This language arts block has a total of 4 weeks and focuses on a variety of fables coming from various countries around the world. Each week covers 2 fables if you are following the 3 day Waldorf presentation of, day 1 tell story, day 2 retell story and draw a picture representation with simple sentence and day 3 artistic activity to further develop their relationship with the story and begin telling new story. Being a 4 week block, we had 8 fables to work with. In Donna’s curriculum she offers 10 choices and it’s up to you to choose what you believe will interest or correspond to your child most appropriately.
My first time around with this block, Donna’s second grade curriculum was not yet available. All she had at the time was ‘Stories of the Saints’ so I needed to come up with the complementing blocks to complete the year. I had bought Eric Fairman’s ‘A Path of Discovery’ volume 2 (a seasoned Australian Waldorf teacher) to center me with the program. Very helpful little book, I personally enjoyed his way with math, using creative patterns and tricks to enliven his lessons. He appropriately named it Mathe-Magics, pulling the child’s interest right in. I also loved the compilations of poems and alliterative verses I aptly used with both my boys. I also bought Dorothy Harrer’s ‘Math Lessons for Elementary grades’, she also has a different approach to math, i’ve not only used her book for 2nd grade but have also used it in following years as well. She goes up to year four if I remember correctly. Last but not least, I bought ‘The Barefoot Book of Animal Tales: From Around the World’ by Naomi Adler, stories used with Tristan’s second grade block, an artistically beautiful illustrated book with wonderful stories. Even if you don’t intend on using it for this block, it’s a must for the reading library!
We started with “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse”. This is one of my favorite fables from my childhood, I always felt like a country mouse living in the city. Now an adult,I have finally made my home in the country. Using Donna’s curriculum and suggestions, Evan wrote a short sentence resuming the story…
The Country Mouse said “I prefer to live simply and in peace than richly and in fear.”
For the activity on day 3, we made sock puppets using new grey socks from the dollar store, grey felt for the ears, some embroidery floss for the nose and whiskers and black buttons for the eyes. They turned out very sweet, Evan was really proud of them and played with them the rest of the week. (I’ll upload a picture once we are settled in our new house).
Another classic story is “The Hare and the Tortoise”. I think this must be the archetypical of Aesop’s fables. I think everyone should include this one in their block.I used Donna’s suggestion for the sentence and activity. She described making a moving picture for the craft, like the ones you see in interactive books with movable tabs. They are surprisingly easy to make with satisfying results. I decided to present this activity in two parts; first Evan painted a scene in watercolour with the ‘wet on wet’ technique, and on small squares he painted a separate ‘Hare’ and ‘Tortoise’. We let it dry for a few hours and came back to cut out the animals and make long tabs. I cut out two slits with an exacto knife while Evan glued his animals to each tab, then he inserted them into the scene from the back.
Another story we used i’d like to share with you is “The Lion and the Mouse”, only because Evan made such a sweet sculpture representation of this story. We visited so many stories, there are too many to post. For those of you not familiar with this story, the lion spares the mouse life by whom she then returns the favor, gnawing through a net set by hunters to free the lion. Evan was so excited that I was taking a photo of his work and putting it up on the site, he ran to place it on a silk “to make it real”, he said.