the class i am working in this semester is a first grade class. it is an urban school full of hunger (physically and emotionally), brokenness, abandonment, and poverty. yet because these are kids, there is still hope, imagination, and dreams. they can still be reached easier than if they were older. i want to grow my students not just intellectually, but emotionally, socially, and god willing, spiritually. so i am always thinking of lesson plans & activities that will build them up & encourage them.
a little over a year ago my husband preached to the church about the body of christ and every one's role as a member...the point was that the church's tendency today is to come and get filled without really ever pouring herself out. she has become content and lukewarm. the message was entitled "don't be a missing piece." this suddenly came back to me when i was thinking of an activity to do with my first graders and i was inspired.
so i bought a 24 piece puzzle and drilled a hole in each piece. i put each piece in a ziplock bag along with ten colorful beads and some string. i explained to the class that the whole class is like a puzzle and each student is a very important piece. without one student, our class is incomplete, just like a puzzle with a missing piece. i explained to them that they each have gifts, talents, and strengths that help make the class what it is and that each student is extremely special.
they made necklaces out of the puzzle piece and beads to remind each child that he/she is special and important. they absolutely loved it, and even if the concept i explained was a bit abstract to them, i hope it stuck somehow. and if not, i hope that in a few years they will remember the activity and be encouraged by it. they wore their necklaces for the rest of the day.
i am not sure how this activity would fly with kids above the age of 8, but my first graders, boys & girls, were so excited about it. depending on the grade i teach with the job i get, i would like to do this every year with my class. not only does it exemplify individual significance, but it helps create classroom unity.
school should be a place where you are encouraged, believed in, grown, challenged, built up, and expected the best of. and it should give you precious memories. and i pray the holy spirit creates an atmosphere in my classroom where children will encounter him on some level.
whenever i am discouraged and stressed about being in college, i try to remember that it will be worth it to build the kingdom of god in such a way.