Prior to group time, set up your classroom. Use as many decorations as you care to in order to create a party atmosphere. Set up snacks; pour M&Ms in a bowl, but do not put it out as a snack. As students enter, surprise them with an impromptu party. Explain that the party is for no particular reason other than to celebrate your group and the people in it.
If time allows, play this ice breaker game (if not, skip to the next paragraph). Have your students sit in a large circle. Walk past your students one by one and have them pick an M&M randomly from the bowl—instruct them not to eat it at this time. Once everyone has one, instruct them to tell something about themselves based on the color of M&M they chose. Go around the circle asking each student to show their M&M; ask them the coordinating question. (After playing the game, students may eat the rest of the M&Ms.)
M&M Icebreaker Questions
Yellow – What are your three favorite foods?
Green – What is something you can’t live without?
Blue – What do you want to be when you grow up?
Red – What is your favorite book or movie?
Orange – What is your favorite animal and why?
Brown – What is something you are good at?
Have students talk about special celebrations they have attended: a surprise party, wedding anniversary, classroom party at school for a goal met, a birthday celebration, etc.
Show the following video clip to your students [0:38]:
Subway surprise! Thanksgiving dinner served on L train
- Do you think most of the passengers were excited about the surprise dinner or annoyed at the unexpected crowd and celebration? Why? (Accept all reasonable responses.)
- How would you feel to be invited into an unexpected celebration? Do you think it would be easy or difficult to get into a celebration mindset? (Answers will vary. Students might say it could be challenging to get into a celebration mindset if they were tired or on the way home from work. Or, they might say they’d be delighted by the surprise and happy to celebrate.)
Celebrations happen all of the time, but some are more special than others as we saw in this surprise Thanksgiving celebration. The Israelites had reason to celebrate something very special—let’s find out when and how they celebrated!