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 is all about wrapping up with a play from the stories shared all year.
Many Waldorf plays are centered around Saints or Heroes and the legends that grew up around them. But the fables are another fertile field for harvesting, with fun plays that are fairly simple to produce, with costuming, scripts, and scenery. Simple masks will do for most fables’ characters, and basic outfits of neutral or dark colored t-shirts and cotton pants help to direct the focus to the characters through their masks. Here’s a Pinterest post from one of my favorite blogs: Picklebums, featuring egg-carton masks. The possibilities are endless with these! Paint and embellish them for many different fables’ characters.
Generic outdoor scenery will do, since most of the action takes place in the woods! Create a simple scene of trees and sky on a plain, white cotton sheet. You might try using sidewalk chalk and water for a subtle effect, or paints and wide brushes for something bolder. Make this a community project, everyone will want to get into the act.
Or here’s another option. Get a free “end roll” from your local newspaper (they give away the rolls that are too small to use on the presses), available in newsprint or heavier white paper. The heavier paper is obviously sturdier. This allows you to paint (or chalk or crayon) the scenery in panels for more flexibility. Roll up the paper (or fold the sheet) for another time, another play.
The fables are super simple to script. Just create a basic dialog from the story, staying as faithful to it as possible. Some of the fables might lend themselves to a chorus rather than individual speaking parts. Taking three to four weeks at the end of the year to put on a play is soooo worth the time and effort. I reposted something on Facebook recently that was very sad. It seems a certain school (I’m imagining there are many more like it) wrote a letter to parents stating that because of the pressure to fit in enough academics to meet Common Core demands, the Kindergarten class play was being cancelled. Tragic.
In Waldorf schools, performance skills are built up through the years so that a brief 10 to 15 minute first grade fairy tale play becomes a full-on 90-minute seventh or eighth grade performance (most often Shakespeare). My daughter’s wonderfully memorable eighth grade play was “You Can’t Take It With You,” an excellent choice for that particular group!
So do recruit family and friends to help with this crowning achievement, and have mountains of fun with it. Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of that knowledge as a worthy goal. More Grade 2 fun tomorrow, stay tuned!