Lecture and Presentation Topics
Participants will receive links to all of these lecture/presentations on the first day of the Intensive, along with a Password that will enable you to access them for the fourteen 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.
1. The Eighth Grader
8.1. Rudolf Steiner’s intention to have only seven grades. The importance of the grade in which a teacher joins the class. The teacher as repository and guardian of the class’s etheric forces. The essential nature of the physical body and the adolescent's struggle with it. [17:45]
8.2. The etheric body. Its role in forming the physical body as an instrument of karma. Revolt against the inadequacies of a modern physical body. Anabolic activity and its connection with human heredity. The etheric body and the “Guardian Angel.” [17:05]
8.3 The astral body as the polar opposite of the etheric body. Catabolism, illness, death. Undoing the forces of heredity and asserting the force of personality. Variety, change, insecurity as foundations of the astral body. Important for the teacher not to be swept away by the astrality of the class. The astral body and the Archangel. [21:20]
8.4.. The Ego. Where is the Ego? Ego and personality: their essential differences. The astral “individuality” deception,which also is preparation for the ego. The relationship of angels, archangels, and archai to the higher members of the human being. The Ego and the Archon. The power of the momentary appearance of the ego in the classroom. [17:50]
The Fourfold Human Being (No password required)
a Dynamic Diagram [5:45]
The Fourfold Human Being - Adolescence (No password required)
a Dynamic Diagram [15:20]
2. Working with Parents
8.5. Challenges of parent work in the upper grades. The ever-shrinking parent evening. The difficulty of reaching people by phone, email, or texting. The weakening of the karmic tie with the parents, and the strengthening of the karmic awakening on the part of the children. [23:50]
8.6. The parent evening. Begin and end on time. Make the content interesting - even compelling - so that parents will want to come. They will no longer are coming because of their karmic connection to you, but they now must want to come out of freedom. Bring humor, and surprise the parents by revealing aspects of your own nature that they don't expect. [20:10]
8.7. Working with fathers. Grades 1 through 5.5: Matriarchal. Grades 6 through 12: Patriarchal. Most of our meeting content and mood is feminine in nature, and that must change in the upper grades. Fathers can help bring the “outer world” to the students. [21:50]
8.8. The four umbilical cords, an essential key to understanding the grade school years. [19:10]
3. The Teacher’s Path
8.9. The First Pedagogical Law. Steiner’s final lectures on education were directed to the future and to the therapeutic role of the teacher. Understanding the tradition of granting degrees and its relationship to the ancient Mysteries. [22:10]
8.10. Developing the etheric body: the task of the Early Childhood teacher and the primary grades teacher. Developing the astral body: the task of the middle grades teacher. [26:30]
8.11. Developing the Ego; the task of the upper grades and high school teacher. What does the adult educator have to develop? [26:00]
Note: Before listening to this segment, please download the Grade Eight Block Rotation Guide.
8.12. Challenges of the eighth grade curriculum and challenges to the eighth grade curriculum. The class play, the class trip, the Eighth Grade Project, and fundraising all distract students, parents, and teachers from the pedagogical experiences that are (after all) the raison d’être of schooling. [24:35]
8.13. Other distractions: recurrent class “discussions” about the same topics as a way of shortening main lesson; endless complaints about special subject teachers as a way of avoiding responsibility for misbehavior, undone homework etc. Don’t let the students decide what will transpire at main lesson time! Blocks and block rotation. [27:00]
8.14. The unique qualities of every eighth grade class should be reflected in the blocks that are taught: there can not be the kind of uniformity found in the earlier grades. Focus on the needs of your particular class, and expect support from your parents, colleagues, and administrators as you put your students front and center. The essential nature of time in grade eight. [24:40]
8.15. The subjects. Which are essential, and which can be subsumed into other subjects that may be most germane to the class? [15:00]
Eighth Grade Physics: A Teacher’s Guide
Physics demonstrations led by Roberto Trostli.
Fluid Mechanics Part One [32:00]
Fluid Mechanics Part Two [33:45]
Aero Mechanics [50:10]
Eighth Grade Chemistry: A Teacher’s Guide
Chemistry demonstrations led by Roberto Trostli.
Fats, Oils, Protein [17:00]
Eighth Grade Moments
After her class teacher lobbied, begged, and threatened his colleagues until they would permit her to bring a camcorder to school, Katie Oscar was able to create a video portraying social highlights of her 8th Grade year. (This was in 2004; by now, most 8th grade classes create a video to be played at their graduation ceremony.) This is a rare look at the Waldorf eighth grader -- seen through the eyes of a Waldorf eighth grader! The high quality of this film gained Katie admission to a competitive summer filmmaking course, and that in turn led to her admission to the Film Department of SUNY Purchase.
Waldorf Education for All
This is a documentary about Waldorf charter schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, and among the classrooms filmed are two eighth grades. You will see an American History class being taught by Bob Harrington, a class teacher at the Woodland Star Charter School, as well as a Physics class led by Steve Kinney, a class teacher at the Novato Charter School. They are working with many students who have only had a few years of Waldorf education, and who are most likely not to attend a Waldorf high school. In all other films about Waldorf education, students’ voices are muted out; in this film you hear the students loud and clear.
Light in the Darkness
Waldorf schools are famous for their outspoken defense of children from the onslaught of media. But as computers and smart phones, tablets and eBooks become almost inescapable in everyday life, do Waldorf schools run the risk of growing entrenched in their attitude toward a device-filled world? If Waldorf students are encouraged to say “Yes” to the world, should their schools be saying, “No”?
As a Waldorf educator, Eugene Schwartz is convinced that we cannot oppose television, computer games, and social media without deepening our understanding of Rudolf Steiner's teachings about the interwoven destiny of our times and the Middle Ages . As an Apple iOS Developer, Eugene contends that we cannot understand the enigma of today’s child without a broader connection to media technology. Waldorf education, he believes, has the potential to bring breadth and depth to both of these worlds.
Grade 8 Student Work in History: Copernicus and Galileo
To understand these two titans of the modern scientific worldview, eighth graders must exercise their powers of analysis and critical thinking. And to present what they have learned requires the ability to synthesize a number of subjects in the Waldorf curriculum.
Grade 8 Student Work in History: The Reformation
The dramatic change in consciousness that characterizes the Reformation is embodied in individuals such as Martin Luther and King Henry VIII. As students experience biographies of increasingly complex human beings they also delight in reproducing their portraits and learn the ways in which the outer form reflects the inner nature of the subject.
Grade 8 Student Work in History: The French Revolution
From the grandeur of the Court of Louis XIV to the horror of the Reign of Terror, the French Revolution has something to hold the interest of everyone in the eighth grade classroom. Unlike the relatively tame political reform that characterized the American colonies’ dispute with the British, the French Revolution marked a true turning point in world culture. It is one of the most perfect of all subjects to teach in this year.
Grade 8 Student Work in History: American History
Although relatively tame when compared to the French Revolution, the American Revolution has its share of heroes and villains, near-disasters and triumphs. We will see two interesting student perspectives on the subject.
Grade 8 Student Work in Science: Organic Chemistry
The study of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins integrates chemistry with the kingdoms of nature students explored in earlier natural science blocks. The careful descriptions and depictions of chemistry demonstrations sharpens their power of observation and unite artistry and science.
Grade 8 Student Work in Science: Human Anatomy
The final step in the natural sciences in the grade school brings the student to the mystery of our life on earth: how do we bring our individual spirit into the density of the mineral world? We will view student responses to the mystery, and point to the challenge of bringing both reverence and lightness to this powerfully engaging subject.
Grade 8 Student Work in Science: Meteorology
The interplay of the etheric and astral bodies of the Earth becomes an “objective correlative” for the battle of these two bodies within the eighth grader. We see how could observation opens the eyes of the students to the world of being and becoming, while the study of the interplay of water and air echoes their experiences of Fluid Mechanics and Aero Mechanics in Physics.
Grade 8 Student Work in Geometry: Part 1
Although often overshadowed by Solid Geometry, the subject of "Geometry in Nature," also known as "Sacred Geometry," provides meaningful experiences for eighth graders. Of particular importance are understanding the Vesica Piscis, the "womb" of all regular polygons, the Golden Proportion ("Phi"), and the Fibonacci Series.
Grade 8 Student Work in Geometry: Part 2
We continue with other aspects of Geometry that can be of value to eighth graders. Spirals are constructed in a circle and also through the tactile and kinesthetic experience of folding long strips of paper using the Fibonacci series as a basis. The “Divine Proportion” of Phi comes to life as eighth graders experience their own proportions.
Encounters with Algebra
This is a series of instructional videos created by Eugene Schwartz for the Online Grade Seven Conference. The timetable for introducing Algebra varies from school to school. If you have not yet introduced the subject -- or if you have, but feel that your class will need to review it in Grade Eight -- you may find these videos helpful.
For those of you teaching a combined class, here are two “dynamic diagrams” about Seventh Grade that may be of interest:
The Integrated Grade Seven Curriculum
The Fourfold Human Being - Adolescence
Resources and PDFs
Three Important Articles by Ron Milito
Ron is a retired Math and Science teacher from the Kimberton Waldorf School
Homework as a Sacred Cow Part 1
Homework as a Sacred Cow Part 2
Testing, Tracking, and Grading: The Woeful Trinity
The most thoroughly researched essays concerning all that Rudolf Steiner really had to say about homework. Important reading!
Eighth Grade Homework
Now that you’ve read Ron’s essay, here is some decidedly minimalist math homework that Eugene designed for his eighth graders.
Eighth Grade Blackboard Drawings
For the Industrial Revolution: William Blake’s “Urizen” drawn by Eugene.
“Scientific Discovery” drawing by another teacher
The Eighth Grade Curriculum
A block rotation guide. This was distributed in August to parents and specialist teachers.
Midsummer’s Night Dream Costume Designs
Eighth graders designed and sewed their own costumes for their class play. Here are a few examples:
The Main Lesson Book: A Student’s Perspective
Please note: The young woman who created this video was NOT one of Eugene’s Schwartz’s students!
Some Helpful Links:
A provocative article on Algebra that touches on how mainstream schools teach mathematics altogether.
The New York Times ran a series of columns about grammar and style. Here is a link to one article; to find the others, just scroll down the right-hand sidebar in the article and there will be more links.
The Vesica Piscis photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
An excellent article about the Divine Proportion. The endnotes also link to helpful sites.
“The Secrets Inside Us” looks at some historical aspects of anatomical studies.
A video about the Fibonacci Series
The blog of an engaging mathematics prodigy from Harvard
Rudolf Steiner Course Excerpts
If you wish to go more deeply into some of the themes addressed in the Grade Eight lectures, we invite you to listen to some lectures given by Eugene Schwartz in his course, Rudolf Steiner: The Man, The Age, The Path.
To view the entire course, go to: http://millennialchild.com/catalog12.html
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]
SC36 Perfection and Change; Saturn and Sun Evolution [23:22]
SC37 Light and Darkness [12:49]
SC38 Moon Evolution; Angels and Dragons [15:24]
SC39 Earth Evolution; Hindrance and Evil [18:57]
SC40 Densification, Lucifer & Ahriman [18:42]
SC41 Lemuria and Atlantis [29:28]
SC42 Darwin, Haeckel, Ontogeny & Phylogeny [14:24]
SC43 The Cultural Epochs [23:23]
SC44 Ancient Initiation Rites [29:46]
SC45 The Mission of the Israelites [23:10]
SC46 The Christ Principle in Evolution, part 1 [29:13]
SC47 The Christ Principle in Evolution, part 2 [33:26]
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.
For a PDF “hard-copy” diagram of the Hierarchies, click here.
SC10 The Third Hierarchy – The Angels, part 1 [16:17]
SC11 The Third Hierarchy – The Angels, part 2 [15:47]
SC12 The Third Hierarchy – Archangels & Archai [15:01]
SC13 The Second Hierarchy – Spirits of Form, Movement, & Wisdom [18:28]
SC14 The First Hierarchy – Thrones, Cherubim, & Seraphim, part 1 [17:21]
SC15 The First Hierarchy, part 2 [14:11]
SC16 The First Hierarchy, part 3 [15:06]