CREE CALENDAR – Shapes, Patterns, Cycles

Students use washable paints, markers, and construction paper to illustrate a month from the traditional Mushkegowuk Cree Calendar (from the James Bay Lowlands).

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CREE CALENDAR – Shapes, Patterns, Cycles


  • Crayola Washable Paint
  • Crayola Scissors
  • Crayola Paint Brushes
  • Crayola Construction Paper
  • Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12")
  • Crayola Washable Glue Sticks
  • Water Containers
  • Paper Towels
  • Heavy White Paper - 45.7 cm x 61 cm (18" x 24")
  • Description of the Traditional Cree Calendar (Included)


Step 1
  1. Choose a month from the Cree Calendar.
  2. Imagine the changes, cycles, and patterns in nature occurring in this month.
  3. Using a variety of colours, brainstorm ideas about the month you have chosen in words and pictures.
  4. Record your ideas in your sketchbook or on a blank piece of paper.
Step 2
  1. Create a background for your chosen month.
  2. Use a pencil and ruler to make interesting patterns from geometric shapes
  3. Use a variety of colours to paint each shape.
  4. Make sure different colours are used on each shape creating contrast.
Step 3
  1. Draw an organic shape of an animal or plant included in the brainstorming activity on construction paper or heavier white paper.
  2. Draw the shape 3 times – one large, one medium, and one small.
  3. Cut out each shape.
  4. Place the shapes on the painted geometric background.
  5. Move the shapes around to create a sense of space.
    - large in the foreground
    - medium in the middle ground
    - small in the background
Step 4
  1. Create a border around each organic shape by using words to describe the:
    - Cree calendar month
    - changes and cycles you notice taking place during the month
    - the things you love about this time of year
  2. Use warm colours to write on the large organic shape.
  3. Use cooler colours on the two smaller organic shapes to show that you are moving back in space.
  4. Draw small symbols or images to mark the end of a thought or feeling, creating a pattern of words and symbols.
Step 5
  1. Place the organic shapes on the painted geometric background creating contrast between the shapes and colours.
  2. Glue the shapes to the painted background.
Illustrated Crayon Character