justice (take 5)

Today’s lesson: justice.

January 13, 2019: 2 hours, 5 children, ages 5–8. We started on our first lesson on justice this week, after a few weeks of focusing on having a pure, kindly, and radiant heart. As I mentioned before, we’ve decided to revisit each lesson in Book 3, Grade 1 a few times, so that we have enough time for the lessons to sink in. I’m writing this report well after the fact, so it’s a little shorter than usual.

When we planned this lesson, we couldn’t decide on which aspect of justice to focus on, so it was a little bit scattered. We ended up covering two different aspects: Justice as knowing what something is truly worth (i.e. justly appraising something); and justice as making sure everyone has what they need (i.e. social/economic justice). For the first, we prepared an activity with makeshift scales we built with leftover styrofoam from packages of food; and for the second, we prepared cards to play the giving game during the follow-up lesson. Both of them were well-received, although we saw that the children didn’t seem to understand the activity with the scales so well. The idea was to weigh seashells from the beach against grains of rice, to show that even though one grain of rice is very light, they become very heavy when you have a lot of them—even as heavy as a bunch of seashells. It was a good activity, but maybe it was too much for us to try and focus on two different aspects of the theme?

One big thing that we noticed this time: After three lessons so far, the children were becoming much more comfortable with the atmosphere in the class—perhaps a little too comfortable. I’ve found that this is usually about the time that the children start to test the teacher’s limits, to see what they can get away with in the class. You know, fooling around while the teacher is speaking, or laughing during prayers, poking each other, and so on. As a result, we had to do more intervention than before in order to maintain discipline in the class.

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