End of year party

20111211-180840.jpgFor our last class of the year we organised some games. The first game was called ‘Appreciation’ and it involved a piece of A4 coloured paper, some crayons and a plastic shopping bag for each person.

The piece of paper was placed flat inside the plastic bag and everyone had to stick their hand in and without looking at the paper (pretty much impossible to see the paper inside the bag anyway) draw a portrait of one other person in the class.

Then they had to write a short personal message of appreciation for that person under their portrait. Most messages involved the words ‘I ‘- ‘love’ – and ‘you’, which was nice to see! When all the portraits were ready, they were lined up on the table and people had to match each portrait to the person who inspired it!

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The second game didn’t have a name nor a lofty message as such, but it was fun nevertheless! Each child was given a balloon. Then they took turn to blow it and let it go in the direction of a ‘target’. The child with the balloon that landed the closest to the ‘target’ was the winner. We had do this a few times as the balloons flew in every and all directions except the target!

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By noon our guests started to arrive and it was time for yummy food. We had lollies, chocolate, sausages, salad, fruit, burgers and ice cream.

Thanks to the cook (our usual guitarist) and all those who participated. We look forward to seeing you all next year!

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Lesson 6 Term 4 2011: Resolving conflicts

making invitations

As usual, the children started the class with a round of prayers. It was so lovely to hear a variety of prayers being read or chanted from memory.

We then sang ‘God is one’ song we have been singing in the last few lessons.

Today’s story was from May/June 2011 issue of Brilliant Star, titled, War of the Whales and the Sandpipers. Brilliant Star magazine is a great resource. There are lots of activities children can do, although these are mainly for older children.

The story is an adaptation of a folktale from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is about a silly fight between a grumpy whale and his friend, the sandpiper. The conflict escalates into a full blown war between the sea creatures and the sea birds and pretty soon the beach and the lagoon is destroyed. Fortunately, the whale and the sandpiper come to their sense and remember their friendship and decide that a silly conflict is not worth destroying their habitat and each other for. Instead they realise the ocean is large enough for them all.

The children then made some clay sculptures of whales and birds and while it was baking in the oven, they made invitations to our end of the term BBQ to give to their friends.

red whaleClay whale and birdThe idea and the templates for the invitation card came from lesson 21: One Human Family in Book 3A of the Peace Pack. The children cut out and coloured in a drawing of the planet Earth. Then they cut out and coloured in another drawing of the Earth and cut is horizontally in half. They glued three sides of this to the bottom half of the full planet Earth, leaving the top open to make a pocket. Then they cut out two to three ready-made drawings of peopleand decorated them and placed them inside the pocket. Then the whole thing was glued on bright blue cards.

The end of the term BBQ is next Sunday right after the class. See you all then!

invitation card

Invitations to our end of the term BBQ

 

Lesson 5, Term 4 2011: A home of peace

Today the class went ahead without the host who missed the class to attend a birthday party. But those who were at the class were treated to a special lesson. The lesson was based on lessons 16 and 17 on Peacefulness in the Peace Pack.

With the help of her grandma, one of the children made a shoe box model of a room in the holy household the night before and brought it to the class to be used as a prop for the story. Our story was called ‘a home of peace’. This home was the house of Baha’u’llah in the Holy Land. The story was about the room of Navvab, Baha’u’llah’s wife. Her room was very simple and clean with a white narrow bed which doubled as a seat during the daytime.

The children then coloured in a peace garden

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Lesson 4 Term 4 2011

Today we had a guest teacher! One of the children’s mother has finished her training in Ruhi Book 3 and took today’s class as part of her practicum.

We started with a round of prayers followed by some songs. One of the Mums kindly prepared posters with words of ‘God is one’ song and Unity prayer we had been learning over last classes.

Song postersinging songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our guest teacher chose the virtue of fortitude as the focus of today’s lesson. She told the story of Haji Muhammad, the bird hunter in lesson 13 of Ruhi Book 3.

Reading a storyWe revised the quote from the Hidden Words of Bahaullah which is in lesson 14 of Book 3. We had already come up with our own actions to go with the words to help us memorise this quote.

O Son of Being,
My love is My stronghold. He that entereth therein is safe and secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish.
The children then were given a cut out bird to decorate with glitter, colourful craft feathers, and stickers. Each child was also given a small piece of paper with the following quote on it, which they glued on their bird as one of the ‘decorations’!

“O Befriended Stranger! The candle of thine heart is lighted by the hand of My power, quench it not with the contrary winds of self and passion. The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not. Make My love thy treasure and cherish it even as thy very sight and life.”

bird craft  arts and craft

 

 

 

 

 

We finished the lesson with the game in lesson 14, Ruhi Book 3. Children tool turns to be blindfolded and sit on a chair with their back to the group. Then one person slowing and quietly came behind and knocked on their ‘door’/chair. The blindfolded person had to ask ‘Who is knocking at my door’ and the other person had to disguise their voice saying, ‘it’s me!’ We used a microphone for this which helped with the disguise! It was time to go home, but the children wanted to keep playing. A fun game facilitated beautifully by our guest teacher, who we hope will take more lessons in our classes [wink]!

game gamegame

 

Lesson 3 Term 4 2011: Knowing yourself

Today we had an addition to our class all the way from Hanover in Germany!It is always lovely to meet new people. We also welcomed back an old friend who has been absent for a while, recovering from a surgery. This meant that our class was a bit larger than usual – and a bit noisier than usual too! Singing songs always helps bringing people together and this week was no exception. We sang Unity House and God is one which we had learned from previous classes.

singing songs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace starts with us. Peaceful people and people who can act peacefully and bring peace to others, start by knowing themselves. It it important that we know about ourselves: our cultural background, our religion, what makes us happy, what makes us angry etc.

So the children did some quick reflection on these things: we found out that our group is culturally very diverse with most children being of mixed cultural and ethnic and national groups; we learned that some smile when they are happy, others dance; we learned that some scream when they are angry, others stump their feet and slam doors!

SingingKnowing what we do when we are happy or knowing how to read the signs people give when they are sad or angry, helps us communicate better. For example, when we know we scream when we are angry, and we observe screaming children and how it does not help, then next time, we may try to do something else when we are angry. Some people like to dance an angry dance, others want to use words and say why they are angry, others may take deep breaths to clam down before saying something that they may regret later.

One thing we can all do is to pray to when we feel sad, frightened, angry or even happy. But we need to take our time when we say our prayers: we need to relax, focus our thoughts on something we like that will help us calm down, then listen to the words in the prayer carefully. We had a quick practice at this and we will do some more meditation in the weeks to come.

Drawing and art help us express ourselves and help us know each other. So the children spent sometime drawing things that would help them be peaceful: butterflies, flowers, fish etc.

kids drawingdrawing

We finished with a game and some yummy snacks. We are hoping next week, our guest student’s dad from Germany teach us some dance moves. Dance is a great way to express oneself!

Lesson 2 Term 4 2011: Love

Peace housesToday we learned about why we have chosen the theme Peace for term 4. We learned that the message at the heart of all the religions of the world is peace. The children heard about Baha’u’llah’s last Will and Testament and how He told his followers that His message is about peace and that people shouldn’t make religion a cause of conflict and war.

We then sang the Unity House song accompanied by our talented guitarist and then learned a new song called, God is one! For those who don’t know this song, here it is on Youtube, performed by a group of Baha’i children in Sarawak:

 

Our story today was Daddy, Tell Me Why There’s Hate by Robert Alan & Janet Mihock,and Illustrated by Robert Alan from PeaceToons.com

This is an online book, but pdf version is available for downloading. The story is more suited to younger kids but the elders in our class didn’t seem to mind it. Although the words and pictures are simple, the ideas are quite complex. It teaches that hate is learned and that we can lean peace instead by sharing love.

This was a perfect story for us as we had learned from previous lessons that love is the foundation of our peace house. Speaking of peace house, yes, you guessed it! We managed to successfully stick the roof on our popsicle houses. One house even had a smoking chimmeny.

putting the smoke into the chimmenyproud architectHouse with glitter roof

Lesson 1 term 4 2011: Building a peace house

A big welcome to term 4!

popsicle stick houses without roofsThe focus of classes in this term is on Peace and it follows last term’s theme of Unity. We are going to learn more prayers and beautiful inspirational quotes on peace and unity and learn and practice virtues that will help bring peace to ourselves, to our friends and family and to our school.

We started the new term with a whole lesson devoted to making our peace house out of colourful popsicle sticks. This idea follows on from lesson 6 of last term: Unity house where we made a unity house with love as foundation, unity walls and a peace roof.

 

For each wall, we lined up 6 sticks parallel to each other, then joined them together by gluing on two half-sticks on either ends.

Popsicle stick house wall

 

 

 

 

We made 4 walls and while we were waiting for the glue to dry and harden, we learned the rest of the Unity prayer, we have been memorising all of last term.

Four walls

 

 

 

To join the walls, we used folded small pieces of paper as hinges. One flap was glued to one wall and the second flap to the other. We had to join two walls, then wait for the glue to dry and then do the other two walls. While we were waiting for the glue to dry, we played some games.

four walls held together by paper hinges

 

 

 

At last, the 4 walls were up!

our roofless peace housesWe will finish putting a roof, doors and windows  next week.

 

The children were very patient and listened carefully to instructions. It was a hard piece of craft but then again, building peace is not easy! Just as building peace, we all need some help to build our popsicle stick house and we need to help others too.

Lesson 7 Term 3 2011: Strength in unity

quail colouring inSHowing off our quailToday is the last day of term 3 children classes and some of the children were disappointed we did not have a party! We sang the Unity House song without our usual lead guitarist and singer. But I reckon we did pretty ok!

flock of quail escaping the hunter's trapOur story today was the Quarreling Quail from India as retold by Wendy Momen in the Sunshine Tree (p.27-32). A flock of quail get united to outsmart a hunter by poking their heads through the holes in the hunter’s net-trap and flying away. But once they start quarreling with one another their strength turns into weakness and they get caught by the hunter.

Then, the children coloured in a picture of a quail from Kidsfront website. We also revised the unity quote we had learned some time ago:

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole Earth” – Baha’u’llah.

We then sang the unity song from Enkindle CD, track 16. Here are the words to the song:

colouring in a quailWhen we are on our own we’re weak

and what we do is small

But when we work in unity

we’re the strongest of them all

(chorus) Unity, unity, unity, unity is the strongest of them all.

We then made beautiful and colourful quail with fanned wings. We used ribbons, wobbly eyes and buttons to decorate our birds.

showing their bird

See my quail!

See you all next term!

Lesson 6, terms 3, 2011: Unity House

After we sang the first line of the Unity prayer with the cool actions we had made up, we sang Come into my unity house song again (see lesson 4). This time, our guitarist was a little late so one of the children lead the singing for us!

Colouring in

We then talked about building a strong unity house and how it needs a good strong foundation. We all agreed that for our unity house has to be built on the foundation of love. We talked about the Little Bill story from previous lessons and how without love, Little Bill would not have cared much to resolve the conflict with his friend.

Unity House

Unity House

For craft, we used the instructions for building a Peace house in lesson 6 in Book 3A of the Australian Peace pack. The children were then given a rectangle piece of coloured paper to glue on the bottom of a page in their book. Then they cut out and glued a piece of paper with Love as foundation next to their ‘foundation’. Then they were given a larger piece of coloured rectabgle as the walls. We talked about how unity is like the walls of a house because the walls hold the house together just as unity is like a glue that holds people together. We glued the wall on top of the foundation. Children used smaller pieces of coloured paper for windows and doors. Finally, we glued triangle shaped paper on top as the roof of our house. We talked about how without roof, we will not be protected from rain and wind (just as in the song).

We finished the class by colouring in page 104 of Baha’i Crafts for Children book. This shows the planet Earth in the middle of a star. Inside the star and around the Earth, people of different nations are holding hands (just like the actions in our unity prayer).

Colouring inUnity colouring page

Lesson 5 Term 3 2011: My Treasures

Treasure box

Treasure Box

We made a treasure box today. Everyone got three chocolate coins for their treasure box, but they were first asked to give away at least one to one of their friends, explaining why they wanted to give it away.  Not everyone was willing to part with their little coin at first. Luckily, the spirit of generosity is contagious, and soon everyone had given away and had in return got back at least one gold chocolate coin!

Visualisation helps remember and understand the quote

Traesure boxes

Treasure boxes

The quote for today is:

“Make My love is thy treasure and cherish it even as thy sight and life”

Quote Visualisation

Visualisation helps remember and understand the quote

Colouring inThe quote visualisation sheet and treasure box instructions and template are from Enkindle.