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.

Mothers of the Bible Quiz

Mary and Jesus at Jesus Birth Mother’s Day is coming up (May 10th, 2015 here in New Zealand) and I usually help the children write cards or make gifts for their mothers.

These days, the quickest way to find good ideas for Mother’s Day gifts is to go to Pinterest online and simply type in something like “Mother’s Day gifts from kids” into the search bar along the top of the page.  Once you click the search button you will find more ideas than you know what to do with!

But, even while you are preparing for others, I thought I would put together a little quiz for you, the teacher.  You try to challenge the children so here is a little challenge for you.  After all, children are not the only ones who like to have fun.  I’ve never tried creating an online quiz before so let’s see if it works 🙂

Answers Below (Don’t Peek!)

Once you have taken the quiz you might like to use the links below to find out more about these women of the Bible.  Actually, you can hover over each question and find the quick answer.  Have fun!

  1. My son was raised by another woman.
  2. Both a mother and a career woman.
  3. A mother who laughed.
  4. A mother who received baby gifts from smart men.
  5. Manoah’s wife’s son.
  6. Her husband was a priest and son a prophet.
  7. Match-making mother-in-law.
  8. Mother accused of being drunk while praying.
  9. A prophet raised her son from the dead.
  10. Tricky mother with a tricky son.
The photo above is from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/ 

25 Ideas for Teaching Children about the Resurrection of Jesus

Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday.  Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV

  1. Learn about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus so you will understand the story and feel comfortable sharing it with a child.
  2. Gather your family together for quality time  and learn about the Burial and Resurrection in this Family Bible Time lesson
  3. Download and view a slideshow and pictures from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-alive/
  4. Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection.  Search for songs on YouTube:
    • Low in the Grave He Lay
    • Christ the Lord is Risen Today
    • Rabboni!
    • He Lives
    • Lord I Lift Your Name on High
  5. Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
  6. Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb.  Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
  7. Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
  8. Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones.  Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them.  As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words.  Here are some words you might use:
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Resurrection
    • Cross
    • Tomb
    • Forgiveness
  9. After telling about the Resurrection guide a child in praying thanks to God.
  10. Read a book about Easter.
  11. 9-torn-cross-instructUse these instructions for The Story of the Cross to learn a simple way to tell the story using one sheet of paper.
  12. Responsive Drawing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Drawing Response
  13. Responsive Writing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Writing Response
  14. Ask younger children to draw the story of the resurrection.
  15. Make use of plastic eggs on sale at Easter time.  Use these instructions for “Resurrection Eggs” to re-tell the story of the resurrection.
  16. Burial and Resurrection CraftMake a tomb craft from a paper plate.  Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together.  To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry.  The stone is just crumpled brown paper.  In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside.  During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies.  The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection.  When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing.  I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing.  The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt.  At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
  17. 2015 Verse scramble (2)Write the individual words of Romans 6:9  on a whiteboard or chalkboard.  Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time.  Soon, the children will have it memorised.
  18. Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up.  Children can unscramble the verse  and practice repeating it to memorise it.
  19. Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
  20. Cook bread rolls that share the story of the resurrection: Cooking craft: Short youtube video on how to make Resurrection Rolls to tell the story- from CullensABCs at http://youtu.be/louAYkJPETQ
  21. Make a mobile using these instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/jesus-rose-from-the-dead-moblie.php
  22. Make a miniature garden using instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/garden-with-tomb.php
  23. Make a salt dough tomb using instructions from one of these online resources:
  24.  Try out some of the ideas on the Pinterest Board: Life of Christ (late ministry)
  25. More puzzles and worksheets to print:

Curiosity that Leads to God

Photo by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/When was the last time you were curious about something?  I mean really curious; the kind of curiosity that compelled you to get off the couch, or out of the office to go and earnestly seek out the answer; the burning desire to “know” that enticed you to look around the corner or walk down the untravelled path.

How energising is that quest!  How thrilling and satisfying is the answer once found!

I never want to deny a child the chance to feel that energy, thrill and satisfaction.  In my rush to GIVE information I must first allow children an opportunity to actually WANT it.

 

An Expectation of Curiosity

God draws children to himself through their curiosity.  I love how he prepares the Israelites leaving Egypt for future questions their children will ask.

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Deuteronomy 6:20-21, NIV

Notice he says “when” your son asks you and not “if” your son asks you.  God knows children will be curious.

 

Curiosity Comes from God and Leads to God

God does not want us to feel the satisfaction before we have answers because he is the answer.  Only God can satisfy the curiosity and longing children (and adults) feel.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1, NIV

 

Keep Them Guessing

PIC_0061The Bible is filled with interesting and attention-grabbing stories that children can easily relate to.  Before sharing a Bible story I will often share one small part of it as a “teaser”.  Here’s a fun and effective activity to try next time you teach children.  Keep Them Guessing is a simple activity where children are provided with items as clues to guess what comes next.

The photo at the top of the page is by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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