Heroes and Saints in 1st and 2nd grade

Part of a curriculum inspired by Waldorf education for second grade includes stories of saints and heroes from around the world. We tell these stories because they speak directly to a second grader, who is experiencing new intellectual development. Although they may have new faculties of thinking that they did not have in first grade, their minds are still far from mature. You’ll hear second graders have strong opinions such as “I hate that” or “I love this” and the following day, these same antipathies and sympathies have switched! While in first grade they wanted with all their being to please their teacher and be good students, now they begin to experiment with behavior that is naughty. However they still desire to be good. Just like their strong opinions, their behavior can change daily! And so we bring them stories that mirror their development. Fables so they can identify with the animals’ naughty behavior, and saint or hero stories so they can identify with people who have done good in the world.

This past week, our first and second grade class began a Language Arts block on Heroes and Saints from around the world. This week we heard the stories of Hiawatha, St. Werburga and the Geese, and Saint Odelia. We used these stories to draw pictures and write summarizing sentences together and also to begin lessons in grammar. I introduced naming and doing words (nouns and verbs) by looking at the sentences we had written together and picking out these kinds of words. Then we spent some time reviewing all the stories we’d heard, especially all of the kind, generous, and brave actions our saints and heroes have shown us, and we spent some time listing all of the good things we do. We will continue this next week, looking at all of the good things we do at school, at home, and around town.

Above is a chalkboard drawing the children saw all week.

We spent some time in beeswax this week, molding Hiawatha’s canoe while we listened to his story. Canoes will come home this week.

We also spent some time using our benches as balancing beams. We learned how to support each other as our friends walked along them too.

At the end of the week we painted St. Odelia, who had been cured of blindness, and in turn showed her father how he had been blind to his own faults.


Enjoy and see you Monday!