Essential Waldorf

Know What. Know How. Know Why.

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The Online
Grade Seven

The Online Grade Seven Conference

Click here to Register for Grade 7

Lecture and Presentation Topics

Participants will receive links to all of these lecture/presentations on the first day of the conference, along with a Password that will enable you to access them for the ten days that you choose. You may listen to or view them in any order and as often as you wish during the 14-day conference period. Topics in
black are audio sessions; topics in teal include video or slideshow sessions. Topics are subject to change.

Table of Contents

Begin every session by singing along with Meg Chittenden . . . .
Click here for Meg’s Grade Seven Songs, Part 1
Click here for Meg’s Grade Seven Songs, Part 2
Click here for Meg’s Grade Seven Songs, Part 3
Click here for PDFs of words and music.
Click here for additional songs.
Click here for a link to Tina Singu
Please Note: The songs are arranged on this site in alphabetical order, but Meg has organized them like this:


A million nightingales
Be like a bird
Boy, go down
Heigh ho
Hotaru koi
Noah’s dove
Tue tue

Part singing

Blackest crow
Bright morning star
Down in the river
Elk herd
Evening rise
Mercy seat
Sing for joy
Yonder come day

Simple harmony chants (mostly African)

Kum kum
Mama bakudala
O le le
Ozeh aweh
Tina singu


Part 1: The Seventh Grader

7.1. The fourfold human being. For a Waldorf teacher to work with this concept again and again is like a musician going through the scales. The superficiality of our understanding of this forcefulness. The necessity of looking at life after death and before birth to understand the bodies of the human being. Waldorf schools often fail in their work with adolescents because the deeper aspects of their nature or not studied. [15:00]

7.2. Life after death. The separation of the four bodies of the human being. Each makes its own journey into different realms of the spiritual world. The physical body unites with the substantiality of the earthly, physical world. The etheric body expands into the world of formative forces and cosmic memory. The astral body leaves in the world of the planets, and comes to understand the consequences of uncontrolled feelings. The ego works with spiritual beings on forming the body for our next earthly life. Only with such a physical body can we fulfill our karma. The power of the sense of touch. The essential human task of fulfilling karma is deeply felt by the adolescent. [15:50]

7.3. The physical body. The spiritual world looks with wonder at human beings were able to live in a body composed of minerals. It is as though the soul and spirit were imprisoned in a stone from their point of view. Yet the physical body is the highest and the lowest aspect of our being. It is the most perfect, and it is most prone to the hardening forces of the physical world. The mystery of the “model body.” Parents must prepare their child to live in the physical world by lending him a body that is not yet his own. The struggles of adolescents, the emotional ups and downs, and the rejection of the adult world are all connected with the child's need to possess her own physical body. [15:15]

7.4. The etheric body. The etheric body which was the dominant aspect of the child that we talk in the primary and middle grades is now withdrawing from its outer manifestation. With every growth spurt, the adolescent reveals the work of the etheric body through her fatigue. But just as often the etheric pulls back, the astral dominates, and the child becomes wildly active. We rarely utilize the full forces of memory that the etheric  has bequeathed to a child of this age. But they will not be as strong when the astral body becomes dominant. The twilight of the temperaments, and the unfolding of forces of personality. [14:50]

7.5. The astral body. The astral body brings tremendous disruption into the child's life. It is the "problem child" of the four bodies. However most importantly it is also the body that bears are individual karma. Before we or 12 or 13, our karma is carried in the womb of our parents. But by the time the child is in seventh grade, his or her own karma is beginning to arise. This will lead to many profound changes, and many inner struggles. The etheric body moves at the speed of sound. The astral body moves at the speed of light. When the astral body hits you, you feel it. [17:00]

7.6. The Ego. There is great potential for confusing the Ego's image in the astral body with the Ego itself. We must understand that two streams of time to which Steiner pointed in order to comprehend the true nature of the astral body and the Ego. [14:40]

7.7. Working with the Ego. Waldorf schools are too often known for their successes with the astral bodies of their children, e.g. the tearful graduation speeches in which students and parents talk about nothing but class relationships. The growth of Waldorf alumni societies is also based on the astral relationships that students have built up over the years. They want to go back to that rather than forward into the future. Waldorf education will not remain viable in the future unless we are able to touch the ego just as clearly and just as successfully. How do we help children move forward? The importance of laboratory sciences in the upper grades. The necessity of laboratory sciences being taught by the class teacher in the upper grades, not by an expert. [14:40]

The Fourfold Human Being:
A Dynamic Diagram

Part 2: The Path of the Teacher

7.8. The Path of the Teacher. A quick recapitulation of Rudolf Steiner's First Pedagogical Law. Cultivating our ego forces represent the second hand of the clock. Although it is quick, it is also arduous. Developing interest in the world around us. Steiner gives contemplative exercises to help us with this, but we must do a lot of work ourselves. Being in the world, though not of it. Understanding and taking great interest in the world of music, film, video, etc of the seventh grader. [15:20]

7.9. The Path of the Teacher 2. More advice on the cultivation of the Ego. [14:00]

Part 3: Working with Parents

7.10. Working with Parents. Although many teachers breathe a sigh of relief at the small number of parents showing up at their parent evenings in the upper grades, we should feel just the opposite. Parent work is more important now than ever. Because we no longer have our karmic connection with the parents upon which to coast, we have to work much harder to cultivate good relationships with our parent body. Suggestions about conducting interesting and meaningful parent evenings that will draw parents back in good numbers. [13:50]

7.11. Working with Parents 2. Many of the worst social experiences that seventh graders experience do not take place in school, but during weekends, at home, or in situations with friends. We cannot control these situations, but the after effects will play a large part in classroom relationships. How can we help the parents be better guardians of their children's social life? Here is a proposal. [14:20]

7.12. Working with Parents 3. Parallel parties; seventh graders and their parents: a solution to the challenge of the seventh grade party. How to get parents to help with the class play. The importance of scheduling events well in advance and holding to that schedule. [12:30]

Part 4: Curriculum and Preparation

7A. The Seventh Grade Curriculum, Part 1 [15:50]

7B. The Seventh Grade Curriculum, Part 2 [15:50]

7C. Preparing for the Year, Part 1 [18:20]

7D. Preparing for the Year, Part 2 [13:00]

The Integrated Seventh Grade Curriculum:
A Dynamic Diagram

Part 5: Language Arts

7.13. Introduction to Language Arts. The importance Steiner placed on the language arts blocks in the upper grades. The surprising difficulty Waldorf students have in self-expression. The transformation of emotion to feeling - an important task in grade 7. The difference between the writing skills of the boys and the girls. Devote yourself to helping the boys with their writing skills this year. [16:45]

7.14. Language Arts 2. Keeping a journal as an encouragement  to write more. The pros and cons of various approaches to getting students more engaged in their writing. The centrality of the teacher as editor of and collaborator in the students’ written work. How many compositions should students be writing in seventh grade? Suggestions on types of assignments and the time span students are given for their writing. [15:50]

7.15. Language Arts 3. The most important rule: never assign more writing than you can correct in a timely way. Some teachers can process voluminous amounts of written work, others work more slowly. Every class’s corpus of written work will be and should be different. Quality is infinitely more important than quantity. Working with the compositions: having children read portions aloud to the class and discussing them, writing portions of compositions on the board and analyzing them from a grammatical and stylistic point of view. A startling suggestion for a way in which students can read all of one another's work. The importance of good models of writing being presented to the children. The teacher's model is no longer sufficient. [16:00]

7.16. Language Arts 4. Book reports. An oral approach to the book report may be superior to the usual written book report. The conundrum of the language arts specialist. Can the class teacher be trusted with the teaching of grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and a whole range of other language arts skills? These are extremely important things for the class teacher to convey to the children, and having it done by a specialist takes something away from the quality of what is taught. Working with the boys who can not or will not write. Saturday groups, in which you work with the boys’ deepest interests and have them write about what they love. [14:15]

7.17. Language Arts 5. Grammar. Review the lectures below on the mood and the triad of tenses. They are brought over from the sixth-grade conference but they are important concepts to be bringing to the children in grades seven as well. They will also be helpful with the “Wish Wonder and Surprise” essays. Make sure that you are always reviewing grammar, and always going back to basics. Grammar, like math, needs ceaseless practice. This year our new topic will be connectives. Seventh graders are finally attuned to relationships, and connectives are the words to build relationships in our language. We're going to look at them much more deeply than we did in the earlier grades. [14:10]

7.18 Language Arts 6. Connectives, continued. "Like" and "as" and the confusion between them. To use "like" and "as" properly, we must be aware of the words that are going to follow them. This requires the speaker to apprehend what is streaming from the future of her own sentence. This is a perfect exercise for the seventh grader, who is experiencing the future streaming towards her via the astral body. A 1950s Winston cigarette commercial. Caroline Kennedy's fateful interview. [16:00]

Part 6: Language Arts 2

7.19 Language Arts 7. Conjunctions. Of the three types of conjunctions-coordinating, subordinating, and correlative, we will only work with coordinating conjunctions. The primal nature of coordinating conjunctions. How to form a list. The importance of the rule of parallel structure. Developing an "ear" for what is correct in the use of coordinating conjunctions. Punctuation when using coordinating conjunctions. [14:25]

7.20 Language Arts 8. Coordinating conjunctions. Two independent clauses are joined. Special attention must be paid to punctuation. Polarities and the seventh grader. The comma as fulcrum for the balance beam of a sentence. The semi-colon and the pregnant pause, the colon, and the period. Punctuation and breathing, the nature of the astral body. Developing “style” through grammatical construction. Conjunctions bring meaning to a sentence. [9:10]

7.21 Creative Writing 1 [15:40]

7.22 Creative Writing 2 [10:25]

7.23 Creative Writing 3 [16:35]

7.24 Creative Writing 4 [16:10]

7.25 Triads of Tenses 1.
Tense at ages 10 and 12. Interplay of physical/etheric and astral/Ego. From simple tenses to “perfect” tenses. Past Perfect and the penetration of the physical world. [16:15]

7.26 Triads of Tenses 2. Present Perfect tense. We “have” our past experience with us in the present. The Hermes/Mercury forces of the higher astral body. In Present Perfect the astral body reflects upon itself. From Saturn evolution to Earth evolution. [13:30]

7.27 Triads of Tenses 3. Future Perfect Tense. We “will” the future, or we “are going” to the future. The astral Mercury forces look to the Ego, and the future takes on great specificity. Like Aeneas carrying Anchises on his shoulders, Future Perfect carries the past and the present into the future. [13:50]

On Film: A Guest Lecture by Jamie York, “Introducing Grade 7 Mathematics”
We are privileged to have this 17-minute long lecture by Jamie in which he illuminates the seventh grade Mathematics curriculum. Jamie has taught mathematics and science in the upper grades and high school at Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder, CO and is the author of the Making Math Meaningful books. This lecture is a preview of what eventually will be a series of webinars on the teaching of Mathematics. The password for this lecture only is JY7Gintro
Click here to view the film.

Part 7: Mathematics

7.28. Teaching Mathematics. Why is the Waldorf grade school failing to teach children mathematics well? Criticism by parents and even Waldorf high school teachers. The class teacher and the math specialty teacher. Is algebra unnecessary in grade 7? It should not be taught instead of arithmetic and math basics, but rather along with them. The instructional films that follow this lecture will not teach you algebra, but will rather lay out a path of teaching algebra to your students. Algebra presents three thresholds that this seventh grader must cross. They are the equivalent of the old initiations and vision quests of the past. [20:20]

Encountering Algebra:
Eight Instructional Films
with Eugene Schwartz

1. The Equation [25:00]

2. Equations involving Addition & Subtraction

3. Equations involving Multiplication & Division

4. Solving Word Problems Algebraically 1

5. Solving Word Problems Algebraically 2

6. Exponents and Powers

7. Signed Numbers 1

8. Signed Numbers 2

Part 8: Late Medieval History

7.29 Introduction to history. Seventh grade history covers a much narrower time period - only 250 to 400 years - but the subject matter is far more complex and we are faced with many more choices concerning what we will teach. Some reasons for giving students one last experience of the Middle Ages. The contrasting lives of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc. The importance of the Renaissance cannot be overestimated. The birth of the modern world and the modern sensibility. What it means to carry a consciousness soul. Teachers will be able to find greater depth in this year. [15:45]

7:30 Medieval History 1. Eleanor of Aquitaine. The most educated woman of her time. A teenage princess and then a teenage French royal consort. Conflicts between the southern and northern influences of France. The life of Paris and Eleanor's isolation. Her connection with the Church. The Second Crusade; Eleanor's journey and adventures. The souring of her marriage with Louis. [17:40]

7.31 Medieval History 2. The first woman allowed a divorce in Europe. Henry of Anjou and their stormy relationship. Eleanor's imprisonment. Richard as King of England and Eleanor's journeys on his behalf. Eleanor's last years. [13:30]

7.32 Medieval History 3. Themes from Eleanor's life that build a bridge from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance: The Gothic cathedral. Women's changing role in the middle ages. The centralizing of state rule. The rise of the guilds. The rise of cities. [11:15]

Student Work Slideshow: The Late Middle Ages [20:40]

7.33 Medieval History 4. Joan of Arc. Born at the dawn of the Renaissance, yet really a medieval being. The nature of her visions. The response from those around her. Why did spiritual beings choose a pubescent girl for this mission? The role of the astral body in the 13 to 16-year-old. [16:40]

7.34 Medieval History 5. Joan of Arc 2. Joan's military successes were often neutralized by the lassitude of the French court. Her dismay at the passivity of the King after he was crowned. Her last battle, and the end of medieval warfare. Joan's trial, the most documented event that had ever occurred in history up until that time. Joan gas, and the significance of age 19. [15:20]

7.35 Medieval History 6. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc, a comparison. [13:40]

Drawing Lessons from the Renaissance Masters:
Three Instructional Films with Meg Chittenden

1. Drawing from a Grid [29:40]

2. Freehand Drawing with Pencils [35:00]

3. Drawing with Pastels [19:30]

Perspective Drawing:
Three Instructional Films with Eugene Schwartz

1. Introduction. Single Point Perspective [50:45]

2. Two Point Perspective. The Box [35:45]

3. Buildings. Roof and Steeple. Windows. Interiors.

Perspective Drawing:
Student Work

Student Work Slideshow: Perspective Drawing [42:40]

Part 9: Renaissance History 1

Before listening to these lectures, click here to download the Timeline PDF

About the Art Course Slide Shows: In addition to the slideshows of student work that are interspersed with the Renaissance lectures you will find five slideshows identified as “Art Course Slide Shows.” These slideshows constitute a gallery of high-resolution reproductions of over 150 art works by Renaissance masters. Each slideshow comes in two versions. One version is a film of the slideshow, hosted by, with extensive commentary by Eugene Schwartz. This is available to you only during your 14-day conference participation period. The other version is a set of PDFs of the slideshows. You are welcome to use them through the coming school year. You may want to look at it to strengthen your connection to the artworks on display, and you are welcome to show it to your class -- with your own commentary. Feel free to contact Eugene if you are not sure how to work with the PDF slide shows.

7.36 The Renaissance 1: A Spiritual Perspective. Rudolf Steiner's teachings about the unfolding soul forces of humanity. Like seeds or medicines that are encapsulated, the soul forces have been predetermined to come to life and activity at certain historical periods in humanity’s development. The sentient soul characterizes ancient cultures from India through Persia through Babylonia to the end of Egyptian culture. The intellectual soul or mind soul comes to birth in ancient Greece and lives on through Rome and the Middle Ages. [16:10]

7:37: The Renaissance 2. The Consciousness Soul. Steiner is very specific about the birth of the consciousness soul in the year 1413. The astral body awakens in the physical body and self-consciousness begins. The birth of the consciousness soul is well-documented and leads to the growth of powerful individualities. We cannot understand the times in which we live without understanding the age in which the consciousness soul was born. The grave importance of the seventh grade curriculum. [18:00]

7.38: The Renaissance 3. Heredity and Individuality. The role of the Archangel Gabriel at the time of the Renaissance. Gabriel focuses on birth and early childhood, heredity and family life. Gabriel's mission is to serve as a counterbalance to the powerful individualizing forces of the consciousness soul. The discovery of the reproductive system of the human being. [14:35]

7.39: The Renaissance 4. A Chronological Overview. We look at the Renaissance Timeline PDF. We are going to focus (for the most part) on a period of only 150 years, but it is filled with drama and historical transformation. [12:50]

7.40: The Renaissance 5. Giotto. The committee. Ciambue, the last great medieval artist in Italy. Giotto's apprenticeship. The frescoes in the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi. [15:20]

7.41: The Renaissance 6. Giotto, continued. This significance of the story of Francis as a foundation for the Renaissance that was to come. Giotto's daring rendition of the youthful deed of  Francis. Rather than drawing earthly figures out to heaven and flattening them out, Giotto brought spiritual beings to earth and made them three-dimensional. His depiction of the Holy Family in the Arena Chapel. [23:20]

Art Course Slide Show: Cimabue and Giotto

Click here for the Slideshow with commentary by Eugene Schwartz [34:40]
Click here for the PDF Slideshow without commentary

Part 10: Renaissance History 2

7.42: The Renaissance 7. Brunelleschi, Part One. Born one generation after Giotto. Raised by a father who understood mathematics. Joined the Silk Guild, but actually worked as a goldsmith in his youth. Lost to Ghiberti in the competition to sculpt bronze doors in Florence. As consolation, he embarked on a journey to Rome along with the sculptor Donatello. The profound effect of the classical world on Brunelleschi. [17:40]

7.43: The Renaissance 8. Brunelleschi, Part Two. Classical themes and influences are so pervasive in architecture that it is hard for us to realize that by the time of the 15th century Classical architecture had all but disappeared from European consciousness. It was the powerful experience of his journey to Rome that made it come to life in Brunelleschi's soul. It was several years before he could bring that architectural impulse to life in Florence, but once he did it was to change the world. [16:20]

7.44: The Renaissance 9. Brunelleschi turned architecture into a vocation unto itself. As a consciousness soul person, he understood that one ego was needed to plan and to conceive of building. The challenge of the Dome. It had taken a century before the city of Florence was ready to deal with this challenge. The unusual competition and Brunelleschi's winning ploy. [16:20]

7.45: The Renaissance 10. The epochal construction of the Duomo in Florence. Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. Brunelleschi's inventiveness and perseverance. [19:00]

Student Work Slideshow: The Renaissance 1 [13:40]

7.46: The Renaissance 11. Two names that you should know! Ficino and Pico Della Mirandola. Ficino was the most important philosophical figure of his day. He brought the classical impulse to Europe by translating Plato from the ancient Greek into the Latin. The most influential figure in the Florentine Academy founded by Cosimo de Medici. He affected every major artist of that time, and help to foster the rebirth of ancient mythologies that appear in many works of art. [15:40]

7.47: The Renaissance 12. Pico Della Mirandola lived a short and passionate life. Though he was more Aristotelian than Platonic, he played a role in the Florentine Academy as well. His interest in the Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, Averroist and Islamic philosophy, and works by the ancients. His philosophical writings and orations threatened the Church. [21:00]

7.48: The Renaissance 12a. The Medicis. The nature of banking in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Medicis understood the importance of creating bank branches, as well as a sophisticated communications system, so that they could keep abreast of changes in currency. [15:20]

7:49: The Renaissance 13. The Medicis 2. The power of Gabriel lived in the many strong families that competed for power and glory in Florence. The Pazzis and Salviatis - their hatred for the Medicis and the Easter Sunday assassination of Lorenzo's younger brother. The downward spiral of the Medici's banking fortunes. The coming of Savonarola. [13:45]

7.50: The Renaissance 14. Savonarola. In spite of Savonarola's asceticism and fanaticism, della Mirandola invited him to preach in Florence. His opposition to the Medicis, and his incredible popularity. He galvanized Florence, but at the price of sacrificing its beauty and culture. His apogee and his demise were rapid and severe. The Golden Age of Florence came to an end. [22:40]

Art Course Slideshow: The Early Renaissance

Click here for the Slideshow with commentary by Eugene Schwartz [51:30]
Click here for the Interactive Slideshow without commentary

Part 11: Renaissance History 3

7:51: The Renaissance 15. The High Renaissance. Introducing the figures of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Not only words a great artists, but they clearly embody the impulses of the time spirit as well. Rudolf Steiner assigns the greatest degree of importance to the figure of Raphael, but seventh graders always love Leonardo and Michelangelo much more. Limiting what you teach about the three is the hardest task. Advice on managing a three-week block based on these three artists. [20:15]

7.52: The Renaissance 16. Leonardo da Vinci. Illegitimate and left-handed, Leonardo did not follow the straight and narrow path of his age. The manufacture of paper in Europe. Work with Lorenzo the magnificent and the Florentine Academy, and work as Verrochio's apprentice. [16:10]

7.53: The Renaissance 17. Leonardo, part 2. Leonardo's painting of the angel in the Baptism scene. Oil paint and Tempera. Leonardo helped Verrochio raise  the great sphere on top of Brunelleschi's Duomo. All this while he is still the same age as seventh graders. [18:00]

7.54: The Renaissance 18. Leonardo part 3. His unique contributions: Brilliant portraiture, Observation of human gesture and social interaction, astute contemplation of nature. His journey to Milan, leaving the high cultural life of Florence for a very different kind of setting. [16:40]

Student Work Slideshow: The Renaissance 2 [15:30]

7.55: The Renaissance 19. Leonardo, part 4.
Pictor et ingeniarius ducalis (“Painter and Engineer of the Duke”) Leonardo's love of engineering, machinery, and particularly of weapons development. Waldorf teachers have to be careful not to play this part of his nature down. Leonardo's love of explosions and killing people is something that any healthy adolescent boy can relate to. For Leonardo the upbuilding life of nature and the destructive activity of human beings were of equal interest and equal importance. The Last Supper. How can a painting so fragile have survived for so long? [15:50]

7.56: The Renaissance 20. Leonardo, part 5. The enigma of the Last Supper. Almost nothing of Leonardo’s original paints exist on the wall anymore. Yet the Last Supper is still unquestionably there. Understanding the interplay of the etheric body and the astral body when we awaken from sleep. The Last Supper is far more than just a painting. [16:50]

Art Course Slideshow: Leonardo da Vinci
Click here for the Slideshow with Commentary by Eugene Schwartz [26:45]
Click here for the Interactive Slideshow without commentary

Part 12: Renaissance History 4

7.57: The Renaissance 21. Michelangelo. His early link with Lorenzo the Magnificent. Another great artist who was exposed to the Florentine Academy. His masterworks at age 16 and his coming to self-knowledge. The power of the choleric temperament when combined with an artistic sensibility. [16:50]

7.58: The Renaissance 22. Michelangelo. The Cupid caper. An invitation to work in Rome. Studying classical architecture and sculpture. The creation of a Bacchus statue. The Pieta - the masterpiece of the Sentient Soul. [14:40]

Student Work Slideshow: The Renaissance 3 [12:10]

7.59: The Renaissance 23. Michelangelo. The statue of David, the symbol of the new Florentine republic. Michelangelo's happiness at returning to his beloved city. But it was cut short by Pope Julius I I, who required him to come to Rome. Conceiving the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The power of the Gabrielic age. [18:50]

7.60: The Renaissance 24. Michelangelo. Painting the Sistine Chapel. At this time Michelangelo moved from his intellectual soul, "organizing" life cycle to his consciousness soul,
individualizing life cycle. The Sistine Chapel represents many things, but Michelangelo's own inner development is one of the things that it presents to us. [13:00]

Art Course Slideshow: Michelangelo
Click here for the Slideshow with Commentary by Eugene Schwartz [54:00]
Click here for the Interactive Slideshow without commentary

7.61: The Renaissance 25. Raphael. Compared to Leonardo and Michelangelo, Raphael's life seems uneventful. Much was going on within that did not manifest in a way that could be documented by historians, or critics, or even friends. Yet Rudolf Steiner identifies him as a most significant individual who appeared more than once at turning points in human history. We must look at his paintings to meet the real Raphael. [21:10]

Art Course Slideshow: Raphael
Click here for the Slideshow with Commentary by Eugene Schwartz [61:00]
Click here for the Interactive Slideshow without commentary

Part 13: Physiology 1

7.62: Physiology 1. Varying approaches to this subject. Is it more of a “Health and Hygiene” course, or does it belong in the “Natural Sciences” stream that began with Zoology? Proceed cautiously with the “Threefold Human Being.” Beware of passively repeating whatever other teachers have done without understanding what Steiner meant by “threefoldness.” States of consciousness in our body. [19:50]

7.63: Physiology 2. Each of the three major bodily systems carries the imprint of the other two systems. Digestion as an example. The “sensory” and “rhythmic” aspects of digestion. [15:10]

7.64: Physiology 3. More on the mouth. The threefold structure of our teeth. Orthodontics. The stress caused by cold food. Artificial flavors and aromas that “give the lie” to our digestive system. The severance of the sensory and metabolic systems. The need for ever stronger flavors. [20:10]

7.65: Physiology 4. The stomach and the intestines. Polarities of acid and base. The spleen as “the heart of the digestive system.” The transformation of fats. The role of bacteria in our digestive system. Eating disorders. [14:15]

7.66: Physiology 5. The “Rhythmic” (Respiratory/Circulatory) System. Eugene in court, undergoing interrogation by lawyers concerning the nature of the human heart. If “the heart is not a pump,” then just what
is it? The hydraulic ram and the phenomenon of water that moves upstream. The “new” heart that the adolescent receives. Awakening to our rhythmic system. [23:20]

7.67: Physiology 6. The embryonic heart and the rushing mountain stream. Ice formation and congealing blood. The hearts of fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals compared to the human heart.[19:20]

7.68: Physiology 7. What is “cardiac muscle”? The voluntary/involuntary nature of the muscles of the heart. The beats-per-minute of the human being compared to smaller and larger animals. The astralization of the heart through athletic activity. [16:40]

Part 14: Physiology 2

7.69: Physiology 8. The lungs. The heart embodies the more “introverted” etherically-oriented pole of our rhythmic system. The lungs are the extroverts, always interwoven with the outer world and the astral body. Profusion of surface area creates more “space” that is the astral body’s habitation. Disturbances of breathing on the inbreath and the outbreath. Goethe’s poem in the Slideshow. [17:40]

7.70: Physiology 9. The ear. A good segue from the lungs to the ear. Or should we begin with the eye? Helen Keller’s words. The auricle, a microcosmic “embryo” that we carry along with us. Its cartilaginous substance never stops growing. The ear and the nose, the ear and the larynx. [17:15]

7:71: Physiology 10. The auditory canal. Its threefold structure: bone, cartilage, skin. Fat and wax. The tympanum and the role of skin in our sensory organs. The interplay of skin, blood, and muscle. The eardrum “turns pale” and “blushes” in relationship to sounds (so watch your language!). The nasopharynx. Breathing and sensory experience. The Renaissance discovery of the ossicles. [17:20]

7.72: Physiology 11. From middle to inner ear. The ossicles as the “rhythmic system” of the ear. The open spiral (auricle) and closed spiral (cochlea). The exoskeleton within us. The filtration and concentration of sound; an “alchemical,” potentizing process. Digestion: the final destination of all that streams into us, in whatever shape or form. [17:40]

7.73: Physiology 12. The eye. A look at a student’s “portrait” of a classmate’s eye. The importance of lashes and lids. Why did Lucifer “open their eyes” at the Fall of Man? Why do we have to keep
closing our eyes? The eye as a revelatory organ; brain and blood stand revealed. The inner structure of the eye. The “missing” Hyaloid Artery. The eye as a microcosmic womb. [15:35]

7.74: Physiology 13. A journey into the eye. The rhythmic and metabolic qualities of the eye manifesting in the pupil, the iris, the lens, and the vitreous humor. The eye and its muscles. [16:45]

7.75: Physiology 14. The retina. Rods and cones and their threefold structure. The metabolizing of light. Visual purple and visual yellow. The fovea/macula. Blood and nerve in the eye. The blind spot and the site of focused vision. Center point and periphery, a key to the Waldorf approach to teaching reading. The eye and ear and the Creation stories of the Old and New Testaments. The organ of balance. Why the class teacher, and not a specialist, should teach this block. [21:40]

Student Work Slideshow: Physiology [17:00]

Part 15: Geography

6.63: Why Do We Teach Geography? (17:00)
The geographical foundations provided in Grades 4 are seen from the point of view of the child’s Angel.In Grade 5, the higher perspective required by the astral body comes into play. An archangelic point of view. Grade 6 continues work with the Archangels. Greater interplay of cultural and physical geography. Europe or Latin America? Suggestions will be given for teaching both, and to both grades.Which hemisphere and which direction? “Economy in teaching” as a principle in Geography teaching.
6.64: Europe (20:10)
Teaching Europe in Grade 6: Tracing Caesar’s path of conquest. Polarities are essential in Grade 6, e.g. Mediterranean and North Sea. North and South. East and West. Mountains and flat lands. Granite and limestone. Nations with coastlines and landlocked nations. The metals. Salt. If the block is taught from a “content-first” perspective, then student reports on individual nations are inevitable; but there
are other ways of teaching Geography.
6.65: Latin America (29:10)
The challenge of teaching about colonization in grade 6. Polarities in Latin America. Resource-rich and resource-poor nations. Extractive and work-ethic approaches. Landlocked and coastal nations. Differences between Spanish and Portugese-speaking nations and nations colonized by French and British. Polarities in the tropics and the temperate zones.

Part 15a: Geography 2

7E: The Age of Exploration 1 [15:36]
A lecture given by Eugene Schwartz at the Essential Grade Seven Conference in Mancos, CO.
7F: The Age of Exploration 2 [15:05]
A lecture given by Eugene Schwartz at the Essential Grade Seven Conference in Mancos, CO.
7G: The Age of Exploration 3 [8:50]
A lecture given by Eugene Schwartz at the Essential Grade Seven Conference in Mancos, CO.

Part 16: Physics with Roberto Trostli

Instructional Films:

Acoustics [22:45]

Light and Color



Student Work Slideshow: Physics [31:00]

Part 17: Chemistry with Roberto Trostli

Instructional Films:

Introduction and Combustion [29:00]

Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide

Acids and Bases

Student Work Slideshow: Chemistry

Part 17: Lectures on Laboratory Science
by Roberto Trostli

(These lectures can also be found in the Grade Six Online Conference)

7:76: Physics 1. The Purpose of Physics [12:20]

7:77: Physics 2. The Grade 6 Physics Curriculum [11:50]

7:78: Physics 3. Methods of Teaching Physics, Part 1 [12:35]

7:79: Physics 4. Methods of Teaching Physics, Part 2 [9:00]

7:80: Physics 5. Practical Aspects of Teaching Physics, Part 1 [10:40]

7:81: Physics 6. Practical Aspects of Teaching Physics, Part 2 [7:40]

7:82: Physics 7. Preparation and Materials [14:35]

7:83: Physics 8. The Task of the Teacher [12:05]

(These lectures are new to the Grade Seven Online Conference)

7:84: Physics and Chemistry [4:50]

7:85: Materials for Laboratory Science [5:50]

7:86: Safety in Chemistry Classes [6:40]

7:87: Sources for Teaching Chemistry [5:45]

7:88: Tips for Teaching Chemistry [5:50]

Addendum: Astronomy

Although we hope that you taught Astronomy in Grade 6, some Waldorf schools traditionally make it part of their Grade 7 curriculum. If this applies to you, here are the lectures and slideshow presented in our Online Grade Six Conference. We hope that they are helpful to you.

6.25: Why Do We Teach Astronomy? (11:00)
Is Astronomy a 6th or 7th Grade subject? The Seven Liberal Arts. The reawakening of medieval memories. The starry world and the script of Destiny.

6.26: The Content of the Astronomy Block, Part 1 (15:00)
Books by Hermann v. Baravalle, Norman Davidson, H. A. Rey. Constellations -- or Inspiration? Reports on Greek myths. Extrapolation and Thinking.

6.27: The Content of the Astronomy Block, Part 2 (15:50)
Apparent movement of the stars. The Pole Star and its relative positions. The phases of the Moon. The complementary nature of the Moon and Sun. Eclipses. Tears and triumphs.

Astronomy: Slideshow of Student Work (42:20)

Resources: Downloads and PDFs

A Renaissance Timeline:

Grade 7 Curriculum and Block Rotation:

Class Play: Eleanor the Queen:

Wish, Wonder, and Surprise Student Poems:

Wish, Wonder, and Surprise Anthology:

Mechanics: A New Application of Archimedes’ Screw:

Links to Articles on Homework Research

How Adolescents Handle (School) Stress:

Science Tackles the Teenage Brain:

Our Physiological Symmetry:

The Eye and the Camera. Go to Page 17 of this Scientific American anthology to read a classic science article:

If you wish to go more deeply into some of the themes addressed in the Grade Seven lectures, we invite you to listen to some lectures given by Eugene Schwartz in his course, Rudolf Steiner: The Man, The Age, The Path. If you want to go really deeply, we urge you to listen to the entire course, available from

The Spiritual Hierarchies
Although the Hierarchies are a mainstay of Christian theology and iconography, Steiner spoke of them as active in all world religions. His expansive picture of the activities of the hierarchical beings portrays their intimate and dynamic relationship to human life and evolution.
The Third Hierarchy – The Angels, part 1 [16:17]
The Third Hierarchy – The Angels, part 2 [15:47]
The Third Hierarchy – Archangels & Archai [15:01]
The Second Hierarchy – Spirits of Form, Movement, & Wisdom [18:28]
The First Hierarchy – Thrones, Cherubim, & Seraphim, part 1 [17:21]
The First Hierarchy, part 2 [14:11]
The First Hierarchy, part 3 [15:06]

Life After Death
Steiner noted more than once that Anthroposophy came into being so that the dead could communicate with the living. Eschewing the sensationalistic “spiritualism” and séances of his day, Steiner lectured frequently on the journey of the soul and spirit through the spiritual world, and the ways in which the living could help throw light on their path.
SC25 Links Between the Living and Dead [13:36]
The “Tableau” Experience and Kamaloka [31:34]
Shelley and Keats - Forming the Afterlife [12:27]
The Astral Body and the Inner Planets [17:00]
The Sphere of the Sun and the Outer Planets [18:48]
The “Cosmic Midnight” and Janus Experience [21:49]
Creation of the Hereditary Stream [15:42]
Thomas Traherne – Pre-Birth Experiences [22:11]
We Form the World We Need [23:02]
Sleep and Death [22:45]

Evolution of the Earth and Humanity
Rudolf Steiner’s penetration of the concept of evolution lays the foundation for his teachings about history, Christology, and the genesis of evil. His metamorphosis of the evolutionary picture presented by Darwin and Ernst Haeckel led Steiner to a unique formulation of the way in which species, humanity, and the earth itself undergo ceaseless development and progress.
SC35 Introduction to Steiner’s Evolutionary Picture [13:32]
Perfection and Change; Saturn and Sun Evolution [23:22]
Light and Darkness [12:49]
Moon Evolution; Angels and Dragons [15:24]
Earth Evolution; Hindrance and Evil [18:57]
Densification, Lucifer & Ahriman [18:42]
Lemuria and Atlantis [29:28]
Darwin, Haeckel, Ontogeny & Phylogeny [14:24]
The Cultural Epochs [23:23]
Ancient Initiation Rites [29:46]
The Mission of the Israelites [23:10]
The Christ Principle in Evolution, part 1 [29:13]
The Christ Principle in Evolution, part 2 [33:26]]