Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Advent Season

We won't have time to complete our knitted chicks for the Heifer International fundraiser, so I am going to have the children sew small animals from wool felt to be Christmas ornaments. December 2nd is ornament making day so that we can decorate the tree and have it up in the Fellowship Hall all month. In theory the members of the church purchase the ornaments and all the money goes to Heifer; in actual fact no one really buys them and we have dismal sales results. Next year I am resolved to spend all of November making these ornaments, instead of a last-minute hasty project, so that they are truly beautiful and sell well.

We'll move the knitted chicks to Easter. Maybe that will give us enough time. :-)

December 2nd we are also measuring the children for their pageant costumes.

My story for the first Sunday of Advent is The Little Troll by Thomas Berger, a truly wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it. A version of this story is also found in Christmas Roses: Legends for Each Day of Advent -- it is the first legend in the book. I think that's wonderful because I had picked it as our story before I knew it was an "official" Christmas legend. I know that you can use your own judgment when you're a teacher, and I try to listen to my heart when I'm deciding what stories my children need to hear, but it's also nice to have that affirmation.

December 9th is our first rehearsal for the Christmas pageant (an all choral pageant, so the children have no lines to learn, only blocking). Then one of the teachers wants to do a birthday party for Jesus, so that will take the remainder of the class period.

December 16th is our dress rehearsal with the choir and then the performance at 11 am. So another day of no lessons.

December 23rd is my only other Sunday School lesson before Christmas Day so I have to choose some kind of story that summarizes the entire series of events, instead of spreading it out like I did last year with a legend each week. I think that will be The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger. We'll also be having each child make a little wool sheep on the 23rd. I was asked by my superintendent to set up the nativity scene (with a wooden stable, silks, rocks and moss, and needle felted people and animals) for the entire Sunday School to enjoy so it will be out in the main room instead of just in my classroom. :-)

December 30 we will do Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella, illus. by Adrienne Adams, and talk about the lyrics of Christmas carols. I always love to do The Last Straw for Epiphany, so we will do that January 7.

Nativity Scene
Dec 2 - dark blue silk, pebble path, pregnant Mary on her donkey at far left, Joseph leading
Dec 9 - stable appears with moss on top, Mary and Joseph move closer
Dec 16 - ox in stable, straw, they move closer
Dec 23 - shepherds and sheep are added to the scene in the distance, Mary is nearly at the stable
Dec 30 - baby in walnut shell cradle, Mary resting under a blanket (which hides her bump, I don't remove the bump after she gives birth I just cover it up), shepherds have come to see the baby, Joseph is outside
Jan 7 - three Wise Men have arrived with gifts (Epiphany is Jan 6)

You can do so many things with this, many suggestions are found in All Year Round. One I love is to do a path of stars for Mary to follow and each day one star gets put up into the sky as she moves on to the next step. By the day Jesus is born the sky is filled with stars. I love this idea but it would work better with a homeschooling family, where you can actually move the stars daily, instead of a once-a-week class. Some people are pretty strict about the first week of Advent is the mineral world, second is the plant world, third is the animal world, fourth is the people. But I think it makes more sense to the children if they can see Mary heading down the path and getting closer each week. It's a personal choice.

Last year I also hung an angel above the stable and brought it closer each week but I can't do this with the table I've been asked to use this year. It looked beautiful, though.

No comments: