Sunday, 5 April 2015

March 2015: Grade One Form Drawing & Container Story Introduction

The Sunflower Children nod to the sun,
Summer is over, Autumn begun.
Autumn Circle Time 
Our circle time has been very seasonally focused, however now that Mr 6 is beginning Grade One, I have begun introducing a few new elements. We have started some focused finger, hand and body coordination games and had lots of fun with beanbag and clapping rhythm games. These are lots of fun and also very challenging. I found <this video> rather long and not particularly easy to watch ;) but it does have some helpful ideas and rhymes that we have adopted in our morning circle. 

We still pick two or three verses and songs from our Autumn Circle Time collection to say each morning.

Week 1

We were all a little snuffly with a cold this week, so we read books and had lots of time for quiet play and rest, and a little extra time for me to pull together the final loose threads in preparation for beginning our learning journey this year. <This> is a really useful little post on preparing for First Grade from Carrie of The Parenting Passageway.

Container Story
I really loved the idea of weaving a 'Container Story' to take us on the journey through our Grade One year. The container story is a way of connecting the fairytales and stories used to introduce form drawing and develop our picture alphabet, and eventually will lead us into our math block later in the year. It gives a sense of continuity to our learning. 

So once we were all feeling a little better, I introduced Mr 6 to our Grade One Container Story, 'Mike’s Quest’. Mike’s Quest will follow the adventures of a 6 year old boy, Mike, and his journey to find the 5 keys (the vowels) which will unlock the Doors of Knowledge. 

Mike and his family adventure through forests, over mountains and through valleys, meeting many friends and magical animals along the way. These friends tell Mike and his family the stories from which we will draw our own picture alphabet,  starting with the consonants and finishing with the vowels, and eventually they will introduce us to the math gnomes as we move from our Language Block to our Numbers/Arithmetic Block. 

Mike and his family leave home and set off on their adventure!

Form Drawing: Straight Forms 
We started with a Form Drawing Block, using the Waldorf Earthschooling curriculum suggested stories as a guide. We have seemed to roughly fall into a 2 - 3 day rhythm with our learning. 

On the first day, I open with a continuation of the Container Story, which moves into telling the Main Lesson story, using props and puppets to help bring it alive for both Mr 6 and Mr 4. After the story, I draw a scene from the story on the blackboard, and Mr 6 free draws in his main lesson book.    

The following day, we follow the standard Form Drawing sequence:

~ Recall and retell the story
~ Find the forms in the blackboard drawing 
~ Imagine the forms with our eyes closed
~ Walk the forms with ropes laid out on the form, or use our bodies to create the forms
~ Draw the forms in the air, using both hands separately
~ Draw the forms on each other’s backs, using both hands
~ Practise the forms in a sandbox, then on a chalkboard

Finally, we bring the forms to paper in Mr 6’s Main Lesson Book. On the opposite page, we draw another picture from the story, this time using the forms consciously, or Mr 6 may choose to decorate forms. We also include some letter practise with one or two relevant words from the story. During our daily nature walk, we look to see if we can find forms occurring naturally in nature, or in man made structures. 

This week saw Mike and his family set off on their adventure! As they walked through the corn fields on the outskirts of the town, Papa recalled the Native American story: ‘How The Corn Came To Be’, which introduced us to straight forms and basic geometric forms. 

Story: 'How The Corn Came To Be'
Forms: Straight lines, basic geometric forms using straight lines 
The next day, Mr 6 recalled the story and we practised the forms and then drew decorated form drawing from the story, with the word TEEPEE, which was great straight line practise. Mr 6 is left-handed and it was interesting to see his natural inclination was to draw horizontal forms from right to left, rather than left to right, which makes perfect sense as his left hand ‘covers’ his writing when writing left to right. I really think this practise was very useful for him. 

We practised these straight and straight-lined geometric forms over the next few days, and also explored a little of Native American culture and music, even making dream catchers and mini bow and arrows. 

Handwork: Making dreamcatchers
We finished off the week with a long weekend and homeschooling friends over for dinner. We are so lucky to know so many homeschooling children of similar ages in our area!

Week 2

Form Drawing: Curved Lines, Straight Forms, Geometric Forms 
This week we started delving into an Autumn theme, with the classic story of ‘The Little Round House’. Mike became the main character in this story whilst his family set up camp and collected fruit, nuts, corn, and berries and fished to contribute to their meal. This story is familiar to Mr 6 and Mr 4, but having the Container Story characters involved in the story really brought it to life for them.

Story: 'The Little Round House'
Forms: Curved lines, round forms, straight lines, star

Mr 6 got a lot of satisfaction from mastering the difficult forms. As an adult, I forget how challenging these simple forms can be to master, and Mr 6 certainly felt a lot of pride in his work as he practised the forms and could see the improvement in them. It was really lovely to see him so excited about learning :) 

Later in the week, we continued exploring geometric forms, as I told the story ‘The Queen Bee’ and  we explored all things bee, honey and honeycomb related. Mr 6 practised hexagons and stacked hexagon and triangle arrangements. 

Story: 'The Queen Bee’
Forms: Geometric form combinations

Other Happenings...
Friday was spent with our little homeschooling collective, visiting the always beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens and spending the day climbing the magical trees.

On the weekend we travelled with three other families for a lovely birthday camping trip to Mt Field National Park. We celebrated our little friend’s 2nd birthday with a Teddy Bear Picnic themed party, and then spent the rest of the day playing with new friends and splashing in muddy puddles! Thank goodness for camping sites with hot showers!

That night, the skies cleared and we set off on a night-time adventure to see the glow worms that live near Russell Falls. Magic! The following day we walked to Russell Falls (in the daylight this time) and then walked up the mountain to the top of the falls. It was a lovely weekend camping, meeting new friends and getting to know others a bit better.

Camping Mt Field National Park

Week 3

St Patricks Day Celebration
This week we celebrated St Patrick’s Day, with lots of stories, music, crafts, some Irish language practise, and of course food and drink to celebrate our own Irish heritage. 
Festival: St Patricks Day
Story: The life of St Patrick
Forms: Circles, shamrocks, spirals, figure 8

Form Drawing: Circles, Spirals, Figure 8
We used this festival to tell the story of St Patrick and to introduce some rather complex forms - spirals, circles, concentric circles, shamrocks, and figure 8/infinity symbol. 

Other Happenings...
In true Bohemian style, we went away camping again for another birthday party weekend! We were blessed with lovely weather, a perfect camp spot right by the gorgeous Fortesque Bay beach and the company of beautiful old friends we’ve known for many many years. The children enjoyed swimming, river building, bike riding, beaching and kelp basket making immensely. The adults enjoyed drinks  and conversation around the campfire late into the night.

Week 4

Autumnal Equinox 
The Autumn Equinox fell on Friday at the close of last week, but rather than try to cram two festivals into the one week, we moved our Autumn/Harvest family celebration to the following week. 

Harvesting pumpkins, corn and tomatoes from the garden, we enjoyed seasonal, garden-fresh produce. We spent the day seed-saving, changing over the nature table and making a play-stand shadow puppet theatre that evening. We also spent a couple of gorgeous crisp Autumnal mornings collecting Autumn leaves and baskets of acorns, hazelnuts and chestnuts! Yum! 

Festival: Autumnal Equinox
We had planned to have a combined Autumn festival with our homeschooling friends on the weekend, but unfortunately that was cancelled due to illness. Instead, we spent the warm, humid evening wandering around our friends hazelnut orchard, collecting organic hazelnuts, feasting on juicy blackberries and watching a magic golden sunset. We were even treated to the awesome sight of a building thunderstorm, and walked back listening to the sound of distant thunder rumbling in the mountains.

Form Drawing: Curved Line Symmetry Forms
This week, I told the story ‘The Tree That Longed For Other Leaves’, which was a very fitting story for our week ;) We tied the story in with the Autumnal Equinox and practiced tricky Curved Line Symmetry Forms.  
Story: 'The Tree That Longed For Other Leaves'
Forms: Curved Line Symmetry 

Handwork & Artwork
A. Michaelmas Dragon B. Birthday Ring Peg-dolls
C. Kangaroo with Joey D. Elf Hat

Other Happenings...
In the garden...
Fun with homeschooling friends <3

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