Tapestry of Faith: Windows and Mirrors: A Program about Diversity for Grades 4-5

Alternate Activity 4: Translating the Familiar

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Write the words to "Spirit of Life," Hymn 123 in Singing the Living Tradition, on newsprint, and post. (You may wish to use just the first line of the song.)
  • Obtain a Morse code chart . Make a few copies for one small group of children to share or copy the code onto another sheet of newsprint. (See Find Out More.)
  • Write directions for speaking Pig Latin on another sheet of newsprint. (See Find Out More.)
  • Optional: Be ready to help children translate "Spirit of Life," into American Sign Language. The ASL Dictionary Project provides an American Sign Language alphabet chart online which you might use to create a translation. However, it is best to invite a guest who knows ASL to join your group for this activity. If they do not know a translation for "Spirit of Life," suggest they read David Bar-Tzur's instructions for the translation online.

Description of Activity

In this activity, two or three groups of children will translate the words to "Spirit of Life" into Morse code, Pig Latin and/or (optional) ASL. To save time, invite them to translate just the first line: "Spirit of Life, come unto me."

Form the groups and distribute the Morse code and Pig Latin newsprint and the ASL chart. Indicate where you have posted the words "Spirit of Life, come unto me."

Give groups five to seven minutes. Then invite each group to share their translation with the larger group. After each demonstration, ask the audience (the other group(s)) to determine which word, gesture or sound means "life" and imitate the word.

Together, ask the entire group to create a dance using the word, gesture, and sound for "life." Dance becomes yet another means of communicating.