L.4 4 A-C: Love of Language = Proficiency (#298)


A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 298

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.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 4 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

Use context (e.g., definitions, examples, or restatements in text) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.

Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).

Consult reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation and determine or clarify the precise meaning of key words and phrases.

Vocabulary.  It’s an essential ingredient for proficiency in reading and writing, and there are many options for increasing it.  But the best, the very best, option is reading and more reading.  And growing a love of language through lots of language use, including the spoken word.

Playing with language, with the sounds, syllables, juxtapositions, and downright fun of it, is always important, but especially so for the fourth grader.  The Waldorf fourth grader is inundated with intricate, complex trickster literature.  Traditionally, the Norse Myths are the preponderant source, but cross-cultural tales offer a wealth of material as well.

The Math By Hand trickster tales center around the North American Indian’s Coyote. Raven, and Rabbit, the African Ijapa the Tortoise, and the Middle Eastern Nasrudin tales, among many others.  As the fourth grader moves further and further from the innocence of the garden of childhood, it becomes imperative to build a foundation of strong values and discernment.

The trickster tales, like the fables for the second grader, provide the means to recognize good and evil as they exist side by side in the world, and to discern the rewards and consequences of both.  Thus, a dimensional moral life is built through experience, and language becomes the vehicle for so much more than technical knowledge or expertise.

Of course, more pedantic tools can be used during the language skills period that takes place after the main lessons in other subjects.  Because subjects are taught in blocks, it’s necessary to keep up skills in language arts and math during these intensives.  So imaginative exercises for discovering word roots and meanings, or how to use tools like the dictionary or thesaurus, can be devised.

But these practical endeavors should never be allowed to take up time in the main lesson.  It should be apparent that only meaningful content is given the focus and depth that the main lesson provides.  Recitation and memorization of classic (and often humorous) verses, limericks, poetry, songs, etc. afford another valuable opportunity to grow and foster a vibrant love of language.

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 next blog post as we continue to explore ambient counterparts to the CCSS language arts standards.   Here is a poem from the collection of verses found in the Math By Hand Grade 4 Binder, the classic, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll:


‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.



Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00