Today we finally used our brains and set the tone of class from the very beginning. Instead of letting the children run circles around the room as soon as they arrive and getting completely ramped up before we expect them to do a 360 and sit down for prayers, we were ready with a few books on the blanket. And what a difference! The children came in, the new procedure was v.e.r.y. c.l.e.a.r.l.y. communicated. A couple times. And then they all sat huddled together in wrapt attention until it was time to begin. The class went far more smoothly, though we are still working toward appropriate behavior during prayers and circle time.
The children are working on saying individual prayers, even if it is only the first line, and they are certainly gaining confidence in this area. Almost everyone said a prayer today!
We finished up the virtue of Generosity today by reading Patti Rae Tomarelli's book, Something Important. Maggie's class is asked to bring in a 'memento'- something that is very important to them and tells the class something new about them. She finally decides to bring in her prayer beads and share the gift of Allah'u'abha with her classmates and teacher. Then she shares Allah'u'abha with everyone she sees on the way home, whether they know what it means or not! We talked about how we can share things that we cannot see or touch--like our love, our time, our help, and even a prayer for someone. These can be the most precious gifts of all.
Then we played a game called "I would like to give this to you" in which we played a song while passing a small gem around the circle. When the music stopped, whoever had the gem chose a friend to give it to and said, "I would like to give this to you!" We continued until everyone had a gem.
For our art project today, we counted out exactly 19 beads and strung them onto pipe cleaners to make prayer beads so we can practice reciting our Allah'u'abhas each day. Back in our circle, we played a variation of "I would like to give this to you," only this time whoever ended up with a set of prayer beads got to keep them (and say 'thank you!' of course.) It was a good lesson in detachment as well as generosity.
And let's not forget about our class magician! Sisay has been coming at the end of each class and dusting off his magic skills. I'm pretty sure the kids are digging it :)