Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Charlotte Mason WORKS

Late Saturday night, I made it home from the Charlotte Mason Conference and have had not had anytime to breathe, much less blog. Why? My church asked me to be the "storyteller" for Vacation Bible School today and Wednesday. The program they selected is Beach Party: Surfin' through the Scriptures. When I previewed the lesson from the Bible Storyteller Book, my stomach lurched because it included a script with actors, props, and sound effects--definitely not my cup of tea! I called the VBS coordinator, and she told me all we had time for was the simplified story version in the back of the manual. Hmmm . . . I have to do a short lesson from a living book . . .

Suddenly, the rebellious, subversive part of the brain that told me to homeschool my kids and do whacko things like the gluten-free, casein-free diet kicked in. The Bible is the most popular living book of all time! I decided to be brave and write a lesson plan using the actual text of Judges 6:36-7:21 as my guideline. Yes, a bona fide lesson plan in the spirit of Charlotte Mason, keeping in mind the daily narration lesson design "Is Sequencing and Ordering the Curriculum Important for Scaffolding Learning?" covered in the article in the Winter 2007 issue of The Review.

The first thing I did was consult the sample lessons in Appendix V of School Education by Charlotte Mason and Carroll Smith's ideas on how to scaffold a lesson. I turned to Volume 3 pages 238 through 239 for the Old Testament example. The first challenge was that I was planning a lesson for four different classes and would have to scaffold each one differently: K-3/4/5, 1st-2nd grades, 3rd-4th grades, and 5th-6th grades. While I lacked a shared understanding with the class, I tried to imagine what children in each age group might already know. I also had to keep in mind that children take time to adjust to oral narration so I decided to find other ways to reproduce what they are learning. If I taught these children year-round, my goal would be to teach them to narrate. I have enough sense to know two days does not a narrator make.

How did it go? TERRIFIC! Charlotte Mason WORKS!!!!!

The oldest class made wonderful connections such as the 300 remaining men made them think of 300, which is an R-rated movie based on the wonderful story of Leonidas and his 300 Spartans guarding the pass at Thermopylae to slow down the Persian army. They also chuckled at the chain link fence in the picture that represented the dry fleece. I thanked them for pointing it out because I knew that meant they were thinking. The 3rd-4th graders noted that trusting God helps you to obey Him. The 1st-2nd graders could not believe that Gideon's army won even though they only had trumpets and jars. Five or six told me that the story of Gideon was great--they just loved it--I could see it in their bright, eager eyes. Even the rowdiest bunch, the youngest class, gave thoughtful responses that we should obey God just like we should obey our mothers, fathers, and grandparents.

Here is my lesson plan:

Subject: History
Time: 15 minutes

Objective:
1. Interest the children in the story of Gideon and his trumpet so that they may not forget it.
2. Give them an admiration for Gideon as one who trusted in God and obeyed Him.

Material (Thank You Google Image Search):
1. 8" x 10" photographs of a shorn sheep and fleece
2. 8" x 10" printed pictures from the story of Gideon

Lesson for 3rd-4th and 5th-6th Grades:
Step 1. Ask the children if they know what fleece is. Respond to their answers and show this photograph of a shorn sheep.

Step 2. Since most children know the story of David and Goliath, emphasize the physical weakness of Gideon's character. Point out that Gideon lived before David was born and had no knowledge of that story to give him courage. Let them know the reason for Gideon's fleece test was that he did not understand why God picked a weak person to lead the army.

Step 3. Briefly describe the situation with the opposing forces, the Midians. Point to the camp represented in the mural on the classroom wall and the rocks surrounding it.

Step 4. Hand out the five pictures to children. Ask them to form small groups, one picture per group. Let them study the pictures and talk about them for a minute.


Step 5. Before reading the Bible, tell the children that they are to pass the picture just described when I pause. Read Judges 6:36-7:21, pausing for the scenes in each picture. Point to the mural for the scenes involving the camp.

Step 6. Have the children tell what the theme obedience has to do with the story of Gideon.

Lesson for K-3/4/5 and 1st-2nd Grades:
Step 1. (K-3/4/5 Only: Lead the children in singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and have them stop at "its fleece was white as snow.") Ask the children if they know what fleece is. Respond to their answers and show this photograph of a shorn sheep and the fleece.

Step 2. Since most children know the story of David and Goliath, emphasize the physical weakness of Gideon's character. Point out that Gideon lived before David was born and had no knowledge of that story to give him courage. Let them know the reason for Gideon's fleece test was that he did not understand why God picked a weak person to lead the army.

Step 3. Briefly describe the situation with the opposing forces, the Midians. Point to the camp represented in the mural on the classroom wall and the rocks surrounding it.

Step 4. Orally narrate Judges 6:36-7:9. After telling the wet fleece versus dry ground, ask them if they would have obeyed God. Then, have them anticipate the next test by telling it is the opposite of the first. Have them anticipate whether or not God wants a bigger or smaller army. Have them stand up and act out the downsizing of the army by having the children on the green rug represent the terrified soldiers and all but three sit down after the water test.

Step 5. Orally narrate Judges 7:15-7:21. Before telling the final scene, set the stage by pointing to the mural and showing where the Gideon's army will be standing. Have them anticipate what kind of weapons they will need. Surprise them with the answer trumpets and jars. Wrap up the scene with Gideon's tactic and have them anticipate how the Midian army reacted.

Step 6. Have the children tell what the theme obedience has to do with the story of Gideon.

13 comments:

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

you are good!!! love it!

Chef Penny said...

That is awesome! I think that I will use it next week for Bible lesson. Thanks!

The Glasers said...

Nope, this is not me! First, it is the living book and written my living minds inspired by God. Second, it is how you frame the lesson to develop a shared understanding that will enable children to appreciate the story as it is and as it is written. This is the brilliance of Charlotte Mason's ideas which she developed while searching for the educational laws created by God.

jsm4jesus said...

Tammy,
This is tremendous! You have given us a blueprint to follow for tweaking twaddly VBS material as well as Sunday School curriculum. You've proven that children's minds will be nourished with living ideas! I'm sure those children will always remember your lessons.

Thanks for sharing this!

Your new friend,
Jennie, who is so thankful to finally meet you at the conference last week!

The Glasers said...

Jennie, drop me a line via email so I can place you! I made so many new friends that I want to connect your name, city, and/or face while it is still fresh! :-) Call it early-onset Momheimers! LOL!

Bonnie said...

OH... how awesome.
I loved your two sessions too.
I've been thinking about scaffolding
and can see clearly now~~ because of you. Emma and I started Understood Betsy too!

Thanks. Absolutely wonderful to hear and see you!
Bonnie

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

just thinking as i am looking thru this- if a person (the teacher) has trouble themselves narrating...(um because they have never done it themselves) there are quite a few helpers such as the Eggermeier Story bible. Where do you find these pictures or are you just aware from years of teaching?

The Glasers said...

Bonnie, we loved Understood Betsy! I think every homeschooling family should consider reading that book when they first start because it contains many wonderful lessons for both adult and child learners and knowers!

Amy, I got these pictures by using Google's image search! I kept searching until I found images that I liked.

momof3feistykids said...

I love Understood Betsy, too. Tammy, as always you are inspiring. :-) I love your ideas and lesson plan.

I have a question; I hope you don't mind. I have been doing the e-learning for RDI (will start with my consultant later this summer). Can you recommend resources on further exploring dynamic vs. static thinking either in the social/emotional realm or in cognitive skills/academics? Several people (including you) have mentioned Laura Berk's Awakening Children's Minds which draws on Lev Vygotsky's ideas (I think he is one of the psychologist Gutstein mentioned -- one of those dynamic thinking guys. :-) ) Do you have any other ideas?

Thanks!
Stephanie
http://tribeofautodidacts.homeschooljournal.net/

jamie in rose cottage said...

Wonderful! We love CM, too!
Thanks for sharing.

The Glasers said...

Feisty Younguns' Mum . . . I have not read as many hot list books as other RDI families. I invite any and all suggestions from more experienced families. I think Awakening Children's Minds is a great start. From what I gather, the writing style is more accessible to beginners, too. It is a very dense book in that I find myself slowly working my way through it.

Jamie . . . Salutations . . . from one CMer to another . . .

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

AWESOME!! That's fantastic.

My dh and I were to do children's church for 1 month. The curriculum was sickening. I couldn't beleive it. We followed the rules and after one lesson Dan said, "What was the point of that?" We as adults couldn't even figure out what they were trying to say. All these games, and fluff -- it didn't even make any sense.

It's sad really -- how low their expectations are for children. The most enjoyable time we had was when we got "side tracked" and started discussing the ark of the covenant. Definitely not in the lesson plan. LOL But it was the most productive time, in my opinion.

Good for you! So glad you followed your heart. They will retain so much from this -- the seeds have been planted. Praise GOD!

The Glasers said...

I know what you mean. The choir director has asked me to direct one of the graded choirs, a new venture in our church. She gave me a catalog and the music looks like pure twaddle. . .