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LOAVES & FISHES

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Click here for: * Overview * Background Notes * Questions for Discussion * Workshops, Rotation 1 * Workshops, Rotation 2

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OVERVIEW


TOPIC/STORY:

The classic tale of how Jesus fed a big hungry crowd with a bit of bread and fish.


ROTATION 1 WORKSHOPS & ACTIVITIES:

Kitchen/bannock, Drama/news/photo essay of unusual event, ComputerLife of Christ computer program, Game/pinata.



SOURCE TEXT:
John 6: 1 - 16. READ THIS.


KEY VERSE:
John 6: 13.


So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled 12 baskets. (New Standard Revised Version)



AFTER STORYTIME IN CHURCH, ALL CHILDREN MEET FOR GATHERING TIME, BRIEF REVIEW, THEN GO TO SCHEDULED WORKSHOPS.

BACKGROUND NOTES & OTHER NEAT INFO



WHERE DID THIS MIRACLE OCCUR?

The eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Here's a map.


WHAT KIND OF MIRACLE WAS THIS?

One worth noting, at any rate. Footnotes to this story in the NOAB/NRSV point out that the feeding of the 5000 is "the only miracle recorded by all four Gospels."


WHAT'S ONE WAY OF INTERPRETING THIS MIRACLE?

In our notes about the story of the paralyzed man let down thru the roof, we cited Canadian writer and scholar Northrop Frye on the miracles of Christ. The following is from 'The Double Vision of Time' in Frye's book The Double Vision (this quote refers to 'miraculous healing powers. But no one can argue that feeding a hungry horde of 5000 is a pretty substantial, sustaining act!):


"the Oriental scriptures tell us that very advanced stages of enlightenment bring miraculous powers of healing, but that these powers should never be regarded as more than incidental by-products... If so, miraculous elements in the Gospels, which describe a life lived on a plane of intensity that none of us have much conception of, should cause no surprise... Jesus performs his miracles with reluctance, almost irritation; he imposes secrecy on those he cures; he tells his disciples that they can do as well as that themselves. But the Oriental analogues may begin to give us some faint notion of what... sacred history really talks about."


BREAD OF LIFE.

A few verses later at John 6:35, Jesus says, 'I am the bread of life.' This statement seemed presumptuous to some around him and rankled more than a few listeners. Obviously Jesus wasn't talking about your ordinary white Wonderbread. He meant essentially nourishment for a person's spirit. Clearly some listeners needed a lesson in metaphor and symbol!


THE IMPORTANCE OF SYMBOLISM IN JOHN'S GOSPEL.

Right off, we notice that John's account of the life of Christ is just a little different from that of the other gospel writers. Introductory notes to this gospel in the NOAB/NRSV explain it this way: "[this book] takes pains to acknowledge Jesus as a human being, but as a social being as well when it proclaims, 'The Word became flesh and lived among us' (1.14). Any effort to understand the Fourth Gospel must take this central pronouncement as a major point of interpretive entry...

"In retelling the story of Jesus the author symbolically uses a number of terms drawn from common experience -- bread, water, light, life, word, shepherd, door, way -- to make the significance of Jesus both clear and gripping."


AWESOME ART.

Lots of nice images for this story on the web. Here's a Durer woodcut from 1503.

Here's Doré from 1865.

And a very colourful African print.


NEAT POETRY (THIS JUST IN!).

My very dear friend Ruth sent me a new book in the mail for Christmas this year -- "Ann and Seamus" by Newfoundland writer Kevin Major (Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2003). The book takes the form of a series of poems that tell the story of how heroine Ann Harvey and her father George saved numerous shipwrecked people off the forbidding coast of Newfoundland in the early 1800s. An interesting approach -- telling this story thru a series of short poems. Discerning why the writer would choose this mode would be a great discussion topic. At any rate, the imagery he uses focuses on the basic stuff of survival, like rocks and such. Or does it. Here's a verse the describes what happens after George and Ann bring the first skiff-load of starving survivors ashore (Seamus's point of view):


Our grievous tale

hardens George Harvey's brow.

A plan takes hold, a scheme sired from a lifetime on these seas.

His questions charge the air

while his boy pases round

glorious bread,

dried fish and water.



QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. How many people gathered there to hear Jesus?

2. Why do you think Jesus was concerned about if there was enough food to feed them?

3. Why do you think so many people gathered to hear Jesus?

4. Do you think it would cost a lot to feed them?

5. How much food was around to feed them?

6. Who according to John produced the original amount food?

7. Does it sound like the disciples had complete confidence in Jesus's ability to feed all these people? Would you have lots of confidence?

8. What did Jesus do before sharing around the small amount of food.

9. Do you say a blessing before meals at your house. How do you feel on the days when grace gets skipped?

10. Was there much left over after everyone had eaten? How much?

11. Who or what does Jesus tell the crowd he is? [bread of life]

12. Explain why Jesus calls himself the bread of life?




WORKSHOPS, ROTATION 1


Please find below suggested workshops for this unit. For each one, when you are in real time with the children:

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.


KITCHEN

ACTIVITY: MAKE BANNOCK FLATBREAD TO CONNECT WITH THE BREAD ELEMENT IN THIS STORY.



BAKING INSTRUCTIONS, ETC.:

I found this interesting note plus ingredients on the web. Enjoy!



The Chippewa took these fried cakes along when the tribe was moving or warriors were hunting. They are, however, best eaten hot.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal, 1/2 cup water, 4 tablespoons melted butter or bacon drippings, 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional), 3 to 4 tablespoons cooking oil (for frying)

In a bowl, combine cornmeal, water, butter or bacon drippings, syrup and salt.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Drop batter by tablespoonsful into hot oil. Flatten with spatula and fry cakes until crisp and browned on both sides. Add more oil as needed.

Serves 4 to 6.


REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

Ready. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity.

Set. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

Go. Mix it up!




DRAMA WORKSHOP

ACTIVITY: ACT OUT INCIDENT AS A NEWS STORY IN PROGRESS BEING COVERED BY A NEWS PHOTOGRAPHER. POST PHOTOS IN WEB PHOTO ALBUM.


MATERIALS: costume box, digital camera.



SHOT LIST OF SCENES FOR PHOTO ESSAY:

1. Jesus and entourage stops on encountering a large crowd.

2. Jesus talks with followers about how to feed everybody.

3. Disciples make 'how would I know' gesture with hands.

4. Big kid with little kid showing Jesus 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish (could be cardboard or const. paper cutouts.)

5. Disc. gesture to crowd to sit down.

6. J. gives thanks for loaves.

7. Starts handing bits to people who are nearby.

8. Cutaway/closeup on crowd with own bread and a fish.

9. J tells disc. to gather fragments.

10. Disc. in crowd collecting leftovers in baskets.

11. Closeup of one disc. with 2 hands up and another with 2, indicating 12 baskets.

12. Cutaway to crowd talked together and pointing (about and at Jesus).

**We ran this in the Summer 06 when there weren't too many live actors. So we adapted the activity to shooting scenes of paper puppets. The kids created the scenes, shot the photos, and added captions to produce the slide show. We didn't do all the shots on the list because some would need facial expressions. That gave us five or six main scenes. The kids really enjoyed it.

[Oh darn, looks like i deleted the slideshow for this, no record of the photos. Well, trust me, it turned out really well!]

IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

3. Shoot!




COMPUTER WORKSHOP

ACTIVITY: GO TO ACTIVITIES FOR THIS STORY ON 'LIFE OF CHRIST' CD.

** You could augment this lesson by creating a computer puzzle from one of the suggested artworks. A puzzle from the African print would be wonderful. From websites like flash-gear.com, you can create your own computer puzzle.


IN REAL TIME WITH THE CHILDREN

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.

3. Boot up!



GAME -- Pinata

> fish shaped pinata filled with goldfish crackers. Class for a given week could make pinata for next week's class. Big kids could just make one for little guys. Pull string type would be good for not wrecking their work.



Here's a link with good pictures about how to create Pull String Pinatas.


Here as well is a link to the lesson on the WORM site that describes why this activity works well for this study unit:

Pinata activity on WORM site.



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loaffish2.jpg

Loaves & Fishes, Rotation 2

New activities include: * Arts 1/bread clay sculptures * Arts 2/papier maché bread box* * Kitchen/bake bread * Music/teach song, Break thou the bread of life * Songwriting/draft new lyrics to graces, ie Johnny Appleseed, Bless our Friends, Bless our Food * Computer/Cal & Marty, Fall of Jericho, crossword, wordsearch


ARTS 1 – Bread Clay Sculptures

Get hands on and make bread the centerpiece of an art exercise based on this story.

Materials – 6 slices white bread, 6 tbsp white glue, 1/2 tsp detergent (Dawn) or 2 tsp. glycerin, food coloring

What to do. Remove crusts from bread and knead with glue. Add either detergent or glycerine. Knead until no longer sticky. Separate into portions and add food coloring if desired. Shape and brush with equal parts of glue and water for a glossy coat. Allow to dry overnight to harden. Paint with acrylic paint. Seal with clear nail polish.

ARTS 2 – Papier maché bread boxes

God’s bounty is such that one needs a bread box for storing the excess (this idea came to me while clearing off the kitchen counter one day…)

Material – cardboard, scissors, tape, newspaper torn into strips, papier mache paste (equal parts flour and water, ie 2 c x 2c. Paste should be smooth liquid with no lumps. Add salt to prevent mould, white glue for extra stickiness.). Acrylic paint, brushes after project dries.

How to do this. Tape your bread box together so that one side can have a flap door cut away, bottom edge at least 2 inches above box bottom. Don’t forget to tape in a handle to papier mache around as you go. Cover your box with newspaper strips covered in paste. Don’t forget to pm your handle to make it good and strong. Let dry.

Drying will of course take at least overnight. Perhaps the following week in class, paint your bread boxes 1 main colour. Then add images from the story – lots of types of bread, fish, Jesus, ichthys, crowd, etc.


KITCHEN – Make bread

Have your class participate in the miracle of bread making thru this activity. Batch makes 2 wider than baguette, crusty style loaves.

Ingredients: 8 ml active dry yeast, 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 - 115º), 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt, 1 olive oil, 4 cups bread flour

Instructions: Make 3 batches, 1 each past 1st and 2nd rising that can be popped in oven during class. (In other words, kids can stir together bread dough for step 1, 1st prerisen batch into loaves, then score and put 2nd risen batch into over during class time. Laterr batches can be baked and used later or frozen.) Cooking time is only 18 mins, so kids can try their bread before going home.

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add sugar, salt, shortening and 1 cup warm water; stir until dissolved.


Add flour and stir until smooth (you may or may not knead).


Cover and let rise in a draft-free, warm place for an hour or until doubled.


Turn onto floured surface. Divide in half; let rest for 5 minutes.


Roll each half into a 10" x 8" rectangle. Roll up from the long side; pinch along seam edges to seal.


Place seam side down on oiled baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover and let rise again until doubled, approximately 45 minutes.


With a very sharp knife, make five diagonal cuts across the top of each loaf.


Bake as directed or until lightly browned.


Cool on wire racks.



MUSIC -- Teach song, Break thou the bread of life

Learning this story creates the perfect opportunity for the kids to learn one of the classic songs of thanksgiving from our tradition.

Find mp3 sample and lyrics to this hymn on Cyberhymnal.org .


SONGWRITING -- Draft new lyrics to a classic sung grace.

There are some well known sung graces the kids hear at camp, etc., that don’t however make reference to the loaves and fishes story. So, let’s create new verses and teach a few graces!

Scouts Canada has a good page with sung graces. Every kid should now Johnny Appleseed. As well scroll down the page to Bless our food, Bless our food (to the tune of Edelweiss) for another nice one.

Working in teams, have your class brainstorm new verses for these grace based on key moments in the Loaves and Fishes story.



COMPUTER – Cal & Marty, Fall of Jericho, Crossword and/or wordsearch

Here are a few ideas for computer activities for this rotation:

• create a memory verse unit for the kids in Cal & Marty from Sundaysoftware.com.

• Create a quiz (or have the kids do it!) in Fall of Jericho (available from Sundaysoftware.

• Have the students create their own crossword puzzle or wordsearch online or using programs for this available from Sundaysoftware, and try them out on classmates.


Click here to return to Top of page for Background Notes and Loaves, Rotation 1 Workshops.



All original text © 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

BIO

Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.

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