Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Grade 2: Two Week Form Drawing Review

Finally trying to get caught up here...

We started the first week of Sept with a 2 week review of old forms we learned in Grade 1 last year, using Chumash trickster tales. It was actually really fun to pick stories and then forms to weave into the tales.

I love to begin my school with a special baking of muffins or breads. This block, we began with special corn muffins and I had them baking in the oven as the girls rose out of their beds and wiped the sleepiness from their eyes.

They came downstairs with unbrushed hair and teeth to a clean kitchen table, with fresh muffins and our verse candle just waiting for morning prayers and verse...

I am trying to keep the girls moving, especially when learning, so I had bought a wonderful jump rope from Kinderkram (I think) during a GreenTaraMama Yahoo Group holiday sale last year. I wanted a long one so we could use it to walk forms on, jump rope, lasso, you name it! I attached the end to our pantry door and then just turn one handle and the girls can jump away. They had fun twirling for each other while we readapted a traditional rhyme from Anna Banana...

Many of the jump rope rhymes need tweaking, so I try to take them and make them our own. Since we are celebrating Michaelmas at the end of this month and have a dragon theme working through our books, we took this:
Standing on the corner
Chewing bubble gum.
Along came a beggar
And asked me for some.

and changed it to

Playing in the meadow
Chewing on a plum.
Along came a dragon
And asked me for some.

And also in circle time, we are reviewing our counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's...the girls dodge beanbags while counting...

I found a wonderful book of Chumash Trickster Tales called, "When the Animals were People" by Kay Sanger. In her Introduction she talks about the Chumash people, saying that these tales were probably told by older members of the tribe at night around a large fire and that the children who listened found answers to many of the questions about the mysteries of life...

"...how people were made, how the sun moves, where the stars came from and why the animals have certain traits. The stories also taught them how to behave. By observing the reactions of animals in the stories, children learned about human values."

How necessary trickster tales and fables are to our little ones!

The Chumash believed that the "First People" had both human and animal traits, along with magical powers. Coyote was one of those "First People". I find it fascinating that Native American stories center around the coyote character, even spread throughout the vastness of North America.

So the first story I told them from the Chumash culture was called, "How Centipede Got his Ugly Color". It is a story about the boys in the tribe who would gather around a large pole in the village and attempt to climb it. The very best boy was Centipede, who could climb it the fastest and became very braggadocious. The boys in the village grew tired of the boasting and went to Coyote who put a spell on the pole.

The next day, the boys tried to climb the pole, but slipped off - all except Centipede, who kept climbing and climbing. The magic pole grew taller and taller and up, and up he went. Eventually he reached a cloud in the sky and got off to rest. The pole disappeared below him and he realized he was stuck.

Well in came a swarm of mosquitos who sucked him dry so there was nothing left of him, but bones. Back down below, Old Man Coyote began to feel guilty that Centipede had never returned. So he cast another spell on the pole and went climbing up after Centipede. He reached the clouds and saw poor Centipede all dried up. Coyote jumped on the cloud and used some special medicine to bring back the dead and soon Centipede was well again, but was not his usual bright color.

The two needed a way to get back down and spotted a large Eagle, imploring him to fly them back down to Earth. He agreed and when they reached the pole, Coyote jumped off Eagle's back, but fell down to the ground and was shattered into several pieces. Centipede climbed carefully down and refused to believe that his friend, Coyote, was dead. Soon the others believed, too, and Coyote was restored.

Everyone was happy again, especially Centipede, who was still shiny, but now was an ugly color.

From this story, we took the forms above - the red line is the pole. The orange is the boys climbing the pole. The blue is centipede. The grass is green and the sun is yellow.

The girls also were surprised to seek a special gift based on clues I had given them...As a celebration of their Grade 2 year, they each received a beautiful blue Giant Ferby pencil, which they got to use as a special treat for this one lesson only. They will get to use them midway through the year, if their handwriting is improved enough.

I love the JOY over something so simple :D

Back to work!

Our next tale later in the week was, "Coyote Goes to the Bottom of the Sea" and you can see the forms below in waves, Eagle's flight, Swordfish's points and the Mountains...

Coyote walking on the bottom of the ocean, the mountains again, a gust of wind, and the footprints of the large swordfish who enter the cave...

Hiding under the whaleskins, running the obstacle course, more swordfish...

And back in the boat (tomol - plank canoes that the Chumash invented)

The bottom form is the bowls they ate out of...

Hope this is a good example of how to tie forms into a story!

We also reviewed the spiral. All of these forms can be found in Donna Simmon's book, "Form Drawing for Beginners". They are not the only forms we practice (more shown throughout the year), but I like how they are covered in her book.

A few more pages of forms from the girls MLB's...

We have also been working on a little play the girls will be putting on for their Daddy at the end of the month. We had been deciding between "Coyote and Bat" about how bat got his ugly dried skin (from a hot steam room the Chumash used that got too hot, thanks to that tricky coyote) or "Coyote and Skunk" - a tale about how Skunk outsmarts Coyote, who wants to eat him. The girls chose the latter so I will hopefully get some pictures of that production. We're trying to do one easy play (improv style) a month.

We spent two weeks on the form review and eased back into things. We had a death in the family, as well (my last remaining grandmother) so we didn't cover as much as I would have liked, but I am happy with the work we did do!

Now, we are half way through our Math review...that post coming soon!


  1. what a wonderful post! we're doing grade two work this year too, so I LOVE seeing what other folks are up to!
    xo maureen

  2. Love it all Jen! I always pick up something from your posts that I sneak into my own..
    We are just finishing up Tall Tales and getting ready to start some Fables in Oct.


  3. Thanks for posting this lesson. I used to help teach a drawing class for kids, and I'm not familiar with this book on form drawing for beginners. I'll have to look into it! Your daughters seem to be truly enjoying their studies!

  4. Hi my kids are going into grade 3.. I'm looking for grade 3 resources.. It would be wonderful if you could suggest a few links. thanks