We'd taken some time in our coverage of Australia two years ago to discuss the Aboriginal peoples and the later European (i.e., British) immigrants. So today I reminded the girls of Aboriginal art and decided to have each create a variation of the Yumbulul Story Design described in our Global Art book - and, for fun, we let Anna and Tegen, the five-year old boy I watch just on Friday afternoons, join in.
Each child had the task of narrating a story. With Rachel and Abigail, my only requirement was that an Australian animal play a central role in their tales. In Anna's case, she's been studying quails and other birds with me in conjunction with our "K4" curriculum this week, so I asked her to include birds in her story. And I simply had Tegen include animals of any sort, which worked well since many Aboriginal stories focus on animals anyway.
Afterwards, each painted a "story design" using only red, yellow, white, and brown - colors typical to Aboriginal art.
And, I must say, I was pretty impressed with the results:
The Brave Alpha
by Rachel, Age 9
Once upon a time in our Golden Age, dingoes ran wild throughout all of Australia. And this is the story I’m about to tell of the most bravest dingo of all.
Alpha was born in a cave just north of Tasmania. He was an orangish-brownish color and had pointy ears and the sharpest of teeth. When he grew older, he took over the pack, and in his leadership, they found more food than they could all eat together.
One day, Alpha was up on a hill, and he saw a lady dingo. He walked over to her, and they married. A few months later, Alpha and Vixen had a baby. They named him Pack. And, when his father died, Pack took over the pack.
And through all the generations, there has always seemed to be one Alpha in every pack…until it led up to me. So that means that my tenth great-grandfather was Alpha.
The Pool of Water
by Abigail, Age 8
Once upon a time, a magical dolphin dove out of the water and back in again. Off the dolphin fell a single water drop. This water drop was magical, just as the dolphin was. And the drop hit the ground. Then a magical pool of water grew. And it stayed there for many eons.
One day, a kangaroo came along. This kangaroo was about to have a baby. And this kangaroo had always wanted to be human. She decided to take a drink from the pool. And, as soon as she took one sip, something happened.
She started glowing! And she rose up in the air! And she stayed up there for a few hours! And, when she came down, there was something different. She could not bounce that high. She did not see her pouch. She could not feel her tail.
And then she looked at herself. And she was a human!
Well, she walked into the main village where the king himself lived. And she was spotted by the king’s son himself. The prince was entranced because he had never seen her before. And he started talking with her and walking with her.
But then a bit of trouble happened – because he asked her name. And she couldn’t say “Kangaroo,” because that would confuse him. And so she said, “Good-bye,” and she left to find shelter for the night.
A kind storekeeper told her that she could stay with him. And she thought all night. What was her name? What was her name? And she thought of the name “Leaf.”
She told the prince her name was Leaf the next morning. And they were married soon after. And, when Leaf (or Kangaroo) gave birth, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy! And she named him Joey.
Black Bear Helps Squirrel
by Tegen, Age 5
"Can you please help my friend Squirrel? Please?"
by Anna, Age 4
Once upon a time, there was a bird who was in a tree. And then the bird was a mom, and it had its babies. And then it got some food for its babies. And then, when it came back, there was one more egg that didn't hatch yet. And then its daddy had more food for the other babies. And then, finally, the last egg hatched.
Over this weekend, I'll make an "Australian Feast" of meat pie and damper bread, along with an awesome Aussie dessert called pavlova, all of which we enjoyed two years ago as well. And then next week, we'll keep memorizing the locations of a handful of nations in Oceania and spend a day each on the Great Barrier Reef, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa before moving on to Antarctica for a few days.
Photo Credit: turdusprosopis (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23630893@N08/4358772529/)