The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Thoughts on Africa and My new humming birds nest

So today we got our penpal letters from the waldorf school in Cape town south Africa.

It is wonderful to see how 8th graders are all the same no matter where they are around the Globe. They talked the same, they used the same "oh my GOD! you won't believe what just happened at our school" mode of speech...

Well on the topic of the Pads for young African Girls....well it is something I am still thinking about!

But I TOTALLY appreciate your feedback ....I LOVE hearing from my Bloggie make blogging all worth it!

On a side note....this is a picture of a humming birds nest outside my kitchen window. One was built last year with 3 eggs and this year a new one is starting and here is the mother building it...wonderful!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

8th grade

Would this be too much for 8th grade?
its kind of personal....

I can hear the conversation

parent -"so what are you making this year?"
8th grader- "we are making pads for girls in Africa"
parent-" what kind of pads?"
8th grader - "sanitary menstrual pads for their know what I mean"
Parent- " how do you make a pad...Oh do you mean ones that they would have to use AGAIN?"
8th grader- "yah, did you know they don't throw them away when they are done?"
Parent - "so what are the boys making?"

Yah I don't think this would work for my 8th graders...But maybe the parent handwork group would like to do this.....

what do you think?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

new apron and art

7th grade art samples I was working on today...I need enough for 9 weeks

Ok so I wanted to make this new apron that I got from Montessori by hand lady by the way her site in in my blogs I go to area

I am also getting ready to teach a 9 week block with the 7th grade on water color painting and charcoal drawing ...and it has to go along with their main lesson work

Saturday, March 22, 2008

6th grade project

Here is a sample of what we are doing this week

In the Handwork class we have spent several weeks discussing and pondering over what endangered animal we would like to adopt this year and we have unanimously decided that the polar bear needs out attention and support.

In this project, we as a group, decide on an animal and contribute needed funds to an organization that is committed to saving endangered animals. In return they send us an adoption certificate of the animal we are supporting. The name on the certificate will read: The 6th grade class of 2008 DMS

This week several of our 6th graders in Handwork are already starting on their bears. To do so, we sketch a drawing of our endangered animal on paper and then cut out the pattern with wool felt to make a table puppet.

These animals will go home with your child as soon as they are done.

Here are some facts about the Polar bear we are helping to save

Polar Bears are one of the largest carnivores on earth, but their problems are even bigger. Some scientists predict that polar bears could disappear from Alaska and most of their habitat in the next 50 years and become extinct in the wild within 100 years.

Global warming is robbing these Arctic icons of vital marine habitat - the older, stable sea ice they need to survive. Already, polar bears are drowning and even resorting to cannibalism as their home and feeding grounds melt away.

To make matters worse, Big Oil continues to relentlessly lobby Congress to open the Arctic Refuge the most important onshore denning habitat for polar bears -- to destructive oil exploration and drilling.

Friday, March 21, 2008

10 things I am thankful for

it's my turn to do this

1) My children... my 2 girls have changed my life... they are everything to me

2) My Husband...I feel I have a very wonderful partner in life...He is my best friend

3) My 6 years as a Midwife...I have taken time away from my birth world and someday i will go back to it. The mother Goddess and all her handmaidens (sisters of midwifery) they are always in my thoughts

4) Yogi Bhajan my spiritual teacher and Grandfather figure...I am thankful for the opportunity to have been able to sit at his feet and learn from him. I am thankful for the teachings he passed on and time time he spent with me and my husband. I am thankful he was our minister at our wedding and blessed us with such a wonderful gift.

5) Waldorf...I am thankful for such a wonderful school! Not only the school but the philosophy behind it...the anthroposophical teachings and the community that comes with the school.

6) Our house...I love our house. I love that we have a home that is beautiful and cozy. I am thankful I had my babies at home in this loving environment.

7) My in-laws and my parents...they have helped us out so much. My in laws are always ready to take our kids on adventures and baby sit when my husband and I have meetings or have to work on days when our kids do have school.

8) Friends...I am thankful for the friends I have who love me without judgment but at the same time, help me grow

9) I am thankful that we have all we need...enough food to eat, cars that work, many wonderful toys and things to enjoy in our home.

10) I am thankful I found handwork crafts to fill that space...that creative cup that always want to be full.

Kinder apron theory

that the reason the Kindergarten waldorf teacher wears an apron is to protect herself from loosing energy to the children... it's like a shield. The younger child lives so much in the etheric that they sap the energy from the adults around them...that is why you are worn out by being around small kids with out even doing much around the house. Its not their fault, they are alive with energy and want to walk around 3 feet above their bodies...their etheric body I mean. So the Kinder teacher shields herself with an apron and that apron is suppose to be the color of the day to help the child's body. So they support the child with out loosing their own energy force.

Interesting hah?

I am going to start wearing an apron again and see if it helps me...

spring crafts

here is a bunny I made from a square. its 16 stitches and knit till you have a square. after that it's all about how you fold the bunny and sew it up.

The pencil case is a sample for the 7th grade. they will be making these babies for the 2nd grade!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A week with Steiner

Just check on what day in the week it is and use this calendar to help you best support your family and your class . You might have to click on the pic to see it closer

update on letters

You might wonder why a handwork teaching is asking her class to write formal letters and the answer is very simple...we wrote pen pal letters and made bracelets for new friends in other waldorf schools in other states and across the globe.

My 8th grade did not write a very formal letter so I had them write a "better" letter to our Governor for extra practice.

I also had my 7th graders re write their letter to Green Meadows Waldorf school

I have to give credit to all the Main lesson teachers who inspire academia out of these children cause it was like pulling teeth with them...

whinnying and not focusing, talking and writing things that were inappropriate....

Thank God I am the Handwork teacher cause I would stink at being the Main lesson teacher...
Getting them to do handwork is a breeze, getting them to write a formal 3 paragraph letter is dooms day.

But they did it!

play season

it is play season here...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Formal letter writing for the 8th grade....a lost art!

· Return Address.

Our School Address here

· Address.

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

· Greeting.

Always address your letter to a specific person. Capitalize the beginning letter in a sentence. Use commas and periods in a sentence.


Janet Napolitano:

· Body.

Indent to start paragraph

Two average-length paragraphs should make up this section. In the first paragraph, ask your Governor how they are doing and convey your enthusiasm about corresponding with them. Leave a line between paragraphs. In the second paragraph, briefly talk about the global warming and how you feel more trees in Arizona could help reduce green house gases in our state.

· Last paragraph. Thank the reader for taking the time to read your letter and tell the reader that you look forward to hearing from her soon.

· Close.: Sincerely, Yours truly , Sincerely yours, or Cordially. four returns. On the next line Sign your first and last name




James Brown

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Update on the aprons

I LOVE this pattern. I just ordered it for my 8th grade...the boys will just make a simple waist apron with pockets to make up for what the girls have to do.

Here you can see the Aprons that the 7th grade hand stitched. we made up the design in a simple blazzay boring. just the shape of a capital A. Well it started out that I didn't' like the design of the aprons from the get go. and what kind of project does a handwork teacher assign that she doesn't like herself?!

I wanted to get a treadle and have them use that instead of hand sewing it....

But they did it!!!
they spent most of day on Thursday with me..both recesses and some skipped math class and Spanish to come and be with me in class while I taught other classes. They just sat at the table and did their work...totally ignoring that I was sining to the 1st grade and telling riddles to the 4th grade and so on. On Thursday they also had a 45 period with me, so I have to say that was the longest stretch of time I have every been with them...and they sure talk about food a must be because they are growing . I don't remember thinking and talking about food that much when I was in 7th grade, but maybe I did and I just don't remember.

Next year I won't have them make this apron in 7th grade by hand... I will save it for 8th grade on the machine with a really fun pattern!!!!.

I did just run into a GREAT apron designs for 8th grade on the sewing machines. its called Emeline Apron ( the picture on the top)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Classroom managment Tips

I found some classroom managment tips
1. Each day is a new day...some days are good and some are bad...keep up!
  1. Begin each class period with a positive attitude and high expectations. If you expect your students to misbehave or you approach them negatively, you will get misbehavior. This is an often overlooked aspect of classroom management.

  2. Come to class prepared with lessons for the day. In fact, overplan with your lessons. Make sure to have all your materials and methods ready to go. Reducing downtime will help maintain discipline in your classroom.

  3. Work on making transitions between classes smooth. In other words, as you move from whole group discussion to independent work, try to minimize the disruption to the class. Have your papers ready to go or your assignment already written on the board. Many disruptions occur during transitional times during lessons.

  4. Watch your students as they come into class. Look for signs of possible problems before class even begins. For example, if you notice a heated discussion or problem before class starts, try to deal with the problem then. Allow the students a few moments to talk with you or with each other before you start your lesson to try and work things out. Separate them if necessary and try to gain agreement that during your class period at least they will drop whatever issue they have.

  5. Have a posted discipline plan that you follow consistently for effective classroom management. Depending on the severity of the offense, this should allow students a warning or two before punishment begins. Your plan should be easy to follow and also should cause a minimum of disruption in your class. For example, your discipline plan might be - First Offense: Verbal Warning, Second Offense: Detention with teacher, Third Offense: Referral.

  6. Meet disruptions that arise in your class with in kind measures. In other words, don't elevate disruptions above their current level. Your discipline plan should provide for this, however, sometimes your own personal issues can get in the way. For example, if two students are talking in the back of the room and your first step in the plan is to give your students a verbal warning, don't stop your instruction to begin yelling at the students. Instead, have a set policy that simply saying a student's name is enough of a clue for them to get back on task. Another technique is to ask one of them a question.

  7. Try to use humor to diffuse situations before things get out of hand. Note: Know your students. The following example would be used with students you know would not elevate the situation to another level. For example, if you tell your students to open their books to page 51 and three students are busy talking, do not immediately yell at them. Instead, smile, say their names, and ask them kindly if they could please wait until later to finish their conversation because you would really like to hear how it ends and you have to get this class finished. This will probably get a few laughs but also get your point across.

  8. If a student becomes verbally confrontational with you, remain calm and remove them from the situation as quickly as possible. Do not get into yelling matches with your students. There will always be a winner and a loser which sets up a power struggle that could continue throughout the year. Further, do not bring the rest of the class into the situation by involving them in the discipline or the writing of the referral.

  9. If a student becomes physical, remember the safety of the other students is paramount. Remain as calm as possible; your demeanor can sometimes diffuse the situation. You should have a plan for dealing with violence that you discussed with students early in the year. You should use the call button for assistance. You could also have a student designated to get help from another teacher. Send the other students from the room if it appears they could get hurt. If the fight is between two students, follow your school's rules concerning teacher involvement as many want teachers to stay out of fights until help arrives.

  10. Keep an anecdotal record of major issues that arise in your class. This might be necessary if you are asked for a history of classroom disruptions or other documentation.

  11. Let it go at the end of the day. Classroom management and disruption issues should be left in class so that you can have some down time to recharge before coming back to another day of teaching.


  1. Recognize the warning signs of disruption. Obviously this comes with practice of classroom management. However, some signs are fairly obvious.

  2. Sarcasm should be used sparingly if at all. If you do use it, make sure you know the student who you are using it with well. Many students do not have the capacity to know that sarcasm is not meant to be taken literally. Further, other students could find your sarcasm as inflammatory which would defeat your purpose of greater classroom management.

  3. Consistency and fairness are essential for effective classroom management. If you ignore disruptions one day and come down hard on them the next, you will not be seen as consistent. You will lose respect and disruptions will probably increase. Further, if you are not fair in your punishments, making sure to treat all students fairly then students will quickly realize this and lose respect for you. You should also start each day fresh, not holding disruptions against students and instead expecting them to behave.

  4. It's easier to get easier. Start the year very strict so that students see that you are willing to do what it takes to have your classroom under control. They will understand that you expect learning to occur in your room. You can always let up as the year goes on.

  5. Rules must be easy to understand and manageable. Make sure that you don't have such a large number of rules that your students can't consistently follow them.

What You Need:

  • Posted Classroom Rules
  • Discipline Plan


discipline is such a BIG word for girls are so well behaved and because of this I have had a real challenge when dealing with total brat-punk kids who walk all over teachers, punch friends in the stomach, sit on friends head, interrupt teachers and don't listen to authority.

What do I do?

Where is the holistic approach to this behavior? how do you reach kids who create chaos in your class.

When certain kids are absent from is a peaceful and productive class... but since we are a charter school it is very hard to "dismiss" children from our school. we can't just ask them to leave.......

I am so just really got to me today....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fresh honey from our school bees

Bees are AMAZING!
I have a 7th grader in my carpool who I drive home every day and her family are bee keepers and they helped to get bees are our school. Well she can talk about bees for a full hour and not miss a beat!

They are one of the most interesting critters on this planet....

don't hate the bees....we need them!!!

Double finger looping

This is a wonderful addition to finger knitting

Hope you can catch these directions

Birthday invite creations

Ok so I let my girls create my younger daughter's birthday invites...I have to say they did VERY well with the design. I only said a few things like, "well we need this to fit here so how can we do that?" and they did the rest.

They chose the color, the scissors, the organic heath food lolly pops I brought back from NY, the rolled up direction scroll on the side and tied with a piece of matching yarn.

its so cute!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Apron rush

Ok so 7th grade is scrambling to get their hand sewn aprons done by mad house!
they are hosting a cafe night fund raiser and they need their aprons so that they can serve the food.
So now I have to take some of the kids in from recess so that they can get their work done. Such is life
I will post pics of the aprons soon...they are rather cute! But you know me...I like all the stuff they make...I'm their biggest a teacher should be!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mood of the fifth pentatonic songs

Have you heard of the mood of the 5th?

I am just so mesmerized by the whole theory behind it

the music is sung in a way that it has a center point and it makes a figure eight around the center note. SO if you start on A the note will got up and come back down to A and then go down and come back up to A again. 8

like amazing grace is a pentatonic song sung in the mood of the 5th and so is old man river.

The below info is from wiki

A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave in contrast to an heptatonic (seven note) scale such as the major scale. Pentatonic scales are very common and are found all over the world, including but not limited to Celtic folk music, West African music, African-American spirituals, American blues music and rock music, Sami joik singing, children's songs,

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The week is over

It happened so fast. I am not home yet so I can't post pics, but what a wonderful week!
I feel like I was at a retreat

I was massaged by the warmth of the Anthroposophical environment,
I was given a manicure by all the crafts and material I was able to use
I was given a facial mask with the fantastic cold weather (that my very soul misses so much)
I was bathed in a hot tub of knowledge