Sunday, September 29, 2013

"ich + du = wir?" Week 2

In der 2.te Woche von "ich + du = wir?", haben wir uns eine weitere Fragen gestellt, wie wir mit anderen Menschen umgehen: Wer ist mein Nächster? Dazu hörten wir das Gleichnis vom Barmherziger Samariter. In our second week together of "Me + You = We?", we asked ourselves the question: Who is my neighbor? And we heard the Parable of the Good Samaritan. 

Ein Mann ging von Jerusalem hinunter nach Jericho und wurde von Räubern überfallen . . .  
A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho, and along the way he was attacked by robbers . . . 

Sie kennen wahrscheinlich den Rest der Geschichte. Der Verletzte liegt am Rand der Strasse und wird von 2 Landsleuten übersehen. Dann kommt ein Samariter, eigentlich ein Feind von seinem Volk, und besorgt Medizin, Kleidung und Unterkunft für den Verletzten. 
Most likely, you know the rest of the story. The wounded man is overlooked by two of his fellow countrymen who pass him along the way. Then, a Samaritan comes along, a foreigner  from a hated country, and tends to the man's wounds, even bringing him on his own donkey to an inn where he can get recover. 

Am Ende der Geschichte haben wir alle Figuren zusammen gelegt und fragten uns bei jedem, "Wer ist der Nächste von dem hier?" Bei dem Verletzten ist die Frage ziemlich einfach, aber bei den anderen ist sie nicht so leicht zu beantworten. At the end of the story, we placed all the figures in a row and started asking, "Who is this person's neighbor?" With the wounded man, the question is easy to answer, but when you get to the priest and robbers, it is not so easy to answer. 

Wir haben uns auch gefragt, warum der Priester und Levit gar nicht geholfen haben? Vielleicht wussten sie nicht, was sie tun sollten. Vielleicht hatten sie zu doll Angst oder Eile. Warum hat der Samariter geholfen? "Weil er wusste, was das Wichtigste ist," sagte ein Kind. We also asked ourselves, when the priest and Levite didn't stop to help. Maybe they didn't know what to do? Maybe they were afraid or in a hurry? Why did the Samaritan help? "Because he knew what was most important," answered one child. 

Was, wenn es ein Kind wäre, das den Verletzten gefunden hätte? Die Kinder einigten sich, dass es schnell einen Erwachsenen geholt hätte, dem mithelfen konnte. Ich hätte noch fragen sollen, was wenn es keinen Erwachsenen finden könnte? Aber die Energie vom Ergründungsgespräch war dann schon fast weg und die Kinder wollten in die Kreativphase gehen. What if it had been a child, who found the wounded man? Die children were in agreement that the child would have quickly found an adult to come and help. At this point, I should have asked what if the child couldn't find an adult? But the Wondering was winding down and the kids were restless to move on to something else. 

In unserer Kreativphase hatten wir die gleichen Angeboten von letzter Woche:
For Response Time we had the same stations as last week:

1) Friedensbaum gestalten / Make a Peace Tree

Hier haben die Kinder ihre Kollagen fertig gemacht. Wie schön waren die Ergebnisse! The children finished their collages that they started last week. The results were beautiful!

2) Wollebilder auf Jutestoff / Wool and Burlap pictures

3) Gebetsecke / Prayer corner

4) Legoecke / Lego Corner

5) Freies Spiel mit dem Geschichtsmaterial / Unstructured play with the story materials

Wir haben unsere Zeit mit dem kleinen Fest beendet. Dazu haben wir besprochen, was wir nächste Woche beim Besuch zu einem Kinderclub in einem anderen Stadtteil machen. Die Kinder haben dann Ideen ausgetauscht, was wir dorthin als Essen mitbringen könnten und was wir gemeinsam mit den Kindern Vorort spielen könnten. We ended our time with a small feast, during which we discussed our visit the following week to a children's club in a different district of Berlin. We brainstormed ideas of what we could bring to eat and what games we could play together. 

Dieser Besuch soll eine Art praktische Übung von unserem Thema sein. Wie sind die Kinder in einem anderen Stadtteil? Sind sie ähnlich wie wir? Sind sie anders? Können wir etwas Gemeinsames finden? Das werden wir herausfinden! This visit will be the "practical exercise" to the "theory" that we have been discussing the last two weeks. What are the kids in the other district like? Are they similar to us? Are they different? We'll find out!

Sie müssen auf die nächste spannende Folge warten!
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!

Wenn Sie noch von der 1.Woche lesen möchte, schauen Sie hier
If you missed our first week of "Me + You = We?", look here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Shout Outs

Hi everyone, Here are my "Saturday Shout Outs" - things that have inspired me this week. Hope you enjoy them as well.

Generation to Generation by Troy at Playfull.
Troy reviews a book that talks about how practicing an "non-anxious presence" or "playful disposition" in times of stress can bring peace and stability to relationships. 

A Liturgy in our Home 
by Emily at Watkins Every Flavor Beans.
Emily shares some thoughts with us about her family settling into an "autumn" liturgy. 

Mary Cassatt tries a Japanese woodblock print style 
by Barbara at It's About Time.
Barbara is an art historian who shares lovely works of art that don't make many of the popular art collection books. (I thought that I knew a lot about art history until I started reading her blogs!) This article features some lesser known works by Mary Cassatt, one of my all-time favorite artists from the Impressionist period, whose main theme was women and children.

If you have read something this week that inspired you, please leave a link in the comments, so that we can read along, too!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Project: Wet-Felted Acorns + Autumn Link-Up

I am somewhat in love with acorn caps. I use them for everything: game pieces (like Bingo), art projects, the nature table, etc. On Saturday, my daughter went to the playground and gathered acorn caps until our pockets could hold no more. And then, after dinner we spontaneously decided to wet felt some acorns.

This is definitely not a new idea - I first saw it on The Magic Onions and most recently at Textile Love - but it sure is fun to try! 

To make these acorns, you need: wool roving, a bowl of warm soapy water, an underlay and towel, glue and acorn caps.  

To begin, you pinch off a small, wispy amount of wool roving. Then, you gently wrap it into a ball with your finger. (My daughter actually taught me the technique for this project this time, since she became a pro at wet-felting little balls at her Nature Kindergarten. I made the mistake of pulling the wool fibers apart and ended up with a mess, until my daughter showed me how to gently wrap it.) 

Then, you immerse the wool ball into the warm, soapy water, and squeeze out as much soap afterwards, taking care not to wring the wool or pull it apart. The final step in the wet felting process is to shape it to fit the acorn cap.  Such a soothing, relaxing activity!

After the wool has dried overnight, then you glue the caps to the wool balls. 

My daughter also made a knitting basket for her Playmobil figures.

My son also made a few acorns, but then played a game of "Cathedral" with Dad.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Special Day

Today my ten-year-old son was baptized. He began talking to us about wanting to be baptized over a year ago. He had seen several baptisms already, but he began to talk more concretely about it after hearing the Godly Play baptism story a couple of times. 

When we were sure that he was ready, we planned to have the baptism at a lake in Berlin, not knowing for what the weather would do in late September. It had been raining in torrents earlier in the week, but today turned out to be a perfect autumn day. My son's special day began with some worship songs that he picked out for the service. 

 Then, he gave a short interview to let us know 
why he wanted to be baptized. 

And then it was into the water with Dad (who is a pastor)!

Just as they got ready, the sun came out and shone right on them.

Trying to light the baptismal candle - not an easy task in the wind!

With his baptismal candle.

Being prayed for by his godparents, religion teacher, 
and children's church teacher.

A bunch of ducks starting quacking during the prayer, so they evidently wanted to join in the prayer as well!

And afterwards there was a celebration!  With a special cake . . . 

and lots of friends! 

Sketchy Sunday

Well, I'm finally getting back to joining the Artsy Ants for Sketchy Sunday again! I actually did a lot of sketching over the summer, but it's been hard to carve out time for it since we got back to Berlin in August. Now that my workload is moving at a more manageable pace, I am trying once again to fulfill my New Year's resolution to sketch regularly.: )

Here is my sketch for "bike":

and  for "beach":

and this week's theme is "herbs":

Hope the new week starts well for you!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Shout Outs!

I had a lot of fun this summer highlighting other people's blogs in a series called "Inspiring Blogs", so I've decided to continue this practice in "Saturday Shout Outs!" I'm going to share links with blog posts that have inspired me this week and I hope they will inspire you as well!

Why Children need Ignatian Spirituality 
by Tim and Susan Muldoon at Patheos Blogs.
This is a well-written essay on using the imagination to cultivate faith in children. I love this quote: "With Ignatius, we believe that God deals directly with each creature. We cannot make them followers of Christ; only the Holy Spirit can.  . . .  Our hope is that in cultivating an imagination of God as the direction of everything loving, everything good, and everything hopeful, we will encourage them, when they are ready, to listen to his voice, summoning them to the goodness for which he has created them." 

This is a simple and lovely idea for helping children learn and respond to Scripture. Since my spiritual style is not word-based (read here if you want to know what I mean by spiritual styles), I am not the greatest at coming up with viable ways to help children memorize or learn scripture. Therefore, I'm really thankful for Lacy's ideas and thoughts on this!

Kneeling tables for work time by Rosemary at Three Great Days.
This is a practical tip from a Godly Play trainer in Virginia. If you are having knee problems or just can't get down on the floor anymore with the kids, this piece offers an alternative that is still in accord with the spirit of Godly Play. 

On the Way to Something New by Playfull Theology.
Musings on the Creation story by a fellow Godly Player in Ireland.

I Don't Know by Carolyn at Worshiping with Children.
If you read Carolyn's blog, it's obvious that she has years of experience working with children. This is a great piece on helping children be okay with the unknowns in life.

by Andrea at "What DID we do all day?"
Andrea is always happy to pass on helpful information and this on-line resource is a treasure chest!

Did you read something this week that was meaningful to you? If so, please leave the link in the comments so that we can check it out, too!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baptismal Candle / Taufkerze

Our son is getting baptized on Sunday, so my latest late night project has been making his baptismal candle. Although I have been working on it for some time, he had no idea and asked me at the dinner table tonight if I could please make him a candle "just like the ones in our Advent Club"? Unser Sohn lässt sich am Sonntag taufen. Deshalb ist mein letztes Kunstprojekt seine Taufkerze gewesen. Obwohl ich schon eine Weile dran bin, wusste er dies nicht und fragte heute Abend, ob ich ihm eine Taufkerze machen würde, "sowie die Kerzen bei der AdventsAG".

After coming up with a design and trying it out with tracing paper, I used the technique here, but cut the Stockmar decorative wax sheets with an exacto knife for more precision. Nachdem ich ein Design überlegte, habe ich  die Stockmar Wachsfolien mit einem Cutter geschneidet.

Now I just have to hide it until Sunday. Shhhh . . . don't tell him! Jetzt muss ich sie bis Sonntag in der Wohnung verstecken. Pst! Sagt ihm bitte nicht!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interactive Autumn Nature Table

This year I wanted to do something different with our autumn nature table and take it a step beyond the imaginative play by making it a little more interactive. While my 7-year-old still loves to play with wooden animal figures, my 10-year-old needs something a little different. Being a fan of Land Art, I decided to put a "blank slate" of sorts in the middle of the table that could be used as a palette for  creations with nature materials.

Below you can see the "slate", a wooden plate used for table decorations. Around it in small bowls are chestnuts, berries, bark, acorn caps and seed pods to be used as art materials. I used felt leaves, since we don't have any real ones that have changed colors yet.

Here are a couple of mandala-like pictures made with the materials.

I am a big believer in not buying lots of expensive stuff for nature tables, and almost everything you see is something we already had. The only exception are the four wooden animals that we bought for sixty cents each at a craft show. They were unpainted and unfinished, so I let my kids have at them.

And here is the result. Aren't they adorable? The kids used watercolor and vinegar to make a stain for the background colors. Then, they used permanent markers to draw in the details.

And my little girl, who still loves her wooden figures, made a nest for the squirrel with a mint leaf and gave him an acorn.

Linked to Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"ich + du = wir?" Week 1

"Ich + Du = Wir?" Gute Frage. Diese Frage stellen wir uns in der neuen September-SchülerAG. Wie soll ich mit Menschen umgehen, die aus einem anderem Hintergrund kommen? Was kann ich im Streit tun? Was wenn ich den Streit lösen möchte, aber der andere macht nicht mit? Was heisst "Nächstenliebe", und wer ist mein Nächster? Diese und andere Fragen untersuchen und besprechen wir zusammen. "Me + You = We?" Good question. In our new after-school club, we are asking ourselves this question and many others. How so I respond to people who may look or speak differently from me? How can I resolve a conflict with someone? And what if the other person doesn't want a resolution? Was does it mean to love my neighbor, and who exactly is my neighbor? 

Wir fingen an mit einem Gespräch über das berühmte Bild der alte/junge Frau. Wieso sieht einer eine junge Frau und der andere eine alte Frau, wenn es um das gleiche Bild geht? Vielleicht betrachten wir Menschen auch manchmal so. Der eine sieht etwas so, aber der andere etwas Anderes. Wer sieht's richtig? Vielleicht kann Gottes Liebe eine Art Brille sein, um uns zu helfen besser sehen zu können. We started with a look at the classic picture of the old and young woman. How is it that some see a beautiful, young woman and others see an old, wrinkled woman in the same picture? Maybe we do the same thing when we look at other people. One person sees something beautiful and someone else sees something completely different. It all depends on our perspective. Perhaps God's love can be a type of lens to help us see better. 

Danach gab's natürlich eine Geschichte: die Bergpredigt von Jesu.
Afterwards, we had a story: Jesus' Sermon on the Mount

Jesus war unterwegs mit seinen Jüngern und Jüngerinnen, und viele kamen zu ihm mit ihren Problemen und Fragen. Er gab ihnen Worte für Ihr Herz und öffnete Ihr Herz für seine Worte. Es gab zwei, die wegen einer dummen Sache im Streit gerieten und fingen an einander zu hassen. Beide litten darunter. Was werden sie dann tun, nach dem sie Jesu Worte hören? While Jesus was travelling around with his disciples, many came to him with their problems and questions. He gave them words for their hearts and opened their hearts for his words. There were two people among  them who got into a fight over something small. They began to hate one another and both were feeling the weight of the conflict. What will they do after they have heard Jesus' words?

Diese Geschichte, im Godly Play-Stil, wurde von Religionspädagogen in Deutschland entwickelt. Sie betont Jesu Worte: "Glückselig sind die Menschen, die Frieden stiften. Liebt nicht nur eure Freunde, sondern auch eure Feinde." Am Ende lässt die Geschichte es offen, was die beiden im Streit entscheiden.  Und im Ergründungsgespräch danach haben die Kinder lange diskutiert, was die Möglichkeiten sein könnten, und die Kinder haben sinnvolle Lösungen zusammen gefunden. This is a story in Godly Play style that was developed by some theologians and religion teachers in Germany. It retells the most important part of the Sermon on the Mount, including the famous lines: "Blessed are the peacemakers . . . Love not only your friends, but your enemies as well." What happens to the two who are fighting with one another is left open at the end. The children discussed what they thought could have or should have happened for quite sometime. And together we came up with some meaningful ways to deal with conflict.  

Nach der Geschichte gibt es immer eine Kreativphase, in der die Kinder weiter über das Thema sich Gedanken machen können. (Durch Kunst u. Spiel kommen die Kinder auf Ideen, die sie im Gespräch manchmal nicht gedacht hätten.) Jedes Kind dürfte ein Angebot aussuchen. After the story, there is a  Response Time in which the children can choose an activity and think more about what they have heard. This time of imaginative play and artistic creativity often helps the children to express thoughts that they might otherwise have difficulty finding words for. 

Wir hatten die folgende Angebote:
The children could choose from the following activities:

1) Angebot 1: Wollebilder
Station 1: Wool roving & Burlap Pictures

Hier konnten die Kinder Bilder aus Schafswolle auf Jute gestalten. At this station, the kids could "paint" pictures with wool roving and burlap.

2) Angebot 2: einen Friedensbaum gestalten
Station 2: Peace Tree Collage

Hier konnte die Kinder eine Collage mit Farbe und Buntpapier gestalten. Als Symbol des Friedens bekamen die Kinder Schablonen in der Form einer Hand, um bunte Hände auszuschneiden, die als Blätter o. Teile des Baums dienen könnte. Here the children could make a collage with paint and construction paper. I gave the children patterns of  a hand  in different sizes. These hands were then to serve as the leaves or other parts of the tree. 

A work in progress. 

3) Angebot 3: Gebetsecke
Station 3: Prayer Corner

Hier konnten die Kinder ein Bild für Gott malen o. ein Gebet schreiben. Sie hatten Buntstifte und Stempeln zu Verfügung. At the prayer corner, the children could draw or write a prayer with colored pencils and stamps.

4) Angebot 4: Lego-Ecke
Station 4: Lego corner

Hier konnten die Kinder mit Legos etwas gestalten. Ein Junge zeigte mir am Ende ein Haus, das er gemacht hatte. "Das ist das Haus, das der kluger Mann auf dem Fels baute," sagte er, was ein wichtiger Teil der Geschichte war. No need to guess what we did here.: ) One of the boys built a house and told me that it was "the house that the wise man built on the rock", which just happened to be one of the main parts of the story.

5) Angebot 5: mit dem Material von den Geschichten zu spielen
Station 5: Playing with the materials from the story

Zum Schluss haben wir ein kleines Fest zusammen gefeiert und gemeinsam Lieder gesungen, u.a.  "Herr, gib mir Mut Brückenbauen".  Und das wäre mein Wunsch und Gebet für diese Kinder, dass sie ihr ganzes Leben lang Brücken bauen werden. Our time ended with a small feast and singing. We sang a song that goes "Lord, give me courage to build bridges". And that is my prayer for these children, that they will be bridge builders the rest of their lives. 

Mehr nächste Woche!

More next week!

Click here for Week 2.
Click here for Week 3.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Getting Ready for Autumn! + Link-Up

Autumn is definitely my favorite time of year. I find beauty and peace in the transformation of the leaves. The sights and smells of pumpkins, butternut squash, figs and falling chestnuts make me smile.

It's not quite autumn here in Berlin, though. It's been quite warm and the leaves are still green. But I know that autumn will come soon enough and I am already preparing. Just in case you are also gathering autumn ideas - maybe it already looks like autumn where you are - here are some things that we have done in years past.

I've been sharing these lovely poems that are well-known in Waldorf circles with my students here in Berlin. Both are from The Waldorf Book of Poetry by David Kennedy.

“Summer is ending!” the father bear said,
“In yonder tree hollow I’ll build me a bed.” 
“Summer is ending!” said all the gold weeds,
And so, softly sighing, they scattered their seeds. 
“Summer is ending!” the hurricane cried,
Hurling and whirling harsh winds high and wide. 
“Summer is ending,” said fiery King Sun,
“My flame must grow fainter, then fade out to none.“

We recite this poem by using hand motions to act out the different autumn characters. We growl and make a bear face for father bear, sway our hands above our hands for the golden weeds, etc. My 1-3 graders love it!

The north wind came along one day,
So strong and full of fun.
He called the leaves down from the trees
And said, “Run children run”.
They came in red and yellow dress,
In shaded green and brown,
And all the short November day
He chased them round the town.
They ran in crowds, they ran alone,
They hid behind the trees,
The north wind’s laughing found them there
And called “No stopping please”
But when he saw them tired out
And huddled in a heap,
He softly said, “Goodnight my dears,
Now let us go to sleep."

We also act out this poem. One child is the North Wind, then others are the trees, and then the rest are leaves. It's organized chaos when the North Wind chases the leaves around the room. Definitely a bit hit with the kids!