Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chickadee November and December News

"Bring what you've got.
Put it in the pot.
Every bit counts,
from the largest to the least.
Together we can celebrate
a Stone Soup Feast!"
(Stone Soup retold by Heather Forest)
Finneas discovered the enormous stone in his soup!
"Stone Soup" is a special tradition in the Chickadee classroom, and throughout the school community, during the month of November. The story is a popular European folktale that has been told and retold for centuries. This contemporary version takes place in a village located anywhere that people learn about the pleasures of sharing.   
We went around the table and each student told what they were thankful for!

The month of November was full of "stone soup" excitement as we read the story and created our own "stone soup" activity for the classroom.  The activity was created for two children at a time to practice sitting together, cutting ingredients, preparing table settings, and serving and sharing soup together.
On Monday, November 25th the 3-day Chickadee students and Tuesday, November 26th the 2 day Chickadee students helped to prepare their very own classroom community stone soup feast.

Each student was given a choice for which ingredient they wanted to bring in for the soup and the classroom was quickly a buzz with washing, peeling, cutting, and stirring vegetables for soup. The children also enjoyed making and spreading their own butter, and serving themselves. Thank you all for your special contributions!

December has been a short and quick month of excitement as well. During this month we explore and learn about the special celebrations of light around the world, including Hanukkah, Christmas, St. Lucia, and the Winter Solstice.

On Friday, December 13th - "St. Lucia Day" Sofia Dalmann-Gothlin  (Freja's Mom) shared her special family celebration of St. Lucia Day with the 3-day Chickadee students. The students enjoyed hearing the special St. Lucia story, making a special craft, seeing Freja in her St. Lucia dress and crown, and were happy and thankful to try her delicious bread. Thank you Sophia for sharing your special Holiday Celebration with us! 

We wish you all a happy and peaceful new year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


November/December news from the Cardinal room

We chopped and prepared foods for our classmates and we learned the proper way to pass and serve. We took great pride in these activities. Nut cracking and food prep proved to be two of the most popular works in our November classroom. Some other fun new works in November were Napkin folding and bread making. We learned 4 ways to fold a napkin. (Please ask your children to demonstrate when setting your table for a meal.) We made 3 different kinds of bread. All family recipes handed down to me from generations gone bye. The first bread was a simple white bread that I call "Eileen Bread". It was taught to me by our Irish cook. The second was a bread called "Mary Minor bread" given to me by a woman from way down south. It took a lot of convincing  for her to share her family's secret recipe with me. Both these breads were traditional yeast breads. The last bread was a quick bread called" Apple cider bread". We talked about the difference between using yeast and baking powder to help breads rise. We kneaded and watched in awe as the yeast breads doubled in size. I will share the Mary Minor recipe and hope that the owner of the recipe doesn't read this blog Shhhhh...

In a bowl combine 2 cups of Quaker oats, 3 tablespoons of butter and 4 cups boiling water, Let sit
In another bowl put in 2 packets of yeast with 1 cup hottish tap water stir once with a wooden spoon let sit
when oats are cooled at yeast to oats with 1 tablespoon of salt 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of dark molasses mix well.

  • add to this 5 cups of unbleached flour mix well
  • then add 4 cups of wheat flour a total of 9 cups
  •  No need to knead cover and let stand for 2 hours in a warm place
  • after 2 hours punch down and then glop into 3 well grease bread pans 22 x 11x 8 Cm
  • cover again and allow to sit for 1/2 hour
  • preheat oven 350 '
  • Bake 1 hour until browned.

Cool and slice and toast and serve with butter.

On Tuesday November 26 our community gathered as usual for an unusual day. It was Stone Soup day, a long time tradition in some Montessori schools. Our day began with a group discussion of sharing  and working together as a family. We placed our basket of collected items in the center of our circle and  then we dismissed to begin our day of communal preparing of the feast. Children helped to peel, slice and dice. We set tables with fancy table cloths and of course each child folded their cloth napkin. All the ingredients were added to a pot and as the soup simmered we continued to make our environment beautiful and ready for our celebration. A little before 11:00 we sat family style at our table and shared from our hearts our deep gratitude for everything. Some shared of gratitude for family, for Love and world peace, for teachers, for friends, for family, for health and for our community. Our soup and meal was deliciously made from love and sharing..

Thanksgiving was had by all. We returned to our classroom on December 2 to find our new theme of "Winter Solstice and World celebrations". This month we will study celebrations from different cultures. We began this journey with a visit from one of our student Jem Bywaters' mother Arielle Bywater. Arielle and her daughter Willa came in to our class to share about Hanukkah. They sang, danced  and taught us how to play dreidel and shared Gelt. We will also be studying the TomTon and Lucia, the Swedish celebration of winter which falls on Friday December 13. We hope to have a visit from Sophia Dahlmann-Gothlin.  We will also talk about Kawanzaa and Boxing day, both of which fall on December 26. Our main theme this month will be winter solstice. We will be creating crafts and art around this theme.  We will continue with art and hope to have more surprise performances for all of you. Our last day of school before Christmas break will be December 20. We will have a classroom celebration on Thursday December 19. Thank you for sharing your children with us and for the Birthday walks we have celebrated so far.