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Making the most of what you've got

To encourage the children to appreciate the talents they have and to use them to the best of their ability.

by Karen Van Coevorden

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To encourage the children to appreciate the talents they have and to use them to the best of their ability.

Preparation and materials

  • For the game, you will need: four volunteers; a tube of Smarties; a stopwatch; two pairs of chopsticks; four plates; cream crackers.
  • For the story, you will need five volunteers: Narrator, Man/King, Servant 1, Servant 2, Servant 3.
  • Coins (chocolate ones if you’re feeling generous!).
  • Cloak and crown for the King.
  • Handkerchief for Servant 3.
  • Choose the volunteers for the speaking and acting parts in advance, and rehearse them before the assembly.

Assembly

  1. Begin by asking the children what significant event will be held in London in 2012. Explain how, at the Olympics, people represent their country and compete to be the champion in their sport – they aim to be the best in the world. Great Britain won 57 medals at the last Olympics in Athens. Ask the children if they can name any of the sports men or women who achieved them.

    Point out that although the children may not be a Kelly Holmes or Matthew Pinsent, they can still have a go at breaking their own ‘world records’.

  2. Ask for two volunteers who like eating Smarties. Explain that they are going to be asked to eat as many Smarties as they can in one minute. On 25 October 2003, a girl called Kathryn Ratcliffe managed to eat 138 Smarties in three minutes – roughly 46 per minute. So tell your volunteers that they have 46 to beat – do they think they can do it? Now mention that Kathryn used chopsticks!

    Divide the tube of Smarties between two plates and provide each child with a pair of chopsticks. Time them for one minute and watch as they fail to eat very few (if any!) of the Smarties.

  3. Next, ask for two volunteers who like eating cream crackers (you might want to choose teachers for this one!). Explain that you are going to see how quickly they can eat three crackers. On 29 October 2002, Ambrose Mendy ate three Jacob’s cream crackers in 49.15 seconds.

    Start the stopwatch and ask the volunteers to begin eating the crackers. After about one minute, stop and see how many of the crackers have been eaten. (It is a lot harder than it appears!)

  4. Point out that these talents are very unusual, but certainly not the strangest that can be found in the Guinness Book of Records (one man was able to clip 153 clothes pegs to his face!). And the people who achieve the records in this book keep practising them to improve.

    Explain how each of us has a talent, something that we are good at. We might be good at drawing, or football, or maths, or playing the piano. We might be good at helping others or cheering people up if they’re a bit down. Whatever it is, we need to use our talent and keep on practising it, or we may find we lose it.

  5. Invite the children to help you tell a story about three servants and what they did with something special that they were given. Familiarize everyone with the actions so that they can join in when the appropriate words are read:

    Journey – make the sound of footsteps on the floor with your feet.
    King – give a royal wave in the air.
    Servant/s – bow and say, ‘Yes, your majesty’.
    Gold coin – rub fingers and thumb together and say, ‘Money, money, money’.
    Well done – thumbs up in the air.

    The Story of the Gold Coins (based on Luke 19.11–27)

    Narrator:  There was once a very important man who was going on a journey. He was going to be made King. Before he left, he called his servants and gave them each a gold coin. He told them:

    Man:  Try to make as much money as you can with what I have given you while I am gone.

    Narrator:  Later, after the man had been made King, he returned home. He called for his servants to find out how many gold coins they had earned. The first servant said:

    Servant 1:  I have earned (counts out coins) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 gold coins.

    KingWell done! You are a good servant. I will put you in charge of ten cities.

    Narrator:  The second servant said:

    Servant 2:  I have earned (counts out coins) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 gold coins.

    King:  Well done! I will put you in charge of five cities.

    Narrator:  A third servant said:

    Servant 3:  Here is your gold coin (shows one coin). I hid it in a handkerchief because I was afraid of you.

    King:  You bad servant! Your one gold coin will be taken away and given to the servant who already has ten gold coins.

  6. After the story, ask the following questions: Why did the King take the last servant’s gold coin away from him? How did the last servant feel, to end up with nothing? What does the story teach us? (to make the most of what we are given, whether it is money or an ability or talent).

Time for reflection

Reflection

Think for a moment about the gifts or abilities that you have.
Everyone in this room has at least one thing that they can do well.
How can you make the best use of that talent?
Think of ways this week that you can share your skill or use it to help others.

Prayer

Dear God,
Thank you for the many talents that you have given us.
Please help us to use these wisely
and to share them so that others might benefit from what we have been given.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Tis the gift to be simple’ (Come and Praise, 97)

Publication date: November 2005   (Vol.7 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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