A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”
And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times. Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. Today’s post features the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot.
Sukkot is a wonderful way to begin the Grade 3 year! When I taught a Waldorf Grade 3 in Michigan, I had a class Dad help us build a lashed, open-walled structure with tree branches and a thatch-ready roof. We kept the walls open and thatched the roof with willowy, leafy tree branches, then enjoyed a traditional harvest meal in our sukkah. Here are several excerpts re Sukkot from Tori Avery’s blog.
“Temporary structures known as “sukkah” can range in size from small (just large enough for two people) to enormous. A sukkah is constructed with three or four walls and a roof known as a “schach” made from natural organic materials. It must be at least three feet tall, and you must be able to see the sky through the roof—if you can’t, the sukkah is not considered “kosher.” Traditionally, Jewish families decorate the sukkah with a variety of decorations including homemade ornaments, paintings, and streamers. Often decorations are inspired by harvest foods and the seven species of Israel mentioned in Deuteronomy: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, dates, wheat and barley.
Sukkot is a harvest holiday, which means that the foods served are seasonal in nature. The Sukkot menu generally features vegetables and fruits that are harvested at the turn of the season—apples, squash, eggplants, grapes, etc. As a food lover, this holiday is one of my favorites because we are encouraged to create dishes from fresh and delicious seasonal ingredients. The arrival of Sukkot ushers in the autumn season; Sukkot foods are inspired by the bounty of the harvest.”
Since the Old Testament, gardening, and housebuilding are all included, this is a perfect fit with the Grade 3 curriculum! The comfort and satisfaction my third graders felt was palpable as they helped build and then enjoyed their “harvest house.” See below for a quick and easy sukkah, built with recycled lathe and large, metal can lids. This dome sukkah, from Volecipede, is partially thatched and quite spacious inside.
Above all, help your third graders build a home on this earth, and all else will fall quite beautifully into place. Remember as always, that knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 3 fun!