Monday, March 23, 2015

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 March 29. You can also choose to do the same basic lesson but told in a different way, The Synagogue and the Upper Room (Lesson 11 in the yellow book.) Or you can combine the two lessons as you like. I bet the children would really enjoy seeing how the synagogue and the upper room physically unite together to become the church!

Faces of Easter VI
:
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 16, 2015

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 March 22.
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 9, 2015

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 15.

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 the most important part of the story is.
3.   I wonder what God can teach us from this story.
4.   I wonder where you are in the story- what part of the story is about you.
5. 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.

 Like this, from www.childrensbiblelessons.blogspot.com
I'd probably change the title to "How Jesus Was Tempted" because I think when we refer to the Devil, children imagine evil in a little red suit, rather than evil thoughts that might crop up in their own minds.

2. They could show the desert scene with sand art, using glue and colored sand, as shown at http://smarteasyandfun.blogspot.com/2012/06/sand-art.html



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 2, 2015

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 8.
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 the most important part of the story is.
3.   I wonder what God can teach us from this story.
4.   I wonder where you are in the story- what part of the story is about you.
5.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'll soon be enjoying 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, February 23, 2015

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 1.
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 most important part of the story is.
3. I wonder what God can teach us from this story.
4. I wonder where you are in the story- what part of the story is about you.
5. 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 poster in the Children's Activity Room 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, February 16, 2015

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 February 22.
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

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Mystery of Easter

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to The Mystery of Easter, our lesson for February 15.


This lesson gives us a wonderful way to help the children remember that Easter "turns everything inside out and upside down" and that as we enter Lent and study each Sunday who Jesus grew to be, we should be on the lookout for God to show us unexpected things. The Mystery of Easter reminds us that Easter, as our faith's biggest celebration, is full of God's mystery and joyful surprise.

Though it doesn't focus on a particular Bible story, I think it's worth giving this lesson a whole Sunday morning because it both signals to the children that Lent is beginning and reminds the kids what Lent is all about. When we announce Lent and usher it in, we allow the children to realize what an important time it is--and hopefully they'll wonder what they can do to make it special to them.

A great way to begin this lesson is by changing the color of the felt underlay underneath the holy family to purple, since this is the First Sunday of Lent. This also segues well into the lesson script, "Now is the time for the color purple..."


Ideas for the Make A Gift For God Time
We have ideas just for this Sunday's response time and also ideas that can last through Lent.
 
Projects to Last Through Lent
I love the idea of individual or class projects that can be added to and worked on over the entire Lent period, allowing kids to go back to them each week as they like, in addition to any other projects they want to do on  a certain Sunday.

Here are two ideas for the whole season of Lent that you might consider:
1. A Cross, with blocks to illustrate each week's lesson about Jesus

You could do this many different ways.

What I did here is to take the biggest construction paper we have ( 12" x 18", I think) and made a pattern of a cross, which looks uneven because the copier cut the top off. Sorry! Then I sectioned it off into blocks. The kids could make their illustrations on squares of white paper the same size of the squares and glue them on, or they could draw directly on the cross. I would suggest they use the white paper, so they don't have the urge to throw the whole thing away if they make a mistake or are unhappy with one block.

The words are just to show you where you might put the different lessons. The children could choose to write captions or not.

It would be really cool if the crosses could be in purple, and then on Easter they could make one illustration on a matching white cross and glue it to the other side. Then it would remind them of this particular lesson.

2. A Jesus Tree.
You might have heard of a Jesse tree, like this one here, sort of like our Chrismon tree which we use to celebrate advent.
For Lent, we can use a Jesus Tree, with ornaments representing our lessons as we get closer to Easter.
Our trees should be in your rooms. You may want to have your class figure out how to cover the star with something Easter-y.


See Rebecca's blog, to see her ornaments, below. They're great!

I can buy you some tags to make some like these with if you let me know ASAP!

Look here and here for finished ornaments sold on etsy. The children could easily make their own versions of these! You can see some ornaments made out of felt here and here and here.
If children need help thinking of what to make for their ornaments, here are some suggestions:

Feb 15, The Mystery of Easter: A cross


Feb 22, Jesus' Birth and Growth and Presentation in Temple: Doves, Manger, Holy Family, shepherds, angels, kings, donkey, etc

March1, Jesus Lost and Found: scrolls, Temple, Mary and Joseph

March 8, Baptism and Blessing: doves, Jesus himself in the water, John the Baptist

March 15, Desert Experience: Bread, stones, an angel, mountains

March 22, Jesus as a healer and parable maker: person being healed, Jesus's hands, anything from the parables-bread, shepherd, mustard seed, the Good Samaritan, pearl, seed packets

March 29, Jesus Offers Bread and the Cup: chalice, bread, palms, table

April 5, Easter: Children could make a cross out of white construction paper and make it beautiful with illustrations or cut out pictures of flowers from magazines and glue it to the back of their cross. If they wanted to make ornaments for the Jesus tree, they could make crosses, or the stone from the tomb, or Easter Eggs. (Come to think of it, this would be a great time to do the Romanian eggs--or any kind!)


Projects Just for This Sunday

Children could make crosses.
Here are a few kinds:
1. Mosaic Cross. Cut a cross from fun foam and then cut bits of fun foam of other colors to glue on the cross to create a mosaic effect.
2. Suncatcher crosses: we may have some in the resource room. And paint too.
3. Stained Glass Cross:
Using a pattern, have the kids cut two identical cross shapes from waxed paper. Then use a plastic knife and scrape old crayons into shavings of various colors. Spread the crayons on one of the wax paper crosses.  Then place the second waxed paper cross on top. Have an adult use a warm iron to press the two pieces of waxed paper together. Attach a hanger and hang in the sun!
4. Make a "Magic Cross" as shown here.

Hope this helps you. Enjoy!