Director of Religious Education

Roots Class (pre-k to 1st grade) w/Marie:

Continuing our quarantine pace and structure, sharing joys and concerns (“rose and thorn”) has become the real centerpiece in our time together. Birthday joy, video game victories, worries about school- all big important topics we can be together in, and be seen. We also revisited Swimmy; it’s just so empowering to think about a new idea vanquishing a community problem. Our Zoom times at Wildflower are like that, for children and grownups. 

Seedlings Class (2nd to 4th grade) w/Piaf:

This week we connected around the theme of accepting the many emotions that we might feel during these unusual times. We began by reading a comedic book about a monkey who is struggling to admit that he is feeling grumpy. The kids and I were able to relate to that feeling and shared some of the harder times we’ve had recently, with losing patience with siblings, as well as feeling anger and frustration with things we can’t change. We normalized these feelings and brainstormed ways we can care for ourselves when they arise. Finally, we created a silly Mad Libs story on the theme of grumpiness and played around with Zoom’s whiteboard feature.

Wildflower Youth (5th grade & Middle School) w/Solveij:

I’d first like to say I am so grateful to be able to get to know your incredible youth, and connect with them during a time when connection is so very hard to come by! I think we have finally hit our stride on what kind of zoom-friendly activities we can do together that foster expression and connection. Much of this was worked out by youth themselves proposing what we should play, talk about, art projects, etc. I learn so much from them.

We also have been learning about how youth climate activists are organizing virtually during this time, and this week began creating and brainstorming for posters to participate in the virtual Youth Climate Strikes that happen every Friday. Again, they are a super cool bunch and came up with unique, powerful posters so far. 

Roots Class (pre-k to first grade) w/Marie:

We’re continuing our class “new normal” routine, which looks like this: We light the chalice We are Unitarian Universalists with minds that think, hearts that love, and hands that are ready to serve, and welcome and celebrate each child individually with the hat song. After everybody is feeling really seen, it’s been a good time to encourage group conversation around the topics that arise from children’s sharing of any joys and concerns.

Next has been story time, this week’s pull from my library is Swimmy by Leo Leoni, one of my favorite readalouds about a fish that comes up with a powerful way to bring his community together to vanquish the fierce big problem that everyone is very worried about. The children liked the way Swimming solved his community’s problem (all the little fish come together and swim about like one big fish, and very satisfactorily chase the other big fish away) but several thought it would be even better if they could ride on the big scary fish. That is how they would solve the problem.

Empowered by all these very good ideas, we changed up our dancing song to be about dancing just like a fish, and you all will have to simply imagine the wonderful fish finned shimmy shimmy shimmy dance moves that followed. Class ends with extinguishing our chalice together on the count of three and singing our closing words: when our hearts are in a holy place, when our hearts are in a holy place, we are blessed with love and amazing grace, when our hearts are in a holy place.

Seedlings Class (2nd-4th grade) w/Piaf:

This week we continued our focus on community, connection and fun with some very silly games. After lighting our chalice and sharing our joys & concerns, we looked at some photo-shopped images of owls with dog heads (and vice-versa), which was quite amusing 🙂 We then brainstormed what the worse animal combos would be and played pictionary using these crazy creatures. I so appreciate this time to gather, enjoy each other’s company, and strengthen the bonds the kids had built pre-pandemic.

Wildflower Youth (5th grade & Middle School) w/Solveij:

Today the youth shared art about “what Spring feels like” to them and other artistic projects they felt like showing us. We also watched a video about how youth climate activists are impacted by and adapting to the pandemic. The youth were really engaged and expressed that they thought it was cool that youth around the world are still doing what they’re passionate about and fighting for what they believe in. They also said it made them feel they wanted to do something. Next week we’ll make posters to participate in the virtual “School Strike 4 Climate” and keep brainstorming ways to be engaged through art and activism. 🙂

Roots Class (pre-k to first grade) w/Marie:

We spent this rainy morning meeting each other’s cats, talking about signs of spring, and getting some more singing and dancing in for spring. 

I shared a story about the baby bird my friend found, and kept watch over until mama bird returned. Here is some information I told the children I’d send along, in case you spot a baby bird since that is definitely a sign of spring. 

Seedlings Class (2nd to 4th grade) w/Piaf:

This week we watched a video by our ministerial candidate, Sarah, about her pet snails and discussed what we could learn about her based on her gentle care for these creatures. Then we brainstormed questions to ask her during our virtual meet-and-greet that is coming up. Finally, we had some silly fun showing and talking about our pets.

Wildflower Youth (5th & Middle School) w/Solveij:

This Sunday in youth group we created a collaborative story with elaborate twists and turns, about a dolphin man with legs who went on quite the adventure after emerging from the sea. Each week, we’re prioritizing the youth connecting and having fun together. 🙂 Next week we’re planning on playing pictionary or charades, and the youth will brainstorm questions for the potential minister, Sarah.

This week we gathered on Zoom for our C/YRE classes.

Roots class (pre-k to first grade) w/Marie:

Happy Easter, and thank you to the children who gathered with me this morning. 

I so wanted to share a nice springtime, Easter-y book this morning. Sharing stories seems like a good use of the remote format and at times like these we need stories. Most of my best books are on the shelf in our real world classroom but I did manage to find a lovely old book, The Golden Egg book, by Margaret Wise Brown, in which a curious bunny hatches a duckling and makes a friend. It ends with their togetherness, something the children care so much about, and we each shared about people we are missing being with right now, and things we are doing to feel less alone. It’s a hard time. I think a lot about Reverend Brian’s words that staying apart right now is a tremendous act of love. We are taking care of each other, but it sure can feel lonely. I empathize with the duck when they say this- “Inside the egg,” said the duck, “I thought I was all alone in a small dark world.”

The togetherness of seeing everyone’s face- and jumping pretend bunny selves when we sang Here Comes Peter Cottontail for everyone- was wonderful. Easter, and spring, is definitely here today. 

Also some very wonderful and inventive hats. 

Seedlings (2nd – 4th grade) w/Piaf:

As usual, we began by sharing our roses & thorns (joys & sorrows). Then, we explored the Christian story of Jesus rising from the dead that is the basis for the Easter holiday. What is the UU perspective on this idea? Finally, we played an Easter-themed version of “When I go to Baltimore…” which was a lot of fun. 

Wildflower Youth (5th grade & Middle School) w/Solveij:

Today we played Kahoots! with a “Life on Earth – Interdependent Web of Life” trivia game. Afterwards, we talked about ways we’re each still trying to connect with nature (going on walks, seeing the moon, playing with pets, hike at Balcones Canyon Preserve). It was good to see everyone and fun!

Roots Class (pre-k to first grade) w/Marie:

This week we talked about the corona virus, did a lesson together about hand washing, and each child took home a small book about the virus. We’ll be making a stop at the bathroom sink to wash our hands T the start of each time we gather. Please help your child practice washing all parts of their hand, including the back, and scrub while singing Happy Birthday (twice!) or ABCs. 

You can read more about our talk about the virus here:– I wrote our conversation up because I think our words could be helpful to other grownups and children right now. It’s so important to talk together about the big, even scary things that are on our minds. 

Seedlings Class (2nd to 4th grade) w/Piaf:

This week we discussed the corona virus and created our own personalized booklet to take home. After talking about what the kids had heard at school and on the playground, we wondered how these experiences relate to our 7 UU principles. 

Then, we brainstormed fun hands-free greetings (such as waving, giving a peace sign, foot tapping, and more) and kids chose their favorite to record in their booklet. Next, children chose favorite songs that could hum to themselves while washing their hands for at least 20 seconds. We helped them time the songs so they know how much of it to sing/hum each time and they recorded their chosen song in the booklet. For our next page, we thought about what we could say in response to coronavirus prejudice. 

Finally,  we created a list of “calm down” things we can do when we’re feeling stressed or upset about this issue. The kids had lots of great self-care ideas, including exercising, breathing, distracting themselves with funny videos, reading, making art, hanging with pets, and talking to an adult.  

Wildflower Youth (5th grade & Middle School) w/Solveij:

On Sunday, the youth learned about Frances Harper, a black female abolitionist, poet, and women’s rights activist who joined the Unitarian Church after seeing many Unitarians participating in movements for justice. We reflected on what makes us feel connected to a spiritual community and what we want to do to seek justice, have fun, and enjoy our youth community for the rest of the school year!

Roots (pre-k to first grade) w/Marie:

We’re looking at the way some homes are based on friendship- next class the children will hear about Ruth and Naomi from the book of Ruth, and this week we read the true story of a very special and surprising friendship between a baby hippo and a very old tortoise. Home is a place where we are cared for, and that caretaking can look many different ways. 
In the spirit of animals I had to sing All God’s Critters Have a Place in the Choir with the children. I think we’ll sing it together more, it was a definite hit 🙂 

Seedlings (2nd to 4th grade) w/Piaf:

We continued our work on creating a UU board game based on our 7 principles. Since we have been referring back to them throughout the year, this is a fun way to consolidate our understanding of them and increase our familiarity with these core principles that we believe in at Wildflower. The next time we meet (Mar 1), the game will be ready to play, yay!

Wildflower Youth (5th & Middle School) w/Solveij:

On Sunday, a Wildflower community elder and climate justice activist, Susan Lippman, visited us to share her story. She talked about feeling confused as a white youth who had not experienced the pain of racism and segregation as black people did in the US. She recalled wondering why MLK and the civil rights movement leaders seemed to “be in such a hurry”, and our youth shared that many had similar confusion about why modern BLM activists are protesting. As an adult, Susan came to realize that what had been represented as “disruptive” acts of civil disobedience to her by the media were so important in making segregation and anti-black racism visible to the public, and the victories of the civil rights movement. We talked about how civil disobedience is a legacy from Thoreau, Ghandi and MLK that our youth are only four links away from the start of, and how it is a strategy of Xtinction Rebellion, a climate justice movement Susan is active in.