You’ll find a quick summary of what we did in the ecological spirituality workshop today below the iNaturalist link.Continue reading “Ecological spirituality workshop, day one”
I finally finished writing a short essay titled “Reimagining Sunday school” for my curriculum website. This essay has been in the works for a while, both as a response to the “death of Sunday school” movement, and as a response to the de-funding of religious education programs that we’ve been seeing denomination-wide. I’m copying the entire essay in below the fold, or you can read it on my curriculum website.Continue reading “Reimagining Sunday school”
Possum decides he’s going to tell the old story of Easter this year. His friends Rolf, Birago, Nicky, and Dr. Sharpie help him out.
Click on the image above to view the video on Vimeo
As usual, the script is below the fold. (The script has not been corrected against the actual video, and may vary in minor details.)Continue reading “Possum tells the old story of Easter”
Since 2020, I’ve been filming stories-for-all-ages in a puppet studio I put together in the nursery at the Palo Alto church. We’re about to resume infant and toddler care, so it’s only a matter of time before I have to remove the puppet studio from the nursery. But I managed to take some behind-the-scenes photos of puppets and puppeteers in action while filming a few last videos.
When we’re filming, the puppeteers mostly watch the action on the computer screen. Sometimes looking at the screen is disorienting and we have to look up at the puppets. We tape the script to the back of the puppet stage at our eye level. Puppets who are not in the current scene lie on the table next to us (you can see Possum in the lower left corner of the photo.)
This is what the camera sees when the zoom is set to the widest angle:
A wider view, from behind the camera. We sometimes have up to seven lights aimed at the stage. Props are laid out on the table to the left of the puppet stage. When not needed in the current scene, the puppets stay in cloth bags, and you can see Rolf’s head poking out of the dark blue bag in the lower right corner of the photo.
I’ll miss the puppeteer studio when it’s gone. But I won’t miss sweating in that small room on hot days, with the doors closed to keep outside sound out. I won’t miss having to reshoot a scene because a helicopter went overhead, or someone started talking on their phone right outside the door, or the cello class started up unexpectedly, ruining the sound. I won’t miss having a carefully-constructed set suddenly decide to fall over in the middle of filming. I won’t miss spending fifteen minutes trying to level the camera, only to find that somehow, mysteriously, the stage has gone out of level. I won’t miss shooting video on a tight deadline with little margin for error. But… I will miss bringing Sharpie and Possum and the other characters to life.
We’ve been teaching Ecojustice Class — a hands-on environmental justice curriculum for gr. 6-8 — since 2014. But much to the frustration of the teachers, there has never been a written curriculum for the class — until now.
Here’s the general curriculum plan for Ecojustice Class. There should be enough material there to fill approximately two dozen sessions over the course of a school year.
However, you won’t find a completely scripted curriculum, because that’s just not possible due to the nature of the program. This is a hands-on curriculum that gets the participants outdoors as much as possible. That means you have to have back-up plans in case weather doesn’t allow you outdoors. And you have to adjust the program to your specific climate and seasons.
I still have a few more successful lesson plans that I haven’t had time to put online yet. So expect minor upgrades to the curriculum over the next few months.
(And thanks to the many talented Ecojustice Class teachers who contributed to the class over the years, including Carol Steinfeld, Francesca Finch, Emma Grant-Bier, Ed Vail, Lorraine Kostka, Buzz Frahn, Mark Erickson, and others. I’m especially grateful to Francesca and Emma, who grew up taking the class and then went on to teach it.)
Rolf and Possum want to donate to their congregation’s pledge drive. Problem is, they don’t have any money. Then Rolf comes up with an idea….
As usual, full text below the fold.Continue reading “Possum and Rolf and the pledge drive”
Possum asks Dr. Sharpie about the meaning of Christmas. Then Possum asks some of his other housemates, and Muds finally helps him find the meaning of Christmas.
As usual, full text is below the fold.Continue reading “What’s the meaning of Christmas?”
In the conclusion to the “Thanksgiving with Family” series, Muds and Possum talk over the Thanksgiving dinners they had with their relatives. For both of them, it didn’t go as badly as they had feared!
As usual, full text is below the fold.Continue reading “Thanksgiving with family, pt. 3”
Dr. Sharpie, Rolf, Ms. and Mr. Bear, and Elephant share Thanksgiving dinner together. They wonder how Thanksgiving dinner went for Muds and Possum. Just then, Muds and Possum come home….
As usual, full text is below the fold. Part 3 coming soon.Continue reading “Thanksgiving with family, pt. 2”
Muds and Possum are worried about going to visit relatives at Thanksgiving, because of uncomfortable conversations with relatives who have differing opinions about climate change, gender, and religion….
As usual, full text is below the fold. Go to Part 2.Continue reading “Thanksgiving with family, pt. 1”