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Pause for Thought in the Classroom: The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon!

How do we use our tongues?

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider that the tongue can be a dangerous weapon.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Take Hart – 5 minute compilation’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 5.03 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edi1rTitpqU (start from 3.37 minutes)

Assembly

  1. Ask the children, ‘What do you think is the world’s most dangerous weapon?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Answers may include things like guns, torpedoes, swords, air rifles, bows and arrows, nuclear weapons, bombs and hand grenades.

  2. Explain that you think that the world’s most dangerous weapon is actually in the classroom!

    Ask the children to look around and see if they can suggest what it might be.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. The correct answer is the tongue. If the children have not guessed it, give them a few clues such as:

    - everyone has this weapon
    - we can all choose when to use it
    - we can clean this weapon
    - this weapon helps us with speaking, reading, eating and tasting our food

  4. Explain that you are going to show a video about Morph and Chas, who featured in a 1980s BBC art show called Take Hart. Morph is made of terracotta clay and his best friend, Chas, is made of cream-coloured clay. They do not talk coherently, but you can guess how they’re feeling from their tone of voice and body language.

    Tell the children that you want them to watch the video very carefully because you will be asking questions about it afterwards.

  5. Show the YouTube video ‘Take Hart – 5 minute compilation’ from 3.37 minutes to the end.



  6. Ask the children the following questions, allowing time for responses after each one.

    - What did you like (or dislike) about the animation?
    - What do you think Morph’s name means? (Answer: it means that he can change into different shapes)
    - What did you notice about Morph and Chas? (Answers will vary, but should identify that Morph and Chas are friends, but Chas is teasing Morph.)
    - How do we know how the characters are feeling if we can’t understand what they are saying? (Answer: their body language and tone of voice)

  7. Explain that you are going to show the video again and this time, you would like the children to concentrate hard on the characters’ body language.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Take Hart – 5 minute compilation’ from 3.37 minutes to the end again.

  8. Ask the children the following questions, allowing time for responses after each one.

    - How did you know that Chas was trying to wind up Morph at the start? (Answer: Chas was laughing and pointing at Morph)
    - How did Morph respond? (Answer: Morph sounded cross and he shook his fist at Chas)
    - How was Morph feeling when he first saw the lady and gave her the flowers? (Answer: embarrassed and shy)
    - How can you tell that Morph was feeling this way? (Answer: he looked away from the lady and looked at the floor, his leg pointed away from her and he had trouble looking at her when he gave her the flowers)
    - How does Morph react when Chas continues to wind him up? (Answer: Morph gives the flowers to the lady and then goes over to Chas and threatens to hit him. Morph ends up in the box with Chas and, although we can’t see them, they are probably fighting due to the sounds that we can hear and the way that the box is moving)
    - Who was at fault: Morph or Chas? (Answer: they both were because Chas kicked things off by mocking Morph, but Morph made things worse by fighting with Chas)
    - What should Morph and Chas have done? (Answer: Chas shouldn’t have wound up Morph; Morph should have ignored Chas and not started fighting with him in the box)

  9. Use the children’s answers to the questions to reflect upon why the tongue is considered to be a dangerous weapon. Answers will be based around the things that we say and how our words can affect ourselves and others.

    Point out that if we speak to people in a horrible way, it is likely to cause a nasty response, which could result in a playground argument and falling out with our friends. Sometimes, things that we say could result in a person showing bullying behaviour or encourage a group of children to gang up against another child. Our words are powerful and make a difference.

Time for reflection

Explain to the children that there is a book in the Bible called Proverbs that has a lot to say about the tongue. Read the following verses out loud, allowing time for the children to think about them. You may like to ask them to discuss the meanings in pairs or groups.

- ‘Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.’ (Proverbs 21.23)

Pause to allow time for discussion or listen to a range of responses.

- ‘Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.’ (Proverbs 15.4)

Pause to allow time for discussion or listen to a range of responses.

- ‘Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, a quarrel dies down.’ (Proverbs 26.20)

Pause to allow time for discussion or listen to a range of responses.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that we have control over the world’s most dangerous weapon.
Thank you that we can use our tongues to say good and helpful things to one another.
Please help us to learn to be kind to our friends, even if they are not being nice to us.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Our God is a great big God’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaXPXWBcE3I (3 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Encourage the children to think about their body language. Ask them to think about how they react when they are feeling happy, sad, angry or surprised.

    Then, using the sheet that accompanies this assembly (The World's Most Dangerous Weapon - Extension Activity), ask the children to draw pictures of Morph and Chas displaying these four emotions.
Publication date: January 2021   (Vol.23 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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