Saturday, October 23, 2010

Warli In Classroom - Lesson Plans

Usually my motto is not to make very moment a learning moment. Children need down time and nonsense moments and it truly contributes to their development. But I have also observed that at times they do show inclination to certain subjects and it is hard for me to ignore these signs. Warli art is one such sign.

We read Tara’s Beasts Of India early this year. Since then, I repeatedly saw in my children’s drawings Warli inspired cows, girls holding hands and dancing. Personally I was pretty taken with the concept of community highlighted by the Warli art and that I can convey a message with my meager illustrations skills gave me immense kick. I even wrote and illustrated for my girls a book in Tamil language based on Warli art!

All these inspirations combined with Praba’s suggestion about book extensions for CROCUS 2010 has given birth to Saffron Tree’s initiative to highlight teaching aids based on books by Indian publishers and Indian art form.

As a teacher in a preschool in California, one gets to experience the wonderful resources that are available for teachers to prepare lesson plans. In India, the scenario is different. Though slowly changing, I felt that there is a significant disconnect between the world of children’s books and curriculum. Children’s books are at times strictly viewed as something children do in their spare time and that curriculum always gets first priority. In reality, with publishers coming out with high quality children’s books, lot of these books can be seamlessly incorporated in a classroom.

The resource booklet has two activity ideas.

The first activity idea is in the area of fine motor control. From my experience I have found that schools in India place lot of importance on early writing skills and the teachers can be particular about the ‘neatness’ of a pupil’s work. But I have also observed that not much is done when a child has difficulty achieving the fine motor control required to hold a pencil. Children are expected to write. If they can’t get it right, they write some more. That is the way it has always been. The Warli mobile is a preschool activity that stresses the importance of the hand eye coordination and fine motor control.

Couple of years back when I toured some schools in Chennai, some preschool teachers were kind enough to meet with me to answer some of my questions for a research paper I was writing. One concern they expressed was the reluctance their children showed to speak in English in the classroom. As a Tamil language teacher in California, I observed that the children in my classroom were able to read and write in Tamil fairly well, but would jump through hoops to avoid making a conversation in Tamil. This was the inspiration for the language card activity DO! A Sentence.

The activities are fairly self explanatory with curriculum area, age range, execution time, aim, expected outcomes, preparation steps etc.

I hope you all enjoy it. Whether you are a parent or a teacher or a book publisher, please do leave comments. That is the only way we can gauge what is required and improve the quality of our material.

(The flow chart in the scribd embed below is not working. Please click on the WarliLessonPlanFinal link you see to view the full lesson plan on


You are welcome to download the lesson plan, provided you give credit to the original source.


artnavy said...

Wonderful stuff A!!Inspiring.

Anusha said... this is awesome stuff. admire your dedication and attention to detail!

sathish said...

utbt, cool. awesome! Great work.

Vibha said...

Wonderful and very inspiring. We are working on the warli mobile.

Tharini said...

Wow UTBT! This is just fascinating. Can't get enough of it from you. The Tamil flash cards idea is especially valuable to me. Thanks for he simplicity, skill and precision with which you have put all this valuable materials together. And keep going. Please!

utbtkids said...

Thanks every body.
Vibha, do share the mobile with us.

Anonymous said...

Amazing as always.Thinking to do the flash cards.

ranjani.sathish said...

Great post Utbt..went through your detailed lesson plan also. It is very neat and detailed.

The lesson plan for teaching Tamil, was something I followed for Sooraj to teach basic Hindi sentences earlier this year, when I found he was struggling with gender and tense forms that you have mentioned ! But my simple cards were without the Warli art...may be if I had tried with them also, it would have made it more interesting !!

Thank you for this wonderful resource material.

Subhashree said...

UTBT, great work. I'm amazed at your dedication and passion. Esp, quite impressed that you are a Tamil teacher :)

the mad momma said...

UTBT... only you, would give us something so satisfying. i cant imagine making the warli mobile

SoulSpace said...

Totally creative super!

Choxbox said...

Only you utbt..
Move back to India please and set up a school.

utbtkids said...

@ A'sAmma: Please come back and share with us how your flash cards went. For Ambuli's age, Do! will be a perfect book. You can see so much language emerging even from the non-readers.

@ Ranjani: We came up with similar idea?! How cool is that?!

@Subha: Thanks. This year I opted out of active classroom and asked to be kept on the sub list. Just taking a break.

@TMM, SSS: Thanks. I am glad you liked it.

@Chox: You are kind, as always :)

Praba Ram said...

Gosh, UTBT!! Passion for Warli flowing through. Lovely, and let this just be the beginning!

I am completely with you on your thoughts about the disconnect between children's literature and curriculum, and the viewpoint on how books and reading viewed as purely for sparetime.

Such clever ideas on the lesson plan. We have Dancing on the Walls. I can use some of your ideas to let the kids explore the artform more. Kirthana, in fact was into it for a while when she was close to five.Time to get the little one started and reinforce Warli and other artforms! :)

Such a wonderful effort!Best wishes on more! :)

utbtkids said...

Praba, I must thank you for the spark. Otherwise some of these would have been nothing more than our evening time pass art projects.

Looking forward to doing more activity plans.

Sheela said...

Speechless, utbt! The amount of work and dedication simply amazes me. THANK YOU!!

sandhya said...

WOW! Whattapost! Namaskaram, UTBT!

I echo Chox-do come here and set up a school. Our kids could do with a teacher like you.

Went through your Scribd attachment in detail, and really appreciated the phrase "process over final product." True, sometimes in my impatience I am guilty of stepping in and directing A's activity. Must remember this when I get that urge to interfere.

The Warli mobile is awsome. We will be doing that. We have recently tried out a Warli art set from 'Toy Kraft', which A enjoyed doing. In fact she went so far as to compare Warli art with egyptian paintings. Yes, there is a certain similarity.

I have been to the warli villages of Thane district, Maharashtra, not as a tourist, but as a member of a medical team, and have interacted with the villagers. The indigeneous art is indeed fabulous. This, however, was many years ago- more than 15yrs ago, when their art did not have the kind of exposure it enjoys now.

utbtkids said...

@Sheela, Sandhya: You are welcome. Sandhya, your visit to Thane must have been quite an experience.

Meera Sriram said...

Very Warli-ful!Thanks Utbt for this detailed post done with passion and hard work.
We've enjoyed Pratham's "It's fair to share - A Warli folktale" (thanks to R&S) which has warli art on terracotta colored pages.

utbtkids said...

Yes, Pratham's Its fair to share from Ranjani and Satish!!

The older child is reading and walking and reading A. L .L over the house. In the process the books are ending up at all odd places. I have been looking for Fair to share to include in the resource list and couldn't find it.

Thanks for reminding Meera. Will add it to the PDF.

Aline Pereira/ said...

I love this post and Saffron Tree's idea of developing text-to-world lessons plans. I'll be sharing this and future lesson plans with my friends who are teachers. Thanks!

yaadayaada said...

You are so creative and inspiring! The mobile is awesome!

utbtkids said...

@Aline: Thanks for your time and for your willingness to spread the word.

@YY: Thanks :)
Your comments are very special to me.

Shankari said...

Awesome UTBT! What a wonderful way to teach children! Very creative and I am sure little ones enjoy such activity oriented teaching. Kudos to teachers like you!

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