Summer Ruche

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Parable of the Great Pearl

I really liked using the Godly Play style of presenting the lesson to the two preschoolers I currently have for the parable of the hidden treasure, so I was glad to have a lesson to copy for this week instead of inventing my own. I basically followed the parable as the video which is posted at Living Montessori NOW that I ran into a few weeks back.

The official/original presentation of the parable uses a white circle (like a great pearl itself, shown here), but I used the same background of green felt as my previous lesson. And I used my own 3-D wooden figures instead of the flat pieces sold by Godly Play. I don't think it really matters. Even simple drawn figures or printouts of similar pieces would work. The pearl was one of my own earrings. Again, as in our parable of the hidden treasure, all that the merchant possessed was represented by our dollhouse furniture and merchant was the doll.

After our lesson presentation, I read the account from The Beginner's Bible as well, to give another mode of reinforcement. I allow the children to have access to the materials used for the lesson so they can retell it themselves and further internalize the parable.

We also had a simple snack of round rice crackers, since the shape reminded us of the great pearl. Really, it was the only snack I had on hand, but it fit nicely with the theme of the lesson.

I am noticing that colouring pages are much more scarce and of lesser quality with some of the less "famous" parables, so we didn't really have anything to color this week. For older children, there are some nice activity pages in this booklet from . But as we don't have an official class outline and they were ready for a snack, things went okay without a colouring page, and they just played until service was done.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Parable of the Hidden Treasure

This week I had just two children, both under 5. I found the greatest inspiration for my lesson this week from the well-known and loved Beginner's Bible we picked up used for a few dollars at a local thrift, and a post from Living Montessori NOW that had a video of a simple presentation of the parable of the great pearl. Since reading aloud to them from the story Bible seems to be not enough material to communicate this parable, and since I don't own and can't afford--or store--the Bible in Felt, I liked this approach with figurines.

The video shows the parable from a curriculum called Godly Play. This is actually the first time I have ever heard of Godly Play, which is an  approach to religious instruction for preschoolers with roots in the Montessori method. It seems very good. I can't get the books through the library and I'm not sure if I would want to own them without previewing them, but it seemed to be an easy enough thing to prepare, so I thought I would tell this parable in this way, using what I have. (I don't think it's essential to have the specific materials that are sold for this.)

I had some green felt left over from another project that was the background, our "field" for the hidden treasure. The treasure was one of my rings in a ring box hidden under the felt, a true treasure. I told the parable using our doll house and the two doll figures. We set all the dollhouse furniture in front of the house to show that the man was selling all he had and then he got the field and the treasure in it. It went over very well. The yard sale concept is one they could relate to.

We coloured this activity page from (below). I'm not subscribed, but this came from their sample for 3-6 year-olds. I plan to use other pages in subsequent lessons, since they're about the kingdom parables.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tiny Influentials

This week I teamed up two parables that only cover a couple of verses but which are part of the same thought: the parable of the mustard seed and the parable of the leaven or yeast.

There is much speculation as to the exact meaning Jesus intended with these parables, so I am thankful that with the children all I had to focus on were the concerte facts, since no interpretation from Jesus is given in Scripture. We went with the principle of mustard seeds and yeast, both being tiny but causing a significant change or influence.

How we covered the lesson was with objects. I brought in my container of mustard seeds from my spice rack, and the packet of opened bread machine yeast from my refrigerator, and we looked at each in turn.

First I gave them each a mustard seed and told them that God's kingdom is "like this". So I drew them in with the objects and then I read the verses to them from the Bible.  The girls were huddled around and quite interested, as we speculated about the meaning. I also showed them a photo of a middle eastern mustard "tree" (it's really a huge shrub) and explained it in terms of the room we were in to give perspective. We dwelt a while on the miracle of such a huge plant within such a small seed.

For the companion parable, I opened up the yeast packet and let them have a look inside. We talked briefly about how just a small amount placed in 3 cups of flour plus a bread machine makes tasty bread. And then we ate fresh yeast bread, which was quite a hit, and showed me I should be thinking a bit more about snacks in general, but also about relevant snacks. What was a bit of an intimidating subject went over well.

For craft--which is, as of this week, a new feature of our time together--we made seed mosaics or seed pictures using Aleene's tacky craft glue (way stronger than school glue, which wouldn't hold heavy seeds well and takes too long to dry, besides being messy) and mixed soup beans from the bulk section of the grocery store. I bought about two cups to get a good variety and number of the different types, which included some that were a nice mustard yellow.  I gave each child a piece of cereal-box-weight cardboard and let them create, although next time, I will pre-cut at least simple shapes such as circles and triangles to keep things contained. Only the oldest got the concept of the mosaic. The others did enjoy choosing beans and gluing them carefully, though.

Color pages were scarce. None of them really moved me, but I did find an activity page (below). I re-created the color-by-number myself, since it was originally in Spanish. Microsoft Paint was a very helpful program for that little job. I also included a sequencing page for the younger ones on bread baking. One just coloured it thoroughly while the other willingly received input from the next oldest child on the order and enjoyed cutting them apart to do so.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Parable of the Wheat and Tares

I actually got to spend a little bit of time researching things for this lesson. My oldest child enjoyed learning about the differences between true wheat and its look-alike counterpart: tares. The fascination that they truly couldn't be told apart much until harvest time when the lack of substance in the heads of the tares made it apparent as a counterfeit, and the intrigue of the trivia that eating the seeds of the tares would make one sick made this lesson stick before we even made it to Sunday morning.

I covered the lesson by again asking for someone to read, and we talked about who the enemy might be, as well as what the whole story was. Then, we read the explanation of the parable to "check" ourselves.

I had found a YouTube video made by a class of elementary Sunday schoolers that did a great job telling the parable, so we viewed it together, and I think that helped with their overall comprehension. You can view it here. Because it was made by their peers, it was highly interesting. Because it was multi-media, it was highly interesting. And it really was very well done.

During the activities time, I used this colouring page from the online King James Bible with is part text, part pictorial. Because it requires thoughtfulness, we read it together before colouring  I appreciate it because it helps even non-readers be involved, but it is detailed enough to be interesting for older children. We also coloured this from and had this word search from and a maze available. It's fun to see how each child chooses activities and how some of the older ones help the younger.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Parable of the Sower, week 3

This week we changed things up in class a bit. Since our youngest class member typically sleeps through class, and the toddler wanders around, I tried to engage the lesson by acting out what the parable is.

Each of the older three children was a type of soil, as was I with the baby, the toddler was the "seed" that we passed around between us, and the preschooler was the sunshine and the birds. It was really cute to see how everyone creatively expressed the types of soil and what was happening. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much we changed roles and did it again. And then again.

Unlike the first two weeks, we now have our printer out of the box at home and we have internet, so I was able to print off some colouring and activity sheets. Our host home has crayons and markers, so that end was covered.

Here is what I used. A great maze from, a color page from them as well, and a colouring sheet of the sower found here. (The toddler is very into colouring right now, so I made sure to have two sheets.)

We finished by doing a word code-breaker puzzle on the white board. Not everyone did everything, but I had enough materials to have at least one sheet that was interesting to each child (except the baby, of course) to fill the time.

Next week, new parable.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Take Two

So after last week, I decided to cover the parables of Jesus from Matthew's gospel in the time with the children. Since they stay with the adults for the beginning part of the service until the message, it's not too long of a time, and going through the parables will cover several weeks.

Additionally, parables are very accessible to even the very youngest children because they are object lessons. The truths behind them may be profound and beyond their years, but since Jesus saw it fit to explain God's kingdom through parables, I think I should, too.

Our time together was prayer, simple review questions and then we opened the Bible and read the parable together. Many children don't really read the Bible, and the Bible says it's good to give attention to reading, so I figured this would be a good idea to engage everyone. There are three readers in the group and they all have the same Bible version, so we split up the reading into three parts.

After the first section where Jesus gives the reason for teaching in parables we discussed this casually so we could lay a foundation for our future lessons.

Next we covered the parable itself. Since last week we just read it from a storybook and didn't delve into the meaning, we spent some time tossing around what might be going on in the parable itself. And like any good pop quiz in school, we got to check our answers with the teacher's guide, which in our case is the third section of the reading.

After the reading time we headed over to the white board and each of the four oldest children had a section to depict the parable visually. The first grader wasn't into drawing at that moment, but he loves video games, so we sat and brainstormed about what kind of game we could design about the parable. It was really cool to see and hear how the ideas flowed out of each child, and it let me know how much they have internalized.

So that's what we did this week. Next week, I think I will cover it one more time, since the parable of the sower is so key to understanding many of the other kingdom parables.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Winging It

This week was a rude awakening of sorts for me. We met for a first worship service and I was a bit forgetful that I would be watching over the children. It didn't really occur to me to prepare because we don't have anything out of boxes or our own place yet. Nevertheless, I headed downstairs with all six children, aged 2 months to 11 1/2 years. Good thing we have access to the Spirit of God. I prayed for inspiration.

A book from our suitcase that I'd kept out for reading until our books were unpacked and shelved in their new home saved the day (pictured here).

We prayed. Then I got out the book. We read The Seeds That Grew To Be One Hundred. Then we read it again. It is the poetic telling of the parable of the sower and the seed from Matthew's gospel.

One child had the idea that we have regular Bible time lessons (why didn't I think of that?). We chatted a bit about this and that, and then the time was up.

I have purposed to be more prepared next week, even though we will have just moved in to our new place.