Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blue Knights Meeting - Faith

Here are the Nuts and Bolts of the First Meeting

Set Up
Prayer to Begin
Shout Verse
Saint Story and Pictures
Game Time
Prayer to End

Some of the surprises were that we worked on how to pass out materials in a circle.  We went over what someone means when they say "Take one and pass it on". 

We took attendance and I made sure to go over and ask each boy questions as I kept record.  For example: " Taylor? Wow, Taylor, that is a great red shirt you have on.  Hey everybody, look at Taylor's cool red shirt!  Taylor, is red your favorite color? Wow, red it Taylor's favorite color, does anyone else have their favorite color red like Taylor?".  I am hoping that our smaller boys will benefit in learning new names as well as some of our older boys with special challenges.

We are working on The Sign of the Cross the younger boys need work on which shoulder first.  I am not spotlighting individuals to lead prayers yet. The prayer to St. Josephs "Copy Me" format is great, especially as we have mostly nonreaders, but we were outside and I forgot my copy, so we ended up doing Our Father, which some boys mumbled through, so we may be revisiting this prayer as well.

A hit with the boys was a "Check list".  It is suggested to have a posted schedule, and it really worked well.  I gave the boys turns actually checking (or making an "x") in the box next to each activity.  I found though, that I needed to say "mark" the list, as we have a child who will become very disruptive if we said check and the child did not make a check mark.

The shout verse was a hit.  We had to go outside, so that we were not disruptive.  Since we are on a sidewalk next to a street, we do not stay outside long.  Because ambulances are driving my to the hospital, we stop at least twice to say a prayer.  It was so sweet, but it was also a delay, as getting the boys back on track takes time. 

My oldest Knight, I am labeling as my Squire, and he is going to be reading the Saint Stories to the other boys.  I am hoping it encourages the skills of the Squire in reading in front of the group, and is encouraging to the younger boys both to read and to read aloud.

We are using color pencils for the Saint pictures, they show well on the pages and are different for many boys who currently only use crayons at home.  Markers obscure the pictures when darker colors are used, so we will be removing any markers from the pencil holder.

Our craft is tied to the concept of "Armor of God", and for the first meeting they are decorating mini shields that we made in advance at home.  I found some extra printed coloring sheets to go with this theme, but now that I look at them, many of the virtues do not line up.  Probably not gong to make a difference with the pre-readers.

Game time is using our faith to shield us from sin.  We were going to use cotton balls with our mini shields, but improved with plastic jumping  frogs.

We said a Glory Be as the big kids came into the room, and our attention left quickly.

Blue Knights Year One

My friend joked that I had too much extra time on my hands.  Well, I don't really, but I wanted Blue Knights bad enough that I took it on for this year.  I searched for  information on running the group, and really didn't find more than a post or two outside of the Ecce Homo Press / Behold Publications site for Blue Knights. 

So, I am posting a few things about it here.  I hope it helps someone out there, but mostly I hope it helps me.  We have a younger crowd this year, with the oldest being 9 years old and the youngest are 4 years old.  We are also meeting in the same room as our Little Flowers Girls Club.

One of the first tricks for my year is to have a quick starting craft for both the Knights and Little Flowers having to do with their virtue as they align most of the first year.  We have limited space and have to be considerate of noise and activity levels.

Blue Knights Year 1 Shield of Faith

I am determined to see what I can do with Blue Knights with limited cost and a lot of imagination.

For the Shield of Faith, I wanted to let the boys have something to personalize and to play with.  I didn't want to have full size shields, but I also didn't want to distill the idea down to a coloring sheet either.  Here is what I ended up with and it was very successful with the boys.

I ended up making paperboard shields that the boys colored their own designs on the front.  
I cut two shields approximately 5 by 7  inches from Cereal Box Paperboard.

Then on one of the cut outs, I cute two 1 inch slits one above the other, about one inch apart, near the top of the shield shape.  This was to thread the ribbon through so the boys could use it for their finger to slide in and hold their shield.

Making sure that the ribbon was looped out slightly, I then used the Aleene's Original Tacky Glue to glue the pieces together, making sure to keep the ribbon loop on the outside. 

The game for the lesson is using your shields to defend yourself during dodge ball.  We don't have activity space for that, and some of our younger boys are 4 years old, so the plan was to use their mini shields to defend against cotton balls that represented sins that your Faith can help.  I didn't remember the cotton balls, but I did have a game with little plastic frogs that "jump" so the boys used those. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hiking at 2 Feet Above Sea Level in South Jacksonville Florida

If you are driving south on I-95 and want a short hike close to the Interstate, Julington-Durbin Preserve is a great stop.  Exit 335 will take you to gas, food, lodging and a 1 mile trip through a diverse look at inland natural Florida.
Start out in a Stand of planted pine forest, a common site all over the Central and Northern portion of the state.
 Pines, cedars and wildflowers line an open portion of the trail.
 "1 Day I Will ... "
Halfway down the trail, the environment changes.  No more sand and only a few pines.
The Wetlands in the second mile are full of different but still facinating. 
On one day we were searching for fungi.
We couldn't resist photos of the yellow, lavendars, butterflies and other insects. 
Many were too fast for our camera.

 These white flowers smelled so very sweet, there was endlessly perfumed air.
A walk worth taking, even wtih little legs.
The walk, is a 2 mile round trip from the parking area to the creek and back. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Little Women Second Year Gardening

April's Gardening in Fall.

Although much of the lesson draws from springtime themes and garden plants, we are choosing to complete it during the first of a few cooler months in our area.  Not everyone may reguard the mid to upper 80's as cool, but it seems cooler than April will. 

Piety is the Virtue ...  patiently, consistency tending the garden would be a lovely expression to show reverence to the Lord, a reflection of our Lady's gracious manners.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a boy takes pictures of ....

The clouds because they looked amazing from a hill.

A cattle water station because there was mud.

The rusted chain just looked so old.

Looking back at where he had been.

Looking at how he made the earth look different just by being here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bluets at Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The tiniest packages sparkle at 6,643 feet above sea level at Clingmans Dome...

 The dandelion shows off the perky yellow centers of the bluets as well as their petite size.
Bluet Confetti amid the rocks, moss and lichen.


and then you turn around for a long distance view to Fontana Lake and up to the next ridge.
 You will of course note that we did not make it far
from the parking lot. 
The hour walk would have put us halfway up at closing.

Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness Nantahala National Forest NC

First off, Joyce Kilmer was not a woman.  Joyce Kilmer is actually "Alfred Joyce Kilmer" who died while serving in World War I.  He is known as a soldier and poet. 

"The text stated below is the original written by Kilmer.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree."

The Kilmer-Slickrock Wildreness contains the largest tract of old growth forest east of the Mississippi River.

It was well worth the 2 mile hike to see the rare old growth cove hardwoods at the memorial. 

From the tallest of the Tulip poplars to the tiny partridgeberries on the forest floor, every direction held beauty, but no poems to compete with "Trees".

Mountain Laurel in Brasstown North Carolina Mountains

 When we first arrived in North Carolina, the buds were getting ready to pop open, the children thought they looked like popped balloons. These first three are only a few of many showers of blossoms over the Brasstown Creek at The Brasstown Creek House.

 White Moutain Laurel at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard, North Carolina
 Pink Moutain Laurel at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Brevard, North Carolina

Brasstown Creek House - Visiting Western North Carolina

Loved this vacation home.  It was fantastic, simple, clean open floor plan with wood floors and plenty of closets and cabinets.  The setting is wonderful, with the creek right outside the three sets of french doors, tumbling over rocks you can see between beech, rhododendrons and mountain laurel.  The doors are great for blocking out the creek if you don't want to hear it too! 

For miles you can able along paths through pasture, hemlock woods or along two different creeks. Here's one of the pastures filled with buttercups. 

The true treasure in staying at the Brasstown Creek House were the hosts. 

You must be very careful not to jump into buying a house next door, not for this gorgeous scenery,
but to simply be able to visit more
with the owners, Bass and Sandra Hyatt. 

Pictures don't do it justice, and the feeling of welcome is complete.

We spent time visiting the John Campbell Folk School, walking the Chatuge Lake and Dam, Ducktown Copper Mine and traveling a bit afar.