Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Action, Reflection, Refinement - Colorado Springs’ First Expansion Phase!

Just three days into their first intensive program of growth and the new ly-advanced Colorado Springs, CO (A) cluster has plenty to be proud of, including one individual who has already been moved to declare his belief in Baha’u'llah through their efforts. Though these friends have six more days of teaching left in the expansion phase (who knows what could happen by then???), I couldn’t resist sharing this interim report coming straight from the thick of the action. So many things about this report - from the systematic planning, to the consistently intensive action, to the adaptation on-the-fly by the Area Teaching Committee - exemplify one of the most heartening aspects of the Five Year Plan - that the initial programs of growth of newly-raised A clusters are getting continuously better, more systematic, and more effective as they benefit from the lessons learned by the clusters that have gone before them. Any B clusters gearing up for advancement would do well to study the following and accounts like it. Exciting!

Saturday 27 October 2007 – Monday 29 October 2007

Saturday 27 October, 2007 - 39 individuals participating in13 teaching teams attempted 391 visits, with 137 face-to-face, 96 positive, and 38 needing further follow up. 28 were to Hispanics.

Morning: Cluster reflection meeting

Afternoon: Teaching teams oriented to the materials and process, then sent on visits focusing on nearby apartments with Honduran immigrants, transient men, families. 1 declarant.

Evening: Fireside and devotional at the Bahá’í Center; seekers in attendance all FFNC (friends, family, neighbors, co-workers) personal contacts. No new contacts attended.

After the first day of teaching, the ATC realized the need for quick data turnaround where reports from teaching teams could be filtered for contacts needing immediate follow up that could not wait until the consolidation phase. ATC worked late to produce a summary and follow up plan for day two.

Sunday 28 October, 2007 - 23 individuals participating in 12 teaching teams attempted 341 visits, with 108 face-to-face, 71 positive, and 26 needing follow up. 17 were to Hispanics.

Morning: Community devotions followed by adult and children’s classes. Teams reformed and planned together.

Afternoon: Teams continued to reach out to new neighborhoods and did some follow up visits.

Evening: Fireside at Bahá’í Center with two adult and four children seekers

Day two focused on follow up and expanded ‘first visit’ scope to two more neighborhoods. Found more stability and receptivity in Western Terrace housing complex. More diverse, but fewer recently arrived immigrants. New contacts that came to the center that evening were picked up and accompanied there by their teachers. The ATC redesigned data collection forms based on feedback.

Monday 29 October, 2007 - 9 individuals participating in three teaching teams attempted 52 visits, with 28 face-to-face, 13 positive, and four requiring further follow up. One was to a Hispanic.

Morning: Consultation with teams and coordinators to refine action. Decided to focus on two more housing areas and mostly follow up.

Afternoon: Teams went to the military base, to nearby houses and made follow up visits.

Evening: Fireside at Bahá’í Center with four adult seekers and six children

Day three focused on more ‘second visits’ as well as exploring some single family homes adjacent to center. Found some receptivity. By evening, with at least 68 contacts needing follow up, and with a decrease in resources during the week days, the team decided to focus solely on follow up with receptive contacts instead of broadening scope. Also realized need for out-of-town teachers to hand over contacts to local teachers by the end of the week.

Organization of IPG and Key Learning

The ATC initiated a prayer campaign starting before the expansion phase on the Birth of the Báb, with teams at the center during active teaching, continuing through the Birth of Baha’u’llah. Some of those not comfortable or unable for some reason to join teaching teams have supported the project through the prayer campaign and by providing food, cleaning the center, etc, creating an atmosphere in which different people with different skills and talents are able to participate.

The ATC initially plotted out neighborhoods for teams to visit, creating packets of teaching materials with maps, bilingual invitations, pamphlets, children’s materials and prayer cards. The team constantly reviews and refines the teaching packets, engaging junior youth and youth in rebuilding packets each evening. One core team member is also on call at all times to trouble shoot with teams, provide new materials or redirect teams that finish early to other areas needing follow up.

The initial approach of teams has been to connect with the neighboring housing and inform them about the programs offered at the center, Baha’u’llah’s message of unity and the role of the center in creating unity. Then evening programs include multilingual devotions and music, a video presentation, short talk and concurrent children’s programs, with some direct teaching continuing one-on-one with contacts. The ATC recognizes the need for some of the contacts to go directly into study circles beginning next week, as well as coordination of planned consolidation visits.

Youth want to come to the center after school to join teaching teams and just be with the friends, where the spirit generated by the teaching and evening activities has attracted new contacts and also reenergized the interest of the existing community of interest.

In Total:

total of 46 individuals participated in teaching teams

30 from CO13, 11 from other Colorado clusters, 4 from other states

11 youth (10-17 yrs) joined teams from Sunday to Monday

791 attempted contacts

273 successful contacts (someone opened the door)

180 positive responses

74 needed follow up

1 declaration

Of the 180 positive responses, 46 are known to be Hispanic = 26%

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Teaching Team Teaching Tons

Simplicity and action. Isn’t that the core of what the Universal House of Justice has been telling us are keys to successful teaching efforts? This story from the youth-based “tl peace” teaching team from the San Francisco, CA (A) cluster demonstrates this boots-on-the-ground mentality to a T. The team’s first “planning” meeting was a bit of prayers, a bit of practice, and then calling up a seeker and gettin’ to it. Pay particular attention to the way they have quotes from the holy writings (and from Book 1) ready at their fingertips, and the effect it has on the seeker. Also great is the way they weave together elements of fireside, devotional meeting, Scrabble game, study circle, and snack time into a coherent whole.

team tl peace’s first planning meeting was a teaching event. we said prayers, practiced anna’s presentation and then called up my neighbor, a girl i met during the last expansion phase when i knocked on everyone’s door in my apartment complex. she didn’t come to my last devotional but when i last ran into her she was on steps meeting a new neighbor and she said, “hey this is G he’s new. i was just telling him how you have these really cool prayer meetings at your place!” so i got the feeling she was very receptive!

i called her up and said, “hey do you want to come over and meet my Baha’i friends? we’re just over here, hanging out eating cookies.”

she said sure! she had never come over before. she brought tea and scrabble. over the game of scrabble she told us how she found God and became a Christian. she said she was into Christian socialism and couldn’t find the words to explain what that meant to her, so i said, “you mean you’re socially liberal and morally conservative?” and she applauded and gave us all high fives cause that was the coolest phrase to her.

another team member said, “when i took book 1, i was amazed that the very first quote it teaches is ‘the betterment of the world can be accomplished by pure and goodly deeds, by commendable and seemly conduct.’ that’s like liberal socialism, doing good deeds, but morally conservative by maintaining pure and seemly conduct! b/c that’s what it’s about. doing good things to make this world better and ourselves better for the next world!”

our new friend applauded again and gave us all high fives again. she asked to see what ruhi book looked like. i gave her book 1. she said, “wow! have i been following the wrong religion all this time?”

we said no, that all religions are true and God is One. she said, “that’s what i always thought. my family said i couldn’t believe in both Jesus and Buddha, so i thought i must have made up my own religion!”

a team member said, “that’s what i used to think too! i used to think i was the only one who believed that all the religions came from one God and then i met the Baha’is!”

we ended the evening w/ prayers and songs and gave our new friend some prayer booklets. we hope to see her at prayer-forms soon! she is looking forward to starting book 1 as soon as possible!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Children of Community of Interest “brought new life to Feast”

The story below shared by the Local Assembly of Beltrami County, Minnesota MN (B) highlight the impact that children--of the community of interest and who participate in children’s classes--have on the friends at Feast.

“There have been eight children, ages five to ten, attending Bahá'í children’s classes whose parents are from the community of interest. A few of the children have attended Bahá'í Feast. The Assembly encouraged the adults working with the children to continue to invite the children to all of the Feasts and Holy Days and any other functions appropriate for children to attend and to offer transportation. There are no other children in our community to befriend these children but this appears to be of no significance. Most of the children attended the last Feast. The children greeted each individual at the door and said “Allah’h’Abhá” (their own idea) and hung up coats. During the Feast the children sang a song they learned at Bahá'í class and spontaneously sang songs on their own or with others. Adults commented that the children had brought a new life to the Feast. The children wanted to know when the next Feast would be held because they were anxious to attend the next one.”

~Local Assembly of Betrami County, MN

Collective Teaching Makes It Happen

Dr. Penny Walker recently visited the Chicago area and spoke to Baha’is from several of the surrounding clusters about some key principles in advancing the Five Year Plan that had been identified by the International Teaching Centre (the 30 September, 2007 letter from the ITC can be found at the administrative website - One of the main areas she emphasized was the importance of collective teaching projects in achieving sustained growth. She explained (presented here in my own paraphrasing) that individual initiative teaching efforts - crucial as they are - are not enough to sustain intensive growth and that it is through carefully planned and executed collective teaching that further potential of the community can be unlocked as we (the Baha’is) then build off of one another’s strengths.

A related point that she made was that the expansion phase of a cluster’s cycle of growth should be clearly distinguished from any other phase by it’s intensity and activity. She quoted from the 27 December, 2005 letter from the Universal House of Justice that an expansion phase “demands the highest level of intensity” and “implies a level of exertion that tests the resolve of the friends.”

Both of these points - collective teaching and intensity of action - I found reflected in this report from the Wilmette, IL (A-stage) cluster. Short, sweet, and to the point, it gives a day-by-day summary of a collective teaching project - a project Badi-style initiative in a predominantly Asian neighborhood - and offers a wealth of information for other communities that might be considering such an effort.

Preliminary work

Sought support of [the Local Spiritual Assembly]. Sent prayers for assistance to friends in the Concourse. Got materials in Korean. Found an apartment. where we could use the patio and washroom if needed. Rounded up some easy reading books. Assessed and enlisted human resources. Consulted about a plan to begin this small effort.


Walked around the neighborhood and distributed 30 fliers about free Project Badi style reading and math assistance to area children for the target week from 1-2 pm. Noted that whole buildings there have Korean names on the mailboxes. Also Russian, African American, and Indian.

8/13 1st session

5 children attend, including one new to the group who is Korean. Read the Hobbit and science books with them. 1 adult friend attended; 1-1/2 hours.

8/14 2nd session

5 children, only those already part of the group. Read the illustrated Hobbit with them and science. 2 adult friends attended. Also visited 4 area Asian grocery stores in an attempt to meet people and find where they gather. 4 hours total.

8/15 3rd session

Rained, so nearly called it off. 5 children, including 1 three year-old, 1 seven year old, and a Korean parent. Had a 1 hour discussion with parent about her needs and invited her to come over Friday night and tomorrow afternoon. Also read the Hobbit and played games with soft yo-yos. 2 adult friends are astonished at the change in children. 2-1/2 hours total.

8/16 4th session

14 children (1 Baha’i), 4 community adults, 3 Korean ladies and 1 Bulgarian lady looking for a playgroup for her son. Read the Hobbit, games and soft yo-yos with children. Talked with the moms for over one hour. Invited them to come Friday night. 3 adult friends attended. Bulgarian lady invited to bring her son and visit a local library with a friend on 8/20. 3 hours total.

8/17 5th session

Friday afternoon, impromptu session because of yesterday’s success in the afternoon. 12 children from Africa, Russia, the Philippines, the US, Saudi Arabia and Persia. 3 Korean ladies, plus other adults walking by. Small bike tire repairs done for children and games. Korean ladies bring candy for the kids and later coffee and cake for the adults after the bikes are fixed. All invited to return at 6:30 Friday night. 2 adult friends. 2-1/2 hours


Regular neighborhood children’s and junior youth classes with a new class group of 3 2-4 year olds and 3 parents. 12 children. We will need to split the younger class up into 2 classes. Impromptu concert, pizza dinner and games on the lawn. One Korean lady asked to borrow the Baha’i Prayers in Korean that one of the friends had brought. The opportunity to discuss the Faith centered on that. Other neighbors stop by for a brief visit and listen to the music from their apartments. 7 friends. 2 hours.

Increase in the community of interest: 3 adults and 3 children in the children’s class. Increase in enthusiasm and confidence of the friends - immeasurable.

Next steps:

  • Ask one of the moms of the young ones if we can use her house to meet as it will be child proofed and we are out of space in the apt.
  • Find another teacher to back up the 7-11 year old age group.
  • Invite others in the parent group to other child-centered activities, e.g. library visits, field trips to parks, visit to the House of Worship, possible parenting group study circle.

Note: This effort is so intense that we cannot keep it up as a daily visit activity. It likely was easier to engage people than in a totally unknown place because of the Baha’i family in the area and the level of trust with them. We decided not to continue the grocery visit effort in order to focus on this group with our limited resources.

Consolidation, here we come!

Me? Start a Neighborhood Children’s Class?!!

I was so inspired by this story from the Waukesha, WI (B) cluster! It spoke to me because of the ’struggles’ that this grandmother used to begin her service for the benefit of the children in her neighborhood. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

I’m a grandmother. Surely the Universal House of Justice wasn’t talking to me when the it asked us to begin neighborhood children’s classes! After prayerfully reflecting on the messages from the Supreme Body, I decided to take a leap of faith and quiet the inner voice telling me I was “too old.”

First I struggled with the question of how to attract young mothers and children to my home. Again the Universal House of Justice came to my rescue! I constructed a flier with the following quotation from the Ridván 157 Message: “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future.” I sent invitations to my neighbors inviting them to classes that would “help our children gain a sense of community” and help them understand that “they are most honored and cherished.” I told the neighbors that their children would engage in activities that would include storytelling, nature discovery, arts, music, and movement and that all the activities would cultivate virtues. It worked! Parents and children came! We have gradually transformed our home and yard into a child-centered environment. My daughter-in-law takes invitations to the local library story hour and, through this and by word of mouth, our small beginnings have blossomed.

There is now an average of 16 children along with their parents attending the classes. We live in a rural neighborhood where parents and children rarely come together, so it is a treat to witness the deep connections that have resulted. Tears came to one parent’s eyes after attending her first class. She said she had felt alone for many years and never imagined she would connect with anyone in this community.

Another declaration in New Hampshire

Last evening another seeker declared his belief in Baha'u'llah. The joy in sharing this is that a youth who is a member of a teaching team was persistent in inviting the seeker--his college professor--to a fireside during the first cycle of the New Hampshire NW (A) IPG! It took 3-4 invitations for this seeker to accept the invitation but after his first experience he has been attending firesides 2x a month and (is) on fire with his investigation and his search.

This seeker was… asked if he would like to enroll and be a part of the Bahá'í community. Very tenderly and patiently he was asked, "Are you ready? Would you like to be a member of this Faith whose mission is to unite all the peoples and religions of the earth? He immediately answered yes... and that it gave him hope when he had been hopeless.

Three declarations in less than 6 weeks! Who would have imagined such a bounty! This was the direct result of teaching teams...unity of focus, fulfilling personal pledges to engage in home visits, to outreach, invitations to core activates and accompanying the seekers on their path of search.”

~from Auxiliary Board member, April 07

“Her heart just opened”

A very nice story of teaching from Rochester Area NY (A) cluster about a “ready soul.”

There was a declaration two nights ago! A Bahá’í, back a few months, befriended a lovely woman of about 60, blond with clear steady blue eyes, a married mother and grandmother, who has been seeking for years. She left the Catholic faith some time ago. She caught on recently that Susan practiced a different religion from one she had ever heard of, and asked her if they could talk about it. They had lunch last week and she gave her an impassioned one-hour synopsis. The seeker recognized instantly that the Baha'i Faith was what she has been looking for.

Wednesday night, the three of us had dinner together, and the seeker with great excitement and hope signed her card. She is truly one of Shoghi Effendi's "2% of the people ready to recognize Baha'u'llah" immediately, a lovely, lovely soul. She is eager to go with me to Feast on Friday, join the Ruhí Book 1 intensive, and integrate completely and meet you all. She teared up to be given her first prayer book, studiously learned to say her 95 Allá’u’Abhás on her fingers, oblivious of the busy restaurant, found the short obligatory prayer in her little book, and said, "Oh, I can't wait to get started."

Oh, friends, she made it seem so easy. Her heart just opened.

With highest praise for the generosity of our Lord.

~from Auxiliary Board member and institute coordinator

Rochester seeker calls 1-800-22UNITE, receives visit by Coordinator

This story illustrates how the Rochester Area NY (A) cluster combines a home visit, elements of Books 2 and 6, a responsive Institute Coordinator, and the referral from a Regional Seeker Response Specialist to effectively respond to a seeker who called 1-800-22UNITE.

This is an account of my visit this afternoon with a seeker whom we met at his home for about two hours. He said that a person suggested that he should look into the Baha'i Faith. He called the 1 800 22 UNITE number and was sent contact information for our regional Seeker Response Specialist. The Specialist called me and asked if it would be possible for me to visit him.

I went to his home planning to introduce him to the Faith using Anna's talk from Book 6, at least the information covered in Section 7. Most of the material in that section was presented with the exception of the last quote, although the flow was more like the Eternal Covenant theme in the presentation to the Sanchez's in Book 2. The visit covered about half of the material in the Eternal Covenant Section - Section 2 of Unit 2 - in Arising to Serve. And from the small "Power of Prayer" pocket booklet in "The Light of Unity" series, we read together the Remover of Difficulties and Refresh and Gladden my Spirit. I left him with that prayer book and The Baha'is" Magazine. He showed interest in hosting a study circle on Reflections on the Life of the Spirit, but seemed a bit reluctant when I asked if he would be interested in inviting his friends. We agreed to meet again sometime soon for coffee.

~Story shared by RTI Coordinator

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Assemblies in Action! (big communities version)

Local Spiritual Assemblies are undertaking a range of activities in support of the plans of their clusters, the examples of which can be a fertile source of ideas for other Assemblies across the country. This story, from an Assembly in the South, highlights many of the lessons that larger Assemblies in advanced clusters are learning, such as how to foster effective communicating with cluster-level institutions, structure community activities to support cycles of growth, and foster the accelerated multiplication of core activities and teaching efforts. Particularly notable are the concrete actions given within definite time periods (crucial for almost any effective plans, regardless of community/cluster size) and the personal involvement and leadership shown by the Assembly members. (A list of many useful and actionable ideas for Assemblies can be found at

On [date] this Assembly hosted an Inter-Institutional Meeting for the purpose of creating a collective action plan with elements of individual, institutional, and joint collaborative effort. We were joined by members of the Area Teaching Committee, the Cluster Institute Coordinators, and the Auxiliary Board in developing plans to be activated over the course of the next 6 months.

In keeping with the counsel of the National Spiritual Assembly, the Spiritual Assembly of — has adopted plans for leadership in these areas:

Personal Involvement – each Local Assembly Member has either finished the sequence of courses or is committed to completing the sequence in the near future. Further, each individual member is committed to joining or activating a teaching team.

Encouragement – the Assembly is committed to accompanying Friends in the community to complete home visits during the next intensive cycle of growth immediately after the reflection gathering to be held on —.

Collaboration – the Assembly will plan and coordinate a series of neighborhood meetings over the next 6 months in which the Auxiliary Board Member will provide deepening on the current Guidance, with the support of the Area Teaching Committee and the Cluster Institute Coordinators.

Learning Oriented Attitude – the Assembly is creating a plan (to be implemented within the next 6 months) that will more effectively communicate local learning and encourage participation in specific localized efforts, using Newsletter, Web site, and Feast communication outlets.

As we continue our efforts, this Assembly humbly requests your prayers and those of the National Spiritual Assembly, so that these plans will assist us in moving forward with the teaching work entrusted to us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Assemblies in Action! (small communities version)

The following story from an Assembly in a fairly small community in the Central States region shows that Assembly support for cluster-level development is a priority, regardless of community size. The thing we liked about this response was the simple, concrete, and achievable steps they committed to taking. There are no complicated and unwieldy plans here, nor vague, hopeful goals; only realistic steps forward. It is an excellent example of the notion that the aim of communities should not be to immediately become A-clusters, but simply to take the next step forward from whatever level of development they happen to be at. (A list of many other useful and actionable ideas can be found at

"Since “The chief duty of Local Spiritual Assemblies is to promote the teaching work,” we pledge to do the following:

Complete Ruhi sequence of courses: All members of the Local Spiritual Assembly will complete the Ruhi sequence of courses as soon as practical. So far, four of the nine members have completed all courses.

Collaborate with institutions: To foster “loving collaboration and consultation with the Auxiliary Board members, institute coordinators and… cluster development facilitators or area teaching committees,” we will find out the addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all of the individuals serving on these institutions and make a master contact list so that we may contact them when desired and work together with them. We will also find the names and contact information of all of the secretaries of the groups and LSAs in our cluster.

Support cluster advancement: We will commit to attend cluster reflection meetings as a community. We will make a report to the community about the results of the cluster meeting to inform those friends who could not attend.

Set our priorities wisely:

  • Our immediate priorities for supporting the core activities are the following:
  • Start a Ruhi 1 course for two seekers who are ready.
  • Carry out regular devotional meetings.
  • Increase our community of interest by making friends in [this town] and hosting activities such as international potluck dinners when we are ready."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Framework “Applied Coherently in all its Dimensions”

The Universal House of Justice often mentions the “coherence” they envision for Baha’i communities. In all the work of promoting core activities, teaching projects, community events (not to mention other minor obligations such as careers, schooling, children, and family), I sometimes feel we struggle achieve or understand this coherence - we are so busy doing that it is difficult to appreciate the wider picture and understand how our many activities are harmoniously linked, related and mutually reinforcing (or at least the way they could be). That’s what I liked about this story from the Montgomery County, MD (A)cluster - the the friends seem to seamlessly integrate web proclamation, area teaching committee members, home visits, local spiritual assemblies, the Auxiliary board, direct teaching through Anna’s presentation, teaching teams, a Book 1, and a children’s class. Now that’s coherence!

he Montgomery County cluster struck gold when a Togolese- American lady contacted the Bahá’í webpage for information and follow up. The Area Teaching Committee (ATC) member dedicated to seeker response promptly reported to one of the cluster’s Spiritual Assemblies and the assistant for propagation assigned to that community where the seeker resides. Within days of the request, the seeker was contacted and offered a home visit to review her specific interest points in the Faith.

An ATC member and the assistant for propagation consulted with the cluster institute coordinators in the area for guidance on the best teaching materials to take to engage this seeker. With Anna’s themes from Ruhi Book 6 “Teaching the Cause” in hand and another pictorial teaching brochure, the two Bahá’ís prayed for success and proceeded to meet with the seeker, present the initial themes, and discover the interest level of the seeker. They succeeded in gaining the seeker’s agreement to five consecutive home visits in order to continue reviewing the themes.

At this juncture, the pair called on the newly formed Promenade Teaching Team to take over the process. The team members took ownership of the process and ultimately stepped up to tutor a Book 1 with the seeker in her home. Two of the team members had recently completed the tutor training and arose to tutor the Ruhi study circle Book 1.

Four months later, this wonderful seeker advanced to the 3rd section of Book 1 with the help of the Promenade Teaching Team and two newly trained tutors who happen to be husband and wife. As a further blessing, a children’s class continues as an adjunct to the Ruhi Book 1. The seeker’s three year old son is attended to sequentially by the six adults attending the study circle. So far he has learned a Bahá’í prayer and studied the virtue of submissiveness."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No need to go it alone!

I’ve always had in my mind that that having multiple core activities all occurring simultaneously in a given area is really the way that the framework of the Five Year Plan will be, “…applied coherently in all its dimensions in a cluster…”, but I thought, “how can I possibly pull off more than one core activity at a time?” I’d find myself thinking, “Well, if I have a study circle for my seeker friend who’s a single mom, then there’s also a need for a children’s class.” It was clear to me that having a study circle and a children’s class at the same time would act as supports to one another. Some parents would be attracted to the children’s class and then might join the study circle while their children were being taught, and some would be interested in the study circle and, like my friend, would only be able to participate if there were a simultaneous activity for her son.

Recently, I came across a story from the Lower Maine/New Hampshire (A) cluster about just this…having multiple core activities running together. I realized that what was different and successful about what they did had to do with collective teaching. The story below illustrates how a group of participants studying book 6 teamed up to provide a neighborhood with both a study circle and children’s class. The result was not only a multiplication of activities but also an increase in the energy and enthusiasm of their continued study of book 6.

“As a result of our learning in Ruhi courses, our group decided to have a neighborhood children’s class simultaneous to our study circle. Some of the kids were from non-Bahá’í families, whose mothers wanted to join us in the Ruhi training. Since we were in Book 6, we decided that each week one of the co-facilitators would tutor the Book 1 for the non-Bahá’í parents while the rest of us continued Book 6. This arrangement was not a desired action, but an alternative born out of sheer necessity. Currently there are three participants in Book 1, all of whom are not Bahá’ís. The spirit of the Book 6 participants and of the children’s class is so high that the Book 1 participants are in awe, or at least, that is what they pretend!! We as tutors were initially somewhat doubtful and apprehensive. But, so far everyone involved loves the process.”

One Assembly’s outward - looking orientation multiplies children’s classes and more

The following story takes ‘Each one, teach one’ to a whole new level. I loved how the Local Spiritual Assembly exercised leadership to empower the rank and file of its community members to arise to serve. To see the chain reaction it set in motion was really exciting—how multiplying children’s classes led to a multiplication of all the other core activities. Then, the icing on the cake was how the Bahá’í children and junior youth in the process flourished.

"Phoenix, AZ (B-stage Cluster) – Originally the Phoenix cluster had 5 Bahá’í children’s classes with 22 Bahá’í children attending it. As the Assembly began to embrace the vision of growth it took a bold step and decided to transform its centralized Bahá’í school to outreach to its neighborhood. The Assembly then asked the Bahá’í parents to pioneer into their neighborhoods and initiate children’s classes with their neighbors’ children rather than driving many miles to attend the centralized Bahá’í school. At the beginning many of the parents perceived this as an impossible challenge. However, with the support of their cluster institute coordinator and the accompaniment of their Auxiliary Board members they rapidly completed their Ruhi Book 3 to gain the required skills to teach a children’s class and immediately stepped into the arena of service. The parents in many instances accompanied by their children began visiting with their neighbors, sharing with them the lessons of Ruhi Book 3, and inviting their children to join the class. One of the parents shares the following: “Members of our community who were not teaching and serving, because of language difficulties, are now teaching and serving. This has become a very effective way to involve our beloved Persian families who have arrived recently and have language difficulties. They have agreed to start children’s classes at their apartment complex with another teacher. Our children are learning to be teachers and servants of the Faith by inviting their friends to class and doing home visits. They feel good about being a Bahá’í because their peers are coming to class. They are forming a Bahá’í identity along side of their peers! They do not have to be with other Bahá’í children to feel that identity. Their peers affirm that being a Bahá’í is cool by coming to theclasses! Our Jr. Youth are arising to serve through these classes. They are and feel important because of their service to these classes. They are teaching. Mothers who didn’t think they could serve or teach because of family commitments are serving their own children and teaching the Faith at the same time. Our children pray with their peers. It is becoming very natural for them to pray with others besides Bahá’is. Our community’s spiritual health is improving because more people are teaching. We have learned that:

  • Children and junior youth are among the most receptive population.
  • The closer the location of the children’s classes to the house of the seekers the higher their participation.
  • Mothers with young children are particularly suitable to promote children’s classes.
  • Parents are open to the programs that provide for the moral education of their children.
  • Bahá’í children classes are portals to the portals. Parents touched by the sweetness of the Writings participate freely in the devotionals and study circles.
  • Older siblings of the children participating in the children’s classes attend the junior youth groups.”
One of the parents who is teaching a children’s class shared the following; “I used to force my son to go to Sunday Bahá’í schools regularly. So he always did. However, he would never identify himself as a Bahá’í child. He used to introduce himself as an ‘independent thinker’. When I began initiating the children’s class in my neighborhood I took him along with me home visiting with the parents and inviting their children to join the class. He was assisting me in keeping track of the home visits, who was home, which home no one answered, how many children in each home, how many children promised to come, etc. He also assisted me to prepare and conduct the class. I am delighted because my son now identifies himself as a Bahá’í !”"

Apartment Complexes Fertile Field for Children’s Classes

Here at the Teaching Office, we often hear communities, especially smaller ones, often express the desire to have neighborhood children’s classes, but feel unable to do so because of a lack of Bahá’í children in the community. It seems clear that a real forward step in having a truly “outward looking orientation”, is setting our minds toward providing spiritual education for all the children in our communities, not just Bahá’í children.

One exciting approach which we often receive (usually very successful) reports of from advanced clusters is launching children’s classes in apartment complexes. We thought that this account from the Southwest Dallas County, TX (B-stage cluster) clearly shows the potential that this idea holds. (And shows the enthusiasm that kids and families have for the classes.)

“Three of us began our children’s class as a result of studying Book 6 together. In the initial stages of setting up the class we had our reservations. We asked ourselves, “Would the people at the complex be receptive? How would we get children to come to our class once we were there? Would the children be receptive to learning about spiritual qualities?” Truly all our reservations were eliminated once our Ruhi class took action. The apartment manager was very receptive and fully supported our class, parents we talked to also were receptive, thanking us for offering the service. And once we got to the apartment and put our blankets on the grass, children starting running to us, asking us who we were and wanting to talk with us. When we invited them to learn about spiritual qualities, the children were very interested and curious to learn and to explore. We hold the class once a week on Tuesday evenings. We have about 10-15 children from non- Bahá’í families who participate and we try to keep the class relatively flexible at this stage while we gain the trust of parents. This experience has truly made me a believer that once you act, Bahá’u’lláh will come to your aid, and that teaching is so much easier than we make it out to be. We only have to take a few steps and we will be guided the rest of the way.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some “Deceptively Simple Learnings” about teaching (aka. “IPG for Dummies”)

The New York City, NY (A) cluster recently reduced a forty page teaching manual to a deceptively simple, yet absolutely critical ten points, referred to affectionately as “Intensive Program of Growth for Dummies”. We loved them so much, we just had to share.
  1. Teach the Faith. If you don’t, no amount of amazing meetings, awesome events or fancy data collection systems will produce growth.
  2. If your friends aren’t interested, teach people who are. There are receptive souls. Our job is to find them.
  3. Do home visits. They lead to declarations, study circles and new friends — and they’re fun.
  4. Invite people to core activities and firesides. Some of them will come.
  5. Follow up with the people who are interested in the Faith.
  6. Follow up with people who contact us.
  7. Do the things the Universal House of Justice says to do. Follow the guidance. Time is limited — root out distractions and stay focused on the Plan.
  8. Become friends with the new believers, and stay in touch over a period of years. Invite them to study circles!!! Or keep visiting them in their homes.
  9. Pray for divine assistance. Bahá’u'lláh can make a gnat into an eagle! Pray to be guided to receptive souls & vice versa. Keep praying for the people you are already teaching.
  10. Growth is the by-product of unity.

If We Invite Them, They Will Come. . .

Baha’is all over the country, such as these in the New Hampshire (A) cluster, are learning that a key to involving friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers into the activities of Baha’i community life (and helping them to declare their belief in Baha’u'llah) is simply inviting them to do so. A sensitive, yet up-front invitation is often all that seekers need to take the next step.

“Last evening we had another seeker declare his belief in Baha’u'llah! The joy in sharing this is that a youth who is a member of a teaching team was persistent in inviting his college professor to a fireside during the first cycle of the New Hampshire Cluster’s Intensive Program of Growth! It took 3-4 invitations for this seeker to accept the invitation but after his first experience he has been attending firesides twice a month and is on fire with his investigation and his search.

This seeker was… asked if he would like to enroll and be a part of the Bahá’í community. Very tenderly and patiently he was asked, “Are you ready? Would you like to be a member of this Faith whose mission is to unite all the peoples and religions of the earth?” He immediately answered yes… and that it gave him hope when he had been hopeless.

Three declarations in less than 6 weeks! Who would have imagined such a bounty! This was the direct result of teaching teams…unity of focus, fulfilling personal pledges to engage in home visits, to outreach, invitations to core activates and accompanying the seekers on their path of search.”

Home Visits Crucial in Neighborhood Classes

Over and over cluster agencies report that personal connections with parents are essential in making neighborhood children’s classes and junior youth groups sustainable, and that home visits are key to establishing those connections. This story from the Beaverton, OR (A) cluster serves as one example. Notable in the account is the strategy of doing home visits to alert residents to a class starting, but then re-visiting interested households on the appointed day to walk children to class. Not only is this welcoming, but it helps to remind those families that might have otherwise not attended.

“A team of individuals invited children and junior youth by visiting the homes at a manufactured home park where a Bahá’í resides. With the help of a child who knows the Bahá’í resident, other children and junior youth were invited to attend a neighborhood children’s class and junior youth group. One week later, the team returned to the homes and—like the Pied Piper—had a trail of youth and children following behind as we went house to house inviting them.

The youth session was held on a grassy, open area behind The Bahá’ís home. All of the children and junior youth who attended the first session were non Baha’is. The entire group played a name game and then divided up into two groups—children and junior youth. The children worked on one of the lessons from Ruhi 3; the junior youth got acquainted and did a science project. The second session contained some of the same children and youth from the first session, plus some new ones, as well as some Bahá’í children that came with a second children’s class teacher. The non Bahá’í children and youth are from Latino families. The parents do not speak fluent English but their children do. There is a great potential in this neighborhood. The challenge will be to work with the parents to get commitment and regularity of attendance from the youth and children. This contact with the parents is planned for the next session this Friday.”

Three Core Activities with One Family!

This story from the Evanston, IL (B) cluster is a great example of how meeting the various needs of seekers can naturally lead to the multiplication of core activities. It also shows that a large number of participants is never needed to begin offering a core activity.

“My husband worked with a young lady, who he thought might be receptive to the Faith. He talked to her and said that he was concerned about the spiritual education of her child and invited her to share prayers with us and our young daughter. She appreciated his concern and attended a devotional meeting which both she and her child enjoyed very much. So then we thought – why not do a class for them too? So we started doing devotional meetings followed by a little class for our two children. After a while she invited us to her parents’ house – and we were very happy because we could get to know her large extended family. The spiritual connection has made us friends even though my husband has since left their shared work place.

One time, she offered to host the devotional and class at her apartment rather than at our house as usual. We were surprised to see that the child’s father was there. Apparently, he was interested in what we were teaching his son, or in what his son’s mother was telling him about the Baha’i Faith. He observed the prayers and the class and asked many questions and it became like a fireside. The next time, he came again. Then we invited both of them to study Ruhi Book One, so now we do prayers all together, then my husband does a children’s class in one room and I am doing the study circle with them in another.

I think part of our success was because we catered to this woman’s needs. We wanted to teach her and always kept her needs in the front of our minds. We originally wanted to have more people come, but when they couldn’t make it, we focused on this seeker. It’s just as well that it has stayed small. And because of that, we ended up having this three-in-one activity. It has also suited our family well, because we have a small child ourselves and didn’t think we could do anything bigger in the beginning. But we could handle just teaching her and her child. The key here was just making sure it kept happening because she was always interested, and it could have been hard to combine this seeker with anyone else. Now, we are welcoming the participation of a young Baha’i couple who are trained in the institute process, and we hope to add more pupils to the children’s class.”

A Collective Effort to Launch Neighborhood Children’s Classes

­This story from the Cleveland, OH (B) cluster describes the approach one group of Bahá’ís made to ensure a successful event for neighborhood parents and the warm response that they received. It highlights many elements often mentioned as being particularly successful, such as taking collective action in teams, use of Anna’s presentation, and visiting homes to establish personal connections.

“The best story I’ve got for neighborhood children’s classes is from Cleveland where one family held a four day teaching campaign. In the mornings we studied Anna’s presentation and in the afternoon we went out looking for opportunities to give the presentation. The end goal was a devotional meeting directed towards establishing a children’s class.

I think two things we did were important. One was little cards we made with a prayer for children and the national website. The other was invitations for a back-to-school party at the couples’ house on a Sunday afternoon. The approach we took with people was, “Come have some food; we want to get to know our neighbors. We’re also concerned about our children, and we were wondering if you would come pray for the children of the neighborhood.” Twelve adults and fifteen children came to this from probably about 8 households and they were all very supportive. Almost all of the families are intending to send their kids to weekly neighborhood children’s classes that will be starting. We have just been scrambling to find teachers to teach three of four classes for kids aged 2-13. People who had no children were even taking invitations to offer to their friends.

We learned a lot from the invitation phase, too. One day we went to the bus stop and gave the prayer cards to mothers we saw. They always really appreciated the prayers. On very evangelical couples shared prayers with us right there standing in their driveway. So what we learned was that we don’t need to be afraid, and that if we extend invitations, people will come. It’s also important that the Yates had lived there a while and built up relationships with the neighbors. Knowing some of the families for years creates a lot of trust. I’ve seen that in several clusters.

A Program to Connect With Parents

This story of one program, put on by children in the Lancaster, PA (B) cluster to reach out and establish connections with parents, shows the enthusiasm that non-Baha’I parents have for neighborhood classes provided for their children.

The Universal House of Justice wrote, “The friends should have every confidence that those parents who are not Bahá’ís themselves but who send their children to such classes will rejoice when they see the effects of a Bahá’í education on their tender hearts and minds.”

We witnessed this joy in parents last week, when we had a dinner and prayers with the children and their parents from our neighborhood class. During one of the classes, the children had crafted beautiful invitations for their parents to this event. As the children and their parents arrived, we had them engage in an activity together: decorating their own cupcake desserts! It was a joy to see these parents and children working together and it was such a fun way for the parents to meet and see how these children have come together to form real bonds of friendship.

Before dinner, the youngest child, who just turned 4, recited “O God, guide me….” After dinner, the children sat on the floor in a circle to play a guessing game we had planned for them, and after enjoying this for awhile — parents looking on — I asked them if we could now share some of the prayers and quotes we have learned together. When asked how we sit for prayers, the children all sat up straight and crossed their legs and assumed a posture of devotion. The parents listened intently as they sang together the “Remover of Difficulties” and “O God, educate these children.” I explained how we have worked to memorize quotations and while showing pictures the children associate with the quotes, asked them to recite some of them so their parents could hear. One by one they helped each other remember the words to different quotes of the Blessed Beauty. While all were sitting together in this spirit of prayer, it was easy to discuss with them a plan to divide the class into two, so that they could better benefit from age-appropriate lessons. Parents themselves talked about how other children in the neighborhood could be approached to join the two classes! Days of the week were selected and agreed upon and it was astonishing to see how organically it happened….the multiplication of children’s classes before my eyes!

This dinner/devotional took place during the first formal break we have had in the classes since last June. The weekly regularity of the class has served to create a sense that this is part of life for these children and it has also reinforced the trust of parents, who now know that there is a real commitment to the moral development of their children. And if there has been any sacrifice associated with maintaining this class, the faces of these dear children as their hearts connect with the Word of God is more than enough to make any feeling of sacrifice well worth the effort.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Children Helping Stage a Neighborhood Devotional Meeting

Here one friend from the Omaha, NE (B) cluster describes some of the elements that led to a successful and well-attended neighborhood devotional meeting. Prominent in the story is the unique role that her children played in establishing the activity.

“I just wanted to share a bit of our success story. We just held our first prayer gathering in my neighborhood after delivering over 40 invites on Labor Day with my kids. They were such troopers in the heat and very brave going up to homes by themselves (me across the street or on the sidewalk). All 3 kids had helped roll the invites into scrolls and we tied them each with pretty white and purple ribbon. While working on the invites we discussed that this prayer gathering was an opportunity to let others hear Baha’u'llah’s healing words. I compared it to sharing candy and how happy people are to receive a piece of candy and how great we feel after sharing that candy. I explained how we could prevent people from being truly happy if we did not to share our candy (Baha’u'llah) with people.

The neighbors warmly received the invites from these 3 sweet children, but once we were all home, collapsed on the couch soaking up the air conditioning, we couldn’t help but wonder “Who will come?” “Will anyone come?”.

Tonight we dragged lawn chairs and several prayer books and prayer cards over to our neighborhood lot. The kids and I were prepared to pray alone, but quite pleasantly we were joined by 4 other neighbors! They were all very inspired by the invites and thought they were a great idea. After brief introductions and I shared I was a Baha’i and that I brought prayer books if anyone was interested. There was a comment and nods of recognition in knowing about the Baha’i Faith. Then kids got us started, and then my son exclaimed “Oh yeah! We forgot to pass out the prayer cards!” and he proceeded to pass each person a beautifully decorated prayer card that has a quote/prayer on either side of the card. Everyone graciously accepted his offer, and I KNOW had I passed them to folks they would have been politely denied).

One of the neighbors commented, “It is refreshing to see children so enthusiastic about their prayers.” That had to be the best compliment ever!”


This couple from the New York, NY (A) cluster could have given up after initial setbacks in their efforts to establish a junior youth group. But their determination to continue supporting the activities of the Five Year Plan highlights the importance of both persistence and flexibility in achieving eventual success.

“My wife and I moved across the cluster to help start a junior youth program at a local middle school. The school had welcomed a Bahá’í initiative to start a junior youth program using the animator books. We were very excited. We moved in and tried to follow up but one obstacle after another arose from the school. We kept praying and hoping for a door to open. While we waited we got to know the Bahá’ís who lived in the neighborhood and began sharing the Faith with our neighbors. It became clear the school was in slow motion and they finally suggested we try again next summer.

We were disappointed and decided to try to start a Ruhi book 1 in our home instead. We visited a few people we had met and discovered that they had junior youth interested in doing some activities. Within the week we had the first session! We had the Book 1 in our living room and the junior youth and animators started Breezes of Confirmation in the bedroom. It was wonderful! We started with prayers all together and sang a children’s song in Hindi, which was hilarious because no one could get the words and hand gestures right. At the end of the session we all came back together to share prayers and quotes. It turns out both groups had memorized the same quote: “…let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.” We laughed in amazement and then enjoyed refreshments.

Over time, we did home visits to share more about Bahá’u’lláh with the seekers and get to know some of the parents better. Keeping things simple, with just a few people in our home, has turned out to be wonderful. We wished the school opportunity had worked out but look at what Bahá’u’lláh did: He helped all the participants truly connect their hearts together as we deepened on His beautiful teachings. It was truly a breeze of confirmation.”

Thoughts on Animating a Junior Youth Group

Here, one youth from the Lower Maine/New Hampshire (A) cluster, who serves as an animator of a junior youth group reflects on his experiences, some of the challenges he has faced, and some of the strategies he has found successful.

“I don’t even know where to begin. We have 6 participants, all of which have at least one Baha’i parent. … The Baha’i Faith is very new to a couple of them as well, so this is one of their first Baha’i experiences. We still don’t have regular attendance from everyone, but it is the summer and there is a lot going on with some people. We will be much more regular about everything in the fall, I am sure.

Another Baha’i has been coming when he’s not working, and he is a great help. I definitely agree that it is better to have 2 co-animators. The plan is that someone else is going to be the co-animator soon. At each meeting we say some prayers, go through about one lesson in the book, and then one person each time shares with us a science or an art that they are interested in (music, a craft, drawings..) We all do it if applicable.

We decided it is best to do that at the end because it is a way to ease into the social portion. We usually have some sort of snack after. I think it is important to not make the junior youth feel like you are the teacher and that you are superior to them. I always include them in decision making and ask their input. I also read and answer questions while doing the lessons.

An issue that we have is getting side tracked and going on tangents. People often make random comments that slow us down while doing the lessons, so I think I am going to tell them to save their comments for the social portion unless they are relevant to the discussion. I also often read stories from Vignettes that relate to the themes in the book. Just one short story each time I think is a good idea.

I am also going to bring other quotes in that relate to problems we are having or maybe themes in the book, and suggest that they can memorize them. To make a long story short, everything is going well and getting better all the time and it will always be a learning process. My advice to people is to just do it and you will definitely be assisted and feel the “breezes of confirmation.”

Teaching on the Brain

This story from the Austin, TX (A) cluster is all about keeping teaching in the forefront of our minds and seizing the teaching opportunities that are presented to us.

“A Bahá’í friend and I were in the bank so he could open a checking account. The bank manager was asked to help out with the account. As we were talking with the manager, she heard that my friend was living overseas, and she asked why. My friend is a pioneer to China and that was the perfect opening to mention the Faith! He mentioned that we are Bahá’ís. “Oh,” she said, “that is a great religion! I minored in religious studies in college and thought that your Faith made a lot of sense!”

As the manager talked with us, she went on to share that both her parents were Episcopalian priests. She explained that she had been less active in her church because her church has not given her as much hope as it used to.

My friend asked that since she had investigated so many Faiths, what was it that made her to stay in the religion of her parents. The bank manager thought that was a great question, and after reflection, said she thought it was familiarity that kept her in her religion. She then added that maybe it was time to re-examine her commitment to her faith.

We invited her to our Sunday devotions and she was very excited. She pulled out a paper and pen and asked me to write down directions to the Bahá’í Center. She then gave me her business card so we could send her more information about events. Then she asked if she could bring her friend who is Buddhist to devotions and of course, we said YES! The bank manager attended the devotions and later declared. Her mother is now attending the devotional gatherings.”

The Challenges and Opportunities of Tutoring Students

This report, from a graduate student studying in the New York City, NY (A-stage) cluster highlights some of the unique challenges and opportunities (and the flexibility that is needed) in meeting the spiritual needs of busy students.

“Working with students is both a blessing and a challenge. On the one hand, students are open-minded and receptive, but they are also extremely busy, are preoccupied with school and other responsibilities, and aren’t always ready or able to commit to a core activity or take ownership of it.

When we moved to New York City, we were eager to start core activities in our home and immediately made plans to get to know our neighbors and our colleagues so as to have someone to invite. This is still an ongoing endeavor and we try to carve out time in our schedule for developing our budding “community of interest.” We do this by inviting friends and acquaintances over, visiting them in their homes, or going out for dinner or for coffee. We have also started a weekly dinner/social-get-together in our home in order to bring our friends together and create a sense of community in our neighborhood. We have “inherited” four seekers introduced to the Faith by other Baha’is, all of whom agreed to join a Book They are all graduate students and they are all very enthusiastic about investigating the Faith, although their schedules can be extremely difficult to accommodate.Our study circle has, therefore, taking a very non-traditional form and has involved a lot of flexibility and individual attention. In fact, we have only once met as an entire group, the rest of the study has taken place in more intimate one-on- one settings. Sometimes our study circle “meetings” take the form of home visits. We go to a person’s home, share a meal, and go through the materials informally in their living room or dorm room. At other times, we don’t go through the materials at all, but have impromptu “firesides” about diverse topics that interest the seekers. This format is in some ways more difficult for us as tutors, simply because it requires a lot of individual scheduling, emails and phone calls. It also takes more time since we end up covering the same material several times, instead of once all together. It is also harder to create a sense of community when we are all working separately. That being said there are benefits.First of all, we know that some of these individuals would have simply dropped out if they were required to commit to a weekly study circle. Secondly, meeting in their home and in a more intimate setting enables us to establish close heart-to-heart connections with the seekers. Finally, allowing for flexibility like this gives participants the opportunity to ask burning questions without feeling like they are slowing down an entire group. Working together on scheduling and taking turns hosting (hopefully) also encourages participants to take ownership of the learning process and prepares them for initiating their own core activities down the line. The learning curve is steep but we hope that the skills and experience we are gaining from working with these seekers will help us develop and nurture our own community of interest.”

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Teaching Tools and Materials

Below is a list of teaching resources and tools that can be downloaded and printed.
  • - a comprehensive archive of teaching materials, including Anna’s Presentation in English, Spanish, and Farsi; presentations and handouts on all Book 2 deepening themes; Book 3 pictures and songs; and an array of fliers, invitations, and contact forms used in intensive programs of growth
  • iMemorize- a web-based tool to assist with memorization. Includes all quotes from the Ruhi courses, three methods of memorization, and a feature to add your own quotes.

Monday, October 1, 2007

What is the Teaching Blog?

This site is designed to share as quickly as possible the teaching stories, lessons learned, and creative initiatives that friends are developing every day in clusters around the country.

Check in regularly to get the hottest news of teaching efforts fresh from the field of action. Or you can search the archives for ideas and suggestions on specific topics – the core activities, collective teaching efforts, and many others – to take your own teaching plans to the next level.

The Five Year Plan is all about a learning environment, so don’t hesitate to post comments or questions on stories you liked, or respond to someone else’s comments. And remember that your experiences could benefit hundreds of friends in their own efforts to advance the Cause, so send in your own stories (and pictures!), insights, and challenges! (

We hope you enjoy the site and find it useful, and look forward to hearing from all of you.

~ Your friends at the Teaching Blog

What is the Teaching Blog?

This site is designed to share as quickly as possible the teaching stories, lessons learned, and creative initiatives that friends are developing every day in clusters around the country.

Check in regularly to get the hottest news of teaching efforts fresh from the field of action. Or you can search the archives for ideas and suggestions on specific topics – the core activities, collective teaching efforts, and many others – to take your own teaching plans to the next level.

The Five Year Plan is all about a learning environment, so don’t hesitate to post comments or questions on stories you liked, or respond to someone else’s comments. And remember that your experiences could benefit hundreds of friends in their own efforts to advance the Cause, so send in your own stories (and pictures!), insights, and challenges! (

We hope you enjoy the site and find it useful, and look forward to hearing from all of you.

~ Your friends at the Teaching Blog