Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Flood and the Ark

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for August 5, The Flood and the Ark, found in Genesis 6:5 - 9:17.

This is bound to be a favorite story of the children. It's good to remember that Noah was a good man, but he wasn't sinless. He pleased God and God "found favor" with him because he loved God and obeyed him, and so his life can serve as an example to all of us.

I'm especially interested in how the children will respond to the wondering question, "I wonder where you are in the story or what part of the story is about you." Please do have someone write down their responses so we can share them. Thank you!

Idea Sparkers for the Give A Gift to God time:
 *A fun snack might be animal crackers. Just make sure they contain no peanut oil or tree nut oil, as we have children with severe allergies to nuts.
*You may have seen in the Fourth Grade room a mural that the children worked on together a couple of years ago for Noah's ark. Some children made the ark itself, others a rainbow, others pairs of animals (on separate sheets that they cut out and glued to the ark)  They LOVED doing this, and there was lots of ownership since each child got to pick what they made. Why not repeat it in your class?
*Kids could make an ark on paper and find magazine photos of animals to glue on to make a collage.
*Make animals out of play dough for an ark the class makes.
*Play an animal matching game.
*Emphasize God's promise by making rainbow castanets, as shown here. Or make any of the other rainbow projects as shown here.
*Make an ark out of Popsicle sticks as shown here. Scroll 3/4 the way down.

Love, Becky

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for July 22, the Parable of the Mustard Seed, found in Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, and Luke 13:18-19.
The children love this parable, and if you help them process it through the wondering questions, they're sure to come up with some profound thoughts and ideas.

The wondering questions are in the book. I'll have them printed out for you. Thank you for documenting the children's responses. They're so interesting for the parents-and for the rest of us!

Now, for some ideas to spark their imaginations as they do their work, making a gift to God...

1. How big do they imagine the mustard seed growing? Why not lay out butcher paper on the floor and let the children draw the tree? I've seen a class of fours do this, so I know all of ours can do it to. One team of kids could draw and fill in the tree, another do the leaves, another do the birds and birds' nests, and another do the sower.
Our fourth grade class did this a year or two ago and it turned out great!

2. Children could individually glue a seed to a paper and draw what the tree will grow to be.

3. You could plant a seed, if you haven't done that lately. It might be fun to plant grass seeds and draw a face on the pot/cup so as it sprouts it looks like hair.

4. The kids could make their own parable box for this one. There's felt in the resource room for the different parts, and they could also make a person out of a clothespin, birds and nests out of clay.

5. Make a mustard seed necklace as shown here

6. Sample different kids of mustard with pretzels or crackers as a snack.

Love, Becky

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Parable of the Leaven

Hi Godly Play Teachers, Welcome to our lesson for July 15, the Parable of the Leaven, found in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20-21.

It will be interesting to see what the children make of this parable. As Godly Play often encourages us, it's good to remember that the children may find meanings that we haven't even thought of- meanings we can learn from- so it's important not to steer them too much towards our own understanding.
It's also good to share how much three measures of flour is. I've read that it's enough to make a dozen loaves of bread- enough bread to feed 100 people!

Be sure to use the wondering questions to help them tease out their own thoughts from their heads. I'm afraid I've forgotten to print out the questions for you, with space to document the answers, and since I'm off to camp with the kids tomorrow, I won't be able to get that done. If I don't have them for you, please do jot down their responses on your own. I'd love to be able to share them with the parents in the newsletter, without names attached, of course.

Idea Sparkers for the Make a Gift to God time.
1. It might be fun to depict the parable by drawing out exactly how much bread this tiny bit of leaven can make rise. The children could make a mural showing the title of the parable, a drawing of a small amount of yeast, the dozen loaves of bread, and the baker woman. They could write out the short parable at the bottom, and we could put it on one of our big bulletin boards. Drawing out the dozen loaves would bring home how much bread the parable is talking about.

2. Eat bread! Let children shape croissant dough from the refrigerator aisle of the grocery store. If there's time, they could even "paint" it before baking with egg white colored with food coloring.
You could also compare unleavened bread with leavened bread by sampling each. Test what happens to warm sugar water with yeast in it.

3. The older children could work on the question of how do you show your leavening--or what kind of leaven are you? How do we participate in the kingdom of God? What things do we do to "make the bread of the kingdom rise?" To further the God's kingdom- to make the world like God wants it to be? This could be done in drawings, with a collage, a poster that the class works on together or separately.

4. Kids could also continue our hall project for the summer, making close up drawings of scenes from Jesus' life. Use the Easter tiles as examples.
Thanks, y'all!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Parable of the Sower

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for July 8, the Parable of the Sower.
 Jesus told this parable to answer the question, "What is the kingdom of heaven (God's kingdom) like?" The wondering questions this week are really important, because they can help the children understand the meaning of the parable. I hope you'll let the children struggle with each question. Sometimes it's very tempting to give them your answer, but a little mind struggling will allow them to find an answer that they can own-instead of one they don't really get, but feel you want them to believe. Even if they go down a wayward road, (if so we can always ask more questions to try to help them find their way) we will have "planted the seed" (how appropriate!) which they may discover later.

As you ask the wondering questions, if children have trouble, try to help them put themselves in the place of the sower. (Particularly helpful for questions 3,6,7,8,13,14)

So the important wondering questions we'll use this week are:
1. I wonder if the person had a name.
2. I wonder who the person could really be?
3. I wonder if the person was happy when the birds came and ate the seeds.
4. I wonder if the birds were happy then they saw the sower.
5. I wonder who the birds really are.
6. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds could not get their roots in among the stones.
7. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds were choked by the thorns.
8. I wonder what the person was doing when the little seeds were growing in the good earth.
9. I wonder what the harvest could really be?
10. I wonder what the sower used for seed?
11. I wonder what the sower sold?
12. I wonder what the sower kept for food?
13. I wonder if the sower was surprised at the harvest?
14. I wonder what part surprised the sower most?

Idea Sparkers for our Create a Gift for God time:

1. For the fourth and fifth graders, please use this time first for working on our hall project, making illustrations of Jesus's life. Please ask them to draw their figures as big as possible, to use color, and to make the scenes close-up, like the ones on the Easter tiles. The subjects for their drawings may include:
1. Jesus' birth
2. Jesus as a boy in the temple
3.Jesus' baptism
4. Jesus' temptation
5. Jesus' work as a healer and parable teller
6. Jesus offers the bread and wine
7. Jesus offers himself at Easter

Thank you! You know I don't  like to prescribe what the kids should spend their time on-I like them to have a choice- but we really need their help with this! The drawings will be such a wonderful addition to our hallway.

2. For the younger kids, this would be a perfect time to actually sow some seeds. You could use Styrofoam cups or small terra cotta pots which the kids could decorate, then fill with soil in which to plant a seed. You could also have them write a verse on a popsickle stick to put in the soil near the seeds they sow. They could choose a verse from the Bible story (a good way to have them look up the story themselves) or use Psalm 119:16b  “I Shall not forget your Word.”

3. Children could also reproduce the parts of the parable box-the sower, the birds, the pots, the rocky ground, the thorns, the plants.

4. Children could illustrate the parable with watercolors or markers or colored pencils.