Monday, October 27, 2014

The Psalms


Hi Godly Play Teachers!


Welcome to The Psalms, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, Nov 2,based on the book of Psalms. I've emailed you the story script, which includes the first part of the David story from last week, found in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall, p.81. If you are not a Sunday school teacher at FBC Greenville and would like a copy of the Psalms story script, just email me and I'd be happy to send it to you.

In the script, we use the first part of the David story and then explore the idea that the Psalms writers went to God with all kinds of different emotions. We discuss how we can pray to God when we feel afraid, happy, angry, peaceful, sad or worried, and joyful, or when we feel sorry for what we've done. With each different emotion, we share a Psalm (or 2 or 3) that the Psalm writers experienced and shared with God.

To share the Psalms, we're going to use a beautiful book, Psalms for Young Children, written by Marie-Helene Delval and illustrated by Arno. In this book, Ms. Delval has adapted the psalms for children in a way that is so easy to read and to relate to. I've purchased one for each class (except for 3rd grade, which already had a copy.) You'll find it in your story basket, which I left near your Bible bookcase. I put it there to remind you (and me) that you'll need the Bible Bookcase as you tell the story. (You'll take the Psalms book out and place it on the underlay in part of the story.
By the way, the Psalms in this book are shared in order (by number.) They're so short that I think you'll find it hard to stop reading them!

To help the children follow along with the different emotions we'll be discussing I've made emotion cards for each class.

Older children might enjoy comparing the Psalms as written in the Bible with Marie Helene Delval's adaptations. They might like making their own adaptations as well. You might want to choose one Psalm to focus on, like #23 or 139.

The wondering questions are included in the story script.

Ideas for Your Give a Gift to God time:

1. Writing our own Psalms--Have children pick an emotion that they sometimes feel and write God a prayer or song that they might pray or sing while feeling that way.

2. Write a psalm showing how you feel today. Draw a picture to go with it.
Or read a psalm to a friend that shows how you feel.

3. Illustrate a Psalm. Choose a psalm and illustrate it, like Arno did in Psalms for Young Children. (Any Psalm would be good. If you want, you could choose the psalm for the children, like #23 or 139.)
4. Write a psalm together as a class, and then let the children illustrate it individually or together.
5. Work out a tune that fits a psalm that you like. Or write your own to sing.
6. Make instruments to play while singing a psalm. You can find directions to make a simple tambourine here, and a lyre here.
I hope you enjoy the lesson! :)
Love, Becky

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Story of David


Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of King David, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 26, based on 1 Samuel 16-31, 2 Samuel and 1Kings 1-2. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.78-85.



This week's story is another one (like Ruth and Samuel) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the Psalms, (to be followed by the Ark and the Temple.)

Some of the story's themes which you might want to help the children think about:
1. We can come to God with all sorts of feelings (as in the Psalms---we'll explore this one more next week)
2.God can help us be brave enough to do what is right and needed.
3. Friendship is a gift from God.
4. God uses people, even with their faults.
5. God forgives our mistakes when we ask for forgiveness.


Ideas for the Make a Gift for God Time:
Children choose how to respond to the story and get started!
Some children drew symbols of David's life on stones. You can see another made an ark of the covenant.
1. Children could reproduce the elements of the story in some way.
* Make a harp
*Make a crown for King David
*Make an ark of the covenant
*Make a parable box for the parable that Nathan told David (there is plenty of felt in the resource room)
*Make a drawing of Jerusalem- or a watercolor.

2. Children could paint symbols of David's life (shepherd's crook, bottle of incense, two friends, crown, ark, etc) on small stones. There are stones in the resource room.

3. Children can celebrate David's childhood by making David with the sheep. Go to the site here, for plenty of options for crafting sheep. (Scroll down to "sheep")

4. Children could sculpt a David and Goliath out of play clay.

5. The class could work on a mural of David's life with one long piece of butcher paper- assigning parts of his life to individual children to illustrate.

6.  Children could focus on the friendship between Jonathan and David and explore what kind of friendship God celebrates.

I hope these ideas help!
Love, Becky

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Story of Samuel

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of Samuel, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 19, based on 1 Samuel 1-28:3. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.72-77.


This week's story is another one (like Ruth) that fits nicely after the story of the ark and the tent. And it follows right into the next story on our schedule: the story of David.

The story of Samuel is also very interesting to children for a couple reasons: they relate to the idea of a child growing physically and in relationship with God and they think about how God communicates- and probably wish that God would call their names in an audible voice.
Themes you might want to help the children think about:
1.God answers prayer
2. You can serve God even as a child.
3.God plans to take care of you (if you want a memory verse, you could use Jeremiah 29:11)
4.God asks us to stand up for what is right, as Samuel did.
5.Obedience (Samuel obeyed God even though he was not happy about what the
people wanted-a king)

Ideas for the Make a Gift for God time:
Remember that one of the strongest parts of Godly Play is the child's ability to choose how he responds to the story. We want to give the child as many chances to have say so in what she does as possible.


1. Reproduce the story in some way- make pieces, such as the ark, a Baby Samuel, robes of different sizes, (showing how Samuel grew during his service in the temple), a sleeping mat, a crown









2. Children could make a life size drawing of themselves and caption it: I can serve God right now! This could be done by having another child trace around their body on butcher paper. They could draw clothes on their body or use fabric from the resource room. Maybe they could hold something in the drawing that gives a hint to how they can serve God right now.
 3. A collage or drawing of how children can serve God right now. Children could make these individually and then put them together as a class project. (Ways include how they treat others, through prayer, in worship at church, helping others...)
4. Children could think about how they might like to serve God in the future. How does a doctor or teacher or engineer or scientist serve God? They could explore this in a drawing or make a model with play clay.
5. Children could act out the story of Samuel hearing God's call and going to Eli--and the rest of the story as well. (Be sure to video!)
6. Hannah makes Samuel a new robe each year and brings it to him in the temple. Children could make a "robe" from a paper grocery bag as we often do with Joseph, as shown here. (Scroll down and see the girl modeling hers!)

I hope this helps! :)
Love, Becky

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Story of Ruth

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to the story of Ruth, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, October 12, based on the book of Ruth. You can find the script for the story in the pink Enrichment Presentations for Fall book, p.66-71.



As the book describes, this story doesn't "unroll" like many other stories, from left to right in chronological order. Instead it moves from the Promised Land (specifically Bethlehem) to Moab and back to Bethlehem. The whole felt block is shown throughout the story.

The story of Ruth follows the story of the Tabernacle, in which great emphasis was put on being one of the chosen people of God. It's wonderful that we now can share the story of Ruth, not one of the chosen People of God, but a Moabite, yet she was clearly valued and loved by God. She married one of God's People, Boaz, and eventually became the great grandmother of King David (and an ancestor of Jesus!) The story gives us a wonderful opportunity to remind children that God values "other-ness," that all are included in and welcomed into God's love and care.

Idea sparkers for the Give a Gift to God time:
There are several ways children and teachers can go with this.
1. Focus on the story itself.
a) Let the children act out the story.
b) Draw the scenes of the story or make a three dimensional representation of the story.
c) Help the children learn the meaning of "gleaning" by giving them a chance to do a modified form of it in this "gleaning game" (from the site here.)
 "Fill 2 roasting pans or cookie sheets with 2 lbs. of cornmeal and a cup of rice and place it in the center of the blanket. Set the paper cup to the side. Explain to the children that they will be gleaning grain just as Ruth did for Naomi. Divide the kids into two groups. Have each group stand around their pan. Ask them to work together to fill the cups with rice, one grain at a time. Tell the children not to put any of the rice into their mouths since it is uncooked. For a fun challenge, set a timer for three minutes. Ask the children to see if they can fill the "bushel" before the timer goes off. But remind them to be careful - if someone knocks over the cup they'll have to start all over again."


d) Let the children explore wheat. Give each child a single spear (I bought some from Hobby Lobby in the dried flower section) and let them try to separate the grains. Let me know by Wednesday if you'd like me to buy some wheat for your class.
e) Weave wheat into an ornament/hanging as described here.

2. Focus on friendship between Ruth and Naomi.
You can concentrate on the theme that friendship and the loyalty that goes with it is a gift from God. a) Children might make friendship bracelets, like those shown here. Or for younger children, make simple strings of beads made into bracelets. We have tons of material for these in the art storage room!  Or make a necklace for a friend, as shown here.
b) Children could make a mural together of what it means to be a friend- what friends do for each other. Each child could work individually or in pairs- and put the works together as a mural or for a bulletin board in your classroom.
c) Make a Friendship wreath for your classroom, as shown here.
d) Examine the song, "Blessed Be the Tie That Binds" and let the children illustrate it.

3. Focus on God welcoming all people.
a) How are we welcoming to others who might be different? Children could make a collage for  "God Loves Everyone"
b) Make a God's Love Note for a friend- like the ones shown here.

I hope these ideas help, y'all!
Love, Becky

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Ark and the Tent

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
 Welcome to the Ark and the Tent, the Godly Play story scheduled for this Sunday, Oct 5, based on Exodus 25-31, 35-40.


Children always get so excited about this story. They love the little pieces belonging to the tent, I think partly because each piece comes with a tradition. We all know how kids LOVE traditions--knowing the proper way to do things and the reasons behind why we do them. Bringing a sacrifice for the altar, washing at the laver before entering the tent, burning incense, placing 12 pieces of bread on the table, lighting the menorah...it all has meaning, centered upon being ready to meet God.

There are different approaches to this lesson that teachers can take. Of course we can all go through a study of each of the steps of getting ready and the tools mentioned above to help them get ready.  Many churches still use several of these today. Are there any that we use? Are there new ones not included with the tent?

We can also think about how we get ready to do different things in our lives--to go places that are important to us, for example.  How do we get ready to hear our Godly Play stories? Why is that important? How do we get ready to be with God? What do we do? How exactly do the routines we do help us get ready? Can we practice getting ready to be with God when we're at home too? How would we do that?

One thing that the Godly Play script doesn't highlight which you may want to include is the idea that all the people of God were invited to give something of their own to creating the tent of meeting--not just jewelry or fabric or wood, but their own craftsmanship. It was created by the people of God, for God.

Ideas for Activity Time
This story is practically BURSTING with ideas for little hands--and big ones too!

I can easily see the activity time for this story beginning this Sunday, but continuing at least one other Sunday. Soon we'll do the Ark and the Temple, so the work could easily continue with that story too.

Here are some that I came up with to add to your own. (And please, do feel free to write a comment to share your own ideas!)




Children might like to make their own collection of getting ready pieces like a menorah, an incense holder, a laver, an ark. They could make tiny pieces with clay or boxes or pieces of wood or whatever materials we have.
Or they could spend more time on making individual pieces. The menorahs above are made from a big clay "worm" in which popsickle sticks (which have been colored with crayons) are inserted. Sequins and beads have also been pressed into the clay.
Here are some websites with more great ideas and directions:
How to make a potato menorah:
www.jewishappleseed.org/apple/potatomenorah.htm
How to make a menorah from clay: 
www.familyfun.go.com/crafts/clay-menorah-666608/


Of course our children will come up with more creative ideas than we can!




Some things to ask them:
How could we make a laver?

What do we have in our classroom which might make a good altar?
A table for the 12 slices of bread?
An ark of the covenant? How about decorating a box with gold wrapping paper for the ark?
What about the poles that carry it?
 (Wouldn't it be fun to light some incense and see what it smells like?)


 If we're going to make all those pieces, why not make a tent of meeting in which to put them?
A table turned on its side could give us the framework.

There are a few tablecloths folded up in the art supply room to serve as the tent fabric.

What if we brought blankets from home? We could even have a four layer tent, much like the tent is described in the Bible.
Once the tent is made, we could put all the pieces we created inside it. How would we separate the Holy of Holies?
Or we could make a small tabernacle out of cardboard and fabric.

There's so much to think about. I can't wait to see what your classes create! If you take photos, please share them with me. I'd love to add them to the parent newsletter!

Have fun, y'all!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Ten Best Ways

Hi Godly Play Teachers!
Welcome to The Ten Best Ways, the Godly Play story scheduled at our church for this coming Sunday, Sept. 28. You can find the story in Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-21. The Godly Play script can be found in the 14 Presentations for Fall book (the orange one), p73-80.






I love that Godly Play refers to the Ten Commandments as The Ten Best Ways and places them in a heart shaped box. This helps us remember that our God is not a supreme dictator who exists just for the chance to squash us when we don't adhere to his rules, but is instead a God who loves us enough to want to give us boundaries, so that we can fully enjoy the life God meant for us.

In preparation for teaching the lesson, it's good to look back at the session that precedes it: the Exodus. God has led his people out of slavery, away from Pharaoh and the soldiers chasing after them, through the sea, into freedom. Now they can live where they want, do what they want, be who they want. As the story script says, "Now that the people are free...where will they go now? What is the best way?"

Thank goodness (and thank God!) that God provided divine guidance, motivated completely by love.

What to focus on? Here are some general ideas :
1. The younger classes (first grade and younger) might choose to keep things simple by focusing on the first heart in the box: Love God, Love People, God Loves You. Or, depending on the children, you could go deeper and study all the commandments. You probably have an idea of what the children can handle best.

2. Study each of the commandments by reproducing them in some way.

3. Explore the idea of Moses being the only one with the courage to climb up into the fire and smoke to meet God. Children will find it interesting that God wanted to protect Moses from his powerful presence, so God put him in a crevice in the rock and put his hand over him until he had passed by, allowing Moses to see his back. I love the line, "When we see God's back, we can follow God all of our days."

4. The older children may benefit by exploring the conflict that comes when we find ourselves stuck between two commandments, like when Grandma gives you a present that you don't like and asks you what you think of it. How do we love others and still stay true to the truth?

We should also address more close to the heart conflicts, like divorce. Many of our children are experiencing divorce and will be listening especially to the Best Way of honoring marriage. We need to be sure to include in our session a focus on grace and forgiveness. Sometimes people try their very best to honor the Ten Best ways, and it just doesn't work out. God always offers love and forgiveness to all. His love never stops, no matter what.

Art Response Ideas:

* Thanks to Charlie Bryan, we have beautiful pieces of slate and granite that could be used for a Ten Best Ways project. A class could let each child paint or write one commandment on each piece for a classroom set, or each child could have his own and use sharpie markers to write all ten. We have over 80 pieces, so there should be enough for each child! Please feel free to use these. I'll have them on a cart in the hallway.



* Give the children big construction paper hearts divided into the sections Love God, Love People, and God Loves You. "I wonder how you could illustrate each section?"  Children could choose whether to draw or cut pictures from a magazine or paint with watercolors. Or children could work together on one huge heart of butcher paper, contributing illustrations for each section. (This idea is especially for the younger children.)


*Let each child make a set of commandments, painting the tablets with watercolors after they write their version of the Ten Best Ways. It's beautiful...see here.

*See this version done on slate.

* I wonder if we could make a Mount Sinai? (With a cleft for Moses to hide in!) Could we make Moses out of a clothespin? How would we make the Ten Best Ways?" The youngest children might need ideas from which to choose.


*Could we make a huge set of Ten Best Ways together for our classroom? As tall as a child?  Could we illustrate each commandment? Which one would you like to work on?

*I wonder what materials we might use to make individual sets of Best Way hearts, so that you can take it home with you. (You might want to see what kind of interesting materials you can find at a craft store. Save your receipts and I'll reimburse you.)

*I wonder if you can make up hand motions to illustrate each individual Best Way? Could you split them up among children and videotape each one, making a video the whole class can enjoy? (If somebody does this I'd love to share it with parents!)

*I wonder which is your favorite commandment? Would you like to concentrate just on that one, making a 2 dimensional or 3 dimensional representation of it? (a drawing or collage or making a scene out of play clay, etc?)

Obviously, we wouldn't want to present ALL of these options to the class, as that might be too overwhelming. But it's a list I hope will help you...and get you started thinking of your own ideas.

Speaking of other ideas, I'd LOVE to hear yours in the comments section if you want to share!
Love, Becky

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Exodus

Hi Godly Play Teachers,
Welcome to our lesson for Sept 21, The Exodus, found in Exodus 11:1-15:21. The Godly Play script is in the yellow (Fall) book, p. 65-72.

When we left Moses last week, he was getting ready to go with Aaron to speak to the Pharaoh and to do what God told him to do: set the people free. Would he have the courage? Would God help him? How would it all play out? This week we get to celebrate the answers to these questions.

I would suggest telling the story as the script describes, and then, when Moses enters the scene, recap last week's story before moving on, so that children can connect the two stories.

I'd also suggest that it would really be fun and meaningful for the children to celebrate the story with an exploration of the seder meal, if you like, as described below. If you're not up for that, I'll at least have matzo for each classroom for the children to try.

I've changed the wondering questions a little bit:
1. I wonder what part of the story you like the best.
2. I wonder what part is the most important.
3. I wonder if you were one of God's people, how you might have felt when the Pharaoh set you free to follow Moses.
4. I wonder what you might have felt as you saw the sea part and a path emerge.
5. I wonder what part of this part of this story is about you, or what God is teaching you about Himself in this story.

Create a Gift for God Time
1. Children could recreate the story scene of the crossing of the Red Sea. Let children decide how they want to recreate this. They could make the pieces of the story- like the chain, the felt water that can be parted, the people, etc.
There's an amazing example here. Take a look!
Here's another example.
I'll have blue paper and felt.

2. Children could work together to create a long chain, symbolizing the slavery the people of God had to be freed from. Here's a pic of last years chain from 2nd grade.





3.This would be a perfect time for the children to celebrate the seder meal. We did this in VBS this summer and the children might remember enough to teach you about it! Just bring me a clean receipt and I'll be glad to reimburse you. The meal is so full of meaning, all centered around this story.
 Here's a guide with a simple explanation.
This allows our children to experience the Passover in a small way.


 Flickr photo courtesy of Imaginary Girl, through creative commons

4. Children could make an instrument like Miriam might have used to celebrate the exodus. Look here for an example of a paper plate shaker. Let the children decorate it as they wish. I'll have paper plates and jingle bells, if you want to use them.

Thanks y'all, for helping our children not only hear the story of the Exodus, but participate in it as well!
Love, Becky