First and second graders are really developing their personalities and becoming more intellectual. Here are some tips for teaching your primaries. More hints and tips can be found on our website.
A Blooming Story
Here's a unique way for a story to unfold. Cut identical size circles, one for each element of your story plus one more. Use one circle as the center of your story plus one more. Use one circle as the center of a flower, glue an appropriate picture or print the title of the story on it. Use the other circles as flower petals. Attach them with staples. Print or put a picture of each story element on the petals so they are in order clockwise. Then beginning with the last element of the story and working toward the first element of the story, fold all the petals behind the center of the flower. Now you are ready to tell the story. Introduce the story with the center of the flower, and fold each petal forward as each story element is told. When the story is finished, the flower will be in full bloom.
Help your students remember lessons better. Design the lesson around a color featured in the lesson. (For example, blue can be used for a lesson about the children of Israel crossing the sea or Jesus walking on the water.) On Blue Day (or whatever color you choose) everyone must wear something blue. (Have some blue ribbons or bandanas available for children who don't wear blue.) Snacks must be blue. Everything you do must have something to do with blue. What do you do as a follow-up to a color day? Why, have black and white day, of course!
Party TableclothHelp your students design their own party tablecloth. Use a flat, white, twin-size bed sheet. Place newspapers under it to prevent the colors from bleeding onto the floor. Use fabric dye markers for drawing or writing. Use acrylic paint in a shallow pan for hand prints. Personalize the tablecloth with everyone's signature. You can use the tablecloth again and again throughout the year for special events or to add interest to your room. If you wish, choose a central theme or make the tablecloth for a special occasion.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a lesson visual!
When setting up visual displays, don't limit yourself to bulletin boards. Other possible display areas include the classroom door, the sides of a desk, the sides of a file cabinet, or the back of a piano. You can use large cardboard boxes for movable stand-up room displays. If you feel adventurous, use the ceiling and have everyone lay on the floor for the lesson!
Primary humorOrdinary things out of place are funny to primaries. Mix things up. Do things backwards. For primaries, silly is fun. When you plant a seed, don't use a flower pot (that's too ordinary); plant your seeds in an old tennis shoe. That's something your students will talk about.
This week, shape the future
Most people only talk about making the world a better place, but you are doing something about it! In a series of experiments on the moral development of children, a significant discovery was made: children who are enrolled in Sunday school showed significantly better conduct in the areas of honesty, cooperation, persistence, and inhibition of undesirable behavior! How important is this week's lesson? You are making this world a better place. You are shaping the future!
Keep it concrete
Primaries are making tremendous intellectual progress. By this age they can manipulate data mentally, come to some logical conclusions, and define, compare, and contrast things. But they still do not understand symbolism. After touring the defense plant where her daddy worked, one first grader resisted when told it was time to go home. She cried, "But I haven't seen where Daddy makes the money yet!" When teaching primaries, say what you mean and mean what you say. Always teach them in literal concrete terms.