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.)
SAFE WITH GOD:
God protected his people as they obeyed him.
Then the people strayed from God and even started worshipping false Gods.
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.
Finally, after so many bad things were happening, the people realised their mistake and cried out to God for help.
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
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.