Music and Art Workshop
Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop, the learners will hear the hymn “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” and will learn about the background of this hymn. They will make a pinwheel to understand the power of the wind.
- The Children’s Bible;
- two-color craft of foil paper, scissors, rulers, pencils, glue, brass fasteners, straws, markers;
- diagram of pinwheel construction;
- pre-made pinwheel;
- cd (or tape) player, cd (or tape) with choir music recorded;
- poster board with memory verse.
- Read the Bible passages.
- Read over the background material included in your teacher packet.
- Read over the entire lesson plan and become familiar with the pinwheel activity.
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.
Hand out Bibles and read our story for this month from The Children’s Bible, pp. 384-385 (stories 338-339). Refer to the poster board and repeat the memory verse together. Tell the children that today the class will be talking about wind and breath. Ask if they remember what the story said about wind. Ask them what they think the wind filling the house represents. (Let them speculate—hopefully someone will connect it with the spirit of God.)
- Tell the children you are going to read some verses from another book of the New Testament about wind. Read John 20:21-22 to them. Ask them what they think the significance of Jesus’ breathing on the disciples is.
- Hold up your pinwheel. Use the following for a dialogue and discussion:
“Since we’re inside, our pinwheel isn’t moving. Why? (Allow the children to guess. Someone will probably offer that there is no wind.) Can anyone think of a way to make this pinwheel move even though there is no wind? (Some may suggest waving the pinwheel; wait until someone suggests blowing on it.) We can make the pinwheel move with our breath, can’t we? But you have to be really close to make this work. (Demonstrate.)
“Today we will be learning about a hymn for Pentecost that is called ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God.’ Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. On the first Pentecost, in the story we read today, the disciples experienced God’s presence through a mighty wind that blew through the upper room where they were praying. Interestingly, in the Hebrew and Greek languages that the disciples read and spoke, wind and spirit and breath are all the same word, so it isn’t hard to understand that the wind of God’s spirit could also be called the breath of God.”
- Tell them they will hear the hymn being sung by the Brookhaven choir. Play the cd or tape with the choir singing the hymn. When it is finished, continue the discussion with the following:
“The man who wrote this hymn knew about the ancient Greek and Hebrew languages and would have understood the connection between wind and breath. Edwin Hatch, the songwriter, was an Anglican minister in Canada. He was a scholar and a lecturer—one who knew a lot about church history. But more than knowing about God, he also knew God in a close, spiritual way. He was inspired to write the hymn ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God’ when he was walking in the beauty of Eastern Canada, surrounded by lakes and mountains. Later, a tune written by Robert Jackson for another song began to be used with the words Edwin Hatch had published.”
- Pass out the hymnals. Ask the children to turn to hymn number 295. Tell the children to read along with you the words to the hymn from the hymnal. For the beginners, let them echo phrases of the hymn as you say them first. Continue the discussion with the following:
“This hymn celebrates the importance of living a life in relationship with God. Just like our pinwheel, we must be close to the source of the energy—we must be close to God to experience the Spirit—the wind or breath of God. Edwin Hatch’s hymn is a prayer—not just for Pentecost, but for every day of our lives. Our pinwheel expresses the idea behind our hymn today. Each section of the pinwheel shares part of the prayer, ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God.’ Perhaps we can learn this hymn, or at least the first verse of it. Then you can make a pinwheel of your own to remember the prayer of Edwin Hatch and the beautiful Pentecost hymn we sing today.”
- Play the cd or tape again as the children make the pinwheels.
- Make the pinwheels. During the process, refer to the enclosed drawings for help if needed. For each pinwheel, measure and cut a 6 inch square from two-color paper. Fold the square in half diagonally and crease it. Open the paper and fold it diagonally to the opposite corners. Reopen the square. Draw a 1 inch circle in the center of the paper. Cut each folded line from the corner to the edge of the circle. Write the following words in each quadrant:
Top left: Breathe
Top right: on Me
Bottom right: Breath
Bottom left: of God
8. One by one, bring the right corner of each triangle to the center of the square, bending each piece over the previous section. Make a small hole in the center of the four points and push a paper fastener through the front of it. Open the fastener at the back of the pinwheel. Attach a straw to the back of the fastener to use as the handle.
Let them children make their pinwheels spin for a few moments. Then gather them together and ask them to get their hymnals, open to number 295. Play the cd or tape, and everyone sing along to “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.”
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
What would you like for God’s breath to give you the power to do?
Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Living God, thank you for people like Edwin Hatch who write hymns to say the things to you we want to say. Breathe the power of your spirit into our lives. Amen.
Wezeman, Phyllis Vos and Leichty, Anna L. Hymn Stories for Children: Special Days and Holidays. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, c. 1994.
A lesson posted by member Jan Marshall
Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Brentwood TN