Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Week of Grade 1: Form Drawing

First Day of First Grade:
August 17th, 2009

O Golden Sun with Brilliant Light

Who makes the World so Warm and Bright,

Dear Sun, Good Friend, for this we pray

Lead us and Guide us, in this New Day. ~Marsha Johnson (Waldorf Teacher)

Monday (straight lines):

Armed with my Grimm's Fairy Tales book, along with some incredibly valued resources (another post on this soon!)...we decided to *ease* into our first formal school year with a two week block on Form Drawing in preparation for all the beautiful drawings and letters we will be writing this year.

To be honest, I probably should have waited another week since we were coming off of a very busy summer with tons of fun times with visiting families and festive evenings with friends. The night before, we went to Tony's boss' house for an evening party and swim. Needless to say, we didn't get home until around 11pm and the girls were shot the next and learn!

We gathered in the morning, which was a switch from our previous years when it worked best to let them free play all morning and do some activities in the afternoon when they were more settled and introspective.

We brought to the table Charley's beloved oak tree clipping with a flower on it, that has lasted forever (and no sign of fizzling out yet)! She was eager and ready, while her sister was tired and in no mood for structured activities...we lit a candle, said a prayer, said our verse, and I put some soft music on. The girls actually asked if they could get their backpacks, then ran upstairs and filled them with stuffed animals and miscellaneous items while I gently tried to bring them back to focus on our mission.

There has been so much talk between them and their friends & cousins who go to traditional schools about what happens in school that Charley proceeded to ask me if I could "pretend" to be the teacher, so when she continued to ask me another question, I made her raise her hand and wait to be called on! LOL! She then proceeded to ask me if we could get Elena & her each a cubby to put their backpacks in! They really have no idea what it would be like to go away to school, but I think in their minds, it must have some pretty awesome bonuses, like a *real* teacher, having to raise your hand and getting your own special cubby to store your stuff in! ;-P

Our first lesson in Form Drawing consisted of the straight line. Elena was hiding under the table at this point (don't ask...) but Charley and I stood as tall and as straight as we could. It's really harder than it looks to stand even with your elbows not the slightest bit bent. We then proceeded to go outside to find straight shapes in nature...

When we came back inside, Charley & I walked the straight line of a jump rope. After exclaiming this was "way too easy"...I jazzed it up and had her close her eyes and walk it forward...then close her eyes and walk it backwards. THAT was really difficult. I could hardly do it myself, but we had fun! Following that, we got out our sandscapes and she drew straight lines with her stick and on her own, lined up some new acorns we had collected over the weekend to form a straight line in her sand.

She really felt the I proceeded to read the girls "The Water Nixie" by the Brother's Grimm. In the story, two children fall down a well and are captured by a Water Nixie who holds them captive and has them do all sorts of ill-fated chores for her (chopping down a tree with a blunt axe, filling a bucket that has a hole in it, etc)...when the Nixie is off at church, the children escape and she pursues them. They drop a comb and a brush, which springs forth thorns for her to climb over and they eventually get away. There are many opportunities in this story to practice straight (and curved) lines...(we used a white board while waiting for our chalk board to arrive...)

After the girls practiced the forms on the whiteboard, they wrote them in their Main Lesson Books, first with block crayons and then with stick crayons. I allowed them the freedom of expression to design it as they wished, with the only rule being that they avoid using the black and white crayons (white because it won't show on this paper).

Tuesday (curved lines):

Tuesday proceeded much like Monday did, with the exception being that we focused on curved lines instead of straight. Luckily, Elena was in a much better mood and participated in the form.

We photographed one of our roses to represent the curved lines in nature, but also noticed them in rocks and pebbles and the man-made curve of our concrete patio, a hummingbird's nest, and the outer shapes of the leaves.

One fun activity we tried was having the girls attempt to draw curved lines with their toes! It was very hard, but we had quite a few laughs :)

They then moved onto their MLB's to record their curved forms.

Wednesday (both straight and curved lines):

Wednesday went much more smoothly as we got into the routine of what we were doing and the girls had fun combining the straight and curved lines. They really enjoy the whiteboard & got into the Water Nixie story.

And at last! Our blackboard arrived (Paper Scissors Stone) for $18.50 (plus shipping)! And I tried my hand at capturing "The Water-Nixie" story in chalk. The girls LOVED it :)

This was our first three days of form drawing with "The Water-Nixie" story by the Brother's Grimm. Can you spot the many straight and curved lines in the chalkboard drawing?


  1. I was having a self-pity day a couple weeks back and considered sending the children to school this year. So many people thought I was not giving myself enough time to deal with my grief after Caleb died. But I know if all of my children were gone during the day I would probably crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after.
    Anyway, I asked the children if they would rather go to public school and they all expressed their desires to leave. All except Nathan who had tried it for a month and didn't care for it. They want recess and Megan just wants to get out. I explained to them that recess is something we can work into our day but that going to school would take away so many freedoms. Every time they asked me for something throughout the day that they couldn't have/do at public school I would remind them of this.
    They will NOT be going to school. Home we will stay and the new style of teaching I'll be using will afford more freedom of expression than in the past. I am also taking in children for after school care so the desire to socialize outside the family more will be fulfilled.
    I think there is always that curiosity of the unknown. While growing up I always thought how much fun it must be to live in an apartment or have a compact car or even to be an only child. We live and we learn.

  2. Congratulations on the completion of your first week of school! I am very excited to be enbarking on waldorf inspired home schooling this year as well, but we will not start until September. It is so wonderful to see your work in action, thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Jen
    What a wonderful recounting of the first three days. Such fabulous ideas and a lovely beginning to form drawing. Your girls' form drawings are wonderful and they certainly are getting into the swing of it. I love your chalk drawing of the water nixie story too. You guys are certainly doing great!! Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Hello, I just discovered and see that you are doing lots of wonderful things here! I really like how you used your chalkboard drawing to show all the straight and curved lines. It's a beautiful picture. And thanks for reminding that I need to get us a bigger chalkboard!

  5. Thanks for sharing in detail. My daughter is a young kindergartener at home (Waldorf-inspired Enki curriculum) and she too just loves the thought of school. I think this is going to go on for some time, as homeschoolers. She likes to pretend school with her brother, calling for recess and the like. And, the backpacks get constant use. I always thought it was because she has good memories of preschool two years ago.

  6. Hi Jen,

    Just wondering if you had the girls copy the Water Nixie scape into MLB's as well?

  7. HI Shalimar - you know, I just looked through their MLB's and was surprised to see that I did not. They drew forms in their book - just the forms, but didn't copy the Water Nixie illustration into their books. I might have been concerned it was *too much* at the time, though we drew a lot of pictures with the learning of letters. HTH...

  8. I will be starting form drawing, first lesson, 1st grade on monday, have not decided quite how to proceed, (surely by sunday night:), and I love coming here to find inspiration

  9. How fun Christina! Just remember to have them really know the forms through movement and have fun with it! Lots of ways to make it hands on and engaging, esp before putting them to paper :D

  10. Thanks Jen, for sharing your experience. I am curious to know if you introduced the other forms in the same way, and if you can tell me what stories you picked for each form.

  11. Wow, thank you so much for sharing all these amazing grades resources! I'm starting grade 1 with my daughter, and I'm so grateful to see how people do it in real life! I know how long it takes to put together a post like this, so thank you thank you!

  12. I really appreciate this post - thank you very much. I have previously blogged and know the time it takes to sit and share your day can be difficult in an already full schedule! I wanted to say thank you very much for your time in doing this as it has really cleared up how I go about form drawing in a weekly rhythm. All Blessings :)