

Save the date for Eighth Grade Graduation! The Class of 2013, along with their hardworking teacher, Mr. Eichenlaub, will be sending out invitations this spring to the event which will take place at the Strom Auditorium on Saturday, June 8, 2013.

Graduation is the culminating moment of each student’s time at Ashwood. It is the students’ last chance to share their talents with and be recognized by our school community. It is one last opportunity for the Eighth Graders to give to their community through performance and for our community to honor their growth and achievements.

At Ashwood, graduation is is seen as a significant moment for the whole community: for the younger children who are inspired by the Eighth Graders and who look forward to their own graduation, for the teachers who have all had a hand in their education, for the parents of children in other grades who have watched and helped the Eighth Graders grow through the years.

Our hope is that all parents and friends of Ashwood will also join us. It truly is a wonderful event!