First Grade Circle and Main Lesson

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Daniel loves Circle Time and still participates in our daily circle with the twins. My fault, I guess, for starting with his beloved gnomies. But I wanted something a little more formal that says “Hey! We’re about to do some serious work here! Put down the Legos and come to the table!” This is what we decided to go with.

Upon the earth I stand upright.
I reach my arms up to the light.
My feel earthbound remain,
Hands and feet together again.
The sky above, the earth below,
And here in the center am I!
(Oak Meadow First Grade)

We’ll light the candle and ring the bell.

Then we move our attention to the calendar, which you can see here.

We’ll look at the season first:
Winter is white, springtime is green,
Summer is golden and autumn aflame.
Four lovely seasons to have in a year!
Sing them by color! Sing them by name!
(A Child’s Seasonal Treasury)

I might add the “In the Garden” song by Margret Meyerkort and Peter Patterson from A Child’s Seasonal Treasury as well.
In the autumn garden,
Rosy evening glow.
Leaves are dancing, prancing, dancing.
Sail to earth below.

Next we look at the weather and if we need to, we’ll change the picture. Later in the school year we might do some graphing or talleying of the weather. I definitely do this is March every year when we compare lion and lamb days but this year I’m thinking of doing it around the change of seasons as well.
Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather
Whether we like it or not!

I plan on adding moon phases as well, but am not quite sure how I want to do it. Maybe have a separate calendar or journal with big squares or pages so Daniel can draw the moon each night? Anyone have a favorite moon verse or song? One we’ve sung since my oldest was a baby is
I see the moon and the moon sees me.
God bless the moon and God bless me!

Next we’ll move out traveling gnome to today and say the date together.

We’ll also move the Daddy Gnome to help him find his Baby Gnome to review the days of the week as well as “Yesterday was… Today is… Tomorrow will be…”

This is not, strictly speaking, Waldorf, although I’ve certainly given a nod towards Waldorf traditions in the colors selected, use of verses, etc. But neither is it the math heavy calendar work you see in first grades, kindergartens, and even preschools nowadays. For us, it’s a good balance.

When we finish with our calendar work I think we’ll blow out our candle so it lasts longer than a week and so that no one accidentally sets the house on fire.

We’ll move on to songs, verses, fingerplays, tongue twisters, beanbag exercises, or other movement activities that reinforces concepts we’re focusing on.

Technically, this will end the circle time and we’ll move on to our main lesson, which will in all likelihood feature a story and some main lesson book work or a project. I plan on scheduling Daniel’s main lesson so that it’s broken up by snack and then when we come back we’ll do a bit of review of whatever subject is “resting”. I love the Waldorf concept of letting a subject sleep in a child’s consciousness for a bit, but my personal experience has been that my children do well with a bit of gentle revisiting  even while we’re focusing on another subject.

So, while we’re beginning with our Quality of Numbers block (one of my absolute favorites, as I feel it sets such a lovely tone and relationship with maths), after snack I will probably tell a story that coincides with a letter and follow it up with some writing practice.

We’ll end with our closing verse:
I can turn myself and turn myself
Or curl up when I will
I can stand on tiptoe high
Or hold myself quite still.
(Oak Meadow First Grade)

And that, in my opinion, is quite enough for a first grader to be going on with for now!

Of course, we do more. We start our day with Morning Meeting, which includes Bible study, character study, poetry, singing, and exercise.  First thing after Morning Meeting we do Story of the World together. He’ll probably want to join the twins for coloring, painting, and modeling, and of course these will be part of his main lessons as well. He’ll do handwork doing read aloud like the rest of the children. He’ll help cook meals and snacks and do his daily chores. In the afternoons there will be some science/nature study. 

What do you do for first grade?