This month I used the stories of Anansi for our Language Arts block. The Anansi spider stories are Jamaican folk tales that can probably be classified as trickster tales and animal fables. These stories were an unusual departure from the stories my second grader is used to hearing. Anansi might seem to be a hero at first, but we soon realize that he is not very heroic at all, but quite flawed and lazy. His stories are often comical, and sometimes he comes out on top, but often he suffers a consequence for his selfish behaviors.
I bought an old used copy of Anansi the Spider Man by Philip M. Sherlock. Although the cover of the book below looks a little babyish, the illustrations in the book are simple pen and ink. I also had a few more stories from Donna Simmon’s 2nd grade curriculum, but Anansi stories are found from many places on the internet and at the local library.
We read a few stories a week from the book, and we illustrated one story each week. The first story was a fantastic tale called “From Tiger to Anansi”, and it explains how the stories became Anansi stories. I wrote a short version of Anansi and the Tiger Stories for my son and I to read together each day.
We also made a sound house this week (see the instructions for sound houses in Marsha Johnson’s files at waldorfhomeeducators).
The next story we illustrated was “How the Crab Got a Hard Back”. I got this story from Donna Simmons, but there is also a short version here: https://www.planetseed.com/node/22940. This story can be found in this book as well:
I wrote a version for daily reading practice too: Anansi and Crab.
For our painting lesson this week, I used a story in the Anansi the Spider Man book called “Bandalee”. It is a story of Anansi and Turtle.
One of our form drawings was the race between Turtle and Anansi: