Friday, March 3, 2017

Response Time Idea: Fish Toss

This year's Easter Club will be starting soon and so will my weekly posts, so I am going to try and post some unfinished articles in my inbox beforehand. We'll see if I get to all of them. ; )

This is a response time activity that one of my fellow Godly Players, Maxi, came up with. At the beginning of the school year, we told the Godly Play creation story and then did a series on each of the aspects of creation. 

Maxi, who is quite a hand a sewing and any kind of crafting, designed this simple game that the children have loved.

She made  beanbag fish, and then sewed a pieces of cloth onto wooden dowels. 

When you bring the dowels together and them pull the cloth taut, the fish fly into the air! The idea is then to catch the fish with the cloth again. 

This activity is a bit livelier than some response time activities, but it is definitely playful, and was a big hit with our kids. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Some Lenten Inspiration

As we enter into our Lenten journeys individually and with the children that we mentor,  I thought I would pass along this lovely thought that I read today:

"In many languages, the word for Lent implies 'forty' . . . The English word for 'Lent' has another, very beautiful derivation. It comes from the Anglo-Saxon word meaning to 'lengthen'. Lent comes at a time when the hours or daytime are 'lengthening', as spring approaches, and so it is a time when we too can 'lengthen' our spiritually, when we can stretch out and grow in the Spirit."

You can read the rest of this informative and inspiring article by Norman Tanner SJ called A Short History of Lent here.  

May you and the children in your life stretch out, grow and warm yourselves in the Son! 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Epiphany 2017

Happy Epiphany to everyone!

We had an absolutely delightful Epiphany service with our 4th and 5th graders yesterday from our local elementary school, and I just wanted to share a few glimpses with you.

Instead of telling the story of the Three Kings, we decided to focus on the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and why the Three Kings presented them to Baby Jesus.

We began by asking the children what they would have given Baby Jesus. Answers ranged from things like toys and pacifiers to medicine and love. Then, we showed the children examples of the gifts and explained the meanings behind them.  The church we were in has just been restored and there is a beautiful golden star on the ceiling that served as visual of the gold that foretold Jesus' kingship. I burned some frankincense, the symbol of Jesus' priesthood,  near the altar, and a colleague passed around a bottle of myrrh preparation, a symbol of Jesus' humanity,  from the local pharmacy. 

As a response, the children could write down what they wanted to give Jesus, and wrap it in a small parcel to lay in the manger. 

I love seeing children moving about in the church as if it's their second home. 

Usually our services are for 1-3 graders, but we decided to offer something for the older children as an experiment to see if they would actually come. Thirty-six children attended, so I look forward to more services with this age group!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Advent Club 2016 - Week 4

In der letzten Woche zusammen haben wir Weihnachten mit den Einwohnern im Altersheim gefeiert. So wie Jesus das Synagoge verlies, um unterwegs mit den Menschen zu sein, haben wir die Kirche verlassen, um mit Menschen zu feiern, die nicht mehr so leicht draußen gehen können. Our last week together was spent celebrating Christmas with the residents of a local senior center. Just as Jesus left the synagogue to be out among the people, we left the church to spend time with some people who aren't able to leave their homes. 

Die Senioren und Ihre Betreuer begrüßten uns mit hausgemachten Plätzchen, und wir saßen zusammen am Tisch. 
Wir sangen gemeinsam Weihnachtslieder. . . 
The seniors and their staff greeted us with homemade Christmas cookies, and we sat together at long tables to chat. We sang Christmas songs together . . . 

und spielten selber auf der Blockflöte . . . 
and played songs ourselves on the recorder . . . 

Ein Highlight was das Spiel, wo wir mit verbundenen Augen den Stern am Weihnachtsbaum richtig kleben müssten, ähnlich wie "Blinde Kuh". Wir haben's auch letztes Jahr gespielt, und die Kinder von damals, die auch dieses Jahr mit dabei waren, fanden's so toll, und wollten unbedingt nochmal spielen. One highlight was a version of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" where we pinned the star in the Christmas tree. We played this last year as well, and the kids who were previously in the Advent Club liked it so much that we decided to play it again. 

Unser Programm beendete mit der Weihnachtsgeschichte. Da haben wir eine Art "Reise nach Jerusalem" gespielt, in dem wir die Krippenfiguren eingepackt haben. Das Päckchen ging herum, und wer es hatte, alls die Musik aufhörte, musste auspacken. Our program ended with the children telling the Christmas story. We wrapped the nativity figures up in packages and played a version of "Hot Potato". The package was passed until the music stopped, and then the person holding it when the music stopped had to unwrap it.

Nachdem jedes Päckchen ausgemacht wurde, hat ein Kind einen Teil der Weihnachtsgeschichte erzählt. After each package was unwrapped, the children took turns telling that part of the story. 

Es war eine wunderschöne Zeit zusammen!
A lovely time was had by all!

Advent Club 2016 - Week 3

Noch unterwegs zusammen in der Adventszeit hörten wir die Worte Jesu in seiner Bergpredigt. Das Baby in der Krippe ist zum erwachsenen Mann geworden, und er hatte ziemlich viele wichtige Dinge zu sagen. Our Advent journey this week continued with Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. The baby in the nativity grew into a man who had more than a few important things to say.

"Jesus gab den Menschen Worte für ihre Herzen, und er öffnete ihre Herzen für seine Worte."
"Jesus gave the people words for their hearts, and he opened their hearts for his words."

Das Metaphor in der Bergpredigt von den weisen Mann, der sein Haus auf Fels baute, und von dem leichtsinnigen Mann, der das Haus auf Sand baute, hat die Kinder am meisten interessiert. The children seem particularly interested in the metaphor that Jesus used of the foolish man who built his house on the sand and the wise man who built his house on the rock, citing this as both their favourite and most important parts of the story. 

In Kreativphase gab es ein neues Projekt: einen Sternanhänger mit Farbe und Naturmaterial gebastelt. During Response Time, we added one project: start ornaments decorated with paint and found objects in nature. 

We machten andere Projekte fertig . . . 
We also finished up our other projects . . . 

und spielten mit den Kaplas und Krippenfiguren. Unten sieht man die Heilige Familie umringelt von den Einwohnern in Bethlehem (so erzählten die Kinder), und sie bauten einen großen Stall für die Tiere. 
and played with the Kaplas and nativity figures. Below the Holy Family is in Bethlehem surrounded by the people of Bethlehem (as explained by the children), and the children have built a large stable for the animals. 

Wir haben noch das Programm im Seniorenheim geplant, und feierten ein kleines Fest zusammen.
We also planned our program at the senior center, and ended our time with a small feast.

Die nächste Folge kommt bald . . .
To be continued . . . 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent Club 2016 - Week 2

Zwei Kerzen brennen . . . es ist schon Woche 2 in der AdventsAG! 
Two candles are burning . . . it's the second week of Advent Club!

Diese Woche hörten wir eine Godly-Play-Geschichte, "Die Heilige Familie". Die Weihnachtsgeschichte wurde darin mit den Krippenfiguren erzählt, und die Kinder hatten die Möglichkeit zu gucken, mit welcher Person in dieser Gruppe sie am nähesten identifizierten. In dieser Geschichte aber ist zusätzlich eine Figur des auferstanden Christus, die auch auf das Kreuz hindeutet. Damit helfen wir den Kindern auch zu verstehen, was das Baby in der Krippe mit dem erwachsenen Mann, den wir zu Ostern feiern, zu tun hat. This week we heard a Godly Play story called "The Holy Family". It is essentially the Christmas story told with traditional nativity figures. However, in the background there is the figure of the Risen Christ with outstretched arms that also suggests the form of the cross. This story helps children to go deeper into the Christmas story and find out which part of it is most important to them at their current station in life. It also helps them to understand the relationship between the baby in the nativity scene, and the man who died and rose again at Easter, something that it not always obvious or apparent to children.

Am Ende haben wir die Kinder die folgenden Fragen gestellt: 
At the end of the story, we asked the children:

Welche Person gefällt dir am besten? Which person in this story do you like best?

Welche ist die Wichtigste? Which one do you think is most important?

Welche ist am meisten wie du? Which one of them is most like you?

"Jesus, weil ich auch ein Baby war und ich bin ein Junge." "Jesus, because I was a baby and now I am a boy."

"Die 3 Könige, weil ich auch gern anderen Geschenke beim Geburtstag gebe." "The Three Kings, because I also like to give presents at birthdays."

Ein Mädchen wollte auch "Jesus" beantworten, aber es zweifelte, weil Jesus kein Mädchen war. Da haben die anderen Kinder Feedback gegeben, dass das Geschlecht in dem Fall egal war. Das Mädchen ist trotzdem sowie Jesus. One girl answered, "Jesus", but then doubted herself, because Jesus was a boy and she was a girl. The other children reassured her that gender didn't matter here. She was still like Jesus. 

In der Kreativphase haben die Kinder sich frei zwischen unterschiedlichen Angeboten bewegt. Einige haben mit Salztieg-Gestaltungen angefangen. For Response Time, the children had several things to choose from. Some made salt dough creations. 

Andere spielten mit der Heiligen Familie und Kapla-Steinen. Others played with the Holy Family figures and Kapla blocks.

Ein Mädchen hat die Kirchenuhr einsortiert. One girl sorted out the church clock. 

Andere machen die Mosaiken fertig. Der Junge unten erzählte, sein Bild ist von Maria, Joseph, Baby-Jesus, und den 3 Königen in der Nacht. (Das war derselbe Junge, der sagte, die 3 Könige sind ihm am meisten ähnlich.) Others worked on their mosaics. The boy below told depicted the Holy Family at night with Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men. (This was the same child who said he was most like the 3 Kings!)

Wir haben auch den Hintergrund fürs Programm im Seniorenheim gemalt, und wir haben die Lieder dafür geübt. We also painted the backdrop for our Christmas program at the nursing home in two weeks, and we practiced the songs that we will sing.

Bis nächster Woche! See you next week!