Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Everyone loves a story. Children move to the edge of their chairs when they hear, “Let’s have a story.” Use this method of teaching to reach young hearts with Christ’s love. It’s your responsibility to become the best storyteller you can.
Note that we said storyteller. Reading stories to children is an art in itself to be discussed later. First we’ll concentrate on the techniques of telling the story.
A GOOD BEGINNING
Prepare your introduction carefully. Begin your story smoothly. If you fumble through your first few statements, you’ll become frustrated and may lose your train of thought. If you stammer to a stop and have to start over you’ll want to leave the room and never return! Never memorize a story word for word. But if it makes you feel more comfortable, memorize the first few lines for a snappy opening.
An introduction with interest-catching appeal will capture your listeners from the first word. “Mac had been Peter’s dog for as long as Peter could remember, and they were real pals.” Doesn’t that sound like a lot more fun than ‘Peter had a dog named Mac?” Use your imagination and knowledge of the group to make your introduction sparkle.
PROCEED TO CLIMAX, CONCLUSION
Progress naturally from the introduction, building to the climax or most exciting or interesting portion of the story. Then finish the story with a brief conclusion. Don’t attempt to delay the conclusion, for once the climax of the story has been reached, listeners’ interest drops. A story is a unique teaching tool. Most contain a moral or teach a lesson. Let the story do it! Don’t attempt to tack on your own “sermonette” on the end of the story. Weave the moral into the plot in such a way that your hearers can’t miss it as you tell your story. When you’ve finished telling the story, stop!
Being yourself is important. Thorough preparation and practice will lead to naturalness in storytelling. You’ll probably feel most comfortable if you sit in a circle or semi-circle with your listeners. It suggests intimacy with the group and conversation at their level. If you must stand, due to a large group, stand naturally and relaxed. Never hide behind a podium.
A LITTLE ACTION, PLEASE
Use gestures such as the shrug of the shoulders, a raised hand, a finger over the lips to indicate quietness. But don’t force or overuse them. And by all means, use facial expression. Raise your eyebrow, smile, frown, show enthusiasm. Try to portray the feelings of the story characters.
Some storytellers show pictures while telling their stories. This is fine, but don’t show 27 pictures during a four-minute story! Have several attractive illustrations to use at the appropriate times. Display them so all can see, then put them aside.
Place your hands quietly in your lap when you aren’t holding a picture or gesturing. Avoid the “gymnastics” of too many hand motions. They only draw attention to yourself. Beware of distracting habits, such as playing with a string of beads or a button on a jacket. Remember, you are the means to help your listeners SEE the story in their minds. The less they see of you, the better! Thorough practice, perhaps in front of a mirror, will help you know where and when to use gestures effectively. If well used, they can add life to the story. If overused, they can distract and spoil the story.
LISTEN TO YOURSELF
Your voice tells the story. Use your natural voice. By all means avoid a whiny, monotonous, or honeyed tone. Practice to develop variety in inflection. Let your voice reflect wonder, strength, sadness, etc. Imitate noises and sounds indicated in the story, such as “Buzzzz — was the sound Kate kept hearing outside her bedroom window.” Practice these sounds beforehand so they resemble the natural sounds. Pause to impress or to increase suspense. Work on projecting your voice. Record your own voice — it may surprise you!
Use dialog or direct discourse frequently to bring your characters to life. Make them speak to your hearers , rather than always telling your hearers what the characters say. “Hi, Mom!” is much more realistic than, “Jerry greeted his mother when she entered the room.” Change the voice to indicate the different characters. Use action verbs and colorful adjectives to tell your story. Never use words your listeners may not know.
If you suddenly discover that you’ve left out an important point, don’t try to correct it by saying … “Oh, I forgot to say…” Continue on, and if it is an integral part, weave it in. But don’t interrupt your story to apologize for your goof!
When you’re telling a Bible story, hold your Bible so all can see it. This especially impresses little children with the fact that your story is from God’s Word.
“Let’s have a story.” Do your students’ eyes brighten at the sound of those words? Use these helps to make story-time an exciting high point in your class.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
• Decorate plain glass ball ornaments with glitter glue. Let each child use a paintbrush to create a personalized and unique family treasure. Make sure each person initials and dates the ornaments he or she creates.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Visit Shop VBS for a PDF of this article to share with your coworkers (7 Steps to a Successful VBS).
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Here are five guidelines for maintaining good discipline:
1. Establish the necessary standards and limits at your very first meeting, and make sure everyone knows what they are. Keep the list short!
2. Consistently enforce the standards. If they’re not worth enforcing always, for everyone, they’re probably not worth having.
3. Be reasonable in your expectations. “No talking” is not reasonable. “No talking during prayer time or when someone else is speaking” is a reasonable rule and should be enforced. Simply stop talking until the offender realizes he’s the cause of the problem. Your silence should be sufficient. The second time it might be necessary to say, “Ricky, you’re interrupting our story. Please stop talking so I can continue.” If it happens a third time you might say, “Ricky, the next time I have to stop this story because you’re talking, you’ll have to leave the group.” Then be sure he’s removed (quietly) if it does happen again.
4. State your expectations before transitioning to a new activity. Let children who attend regularly repeat the expectations for visitors to hear and as a reminder to everyone else. Be sure to restate the expectations each week and before each activity. Don’t expect children to automatically remember to raise their hands before talking if you haven’t reminded them.
5. Be logical about punishment that must be administered. Don’t make a federal case out of a minor infraction, or you’ll have to send a major offender to jail! If a child smears glue in another child’s hair during craft time, separate the offender from the glue for the evening, or have him work alone at a table. Children do bizarre things at times on impulse — usually to get attention!
Once you’ve established your standards and enforced them firmly and fairly for awhile, the best rule to follow is to assume that each child can be trusted to handle his own behavior until he proves otherwise. Let the youngsters know that this is what you expect now. Then, when a child misbehaves, you can let him know that you’re disappointed that he isn’t ready to be in charge of himself in the group, and that you’ll have to help decide where he should sit, and whether or not he can work with others. Make it clear it’s the behavior you’re disappointed with — not the child. When the child and you determine that he’s ready to try to be in charge of his own behavior again, emphasize how much you want him to be successful this time.
Children who have serious problems at home will test you to see if you really care about them. Some will try your patience to the limit before they’re convinced you really like them. You can usually spot such children during your first meetings. They’ll be doing everything possible to get you to notice them.
Love and discipline are inseparable. Love wants what’s best for the loved one. The product of no discipline during a child’s early years is irresponsibility, which leads to lack of self-respect, and can mean unhappy, unproductive adult life.
Find some strength or asset in each child that you can commend him for. If you’re sincere they’ll know it — and your efforts will be rewarded. Make a point of emphasizing the positive qualities of every child, no matter how hard you have to look to find them sometimes! Reward the positive behavior and try to overlook the negative as much as possible.
One primary goal of your time with the children is to provide opportunities for leadership training, but you can’t develop leaders out of children who don’t believe they have worth, or who have a poor self-image.
While these basics will not solve every discipline problem you may encounter in your class, they will go a long way to making sure your classroom is a happy, fun environment where the children can effectively learn about their heavenly Father.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Everyone knows that twos and threes learn through sensory experiences. But do you know which senses provide the best learning experience? Studies have shown that children learn 1% by taste, 1.5% by touch, 3.5% by smell, 11% by sound, and 83% by sight! The more senses a child uses, the more learning that takes place. Your little ones will remember best when all their senses—sight, touch, hearing, smelling, and even taste—are involved in learning. In your Bible lessons, you will want to include activities that use a variety of senses. Check out Honeybees for Jesus Bible curriculum for lots of sensory experiences and activities for teaching the Bible to two- and three-year-olds. For classroom decorations and bulletin board sets, visit our Classroom Decoration Store.
Hard at Play
Are your toddlers playing or learning?
If they're playing, they're also learning! According to psychologist Gary R. Collins, playing performs four important activities:
(1) it provides a release of energy,
(2) it stimulates thinking,
(3) it develops motor skills, and
(4) it encourages the child to act out role models for future reference.
And you thought they were just having fun!
Clean Finger Paint
Mix 1 cup powdered soap or detergent with 1/3 cup of liquid starch (or 1/4 cup of water). Beat with an egg beater until fluffy. Use this mixture as paint on brightly colored (or black) construction paper. The contrast between the paint and the paper will provide a delightful experience for your children. As the children work, talk about how God gave us eyes to see many colors. Explain that God gave us hands for touching many textures. Thank God for giving us all five senses and for creating a beautiful world for us to enjoy.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Twos and threes are laying a foundation for future spiritual development. One basic foundation block for every child is learning the difference between right and wrong. Teach them that some things are always right and some things are always wrong. But remember when correcting a child, two-year-olds (and younger threes) respond better to distraction than to reasoning. Be sure to get the child's attention before speaking. Adults often waste breath, saying things when no one is listening. For instance, shouting across the room to a child simply results in confusion rather than communication.
Monday, October 25, 2010
You can make as many copies of these coloring pages as you need for your children's program.
Visit our Classroom Decorations store for some fun harvest and Christmas decorations to liven up your classrooms. Here are just a few samples of the large variety of bulletin board sets and trims available. Many are on sale for 30%-50% off.
Click on either image below to download the harvest coloring pages. Visit our Sunday school downloads store for more coloring pages, crafts, and puzzle downloads—many as low as $1.99 each! May God bless you as you prepare to teach children (and their families) about the harvest season and how much God loves them.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
We've put together some hints and tips for teachers of third and fourth graders. However, many of these ideas can be used with children of all ages. Visit our web site, ChristianEdWarehouse.com, for more hints and tips for teaching the Bible to children.
Memory Verse Chain
Challenge your students to memorize as many Bible verses as they can in one month. As each child says his verse to you, add a link to a paper chain with the student's name and the memory verse reference written on it. This is something everyone can contribute to, even if it is just one link. At the end of the month, present the chain to the church and request that it be displayed in a prominent place with a sign indicating that the chain represents the Bible verses memorized by your class in one month.
Making a Difference
Children this age are beginning to realize that their activities and beliefs can make a difference in their lives and in their world. They are anxious to use their abilities in beneficial ways. They need projects that show them they can make significant contributions at home, school, church, and play. Involve them in church workdays and service projects. Let them collect canned food for distribution to local families or food pantries before Thanksgiving.
A Get-Well Tree
Make this clever tree to cheer up a sick classmate. On a poster board, have one of your students draw a large tree with no leaves and print:
To _____ (the name of a sick member), and
From _____ (the name of your class).
Cut large leaves out of various colored construction paper. Have each student write of draw a get-well message on a leaf and then glue it to the tree. Have one or two of the students go with you when you deliver the get-well tree to the class member who is ill.
The Key to Student Involvement
The key to involving elementary-age students in any activity is to capture their interest. They have an adequate supply of energy to work diligently for increased periods of time on projects that interest them. Capture their interest and challenge them. They will respond.
Good Graffiti Corner
Post a large sheet of newsprint or butcher paper in a prominent place. Inform your students that his is a "good graffiti" wall, a place where they can jot down their thoughts and feelings, messages to friends, etc. A "good graffiti" wall is a great ice breaker. It gets student involved and encourages interaction and communication. Keep the good graffiti wall up for several weeks. Some students will come early or stay late just to put something on the wall.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Then accept kids where they are. Accept them because of who they are, and respect them! There's no room for "favorites" if you want to reach all the kids in your group. Every preteen has something special about himself and something unique to offer. Find out what it is, and get busy helping that young person feel special and wanted.
All-Stars for Jesus Bible Clubs are expressional training programs designed to involve kids and let them learn by doing. So don't always do things for them. You as the teacher should always be available and ready to help, if needed, but you should sometimes be in the background. Instead of finding the answer for them, show them where they can find it for themselves.
When your students get restless, you as the leader always need to ask "why?" Usually it's because (1) the activity is too long for the attention span of the group or (2) the activity itself is boring. If this is the case, it's your responsibility as the teacher to correct the situation. Change the activity and always have a variety of activities up your sleeve in case one doesn't work out or is over faster than you anticipated. Again, be prepared. Your preteens will seldom grow bored or restless if there's a fast-moving, variety-filled program or lesson in which they are actively involved.
Youngsters, even preteens, are looking for role models. You have a unique opportunity and responsibility as a preteen Bible teacher to be the kind of positive, Christian example they need!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
An architect designs buildings, planning for physical stress, making them as functional as possible, and creating them to be pleasing to the eye. But once the design is finished, the architect's role stops. He has to let other people lay the brick and pound the nails. he has to let other people live and work in the buildings whether or not he likes how they live and what they do. An architect may work on a projects for months or even years, so his job requires patience and endurance. Yet the architect is simply a planner; others will actually create the buildings and use them. Yet often the architect is blamed if something goes wrong.
In may ways, a Sunday school teacher's job is similar to the role of an architect. It takes patience and endurance. A Sunday school teacher can only influence the students with whom he or she works. The students will be the ones who decide how they will respond to the "plan" the Sunday school teacher has presented to them.
As an "architect" in helping develop the lives of your students, your responsibilities as a leader in ministry can include the following:
- Lead weekly Bible lessons.
- Plan and help lead parties and special activities.
- Work closely with the students and parents in creating lessons and events that interest them and help to meet their spiritual needs.
- Get to know each child in your group by name.
- Visit your students in their homes. Invite them to your house or to the church for a special activity, fellowship event, or party.
- Develop a solid relationship with each child. Be sure all children are nurtured—not just a few.
- Have periodic prayer and sharing sessions with the pastoral staff of your church. Communicate victories and needs to them for prayer and assistance.
- Personally pray regularly for each student individually and for your ministry in general.
- Faithfully attend the services of your church (and bring your Bible), not only because you need the spiritual nourishment but also because you are an example to the children who are watching you.
- Live an exemplary, Christ-honoring life before your students.
- Recognize that everything is the Lord's work—your career, your family, trips and getaways, and even baking cookies for your Sunday school class.
- Honor the time of others. Be responsible and plan ahead before meetings.
- Have respect for those in authority over you.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Say a prayer of thanks to God for giving us hands to create, noses to smell, and mouths to taste.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Pray for God's guidance as you look for people to teach your precious students about Jesus. Ask your pastor and Christian Education Director for suggestions. There should be at least two to three people assigned to each preschool and primaries class and at least two for each of your older elementary classes or Bible club groups.
For a two-year-old class, there should be no more than three children per leader or helper. Ideally, there should be one adult for each learning center you provide plus a leader who will conduct the group activities during the class time. In this way, each helper can be responsible for setting up, equipping, and teaching at a specific learning center. If it is simply impossible to recruit three or four leaders and helpers, you can still have a program for your two-year-olds, but be sure to have at least two workers. Allow children to play freely in the block area or with other toys while one leader teaches a small group in a learning center. After 5 to 10 minutes, the children who have been in the learning center may go to "free play" while three or four new children come to the learning center. Continue in this way until all of the children have had a chance to participate in the learning center.
Ideally, there should be at least one adult for every ten elementary-age children. Try to have a variety of people working with your Sunday school and Bible club classes. Make an effort to involve men in the program. Many people who have no children of their own, or who have youngsters of a different age might enjoy working with the children.
Teenagers and college students also make wonderful helpers, with supervision. Perhaps you know college students who are majoring in elementary education or early childhood education. Let them intern in your Sunday school or Bible club program for experience. And high school youth make energetic helpers.
Those you choose as regular leaders or as occasional helpers should be people who share a genuine love for children—and they should like children, too! Choose the kind of people who can be depended n to be there on time, always well prepared. Look for workers who love the Lord, will do their jobs enthusiastically and cheerfully, and will transmit their joy in Christ to the children who will be watching them so closely.
There are always some people who aren't available on a weekly basis but who like to help when presented with a specific need. These individuals could be invited to prepare craft materials, visual aids, or bring refreshments. Some might enjoy coming occasionally to teach songs, tell a story, or do something special. You'll find these people in many areas of your church—teen groups, singles fellowships, and seniors. Make sure the members of the various groups are aware of the needs and of the opportunity to be of help. However, don't make them feel trapped. Let those who respond know you appreciate them.
Assure your prospective workers that a willingness to learn and a love for Jesus is just as important as previous experience or specialized training. Then be sure to give them opportunities to be doers—not just spectators. Sunday school teachers and Bible club leaders should think of each child as an individual and make every effort to know the children with whom they work. Teaching children about Jesus and His love is an important job—and it takes the best people you can find!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Click on the image above for a larger view.
Monday, August 30, 2010
|Ten Commandments Bulletin Board Set|
|Ten Commandments for Kids|
Encourage your students to follow God's commands during the week.
|Ten Commandments Certificate|
Give a Ten Commandments Certificate to each child who can say all Ten Commandments (with your help) after this lesson (or the following week). These certificates are available in packages of 36 for just $2.99 (item #CD201007). Click on the image for more details and to order the certificates. Visit ChristianEdWarehouse.com for more classroom decorations and teaching ideas.
Monday, August 23, 2010