Thursday, November 16, 2006

Grade 2 Blocks - Block 2

One thing that I find very exciting about grade 2 is the more formal move into multicultural studies. The grade 1 fairy tales do come from all over the world, however, you don't spend 2 months immersing yourself in another culture like you do in grade 2.

Our second block will be our first full multicultural cycle. Because we are starting in January and ending in February I have chosen for us to study Martin Luther King Jr. as our sage, and to immerse ourselves in African/American culture. Harriet Tubman is also offered as a sage in the Enki materials. I chose MLK Jr. because T-Guy was born on his birthdate, and J-Baby was born on the anniversary of his death. It is a unique coincidence.

For those accustomed to Waldorf block cycles, each cycle (which I am calling a block for my own simplification) consists of a language arts main lesson block and a math main lesson block, within the container of a specific culture.

Week 1 we will use an African trickster tale as the basis for our language arts work. Weeks 2 and 3 we will use the MLK Jr. sage story (I do hope it is ready by then!). The skill we will be introducing during this block is syllabication ( as well as the sage process). During weeks 1-3 our practice time will consist of reading practice (sight words and word families), handwriting numbers, and math games.

Week 4 we start the math portion of our cycle, and will review the four processes Weeks 5-6 we will introduce Fact Families. We're a little behind the standard for Enki math because we switched to Enki midway through grade 1, and I decided to take it slow and redo some of what we had done with Christopherus. Because of this we are doing more math blocks than are indicated on the Sample Grade Two Core Content Work sample in the grade 2 teaching guide, and I expect us to fully get through place value by the end of our formal academic year. It's not so much that I feel the need to catch up as it is the fact that J-Baby is grasping complex mental math very early (he is 6.5 and is already catching on to place value) and I want to give him a solid grounding through developmental-immersion-mastery. So where the sample has only 3 full math blocks, we're going to do 5 blocks of 3-4 weeks each, spreading place value over 3 blocks to accommodate our 3 day week.

Our practice time for weeks 4-6 will consist of handwriting letters, reading practice, word families (using the town board and stories), and a few other word games we have.

Throughout this cycle we will be immersing ourselves in African/American culture. Our music, crafts, and even some of our foods will reflect the culture. It isn't a teaching of a culture, it is an immersion in a culture. We'll be doing what we do anyway; singing songs, playing circle games, cooking and baking together, doing crafts. In addition, as J-Baby is still young for grade 2 I intend to use some of the grade 1 fairy tales from each culture we immerse ourselves in as stories (not worked with), either at bedtime or during our other reading times.

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