for classroom activities:
- Discuss what it would be like to live without access to
lots of books. Those who enjoy reading realise how books can transport
readers to foreign places and magical lands, they can bring tears to our eyes
when reading a tragic story, make us smile when telling a funny story. Discuss
different types of books and the books we like reading.
- What makes a book special? What is your favourite book?
- Make a class display of favourite books.
- Produce a class book about Saint David and his monks.
What do the children need to include?
e.g. front cover with title & illustration, contents page, different
chapters on different aspects of David’s life.
Where could they find additional material?
e.g. books about Saint David, interview local vicar
How could they make the books exciting?
e.g. include illustrations, photographs, interviews
- Discuss care of books. Do we put books back in the correct
place in the school library?
- Look at examples of beautifully illustrated work by monks,
such as a copy of the Book of Kells. Look at examples of calligraphy. Experiment
with using a quill. Make ink using plant dyes. Experiment with colours.
- The monks spent months copying out one book. This took a
great deal of concentration and dedication. Compare with pupils preparing
a ‘best copy’ of work. How do they feel when they have a piece of work displayed
in school? Was it worth all the effort? The more work a child puts in, the
greater the reward.
- Look at the Ogam alphabet. Pupils could try writing
their own names in Ogam (on paper or using small pebbles). There are, however,
some letters in the English alphabet which are not in the Ogam alphabet.
- The pupils at the monastery spent much time studying the
Bible and other religious books as well as learning Maths, astronomy and music.
What do pupils like learning in school? What do they want to be when they
grow up? What is important to them?
- KS2: Read the web page "What did David learn at school?"
Discuss and then answer the comprehension questions.
Working in the fields
- Where do you think the people of long ago got their food
- How is food harvested today? Discuss use of modern machinery
e.g. tractors, trailers and combine harvesters.
- Why would David not allow his monks to use oxen to pull the
- Why do you think David pulled the plough himself? Why didn’t
he let the other monks do this if he was in charge? (To set a good example).
A time to listen, a time to pray
Why was a bell rung? (It could be heard by all. There were
no watches so this was the only way of attracting everyone’s attention at the
Why walk in silence? (To prepare the mind for a special time, to concentrate)
What does the word ‘chant’ mean?
What songs do you think the monks would have sung? Psalms
Why did the monks kneel to pray? (As a sign of respect - humble in the sight
of God, lowering themselves)
Rhigyfarch (who wrote about the Life
of David) writes that the monks prayed all night, "until the appearance
of the stars in the heavens should bring the day to a close."
Why is prayer so important monks? (The monks
can talk to God)
Why is silence so important? (The monks can listen to God speak to them)
Why is it important for monks to go to church throughout the day and
night? (They are constantly in God’s company)
To Christians Sunday is the most holy day of the week. Is Sunday a special day
for us, or are we turning it into just an ordinary day, another working day?
Why did the monks keep Sunday a special day? (see Genesis 2:1-3)
"And so the whole universe was completed. By the seventh day God finished
what he had been doing and stopped working. He blessed the seventh day,
because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working."
Becoming a monk
Monks have to give up all their personal possessions
when they enter a monastery.
Which of our own possessions do we most value?
Why are these of importance to us?
Caring for the sick and needy
Who cares for us?
How do we help others in our community and the wider world?
e.g. helping elderly neighbours with gardening, raising money for charities
such as Children in Need, supporting events such as Jeans for Genes Day.
Is there more that we can do?
Compare the timetable of a monk with a timetable
of what you do on a typical day.