kindness to the poor (take 1)

Today’s lesson: kindness to the poor.

November 17, 2006: 2 hours, 5 children, average age 6-7. The key to this class was conceived at the last minute. We were missing the lesson plan we needed for this class, and I had few ideas about how to make it happen (I must admit, sadly, that I don’t know much about caring for the poor). Lacking a plan for activities, my co-teacher and a few visiting friends brainstormed until they came upon a brilliant idea for a game called “giving“, which I’ll only describe in its most basic form here. Cards are prepared before the class; there are several categories, and in each category there should be enough cards for all the children. Each category describes a necessity of life: food, clothing, shelter, etc. Cards are given randomly to each child, and they must “give” away their extra cards by pairing up with other children and offering them cards. This continues until everyone has one card from each category. The game was a little complicated at first (we had no idea whether it would work!) but once we got into it, it was pretty fun. It probably needs some work, but it’s undoubtedly got a bright future. Watch this space!

All in all, I think this class needs some work—we muddled through, but seeing as few of us actually have much experience caring for the poor, it’s hard for us to convey this clearly for the children. How can you explain something you’ve never done—apart from leaving a dollar for the guitar man in the market, or even washing dishes at the soup kitchen once? Comments and feedback on this class would be greatly appreciated!

kindness to animals (take 3)

Today’s lesson: kindness to animals.

November 11, 2006: 2 hours, 7 children, average age 6-7. By now we’ve had some good experience with this lesson, so it wasn’t too hard to give. We used a nice new quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to go with this lesson: “Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.” It goes along with the subject, and it’s general enough that the kids can apply it to animals, people, and whatever else – so the kids could add it to the prayer book they’re creating. We told the story of the lion and the mouse again – many of them remembered it – after which the kids drew pictures of different parts of the story. We collected them all at the end so that we could stick them on the wall in order – a nice way to show off the kids’ work and a good way for them to remember the lesson later on. Many of the children had quite a few comments and questions about animals – including how to handle dangerous or poisonous animals, and so on. Their curiosity is really heartening. On the spur of the moment, we suggested that maybe we could dedicate a future class to learning about different animals of the world… maybe when we review the topic – either November 26th or January 6th (I love having a class calendar all planned out!)