Good Conversations

One of my favourite parts of teaching is conversation.  There are times in a normal classroom setting for children to quietly listen while I share a story, read from the Bible or give instruction.  But, as far as I am concerned, I have not done my job as a teacher if I have not interspersed that lecture style with plenty of opportunities for good conversation between the students and myself.  I don’t want to always be the one talking.  I also want to listen.  I don’t accomplish this every time but it is my goal to engage with each child that I teach.

This is one of the reasons I love simple activities  like the ones below.

In these activities the teacher and students draw simple pictures and participate together in discovering the important words and ideas in a Bible story.

Draw a simple picture or outline and then fill it in with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.
Draw a simple picture or outline and then fill it in with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.
Draw a grid on paper and mark categories. Fill each category with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.
Draw a grid on paper and mark categories. Fill each category with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.
Choose a word or name from the story and outline the letters of that word. Have children fill the letters in with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.
Choose a word or name from the story and outline the letters of that word. Have children fill the letters in with thoughts and ideas you have learned in the Bible story.

Click here for more detailed instructions or watch the video below:

The Bible stories used in the examples in the instructional video above are Jacob, Esau and the Birthright and Deborah, the Judge and Samuel Becomes a Helper in the Tabernacle.

Hey, Let’s Look in the Bible!

A2015 Verse scramble (2) simple and effective Bible class activity that has been around for quite some time is one in which individual words from a Bible verse are spread out on a table and children unscramble them.  Click here for full instructions for Unscramble the Verse.

Usually I would have the class read the verse in the Bible before unscrambling the verse.  But awhile back I decided to try something different.  I divided the ten children in the class into 2 mixed-age groups and gave each group a duplicate set of scrambled words.  All I told them was that it was a Bible verse.  The children quickly set to work trying to figure out how to put the words in order.

I observed both teams using logical methods to figure out this puzzle.  They tried to work out sentence structure.  They placed question marks and full-stops (periods) at the ends of lines since those would end sentences.  Words that started with capitals were the first words in sentences.  But, it was a complicated verse and they were truly stumped for the answer.

I could tell both groups were getting a little frustrated.  It would have been easy for me to bail them out right away but I actually wanted to let them feel that frustration for a little while.  I wanted them to feel what it is like to work really hard but not be able to figure it out on their own before pointing them to God’s Word..

Of course, I wouldn’t have let that frustration go on so long that the children would give up or become discouraged.  So, just when I was about to “break” and give them a hint, one of the youngest children popped up with this suggestion, “Hey, let’s look in a Bible for the answer!”  Both groups scrambled to find a Bible and look up the passage.  The answer was there all along!

How often do we try to figure out life on our own without seeking answers from God’s word?  How many times do we feel that frustration but look to other sources for answers?  Let’s help guide children towards God and what he has to say so that it will become a natural part of their life.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.    Proverbs 2:6, NIV

Note: In case you are wondering, the memory verse scrambled in the photo above is Hebrews 13:6.  How about looking in your Bible for the answer?  The memory verse was used with the Bible story Gideon and the Midianites

Draw and Tell: Children Make their own Visual Aid

All you need for this visual aid is a bible, 1 piece of paper and a pen or pencil for each child.

  1. Before teaching your class you will read over the Bible story and divide it into main points.  I suggest you draw these yourself as practice so you know it will work!
  2. Provide each student with a piece of paper and something to write with.
  3. Tell them how many parts of the story there are going to be (your main points) and ask them to draw that many squares on the paper.
  4. As you tell the story (or read it straight from the Bible) the children will fill in the squares with drawings.  Guide them in this as much as is needed.
  5. Older children could read the story from the Bible themselves and draw.
  6. When everyone is finished they can tell the story to the class using their own pictures.

I think you’ll like this teaching idea because it can be adapted to any story.

For full instructions, templates, examples and other ways to adapt this idea click here.

As an example I used the Bible Story: Death of Samson from Judges 16:21-31.