The Judges- Round and Round They Go

Recently I taught a set of classes about the time of the Judges.  The background to this time in history is one of a repeating cycle.  To illustrate the idea of a cycle that goes round and round I decided to use a hoola hoop.

Each week, as we studied our way through the Judges I used part of the class time to review this cycle.  Soon the children were able to explain this to the others in the class.  The rattle sound the hoola hoop made as it turned added to the fun.

How to Make a Wheel for Your Class

 If a hoola hoop is not available then use any circular object that can be rotated and used in the same way.  A bicycle wheel, hubcap, pizza pan or a round piece of cardboard would work just as well.

Write each of the stages of the cycle on thick card and tape them to the hoola hoop to form something like a wheel that can be rotated round and round.

Now it is time to review the cycle with the children in your class.  Turn the wheel as you tell about each stage. (To remind you of what to say write the following notes on the back side of the papers.)

  1. SAFE WITH GOD:
    God protected his people as they obeyed him.
  2. FORGET:
    Then the people strayed from God and even started worshipping false Gods.
  3. HURT:
    Because they left God they also left his protection.  When the enemies began to hurt them they had no protection from God.  This was a terrible time.
  4. HELP!
    Finally, after so many bad things were happening, the people realised their mistake and cried out to God for help.
  5. JUDGE:
    Even though the people forget God, God never forgot his people. When his people cried out for help he would send a hero (called a Judge) to save the day and turn them back to him. Sometimes these heroes were soldiers, sometimes they were very clever.  At least once they were a bit wild and crazy (Samson). God knew what kind of judge they needed.And the cycle continues…The judge would bring the people back to a time of safety with God (repeat number one again).  Sometimes many years would pass but then, the people began to forget again…(and this is where you continue to number two and so on).

Stories that Took Place During the Time of the Judges

1_Deborah Deborah the Judge

Gideon and Fleece Gideon and the Fleece

Gideon and Midianites Gideon and the Midianites

4_Birth of Samson The Birth of Samson

5_Samson and Delilah Samson and Delilah

6_Death of Samson The Death of Samson

7_Ruth and Naomi Ruth and Naomi

 

8_Ruth and Boaz Ruth and Boaz

9_God Answers Hannahs Prayer God Answers Hannah’s Prayer

10_Samuel Helper in Temple Samuel- Helper in the Tabernacle

11_Lord Speaks to Samuel The Lord Speaks to Samuel

Let’s Dance!

Dancing.sm

After crossing the Red Sea and being delivered from your enemies, what would YOU want to do?  A seven year old in my Bible class answered, “I would do this!” and then proceeded to dance around our classroom clearly demonstrating pure joy.

Sometimes the illustrations I’ve selected and the scripts from which I read simply pale in comparison to the spontaneous responses of children who hear about what God has done.

Over a span of about a month we had journeyed along with Moses and the Hebrews and felt the pain of their suffering in Egyptian bondage.  We had seen God at work through the ten plagues.  We  worked our way through the emotional experience of the night when the angel of death passed over.  We trembled as we crossed through the Red sea on dry land with great walls of water on either side of us and the enemy right on our heels.

Now, after reviewing these events one more time, I asked the children in our Bible class to imagine being a Hebrew that day and looking back over the water of the Red Sea.  I asked them to imagine the feeling of knowing that God was so strong and loved us so much that he had conquered our enemies and gotten us out of Egypt.  My question “What would you feel like doing?” was a rhetorical question so I was simply floored when this seven year old spontaneously responded in exactly the way the Hebrews did!

Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them:  ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted.  Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.’”  Exodus 15:20-21, NIV

At that point I put other activities aside and we all did just what the Hebrews had done.  We danced in praise to God for what he had done. Never mind that we were in an upstairs room and the adults in the Bible class below us thought I had possibly lost control of my class.  (Never mind that I probably DID lose control over them for just a few moments).  Never mind that the kids danced much better than the teacher.

The fact is that we participated together in some of the most “Biblical moments” I had experienced in quite some time.

The children went on the demonstrate dance moves depicting the plagues and the Passover and the crossing through the sea.  Then, after what turned out to be a rather morbid rendition of the annihilation of Pharaoh and his army, I drew the children back in together and we participated in some quieter activities.

Once again, I thank God that I have the honour of sharing His Word with children and that so often the children become my teachers.

More ideas for teaching using movement and dance

Movement and Dance

Marble Painting a Burning Bush

Marble Painting Complete

The children in our mixed-aged Bible class last Sunday created some awesome pictures using marbles and paints.  The lesson for the day was about when the Lord spoke to Moses from a Burning Bush 

We talked about how God was concerned about the suffering of his people and was giving Moses the important job of rescuing them.  After the lesson we gathered our supplies and made these lovely pictures.  Younger children needed more help and the older ones were able to do each step on their own.  Of course, the best part was being able to chat about the story as we worked on the craft!

Supplies

  • A baking pan or shallow box with sides (one for each child or take turns)
  • A large paper cut to the size of the bottom of the pan or box
  • Crayons
  • Paints in fire colours like red, yellow, orange, brown and black (tempera or acrylic works well)
  • Marbles (heavy ones work better and we had 3 per child)
  • Tape
  • Damp paper towels or items of choice for clean-up

Method

  1. Children draw a free-style bush on the paper using the crayons.  This is the best time to write names or titles on the drawings, too.
  2. Place the paper in the tray and secure the edges with a few pieces of tape.
  3. Sparingly dot the paper with various colours of paint (thick globs don’t work).
  4. Place the marbles on the surface of the paper and move the trays around slowly in a rolling or gentle wave-like motion.  As the marbles roll around they will pick up paint and distribute it over the paper.
  5. Remove the marbles and hang the pictures to dry.

Other Stories for this Craft

Use this same method and different colours of paint to create effects.  Generally, the student will draw the main picture and then use the paints to create the effect.  Alternatively, you could provide a printed colour sheet and then have the children create the paint effect over it.

  • Wind using white and a little black on gray paper.
    • Sermon at Pentecost  (Draw the people or steps of the colonnade and then create the wind with paint)
  • Mood or Feeling using multi-colours on coloured or black paper.  This is more abstract but can be very effective.
  • Plants using green and a few dots for flowers.
  • Light using white or light yellow on black paper.  Fill the page with the colours of light.  Add some glow in the dark paint for fun.
  • Fire and Brimstone using red, yellow, orange or just use yellow and white with a little red to highlight the brimstone.  Draw the city first and then create fire and brimstone with paint.
  • Hair using brown or black.  Draw Samson’s face first and then create the hair with paint.

How to Use on Any Story

Create a frame around any verse or picture by taping a paper over the centre of the paper (where the words are written) and only leave a blank space around the edges of the paper exposed.  Once the painting is complete then remove the paper.

Marble Painting Pin

 

I Think I’ll Just Hum…

2018 Tower of Babel Jengasm

Sometimes I prepare what I think is a great class and yet my students struggle to think past the surface level of the Bible story.  But sometimes, often when I least expect it, the kids run ahead of the teacher and want to go deeper.

Instead of just appreciating the facts or even the drama of the story they may ask questions about the characters or wonder why the characters did what they did.  They might want to discuss motivations and causes.  They may even ponder over what God was up to or discuss how he interacted with the characters.

Sometimes the Biblical truths become personal.  They dig deep into a child’s heart and convict them to act upon these truths.

And them sometimes, like this past Sunday, a child takes one more step and actually makes a plan.  It is at times like these that a teacher knows she has truly passed on the message.

Earlier in the week a young woman and I had prepared a lesson together on the Tower of Babel using the Lesson Template.  This time I stood back and she did the teaching.

  • First she had the letters of the words “proud” and “humble” written on cards.  She mixed the letters up and showed how to unscramble them to form the words.
  • Then she drew the face of a girl on a balloon and spoke as if she was the girl on the balloon.  She began “bragging” about everything from her good looks to her amazing skills at sports.  Every time she bragged she would blow some more hot air into the balloon.  The bragging continued until the balloon finally popped.
  • Using a simple flip chart she then told the story of how people began building a tower thinking only of how they would make a great name for themselves.  God was not pleased and mixed up their language so it must have sounded like they were just babbling to one another.  Not being able to communicate led to the people going their separate ways.
  • After this, two towers were built in class…
    • One was built out of large Lego blocks.  As each block was stacked the young teacher talked about how great God was.
    • The other tower was built from wooden Jenga blocks.  As we had planned, I built this tower making a point to blatently brag about my own abilities at each level.  As expected, my tower crashed and the first one held.
  • As we gathered back together we looked once more at the word “humble” and talked about what it meant.

One boy had taken in the facts and had been convicted that he should be humble.  But now, he was ready to put it into ACTION.   At his own instigation he devised a way to go deeper!

And here is a seven year old boy’s simple plan of action…

“Every time I start being too proud I think I’m going to just hum.”  In answer to the perplexed expressions on our faces he went on to explain, “I’m going to hum because that will help me stop being proud and remember to be HUM-ble.”

Yes, that little boy really understood the message.  He has a plan of action and now, so do I.  Next time I start thinking that teachers have all the answers…I’m going to start humming.

2018 Tower of Babel Lesson2

 

 

 

Experiencing God’s Holiness

2016-02-07 09.43.51

What does “holiness” mean to a child who is five years old?  God’s holiness is an extremely important theme running throughout the entire Bible and I believe even very young children can experience how special God is.

I’ve recently had an opportunity to teach in a large room so I decided to dedicate one area of the room as a special place where, each week, we sit for a few minutes and talk about how special God really is.  I’ve loved how this has brought a new depth to what we are learning and I would encourage you to give this a try sometimes.

 

A Holy Space

I didn’t buy anything to set this space up and, with a little imagination, you will be able to find “special” items of your own.  I drug in a coffee table from another room.  I covered it with some shiny wrapping paper and placed chairs around it.  Draping some old sheets and fabric over a room divider formed a small “wall” to make the space cozy.  Someone had left some “gold” Christmas tree garland in our supply room so I thought that would add to the feeling of grandeur.  A paper crown on a purple pillow emphasized the Kingship of God since we were studying the Divided Kingdom and the End of the Kingdom.

Even though these were not expensive items I can tell you that the children were in awe of the space.  On a side note it occurred to me that the Temple that Solomon built was dripping with gold and precious cloths in a way that left everyone awestruck.  But, in reality, gold and expensive items are actually worthless in comparison to God’s true worth.  Perhaps we adults aren’t all that sophisticated after all.

 

A Holy Attitude

When we sit at the table in this space it is a “set apart” time from the rest of the class period.  At other times we might play games and sing action songs and act out the story. There are many ways to glorify God. But, when we go and sit in our holy space we speak more quietly and we all reflect in awe and reverence about God.

 

A Holy Conversation

This is a 5 minute devotional time that is not limited to the lesson we are studying for the day.  Everything we talk about in this space relates to how special God is.  He is approachable but He is different than us.  In a child’s eyes this space is very special and it is a great launching place to talk about how God is even more special than our idea of precious things.

Each week I try to cover a different aspect of God’s holiness and how this has been shown in Scripture.  This is not the time to tell another Bible story or try to explain complex topics.  I want the children’s minds to be fully on God so I talk about concepts they can easily grasp.  I try my best to use illustrations to depict these things. For instance, the illustrations below are from www.freebibleimages.org

  • The Tabernacle
  • The Temple
  • The Word of God-  We open our Bibles and read a verse about God (or they follow along as I read).

Moses_Tabernacle_JPEG_1024  Solomon_Temple_JPEG_1024

 

New Depths

This experience has brought a new depth to the lessons I’ve been teaching.  The children have really picked up on the fact that sin is not just “bad behaviour” it is a real offence against who God is.  I’ve been amazed at how often the children have referenced God’s holiness as we study other lessons.

  • When we talked about idols being erected and even brought into the temple the children were disgusted.  They understood why King Josiah destoyed idols and places of false worship.  “Don’t those people know how much more special God is than statues?”
  • When we learned about the prophet Jeremiah visiting the potter’s house and hearing God warn about turning away from him the children understood why God was angry.  The kings were not treating him in the way he deserved.
  • We learned about how Jeremiah dictated God’s Message onto a scroll.  As King Jehoiakim listened to the words he cut off pieces of the scroll and threw them into a fire piece by piece. When I mentioned that King Jehoiakim was making a huge mistake one of the children corrected me, “No! the king knew God’s words were special.  He did not make a mistake, he did it on purpose!”
  • Before being led off into Exile the Temple of God was destroyed.  The students in my class were so sad to hear this.  They understood how serious this was to God.

 

 

How About Making Your Own Temporary Tabernacle?

I was blessed with a room large enough to create a separate space but you could create a special space almost anywhere.  Put your “special” items in a basket and lay out the items when it comes time to have your devotional.  After all, this is exactly what was done with The Tabernacle.  It was set up and taken down wherever the Israelites camped.