Monday, April 14, 2014

Faces of Easter VII: Celebrating the Risen Christ

Hi Godly Play Teachers! Happy Easter, in advance!
Welcome to Faces of Easter VII: Celebrating the Risen Christ, our lesson for Easter Sunday, April 20.
What a beautiful and important lesson we have this Sunday: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus! I love how Godly Play presents this lesson, reminding children that the crucifixion side of the story cannot be pulled apart from the resurrection part, and that which looks like an ending is actually a beautiful beginning.

There are wondering questions at the end of the lesson with the script. I'll have those in your room as well.

Don't forget to allow time for your children to celebrate the resurrection by visiting the cross on the courtyard outside the sanctuary, where each child will have an opportunity to add a flower or two to the cross. Maybe the younger children can go at the beginning of Sunday school, and y'all can stagger your visits so everyone has time to enjoy the cross. If you like, you could even take the kids to the labyrinth, with instructions for them to pray their own Easter prayer as they walk it. If the kids have plenty of direction as to what they're supposed to do (and if the weather is good) it might be a meaningful part of the morning!

We will have snacks in the game room before Sunday school, but you might want to share a special Easter snack with your kids (Hot cross buns or something Easter-y.) Just give me a clean receipt and I can make sure you're reimbursed. Easter is definitely something that deserves a party!

The children may have their own ideas about how they'd like to explore the story and celebrate it through art. It would be wonderful if they wanted to work together as a class to make a gift to God. Maybe a mural of the stone rolled away, or of the two sides of this week's story tile?

Here are some other ideas to add to your own:
Check out the stained glass cross example and directions here.

Make a plastic canvas cross here.

See a Resurrection cracked egg here.

All ages, from the youngest to the oldest would enjoy making a butterfly from a coffee filter as shown here. Discussion of how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly is a great lead in to talk about the transformation of Jesus. If you choose to do this and the kids have a chance to talk about what is alike/ different about the transformations, I'd love to hear the kids' comments. Jot them down if you have a chance.

Thanks y'all!
Much love, Becky

Monday, April 7, 2014

Faces of Easter VI: Remembering Jesus at the Last Supper

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter VI: Remembering Jesus At the Last Supper, our lesson for April 13.
:
What a whirlwind of a story this week's lesson is! So much happens, and all of it so very important: Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, greeted with palms waving, Jesus teaching in the temple and sharing the parable of the widow's offering, the temple guards' plan to take him on Thursday, the last supper in the upper room, Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas' kiss of betrayal and Jesus' arrest. What an honor, to be able to share this with the children and help them process it.

This Sunday at our church our first - fifth grade choirs will be singing in worship, so our time with most of our kids will be shorter than normal, so I know you'll want to get straight to the story. This is a perfect week to let the children respond to the story by gathering things from the Godly Play materials in the room that they feel help tell the story. I hope you'll be able to jot these down for me, along with their thinking on this, so that I can share it with the parents. I'll also have the following wondering questions for you in case that works better for your class, or if you have time to do both:

Wondering Questions:
1. I wonder what part of the story is your favorite.

2. I wonder what part of the story is the most important.

3.In the parable Jesus taught in the temple about the old woman's offering, I wonder who really gave the most, the old woman or the rich man.

4. When Jesus had the supper with the disciples and broke the bread and shared the wine, I wonder what they thought it meant.

5. I wonder how the disciples felt when the guards took Jesus away.

6. The Bible says that the disciples ran away. I wonder what thoughts were going through their minds.

7. I wonder what thoughts were going through the mind of Jesus.

Give A Gift To God Time
We'll have some non-choir children who'll have time to respond to the story creatively, so here are some ideas to add to your own:
1. Retell the story in sections. The story can be divided into scenes, with children working on different ones in pairs or individually. These can be hung together in your classroom if you like. Scenes would include the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, Jesus teaching in the temple, an illustration of the parable of the widow's offering, the Last Supper, Jesus praying in the garden, Jesus' arrest.
2. Act out the last supper.

2. Make more ornaments for your Jesus (Easter) tree. Children could make donkeys or palm branches, representations of the widow's offering, bread or chalices of wine, praying hands or a praying Jesus, or bags of money, representing the 30 pieces of silver Judas was paid to betray Jesus.

3. Palm art. Here are directions for palm crosses for older children. You can use green ribbon too.

4. See more ideas of Palm Sunday crafts here.

Enjoy! I hope you have a very meaningful Sunday!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Faces of Easter V: Remembering Jesus Healing and Sharing Parables

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter V: Remembering Jesus Healing and Sharing Parables, our lesson for April 6.
As we get ready for Easter this week, we remember the work Jesus did as he traveled around, healing people and sharing parables. It's a great chance to make clear to our children that being with people of all kinds, loving them, healing them of their physical and emotional wounds, and sharing truth through stories was the work that God sent Jesus to do--and still sends Jesus to do today. I look forward to hearing from the children ways that they can be like Jesus: how they can show their love for others, heal people who are hurting, and share God's truth with others.


You may want to share more detail in this week's lesson than what is written in the script. Because we are retelling all the parts of the Jesus story, sharing every tile that we've shared so far during Lent, the writer keeps the script very brief. As for me, I'd rather give very short summaries of the tiles shared in the previous weeks and spend a bigger chunk of time in the circle sharing the healing story and an example of a parable.


I've fleshed out the script for this purpose with a more detailed telling of Jesus healing the blind man and Jesus telling the Parable of the Friend at Night and will send you my version by email this week. Feel free to use it if you like.


If you haven't yet given each child an opportunity at the end of the circle time to gather something from the Godly Play materials that is related to this week's story and to share the relation that he/she sees, this week is the perfect opportunity to try it. Even if you also use the wondering questions, it could be an interesting and valuable part of the lesson. If you do, try to have an adult jot down their thoughts and ideas so that we can share them in the newsletter.


Since there are no wondering questions listed with the script, I'll have the ones below ready in your rooms. Thanks so much for taking time to document their responses. Having a peek into their thoughts and ideas is such a gift to the parents--and to the rest of us!


Wondering Questions:
1. I wonder what was your favorite part of today's story.
2. In the healing part of our story, wonder how the blind man felt and what he thought when Jesus first took him by the hand.
3. Jesus put his spit on the man's eyes, and the man could see, but not well. Then Jesus put his hands on his eyes again and his sight was perfect. I wonder why it took Jesus two times. 
I wonder what this might teach us about helping people.
4. We can't heal people's eyes by touching them, but I wonder how we can help people with their hurt bodies and hurt feelings.
5. We shared the story Jesus told called the Parable of the Friend at Night. In that story, I wonder who the friend is who has gone to bed. 
I wonder who you are in the story. 
I wonder what Jesus wanted us to know about praying.
6. We talked about the fact that Jesus' work was to come close to people, especially the people no one else wanted to come close to. If Jesus came to do this today, I wonder what kind of people Jesus would want to spend time with.


Gift to God Time
There are many different directions the children can go in responding to this week's time together. They could focus on retelling the healing story or the parable or both. Or they could extend this lesson by focusing on how we as Christians can participate in the healing of others and in telling truth and sharing God's message.
Retelling today's story:
1. Children could make 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional representations of the healing story or the parable story through drawing or painting it, making a mural, creating the scene in a diorama, making clay figures to act out the story, etc.


2. Children could work in a group or individually collecting healing stories of Jesus or
parables Jesus told. How long a list could they make? Could you work together, giving groups of kids different gospels to scan, making a list on a piece of butcher paper? Maybe they could illustrate the list with a simple drawing beside each title. The Bibles in our Sunday school rooms have headings of each parable and healing story, making them easy to find. Do all the gospels tell the same stories? This would be good to investigate.


3. Children could be given the option of examining other parable stories in the parable boxes and retelling them to a partner. They might have to look these up in the Bible to make sure they remember the stories. We'd just need to be sure that they're careful to keep all the materials together and separate from each other.


4. The children could even make a mini-booklet of parables, with one on each page and a simple illustration.


5. Children could make ornaments for our Jesus tree from the different healing and parable stories. How about a set of eyes for this week? Or a door from the parable? Or items from other parables and healing stories. There are some interesting ones here.


How we can help heal others:
6. Children could make cards to help heal those who are sick or lonely. I'd be glad to pass these on to the ministers when they visit. When we've done this before we've had a great response. Cards really do make a difference!


Do you have other ideas to share? Please describe them in the comments!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Faces of Easter IV: Remembering Christ's Desert Experience

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter IV: Remembering Christ's Desert Experience, our lesson for March 30.
As we get ready for Easter this week, we remember Jesus' temptation in the wilderness, described in Matthew 4: 1-11. It's good to remember that this event happened right after Jesus' baptism, before he could begin his work. Or maybe being tempted--and letting us see that even he was tempted--was part of his work!

As we all know (and have lived!) children have plenty of experience with temptation. Thankfully they have this sacred story to refer to, both now and as they get older. Temptation never goes away in life so it's a great lesson for all of us.

Since there are no wondering questions listed with the script, I'll have these ready in your rooms. Thanks so much for taking time to document their responses. Having a peek into their thoughts and ideas is such a gift to the parents--and to the rest of us!

Wondering Questions:
1. I wonder what is your favorite part of today's story.

2. I wonder what it felt like to be so hungry and to be reminded that if he wanted to, he could turn the stones into bread.

3. Jesus responded, "To be a real human being, we need more than just bread to eat. I wonder what he meant. I wonder what he thought we needed.

4. When Jesus found himself on top of the Temple, I wonder how it felt to imagine himself falling and having the angels save him. I wonder if people had seen him do that, what they might have thought about him.

5. I wonder how it felt to be tempted to easily become the king of all the kingdoms.

6. I wonder why Jesus needed to go through all of these temptations before he started working with people.

Now, some ideas to add to your own to serve as springboards for the children's response time:
Focus on retelling the story itself:
1. Children could draw the three separate scenes. They could do this individually, on a large paper, folded in thirds. Or they could do this as a class, on a large mural on butcher paper. They could make captions, explaining each scene.

2. They could show the desert scene with sand art, using glue and colored sand, as shown here.

3. They could pick one scene to draw (or all three) and paint the drawing with watercolors.

Focus on the idea of temptation and how God can help us deal with it.
4. On one side of a drawing or collage of magazine pictures, children could illustrate the different temptations they face at school or at home or at church or sports. (Cheating, disobeying parents, being hurtful to others, eating things that aren't good for them, etc).  On the other side they could show how they resist temptation by asking God for help. Or they could put on that side a verse of scripture or "What would Jesus do?"  Some scripture that might be appropriate might include:


James 1:12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord* has promised to those who love him.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not rely on your own insight. 

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God * is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

5. Children could make a What Would Jesus Do bracelet (or a love bracelet) with letter beads and twine, tying knots between each bead to make them stay in place.



6. Children could make ornaments for the Jesus/Easter tree in their Sunday school room. For today's lesson, this might include hot gluing stones to thread to hang, or ornaments of scripture from this lesson.


7. Children could make a banner from felt or fun foam on What Would Jesus Do?

I hope this helps! Thank you for all you do!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Faces of Easter III: Remembering Christ's Baptism and Blessing

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter III: Remembering Christ's Baptism and Blessing, our lesson for March 23.

As we get ready for Easter this week, we remember and celebrate Christ's baptism and blessing from God. How good it is to remember that Jesus chose to be baptized before he started his work, to mark the beginning of his adult journey toward the cross by getting in line with us, teaching us what to do. It reminds us how meaningful it is to begin our own discipleship by leaning into the darkness of the water, letting God cleanse us, allowing our old selves to die and be buried, and then get up, dry off, and start life marked and blessed officially as God's own.

There are so many ways we can go with this lesson. We must focus on the story itself, of course, but we can also give thought to examining the concept of the trinity, recognizing that this moment in Jesus' life is a beautiful interaction of the father, son, and the holy spirit.

At the end of the storytelling time you could  ask the children to gather items to put by the baptism tile, or you could use wondering questions to help them process the story. Here are the ones I'll have in your rooms:

1. I wonder what your favorite part of this story is.

2. I wonder what you already know about John the Baptist.

3. I wonder how John the Baptist might have felt when Jesus asked him to baptize him.

4. I wonder why Jesus wanted to be baptized, even though he was God's son?

5. I wonder what people thought when they saw the holy spirit come down toward Jesus. I wonder what they thought when they heard God's voice say, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased."

6. I wonder how it might feel to be baptized.

7. God and the holy spirit gave Jesus a blessing. I wonder what a blessing is. I wonder if you've ever been given a blessing and how that felt. I wonder if you've ever given anyone else a blessing.

Here are some ideas that might serve as springboards for the children's own creations:

Retelling the story:
1.  Have a small Jesus figure, a small John figure, and a pool (a large bowl of water) and let the children take turns at one table retelling the story and acting it out with the figures.

2.  Let the children make their own Jesus and John figures (clothespins?) and their own pool (plastic bowls or recycled containers like Cool Whip size-there may be some in the resource room. If not, you could even use a Solo cup, cut shorter.)

3. I remember a teacher from my own childhood having us clean dirty pennies with water and vinegar, talking about how our sins are washed away in baptism. I'm not sure how I feel about this.  If I did that today I would want to add that even after our baptism is done, we still have to ask God daily to forgive us of the mistakes we make.

4. Make a snack to celebrate this special event in Jesus' life.
You could make edible bugs to dip in honey as done here, or make trinity muffins as described here.

An edible locust! (See the antennae?)

5. Make more ornaments for your Jesus tree.
A. You could always make doves, as shown here or here (I know it's an owl, but you could make it into a dove,)  or here (I love that one.) Or pick up some feathers at the craft store and let the kids think themselves how to make it from the feathers and other materials you have on hand.

B. Another ornament idea is to make a Chrismon-type ornament that celebrates his baptism in particular as shown here (scroll down and see the scallop one.) Or why not use real scallop shells from a craft store and make your own like the one in the link. The kids could hot glue a ribbon to it and figure out how to represent the three drops of water shown in the chrismon--or not! They could put a dove with the shell, or make it however they like!


C. There's a pretty one out of felt here. Kids could copy it or even better, design their own!
http://www.mssscrafts.com/newtestament/baptism.htm

Examining the Concept of the Trinity.
1. Since we just enjoyed St. Patrick's Day, it might be a good time to look at the 3 leaved shamrock as a symbol of the trinity. Here's an ornament the kids could make out of fun foam here. And there are plenty of other ideas here. Be sure to scroll down to see all the examples.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Faces of Easter II: Jesus is Lost and Found

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter II: Jesus Is Lost and Found, our lesson for March 16.
This week we remember and celebrate the phase of Jesus' life when he was a boy by telling the story from Luke 2: 39-52. In this story, Jesus is found in the temple after the Passover festival.
What a great opportunity for children to think about Jesus as a boy, a child near their own age. I'm sure that if they really start doing some heavy duty thinking about this, a zillion questions may spring up. It's great for all of us to witness this and ask questions of our own!
At the end of the story, you can choose whether to ask children to find an item in the classroom that helps tell about this part of Jesus' life or you can ask wondering questions.

Here are some wondering questions you might ask:
1. I wonder what your favorite part of this story is.
2. I wonder what the Jewish teachers thought about Jesus, as he listened to them and asked questions.
3. I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt when they realized that they didn't know where Jesus was.
4. I wonder what Mary and Joseph felt when they found Jesus.
5. I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought when he said, "Didn't you know that I had to be in my father's house?" 
6. I wonder what the temple leaders thought when they heard Jesus say that.
7. I wonder what questions Mary had about all of this after they were back home again.


Gift to God Time
There are several ways you and the children can choose to go during your response time. You can focus on the story itself, you can help children think about the role of church in their own lives, or you could focus on the idea of God helping us grow during childhood. I'm sure you can think of other ways to respond to this story. Here are a few ideas you might find helpful for the children to use as a springboard:

For a focus on the story itself:
Flickr photo by Lawrie Cate, creative commons
1. Make a scroll of scripture, like the ones Jesus might have studied.
Each child could make their own, or the children could work together to make a big one for the class, with each child writing a verse on it.
To make a scroll, take a sheet of white paper the size of your own choosing and let the children write or copy a verse or several verses. (Luke 2:52 would be especially appropriate for this week.) Then crinkle up the paper, straighten it, and repeat several times to make it look old. If they want, kids can tear the paper around the top and bottom edge (not the sides, where they'll attach the dowel sticks.) Then curl the sides around dowel sticks and glue to dowels. Paint the scroll with tea and let it dry.
A fifth grader makes a scroll.
2. Children could draw Jesus in the temple, or draw the temple background and cut a Jesus figure out of paper so that you can move him around the temple. Kids could also cut out Mary and Joseph figures so that they can "enter" the temple and play out the story. Or you could turn a shoebox into a temple scene with clay or clothespin Jesus, Mary, and Joseph figures, in addition to temple leader figures. Or you could have the children just make the figures and let them retell the story using the Godly Play temple we have in our rooms.
Mary comes with a question mark because she's wondering where Jesus is.


Children could draw the story on Easter eggs for the Easter tree.
3. Act out the story. Have props available (or make them!) Be sure to take photos!
For a focus on the role of church in the children's own lives:
1. Have the children draw or paint or cut out photos for a collage on what their favorite thing is to do at church. Maybe have one side of the drawing of all the things we do at church, and then on the other side their absolute favorite thing.

2. Have the children make a church/temple out of a shoebox or popsickle sticks or lego or clay. Kids could go look at the bulletin board in the children's hallway and see what the temple looked like first. 
3. Make a stained glass window from torn tissue paper and construction paper, as shown here.
For a focus on the idea of God helping us grow:
1. Have the children trace each other's bodies on butcher paper and color them in with markers or paint. You could hang your classroom of students on the wall and have the children come up with a title about how God helps us grow.
2. As you talk about growing, each child could plant grass seeds or flower seeds in a small pot--or if you really want to get creative with the Easter theme, in an (Easter) egg shell, as shown here.
3. Jesus grew by learning and working hard. How do the children do this? They could draw the things they do as they grow to learn and work hard. Or they could make coupon cards for their parents, good for cleaning their room or dusting the furniture or sweeping, etc.

Hope these ideas help!
Thanks you all!
Becky

Monday, March 3, 2014

Faces of Easter I: Remembering the Birth and Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to Faces of Easter I: Remembering the Birth and Presentation of Christ in the Temple, our lesson for March 9.
If the Faces of Easter lessons are new to you, you'll find that in Godly Play we use the season of Lent to remember Jesus's life, step by step. In our first lesson of this series, we explore the story of Jesus's birth. As you retell it in light of the Lenten season, why not also share the story of his presentation in the temple from Luke 2: 22-38? We don't always share this part of the story and this would be a great time to do so.
If your Godly Play story baskets are all displayed in your classroom where the children can see them, I'd encourage you to include the part of the script in which you invite the children to gather one by one anything in the room that reminds them of this part of Jesus's life, put it around the story tile, and share their thoughts about its connection with the story. As you know, the children can be so creative in this and make connections that we might not even think of.
If your materials are not where the children have easy access to them, here are some wondering questions you can ask, in lieu of having the children gather materials that support today's lesson. 
 

1.   I wonder what your favorite part of today’s story is. 

2.    I wonder what Joseph and Mary did for Jesus when he was a baby to help him grow?

3.   I wonder what hopes Mary and Joseph had for Jesus and who he would grow up to be?

4.   I wonder what hopes God had for who Jesus would grow up to be?

5.   I wonder who else might have helped Jesus grow to be the person God made him to be?

As for the Give a Gift to God Time, here are some thoughts...
 
 





If your class is decorating a Jesus tree, (the trees should be in your room) there are several ideas for ornaments:
Jesus in the manger
(Like this one here  on the left from catholicsupply.com)


The kids could make Jesus from a clothespin and make a manger out of twigs and leaves from a walk outside.










Or make ornaments of baby Jesus and the pigeons out of felt as seen here. So precious! Or how about these felt doves here?
Or they could make the animals in the stable, the shepherds, angels, holy family, or the Magi.
Wyline had a great idea of making ornaments by having the children cut out egg shapes out of construction paper and decorating one side like an Easter egg and illustrating the other side with elements from that Sunday's lesson.
As much as you can, let the children come up with how they want to illustrate the story. They're so much more invested in their work when the whole thing is their idea.
If your class is working on completing the cross map of Lenten lessons, as shown here, this would be the time to make an illustration for the square of Jesus's birth. Children could illustrate this with whatever materials they want--watercolors, markers, collage, colored pencils, etc.
Another idea would be to create three dimensional scenes in your classroom for each week's lesson. For this week you could bring a baby doll to represent Jesus and have the children figure out how to make a manger to lay him in, maybe make pigeons out of clay for the presentation in the temple. Find material in the resource room for the kids to make a blanket with which to swaddle him. I bet the children can think of other elements for the scene. You could arrange these scenes around the room, making your own version of the stations of the cross!
I hope this helps!
Thank you for all you do!
Love, Becky