We've been having a BLAST learning about Buddhism in fifth grade! This week was the last week before we start to learn about Hinduism and then finally, at the end of the quarter, compare the two religions.
On Wednesday, we went to a local Buddhist monastery. Who knew there would be in one in North Carolina! The head monk there gave students a lesson on The Eightfold Path and Enlightenment. I felt like the trip was a huge success. Students were extremely respectful and completely engaged. One student even commented, "I feel like I know so much more from going there rather than just reading about it in our books." Yep! That's the goal!
Today was our last day of study, and I decided to have students make malas. Malas are a tool that Buddhists use during meditation. By counting the beads during the mantra, it allows Buddhists to bring their mind back to the meditation when the mind starts to wander. They typically consist of 108 beads, but we decided to have about 25 on each of ours. There is a head bead (I found some that are replicas of Tibetan beads) that is never passed over during the count. There is also a cool tassel! I showed students a video that explains what malas are and how they are used. Then they began constructing their own.
We plan on using them during our Meeting for Worship on Wednesday which is a time that our whole school gets together to "center ourselves" in silence. It is about 7 minutes of silence that is used as a meditation in some ways. It is a practice that is done once a week in every Quaker Friends school. Students are excited to use their malas next week to help get their minds "back on track"!
Next up - Hinduism! I can't wait to see what kinds of fun things we come up with for this part of the unit!