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.
READING: INFORMATIONAL TEXT
Key Ideas and Details:
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
It’s a radical idea. There are no textbooks to speak of in the Waldorf lower school, and no computers. The students’ informational source is their teacher, who ideally sees them through the grades from first to eighth. The teacher studies the students, giving them what they need individually and as a group. This can be accomplished beautifully in a homeschool setting as well.
All Waldorf lessons are taught in story format since the narrative form is most effective at this age. The teacher is the filter through which the world is brought into the classroom and into students’ hearts and minds. This is essential on two counts: the pictorial or story format is most developmentally appropriate until the age of reason dawns at age 12 or so, and the teacher, standing before the students as a trusted and respected authority figure, is so much more humane and effective than an impersonal text or computer screen could ever be.
For a local geography lesson, the teacher might present anecdotal, historical stories about the neighborhood and/or town. The students hear the story on day 1, retell it on day 2, then summarize and illustrate it in main lesson books that will become their self-created textbooks. For a human and animal lesson, the teacher might convey the main characteristics that make an animal unique and how those might compare to similar characteristics in the human. Here’s a strong, courageous lion from the page chalkboarddrawings.com
These lessons can support great detail as well, such as the animal limbs study below, taken from Kara Johndro’s Pinterest page. I love that the neck of the giraffe is considered a limb! Keep in mind that in the Waldorf classroom, less is more. To borrow a concept from the Common Core, less subject matter is studied at much greater depth.
You can see that all aspects of the above standards are beautifully covered, with heart, grace, and warmth. Because 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.