The Handwork teacher

I am a mother to two beautiful girls and I teach Handwork and Fine Arts in our local waldorf charter school in Arizona.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

1st grade story to learn about wool

So my homework idea is to write up a story that you would use to teach first grade about introducing the wool (spinning on the leg), introducing the needles, the slipknot, finger knitting and knitting.

Here is the one I made up

One summer Pedro and his sister Polly went to flagstaff to stay with their Grandparents who lived on a farm. The children had never been to a farm because they live in the city where there wasn’t room for farm land. The children wondered what animals they would see.. The first morning they woke up early, got dressed and ran down stairs where they were greeted with fresh cinnamon buns and warm milk. As soon as they were done eatomg, they put on their sweaters and followed their Grandpa Joe out side. He lead them to a big field where they saw an animal that looked bigger than any animal they had ever seen before. It was white, grey and black. “Grandpa what kind of animal is that?” “those are sheep” and with all the noise they were making the one big animal now could be seen as many smaller animals that were huddled close together. The animals looked very warm and fluffy, as if they were wearing clouds on their back. Grandpa Joe told them it was time to bring them to the feeding meadow and so the children helped him to walk the sheep through the gate into the other field. As they walked Polly pulled out of her pocked a red velvet bag , she had discover something magical attached to the fence and she wanted to put keep it. Along the way she found more and more, it was on the ground, on the gate and even on the dogs collar. Pedro had found something wonderful as well, he had found some very nice sticks and wanted to share them with Grandpa Joe after they were done helping the animals.

When they got back to the farm house, Polly ran inside where she found grandma jewel sitting by the fire, on her favorite chair. Polly was very excited to share her new treasure. “Look what I found grandma” and she emptied the treasure onto the rug. “What do you think it is?” asked grandma Jewel. Pedro walked up to the rug and said “isn’t it obvious Polly, its fluff from the clouds.”

(at this point I walk around with a red velvet bag and have the children each stick their hand into the bag and feel what is inside. Some said “what is that, others said, I know that it is, its stuffing. One or two said its wool Mrs Khalsa. Then I sit down and go back to the story)

Grandma jewel smiled and said “this dears, is wool fleece and it comes from the coat of a sheep.”

“The sheep wear coats? Do they make their own coats?” asked Polly

“No, mother nature gave them a coat when they were born, But we can make a coat from their wool” replyed Grandma Jewel

“I would rather make a toy” said Pedro

“Me too” said Polly

“Then let’s make toy’s” Said Grandma Jewel “First we must spin the wool, we will need some sticks”

“Oh, I have some very fine sticks Grandma Jewel, will these do?” asked Pedro and he showed her his collection of sticks he had found

“yes these are perfect.”

From here I out the wool to gently pull apart into puffs of smoke…some kids said it looked more like spider webs when it wall all pulled out.

Once they are done I hand out Pedro’s sticks and we start to spin on our leg.

And you know what happens after that….

The next class we get some burly yarn single ply. And we learn to make a slip knot.

Pedro wanted to go fishing at the lake, so they got their fishing poles and a bucket.

As soon as they arrived at the lake, Pedro saw a harmless water snake in the lake. Grandpa joe said (I sit on the floor and use the yarn)

“here’s the lake” crossing the yarn on the ground make a lake

“see the snake” point at the yarn that is attached to the ball of yarn outside of the lake.

“grab his head” reach under the lake and pinch the work yarn.

“Pull the thread” with the other hand pull the tail of the yarn.

Slip knot. From here they keep repeating the verse and start to finger knit.

When they are done they wear the necklace home…if they are done really fast and there is more time….as many of them already know how to finger knit from Kindergarten. Then I asked them to start to finger knit their rainbow yarn for their handwork bag. ( I pre made 24 bags for the first and second grade)

The next class we make our knitting needles, wax and felt them

As they finish this they reach into Polly’s velvet bag again and pull out a shell that they will wrap in tissue paper and begin to roll their yarn (with a friend’s help)

As they slowly finish. I can work with 2 kids at a time for beginning to knit.

Casting on . I use a really simple method of cast on.

Then we go back to the farm and talk about lost sheep

So Pedro has to go “Under the fence, catch a sheep, back we come and off he leaps”

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