Tag Archive | virtue

Grade 2 – lesson 4: Selflessness

Thanks to our wonderful friends for hosting our lesson in Carterton today!!! 🙂 We had a wonderful day… starting out with prayers and singing, we reviewed our memorisations. The stickers in the memoristation booklets prove to be a very encouraging incentive…. well done everyone! The children couldn’t wait to have a turn at trying the quotes they had memorised already!

Selflessness – when we are selfish, we are worshipping ourselves, when we become selfless, we are like stars shedding the light of truth on the world of humanity, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tells us. The more selfless we become the better we are able to help change our world into a better place and bring about the unity of humankind. One is honourable if one arises to serve others; one is wretched and low when one ignores the good of society and thinks only of selfish interests.

“If man be imbued with all good qualities but be selfish, all the other virtues will fade or pass away and eventually he will grow worse.” –Bahá’u’lláh 

After also looking at today’s quote on selflessness, we then learnt a new song called ‘Kam Kam, Ruz Beh Ruz – Little by Little, Day by Day’. (you can find it here: http://www.ruhi.org/resources/songs/25_KAM_KAM.mp3)

Our story for today was about an old farmer and his meeting a king. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá often used to tell stories to illustrate praiseworthy qualities, and this is one of them. (Ruhi Book 3a, p36) The old farmer is planting trees, and when the king asks him about why he would do that, even though he might be long dead when these trees finally bear fruit, the farmer replies, that he enjoyed eating fruit all his life, off trees that people before him had planted. So he is now planting trees for the people after him. The king is so happy with this answer, that he gives the farmer a gold coin. The farmer smiles and says that these trees had borne fruit already, although he only just put them in the ground…

After some warm up drama exercises, we enacted this lovely story, with the children taking turns being the king and farmer, the king’s horse and bystanders. They are definitely developing more skills – it’s fantastic to see!

 …the farmer and the king…

To remind us of this story of selflessness, we did some crafts, and ‘created’ some trees – and the odd farmer and king seems to pop up as well 🙂

Beautiful work everyone! and thanks again for hosting our class – it’s been so much fun! 😉

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Grade 2 – Lesson 1: Forgiveness

We started with the second book in the Ruhi Curriculum for children’s classes today – our first lesson was about ‘forgiveness’. The lesson structures are quite similar to the ones in grade 1 – learning prayers, memorising quotations, songs, stories, art and something new – drama! 🙂

Our first prayer to learn off by heart, was one that we had used many times in singing. “Blessed is the spot…” Our favourite version of the melody is based on strong regular drumming rhythm (we used plastic pots and out laps to drum on), which the children did REALLY well with!

We then moved on to memorise our quote for today: “…let your adorning be forgiveness and mercy and that which cheereth the hearts of the well-favoured of God.” (Bahá’u’lláh) After discussed the meaning of the tricky words, the children were very in quick in memorising it. Well done everyone!

I still need to create the ‘downloadabale’ worksheets for these new lessons, but if you have access to the book “Teaching Children’s Classes – Grade 2” (ISBN-1-876322-56-X), the story for lesson 1 is on page 26. It’s a beautiful example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá showing the utmost forgiveness to the governor of ‘Akka, even after he sought to do Him wrong.

Before moving on to painting, we did our first warm-up exercises in drama. Learning to control our bodies within a given space (square) and interacting with each other in creative drama. The execises are beautifully explained on pages 27 and 28. It was a very joyful experience and the unity in our class today was heart-warming!

See you all next time – I hope to have some more lesson info up next week…. 😉

UPDATE: here is the write-up forlesson #1 ‘forgiveness’ – yay! I’ll post them to the Lessons page as well, as they become available.

Lesson 9 : Compassion – think of the other person first…

…how can we show compassion? And why do we need to? We used the Virtues Guide for reference to discuss what compassion is, and how we can practice it: looking after a family member who is sick, feeding someone who is hungry, helping a friend who is stuck with his homework, caring for a pet, etc. The children had quite a few ideas!

As an example, we looked at and read the story of Lua Getsinger, who is wanting to help ‘Abdul’-Bahá in ‘Akká. He sends her off to look after a sick man, but she is so revolted by the state he is and lives in, that she runs back to the Master. He becomes quite sad and tells her, that if she wants to serve God, she must serve this man – if he is sick, she must tend him, if his house is dirty, she must clean it … which she then goes back to do, exactly as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked her.

We thought that this story showed us quite well, that we not only need to think of other people and show them compassion, but actually think of them BEFORE ourselves (of course, that’s not always easy :)!) The memorisation was a breeze again – these children are amazing!!

“Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.” –Bahá’u’lláh

As a cute reminder of compassion – we made a series of animal finger puppets – find a template with some of the animal shapes here. The children had much fun colouring, naming and cutting out the little shapes and play little improvisation skits with their animal pets…

That was it for today – please note: there is no class next Sunday (29th of May), but we’re back  on the 5th of June (Queens Birthday weekend). Have a lovely couple of weeks!

Lesson 1 : unity in diversity

What a beautiful first class, thanks everyone! We started out with lesson 1 (from the Ruhi Curriculum) which is all about UNITY. After some fun introductions – where the children said their name and an animal, that starts with the same first letter, as well as making that animal’s noise – we shared a prayer for children, by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Today’s story was called ‘The Secret in the the Garden‘, by Winifred Barnum, in which an old lady tries to teach the villagers to live in harmony, just like the beautiful flowers in her garden. At first only a very clever little girl really understands her and then helps the others in the village to learn about the beauty of unity in diversity.

We didn’t quite have time to memorise the quote for today – but created some sparkly candle holders to remind us of it. They are made of little glass jars, that we glued over with torn, colourful paper-bits and then we simply stuck a tealight inside them.

So powerful is the light of unity that it can illumine the whole earth.

Well done all – they look gorgeous! 😉 I can’t wait for tonight, when we can light them and enjoy the colourful light that will glow from them! See you next week, where we will learn about the importance of having a pure, kindly and radiant heart…

Have a look at a pdf of the complete lesson here, or check out the ‘lesson page‘ for more 🙂

Lesson 25 : Honesty

Thanks to Nabilinho’s version of ‘O God, guide me…’ we started the devotions for today’s very sunny lesson with some good rhythm and music. The children picked it up real quick, enjoying the moving and finger snapping with it too!

We then looked at today’s theme of ‘honesty’ – discussed what it means, how we can practice it, and that it’s possibly even more, than just being truthful. The quote we learned contains the phrase “…adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty.” 


And that is what we made – little ornaments (decorations) to remind us to be honest. Decorating (adorning) our homes with them, as little reminders to do the same with our souls… 🙂
They are made out of salt-dough. My mum used make salt dough figures and decorations all the time, when we were little and this is a picture of the book I had the recipes from – Julie Landis Original Salzteigfiguren.

The recipe for the saltdough is very easy: 2 parts flour, 2 parts salt, 1 part water – mix together and keep well sealed until you use it, so it doesn’t dry out. The ornaments then need to be baked at 150 deg C for about 30 minutes, or until they are hard and lightly brown around the edges – done – now they can be painted!

While our ornaments were in the oven, we reviewed all the quotes that we have learned so far. With a ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ quiz, that was quite fun!

This was our last full class for the term – next Sunday we’ll have a bit of a ‘year-end’ do, depending on the weather – I will email everyone with the details – yay 🙂 hope to see you all then. If not, we’ll be back in the new school term next year – beginning of February 2011!

Lesson 21 : Truthfulness

Kia ora – what a beautiful day it turned out to be! We had a fabulous lesson today – learning all about truthfulness. Being truthful is not always easy, we found out, but then telling lies never feels right either! Sometimes just exaggerating a story we tell about something we did, is moving away from being truthful. There’s no harm in it, if we say that it’s just a (made-up) story, but not if we pretend it was true. Investigating the truth for ourselves is another important aspect of practicing to be truthful – don’t just believe everything other people tell you…

Bahá’u’lláh said: “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.” The children learned this quote very quickly with some vigorous drumming, to get the rhythm right – well done!!!

The story of The Berenstain Bears and the truth – was the perfect illustration of today’s theme. It’s a great story, liked by younger and older audiences alike. And as one of our students in today’s class pointed out, there is a really lovely quote in the front of the book:

In the book, Brother and Sister Bear made up a fantastical story of a bird, that supposedly had flown into the treehouse and knocked down Mother Bear’s favourite lamp… the bird took on all sorts of different shapes, colours and features, with every retelling of the untrue story. In the end they learn that there is nothing finer than telling the truth – because trust, if broken, cannot be mended, whereas a lamp can always be glued back together :)!

Our birds were colourful and brightly fantastical as well – but we made them out of paper, and didn’t use them as a scapegoat…

And because it was such a sunny day – we took our birds outside to fly about and rest in a tree…

Thanks to all the wonderful children, for being such lovely students today – and see you next week. Or if you can all make it:

Join us for the Holy Day Celebration on Friday 12 November – for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh! We’ll celebrate at the Featherston Community centre, starting 5.30pm with devotions, music, and stories and then have a shared pot-luck dinner. Look forward to seeing you all there!

For references to today’s lesson – check out the lesson page (lesson 6 on truthfulness, and lesson 12 on kindness for the bird templates)

Lesson 18 : Justice

Today we looked at the lesson on “Justice” a bit closer. Starting out with some of the explanations from the Virtues Guide. There are some fabulous examples in there about what being just really means (see pages 161 onwards). We learned, that being just is looking through our own eyes and not through others – finding the truth for ourselves. Making sure things are fair, treating everyone equally, no matter what their race, background, age or looks are.

Virtues Guide - 'How to practice justice'

 

The children practiced being just by having share out bunches of balloons. There wasn’t always an amount, that made equal distribution easy (ie. 11 balloons shared among 3) – and they came up with some very creative solutions: giving others more balloons than themselves; keeping some balloons on the side, if someone else might come along, etc.

The children were very good at sharing fair and square! Their sense of justice is fabulous!

After practicing our quote (see quote of the week) we learned the song from Book 3 “Justice is the way” (page 19, or use lyrics here, thanks to resources on http://aotearoa-institute.bahai.org.nz). We had good fun with it! Doing it in lots of different voices 🙂

For crafts, we created justice puzzles. Each child had a pre-cut jigsaw puzzle (from the 2$ shop, 4 in a packet) and drew their interpretation of the path of justice. Some very imaginative work  results!

We finished today’s lesson with the story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, travelling from ‘Akka to Haifa in a regular coach. See pages 20 – 21 in Ruhi Book 3.

This was our last class for this term – next week is school holidays – 🙂 – see you all back on the 17th of October, same place, same time (although it will be daylight savings by then – yay!).

Lesson 17 : Pure, kind & radiant heart

This must be one of my favourite lessons 🙂 it is based on lesson 2 in Ruhi Book 3, and we’ve gone through it before. The children needed very little prompting to remember the quote for today’s lesson:

“O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart.”

We changed the craft slightly too – painting beautiful hearts – pure, kind and radiant ones – but then stringing them up, instead of using them as magnets. We loved the way they look, when we wrote the words first with oil crayons, and then painted over with a water based paint – the brightly colourful results are gorgeous!

 (the lovely ‘heart-mobiles’ and their makers 🙂 )

For today’s story, we used an ‘old’ book I had from my parents, called ‘The Scottish Visitors’ – a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to London. It’s beautifully illustrated, and the story suits age groups from 5 to 12 alike!

We finished the class by playing the game ‘Burning thirst’ (Ruhi book 3, page 18). Sticks are tied to childrens’ arms – to prevent them bending their elbows – and they pretend to have walked in the desert and are very thirsty. A glass of water is given to them and they have to try and drink it (only works if they work together and hold it for each other). 🙂

And then sang Stefan Brown’s song on ‘kindness’. Always a favourite of everyone in class. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday everyone and see you next week, which will be the last class of this term (19th September).

Lesson 16 : Unity

Happy Fathersday..! We had a small class today, no doubt, children were at home celebrating their dads 🙂

We looked at the virtue of unity in today’s class. The quote, which we learned in lesson 1 already, was quickly memorised or remembered. And we moved straight to some songs – ‘unity’ by Stefan Brown, and ‘Ye are drops’ from Ruhi Book 3.

We made some unity candle holders – a triangle made up of linked people, which the children decorated beauitfully, set on a base, with a candle in the middle – they look really cool – well done!

After the crafts we played  a game called ‘giants’. Where two children are tied together by their leg, and have to work together to walk. Making it more difficult with obstacles they have to manage, or funny walks – frog leaps, duck waddles, etc. – we had some very talented giants, doing great team work!

We finished our lesson today with a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the charcoal – p 15. Ruhi Book 3. Check out the Lessons Page  for more info. As we are now repeating the 15 previous lessons, I won’t post them in every report again. Only the bits we did different or that are new the lesson done previously.

If you are using any of these lessons, leave a comment let me know how they work for you – it be great to hear what others do in their classes and ways to continually improve them 🙂

Til’ next week! 😉

Lesson 13 : Patience

We had a fantastic class today, with our visiting teacher Nora – who did a children’s yoga session with us! It was great – thank you Nora, and a big congratulations to the children, for being such wonderful ‘yogis’ 🙂 As our class was about patience today, Nora showed us how to be a seed, that then slowly, but surely pokes out its roots to find nutrients in the soil and then starts growing, finding its way to the sunlight. It was fabulous!

After all that exercise and fun time with Nora, we started our craft for today. We talked about patience, and how it is not always easy to remember to BE patient. Sometimes we just want things to happen right away and right now… to remind us to be patient, and to practice it a little more each day, we made little mirrors. Every time we look at ourselves in them, we can remind ourselves to be patient and be happy with where we’re at now.

 (we’ll have to work on polishing our little mirrors some more, they are not quite as shiney yet 😉 )

To finish off our lesson for today, we enacted the story from Ruhi Book 3a – about the two farmers ‘Patience’ and ‘Impatience’. Both of them have a field that they want to plant with corn. Once does it patiently and looks after the young seedlings, makes sure they have water and sun, and waits for them to grow to full size before harvesting the yummie corn. The other farmer ‘Impatience’ can’t wait for the seeds to grow into corn, and keeps digging them up, looking at them to see if they’ve grown. He is very disappointed at the end, when harvest time comes and nothing edible has grown…

There was some great acting talent spotted today – well done everyone for participating so well and patiently waiting your turn! 

If you’ve missed today’s class – have a look at the lesson here > Patience. It’s also got the colouring page in it and the quote, which we didn’t quite get to today. But no worries, we will be repeating all lessons again during the year – I’m sure by the end of it, the children will have learnt them all 🙂

See you next week and stay healthy!

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