November of the 365 Nature Journal
November days have begun drawing in and you might find yourself outside after dark. Its nice to collect some nature findings for inside observation. Maybe you can make snacks from what you find outside? If some of the harvest apples are past their best, you can dry them in the oven for fruity crisps (7th).
We’ve talked bit about looking for shapes in nature before (March and September) and its something that can gradually build to support an understanding higher maths concepts. This month there are prompts again to look for the star in the apple (5th) and the triangles in beechnut casings (12th) read the pointers in this article about how to look for numbers in nature. If not the apple then 5 pointed stars in nature can be found many places. Also the 8th mentions circular ripples in water, circles in nature are everywhere, just look!
Getting outside can still be worth it at this time of year, (14th) its important to keep fit to have the energy to see us through the winter. Stay physical by riding a bike (13th) or climbing a tree (27th). Try making it a special event by taking your bake potatoes to have on a walk (16th) or just have a quick hot chocolate drink (24th) from a flask on the walk home from school. Hunt for the sweet chestnuts on the 20th and then roast them on an open fire on the 21st.
Observations both outside and in
The muddy fields and lanes of November might leave tell tale animal tracks behind for you to spot. The Wildlife Watch have a Discover tracks & signs of animals sheet if finding the fox tracks of 23rd seems to much of a challenge.
Undoubtedly there will be plenty of days that outside is not an option, indulge the screen cravings (18th) by heading to Explore.org a website that hosts live footage from webcams inside animal shelters and wildlife centres all over the world. You can see a bird of prey nest sharks underwater or the puppy enclosure at a rescue centre. Its great fun to have a look then tune back in to see them at different times of the day. We really enjoyed one time watching a hummingbird feed her chicks.
On the 17th November we pick up again on temperature readings and how they might compare to September. It seems obvious that it is colder but these readings can be made into simple charts and graphs that support the visualising of maths concepts. Also, it supplements the other Steiner influenced activities of November that relate to our journey towards the darkest days of the year.
November is a busy month in the Steiner Waldorf curriculum, yet it is a time of stillness and preparation.
Traditionally celebrated on the 11th November, Martinmas originated from St. Martin in France who discovered his capacity to bring warmth and light to those in need. Light plays a significant part in this celebration. The crafting of lanterns to carry our individual lights as we walk is an encouragement to kindle warmth and light in our hearts and to share with others.
On the 10th, use tissue paper and pressed leaves to decorate a glass jar to become your lantern. Then, add a simple tea light and take a walk with your lantern at dusk on the 11th, the darkest days of the year are approaching and mindful preparation of these times can be helpful.
The sunlight fast is dwindling.
My little lamp needs kindling.
It’s beam shines far in darkest night,
Dear lantern guard me with your light.
Later in the month the celebration of Advent begins. Suggestions in the 365 Journal focus on collecting the greenery (25th), and making your wreath decoration (26th). Followed by lighting a candle each week as we move through advent towards Christmas (Dec 5th,12th,and 19th).
In the Steiner curriculum the Advent Spiral is celebrated also at the last weekend of November and signifies our gradual move towards the darkest days of the year and keeping light and warmth with us.
Searching for star constellations (5th and 22nd) can be picked up again from earlier in the year and follow on from the moon phase observations of October.
Next up is December, which in a traditional calendar sense ends the year, but nature doesn’t stop does it? Check out August, July, may, March, January, February, September, October, April or June
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