Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 12: Last Session of Young Church

This Sunday is our last session of Young Church. How has THAT happened? Is it just me, or does it seem like the kids were just coming through the church door with their sample of water for our opening Sunday water communion? How the year has flown.

Please be sure to join us on May 19 for our annual Young Church Sunday worship service, which honors our children as they take to the pulpit to lead us in prayer and reflection and grace us with their gifts of music. We will also recognize our eighth graders and graduating high school seniors.

Here's what's happening this Sunday:

The theme for the morning for our preschoolers is, "We must care for our Earth and its plants and animals". After hearing the story, The World That Jack Built, they will play a spider web game that illustrates our interconnected web, and will pick up trash from our grounds.

The kindergarten class will learn about our sixth UU principle, the democratic process and a world of justice for all, by listening to the Dr. Seuss story, Yertle the Turtle. They will make turtles out of paper bowls and have the turtles vote on different things to demonstrate the democratic process.

The first grade class will learn about our fourth UU principle, a free search for what is true, by listening to the story In God's Name, talking about their own ideas (if any) about God, and making a poster together.

Second graders will learn about the Unitarian environmentalist, artist and author Beatrix Potter and will try their hands at drawing animals in her style.

Third graders, having now learned about how people of four different faiths pray, will write their own prayers and finish making their prayer beads.

The fourth grade class will conclude their learning about the Israelites by hearing the story of Shadrack, Mesach, and Abednego and performing a skit about it, and then they will hear about the Israelite's return to Jerusalem.

Fifth graders will discuss all that they have learned about the life and times of Jesus this year.

The sixth and seventh grade combined class will debrief all that they have learned this year from visiting different faith communities.

Eighth graders will consider the question, "Can we ever solve life's mystery?" by reviewing the big questions that they have considered this year.

See you in church!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

What's On Tap for Sunday, May 5

We're really on the last leg of the spring term at this point. Only two classes left! It would be great to have outstanding attendance for these last two weeks and then have a huge crowd for our Young Church Sunday service on May 19! Here's what's happening this week: The theme for the preschool class is "Spring Makes Our World Beautiful with Color". The children will hear the story, "What Makes a Rainbow?", make butterflies, and participate in a guided meditation, dramatization, and a movement exercise. Children in grades K through 3 have worship and spirit this week. This means they spend the hour in worship in the lower meeting house. The theme for the morning is "Finding Your True Self" and, after a story, they will do some yoga and a walking meditation. Our fourth graders will hear the stories of the prophets Elijah and Jonah, and will make thaumatropes of Jonah inside the whale. Fifth graders will hear the story of Jesus' crucifixion and burial and will make a Jesus sculpture out of found objects. The sixth and seventh grade combined class is going on a site visit to the Sri Lakshmi Hindu Temple in Ashland. The eighth grade class will consider the question, "Do I Have a Soul?" After a meditation, they will make masks, hear different ideas about what a soul is and place themselves on a continuum according to how much they agree with each, and have a discussion based on two quotes by Rabbi Harold Kushner. See you in church!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Here's What's Happening: April 28

What a great turnout we had last Sunday for a vacation week! Kristen Miller and I led all kids in grades p/k through 8th in worship and a protest song-writing activity. They broke up into small groups to write a song about an issue that is important to them. The songs they managed to write in such a small amount of time were truly wonderful! It was a very fun and moving morning. So here's what's up for this week: The theme for the preschool class is "My World Has Flowers". They will read the story "Planting a Rainbow", make flower collages, and plant seeds to take home. The kindergarten class will listen to "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss, and will make small terrariums. First graders will learn about our second UU Principle (justice, equity, and compassion) through The Golden Rule story and they will make "billboards" and bookmarks printed with the golden rule. Second graders will learn about the Unitarian P.T. Barnum and will try their hands at circus tricks. Third graders will learn about Hindu prayer and meditation and will make another bead for their prayer bead cord. The fourth grade class will learn about King Solomon. They will perform a humorous skit about the wisdom of Solomon and, after learning about his temple, will design their own sacred space. Fifth graders will hear about how Jesus was betrayed and condemned and will play "Jesus Jeopardy". The combined sixth and seventh grade class will debried their visit to the Buddhist sangha and will get an introduction to Hinduism to prepare for their visit to the Hindu temple on May 5. Eighth graders will consider the question, "What should I do with my life?" They will reflect on what their life might be like when they are 100 years old, and what important things they may have done. They will also consider the concept of a calling through the Japanese wisdom tale, "The Stone Cutter" and discussion. See you in church!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Here's What's Happening: April 7

Don't forget about the annual FRS Variety Show on Saturday night! It's one of the most fun events of the year for people of all ages. The show starts at 7:00 in the upper parish hall. Hope to see you there! Now here's what's happening in our classes on Sunday morning. The theme for the preschool class is "My World Has Animals". They will hear the stories "My Cat Flossie" by Ruth Brown and "Annie and the Wild Animals" by Jan Brett and will make animal stick puppets and play animal charades. Our kindergartners will learn about our First UJ Principle, honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every person, through the Dr. Seuss story, "Horton Hears a Who" and by playing some cooperative games. The first grade class will also learn about the First Principle, through the story "On the Night You Were Born" and through a guided meditation and a birthday party for all. The second grade class will learn about the Unitarian sculptor Daniel Chester French and will make their own "permanent" sand sculptures to take home. Third graders will start to learn about Hinduism and will create their own god/goddess out of clay. Fourth graders will hear the story from the Hebrew Scriptures of David and Goliath and will make a game out of stones. The fifth grade class will learn about Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper, and will make their own Last Supper mural. The sixth-seventh grades combined class will be going on a field trip to worship at Nichiren Buddhist Sangha in Haverhill. Eighth graders will consider the question, "How am I connected with everything else?" They will learn about the Unitarian Henry Bergh, who founded the ASPCA and will design their own logos showing how people can connect with the rest of the universe. The senior high youth group meets in the youth room. See you in church!

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's Happening on March 17

The preschool class will be focusing on the theme "we all belong to the Earth family". They will hear the story "Somos Un Arco Iris (We Are a Rainbow)" and will play games from around the world. The kindergarten class will talk about our third UU principle, acceptance of one another, through Dr. Seuss's "My Many Colored Days", and they will make color collages and do a color role play. First graders will learn about our seventh UU principle, the interdependent web,through the story "All I See Is Part of Me", and they will make starry night art and engage in a guided meditation. The second grade class will learn about the Unitarian architect Frank Lloyd Wright and will build structures using a cantilever design. Third graders will examine some Buddhist artifacts and will learn about and engage in Buddhist meditation. The fourth grade class continues learning the story of Moses, with today's focus being on the Israelites' time in the desert, crossing the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments. They will play a Red Sea parachute game and watch a segment of Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments". Fifth graders will learn some of the Jesus miracle stories and will bake bread. The sixth-seventh grade combined class will welcome FRS member Stan Barrett into the classroom to talk about Islam, then they will leave at 11:20 for their field trip to the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland. Eighth graders will reflect on the question, "How can I know right from wrong?", will draw pictures of their conscience, and have a discussion about whether or not it is okay to steal when one is hungry.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's Up: March 10

This Sunday begins the spring term in Young Church. Yay for spring! Please don't forget to turn your clocks ahead, otherwise your kids might miss out on this: The preschool class will be talking about the many different kinds of families and will read "The Family Book" by Todd Parr and will make their own coats-of-arms. Kindergartners will reflect on our fourth UU principle, affirming a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, by listening to and then re-enacting the Dr. Seuss story, "What Was I Scared Of?" The first grade class will learn about our sixth UU principle, "the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all" by hearing the story, "Henry Climbs a Mountain", talking about peace and justice, and creating a landscape picture. Second graders will learn about the Unitarian Alexander Graham Bell, and will make an electromagnet and experiment with different ways of communicating. Third graders will have an introduction to Buddhism, will learn about Siddhartha Gautama, and will make another prayer bead. Fourth graders will continue to learn about Moses, this morning hearing the story of the plagues of Egypt, and they will make unleavened bread. The fifth grade class will hear the story of the Good Samaritan and will create a modern-day version in small groups, which they will perform for the rest of the class. The sixth-seventh grade combined class has a field trip to the UU Church of Haverhill. The eighth-ninth grade class will consider the question, "Is life fair?" They will consider the meanings of justice and equality. The senior high youth group meets in the youth room. See you in church!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Here's What's Happening on March 3

This Sunday is the final week of our winter term! We like to start spring early in Young Church, so we'll be starting our spring term with a new group of teachers next week (though the curriculum themes all remain the same). Let me take this opportunity to thank our wonderful winter term teachers: Byron Seese, Ally McNamee, Jay Iannini, Tim Fountain, Carey Creps, Laura Litcofsky, Christine Doherty, Pat Skibbee, Patrice O'Brien, Colleen Werner, Tracey Fortier, Kimberly Neely, Marc deKanter, Steve Amery, Rebecca Brodish, Sarah Spalding, Vicki Lincoln, and Julie Menin. THANK YOU! This week in the preschool class, the children will be listening to the story, "Why Am I Different?" by Norma Simon and will do some activities that stress individuality: they will make abstract drawings, and play a couple of games. The kindergarten class will learn about our first UU principle (every single person has worth and dignity)through Dr. Seuss's "The Sneetches", which they will re-enact. They will also talk about their own uniqueness, and will make self-portraits. Our first graders will learn about our fifth UU principle (everybody should have a say) through the story "If I Were President", and will make a model of our meeting house through a process that involves a series of voting. The second grade class will learn about the Unitarian astronomer Maria Mitchell and will make up and chart their own constellations. Our third graders will learn a bit more about Islam, including how Muslims pray. The fourth grade class will hear the first part of the story of Moses, and will do a slightly off-beat dramatization of the burning bush. The fifth grade class will hear the story of the Prodigal Son, and will make wire sculptures. The sixth-seventh combined class will write thank you notes to the Friends and the rabbi, whom they recently visited, and will prepare for next week's field trip to the UU Church of Haverhill by learning more about the core practices and history of Unitarian Universalism. Our eighth graders will address the question, "What happens when we die?" Interesting things are happening all around. Looking forward to seeing you in church!