Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Lesson in Perseverance and Braille

Background: Fanny Crosby, the namesake for American Heritage Girls Pathfinder Level, was born almost 200 years ago on March 24, 1820.  Due to doctor's error, she became blind when she was still just a baby; only 6 weeks old.  But Fanny persevered.  What does it mean to persevere?  She never gave up.  She kept going, kept trying, and stayed on task even when things were hard and she felt like giving up.  She believed that she could do "all things though Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).  She was content despite her circumstances and praised God for her blessings.  Fanny loved to write hymns, and she was very good at it.  Throughout her life she wrote more than 8,000 hymns; some of which we still sing in church today.

Game: Freeze Dance
Before continuing with the lesson, play freeze dance to get all of those wiggles out.  Use some of Fanny's popular hymns like "Blessed Assurance", "To God be the Glory", and/or "All the Way my Savior Leads Me".

If you were blind, what challenges would you face?  How could you overcome them?  What are you other senses and how could you use them if you could not use your sense of sight?  Would it be easy?  Reading is one challenge the blind need to overcome.  Between the years of 1821 and 1837, Louis Braille, a blind French youth developed a system of raised bumps that represented letters and symbols so reading could be accomplished with the sense of touch.  However, it was not until 1868 when a group of British men now known as The Royal National Institute for the Blind took up the cause of bringing braille to the world.

Print out a handout of the Braille Alphabet.  Decode this worksheet:

(Answer: Did you persevere?  Never give up!)

I love the teamwork the girls used to solve this!

Discuss: Do you think it would take a lot of hard work and perseverance to learn Braille?  What would be the reward for persevering?  Have each student tell of a time they had to persevere.

Prepare name strips with a Braille template representing the child's name.  Have them glue gemstones to form their names in Braille.  With eyes closed have them run their fingers over the name tape.  Discuss how it feel.  Have them pass around and try feeling each other's names.  If you put three names in front of them, with eyes closed, can they feel out their name?

Play "Fanny Crosby", similar to "Marco Polo" but on land.  One child is chosen as "it" and blindfolded.  For the safety of everyone, do not allow running and make sure the space is clear of hazards.  Whoever is "it" yells "Fanny" and the rest of the children respond "Crosby".  By listening, the "it" person will try to move towards the other children, with the goal of tagging them.  When tagged, that person then becomes "it".