Sorry this post is a bit late – I’ve had my wonderful family visiting from overseas 🙂
Last Sunday we finished the first unit of Grade 2, which is all about PRAYER. In this third lesson, we looked at ‘how’ we pray. Respectfully, with dignity, patiently and fully concentrating on the Word of God… We looked at this over two lessons – in the first one we tried to set the atmosphere for it by setting a table nicely with a cloth and candles, starting out with some music (a ladder for the soul) and then taking turns to read a prayer each, slowly and with devotion – everyone listening carefully, while the other reads.
In our second lesson we discussed how we need to show reverence even towards the Books that contain the Words of God. Not just banging them on the table or throwing them to each other, but handling them carefully, as we would a little bird, or precious object. To make this concept of respect and devotion more tangible, we decided to make little felt-covers for mini-prayer books. See the picture for the lovely results!
We simply used a plain straight piece of felt, wide enough to fold in on both sides and create little ‘sleeves’ for the front and back page of the prayer book used – and then sewed them top and bottom with a blanket stitch.
It’s been an interesting experience using the new materials (Ruhi Curriculum, Grade 2) and working on the same topic for 3 lessons in a row. There is definitely more space for getting deeper into it! The crafts we selected to support the learnings were partly new and some we’d done before (felt covers). They are always a great way to remind the children of their learning and them something to take home and share with families too.
Next Sunday we’ll move into unit 2 (lessons 4-6) – exciting times! 🙂
How well the children did with their memorisation cards! We practiced the prayer again on Sunday and most of them already had the prayer memorised! Wonderful!
Following on with our theme from the previous week, we continued to look at the ‘nature of prayer’. As we ran out of time the previous week, we now worked on the drama elements of lesson 1 – practicing to use our bodies to express/imitate certain movements or animals. From grasshoppers hopping, to lions roaring, from snakes slithering to panda bears munching – I think we had it all 🙂 These exercises are a lead-in to more elaborate drama practice later, and are designed to help us control our bodies, practice movement to express certain words, ideas and concepts.
The children then finished off with a little craft activity, related to the prayer they are memorising – “I am a tender plant, cause me to be nurtured through the outpourings of the clouds of Thy Mercy” – decorating beautiful pre-cut flower shapes.
We also introduced our Memorisation Booklets, which the children get to take home every week to practice their quotes and prayers from the lessons in set 1-3 (grade 2). Each time they give it a go and try to say it off by heart in class, they receive a little sticker – yay!
Note: Next week is the beginning of the festival of Ayyam-i-Há according to the Bahá’í calendar. To celebrate this, we are planning some fun, games and a BYO-picnic at Mc Jorrow park – meet us there at 10am to share in the joy of celebration (if it rains, meet us at Ko Te Aroha instead).
With the first class of the new year, we introduced the new lessons for Grade 2 from the Ruhi Curriculum. In this level, the lessons are structured slightly differently: there are 7 units of 3 lessons each. Each unit concentrates on one theme, which is then looked at in 3 sessions.
Our first theme is PRAYER. Looking at the what, why and how we pray. Understanding that it is a way to communicate with God, expressing our hearts desire and love.
The children memorize a new prayer for each unit. To get started with memorising the first one, we created little prayer cards: each one has an image on the front and the appropriate section in words (illustrated in the image) on the back. Using the images as triggers to remember the words, the children will committed to memory all the words very soon.
Stories and Drama are another integral part of the Grade 2 lessons. We are planning to put more emphasis on the storytelling quality this term, bringing props, pictures and energy into it as well. We didn’t quite get to the drama itself as we ran out of time. We’ll catch up next Sunday.
Thanks to everyone for making it such a wonderful start to the year – all the help and support we get from the community and the many smiling faces of the children, make it the best place to be on Sunday morning 🙂
As today’s lesson was all about ‘PRAYER’ we spent a bit more time with saying and singing prayers. Going over the unity prayer we started learning last time (O God my God! Unite the hearts of Thy servants…) and decided we need to find a melody to go with it, so we can learn it easier. Any suggestions…? Leave us a comment 🙂
We learnt, that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá lived in a state of prayer – His heart was always turned to God. Prayer is conversation with God – we asked ourselves, how we would behave if we were in the presence of God, talking to God? A good question to ask ourselves before we pray, helping us remember to be reverent, humble, patient, radiant – the children came up with a whole list of virtues! Fabulous!
Have a look at the pdf of today’s lesson on PRAYER, for more references, and the quote we started learning too.
We have been practicing the previous quotes and prayers as well – and it’s been great to see the children’s enthusiasm in using their memorisation booklets! Those sticker lines are filling up nicely 🙂
For our crafts today we used the story we enacted in the drama practice as inspiration. The children were pretending to be flowers or corn in a field, all droopy and sad, because it hadn’t rained for days and the sun was hot and drying everything around them. Finally, a thunderclap is heard, coming closer and closer and FINALLY bringing rain – glorious wet rain, the plants are reaching upwards, receiving the heavenly bounties.
See the beautiful collages of sad and happy flowers, before and after the rain… some of them even turning into beautiful gardens! We simply used pages out of old magazines, which we cut out and stuck onto slightly thicker paper. A very easy process for a gorgeous result.
We finished off with the story about about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá teaching a very devoted believer how to pray, and sang Tokozani. Both these references are in the lesson on PRAYER pdf.
See you all next week – for the last lesson before the school holidays – stay warm!