Chúng tôi ?ã phát tri?n các v?t li?u sau ?ây cho các l?p h?c c?a con cái c?a chúng tôi trong nh?ng n?m qua; b?n có th? tìm th?y m?t s? trong s? h? ch? h?u ích khi h? ?ang có, ho?c h? có th? giúp truy?n c?m h?ng cho b?n ?? t?o ra v?t li?u c?a riêng b?n v? các ch? ?? khác nhau.
Hemos desarrollado los siguientes materiales para las clases de nuestros propios hijos en los últimos años; es posible encontrar algunos de ellos útiles tal y como son, o pueden ayudarle a inspirar para crear sus propios materiales sobre diferentes temas.
Nous avons développé les matériaux suivants pour nos classes d’enfants au fil des années; peut-être vous les trouverez utiles comme tels, ou bien ils vous inspireront à créer vos propres matériaux sur des thèmes différents.
January is done, and we’re advancing into an exciting February filled with promise for our neighbourhood. Our junior youth have finished studying Glimmerings of Hope, and we’re holding a “graduation” ceremony for them this Thursday (now there’s something we should do for the children’s class, too). That group will soon move on to study Breezes of Confirmation, hopefully doubling in size if everyone who said they were coming actually comes. Some of the new junior youth had attended a few sessions before—back when we first started with Glimmerings—but dropped out for various reasons. We think at least one of those reasons related to the more advanced language used in that book; hopefully, Breezes will help us address that issue.
In a recent post I wrote about our struggles with language and literacy levels. In the month that’s passed since then, we’ve done a few things with our children’s class that are worth reflecting on.
First off, we started offering more activities for building vocabulary. The most popular ones were our “vocabulary builders”, which you can find on the files page. These consist of two sheets of paper: one printed with a grid of pictures on one side and words on the reverse, and the other with a grid containing phrases, each missing a word. The goal is for the children to match the pictures with the phrase, and then write the corresponding word into the blank space in the phrase. For example, a picture of a report card with the word “attain” on the reverse would match up with the phrase “Because he worked hard, Jun was able to _________ high marks on his report card.”
So far, the children have responded well to these vocabulary builders, as long as we don’t use them every week (too much of the same thing becomes mundane, I guess). They use them a little differently than I’d expected: instead of taping only one side of the picture to the grid to allow them to reveal the phrase below, they prefer to glue the picture directly to the grid, meaning that both the word and phrase are hidden—only the picture is visible. To get around this, I’ll probably design the next one differently, so that, for example, each phrase has an empty space next to it where they can glue the picture. As well, the picture and the word could be on the same side of the paper, so that the word’s not hidden when they glue down the picture.
Another thing we’ve done—and this is a big one—is to start focusing on getting them to practice saying prayers every day of the week, and not just during the class. We’ve even called them up during the week to remind them to say their prayers. This has had a noticeable effect on the children and on class discipline. Now, instead of struggling with “O God, guide me”, the ones who’ve been reciting the prayers during the week are calm, present and confident during prayers. That confidence rubs off onto the other children, who see the seriousness and readiness with which their peers are approaching prayer time, and seem to clean up their own act in response. As I wrote before, sometimes it might just take a friend to set the example to inspire others to follow suit.
As we know, having the children reciting prayers outside of class isn’t just about building vocabulary; it’s about giving them regular contact with the creative Word of God. That’s why it’s a much more exciting and significant development than coming up with a clever vocabulary building activity. Reciting and memorizing prayers has the potential to kindle the children’s souls, and create within them spiritual susceptibilities. I remember calling up one of the parents recently and asking about whether her daughter was reading her prayers, and she replied in amazement that she was—that she would often find her standing in front of the refrigerator (where we posted a copy of the prayer) silently, and then walk off. Big transformations start with little changes, and I hope that before the year is out, we can report back with even greater changes—ones that may foster the growth of a profound devotional character in these families, and in the entire community.
Hello again and welcome to a new (Gregorian calendar) year! We’re back in action this week, planning a new season of classes for our neighbourhood children’s class, which has been evolving at a steady pace and providing us with plenty of learning opportunities. The month of December was a little hectic, as we tried a number of new things in response to the needs and requests of the children. In order to illustrate a lesson on obedience to God’s commandments (which is not yet online) we decided to present a few lessons on the oneness of religion, tying it in to Bahá’u’lláh’s command to “consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” We tied this in to the Christmas holiday by having the children decorate a oneness tree—in the shape of a Christmas tree but made of wool—with the symbols of many different religions.
What we’ve found was that the children—for many of whom English is a second or third language—have had a lot of trouble grasping the vocabulary we use in the lessons, which are sourced from Grade 2 of Ruhi Book 3. We spent some time trying to supplement the lessons with written vocabulary-building exercises (some of which are available already on the files page) but even so, we’ve continued to run into the same barriers. The quotes and prayers we use in Grade 2 just use too many difficult words; we’d need an extra class each week to go through the words with them to keep things going at our intended pace. Sometimes, of course, the children manage with a little effort. I’m reminded of this snippet of experience from our lesson on prayer as spiritual nourishment:
One of the children […] seemed disinterested in committing quotes to memory and reading prayers. But when one of her schoolmates joined the class and told her that she had put the prayer that we’re learning on her fridge so she could read it every day, it seemed to have an effect on her, as if she was surprised her friend was working on memorization at home. We had a talk with her right afterwards, and she confided that she often felt shy to memorize quotes and prayers because there were too many big, complicated words in them, and she had trouble remembering them all the way through. So we encouraged her to try little bits at a time, and assured her that a prayer is still a prayer even if you only read a few words. Since then, she’s been much more involved in memorizing, and has even offered to read prayers during class.
One of the strategies we’ve discussed is to start choosing shorter, more manageable quotes to reduce the difficulty of memorization. Hopefully, this should invite a greater sense of confidence when reading. Another strategy will be to compile a prayer book for the class with all of the prayers we’ve learned so far, so that when it’s time for prayers, the children can stick to the ones they know and not worry too much about trying to recall long words by heart. We obviously want them to learn prayers by heart, but we’ll work on that little by little as we work on consolidating their vocabulary.
Wow. My dad was an English major; I never thought I’d end up being the one teaching English.
Look out for our next lessons soon—this week’s class will be a review of the lessons on prayer, and then we’re going to move forward with the next set of lessons from Grade 2, on the theme of knowledge.
October 17, 2012: It’s been about a month and a half that our neighbourhood children’s class has been focusing on prayer, as part of the lessons given in Grade 2 of the Ruhi Institute’s curriculum. This week we had a class of six children—three boys and three girls, ranging in age from five to nine—and one junior youth who just turned twelve. Of course, we’ve been working to establish a regular junior youth group in the neighbourhood to engage the many young people in that age group; it’s been slow going, but as we work at it and get to know the people in the neighbourhood and explore their networks, we strengthen the foundations of the group. We’ll have more news on it as that comes.
A word about the topic: I must say that thanks in no small part to the past few lessons, the quality of our prayer time is markedly different from previous classes I’ve had the pleasure to teach. I mentioned before that I really appreciate the way Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2 is laid out in sets, with the first set giving us three whole lessons on the topic of prayer at the very start of the curriculum, which we’ve split up into six whole weeks of reinforcement on the subtle art of praying. This week’s lesson deals with the mechanics of prayer, and we talked about what we do with all the parts of us when we pray: close our eyes, put our hands together or cross our arms, and clear our minds of the things of the world, so we can show humility and reverence in the presence of God. One idea we had was to create a poster with one of the drawings from Ruhi Book 3 that features children praying, and to use it to show the children what sort of posture we can take with our bodies when we pray.
A pretty prayerful poster.
The children had a better time with the quote for this lesson, since it’s a little shorter than some of the others in this set. This being Grade 2, the readings we study tend to be longer with more complicated words, which is fine for native speakers but a bit of a test for people (such as many of the children in our class) who are only just learning English. We’ve noticed some progress, though—at least one of the children has been with the class since Grade 1, and her capacity—and engagement with the class—have grown steadily since, to the point where we can consider her to be one of the key participants. The issue of language is still a sticking point for everyone, and it seems to be especially discouraging for the boys, who often end up distracted during the memorization section of the class, going off to sit on the couch and read picture books or play computer games, which is always a black hole that sucks the attention away from the rest of the class. How do we deal with it? By doing our best to make our activities, well, active. Our best memorization happens when we present it with a dynamic attitude, incorporating movement, music, rhythm—anything that brings it out of a purely verbal mode to a mixed mode of learning. An example would be the step game we came up with during one of our very first neighbourhood “outreach” classes. We’ve been trying out ways of using images and pictures to represent words, too—for example, in this lesson, the children took pictures representing certain complicated words and glued them in the order they appeared in the quote, and we used these to recite the quote without looking at the words. Lesson learned: It’s not easy to find a picture that represents the word “essence”. As well, we’ve started creating worksheets that the children can work on in class, for example, drawing lines between the pictures and the words they represent, as well as their definitions. The parents, who are also learning English in city language schools, jumped on the chance and filled out their sheets too. Is this what one might call potential for social action?