Monday, August 4, 2008

Skin and Hair Swatches

I don't know if it's negative... because it's selfish

Or positive... because it means I'm always really enthusiastic about what I'm teaching

But I like to integrate crafts that I'm interesting in learning how to do into my lessons. So this summer, for example, we did papermaking in all four camps. Because I wanted to learn more about papermaking. We dyed fabric and did wet felting in all four camps too.

Now I am anxious to learn more about dollmaking. So the lucky children in my Sunday School class will probably be making a baby Moses Waldorf doll this year.

I've chosen the end of the year class play -- "The Child of the Nile" in 25 Plays Inspired by Waldorf Teachers edited by David Mitchell. My supervisor wants me to follow the lectionary this year and we will begin with the Passover. Moses comes up again later in the year so he'll definitely be a key figure. I think it will be a good cumulative play.

I have no idea what the appropriate skin and hair colors for Moses would be so I ordered the Doll Skin and Hair Swatches card from Magic Cabin ($4.95) and we can vote on it in class. I'll have to do some historical research beforehand to get an idea of what direction we ought to head in. But overall I'd like democracy to have the final say.

In camp today we began by making slings (the kind David used against Goliath) out of brown butcher paper and finger knitting. Each child got a chance to use them out on the playground. Most came out quite well but the paper did sometimes tear if the rock was too heavy. I chose it for the leather look-alike quality (especially if you crumple it first) and I wasn't willing to give up that much wool felt. However, mine is made of leather and that is definitely the way to go if you have the budget. I recommend going to a thrift store to find an old leather purse, then cutting that up. For the straps, you can buy strips of rawhide at craft stores.

Storytelling was several chapters of Hillyer's A Child's History of the World. We began with Romulus and Remus ("A Bad Beginning" ) and made our way through the Assyrians ("Kings with Corkscrew Curls") and all the way to the fall of Babylon ("A Surprise Party"). Along the path we encountered Lydia and Croesus and the invention of the first real coins. So this afternoon each child made something for our trade drama -- a kind of a fair, to be held tomorrow morning -- and a small felt pouch with a drawstring and beads to carry their trade goods in. The pouch was a simple circle of felt; actually, the template was the lid of my round crockpot. We like to keep it simple. :-) They came out really lovely. The children made a wide variety of things to trade. It was a secret what each person made. They worked with me one at a time in a different room. Some chose to string pasta shapes for "jewelry." One young boy wanted to fill his pouch with magic beans (dried beans). Most people wanted to try their hand at the felting needle -- the real reason I worked one on one, but the secrecy thing was fun too -- and so we had vegetables including a carrot, an eggplant, an apple and an orange. The girl who made the last 2 used some of the dried beans in the center of her felted pieces. She said that she wanted her swap item to be something that could be food AND could be used for something else, so the seeds mean you can plant a tree. I made an adorable little felted chicken. One girl had her heart set on a dolphin which I raised an eyebrow at (internally, of course) but I think a lot of people will want to swap for it! One child made a pair of wool roving hoop earrings. One girl felted a little doll in a bunting. Then there were some other, odder, materials. A boy wanted to make a scythe (he figured that would be a useful tool) so he made that with paper. The last child wanted to make a sand timer -- a very useful thing to swap! -- so she made something using the dried beans, the pasta shapes, and the construction paper. It will be fun to see how tomorrow turns out. After the trade drama we will make our own coins using polymer clay and a balance to make sure they are the exact weight before we stamp them with our seals. I think the seal will actually be the tines of a fork because I can't think of anything strong enough to make an impression in polymer clay but soft enough that children can carve it safely.

the Moses basket my children slept in

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