Monday, June 29, 2015

The Parable of the Sower

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for July 5, 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:

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 Popsicle 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.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Parable of the Great Pearl

Hi Godly Play Teachers, Welcome to our lesson for June 28, the Parable of the Great Pearl.

In a world like ours, which places such importance on having things, it's a great story to help us explore the greatest treasure one could possess: God's kingdom and a relationship with God. What does it mean to sell all that we have to obtain this treasure? I bet the kids can help us figure this out.

The wondering questions are in the book. They include:
1. I wonder if the person was happy with the great pearl.
2. I wonder what the merchant is going to do now.
3. I wonder why the seller was willing to give up something so precious.
4. I wonder if the seller has a name.
5. I wonder if the merchant has a name.
6. I wonder what the great pearl could really be?
7. I wonder what could be so precious that a person would exchange everything for it?
8. I wonder if you have ever come close to the great pearl.
9. I wonder where this whole place could really be.

Thank you for having an adult take time to jot down the children's responses to these questions.

Idea Sparkers for Our Give a Gift to God Time:

1. Make a "pearl" necklace. Hobby shops (Michaels, Hobby Lobby) has fake pearls that you can string. Each student could make themselves a necklace using one pearl and yarn, along with whatever other work they choose to do today.

2. What does the kingdom of God look like? What makes it such a priceless treasure?
Children could draw a mural together or individual pictures. What could they show people doing in the kingdom of God? Is nature in the kingdom of God? How are people treating nature and each other?

3. Children could make their own parable set, so they can retell this parable.

4. Make/buy a "pearl" snack to share. I'm still thinking on how to do this. Maybe like a Mexican wedding cookie but with no nuts? (Remember that we're nut free on the hallway due to allergies.) Something that looks like a pearl...any ideas?

Thanks, y'all!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Parable of the Good Samaritan- for June 21

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Welcome to our lesson for June 21, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

What a wonderful story about what it means to be a neighbor, and our responsibilities as followers of The Way to help those around us. You might want to include time in your morning to go visit the Good Samaritan statue near the remembrance garden.

Here are some wondering questions. I'd love to share the children's responses in our weekly newsletter. Thank you for writing down their responses.

Wondering Questions:
1. I wonder who is the neighbor to the person who was hurt, had everything taken from him, and was left by the side of the road half dead?
2. I wonder what would happen if the person finding the injured traveler were a child?
3. I wonder what it means to be a neighbor.
4. I wonder if you've ever had anyone be a neighbor to you like this Samaritan was to the hurt man.
5. I wonder if you've ever been the one who was the Good Samaritan?

 Idea Sparkers for our Gift to God Time
Here are some ideas for the parable itself:
1. Children make get well cards as a way to help others, like the Good Samaritan in the story
2. Children act out the story. (My camera will be in its usual place and takes pretty good video. Please use it!)
3. Children could make a collage or drawing on who is our neighbor.
4. Children could make a collage or drawing on How I Can Be a Good Samaritan.
5. You could also go with the What Would Jesus Do theme. Make a bracelet with WWJD, or a mural of the story, or act out scenes of different conflicts and ask the question, "What would Jesus do?"
6. If you've visited the Good Samaritan statue, why not ask the children if they'd like to try to make their own with play dough or quick dry clay?


The Parable of the Good Shepherd- for June 14

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Welcome to our lesson for June 14, the Parable of The Good Shepherd.

What a beautiful story that so perfectly depicts Jesus--the one who would (and did) lay down his life for his sheep! The parable is full of so much meaning, so many layers that the children can explore. I'm sure they'll be ready to talk about their own times when they've "found the good grass" as well as times where they've felt that they (or others they know) have been through places of danger. It's a great time to share our own such experiences and how our faith in God helped us make it through. Most every child has a story to share about being lost and found. I'm hoping you'll enjoy lots of discussion with this lesson!
There are wondering questions within the story script for this lesson. I'll have them in the classrooms for you to write in their responses.

Idea Sparkers for our Create a Gift for God time:
It seems to me there are two ways to go here. The children can either reproduce the parable in some way, or they can explore their own experiences with what the parable talks about: being lost and found, their own faith in the Good Shepherd, their own times of good grass and cool water or times of danger and faith.

Ideas for reproducing the parable:

1. Let the children make their own miniature parable boxes with this week's parable inside. If you want to buy small boxes, just purchase them, give me a receipt and I'll reimburse you. We have green felt in the resource room. The kids could use fun foam for the pen and the water and the dangerous places, and could make the sheep however they want, with clothespins and cotton balls or their own ideas. Some links for sheep are here and here.
They could draw and cut out a wolf and the shepherd.

2. They could make their own sheep and shepherd puppets at the links above. (in #1)

Ideas for exploring the parable in terms of their own experiences:
1. The children could make a class mural/picture of how it feels to be lost (on one side) and found (on the other side). The title could be something like The Good Shepherd Takes Care of the Sheep or something like that.
2. They could illustrate My Good Shepherd Calls My Name, drawing the Good Shepherd and themselves.
3. This would be a perfect time to study and illustrate the 23rd Psalm!

Love, Becky

Paul's Discovery

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Welcome to our lesson for June 7, the story of Paul's Discovery.

Before we dive into a series of Jesus' parables this summer, we have one more Sunday to continue our previous timeline: Jesus has been crucified, then resurrected. Jesus spent 40 days appearing to his disciples and letting them begin to know him in a new way until finally that time was over. He ascended into heaven. The Holy Spirit arrived and we celebrated it first with Pentecost Sunday, then, last week, Trinity Sunday. Now we continue the story with Paul's amazing transformation and work. It's a wonderful example of the power of the Holy Spirit to change us in profound ways!

What a rich story of Saul/Paul, from birth to death! You'll find the script in the yellow (Spring) book    p.126-135. The wondering questions are listed at the end.

Idea Sparkers for our Gift to God Time:
(And Check out other ideas at this pinterest site!)
 1. Paul's life is so exciting. It would be fun to divide up the group and have the children act out scenes. Even our youngest kids could do it!

Scenes they may choose to act out:
1. Making tents with his father (bring a sheet from home and drape it over a table or rope) Pretend to hammer down stakes.
2. Waving goodbye to his family and traveling to Jerusalem (bring a suitcase)
3. Worshiping in the temple (Gather candlesticks, make a big scroll to read)
4. Saul trying to catch people who followed Jesus to bring them back for punishment.
5. Saul's experience on the road to Damascus. (Maybe bring a lamp for a great light. )
    Act out being led to Damascus and staying in the house, where the scales fall from his eyes.
6. Saul's telling the good news of his transformation at the synagogue and then how Jesus' followers hid him when people grew angry.
7.Paul's escape over the city wall in a basket. (A laundry basket and rope would be perfect for this!)
8. Paul's traveling and writing letters.
9. Paul kept as a prisoner in his own house.

2. Let the children work in pairs or alone to illustrate their favorite scene from the story. Have an "art show" at the end to look at everyone's work and put the works in chronological order.

3. Examine the scrolls to see which books of the Bible do we think Paul wrote. Children could make bookmarks for their Bibles illustrated with scenes from Paul's life.

Enjoy, everyone!
Love, Becky