Creation is a fun lesson, and can be taught many ways. I usually incorporate the song, "Day one, day one ..." It's catchy and helps us all remember what happened on which day. I also use my visual aids pictured above. I snagged them here, if you want a copy of your own. There are several others on Pinterest, as well, if you don't love these.
Then, to keep the students' attention, and get them involved, I hand out this sheet. It's a handout that has miniature versions of the numbers, but blank. This lets the kids color in what happened on each day, a task that also helps drive home the lesson. I love when I can get the kids drawing the story along with me. And they seem to like it, too.
I'd love to hear from you. What all do you do when you teach this amazing lesson?
Bible Overview for Children
A couple different curriculums I have used in the past few years have started by introducing the children to the Bible. By that, I mean having one (or two in the one I'm using now's case) lesson on how we got it, what it consists of, etc. For older kids, that probably wouldn't be an issue, but I teach lower elementary, mainly second grade. Those kids need something to keep their attention. I had seen another site where they had done up a wooden book like you see above (I got mine at Michaels using my 40% off coupon) to look like a Bible.
When you open it up, you can have anything you want inside. For this lesson, I did a search through a concordance for other words associated with "Word of God" or "Word of the Lord" or even "Scripture." I then came up with the different images to go with each scripture. I cut mine out and laminated them. Then, we talked about each one and what it meant as I pulled them out. Each of the students had a sheet to follow along and we looked up most of the scriptures together. This helped them realize that the Bible isn't just a book of stories. It is important because it's alive and powerful and the only thing that can help us be free and get to Heaven. If you would like copies of these, click here to download and use in your own classroom.
Another week, we talked about information like how long it took for the Bible to be written, how many people helped write it down, and what all it consisted of. I have a little worksheet here, if you're interested in a copy of that, too. The answers are included on the back pages. I like to copy mine front and back and then let the students fold them in half so they look a little like a Bible. Sometimes, it's just helpful to have something to write it down on.
To start that lesson, I have each student a piece of poster board and told them to cut it into a puzzle piece. When we all got together, I asked if they could make one puzzle out of all their pieces. No matter how hard they tried to wiggle and turn them, they wouldn't all fit right because they had been made by different people who had different ideas of what a puzzle piece should look like. I then asked if they knew how many people had written the Bible. After letting them guess, I finally said around 40. Then, I said, "If 40 different people worked on this, does it fit together like the puzzle we made or does it fit together perfectly?" That led to a great discussion on how, even though the Bible is made up of various stories and books, it is really one story that goes from Genesis to Revelation, and it's perfect and complete because God is the one who gave all the authors the words. It was a really great illustration my curriculum had suggested, and I just had to share in hopes that this will help some of you as you teach, too.
Last week we had Vacation Bible School and I got volunteered to help with the 2-year-olds. Let me tell you right now, for the last ... decade or so, I've mostly taught second graders. Know what kind of difference there is between 2-year-olds and second graders? A lot. But I had taught that age in preschool a few years and am about to have a 2-year-old in my own house, so I figured I could handle it. The theme for our Bible School this year was Bible Master Builders. We covered the stories of Noah, Solomon, and Nehemiah. Noah was easy. Seriously. Those kids already knew the story.
The other two, a little harder. As we tried to figure out something to do with them besides just a simple craft and coloring sheet, it dawned on me. Both stories are about building structures. Solomon built the temple and Nehemiah built the wall. Let's build. We found various kinds of blocks, play hammers, and let the kids go. A full ten minutes were enjoyed by all before the hammers became a little more dangerous than useful. But still ... why not act out the Bible stories, even in the younger classes? What kinds of ways have you acted out Bible stories with your students? I'd love to hear!
Teaching with the Lights Off
I am all about teaching using various styles of visual aides. Some weeks we act it out. Sometimes, I use magnets of pictures having to do with the story. Some weeks I have props. Sometimes, I use Abeka books. Occasionally, we draw the story together. This week, my last week of the quarter, I'm teaching Elijah and the Prophets of Baal. And I'm going to do it in the dark. Why? Because I am doing a black light lesson. Ever heard of it? When I first found out about black light lessons, I was immediately enamored. Maybe it's because I'm a girl born in the 80s who grew up the 90s when black lights were fun to play with. Maybe it's because it catches the children's attention better than a lot of other visuals. Maybe I just have a flare for the dramatic. Who knows? But if you've never tried it, I highly recommend it as a way to mix things up every now and then.
Here's how I'm doing it. I skimmed pinterest until I found several different coloring sheets telling the story of Elijah and how he defeated the 300 prophets of Baal. I printed them all out and colored with highlighters. I mostly just use the highlighters on the pieces that are most important ... like the FIRE that God sends down. Oh yeah. I then cut out the parts of the pictures I wanted and glued them onto black cardstock. On Sunday, I will have one of my kids hold my blacklight for me (it's a flashlight) to shine on the pictures as I hold them and tell the story. We turn the lights out with the door open just a crack (there's no windows in our room so it gets really dark otherwise). Each picture, with the fluorescent light shining on it, practically jumps off the page and shines in neon colors. The kids love it. They groan when we have to turn the lights back on to move to the craft and review part of class. I've done it with several other stories (Joseph --seriously, think about how many colors go in that coat! -- and Ruth, and I think Elijah in the whirlwind) and it's always a hit.
So, go buy some highlighters and get coloring. Your kids will appreciate it. I'd love to hear about your experiences with teaching this way.
Kings of Israel Review
We've started going through the first kings of Israel in my Bible class. As I was preparing my lessons several weeks ago, I remembered seeing an idea from a teachers' workshop I attended years ago. I even found a picture of the idea, although I have no notes to be found as to who came up with the original or when. But see what a neat review game this is?
I decided I wanted to make my own version, so I started creating my own jewels, cut out crowns from yellow posterboard, and simplified a bit. Not too bad, considering I couldn't read all of her original facts on her crowns from the sad quality of the pictures I took with my little digital camera all those years ago.
I think they turned out okay, don't you? The main point is that I can have them in my Bible class and let the students decide which crown each jewel belongs on.
Here's the good news. I'm sharing this hard work with you. That's right. I am going to include the word document I used to make my jewels here so you can just print them on whatever colors you want and cut out your own crowns to make this game for your own classroom use. Yay! I also included a page of blank jewels in case you wanted to include any facts I didn't have on here. If you aren't sure which king each jewel belongs to, you can just look up the scripture listed under the fact. ;-)
Click here to download the jewels.
And here's a picture of what my crowns look like without the jewels on them. I just used sticky tack to put it all together.
I hope this helps you in some way. I'd love to hear your stories of how you use this!
Bible Peg Priest
Remember in November when I posted my cute Bible Peg People? No? Well, you can re-read that post here. Anyway, when I first decided what all I was going to paint for those, I thought I had come up with enough different figures that I could tell just about any Bible story. Then, I started teaching Bible class again this month. And I was teaching the story of Hannah. Name the people involved: Hannah, Samuel, Elkanah, Peninnah, and ... Eli the Priest. Had I painted a priest? Um, that would be a big fat no. So, I got out my paints and some blank peg dolls and set to work. High priests had to wear very particular outfits, so I wanted to get as close as I could. It's hard to see in the picture, but there really are 12 stones on the chest plate. I think I did okay. What do you think? Just ignore the messy paint splotches on my fingers. I was so excited when I got finished that I sent my sister a picture right away before cleaning up. My Bible class kids were impressed, too, and they loved having the little figures to retell the story with when we had a few extra minutes at the end of class. Mission accomplished.
Samson Puppet Craft
I absolutely love the ideas I find on handsonbibleteacher.com. She always has fun games and songs and crafts. When I was looking for an extra craft for my second graders to do a few weeks ago when we were talking about Samson, I discovered her cute little puppet. Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn't find a template to make it exactly the same anywhere. So, I got a little creative, and made my own template. I thought there might be others out there looking for the same resource, so I'm sharing it here for anyone who wants to use it. It's fairly plain, but the kids really enjoyed it and they turned out cute. I made it where you can get two puppets from one sheet of cardstock. We just attached the head and arms to craft sticks, gave him some hair, and wrote "Samson got his strength from God." Hope this helps someone else teaching the story of Samson!
Today, you get the pleasure of hearing from my amazing sister about a neat idea she had. It's not exactly for Bible Class, but it would work there, too. Check it out:
I'm a mom of a 4 year old and a 1 year old. And they're amazing. I mean, they play together so well. They're constantly helping each other. They always say please, thank you, yes ma'am, no sir, excuse me, etc. They eat all of their vegetables and regularly tell people they really don't need that candy because they've had a lot of sugar this week. They prefer reading books to watching tv. And they always go to bed when we tell them to. Always.
Seriously, in my daughter's head, I'm pretty sure that's all true. I'm pretty sure if you asked her, she would say, "yep, that sounds very accurate." In real life, if she knows the word "accurate," it's because Peppa Pig said it, and she might use it without even knowing what it means.
So, in the real world...well, let's just say there's a lot of "behavior correcting" happening in our house. And Mama gets sick of having to say things like "stop that," "you cannot do that," and "did you really think that was a good idea???" As a former teacher (and a person who does a lot of late night internet reading when babies won't sleep), I know that positive reinforcement is POWERFUL. And I've seen it work with my daughter with charts for things like pottying before worship services so we don't have to get up three times during the sermon, and, the most dreaded of all behaviors to break, thumb sucking.
So what behaviors do you chart to make your children well-rounded and perfect? We went straight to Galatians 5. Part of our reason for this choice is that our daughter LOVES the song about the Fruit of the Spirit. And we've used it against her in the past. There have been times on long road trips where we were dealing with her own unique take on "are we there yet?" and we've talked about what it means to be patient and how patience is one of the fruits of the spirit...and then we sing the song with every fruit we can think of until she's in a happier mood. So far, it's worked really well.
Now we're taking this idea and applying it to more than just car rides. We made a magnetic chart out of a cheap cookie sheet. It's painted to look like a tree with symbols to represent each of the fruits of the spirit. Then we purchased some fruit magnets from Amazon (where else?). Whenever we catch her "doing" one of the fruits of the spirit, she gets to put a fruit on the tree. She loves putting the magnets on, and we always make a huge deal about what a good behavior that was! Bonus, when she gets all fifteen magnets on the tree, she gets to make a fruity treat (banana pudding, blueberry pancakes, pineapple-upside down cake, apple pie, etc.). She loves to help me cook, and who doesn't love to eat a fruity treat?
A couple weeks ago, she earned her first treat and chose apple pie. I have special knives she can use, so she got to cut the apples, measure the ingredients for the crust and roll it out, sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar on the apples, and crimp the crust with a fork. And then, of course, we all made a big deal about how delicious the pie was and how special it was that we got to eat it as a family and how wonderful that she had earned it and made it for us. She's already planning her next treat!
So what does she earn magnets for? When she offered to come pray with me when I had the flu, she earned one for faithfulness. When she didn't pitch a fit in the grocery store when she was told she couldn't get a donut, she earned one for self-control. When she didn't whine on the long car ride to Tennessee, she earned one for patience. When she helps her brother put on his super-hero cape and includes him in her games, she earns one for kindness. Sometimes they're a little bit of a stretch, but whenever we see her behaving in a way we want her to behave, we find a way to tie it back to the fruit of the spirit! And, although we never take magnets away, we do make a point of explaining how she's not showing the fruit of the spirit when she's behaving in ways we want her to change.
Better behavior, cute charts, and delicious treats? So far, our whole family is winning with this activity!
Ellen Anderson is a wife and mommy of two. When she's not rooting for Alabama football, she can be found planning adventures with her family, busy with church activities, or snuggling her babies.
Bible Peg People
My sister gave me a request for her birthday this year. I had made some princess peg people for my niece's birthday several years ago. And I plan to make some community worker peg people for my nephew for Christmas. She wondered if I could do Bible peg people. She and her husband always do a little Bible story with the kids before bed each evening and she thought these might be a fun addition. I ended up doing four sets because I know a couple other people who will want some for upcoming birthdays, and, of course, I wanted one for myself, too.
If you look on pinterest and etsy, you will find mostly nativity sets. And I am definitely not paying $95 for some. Obviously, I chose the wrong job! Ha! I wanted something more generic that we could use for multiple Bible stories. Here's what I came up with.
I did two babies. They're pretty generic.
I did three women, one older, one younger, and one more queenly that I thought would work for stories like Esther or Rahab. I also did a child/teenage girl.
In addition, I came up with four men. One fisherman, one shepherd, one plain guy, and a king. Then, I did a child/teenage boy.
What do you think? Would you add any? Could you use something like this to teach your family and/or Bible class kids?
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
We've heard the story dozens of time. Jesus gets mad and turns over tables, weaves a whip and drive out the moneychangers, and basically shows the people that they're not supposed to be using the temple that way. But have you taught it recently?
I try to find different ways to teach the stories each week. If I use blacklight pictures one week, I'll use the white board the next, or we'll act something out the next, or I'll have visuals aides they can hold.
t's hard to create a whole temple in a little classroom already crammed with tables and chairs and bookshelves and posters and other things. Especially for only one week. So, instead, I wanted to focus on what Jesus was trying to teach and how he did it. I gave my co-teacher a tray and filled it with things you might have use of during Bible class: Bibles, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, pencils, etc. Then, as I was showing the kids pictures of what the temple looked like and explaining where all this was taking place, my co-teacher started going around to the kids and asking if any of them needed anything. Would they like to buy a pencil? How about a glue stick? Did they bring their Bible? She could make them a good deal.
The kids looked from me, as I tried to talk over all this, to her as she went about selling her wares, wondering what was going on. Finally, I threw down my pictures of the temple, stormed over to her, grabbed the tray, and slung it across the room. "This is not the time or place for this!"
Think it made an impact on the kids? You bet it did! That, of course, led right into the story and how Jesus got mad and did basically the same thing. We talked about how it was okay to get mad sometimes, and why this was one of them. Then, we talked about where the temple is today (our hearts), and how we can keep them clean from things like what was going on back then. I ended by focusing on worship and how we can make sure we act correctly in worship and focus on what we need to focus on instead of on corrupt things.
I hope this helps you as you try to teach this lesson in the future!
I am one of those Bible class teachers who can't stand to just present the lesson and then hand out a worksheet. I want whatever I do in class to stick with the kids, reinforce the lesson, and really make them understand that this isn't just a story ... it's something that really happened. I want to include some of the ideas I've come up with here so that I can hopefully help some of you who want the same thing. I'd love to hear your ideas, too!
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