I said in a post earlier this week how much I’ve realized that it is those moments of hands-on, project work that really help the lesson material sink in. The lessons I remember most from my childhood were those times when I was able to engage with the curriculum in ways that involved more than just my thinking life.
Of course, Waldorf education engages more than the thinking life on an everyday basis, but I’m always looking for moments to engage all three aspects of the human — thinking, feeling, willing — in my lessons. The shields we’re making in class this week are a perfect example. As the children take up the work with their wills, they engage with the feeling as they imagine themselves to be Roman soldiers. During the rest of the lesson we work with the material in a more academic way that engages the thinking.
Putting this project together couldn’t have been simpler. I went to the local home improvement store and bought three sheets of wood. The wood that I used is somewhere between plywood and cardboard — heavier than your average cardboard box, but lighter than a piece of plywood would be.
I had them cut the sheets at the store so that each final shield is 2′ X 3′. True Roman shields were quite large and in truth were just about a foot and a half shorter than the soldier.
I then looked up shield designs and pretty consistently found a pattern similar to this one.
In the next couple of days we’ll finish up the painting and attach a handle to the center back. I’m hoping we’ll be done with them in time for them to figure prominently in our assembly this week.