Story Assemblies of 24 Saints

24 off-the-peg assemblies for the school year

Heather Butler

Currently out of print £7.99

Content

Story Assemblies of 24 Saints features a wealth of saints' days spread across the school year from September to July, making it an ideal ongoing resource and enabling teachers to opt in at any time.

The material contains 24 complete assembly plans ready for teachers to pick off the shelf and deliver as a whole school, year group or classroom assembly.

Ideal for KS1 and KS2.

The material is designed to meet the needs of busy teachers looking for flexible and creative material to take them through the school year. Each assembly plan includes a creative mix of elements, designed to put the life of the featured saint in context and, through differentiated storytelling and focused reflection, help children think about what the message of the saint's story might mean to their own lives today. A suggestion for a relevant symbol is provided with each story, designed to highlight a special feature about the saint and help children use their imaginations to ground the story.

Each assembly provides Teacher's notes, giving background details and essential information to help set the scene and ensure that the teacher has everything to hand for the smooth running of the assembly. Information includes:

- Theme: A short phrase to instantly identify what the assembly is about.

- Bible link: Helpful Bible verses written out in full, with a short commentary about how the Bible story fits into the theme of the storytelling.

- Resources: Suggestions for visual aids and props to help bring the story to life during the storytelling.

- Saint in context: Background information to place the saint in the context of his or her culture and time.

- Entry point: Topical introduction to the theme of the story and questions to help children see how the theme is relevant to their own lives.

- Reflection: Imaginative guide to help children reflect on the story and what its message might mean for them.

- Suggested songs: Songs that reflect the theme of the assembly.

- Optional prayer: Suggestions for a Christian prayer, picking out the main themes of the story.

- 'Build a saint' activity: Classroom follow-up to help build a full picture of the saint, explore a symbol to help children remember how he or she is traditionally recognised, and create a classroom display. In general, the activities use simple, readily available objects, drawing and colouring materials, air-dry modelling clay or play dough.

Each assembly also offers a differentiated story, offering a choice of two storytelling methods: a simple retelling, ideal for younger children, and an interactive questioning alternative for older children. Many of the interactive options also include ideas for children to act out the story as it unfolds.

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Author info

Heather Butler has taught at primary level for over 25 years, with a particular emphasis on special needs, and has been involved with the teaching and nurturing of children within the local church for over 21 years. She now teaches part time, leads story writing workshops in primary schools and is involved with several charities working with traumatised children across the world. She is author of a number of books for children, including Stories to Make You Think, Stories to Make You Think and Further Stories to Make You Think.

Reviews

From The Good Bookstall - April 2012

Whether you are ordained or lay, if you take assemblies this book is a must for your bookshelf. Written by an experienced teacher and children's writer, this is an excellent resource both for those confident and experienced in leading assemblies and those who approach such tasks with trepidation.

The approach is both flexible and creative, allowing you to simply tell the story or use a more interactive approach. A mix of elements is offered, designed to help children to understand more about the saint. Along the way the children are encouraged to reflect upon the message for their own lives today, contained within the saint's story.

There are 24 complete assembly plans featuring saints' days throughout the year. A helpful list of resources needed for each assembly is also included. Each assembly plan has a clear theme and encourages children to use their imaginations.

The individual plans each include a Bible link; background information to place the saint in context; a topical introduction to the theme; guidance for reflection; suggested songs; a prayer; and an activity to use later in the classroom as follow up.

This resource would prove even more helpful and flexible in its application were the index cross-referenced to provide links to the themes.

Reviewed by Chris Low


From REtoday - Summer 2012

This assembly book addresses 24 saints' days across the academic year and includes well-known and not so well-known saints.

Each assembly outline follows the same pattern, offering teacher's notes, a story and an 'interactive telling of the story'. The teacher's notes begin with identifying a theme for the assembly which is in some way explored or attributed to the particular saint in focus through the story in the assembly. This is followed by a Bible link, resources for the interactive story retelling, a very brief section outlining who the saint was, an 'entry point', reflection, suggested songs and an optional prayer.

The teacher's notes conclude with a 'build a saint' activity suggesting very simple classroom activities which may be suitable for aiding reflection on the assembly but which are very limited in the challenge they offer, especially for the older pupils in this age range. Contrary to this, I feel that some of the concepts and theology in the assemblies are really more suited to the older rather than younger pupils.

The stories themselves are very brief and really need to be retold, as suggested, in an interactive way. Some of the suggested questions in this section are good and really encourage thoughtful reflection, while others, I feel, detract from the meaning and purpose of the story.

The material in this book is quite obviously Christian, but a skilled assembly leader should have no problem adjusting the language and the presentation of these assemblies to ensure that they are inclusive of the whole community in a non-religious school.

This is a good attempt to bring meaning and understanding as to why saints are remembered and celebrated on special days. The price is very reasonable and most assembly leaders will find something here that they like.

Reviewed by Lesley Beadle


From The Church Times - 16 September 2011

Amid all this catalogue of pain and strife, it is a relief to pick up Story Assemblies of 24 Saints by Heather Butler. The famous names are all there, but Jerome, Cadoc, and Ninian will be unfamiliar to many.

Their stories are used to draw out straightforward and relevant themes. Since assemblies are largely a matter of finding different ways of saying the same things, this attractively priced volume will prove a welcome ad dition to the shelf. Topics include: being scared, making sacrifices, and standing up for what you believe is right. Just the ticket for a teacher in inner London.


I first worked with Heather over five years ago when she came to teach RE to all the children in my school. She did this with creativity and enthusiasm in her own inimitable manner, thereby inspiring the children to learn through a diverse range of styles.

Heather has also been into school on several occasions to deliver her creative writing days. Laden with props, from pirate ships to puppets, she has a knack for drawing children in to a wonderful world where they are enabled to allow their own imagination to run riot. The result of this has been children's writing of a very high standard, including from those who have not previously viewed themselves as 'writers' and for whom writing had meant a real challenge that they may or may not have overcome.

One of the greatest assets of Heather's latest book of assembly resources is that it is written not only by a great storyteller but by one with a teacher's perspective. This means that you will not need to spend hours preparing the assembly or gathering resources. As every busy teacher knows, that means a great deal.

Each one of the 24 story assemblies is presented in the same way and you can choose to simply tell the story or to make it interactive. The background to each saint is succinctly given, so you will quickly gain an understanding yourself if the subject is new to you. When I have used Heather's assemblies in school, the children have been fully engaged with the message being conveyed, the characters in the story and the humour. It's not easy to think of new ideas to keep the whole school interested. Well, now we don't have to; Heather has done it for us!

From the Foreword by Sue Harratt, Head teacher, Woodside Junior School, Amersham, Bucks

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841017037
  • Published: 18 June 2011
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
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