Friday, January 2013
Each year, the Chicago Waldorf School celebrates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a school-wide assembly planned by the Festivals Committee and the Inclusion & Diversity Committee.
This year's assembly provides an opportunity to appreciate the work done to further human rights both in our community and throughout the world. It will feature presentations, reflections, and musical offerings performed by students, faculty, and special guests all honoring equality and investigating the history and current impact of the civil rights movement in society today.
Please join us on
Friday, January 18th at 2:00 pm
in the CWS Auditorium
This year, the Inclusion & Diversity Committee has chosen to focus on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of national legislation that outlawed discriminatory voting practices. As part of the school's mission to celebrate its diverse and inclusive community within the heart of Rogers Park, this assembly will focus on the historical events sparked by the foundational tenet that all voices should be heard. The assembly will highlight the importance of voting rights and examine the privilege that we all share in being able to vote.
Chicago Waldorf School invites students, faculty, and community members to join us in sharing their own voices and stories. A speaker from the Sudanese Community Center will speak on his own experiences with voting rights, and CWS faculty will take to the stage to reflect on the importance of speaking one’s own voice. High school sophomore Anyah Akanni will present readings of her slam poetry, and the High School Chorus and African Drumming class will perform musical offerings.
All are welcome to attend. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly is appropriate for grades 1 through 12.
Friday, January 2013
This past Fall, the High School students took field trips for their Agriculture morning lesson block that brought them into diverse neighborhoods in Chicago to survey a number of sustainable living and urban farming initiatives.
Students got a first hand look at communities creating living and work situations that are self sufficient and environmentally-minded, that are revitalizing "waste spaces" and converting them into green spaces. These communities are invested in the value of maximizing our connection to land, produce and even livestock within the urban environment. Here are some of the places the CWS high school students explored:
"The Plant is a a new kind of organization in a very old building. We’re working to show what truly sustainable food production and economic development looks like by farming inside an old meatpacking facility, incubating small craft food businesses, brewing beer and kombucha, and doing it all using only renewable energy that we make onsite. By connecting outputs of one business to the inputs of another, we are harnessing value from materials that most people would throw away....It’s part vertical farm, part food-business incubator, part research and education space – and it will be entirely off the grid." 9th grader, Silvia Sukenic was impressed by the fact that the Plant "will run entirely on bio gas for its power source." Her classmate, Maddie Byrne said, "The Plant is cool because its goal is to be totally self-sustainable..."
GRIT Magazine recently awarded the Freak Farm the honor of being its "Homesteader of the Year" and featuring a profile of the farm in its coverage. Other groups have taken notice of this active backyard micro-farm that has diverse features including chickens, guinea hens, vermicomposting (worms), a harvesting garden and other agricultural elements. CBS 2 News also gave Freak Farm some coverage and highlighted the farm's founder, Tristan Beache.
After visiting the Angelic Organics Farm, 9th grader Taylor Jones said he'd never been on a farm before and that "they fed the cows beets; they don’t have milking cows, but they do milk their goats.” “Zo” Schrepferman commented that “One of the most memorable things was eating a hot pepper called a 'Paper Lantern' that looks like a regular pepper but its red and super hot.” The students also met with urban farmers and learned about plans for development of new urban farmland in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Some of these proposed "urban ag" farms are supported by and developed through CRAFT, the Angelic Organics Education Center's Farmer Training Program.
“All their food is biodynamic and they don’t use chemical pesticides, instead the farmers do things to trick the bugs, like rotating the crops.”
- 9th grader, Zo Schrepferman
Grace White, a 9th grader, commented that, “Visiting Angelic Organics was an experience similar to working on my uncle's farm. It was interesting; I’d love to have an internship experience there.” Science teacher & 9th grade advisor, Brian Gleichauf, put the experience into a historical and pedagogical perspective explaining, “We have been doing the in-town Agriculture trip since before we even had the morning lesson block to go with it! I really feel like what we’ve crafted in this experiential block makes for a powerful experience for the 9th graders. It allows them to connect with their city and their food in a new way, and it brings to consciousness aspects of their living that most have seldom thought about before. I also love that this block ‘bookends’ with the Service Learning Trip at the end of the school year, in which they get two weeks of total immersion in agricultural life.”
Friday, January 2013
Pictured are workshop organizers:
Mary Felice, Associate Chair & Professor of the Department of Arts, Entertainment, & Media Management (AEMM), Carol Triggiano, CWS Faculty & Workshop Presenter, Terri Lonier, Assistant Professor, AEMM.
This past Fall, Chicago Waldorf School was invited to speak at a faculty education workshop sponsored by the Department of Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management at Columbia College.
As a featured presentation in a series of lectures and faculty workshops that were hosted at The Center for Innovation in Teaching Excellence the speakers included educators from Waldorf, Montessori, Piven Theater and other local institutions. This series discussed strategies for enriching the classroom experience and developing effective methods for delivering curriculum and inspiring student learning.
Carol Triggiano, current CWS eighth grade teacher and former Chair of the College of Teachers, led a workshop that described the Waldorf approach. Discussions included models of imaginative storytelling and the group examined the value of students illustrating and authoring their own workbooks as pedagogical tools that effectively aid creative and active learning.An overview of the history and tenets of Waldorf education was covered, which led to an active discussion about the benefits of a measured approach to technology and media in the classroom.
The educational value of these Waldorf principles are gaining more adherents and widespread acceptance as we see increased exposure in mass media and the ongoing publication of supportive studies in academic and professional journals of psychology and child development. This analysis and contemporary discourse on “how we learn” was very germane to this audience of academics and administrators.
In discussion and Q&A sessions, these approaches to engaging curriculum were analyzed in the context of elementary, secondary and collegiate classroom environments. Many of the Columbia College faculty enthusiastically reflected on the ways that they engage active learning in their classrooms and shared some of their challenges. The active storytelling model had great appeal and Columbia faculty pledged to adopt some of these models, along with student-authored class “viewbooks,” into their curriculum and classroom preparations.
Inset Photo: Carol speaks afterwards with Dawn Larsen, Associate Professor & Director, Graduate Studies in Entertainment Law, Oral Communication and Public Speaking for Managers, Columbia College.
Friday, January 2013
The CWS Annual Fund is at $100,665.81 and still growing!
A gift to the Annual Fund at any level represents your commitment to Chicago Waldorf School, and to your child’s education. It allows us to provide faculty and staff salaries, tuition assistance scholarships, extracurricular activities, strategic goals, and facility operations. In order to meet this need, we encourage monthly giving to the Annual Fund. If you are interested in making a pledge and paying monthly via credit or debit card, please contact Erin Gutierrez at 773.828.8467 or at email@example.com.
You may also send monthly pledge payments via check. Or for a single payment...
Your Annual Fund donation helps ensure the long-term health of the school. Annual Fund giving supports our vibrant school, our exceptional curriculum, and our rich and diverse community.
Friday, January 2013
There’s a new research experiment taking place above our heads at the Chicago Waldorf School that complements our already functioning solar panels, bringing another element of sustainable energy to our learning community.
This experiment is a wind-speed site-survey, and it is being implemented to see if our campus could support a future wind-turbine, which would help offset energy costs for the school.
What is a wind-speed site-survey? It is nothing more than “mapping” the wind’s speed over several months at a specific location. Over the better part of a year, the wind is being measured on the roof adjacent to the school’s gymnasium. This is to take into consideration any seasonal variations in wind, and to get an average wind speed. The measurements are accomplished by using an anemometer, which has three cups, and spins in the wind. It is wired to a battery-powered data-logger which allows it to log, or store, the speed of wind in meters per second. Data is recorded every ten seconds, and is then downloaded to a laptop, where specialized software computes the average wind speed and produces graphs of the wind’s natural “ups-and-downs” over a given time period.
From this study, Chicago Waldorf School will have the information it needs to make an informed decision as to whether or not a wind-turbine would be a suitable investment, and whether it would save the school money.
The idea for this wind study was brought to the attention of high school science and physics teacher Brian Gleichauf by a local start-up called Chicago Urban Energy, Inc. CUE president Robert Peplin explains “When I first had the idea of starting a company that performed wind-speed site-surveys, my initial thought was to establish myself by approaching some progressive businesses or institutions in the neighborhood and offer my services ‘pro bono’. I hoped they would be receptive to the idea and they were. Both Brian and the Chicago Waldorf School have been a big help to my company’s beginning.”
Along with the wind-speed survey taking place at the CWS, CUE is performing additional surveys at residences in Rogers Park, as well as at both Uncommon Ground restaurant locations in the city.
In teaming up with Chicago Urban Energy, Brain hopes to add to the range of sustainable activities that CWS offers, which currently include gardening, beekeeping, composting, and bicycle and auto mechanics.
The site-survey was initiated in May of 2012, and is still providing monthly data to the school. Robert Peplin hopes to make this a lasting survey: ”Even if the results from the wind survey turn out to be unsatisfactory (meaning there is not enough wind to generate power from a wind turbine), at least two things have been accomplished: money that would have potentially been spent on a wind turbine can now be put into other sustainable measures; and the students at Waldorf will have the exposure to broaden their minds and understanding of wind power and the science behind it all.”
For more information regarding the wind-speed site-survey at the CWS, contact Brian Gleichauf or visit Chicago Urban Energy for information on site-surveying for wind turbines.
Friday, January 2013
As parents we want our children to know intrinsically what they think and feel, and we want them to be able to express it clearly to others. How do we make that happen? By being our children’s emotional coaches so they can develop their own ability to know themselves.
Below are a few ideas to get you started:
Don’t deny or ignore a child’s feelings:
We’ve all done it at one time or another but saying, “You’re not sad,” to a child who is crying or, ”stop whining,” when we don’t want to hear it, makes a person feel unseen. It also does little to help a child learn to cope with their intense feelings. Instead, describe what you see. If you say, “I see a little girl who looks sad” it won’t actually make your child feel worse. Rather, it will most certainly help her feel understood and heard. Give your child tools so she knows what to do when she is feeling upset.
Look for and comment on the emotion that is underlying the behavior:
The next time your child protests unduly about leaving the park say to him, “It can be so hard leaving when we are having so much fun.” Validating his experience can help him to get through a tough time.
Talk about the behavior, not the person and describe the problem:
Children take what we say very seriously which is why when we are feeling displeased it is useful to separate out the behavior from the person. For example, saying, “I see a bedroom with clothes and toys all over the floor” expresses your displeasure and gives the child information at the same time. It is much more likely to elicit a helpful response than, “This room is a mess, you are so sloppy!”
Consider your first family:
How were feelings handled in the family you grew up in? Do certain feelings make you uncomfortable? Exploring these questions and developing your own awareness can help you as you help your child navigate his or her emotions. All feelings are okay; it’s what we do with our feelings that matters. Be your children’s emotional coach and watch them grow.
Current parent Hazel Archer Ginsberg shares insight from the Chicago Waldorf School Building Intentional Community (BIC) committee in order to be an emotional coach to your children and to deepen dialogue between families.
Friday, January 2013
This article by Leo Barron is reprinted from the Waldorf Science Newsletter, Vol 18., #28, Autumn 2012. To read the full newsletter or for more information please visit the Waldorf Online Library.
As profound as was the work of Einstein and Niels Bohr in physics, their thoughts and practice in education were of the same nature. In 1952 Einstein wrote an article titled, Education for Independent Thought:
“Overemphasis on the competitive system and premature specialization on the grounds of immediate usefulness kills the spirit on which all cultural life depends, specialized knowledge included. This competitive mentality prevails in schools and destroys feelings of human fraternity and cooperation. It conceives of achievement not as derived from love for thoughtful and productive work, but as springing from personal ambition and fear of rejection. “
He later would say: “The essential purpose is to decide for yourself what is of genuine value in life… and then to find the courage to take your own thoughts seriously.” At the turn of the 20th century Einstein changed our perception of time and space. Now in the early years of the 21st century he can help change the common perception of what constitutes the basics in education.
He saw no causal relationship between competence in reading, writing, and mathematical skills, and being an imaginative, generous-hearted human being. The three Rs are crucial and critical tools; nevertheless, they are only tools. Einstein said, “Let us not forget that knowledge and skills alone cannot lead humanity to a happy and dignified life. Something more is needed to produce a truly educated person.” The magic for Einstein was in the “something more”—a mix of fairness, beauty, and playfulness … the building blocks, the energy field for encouraging wonder, discipline, and generous heart.
The proof is in the pudding. Find anyone whose life is grounded in these qualities and you will be in the company of someone who leads a fertile life and is dearly loved. It is a beautiful equation—an E = mc2 for our time.
Imagine any setting at home, at work, or in the street in which these qualities set the tone forth time. Imagine sending your child off to school where fairness, beauty and playfulness fill the air in the classroom, the hallways, and in the neighborhood. Imagine that.
Late in Einstein’s life he was talking with a group of parents about children, and he said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. “He then smiled and added, “If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
Niels Bohr was mentor and companion for two groups of people: the physicists who came to Copenhagen to work with him and his children and grandchildren. The physicists came from everywhere; they were the young stars in the world of physics. The first line of business was quantum mechanics, and Copenhagen was the center of that dazzling enterprise. The informality at the Institute was unlike anything anywhere in scientific circles; all had equal standing, a newly minted PhD or a Nobel Prizewinner. What mattered was the strength of an idea, from whomever it came.
In this spirit of open and critical inquiry, these brilliant theorists ate and worked together, they walked, skied, made music, and went to the movies together, and they played Ping-Pong, the favorite indoor sport at the Institute. And these very literate physicists made up skits. In1932, on the 100th anniversary of Goethe’s death, it was a parody of his Faust. Bohr was the Lord; Pauli, quite naturally, was Mephisto; and in perfect casting was the conflicted Ehrenfest as Faust. And these wild-minded theorists also had great fun playing soccer with Bohr’s children. The mixing of ages was a keen passion for Bohr.
Niels Bohr had six sons, eight grandsons, and nine granddaughters, and all were gifted by Bohr’s dramatic reading of the old fairy tales, particularly the Icelandic sagas that had been read to him as a child. The children had their favorites and often one of them would shout out, “Oh, Grandpa, read it again, please, please.” And Bohr would shake his head and do it again as if he were telling it for the first time ever.
It was hands-on experience at the Bohrs’ as youngsters helped in the garden, the kitchen, and a host of other projects including planning parties and other gatherings. Bohr was fond of saying that imitation is a prime method of learning, and combined with a child’s energy and curiosity, there are many opportunities for children to be happily engaged while gaining a sense of their own abilities. The children especially loved to be outdoors and/or would often join in their play. When caught once in the middle of a romp, he said, “I love playing with children. “
The Bohrs, Niels and Margreth, were models of kindness, and with a house full of children there were occasions when being fair was part of the conversation around the dinner table. For Bohr, being fair was more than a moral issue, for in being fair one witnesses people and events in a clearer light. Fairness is at the root of wisdom. It all begins with being fair.
Bohr’s openness to experience was passed on the children. Aage, one of Bohr’s sons, who also won Nobel Prize, shared a thought about his father's ways: “Our father was very good at teaching us how to make mistakes.”
Over the last twenty years Len Barron has been presenting his one-person theatre piece, “Walking Lightly… A Portrait of Einstein” and now his latest work, “Einstein and Niels Bohr…A Fairy Tale,” for a range of audiences across the country. He has worked with students and faculty at all levels, sharing Einstein and Bohr’s perspective on education.