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Starting Something New

Starting a new school year

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools

Aims

To consider how we might feel when starting something new.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Jesus calls the fishermen’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poNuGusSX5c
    It is 4.00 minutes long, but if necessary, you could shorten the clip by starting it at 2.00 minutes.

Assembly

  1. Start by asking the children how they feel when they start something new.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Possible answers could include words such as nervous, excited, anxious, frightened, worried, happy and looking forward to the challenge.

    Explain that it is OK to feel any of those emotions. You could add that teachers themselves often feel nervous at the start of an academic year because they need to get to know a new class.

  2. Explain to the children that the video that you are going to show them is a clip from a film called The Miracle Maker. The clip starts with two fishermen called Andrew and Simon, who are brothers. They have just finished fishing for the night on Lake Galilee and are cleaning their nets when Jesus comes along and wants to use their fishing boat as a platform so that he can speak to the crowd that has gathered along the shore. Simon doesn’t really want to get into the boat with Jesus, but eventually he does.

    When Jesus has finished teaching the crowd, he asks Simon to push the boat out into deeper water so that they can do some fishing. You’ll see from Simon’s reaction that he’s unsure about doing this new thing because he knows from experience that fish can only be caught at night. So, let’s see what happens next.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Jesus calls the fishermen’. It is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poNuGusSX5c

  3. In the clip, Simon was a bit grumpy about letting Jesus into his boat. This is because he’d been fishing all night but hadn’t caught a single fish. Simon probably wanted to go home and get some sleep. However, even though he didn’t want to try something new and fish during the day, Simon still listened to Jesus and decided to try what he suggested.

    Trying something new gave the fishermen a great reward – their nets were absolutely full of fish! However, the story doesn’t end there. In fact, Simon became one of the 12 disciples and was one of Jesus’ closest friends. Jesus renamed him Peter, and then he spent the next three years with Jesus learning about God. After Jesus returned to heaven, Peter travelled around the Roman Empire teaching people about God. He became a very important person in the early years of the Christian Church.

  4. For Peter, trying something new and fishing during the day led to greater things. When we try something new, we never know where it might take us. As we start a new school year, we will all get opportunities to try new and exciting things. Sometimes, we will feel worried, nervous, excited or happy about these new things. Explain that it is fine to have all of these feelings. However, we should never let fear or worry stop us from trying something new.

  5. Challenge the children to try something new this week. It might be trying a new sport, volunteering for a role in the classroom or even offering to make dinner at home.

  6. Remind the children that Peter began a new friendship with Jesus. Soon, Jesus became one of Peter’s closest friends and the friendship changed Peter’s life forever. Challenge the children to speak to someone in school this week to whom they have never spoken before. Point out that we never know – one day, that person might become our closest friend. It could be the start of something amazing – just like Peter’s and Jesus’ friendship.

Time for reflection

Starting something new can make us feel worried, so let’s think about positive new things that we might find in our new classes.

– You might prefer the new table groups in which you are sitting.
– The new timetable might suit you better than last year’s.
– Talking to different children may mean that you discover lots in common with one another.
– You might learn about new topics that you really enjoy.
– You might really enjoy getting to know your new teacher.
– You can learn new skills that will help you to achieve your dreams or ambitions.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for our friends.
Thank you for the opportunities that we have when trying and starting something new.
Thank you for all the different skills that we learn when trying new things.
We pray that we won’t worry, but instead enjoy new challenges and new opportunities.
Amen.

Song/music

‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: August 2018   (Vol.20 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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