October 26, 2004

Israel Coop Week Three

Today was our last week of Israel. It was my week to teach with another mom. We started with an attempt to explain the political structure and process of Israel to the kids - it is tough to simplify this process for them but I tried. They had stickers outlining the major balances of power and we talked about how they were elected. Then we did a little exercise to try to show a very simplified version of parliamentary democracy creating government. We split the kids into three groups (yellow, red, and blue) then they had to try to get their color to be the head of the government - they quickly realized they were not going to get their color alone so we talked about how they could get their color to be part of a government by joining forces with another group to get a majority (thus forming either orange, green or purple). In case you are wondering green won the first time by a slim margin and then we talked about vote of no confidence and how they would have to retry to form an acceptable government. We decided not to do the exercise again and I tried to use a simple review showing the colors to show how the balance of power works. It was tough to explain it to 5-11 year olds - never mind the 3 year olds! Then we took a well needed snack break.

After snack my partner did a great presentation on the animals of Israel. She had printed out color stickers (which she so wonderfully took the time to peel and stick on wax paper - way easier than peeling each individual sticker with the kids!) of a bunch of animals. As many of these were unfamiliar to the kids - she read a description of the animal and its habits and asked them to guess. They guessed or knew many of them right away and they seemed to enjoy learning this.

Then we finished up by talking about life on a kibbutz. I began by explaining a little about how a kibbutz community works and how people work together to create a common pool which they all draw from to meet the needs of each individual. We talked about what their lives might be like on a kibbutz as children and then told them they would get to be adults on the kibbutz. We divided them up into three groups (the same groups we used for the government experiment) - each group had one child that was between 8-10, one 5 or 6 year old and one 3 or 4 year old. Each group had a responsibility to do. Ciaran's group was on cleanup, Rhiannon's group had to make the craft project the kibbutz would sell (in our case a coloring book of various people of Israel - Palestinians, Jewish, Bedouin, etc), and the final group made lunch for the group (bagels with cream cheese or hummus).

Some kids did not get to do what they wanted, some had harder or longer jobs than others and I think it illustrated the point well. Even Ciaran got something out of it - though sad to say it was mostly unhappiness. He got to experience the "But I don't want to do that (clean) I want to cook!" Which sadly devolved into a temper tantrum and he did not fufill his job much - though he did eventually come around to help clean when the vacuum came out - he really likes vacuuming for some reason. Rhiannon at first was very excited to get her job - she was making a craft project using scissors, three hole punch and yarn. Though soon she realized that her team's job was more time consuming - plus they were down a person as one of their teammates (predetermined before class) was not there today. Myself and another mother helped them finish and they were last to eat and several were almost done by the time they were starting. We finished with some discussion while they ate lunch about our kibbutz lesson. I asked some of the following questions and let as many kids answer as wanted to (almost everyone answered nearly every question) and I tried to make sure we found varying opinions.

-Did you like/dislike your job? They were nearly evenly split here - more liked it

-Did you think it was fair? Many did not, those who did mostly did because they liked their job, those who thought it was unfair either did not like their job or felt their job was harder/longer, etc?

-Why was your job important? They gave some nice answers here and got to the point about how their job helped all the members of the group. One girl pointed out that her job (lunch) was important so people did not die as they needed to eat!

-What are the advantages of living on a kibbutz? They did a nice job coming up with helping one another, working together and sharing responsibility.

-What are the disadvantages of living on a kibbutz? They were even better at listing these which centered mostly around not being able to do what you wanted and unfairness.

- Would you like to live on a kibbutz? I think nearly everyone of them said no. There was one who at first said yes - she really liked her job but I think in the end she said no.

This was a great kibbutz lesson plan for young children and I think it really helped drive home the lesson in a way they could understand and have fun with. It was also highly productive as they cleaned the room (instead of moms), they put together the craft for the group (instead of me) and they made lunch (instead of moms) it showed them how they can take responsibility for the group themselves and help the group no matter how young they are by each taking a small task and doing it well they were able to accomplish a lot.

It also gave the moms the idea that the kids can help with cleanup and we will be putting them on a cleanup rotation along with the moms!


1 comment:

  1. Tenn,
    This was an amazing class in so many ways. I am constantly uplifted and excited over your adventures.

    You know, as I was reading, I thought, "I'm not sure I'd do well on a kibbutz." Then it hit me, "Our home is a kibbutz in a lot of ways! LOL!" Ah, well, God has mellowed me and is teaching me to be a servant- and I'm not even realizing it until it's a done deal. Cool.