Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

First Grade - History of World Religions - Overview
This three-week segment on World Religions introduces First-Grade students to three of the world's major religions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam--according to the guidelines outlined in the Core Knowledge Sequence. The lessons include teaching the children two Negro spirituals, and, since they also listen to a piece from Handel's Messiah and The Little Drummer Boy, we consider that these lessons incorporate important elements of music as well. The art lessons also supplement this material with a slide of a mosque, a Muslim prayer rug, and an Italian della robbia relief of Adam and Eve.

The approach to the subject of World Religions will always be geographical, historical, and cultural; never theological. One aim is for the children to recognize similarities among the basic questions that all people ask in the name of religion; another, to appreciate the wide variety of myths, stories, and heroic journeys that have been created in response to these questions over thousands of years. For each of the religions, one or two read-aloud books will be used. For Judaism and Islam, the stories portray the way a child in that tradition celebrates a holiday or observes a tradition. From the Old Testament, the story of Noah leads to different books telling the story of the flood, and both Peruvian Inca versions and one from the Navajo tradition are suggested in the Bibliography for comparison. To this can be added, as time allows, a few examples of classical music, art, and architecture that these three particular religions have inspired. A small annotated bibliography suggests additional materials readily available at The Enoch Pratt libraries.

Brief Annotated Bibliography

1.Editorial Staff of Life. The World's Great Religions. New York: Golden Press, 1969.

Good pictures, maps, boxed quotations from sacred books of major world religions. Sections on Judaism and Islam particularly good, although stylistically a bit dated in presentation. Good for background for teacher and showing illustrations to students.

2.Tubb, Jonathan N. Bible Lands. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.

Part of Eyewitness Books series. Excellent artifacts, detailed pictures of food, implements, jewelry, weapons, scrolls and Bible texts; some maps and time lines for context.

3.Gellman, Rabbi Marc and Hartman, Monsignor Thomas. How Do You Spell God? New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995.

Excellent interdenominational approach to the questions and concerns common to all religions. Carefully examines what is is common to all and which questions and/or answers are peculiar to one particular religion .

Books Recommended for Judaism

5.Cowan, Paul and Rachel. A Torah is Written. NY: The Jewish Publication Society, 1986.

Detailed account of the making of a Torah by a modern Jew who has been a scribe for all of his adult life. All pages illustrated with black and white photos of the process and tools.

6.Behrens, June. Passover. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1987.

Good account of the preparation and celebration at home of Passover. Includes brief historical account of Exodus story and has color photos. (Pbk.)

7.Behrens, June. Hanukkah. Chicago: Childrens Press, 1983.

Good account of the preparation and celebration and celebration at home of Hanukkah. Includes brief historical account of the victory of the Maccabees and has color photos. (Pbk.)

9.Burstein, Chaya. Hanukkah Cat. Rockville, MD: Kar-Ben Copies, 1985.

Amusing read-aloud story that includes basic information about celebration of Hanukkah in modern Jewish family with young boy and his found kitten as main characters. (Pbk.)

First Grade - History of World Religions - Lesson 15 - Noah's Ark

Listen to a version of Noah's Ark, based on the story in the Old Testament.
Hear another "flood story" if time permits, for comparison.

A storybook version of Noah's Ark, suggested titles below
Storybook version of Inca "flood story," suggested titles below (optional)
Music with text of song "Who Built the Ark," printed below

Versions of Noah's Ark
1. Fussenegger, Gertrud. Noah's Ark. New York: Lippincott, 1983.

Translated from the German by Anthea Bell, this retelling of the Noah story is very European in the style of both its language and illustrations. The author is very much concerned with the ethical aspects of the story, and it has the flavor of the Old Testament psalms.

2. Jonas, Ann. Aardvarks, Disembark! New York: Greenwillow, 1990.

Beautiful watercolor illustrations are made even more striking, since the book is designed to be viewed and read from top to bottom of the 2-page spread. This version begins at the point that the ark has landed on Mount Ararak and Noah is summoning the animals to leave, two by two. They turn out to be rare animals, some now endangered and some now extinct. It manages to go through the entire alphabet from end to beginning in naming the animals. Primarily for animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

3. Gauch, Patricia Lee. Noah, illustrated by Jonathan Green. New York: Philomel, 1994.

Set in Africa, with African characters of many different shades of skin color, the story is told in an original, very rhythmic, poetic style, retaining the theme of Noah's faith in God and the goodness of Noah and his family. Illustrations and layout especially good.

4. Geisert, Arthur. The Ark. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988.

Wonderful illustrations done in black and white pen and ink. The animals are especially well depicted, even the bugs. The story is told as it is found in the Old Testament Book of Genesis.

5. Hutton, Warwick. Noah and the Great Flood. New York: Atheneum, 1977.

Effective water color illustrations for text based on King James version of the Bible story.

6. Spier, Peter, illustrator. Noah's Ark. New York: Doubleday, 1977.

This is told entirely in Spier's inimitable illustrations except for his translation, at the very opening of the book, of a 17th-century Dutch poem called "The Flood." Children can very easily understand the whole story with both humor and subtlety from looking at this book.

7. Wilkon, Piotr & Jozef. Noah's Ark. New York: North-South Books, 1992.

First Grade - World Religions - Lesson 15 - Noah's Ark

Mysterious pastels illustrate this retelling, with the unusual feature of animals that converse freely with Noah.

Three Flood Stories from Other Cultures

Alexander, Ellen. Llama and the Great Flood: A Folktale from Peru, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1989.

A good retelling of a flood story from the Incas.

Palacios, Argentina. The Llama's Secret: A Peruvian Legend. Mahwah: Troll Associates, 1993.

Colorfully illustrated version of a flood story from Peru, emphasizing the vital importance of the sun to all life. (Inexpensive pbk.)

Rucki, Ani. Turkey's Gift to the People. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Navajo folktale in which the animals are referred to in the Native American way as People. The turkey's gift turns out to be remembering to bring the seeds that will produce food after the flood has receded.

Tell the students that you are going to read the story of Noah's Ark. Ask if anyone knows where the story of Noah's Ark comes from (Bible, Old Testament). Explain to them that all peoples of the Jewish and the Christian religions learn and share this story about a great flood that once covered the world.

Read Jane Ray's Noah's Ark (Dutton, 1990), taking plenty of time for the children to see the complexity and detail of Ray's pictures. If you do not have access to this version, the Fussenegger, Hutton, or Geisert versions (see list at beginning of this lesson) are also recommended. For the purposes of this lesson, the account should be as close to the language of the Old Testament story as possible.

After you have read the story, ask the children if they can tell you why Noah built the ark. (God was displeased with the way the people were living and decided to destroy all he

had made, except Noah, his wife and sons, and two of each kind of animal.) Then guide the children to see that the story tells us something important about the way people should and shouldn't live. Help them to see that when many people live together in the same place, like the planet Earth, they have to ask themselves how best to live together.

Remind the children of the saying they learned in September, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Ask for a volunteer to explain what the saying means. Next, tell the children that the wording of the saying comes from the Christian religion but that every religion has some way of stating that idea as an answer to the question of how people

can best live together. Say: In the Jewish religion, the saying goes What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. Discuss this wording with the children, so that they realize the saying has the same meaning.

Ask the children about the rainbow in the story of Noah's Ark, its colors, and whether they have ever seen a rainbow. Encourage a few of them to describe their experiences. Ask what the story says about the meaning of the rainbow (Accept any answer that indicates the child has thought about the story.) Guide them to understand that another big question all religions ask is how best to be thankful for things that are most beautiful in the world.

First Grade - Religions - Lesson 15 - Noah's Ark
Optional Activity
Compare the way two storytellers/artists present the story of Noah's Ark

Another version of the story of Noah's Ark (see suggested list above)


A "flood story" from another culture (see suggestions above)

Read another version of Noah's Ark to the children and have them help you create a Venn diagram on the chalkboard comparing the two versions. You will find things in common but also differences, both in the retelling and in the illustrations. Depending on the version you choose to read, you may find that even the two main questions may vary. (In some versions, the main question becomes one purely of faith in God's word, for example. In some, the story becomes humorous, with the characters of Noah, his wife, even the animals skillfully drawn.)

If you have access to one of the tellings of the Peruvian legend of the flood, the comparison will look a little different. For example, in the Palacios book, the overwhelming importance of the sun to all life becomes one of the main themes. Let the children enjoy the mountains and other geographical particulars of the story at the same time that they keep in mind the main themes and important meanings.

Music Activity
Teach the children the song "Who Built the Ark?" for enjoyment of the wonderful rhythms. Tell the children that traditionally, when this song was sung in an African American church, which is where it first appeared, it was done by "lining out," which means that the cantor, or song leader, would ask the questions, and the rest of the congregation would sing the answers. This is a kind of "call and response" way of singing which is used often in African American songs.

Have the children learn the answering parts, which are the simplest and most repetitive while you call out the questions. If you have one or more students gifted musically who would like to learn the verse as solo, teach it to them to provide even more variety in the way the song is performed.

First Grade - World Religions - Lesson 16 - Judaism

Find geographical location for the story of Judaism.
Understand that the Israelites believed in one God.
Listen to a story of the Exodus.
Learn an African American song, "Go Down Moses."

Classroom size world map
Map of eastern Mediterranean area, attached
Words and music of "Go Down Moses," see below.

Using your world map, have one of the children find the Mediterranean Sea. Point out where it is in relation to continents, whose names the children know (Africa, Europe, and Asia). Tell the children that this area of the world is usually called the Middle East. Encourage them to see why this is a good name for the area.

Next, outline a crescent shape with your hand or pointer between the eastern end of the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf (see map, attached). Say: This is where some of the oldest settlements of people we know about built communities and farmed, thousands of years ago. People call this area the Fertile Crescent. What can you tell me about those two words? (If the children have difficulty, tell them about fertilizing the soil to grow crops. For the word crescent, have them recall the shape of a crescent moon in the sky, and draw it on the board.) Show the children the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and tell them that it was the presence of these two rivers that made the land so rich for farming and grazing animals.

Next, show them Egypt, so they can see the close proximity. Say: Egypt is also a part of the Middle East, and it also has a river that has provided rich farmland for thousands of years. Show them the Nile River, and tell them that they will learn much more about this part of the world and its ancient history in April. Meanwhile, they need to know that the Israelites, or Hebrews, as they are sometimes called, lived in both of these river-fed areas during their early history, and these are the people who founded the religion of Judaism.

Ask: Does anyone know what made Judaism so unusual thousands of years ago when it began? (belief in one God; except for the Jews, most of the peoples who lived in Egypt, Babylonia, and other parts of the ancient Middle East believed in many gods at the same time.) Tell the children there are many wonderful stories about the history of the Jewish people, and they were written down long long ago in a book. Does anyone know the name of the book that tells about the history of the Jewish people? (Bible, Old Testament) Tell the children that the first five books of the Bible tell the story of how the Jewish religion developed and what they believed. Jewish people call those first five books of the Bible torah and keep the torah in a very special place in the synagogues where they worship together and give thanks.

Tell the children that these first books of the Bible tell many important stories they may have already heard about: the story of Noah and his Ark they heard in the last lesson, the story of Adam and Eve, of the Creation of the World, and of Moses and the Ten Commandments. If at this point you have access to one of the retellings of Exodus, use that. (A good choice would be Miriam Chaikin's book Exodus published by Holiday House, 1987.) Otherwise, say to the children: I am going to tell you just one story from the history of the Jewish people. It is about the time when the great leader Moses led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, which is called the Exodus. Remind the children that slavery was common in the ancient world when one powerful country, like ancient Egypt, took over other people's land and enslaved the people.

Say: One day, during the time that the Jews had been conquered by the Egyptians and were living as slaves in Egypt, the daughter of the Pharaoh, the most powerful ruler in Egypt, found a little baby floating in a basket in the Nile River. She took pity on the child and brought him to the palace of the Pharaoh, where he was raised in wealth and splendor. The name of this child was Moses, and when he grew up and found that he was not Egyptian but Jewish, he learned from God that he had been chosen to lead the Jews out of slavery and into their homeland, which we know today as Israel.

Many adventures and difficulties happened to the Jews before they reached their homeland, which you can read about. Moses was a great leader of his people, and, during their long trip, he taught them the ten commandments he had received from God that told them how to live good and honest lives, how to treat their families and neighbors, and how to be thankful for their lives (all that they had). The story of the Jewish Exodus is still celebrated by the Jewish people today as the holiday of Passover.

Tell the students that music was a very important part of the way the Jews gave thanks, and they made music with drums, harps, and cymbals. They also made up many songs, which they called psalms, and many of the psalms were written and sung first by King David, who was the king who made Jerusalem the capital of Israel and helped bring the twelve tribes of Jews together as a community.

Next, tell the children that African Americans created many songs from the days when they were slaves in the United States. They are called Negro spirituals, and many of the stories these songs tell come from the Bible. Say: You are going to learn an African American song that tells the same Exodus story you heard today. Teach the children the song Go Down, Moses by singing the song for them or playing it on a cassette. Make a point of having the class divide into two sections for the singing. Have one part of the class sing the verses and the other part sing the refrain each time it recurs, so that they are doing some call and response. Then have them switch rolls. Explain that it is a song that recalls the story of the Jews who were in slavery in Egypt. Go over the words and any vocabulary that needs defining, such as the word pharaoh. If there is time, you may want to talk more about slavery and the particular background of the spiritual.

Good Books for Additional Map Study of the Area

Day, Malcolm. The Ancient World of the Bible. New York: Viking, 1994.

Tubb, Jonathan. Bible Lands. New York: Knopf, 1991. Eyewitness Series.

Zeman, Anne and Kate Kelly. Everything You Need to Know About World History Homework. New York: Scholastic, 1995.


First Grade - World Religions - Lesson 16 - Judaism


First Grade - World Religions - Lesson 16 - Judaism


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 17 - Hanukkah

Learn the story of a Jewish holiday celebrated in December.

A storybook about Hanukkah, suggestions below

Recommended Books for Hanukkah
Behrens, June. Hanukkah.Chicago: Childrens Press, 1983.

This book is illustrated with good photographs that show a contemporary Jewish family celebrating Hanukkah, including several of the special candlesticks, cooking latkes, playing with the dreydl, and other family activities. The author has written a book about Passover in the same style.

Cashman, Greer Fay. Jewish Days and Holidays. New York: Adama Books, 1986

This book, first published in Jerusalem, is good for any Jewish children in the classroom who want more detailed information about celebrating the Jewish holidays.

It includes the Hebrew names for each of the holidays, written in Hebrew script.

Jaffe, Nina. In the Month of Kislev: A Story for Hanukkah. NY: Viking, 1992.

A good retelling of the historical story.

Jaffe, Nina. The Uninvited Guest and Other Jewish Holiday Tales. NY: Scholastic, 1993.

Good, succinct descriptions of historical background of Jewish holidays plus nicely

illustrated stories appropriate to the holidays.

Hirsh, Marilyn. The Chanukkah Story. NY and London: Bonim, 1977.

Good retelling of the struggle of Judah Maccabbee and his small army, and how this event gave rise to celebration of Hanukkah, Festival of Light.

Silverman, Maida. My First book of Jewish Holidays. New York: Dial Books, 1994.

This book is unusual, because its opening section, about the Jewish Sabbath and its celebration within the family at home, sets the tone for all that follows. For each holiday, the historically accurate information is in the form of poetry that refers to Biblical tradition, yet is very much up to date. Collographs by Barbara Garrison are on every page and perfectly illustrate the historical as well as the domestic settings of these holidays.

Briefly review material from Lesson 2, using the map to locate the lands of the early Israelites. Have one of the children recall for the class what the Exodus was and what made the beliefs of the Jewish people different from the other peoples who lived in the same geographical area thousands of years ago (belief in one God).

Say: Today you will learn about another part of the history of Judaism that happened in the month of December more than a thousand years ago. Every year, even now, Jewish people celebrate this part of their history in December. The holiday is called Hanukkah, and it is known as the Festival of Light.


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 17 - Hanukkah

Tell them you want them to listen very carefully, so that they can tell you at the end of the story why they think Hanukkah is called the Festival of Light. Choose any one of the books listed above, and, after reading the story, have them answer the question you asked. Discuss their answers.

You may want to tell the students that the building where Jewish people gather for prayer and thanksgiving nowadays is usually called a synagogue, rather than a temple. Tell them that each year at the end of November or early in December, a menorah with nine candleholders like the one in the story is lighted, one candle at a time for eight days, in the synagogue. Jewish families also celebrate the Hanukkah festival at home in the same way.

Activity - Hanukkah menorah and candles

Flannel board and felt or construction paper of yellow and two other colors
Pencils or markers, scissors, and glue

For construction paper
Create a few patterns out of cardboard for the shape of the menorah, so each child can use one to trace the candleholder of brown construction paper. Then have the children draw a candle shape on a piece of construction paper of a different color, and cut out nine of them, plus nine yellow flame shapes, to attach as instructed below..

For felt board
Make just one menorah and explain that with a real menorah, the candle in the center (called the shammash) is used to light the other candles. Have the children take turns placing flame shapes on the eight other candles as you read the following poem. Remove the flames after each verse so that each child can have a turn (or have the children glue their candle flames if not using felt).

If time permits, try this Hanukkah poem/game, having them imagine the picture of the lighted menorah in the window, throwing its light on newly fallen snow. (The words are by Judith Kaplan Eisenstein, and the activity is adapted from a song from Jewish Holiday Songs For Children. Rounder CD 8028.)

In the window, where you can see the glow

From my menorah on newly fallen snow,

I will set you, one little candle,

Solo: On this, the first night of Chanukah.


In the window, where you can see the glow

From my menorah on newly fallen snow,

I will set you, two little candles,

2 voices: On this, the 2nd night of Chanukah.

(Keep adding an additional voice for each candle until all eight are 'lit.' Repeat as necessary.


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 18 - Christianity


Learn that there is a historical connection between Judaism and Christianity.
Listen to a story about the life of Jesus, the Christian Messiah.

A storybook about the life of Jesus (see suggestions below)
Pictures from magazines of flags, insignias, commemorative stamps, crosses, churches
A dollar bill
Drawing paper

Briefly review the story of Hanukkah. Tell the children that the celebration of Hanukkah reminds the Jewish people about the victory of the Israelites over Syrians who were threatening to destroy their Temple in Jerusalem, and tell them that the Israelites had many times to defend their people from being conquered by powerful armies like the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Babylonians, and the ancient Romans. Tell them that an important part of Jewish belief is that someday a Messiah would come and bring peace to the whole world. Ask if anyone knows what the word Messiah means (the savior, the Christ).

Point out that Christians divide their calendar of historical time as before and after Christ, and Christ is another word for Messiah. Explain that for Christians, Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and his birth and death are marked by the days of Christmas and Easter, the two most important holidays for Christianity.

Tell the children you are going to read them a book from the New Testament, which is the part of the Bible that tells the story of Jesus, who was born into a Jewish family and became the Christian Messiah.

Next read them either Tomie de Paola's book Mary: The Mother of Jesus (NY: Holiday House, 1995), Elizabeth Winthrop's A Child Is Born: The Christmas Story (NY: Holiday House, 1983), or another version if you have one you prefer.

After reading the story, let the children tell you what they think of the life of Jesus. It is important to stress that Jesus lived only thirty-three years and that he was killed by the Romans. Tell the children that what angered the Roman leaders was that Jesus was teaching his followers not to kill people, that poor people had a better chance of getting into heaven than rich people, and that people should all forgive one another, even forgive their enemies. The Romans were so opposed to the teachings of Jesus that it took over three hundred years before the Christians were no longer persecuted by the Romans.

Star of David and Christian Cross as Symbols

Begin to understand how a symbol can be used to represent a whole set of beliefs.

First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 18 - Christianity

First, ask if anyone knows what a symbol is. Use the children's responses to generate a brainstorming session about symbols. One obvious way to begin the session is to talk about the stars and stripes of the American flag. Next, show the children pictures of flags of other countries, and have the children tell you what symbols they find there. Do the same with some U.S. commemorative stamps that might picture state birds, flowers, or a noteworthy American. Finally, show the children a dollar bill, and let them tell you what symbols they see. (George Washington, "Father of our country," a pyramid with an eye at the top, an eagle holding a branch in one claw and arrows in the other, stars surrounded by beams of light). List them on the chalkboard and have the children tell you what the visual symbols suggest to them.

Next, tell them that one of the symbols in the Jewish religion is called the Star of David. Draw an example of the six-pointed star on the board, and see whether the children can observe the two triangles that make up the symbol. If time permits, let the children try making the star themselves with pencils and paper at their desks. Let them tell you what the difference they see between the Star of David and the stars on the U.S. flag.

Ask if anyone remembers the name of the place where Jewish people pray and give thanks (synagogue or temple). Ask the name of the place where Christians do the same (church) and if anyone can tell what a church looks like. Show some pictures of churches of differing architectural styles. Have them notice the crosses and tell them that the cross is the main symbol for Christianity. If possible, show different kinds of crosses (Byzantine, Maltese, Roman, Celtic, etc.) either in pictures or simply by putting them on the blackboard. Pass out paper and have the children make either crosses as basis for a drawing, design, or--if they prefer--churches with crosses.


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 19 - Christianity

Listen to two different works of art inspired by the Christian Messiah.

Keats, Ezra Jack . The Little Drummer Boy. NY: Macmillan, 1968

(There are also many cassettes of performances of The Little Drummer Boy as part of

collections of Christmas music, in case you want to play the piece for the children.)

Recording of Handel's Messiah

Many inexpensive recordings of excerpts from The Messiah are recorded on cassette and easily available on loan from libraries. A recent and relatively inexpensive CD of the complete work (two CD's) is recorded on the Naxos label by the Scholars Baroque Ensemble as #8.550667-668.

Remind the children about the story of Jesus's life you read to them and the part about the three wise men who came from the East to bring gifts. Tell the students you are going to read them a book about a little boy who also went to see the baby Jesus. Tell them you want them to beat out the drumming rhythms on their laps as they hear them. (As you read the story, say the rhythms with marked accents.) Next, sing the song at the end of the book (or play the recording of the song), and again invite the children to join you in beating out the rhythms, this time singing the song as well if they know it.

Next, play one or two selections from Handel's Messiah. As background, you may want to tell the children that the Messiah has two large parts; one is to be performed at Christmastime, celebrating the birth of the Messiah (Jesus) and the other at Easter (when Jesus was killed). Tell the children that the music was written more than two hundred fifty years ago by a composer in Europe named George Frideric Handel and the words of the piece are taken from the Bible.

Say: People have loved this piece so much that every year since it was written down, long before anyone knew how to make recordings, it has been played many many times in many different countries.

A good selection from the Christmas section might be "For Unto Us a Child Is Born," a chorus piece which is #12 in Part I and takes just over 4 minutes to hear, depending on the performance. For Easter, play the "Hallelujah Chorus," number 17 in Part 2, which takes 3-4 minutes. Be sure to tell the children they will hear voices of men and women singing in the chorus for each part, plus people playing different instruments in the orchestra.

After they have listened, ask the children about the very different qualities of the two selections--the gentle, bouncy kind of rhythm of the first and the much louder kind of joy of the second. Say: You heard violins, violas, celli, many members of the string family with both Choruses. Does anyone recognize the two other families of instruments that make the second Chorus so exciting? (brass family - loud trumpets; percussion family - loud tympani or kettle drums) Refer to Music Lesson 4 if they need to review the four families of instruments.


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 19 - Christianity
Ask which one they liked best and why. Depending on their responses, you may decide to talk to them about the joyousness of the Easter section coming from the belief of the Christians that Jesus the Messiah rose from the dead (resurrection) and will come again at the end of time.

First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 20 - Islam

Find geographical location for the story of Islam.
Listen to the basic concepts of Islam.

A copy of the picture book The Hundredth Name by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim (Boyds Mill Press, 1995). The story can also be found in the September 1982 issue of Cricket, Vol 10, No.1

Map of eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (from Lesson 2)

Colored pictures of flags of Islamic countries such as Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Pakistan

Paper and crayons or markers for each child

Ask: What are the names of the two religions of the world we have talked about so far? (Judaism, Christianity) Tell the children that the third religion they will learn about is called Islam, and the people who practice the Islamic religion are called Muslims. Explain that Muslims believe in one God just the same as Christians and Jews do, but they call their all-powerful God Allah, which means God in the Arabic language.

Using the map of the Middle East, review with the children where the ancient Israelites lived, where Jerusalem (King David's city) is on the map, and the fact that it is also the holiest city for Christians, sacred to the memory of Jesus the Messiah. Next point out the country of Arabia, and tell them that the prophet sacred to Islam was born in the city of Mecca in Arabia (show it on the map).

Say: Nearly 600 years after Jesus was born, a man named Muhammad was born in Arabia at a time when the people who lived there believed in many gods. According to the religion of Islam, the angel Gabriel--the same angel whom Christians believe appeared to Mary, mother of Jesus-- appeared to Muhammad, and dictated to him the sacred book of the Koran (also spelled Quran) which tells all Muslims the correct way to live. Because the angel appeared to Muhammad, and because Muhammad lived such a good life, Muslims call Muhammad their prophet.

Tell the students that when Muslims gather together, the name of their sacred building is mosque. Explain that the traditional way that Jewish people are called to prayer on their special holidays is with the sound of someone blowing into the horn of a ram. It is called a shofer. (Show a picture if possible.) Ask if anyone knows what kind of sound calls Christians to prayer (bells) and when you generally hear the bells (Sunday). Tell them the Muslims are called to prayer by the sound of a man calling from the top of a mosque. The man who calls Muslims to prayer is called a muezzin, and Muslims are called to prayer five times each day. At those times, wherever Muslims happen to be, they are supposed to turn towards Mecca, the sacred city in Arabia where their prophet Muhammad was born, and give thanks to Allah. The most important holiday for Muslims is the month of Ramadan, which usually falls in January. For the whole month of Ramadan, Muslims fast (eat nothing) from the time the sun rises until it sets.


First Grade - World Religion - Lesson 21 - Islam
Activity - A Storybook about a Muslim Boy

Ask who remembers the Muslim name for God (Allah). Then tell the children that Muslims believe there are ninety-nine other names for God, which is a way of saying that we can think up all the wonderful names for God (the Wise, the Merciful, the All-Powerful, etc.) And there will always be more names, because Muslims believe God is more than we can know and more than we can say.

Read to the children the picture book The Hundredth Name by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim (Boyds Mill Press, 1995. The story can also be found in the September 1982 issue of Cricket, Vol 10, No. 1.) Ask the children to tell you something about the feelings that the boy Salah had for his camel and let them tell some experiences of their own having to do with feelings of love between animals and children.

Activity: More Symbols


Ask if anyone remembers what a symbol is, and remind them once again about the symbols they looked at and talked about in Lesson 4. Tell them that the symbol for Islam is a crescent and a star. Recall for them what they learned about the word crescent as one of the shapes the moon has during a few days each month. Tell them that in countries where all, or almost all of the people are Muslims, they often show the symbols of the crescent and a star on their flag. Show them pictures of the flags you have assembled for the activity. Have them notice the colors and designs.

Then ask them to design a flag of their own of any shape and/or color for an imaginary country or religion and give it a name, which you can write for them when they have finished their drawings. Review the symbols of stars of five and six points, crosses of different kinds, the pyramid they saw on the U.S. dollar bill, the state birds and plants they may have seen on commemorative stamps. If there is time, some of the students may want to explain why they chose the particular symbols and colors on their flag.

Brief Annotated Bibliography for Teacher Reference

1. Editorial Staff of Life. The World's Great Religions. New York: Golden Press, 1969.

Good pictures, maps, boxed quotations from sacred books of major world religions. Sections on Judaism and Islam particularly good, although stylistically a bit dated in presentation. Good for showing illustrations to students.

2. Tubb, Jonathan N. Bible Lands. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.

Part of Eyewitness Books series. Excellent artifacts, detailed pictures of food, implements, jewelry, weapons, scrolls and Bible texts; some maps and time lines for context.

3. Day, Malcolm. The Ancient World of the Bible. New York: Viking, 1994.

Lavishly illustrated, this is very similar in its presentation to the Eyewitness book above. Divided according to Old Testament Bible stories, it uses time lines, maps, and illustrations of everyday objects and activities to bring the world to life.

4. Gellman, Rabbi Marc and Hartman, Monsignor Thomas. How Do You Spell God? New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995.

Excellent interdenominational approach to the questions and concerns common to all religions. Carefully examines what is in common to all and which questions and/or answers are peculiar to one particular religion.