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Activity 2: Story - Reverend Margaret Barr, a Unitarian Guided by Love
Activity time: 13 minutes
Materials for Activity
- A copy of the story "Reverend Margaret Barr, a Unitarian Guided by Love"
- A large basket
- Objects related to the story such as small statues or pictures of Hindu gods, a picture of Gandhi, a picture of children playing a game in India, a map of India, an object from India such as a colorful fabric or a jeweled box, a stone (children throw stones at one another in the story; stones are used in hopscotch which is similar to the Indian game Kith Kith)
- A chime, rain stick, or other instrument with a calming sound
- Optional: Box or small table and a decorative cloth cover
- Optional: Fidget basket (see Session 1, Leader Resource 4)
Preparation for Activity
- Place the story-related items and the chime in the story basket. Place the filled basket in the storytelling area you have designated.
- Read the story a few times. Plan how you will use items from the story basket as props.
- Optional: To provide a focal point where story-related items can sit while you tell the story, set up a box or table next to your storytelling area and drape it with a decorative cloth.
- Optional: If you have a basket of fidget objects for children who will listen and learn more effectively with something in their hands, make the basket available during this activity. Remind children where it is before you begin the "centering" part of this activity. See Session 1, Leader Resource 4, Fidget Objects for a full description of fidget baskets and guidance for using them.
Description of Activity
Gather participants in a circle in the storytelling area and show them the story basket. Say something like, "Let's see what's in our story basket this week."
Tell the group the items in the story basket will be placed on this table after the children have passed them around the circle. Take the story-related items from the basket, one at a time, and pass them around. Objects that are fragile, or which should not be passed around for any reason, can be held up for all to see and then placed directly on the table.
Name each object and ask a wondering question about each one. Say, in your own words:
Today we are going to talk about a Unitarian minister from England, Margaret Barr. Her congregation was in India. It wasn't actually a congregation like ours. It was a school and an orphanage. There is still a Margaret Barr Children's Village in India's Khasi Hills today!
Reverend Margaret Barr is one of our faith ancestors. The way she let love guide her is part of our seventh Source.
When you hear the chime (or other sound instrument), listen as carefully as you can. See how long you can hear its sound. When you can no longer hear it, open your eyes and you will know it is time for the story to begin.
Use the chime. When the sound has gone, begin telling the story.
Sound the chime again to indicate that the story is over.
Follow up with these questions:
- Has someone at school asked you about your religious beliefs? What do you say to them?
- Have you ever felt different from other people? How?
- Are there people at your school whom others treat badly just because they have a difference from them, such as their religion?
- What is an example of treating someone kindly?
- Do you think Margaret Barr would have encouraged children to play Kith Kith at her school? Why might Kith Kith be a good game for a school where children learn love and compassion, along with reading? (Games can build relationships and cooperation.)
- How does it make you feel that Margaret Barr belongs to our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition?
Including All Participants
Make sure everyone has an opportunity to experience the items in the story basket, whether by sight or touch.
You may wish to make fidget objects available to children who find it difficult to sit still while listening to a story or can focus better with sensory stimulation. Remind children where the fidget basket is before you begin the "centering" part of this activity. (For a full description and guidance, see Session 1, Leader Resource 4.)
Consider using rug squares in the storytelling area. Place them in a semi-circle with the rule "one person per square." This can be very helpful for controlling active bodies.