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.
The next series of posts will focus on Grade 4 Common Core English Language Arts Standards. Math By Hand integrates language arts with math, and though the Waldorf curriculum is taught in blocks, none of the subjects are really taught in isolation. Integration is key, and the ambient standards posted here will reflect that. The Common Core language arts standards are listed here in blue, followed by ambient language arts suggestions.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
(RL.4.8 not applicable to literature)
Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.
Beginning in Grade 1, Waldorf students routinely translate texts of classic literature into various forms including visual: all stories are beautifully illustrated and summarized; oral: students retell stories daily, and in great detail; dramatic: the main literature theme is represented in end-of-year-plays produced and performed by students.
Good and evil is a deep and recurring theme in Waldorf Grades 2 and 4, represented in the former by the fables. contrasted with saints’ and heroes’ legends. The Grade 4 focus on Norse mythology and other trickster tales brings the dichotomy of good and evil deeper into the human realm. Math By Hand is an integrated math and language arts curriculum, and features trickster tales from many cultures.
From a Karok Indian tale, Coyote cleverly steals fire from greedy. evil monsters to warm the freezing humans in a nearby village. Savitri, a wise and beautiful Indian princess, uses her wits to defeat Death and bring her betrothed back to life. A travel-weary Swedish itinerant persuades a reluctant villager to feed him (while revealing her hidden generosity) in the tale Nail Soup.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Waldorf fourth graders are now reading independently, usually at the high end of the range, since they have been exposed to classic literature from the beginning. They absorbed it all, and then learned to read when ripe and ready. Usually no scaffolding is needed, since complex stories, drama, and poetry have all been enjoyed, performed, and learned by heart.
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 as we continue to explore ambient counterparts to the CCSS language arts standards.