Thursday, August 27, 2009

Second Week of Grade 1: Form Drawing

This week's Form Drawing lesson was on Standing Forms. Taking from Donna Simmons book, "Form Drawing for Beginners", we focused on six forms: square, triangle, circle, star, rectangle, and 4 leaf clover. I also ended up adding a very complicated form to fit the story I chose for this week's lesson and that is the crescent.

The story I chose was: "The Star Children" which is commonly told in Waldorf schools. It's a beautiful tale about Father Sun & Mother Moon and their star children who light the sky. One night, the star children are playing, not heeding their mother's calls. They hide behind a cloud and a gust of wind blows them to the ground and they are not allowed to return. Mother Moon sings, "Twinkle, twinkle, little I wonder where you are..." and Father Sun finds a way to have the stars ride up on the wings of the dandelion fluff to visit them again. It's very sweet and was the perfect story for the shapes we were drawing. Can you spot all 7 shapes in my chalk drawing?

We also are overjoyed at the arrival of our Auris glockenspiel, which is heavenly (another post on that next week). Our day now begins with a scale up and down the glockenspiel, followed by an upward sweep of the notes signifying our special time is about to begin. The girls come to the table and we light our candle, say a prayer, our verse and begin the day's activities.

I told the story to the girls and introduced the shapes as the tale progressed. We then broke the shapes down to three days.

Day 1: triangles and 4 leaf clovers
Day 2: circles, rectangles, and squares
Day 3: stars and crescents (saving the hardest forms for last)
Each day, we would walk the forms outside using our sidewalk chalks, and practice before taking up our MLB's and trying our hand at them. The girls love to shade borders around their MLB work and are getting good practice with the block crayons.

The girls love drawing on the white board and it's a great way to practice the forms without wasting paper.

Here they are walking two of the shapes outside, giggling all the while as they try not to run into each other on the star shape :)

Charley was very proud of her stars. I noticed they were frustrated the first time they tried to draw them, but after one day of practice, they got it! The crescents were very difficult, though.

Then today, Day 4 (we took Monday off due to a doctor's appt), they drew the story in their MLB's. They were quite frustrated with the crayons as I was encouraging them not to draw an outline and fill it in, but use the block crayons to shade around their objects. Elena got it!

When we are finished with our work for the day, I go up and down the scale on the glockenspiel in our pattern, and then sweep down the notes signifying the close of the day. The candle is extinguished and we go about the rest of our day.

We will now continue to do form drawing once a week, using these forms we've learned the past two weeks.

The resources I found most helpful for form drawing have been:
~Donna Simmons "Form Drawing for Beginners"
~Eric Fairman's "Path of Discovery Volume One: Grade One"
~Supplies: MLB's, block crayons, stick crayons, chalkboard with chalks and eraser (and/or a whiteboard with markers and eraser), sidewalk chalk, sandscape with sand and a stick, a jump rope or string; and your stories. Another idea to use in the future would be to make dough, shape it into the forms, bake it and eat it (yumm!)

I also just saw that Kristie Burns from Earthschooling is coming out with a form drawing section and I'm really excited to see it! I love her materials and will be using many of them in our schooling (posts on that soon)!

Having girls who like lots of colors, I allowed the girls the freedom to use whatever colors they wanted and to do the forms large or small with as many or as little of them on a page. I did emphasize quality over quantity, but do want to allow them to make the MLB their own. I do not want to create "school at home" so allowing them these freedoms will hopefully protect their individuality and creativity. I also ask them to draw the forms with both the block crayons and the sticks to get used to the difference. I have read conflicting information on which is better to use so we are learning to use both. They definitely feel the sticks are much easier to control.

Next week we will cover our first Language Arts blog! Can't wait! Thanks for reading about our second week of form drawing :)


  1. Jen, I really enoyed reading this post. You and the girls really seem to be enjoying the learning. Such lovely activities.

  2. Wonderful post Jen, so much great information, thanks for sharing :)

    Have a lovely weekend :)

  3. Love to see you guys doing the form drawings!! And the sidewalk chalk, we will be doing that as well..Twins are so beautiful! I never saw stars and crescents in my form drawing book (?) wonder if I am missing something..I have Barbara Dewey's and Melisa's..hmmm well, can;t wait to keep following along :)

  4. Hello Jen
    Thank you for such encouraging comments on my blog.
    I am really glad to have found your blog, as we are just starting out with grade one, also.
    Kind regards

  5. You still doing well, Mama? We miss reading about what you're up to.

  6. Jen, I cannot find the whole story of the Star children... Do you have an online source? Or is it in a Waldorf book that I could have? Thanks!

  7. Hi Catherine - I found that story through Marsha Johnson's free was based on the Oscar Wilde story, but adapted to fit waldorf early's under her Files section - then go to "Early Childhood Stories & Tale" and then it's under "A Version of the Star Children from a Waldorf School.doc" right at the top!

    If you need me to scan and email it to you, just send me another comment with your addy and I won't publish your comment, but will email the story to you! HTH! It's a cute one!!!!


  8. Awesome! Found it! Thank you so much for your help! Marsha's files are just a gold mine! We are loving first grade so far and I am so inspired by what you did with your girls. Once again, I am so grateful for you posts from last year! And I can't wait to read what you guys are up too in second grade!!

  9. You're the sweetest, Catherine! I'm so glad you're having so much fun and that my posts are helpful - makes all the time that it takes to photograph and blog worth it! Have fun!

  10. Hi there, I started first grade with my daughter last week and so thankful for your blog with al of this fantastic documentation. My daughter really enjoyed 'The Water Nixie' and tomorrow we are going to do 'The Star Children'. There are some pictures on my blog if you wanted to take a look. Magical Days -

    Thanks again