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End of term

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To encourage consideration of the fact that all things change and move on (SEAL theme 7: Changes).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and six children to act the parts set out below.
  • You will also need three masks in different shades of pink, from fairly light to very deep, to represent blushing and embarrassment, and three large signs, one with ‘Past’ on it, the second with ‘Present’ and the third with ‘Future’, and three arrows.

Assembly

  1. On a stage, or other open space, identify three areas, each marked by one of the  arrows, all facing in the same direction, each with one of the large signs – ‘Past’, ‘Present’ and ‘Future’ – above it.

    One of the actors stands in the ‘Past’ area, facing towards the side, away from the ‘Present’ area. Another actor stands in the ‘Present’ area, facing the front. A third actor stands in the ‘Future’ area, also facing away from the ‘Present’ area (that is, the actors in the ‘Past’ and ‘Present’ areas both face outwards).

    Three more actors, wearing the pink masks, walk on and stand in the 'Past' area. After walking on the spot for a moment in the 'Past' section, they move into the 'Future' area and stop. They start to talk among themselves, improvising or acting out a conversation to suggest that they are really embarrassed. They can be embarrassed by anything – girls/boys, their appearance, other people's expectations (see the examples used below). After a short while, they stop.

    Light pink mask Oh no! What are we going to do? I'm so embarrassed.

    Mid-pink mask  You're not as embarrassed as I am!

    Dark pink mask Nobody is as embarrassed as me!

    All (Shouting) What do we do next?

    Mid-pink mask We could go back to the past and try again  . . .

    Person in the past No entry! There’s no way back here!

    Dark pink mask We could just stay here – perhaps no one will see us.

    Person in the present Move on, move on, no waiting. You've been here long enough!

    Light pink mask No rest for the wicked!

    All masks Help!

    Person in the future Who's there? We're waiting for you!

    Dark pink mask But we can't come! We're too ashamed of ourselves!

    Person in the future Well, you certainly can't stay there. Just think what would happen. You still haven't told me who you are. All I know about you is that you are ashamed of yourselves. I'll just have to look for myself.

    Person in the futureTurning around and walking to the three masks. Tell me about yourselves, then.

    Pale pink I got off the bus at the wrong stop and everyone thinks I'm stupid.

    Mid-pink I got the wrong answer in the maths test.

    Dark pink I put my shoes on the wrong feet.

    Person in the future Hang on a minute. I asked you who you were and I can't hear you behind those masks. You'll have to take them off.

    Masks Loudly  No! No! We can't!

    The characters all throw their hands up and freeze.

    Pause.

    Leader 
    So what will happen now? Have you ever felt like that, scared that someone will find out something about you, fed up because you feel no good at anything? It may be something at home or school made you feel that way or a scar from an accident or hurtful words. Sometimes you feel as if things are going to go on like that forever.

    Things don't usually stay the same forever, though. This term, for example, is nearly at an end. Maybe you feel happy, maybe you feel sad. If you are going on to a new school you may be worried about how you will get on in the subjects you are not so good at or if you will do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Even very confident people – the ones who seem good at everything – are bothered about the future sometimes.

    Jesus is interested in the sorts of people we really are – not who we think we are or other people say we are. He said that we don't need to be worried about the future and whatever we have done in the past can be forgiven if we are sorry about it. Whether you have had a good term or a bad term, there's a new future waiting for you if you want to move into it. 

Time for reflection

Ask the children to focus on the sorts of people they would really like to be – not just a footballer or a pop star, but someone who has special qualities. Someone who is kind, confident, thoughtful, strong or brave, for example. Perhaps this is like someone they know.

Then, invite them to think silently for a moment about how they could become the sort of person they would really like to be. Finish by suggesting that they continue to think about these things during the day – only at appropriate moments, of course! 

 

Follow-up activity

  1. With the children, develop and act out some scenes about embarrassing times and how they dealt with them. The script could be devised by the children before the assembly as a piece of literacy work. Remember, however, that the subject needs to be dealt with lightly, sensitively and with a sense of humour.

  2. Tell the children the story of Janus – the ancient Roman deity with two faces who was seen as guardian of the gate of heaven and also guardian of doors and gates. Discuss it with them. You could extend this work by talking about what the phrase 'two-faced' means.

Hymn

'Father, I place into your hands  . . .' (Junior Praise (Marshall Pickering), 42, Mission Praise (Marshall Pickering), 133 or Songs of Fellowship (Kingsway Music), 97) 

Publication date: July 2014   (Vol.16 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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