Monday, February 2011
His engineering talent has taken one Waldorf graduate all over the country; one day, his ideas could be flown in space.
Michael Maylahn, 19, a 2009 graduate of The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, recently led a team of engineering students in creating a prototype Mars rover at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. A sophomore at Santa Monica College in California, Maylahn was recommended by a teacher to participate in the project, in which just 89 students from across the country were accepted into NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars program after completing a rigorous months-long application process.
To qualify, Maylahn spent about 800 hours last summer completing four web-based research assignments in which he drew up a plan for a hypothetical robotics mission to Mars — in addition to holding down a full-time job and taking an online class. His plan — including a financial proposal, timeline and sketch of the rover — was accepted, and the process culminated in Maylahn flying from California to Alabama for the three-day, hands-on experience at the NASA center earlier this fall.
There, he led an 11-member team of students from throughout the U.S. to put their rover plan into action, with only 30 hours to get it all done. They competed against 33 other students in Alabama, while a separate group was sent to compete at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
“We had to create a business model for a robotics firm that would hypothetically create and sell a Mars rover to NASA for a mission,” Maylahn said. “Then we were given a box of robotics parts and actually built the rover.”
Maylahn tapped into his natural leadership abilities to encourage team bonding, which is what he believes gave his team the edge to win the competition.
“I divvied up the tasks and helped people if they needed help. The most important part was briefing everyone every couple of hours so they knew what everyone else was doing. As a result, it brought our team close together,” Maylahn said.
The “think outside the box” mantra of his Waldorf School education also played a key role in his success as the team leader, Maylahn said. Though his forté has always been math and science, Maylahn said he was grateful to his teachers at the Waldorf School for helping him strengthen his weaker areas, like writing and art. “That made me more well-balanced,” he said. “The more well-balanced you are, the more things you’re able to achieve. I also feel like I have a really good idea of who I am, and at 19 years old, I feel like most of my peers don’t have that.”
Ultimately, Maylahn hopes to combine his love for math and science with his natural leadership abilities and one day run his own robotics firm. “I feel like I earned so much from this experience, (and got) a glimpse of what I want to do in my career,” he said.
Source profile by MAREESA NICOSIA, published by The Saratogian
Friday, January 2011
From Coach Cameron Morrison—
Middle School Boys’ Home Basketball Game Tuesday, February 1st
Come cheer their last home game of this season. The boys have played very hard, giving maximum effort at every practice and game. As a reward for their continued commitment to their craft, it would be great to fill the gym with enthusiastic cheering fans for the last home game. After this game, the teams go on the road for the final two contests before the tournament starts, so let’s cheer them on at home before they head into a difficult stretch to end the season.
What: Final Middle School boys’ home basketball game
Where: Waldorf Gym (The ‘Thunder’ Dome)
When: Tuesday, February 1st at 4PM (JV) and 5PM (Varsity)
Why: To reward the teams for a great season!
Middle School Girls’ Basketball Makes a Comeback Win
The middle school girls’ basketball team ended the week on a high note with an exhilarating win over Ancona. The team was able to overcome an 8 point deficit. This was the first win over a tough Ancona team in many years. What a great effort by the team; Go Thunder!
The news coming out of the pool is that Keven Henley is training hard with his Evanston club team. He is looking forward to racing in the Illinois High School Association sectional meet which takes place at Evanston High School Saturday, Feb. 19.
Tuesday, January 2011
Class field trips are an integral component of the Waldorf class curriculum. They allow for the direct observation, participation and immersion that is the hallmark of education by DOING.
Here are just a few examples of this year’s field trips…
The 2nd grade will be traveling to Glastonbury Farm on June 1, 2, & 3rd to learn about herbs, goat’s milk and animals in a farm setting.
The 3rd grade will visit the Angelic Organics Farm to learn about Community-Supported Agriculture and roll up their sleeves to participate in Biodynamic Farming.
The 4th grade just returned from their visit to Camp Edwards where they studied animal tracks and habitats and enjoyed the invigorating winter landscape with ice skating and sledding activities.
The 5th grade will be competing in athletic events with numerous other students from Mid-western region Waldorf Schools in the Pentathlon that is hosted annually in Heartland, Wisconsin.
Consult with your teacher and room parents to learn the details of your child’s class field trip. Volunteer parent chaperones are usually needed for each class trip.
Monday, January 2011
One of the most noticeable distinguishing markers of a Waldorf classroom is the complex profusion of colors, textures and imagery in the room. From the weekly watercolor paintings that adorn the walls to the students’ handwork, beeswax sculptures, and carefully crafted, self-authored, hand- illustrated textbooks, the Waldorf classroom is alive with evidence of the student’s creative process.
Monday, January 2011
Students interact with each other outside of the building. Getting to play outdoors is an essential component of the child’s developmental growth. Dexterity, hand-eye coordination & balance, individual and group strategy games, running, and jumping—in fact all physical interactions—are essential components of social learning, child development and contextual communication literacy.
Monday, January 2011
Welcome to the Chicago Waldorf School. The “sound of THUNDER” is our school’s weekly blog-based newsletter and focal point for information about school-related activities and messages. We are initiating this school community blogsite to share the local neighborhood and weekly school sponsored events and communications that allow our students, and their families to connect to the school and engage in its varied activities.
If you have questions about any of these events, or posts, please contact Jason Greenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, December 2001
An editorial from the New York Times examines some recent political initiatives to address food inequality and access to healthy foods in urban neighborhoods. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Foodwise, among the most progressive cities in the country right now is Philadelphia, where the alliance of a forward-thinking mayor and a 19-year-old non-profit is moving things forward. Within a year or two, Philly might be funding better access to real food for its poorest citizens by taxing soda. And if you accept the notion that childhood obesity and the accompanying Type 2 diabetes are big problems, and you’re aware that soda is a major cause, you’ll agree that’s a huge step in the right direction.
Even the present is encouraging, because Philadelphia is figuring out its residents’ food needs and demonstrating that government and non-profits can lead the fight against diet-related diseases by putting real food into the hands of people — especially children — who have trouble finding and affording it.
In 2000, Philadelphia had the second-lowest number of grocery stores per capita of 21 major U.S. cities. Today, many of its poorest residents have improved access to supermarkets and farmers’ markets; at some of the latter, their purchases are subsidized. And Food Trust – the nonprofit behind many of these changes – is further improving access by encouraging hundreds of Philly’s corner stores to sell fresh fruits and vegetables.
Philadelphia is demonstrating that government and non-profits can lead the fight against diet-related diseases by putting real food into the hands of people who have trouble finding and affording it.
Food Trust, which is funded by private foundations, government grants and individual donors, is supported by Mayor Michael Nutter, a former city councilman from an underserved (read: poor) neighborhood. Nutter took office in 2008; while on the Council, he sponsored legislation that banned smoking in restaurants and bars, and he’s a true believer on the food-access issue: “I’m going to invest in this,” he told me in the nearly 120-year-old Reading Terminal Market. “It is to the long-term benefit of the city and our health. Ultimately, it’s going to save us money.”
After meeting with Nutter, I toured town with Food Trust staffers Yael Lehmann, Brian Lang and others. We visited corner stores in North Philadelphia that have enrolled in the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, which starts owners with a small cash bonus and, after a trial period, gives them refrigerators (manufactured in North Philly) for stocking fresh fruits and vegetables. (So far around 500 stores have enrolled in the program; most are in the beginning stage.) Unlike the average corner store, these had piles of oranges and bananas by the cash register, and small refrigerator cases with greens, tomatoes and, in at least one instance, bags containing 50 cents’ worth of grapes — sold out on the day I visited. These are not huge changes, obviously, but they’re significant ones.
Another program, Philly Bucks, is a boon to both low-income residents and farmers’-market vendors, and similar to several others around the country. For every $5 in food stamps people spend at participating farmers’ markets, they get an additional $2 in credit: a 40 percent bonus. Seventeen markets now accept Philly Bucks, and food-stamp redemption at farmers’ markets has increased 130 percent since the program began.
Significant, too, is the collaboration among Philadelphia, Food Trust and the state. In 2004 Pennsylvania set up a grants and loans program called the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, encouraging the opening of supermarkets in poor neighborhoods. Since then, 26 new supermarkets have opened, rehabbed or expanded in underserved parts of the city….” (article continues)
(click here to continue reading the article at its source)
Go Philly! article posted April 5, 2011
by Mark Bittman
Tuesday, December 2001
A Princeton Professor Champions a Waldorf-style Model for Innovation & Experimental Thinking
A recent perspective piece in CNN World (in partnership with TIME Magazine) promotes the values at the heart of Waldorf pedagogy, to wit, the philosophy that creative time and open-ended structures foster experimentation and innovation in ways that regimented training for achievement cannot. Anne-Marie Slaughter,the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, offers her perspective:
Rebellion of an Innovation Mom
Call it the rebellion of the mother of two adolescents against the Tiger Moms, but what this nation needs to be innovative and entrepreneurial is to ask our kids to do less.
Innovation requires creativity; entrepreneurship requires a willingness to break the rules. The jam packed, highly structured days of elite children are carefully calculated to create Ivy League-worthy resumes. They reinforce habits of discipline and conformity, programming remarkably well-rounded and often superb young people who can play near concert-quality violin, speak two languages, volunteer in their communities and get straight A’s.
These are the students that I see in my Princeton classes; I am often in awe of their accomplishments and teaching them is a joy. But I strongly suspect that they will not be the inventors of the next “new new thing”.
Creativity requires a measure of random association and connection and substantial periods of down time, where the mind is allowed to run and turn over seemingly disconnected bits of information, images, and ideas. Richard Florida, author of The Creative Class (follow him on Twitter at @richard_florida), observes that “many researchers see creative thinking as a four-step process: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification or revision.”
To nurture young people who are willing to persevere in the face of deep skepticism or outright opposition, we must reward them or at least allow them to be rewarded for breaking the rules…
Incubation is “the ‘mystical’ step,” one in which both the conscious mind and the subconscious mull over the problem in hard-to-define ways.” Hard to define, yes, but not hard to foster, as long as chunks of the day or the week are left open for relatively random activity: long walks, surfing the Internet, browsing a bookstore, household chores that don’t require too much thought, watching the birds at the birdfeeder and gazing out at the ocean.
Creativity gurus often suggest ways to add randomness to your life. Left to their own devices, teenagers are masters at drifting from fad to fad, website to website, and event to event as their fancy takes them, but that seemingly aimless, random wandering is exactly what we are programming out of them.
Entrepreneurship means undertaking something new, something that you create or make happen that does not exist in your space. It does not have to require breakthrough innovation; successful entrepreneurs can borrow ideas that are succeeding elsewhere and transfer them. But our most famous entrepreneurs have a vision and follow it in defiance of conventional wisdom.
One of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs recently listened to me pitch a new idea and patiently told me the many reasons it was unlikely to work and/or that I was the wrong person to make it happen at this point in my life. But at the end of our conversation, he smiled and said: “Of course, every successful entrepreneur started with an idea that other people said would not work but persevered anyway. So go for it.”
To nurture young people who are willing to persevere in the face of deep skepticism or outright opposition, we must reward them or at least allow them to be rewarded for breaking the rules, not meeting our expectations by jumping through an endless series of hoops.
Remember that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college to follow their passions.
Can we really imagine kids who have done absolutely everything expected of them both in and out of school being willing to ignore their college courses and their parents’, teachers’, and coaches’ expectation to suddenly pursue their own path?
The U.S. higher educational system recognizes the value of challenging authority; that is what “teaching critical thinking” is all about. I wrote in 2009 that the U.S. was primed to remain an innovation leader precisely because we give A’s for the answers that challenge the teacher’s thinking and B’s for the answers that echo it….(Click here to read the rest of the article at its source.)
Note: Author, Anne-Marie Slaughter is the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter at @slaughteram.
Special to CNN posted on June 5th, 2011