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Activity for teaching and learning the Wheel of the Year

A child created this spiral as a way of learning the Wheel of the Year.

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A child created this spiral as a way of learning the Wheel of the Year.
by Jennifer Clark
 

What is the purpose of this activity?

In this activity, your child will create a spiral pattern using the names of the eight Sabbats. Doing so will give your child practice writing the eight Sabbats in the order in which they occur. To use "teacher-talk", learning the names and memorizing the order is supported by the tactile experience of writing -- that is, touching paper and pen, feeling the words form as they are written. Learning and memorizing is also enhanced by the visual experience -- seeing the names of the Sabbats in order and in a cyclical pattern. Children are often inspired to write the names of the Sabbats over and over again, creating larger spirals as they go. Such repetition is, of course, a well-known and often utilized technique for learning and memorizing new information.

How do I prepare for this activity?

Materials are simple. You need something to write with and something to write on.

You also need a written list of the eight Sabbats in correct order for your child to copy from until they internalize the pattern. Different traditions call the Sabbats by different names or use different spellings.  The list of Sabbats used in the examples presented here goes as follows: Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lammas, and Mabon. Definitely adjust the list to reflect your tradition.

Depending on the experience of the child, you may want examples of spirals to show them. A quick web-search for "spiral" set to show images will yield a great number of examples.  If you want to focus on naturally occuring spirals, use phrases like "spiral galaxy," "spiral shell," or even "natural spiral."

How do I do this activity?

  1. Start by showing the student the examples of the spirals.
  2. Show the student the list of Sabbats and explain the cycle -- they repeat over and over again forever, like days of the week or months of the year.  Most 7-year olds will readily understand.
  3. Give the child something to write with and something to write on. The child starts in the middle of their drawing space and starts writing the names of the Sabbats, curving their writing around and around, forming a spiral with the words as they write. You might need to model this process for them, so they can see how it is done. You know your child, so you know whether they need to see an example like that or not.
  4. Decide how many times the names of the Sabbats should be written. Again, you know your child best, so you decide what is appropriate for her or him. A good rule of thumb is 5 or 6 times -- a small enough number that the activity does not become a tedious chore and a large enough number that connections to long-term memory start forming.

A Magical Hint:

Use a clockwise spiral. Clockwise (or deosil) is the direction used for invoking, growing, increasing, creating, manifesting, etc. Therefore, deosil is wonderfully appropriate for learning.

A Mundane Hint:

Explain to your child the purpose of the activity.  Understanding what they are doing and why they are doing it is a motivating factor for many children.

Start by drawing a loose spiral on the paper.  The child can then use the curve as the baseline for forming his or her letters.

Enjoy!

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Comments

  • Terry Hurlbut - Creationism Examiner 4 years ago

    I had wondered how many festivals the Roman Catholic Church essentially stole from the proto-pagan subject peoples of the Roman Empire...

  • Jesse M - Cochise County Libertarian Examiner 4 years ago

    This is great, expand your childrens horizons regardless of what you believe! (Thank you and keep up the great writing of course!)

  • Scott Knutson - Philly Mystical-Spirituality Exami 4 years ago

    This sounds like a great exercise. I wonder how it would go over in Sunday School?

  • Denise 4 years ago

    Note to Terry...probably all of them. Pagans were around first and the Church absorbed a lot of holidays in their effort to convert people. That's why Christmas is such an interesting holiday--it's a mish mash of much older traditions.

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