the báb: the gate to bahá’u’lláh

January 24, 2009: 4 kids (three ~9 yr olds; 1 ~5 yr old); 1.5 hr class. Class went surprisingly well, considering. I started out the day by creating a written activity (word search, to go along with the other written activity); went to print things out and my printer wasn’t working. So I figured, OK, I’ll print them at the Baha’i centre. Took a taxi to the Baha’i centre, since class was starting soon. Got there, and the internet was down (it’s been down since last week!?!!?) Gaaaaaaaaah. So I had to come up with everything on the fly. Miraculously, things went ok. We started with prayers right away, without waiting for latecomers. I found that this helped some of our more unruly kids concentrate on the prayers and not lose too much of their attention. One boy came in late though, and this did provide a bit of distraction, but overall everyone was well-behaved during prayers. It was afterwards that everyone got crazy. I gave them too much leeway i think, and allowed them to carry on too long with disruption, and so i lost control of the class. At a few points i managed to stop the distractions with a very firm “No.”, which actually impressed me. Two of the kids had to have a time out while we played simon says, because they were being too unruly and not listening to directions. I’m still not great at discipline, but I think (hope?) I may be learning a little. 😛

break time

today was supposed to be yet another day of class, but all our usual participants had to cancel—other commitments, car trouble, or whatever—so the day just turned into a break for me instead, which is actually quite welcome.  I was scrambling this morning, rushing out of the house after sleeping in a bit—it’s been a long week, what with a public transit strike in Ottawa with a snowstorm on top. I managed to put together the bare minimum for today’s intended lesson on consulting experienced physicians when ill, and then forgot it at home when the taxi came to pick me up. 😛 oh well. so finally, I guess I became the recipient of God’s mercy—or maybe just the victim of circumstance? anyway, I figured I’d jot down a few notes while I had some time to do so. overall, the situation in the class isn’t all that different from the last time I updated—still without a co-teacher, although one of the parents has been attending the class with her children. I am beginning to wonder whether it will be realistic for the class to continue past the early spring, seeing as I will be taking time off for pioneering/travel teaching beginning in March, as I mentioned earlier. well, that’s just one of the things I have to think about, anyway. and again, like I wrote before, there’s no sense in worrying too much about it—if God wills, others will step up and take my place.  lots of things are starting to happen at the Baha’i Centre—monthly firesides being a prime example, ones that are advertised in the local papers. There’s a nice new sign for the outside, too, for people who are out walking in the street (although there are fewer of them now that the weather’s so cold).

I read up on memorization games over lunch, since that’s one thing we always seem to struggle with; apart from the usual repetition games, I found a few new ideas, including a kid-friendly version of Charades—kids are split up in teams and given a quote to act out that the others have to guess. Dialogue is permitted, but they’re not permitted to use any of the words in the quote.  Seems like it might be difficult for the younger children, but the older children should enjoy a game like that.

OK, post over for now as I catch up on more emails.  Class is still on for next week, and then another, real break (I’ll be away during the Christmas vacation period).

modesty and moderation in dress

Today’s lesson: modesty and moderation in dress.

4 children, 1 helper. This class went miraculously well, considering how little I had planned—but we had overflow activities from the past few weeks (the masks from our lesson on unity and diversity, etc). We started with prayers, skipped to a song (after hearing the kids demand a story!) and then a short game of Simon Says. I didn’t want to read a story just because they asked, because I didn’t have one planned and I was worried it would just throw me off and make us lose momentum. Note to self: need to work on flexibility—come up with a story to go with this lesson. 😛

The kids liked the topic of modesty and moderation; I introduced it by saying we would be talking about clothes and they all but exploded. (not sure why. maybe i’m out of touch.) They related easily to it and seemed to understand the point of modesty as “not trying to show off” or grab people’s attention. I prepared an activity sheet for them to work on at the end of class, which went pretty well. We talked about the different kinds of clothes people wear in different places, and what modesty meant in different cultures. To end off, we invited them to design their own (modest, moderate) clothes, which the girls especially loved.

unity in diversity

Today’s lesson: unity in diversity.

more masks6 kids, a few 5-yr-olds, a few 9-yr-olds. 1.5 hrs. Class was successful thanks to the quality of the help! My brother came to help with the activity, and he also helped out with maintaining order. It really makes a difference having someone in the class who actually knows how to maintain discipline. He did a fantastic job.

This week’s activity was papier-maché masks to celebrate unity and diversity week (November 9 to 15, 2008). This is one of those times where I was so engrossed with the craft that I forgot to really develop the theme, but with brother there it went well. He basically ran with what I started out with and ended up presenting the whole lesson; he was also very firm with discipline and gave the kids a structure to fit into—which he spoke to me about afterwards. Let’s just say I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’ll be doing some serious reflection on discipline in the next little while.

Other reflections? Definitely need to work on developing the class’s theme, maybe through having a better plan for the activities. If I’d thought ahead a little more, we could have had sample masks or mask designs available to inspire the kids in their designs. The whole thing took a lot longer than I had expected, too—since everything had to dry, of course—which limited what we were able to accomplish. Overall, lots of food for thought from this lesson 😛

kindness to the poor (take 2)

Today’s lesson: kindness to the poor.

November 1, 2008: 1.5 hrs, 3 kids: 9, 9, 5.  Revived the poverty card game from previous years. it was a hit, just like last time. this time, was able to make them a bit nicer (backed the printouts with card stock); still, was a little hectic–didn’t have same amounts of each six “essentials”; took a while to figure it out for the game.  the kids didn’t mind though, because they just kept on playing it and loving it. made for quite a few good conversation points, and we discussed lots of the concepts behind the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty. had lots of help, especially considering the fewness of the kids who came. the rest must have been sick from eating all the halloween candy, dunno.  All in all, a good class, even though I overshot our time a little and ended up having no time to work on the craft I had planned (masks, for Unity in Diversity week that comes in two weeks).

kindness to animals (take 4)

Today’s lesson: kindness to animals.

October 4, 2008: Argh! This class was a disaster, mainly because of me being completely unprepared for it, and being the only teacher for a class of five rowdy kids didn’t help either.  the idea of doing origami animals may have been a good one, but it was a whole lot harder to learn than I had originally thought.  most of the children just broke out the legos as I tried to wrap my head around making a crane with the one or two who actually wanted to stick with it.  In any case, I’m not sure it’d be very useful for me to report any further on this one x_X Maybe next time.