justice (take 6)

Today’s lesson: justice.

January 20, 2019: 2 hours, 8 children, ages 4–9. Our second lesson on justice, and our busiest and fullest class yet! For the past few weeks we’ve had new children joining, but only 5 of them or so would be able to come each week. This week was the first time we had all of the kids show up, along with one more newcomer, bringing us up to eight children attending.

This week, we basically revisited the same activities as last time, with a few additions. We repeated the activity with the scales from last time, although this time we expanded our explanation a bit: To show justice, a shopkeeper will only charge customers for the true value of the goods they’re buying—no more. And of course, the shopkeeper must have accurate scales to know exactly how much the customer is buying. So this time around, the children had to be careful to get the scales exactly equal to each other—or as close to equal as possible. It was challenging, but they seemed to enjoy it.

Children sorting a number of cards with pictures on them.

We had a lot of players for the giving game, so we got to stress-test the game, as it were. It was fun and got the message across, but we noticed that it needed a lot of explanation for them to understand how to play. And to be honest, that’s happened each time that we’ve played this game. It ends up being fun, but we end up stopping play to explain what to do next. I guess we need to learn how best to explain the game, and then write everything down so that it’s clearer. That, or we need to start each game with a practice round, so that the children have a better idea of how to play with each other. Or maybe this game is just above the level of your average five-year-old, and we should reserve it for higher grades—say, Grade 2?

We also played the shark game, which everyone loved; when the paper got so small that only one child could stand on it at a time, the bigger children picked up and carried the smaller ones, which got big laughs from everyone. I feel like this is the flip side of our perennial complaints about age gaps: When you have older children in the class with the younger ones, they get to interact together in ways that you wouldn’t have happening if the class was all young kids, and that’s kind of precious. But perhaps it shows that an ideal situation would be to have multiple grades attending classes at the same time, with breaks between lessons offering all the children the chance to play and socialize together. Sounds like the building blocks of a Bahá’í school, right?

Speaking of school, the larger class size this time around meant that the issues with class discipline that we encountered last week showed up even more, and we had a harder time keeping everything under control. I guess that should be a reminder to us: Don’t forget to review the rules, especially when you have new children joining the class. (It didn’t help that we had the rules on the whiteboard and they got erased by overzealous artists, of course.) Along with having more children attending, there was another wrinkle that upset the balance of the class: Two of the children don’t get along with each other, and keep on getting each other’s nerves, which leads to more outbursts during class. Oh well… more gems to tease out from the mine of their souls, I suppose.

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