Friday, November 27, 2015

The Best of AGT Borrowed Label: Kids in the Armour of God

In February 2013, I did a series on The Armour of God and outlined the various activities we did at Junior Soldiers/ Kids Church each week while we were studying this passage of scripture.  One or two of these posts have been really popular!  Many of the posts in the series were quite long with additional information about other things in them.  Instead of linking all of these posts, I have condensed them into one long article here.  This series was included in the "borrowed" and the "church chatter" labels.  At the bottom of this post there are links to resources for Kids Church/ Junior Soldiers and parents who might like to explore the armour of God with children.  I have used lots of images too, which you might like to copy.  

Introducing Ephesians 6:14-17
We started by thinking about school (as we went back to school this week) and all the new things we buy to get us through the school year.  J brought along his soccer and boxing kits and told us all about the clothing and protective gear that you use when playing each sport.  We talked about the importance of each item and that if you don't have even one of them, you could get hurt or perform poorly on the field/ in the ring.  Then we read Ephesians 6:10-18 and as each item was mentioned we put labels onto my drawing of a soldier in armour.

Week 2
Today we played a few games.  One of the boys got very distressed (he threw a tantrum) because he didn't win the game.  We completed an activity sheet where the boys had their own soldier and a page of Armour pieces.  We cut out the shield, sword, sandals, helmet, breast plate, belt and then glued them onto the soldier in the correct places.  D finished first so he then added labels to his solider to make it look like mine.  While we were completing the cut and paste activity (with a bit of colouring), I talked to the boys about times when Satan tries to get us to do the wrong thing.  I reminded them that things don't always go our way and we might be tempted to hurt other people.  God tells us to put on His Armour so that we can stand firm against the Devil.  I asked the boys to mention times when we might be tempted to hurt others.  When we wear the sandals of the Gospel of Peace, we don't have to worry about other people or Satan or situations making us weak, but we can return to the peace that only a relationship with Jesus can give.  When we wear the Belt of Truth we don't have to worry about the horrible things people say to us, because we know the Truth about ourselves and God's love.  

When the kids were finished their soldiers, we played hangman (which I later decided we should probably change) using 'parts' of the Armour.  When we worked out the "Sword of the Spirit" I asked the boys if it was a real sword.  They remembered, thankfully, that it wasn't a sword but what it really meant was The Bible.  God's Word is the greatest 'weapon' we have to 'fight' against Satan. 

Home Activity- put on 
your Armour every morning when you get ready to face the world.  Remember every item and that God is with you always.  

Scroll to the bottom for links to black and white posters/ worksheets you can use to do this activity. 

Week 3- God's Cricket Bat
This particular week, I only had one student so I planned the lesson around him.  D and I had a great chat about his favourite sport.  Cricket!  

I heard about ducks and sixes and fours and men with long and complicated names.  I heard about summer conditions and helmets and pads and types of shoes.  I heard about the seam on the cricket ball and the wickets and teams and the scores.  

The message we discussed was about Jesus' temptation in the desert.  We talked about how Jesus 'fought' off the Devil.  D worked it out all on his own that Jesus was using the Armour of God.  Of course, there are some things that are not the same but basically Jesus stood firm in the knowledge that He was the son of God.  He was ready and He stood firm against Satan in the sandals of peace and in the breastplate of righteousness.  Jesus used the shield of his Faith and especially, the Sword of the Spirit to put Satan in his place.  Jesus was the perfect example of a soldier of God.  

Week 4- More Cricket and Armour

D brought his cricket kit to Junior Soldiers and showed us all the bits and pieces.  He put on the padded gloves and both D and J told me all about the ball and the bat and the gloves and the pads and their purpose.  D used a 'soldier' template to make a Cricket Player with all his gear on.  We talked about how the pads protect the body and the helmet protects the face.  D told me that no one wore helmets to play cricket until a professional player broke his jaw during a game when a ball hit him.  From then on it was decided that players who were in close range of bowling and batting would wear helmets.  
The kids constructed their own "Armour of God" today.  I brought along two large boxes (one had initially housed an air conditioner and another had contained a chair from IKEA) and we cut pieces from the boxes.  We cut up Pepsi Max boxes for helmets and wrapped parts of the cardboard in aluminium foil to make swords and breastplates.  At the end of our lesson today, we filmed a video of Ephesians 6:10-20.  I read from the Scripture and the boys dressed up in the armour as each item was mentioned.  While his handmade sword was pretty cool, J insisted on using the cricket bat as his "sword of the Spirit".  

That was the end of our series.  The boys really enjoyed exploring this topic over a period of time and I think they learned so much more than if we had only done these activities in one day and moved on.  Here are some images that I used in blog posts and to show the children throughout the month that we learned about the Armour of God.  There are some link and resource below as well.

RESOURCES: I created my own cut and paste sheet by drawing a soldier and the accessories myself.  But if you would prefer to just press print, check out these links. 
Black and White Poster 
Printable in various colours

There are somethings you do or say that you never thought you would.

I often use the saying, "Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out."  I am finding that is true more and more often.  Then I look around to try and find my mother until I realise that it was, in fact, me who said that.  Then I shake my head sadly. 

When teaching my class about how technology has changed communication, I found myself beginning many of my anecdotes with, "when I was your age..."  I feel so old. 

I never thought I would use those words in that order to begin a story.  Never. 

On Friday, my nieces, aged 3 and 17 months, came over to play.  We love to paint.  So we painted.  The next morning, while on the phone to my sister, I told her, "there is purple paint on my toilet seat."

That's one thing I never thought I would say. 

We  both laughed loudly. 

Perhaps we should never say never. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The best of AGT Books Label: 6 Word Memoirs

Today we are continuing with The Best of AGT series.  I am still sifting through the most viewed of the posts.  I did the top 2 posts of all time.  Now, we are going to move through the Labels and take the post with the most views in each category.  As I like to use more than one label on each post, some of the posts might be top for two categories, in that case I will go to the second highest and so on. 

This particular post is about 6 word Memoirs and it was first published here on A Great Title 15 January, 2014. 

The concept is simple.  Oprah loves it.  Teachers are using it in classrooms across the globe.  The simplicity and elegance is taking the world by storm.  The six word memoir.  If you want to know more, click here.  If you want to see what Oprah did to it, click here.  Want to see what the teens did with it?  click here.  Check out a tumblr collection of Six Word Memoirs here.

My first "6 words" foray

unseen beauty
burning within
learning peace

Before I go

That was much more difficult than I thought it would be.  It is probably a little more obscure too. Some people use the project as a regular writing exercise for themselves, for their students. Others write their 6 words once as an all encompassing statement of their lives.  We all know that I won't be one of those people.  I don't think it is realistic to write  your memoirs and then walk away.  While you are living, your life will change.  Therefore, while you are living, your memoirs will change too.  So, this is only the first 6 words.  If you read some of the other 6 word writings, you will see that sometimes they are obscure, sometimes they rhyme, sometimes simply sensible, sometimes they are funny, sometimes sad,  sometimes very ordinary - slice of life style - sometimes brilliantly wise.  What are your 6 words?

6 words to send you on your way: That's that then, enjoy your day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

More Best oF AGT: Diamante Poem of Opposites!

This post moves between 2nd and 3rd on the list of most visited posts.  Clearly people find this one informative as well as entertaining.  It happens to be one of my favourites too, so that is a bonus!

Diamante is a seven line poem where the theme or topic of the poem ends opposite to the opening topic.  This is an excellent activity for students to use their knowledge of synonyms and antonyms.  When published and displayed around the room they also provide environmental print for students to use during other writing activities.  This form is more difficult than it seems so teachers should provide appropriate scaffolding for students, throughout the writing process.

Line 1 - Name (Noun) Theme/Object
Line 2 - Two adjectives describing the noun in line 1.
Line 3 - Three participles (-ing or -ed), relating to line 1 and 2 of the poem.
Line 4 - Four nouns (2 refering to the noun in line 1 and the other 2 refering to line 7).
Line 5 - Three participles (relating to noun in line 7)
Line 6 - Two adjectives (describing the noun in line 7)
Line 7 - Noun (names the Theme or object which is the opposite of the noun in line 1.

Confused? Yeah, me too!!! Here are a couple of examples.

Young, energetic.
Growing, playing, learning.
Boys, girls. Dads, mums.
Loving, working, providing.
Grown, tired.

Light, lively.
Awakened, Shining, Revealed.
Sun, Rainbows. Moon, Stars
Sleeping, Darkened, Covering.
Lonely, Quiet

Sunday, November 15, 2015

One Thing I have learned from Being a Star Babysitter!!

You know I'm the best aunty in the world, right?

I have resources.  I have cash in my pocket, a seemingly endless supply odds and ends for craft, heaps of fun ideas and I am just a little bit silly!  I love my nieces and nephews and the best thing is, they love me too! 

I have had lots of experience with little people - as in babies and children- as well as teenagers.  I'm not sure I really want to add up how many years of experience I have.  Okay, let's see... (2 and 2 is 4, then... whisper whisper, carry the one, furrow eyebrows,)... it's about 20 years of playing with other people's children and helping look after their needs.  My nieces and nephews are not the only kids I have entertained... I have worked in schools (Prep to Year 12), volunteered and led Church youth activities too. 

The hundreds of children I have cared for and entertained over the years have taught me a lot about myself and the world.  My recent play dates with the two littlest nieces (number 7 and number 8) have taught me quite a bit too.  Today, I'm going to share only one thing with you.  One very important lesson I have learned in my almost 20 years of child care....

There is no such thing as Mess Free Craft!!
Colouring in doesn't make a mess, right? wrong!

Even when the cat helps you clean up... there is mess!

Paint and Mess-Free are not words that should ever be in the same sentence!!

Don't believe the internet!  These well meaning bloggers who tell us that they have Mess-Free Craft to share with you are delusional... don't be sucked in!  The activities they describe may be designed to create little (or no) mess but when little people (or let's face it, big people) are involved, there will always be mess!  That's how it should be!  Kids need to be kids.  Let them make a mess and teach them how to help clean up. 

Wisdom imparted.  My work here is done.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Best of AGT: 10 things I learned about Attitude!

This Listicle first appeared on A Great Title on Tuesday 4 September 2012.  It was the post with the most views of all time on AGT.  I’m pleased that lots of people are reading this and I hope it is helping them to look on the bright side and consider their attitude.   Have a great day!

  1.  My attitude is my choice.  My attitude is one of the few things I   have complete control over.
  2. The attitude of the people around me is their choice.  I can’t control it or change it.
  3. I do not have to be influenced by the attitude of those around me.  Their attitude certainly affects mine, but I am in control.
  4. If each letter of the alphabet was given a numerical value according to order (e.g. a=1, b=2 z=26) then the only word in the English language that equals 100 is ATTITUDE.  Go and try it.
  5. When an adult is having a bad day, it is not an excuse for having a bad attitude.  For example: I have been having a few bad days and as a result there have been certain “actions” of a certain “deputy principal” that have been bugging me.  But, I don’t go and yell at him or swear at him or call him names.  I am not rude to him when we converse. 
  6. If I did choose to use my “bad day/s” and his “irritating actions” as an excuse for poor behaviour, I would probably lose my job.  At the very least, I would be burning bridges between myself and a friend (as well as a respected colleague).  A bad attitude is very unprofessional.
  7. When students have a bad attitude, the teacher can’t change it.
  8. When students have a bad attitude, their teacher has a responsibility to HELP them turn it around.  Teachers can model the behaviour that goes with a positive attitude.
  9. Attitude is directly related to respect.
  10. Having a positive attitude is hard work but is certainly worth the effort.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Best of AGT!

I have decided that for the next few weeks we will revisit the best blog posts seen on AGT.  Lots of Bloggers do this on an annual basis.  Lately, while going through my writing slump, I have been taking the time to read past posts as well as journal entries.  This little exercise has drawn me back to some posts that, in hindsight, I am very proud of and I think I should share them again.  There are also several posts that have attracted quite a few readers to our little corner of the blogosphere so they should be celebrated too, I think. 

We will take a walk down memory lane by looking at top posts by number of views as well as a few of my personal favourites.  I am especially interested in the "creative" blog posts where I shared short stories and poems with you.  I think they will be the most entertaining for everyone. 

If you have a favourite you want to see again, please mention it in the comments and I will add it to the list! 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Overnight with M

The girls (#7 and #8) came over yesterday afternoon for our regular Friday afternoon play date. 
When they were picked up by their Mum, I went to their house too and slept over.  Shelly thought I'd been kidnapped!!

There was so much excitement among the children to have a visitor sleeping over.  Everyone wanted me to sleep in their room!  Everyone had something to show me or tell me. After I went to bed, the older children were still getting ready for bed. Their mother kept telling them to be quiet because "M's asleep".  It didn't take long for the kids to decide that they should check.  I was laying on #5's bed setting my alarm on my phone when one of the children opened the door to check if I was asleep.  I looked towards the door and it closed.  Next thing I heard was, "She's not asleep, she is on her phone!" About ten minutes later, when I had put my phone away and really was trying to go to sleep, the door opened again.  I decided not to move.  The door closed.  Then I heard, "she isn't moving, I think she is asleep now." 
It was so hard not to laugh!

In the morning, I was greeted with smiles and cuddles during breakfast.  Then I got more cuddles when it was time for everyone to leave. 

It was entertaining, however the sleep in a different bed with limited pillows has led to a sore neck.  Therefore, I will probably not be sleeping every Friday.  Besides, you have to make sure you are still a special occasion.  Once the novelty wears off, the kids start ignoring and that isn't nearly as much fun. 

If you don't have some kids in your life, you better get some.  I'm not suggesting you go out and knock up yourself or someone else.  Maybe just spend some more time with the children who belong to a good friend or family member (which would make the children your family too).  Seeing the world from the perspective of an 18 month old, a three year old or a nine year old does wonders for the soul!

Now it's time for a nap!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Little Visitors

Number 7 (she is 3 years old... my niece) has been coming to my house every Friday for quite a few weeks now.  You could almost call it a routine.  Last week, her little sister, Number 8 (she is my niece who is about 16 months old) came too.  They will both be coming over on Friday afternoons/ early evenings for the Summer while the rest of their siblings (and parents) go to Futsal. 

Number 7 and I have been having a great time on Friday afternoons.  My mum returns home from work at about 5:20pm and then we get into the routine of dinner, bath, teeth cleaning, story time, tidy up.  This is great, because I get to play!!

Ms 7 loves to paint.  She also loves art and craft - basically if I give her pain or glue and paper she is a happy girl- and BUBBLES.  Ms 8 is in a phase of putting everything in her mouth AND she wants to do everything her big sister is doing.  This can be a bit of a problem, as some things you can do with a 3 year old are just not suitable for a 16 month old.  Funnily enough, I made a toy last week just for #8 and her big sister wanted to play with it.  I had another fight on my hands. 

I have been pinning lots of great ideas for homemade toys, art and activities to both occupy these bundles of energy and stimulate their curious minds.  They are both in the stage of grabbing everything in site to explore it.  #7 loves to ask questions!  She asks "what's that?" "why?" "show me?" "where" and "how".  She wants to know everything!!

The girls love bath time too!  Which is great for me, because I can sit beside the bath (close enough to grab if needed) while they fill, pour and splash to their hearts' content. 

The point of this post was to tell you what we have been up to.  That's hard to cover.  I will say that we have used lots of my craft supplies and I have been buying more for their use.  Naughty!!

Ms 7 loved cutting straws into pieces then threading the pieces onto pipe cleaners to make bracelets and necklaces.  She loves stickers and stamps too.  I mentioned bubbles earlier - we like experimenting with food colouring in the bubble solution and watching the bubbles pop over the top of paper.  Painting and Bubbles in one!!!

Playdough is great too.  Each week I get out a different set of playdough materials to use.  One week we might have alphabet cookie cutters; the next week it is number cookie cutters, the next it is straws and cups.  We have one small store bought playdough tools set with a roller, small animal shaped cutters and other plastic tools.  Changing the tools each time keeps this activity fresh and different. 

For an overview this is fairly good.  If you are looking for activities to do with your little ones there are some great websites out there.  I often search Pinterest to find images of activities (which tend to spark my own imagination to make up my own things) as well as good old google.  I have to admit, Google searches often send me to the same type of sites.  Check out my Pinterest Boards (links below) to see some great activities.
Nephews and Nieces, Bits and Pieces: ideas for activities, games, art, craft, gifts etc for kids.  Most pins are related to under 9 yo. 
Craft for the Kids: first created to share craft ideas with my Mum for her youth group at church.  Craft ideas are mostly for children aged between 4 and 15 years old. 
Just for Laney: she is a friend who works with 2-3 year olds, so I was pinning activities, read aloud books, crafts, short videos for her to use with the children at her Childcare Centre.  You might find something interesting there.

I love the little Visitors and I'm loving the time we can spend together.  I don't get nearly enough time to get covered in paint and splash in a bubble bath!