My third graders always embrace Lent. I will include all my usual Lenten activities this year, but because this is the Year of Mercy, I will be adding some new activities that will help my students perform works of mercy.
The first activity will be a visual reminder of Lent. (My young students are visual learners.) Outside my classroom is a very large wall on which we usually display artwork. I will construct a very large, plain cross out of brown butcher paper and display it on this wall. Every Friday during Lent, I will ask my students to write an act of mercy or kindness (They seem to understand kindness more readily than mercy.) on a paper flower. They will add a paper flower to the base of the cross, and as Lent progresses, the flowers will begin filling up the cross. By Easter, the cross will be bursting with flowers, a beautiful reminder of the many acts of kindness the children performed during this Lent of Mercy.
We are also going to work with the fourth graders on a special project involving the Stations of the Cross. Each fourth grader will take a piece of craft foil and carefully outline a simple pattern of one of the stations. They will use a pen to fill in the pattern, creating sharp, crisp lines. They will then use a yellow highlighter to color in Jesus’ halo and a brown marker to color in the Cross. The completed images will be striking and very moving.
My third graders will then add an audio reflection for each station, using the Stations of the Cross for Children by Loyola Press. Using an app called AudioBoom on my iPhone, I will easily record my students praying each station. (You can listen to this recording of my students praying the Fourth Station.) I can also use AudioBoom to generate a URL for the audio file, which can be easily converted into a QR code using a Chrome add-on called goo.gl. I will print out the QR code for each recording and display it under the foil art picture of the corresponding station. Our students will then take an iPad or iPhone and use the iNigma app to listen to the reflections as they pray the Stations of the Cross. This activity will be a great way for them to pray the Stations of the Cross and share this devotion with others.
I hope that adding these two new activities will make this Lent more meaningful and merciful. How will you incorporate the theme of mercy into the classroom activities you do during Lent?