Monday, February 28, 2022

First Grade Supply List: Art and Handwork

The supplies that I think are essential to have on hand when you are getting ready to teach First Grade:

Main Lesson Books

    blank main lesson books (I get mine from Meadowsweet Naturals)

    colored pencils and/or block beeswax crayons for MLB pages

Form Drawing

    stick beeswax crayons

    very large sheets of drawing paper (we use newsprint)

    masking tape (the paper should be taped to a door or wall)

    materials for practicing the form before drawing it, such as
    length of rope
    sidewalk chalk
    ribbon stick
    tray of shaving cream
    tray of salt
    tray of sand
    tray of rice
    paintbrush, clean water, and a chalkboard

Watercolor Painting

    6 colors of Stockmar watercolor paints (warm yellow, cool yellow, warm red, cool red, warm blue, cool blue)

    other colors of tube paint as desired (we use permanent rose)

    popsicle sticks and little containers for mixing up concentrated paints (I use tiny ramekins and write the color on the bottom with Sharpie)

    3/4 inch flat watercolor brush

    jar for rinse water (we use a Oui yogurt jar)

    cold press watercolor paper cut into smaller pieces (or small paper: for color stories you do not need big paper)

    masking tape for stretching paper

    painting board (ours is cut from masonite)

    a paintbox is nice for painting on Nature walks


    modeling beeswax

    self-hardening clay


    kite paper for making window stars

    art tissue paper for making window transparencies (I get mine from A Child's Dream)

Fiber Arts

    wool roving (I get mine from A Child's Dream)

    100% wool felt (I get mine from A Child's Dream)

    100% wool yarn in both worsted and roving weights
    (it is important to get animal colors as well as brights and pastels; classic 1st grade projects include kitten, chicken, turtle, lamb, lion)

    1/4 inch diameter wooden dowels for making knitting needles

    sandpaper, pencil sharpener, beeswax wood polish or grapeseed oil

    acorn caps (or you can top your knitting needles with felt balls)

    wool batting for stuffing knitted animals

    bubble wrap for wet felting (we use this for making flat pieces)

    baby shampoo for wet felting (or olive oil soap and a cheese grater)

    NOTE: children this age can NOT do needle felting -- they work with wet felting -- but if you, the adult, will be making table puppets you will also want a felting needle and a very large piece of foam

Let me know if you have a favorite art or handwork supply I'm forgetting!

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Form Drawing: Toad Eggs

A friend sent these pictures of Frog Eggs laid in some water near where I grew up... and I was so glad to see them! Spring is finally here!

To go along with these photographs, we did the Frog Life Cycle card from the Nature box of Turn Over (a vintage and hard-to-find Montessori material).

the Turn Over cards and board look like this
the three wooden pegs are to help you line up your card correctly

then you get 12 wooden curved pieces, each a different color
as you solve the card, you put each colorful piece in its correct place

for the life cycle, the PINK image comes first
look closely... what comes next? 
once you've chosen the second image, place its color beside the pink one

when you are done, flip the card over and use the wooden pegs to line it up
check the wooden pieces you have around the rim
if the colors are all in the correct order, you've done the card correctly!

It is fun to make a "Frog Eggs" recipe (coconut almond chia seed pudding) to go along with this activity! Here's our favorite:

    Coconut Almond Chia Seed Pudding

    Combine in a large bowl:
    1 can coconut milk
    2 c almond milk
    1/4 c maple syrup
    2 tsp vanilla extract

    Slowly stir in
    2/3 c chia seeds

    Let stand. Stir after 1/2 hour, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

After we did our Froggie Green Watercolor Painting, we did a Form Drawing of Toad Eggs. They are very different! Toads are not like frogs; they lay their eggs in long chains. It is the perfect image to go alongside a form like this:

Looking back, I see that our Tadpole Photos are from May. So it is not quite tadpole time here. In the past we have collected our tadpoles from the pond at Dayempur Farm on the morning of Easter Sunday. It's a great tradition!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Fun with Green

It is so much fun in the Springtime to do paintings of green.

I love painting rosy-pink in late winter, as the trees and bushes get their new growth. Then I love mixing colors and painting brown when Mud Season comes! And, finally, we get new green shoots coming up through the earth.

A lot of children haven't actually tried mixing paints before. They know that blue + yellow makes green because they've been told that it does. They know that blue + red makes purple, and red + yellow makes orange, and combining all three makes brown... but they don't really KNOW it because they haven't experienced it. Let me tell you, getting brown is not as easy as it sounds. But it's awfully fun to try!

Fun stories to go with MUD are Mud by Mary Lynn Ray as well as the "The Muddy Farmyard" story (pages 126-127) and "Pull on My Rain Boots" movement verse (page 88) of The Breathing Circle: Learning Through the Movememnt of the Natural Breath by Nell Smyth.

When it comes to green, I love the poem "A Spike of Green" by Barbara Baker. It is fun to take a Nature walk and try to find a brand new baby plant that you are the FIRST person in the world to ever see! If you are painting green with the Stockmar paints, you want lemon yellow and Prussian blue. Prussian blue is the cool blue -- meaning it is closer to yellow -- and it makes the best green. Ultramarine blue is the warm blue -- meaning it is closer to red -- and it makes the best purple.

A classic Waldorf watercolor painting sequence is the story of Little Yellow and Little Blue. Little Blue is shy and stands in the corner of the playground. Little Yellow, meanwhile, is cheerfully dancing and prancing around in the middle of the playground. You can paint it where Little Blue just stays in the corner. You can paint it where Little Blue goes around and around Little Yellow, because he's curious, but he can't bring himself to play (leave a careful line of white between them).

You can paint it where they DO finally touch (and you can also show how Little Red would come into a painting like this which is dashing RIGHT IN to the middle). But I felt like bringing a new imagination to my color mixing of green, so I came up with something about frogs. We painted something similar to the painting above, but with the blue first. We painted a blue pond and left a space in the middle for the mama frog to lay her eggs.

We brought the eggs in in yellow (yellow is the sanguine color and baby tadpoles are definitely very wiggly). When the eggs hatched and the tadpoles began to wiggle all about we let the yellow reach out into the blue. And we got froggy green!

To introduce this painting, I used a verse from The Singing Year by Candy Verney. I modified it slightly to have the eggs be "wee" instead of "black," since we were painting them in yellow.

    Dot to Frog
    page 24
    CD track 23

    Wriggledy wriggledy
    Wriggle a lot:
    Stuck in the jelly,
    Little wee dot.

    Waggledy waggledy
    Waggle and roll:
    Swim in the water,
    Little tadpole.

    Jumpitty jumpitty
    Jumpitty jog:
    Jump in the meadow,
    Little green frog.

I introduced this as a movement verse, and told them that it was about a surprise animal and they had to listen to the clues. Stand up and interlock your fingers. Keep them interlocked but wiggle them for the eggs verse. Open your hands and swim them through the water for the tadpole verse. Hop about the room for the frog verse. I didn't say FROG... I said nothing after "green" and let them yell out FROG!

It is nice to do this verse twice before you paint and I said it once more quietly as they were painting when they were about to let the colors touch.

If you have favorite stories about frogs that would go well with this painting, please feel free to share!

After this, I like to give children both blues and both yellows and ask them, does every combination of blue and yellow make the same green? It is fun to explore that. Mixing greens is also a time when I really like acrylic paints, because they create new colors very smoothly. It is fun to paint a swatch of a green you have invented and then take it outside to see if you can find that EXACT SAME color in Nature! Or take a paint chip with you (any color) on a Nature walk and see if you can find it! Here are some photos from Feb 2020.

a "Spring" activity
Finding Nature's Greens

mixing a particular green,
then taking it outside to see if you can find it in Nature

once you find it, come back and write down
where in the yard you saw that exact color

this is not nearly as easy as it sounds

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!