Monday, December 24, 2007

Animals of Christmas

My Sunday School lesson yesterday went beautifully. I began with reading The Little Troll by Thomas Berger (the children were so into this, they all clapped at the end). Then we made sheep for the classroom felted Nativity scene -- I'll post pictures of this if I can. It's breathtaking. Mary on her donkey on a little pebbled path leading to the stable, Joseph leading her, the ox waiting in the stable, two shepherds in the field outside with their sheep. I had the children card some raw wool (click on link for helpful videos of the process), then roll up the rolag and form it into a soft little ball "sheep". Next they rubbed some lanolin on their palms -- they all hated the smell and feel of the lanolin so they would wash their hands vigorously after finishing a sheep, but they all wanted to make more so they ended up putting it on their hands again :-) -- and pat the "sheep" gently to make it stick together. This worked much better than the sheep we tried to make last year with wool wrapped around a pipe cleaner frame. So that there were no parent complaints about the word "breast" in the classroom I squeezed some lanolin out of the tube and just had it in a plain cup, which they passed around and it worked well.

The children each made three rounds of sheep. During the last go round I read from Stories for the Festivals of the Year by Irene Johanson -- a book I highly recommend for children age 6-9 years. I wanted to focus on the animals of Christmas since that is what we were adding to our nativity scene, and this is the 3rd week of Advent which is the animal kingdom week anyway. It was a good review of the Christmas story from Annunciation to the Birth and they are very gentle stories. I read the following chapters while they quietly carded and formed their sheep:

  • The Donkey's Secret

  • Why the Sheep Looked Forward to Christmas

  • The Promise to the Little Ox

  • How the Angel's Message to the Ox and Ass Was Fulfilled

  • How the Angel's Message to the Sheep Was Fulfilled

Then it was time to go and we all wished each other a Merry Christmas and drove out of sight. :-)

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