Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring & Easter Classroom Decorating Ideas

With spring just around the corner, now is a great time to think about sprucing up your classroom decorations. Bright colors and fun decorations may be just what you and your kids need to get through the end of the dreary winter.

It just so happens we have lots of inspirational decorations for all year round, including some that would be perfect for Easter.

Here are some of our favorites...

God's Promises Border

The Lord is My Shepherd Banner

The Lord is My Shepherd Border
A New Creation Banner

We also have some fun Easter stickers...because we know how much kids love stickers! These are a great way for them to bring the Easter story home with them.

He Is Risen Stickers

Easter Passion Stickers

Easter Dogwood Stickers

We have a huge selection of inspirational and seasonal classroom decorations. And even lots of decorations that match this year's VBS themes! To browse all decorations, click here >

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Helping Children with Transitions

Helping young children transition from active times to more quiet parts of your lesson can be a challenge. You can create activities especially designed to give them a chance to calm down and turn on their listening ears. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Give children a warning when moving from one activity to another. A couple of minutes before you want them to finish what they are doing, say, "This is your two-minute warning. We will start putting away the toys (or crayons) in two minutes." As adults, we get frustrated when someone interrupts what we're doing. Children often have the same frustration when we stop their activity abruptly instead of giving them time to finish what they're doing.
  • If you want your students to move from an active to a quiet activity, provide a transition activity to help them calm down and get the wiggles out. This can be an action rhyme, "The Wiggle Song," a march around the room (getting slower and quieter each time around), or an action song such as "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" (getting faster and faster; then getting slower with each round until everyone ends by sitting down).
  • Play a game such as "Follow the Leader" to get the wiggles out before your quiet time. Tell the children that in this game everyone must do what the leader does. Explain that everyone can have a turn at being the leader. Begin by having the children walk around the room following your motions. Then begin to hop, skip, or tiptoe and have the children imitate your actions. Give each child a turn to be the leader (do not force any child to do this). As the child leads say, "It's fun to follow a leader. [Kayla] is being a good leader. We learn by following good leaders." Conclude the game by having the children follow you one more time as you move slowly to the story rug and then sit down quietly for the Bible story.
  • Do a fun action rhyme before the Bible story time, to help your students calm down and begin to focus their attention on you, the teacher. 
    Here's a rhyme you can try with your class to help with the transition to your Bible story about Jesus dying and coming alive again. Before doing the rhyme together, hold your open Bible and explain that the Bible is God's Word and it is true. Show your students how to hold their hands together, palms up, to look like an open Bible. Now lead them in this rhyme (younger children will either say the words with you or do the motions but probably won't be able to do both, which is fine).

    The happy birds sing in the trees.
         (Flap arms like a bird.)
    The pretty flowers nod in the breeze.
         (Nod head and sway from side to side.)
    The kangaroos jump up with joy.
         (Jump and hop.)
    Why are they happy? Hear them say
         (cup hand behind ear and say together),
    "Our Jesus is alive today!"

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Adult Sunday School Curriculum for Your Church

    It's time to order your Spring quarterly Sunday school curriculum! The quarter begins in March and we have lots of curriculum to choose from for children and adults. You can shop our large selection (with the guaranteed lowest prices) here >

    There are a lot of churches that don't realize that there's some great curriculum available for your adult classes. This curriculum also works well for small group study. Here are just a few of our suggestions.

    Standard Lesson Quarterly
    Available in KJV or NIV, Standard Lesson Quarterly is a richly resourced adult curriculum based on the International Sunday School Lessons (ISSL)/Uniform Series. Reliable Scripture exposition, culturally relevant examples, and timely discussion questions engage students and give the Bible lesson meaning in their everyday lives. Students survey the Bible in a 6-year cycle.
    • Based on International Sunday School Lessons/Uniform Series
    • Provides a comprehensive overview of the Bible in six years
    • Biblically sound teaching
    • Everything you need to prepare quality lessons
    • Adaptable to different class sizes, large or small
    • Encourages students to apply what they are learning to daily life
    • Gets adults into the Bible
    • Culturally relevant examples and discussion questions that engage students
    We recommend ordering a Teacher's Convenience Kit for each class and additional student materials based on your class sizes. See all options >

    • 1 teacher book
    • 1 student book
    • 1 Adult Resources packet**
    • 1 Devotions®
    • 1 each of 13 issues of SEEK® take-home papers
    • 1 teacher book
    • 1 student book
    • 1 Adult Resources packet**
    • 1 Devotions®
    • 1 sample of The Lookout magazine

    David C. Cook Bible-in-Life

    Bible- in-Life, focuses on four basic goals: connect, teach, apply, motivate. No matter where students are in their walk with Jesus, Bible-in-Life communicates the gospel with life-changing clarity and motivates them toward life application. Bible-in-Life has two series...

    Comprehensive Bible Study
    Bible-in-Life's Comprehensive Bible Study also follows the International Sunday School Lectionary (ISSL). Each lesson inspires adults, promotes community among others, and challenges them to grow spiritually. Adults are equipped to build a deeper understanding of Bible principles and encouraged toward in-depth participation and life application. Bible-in-Life supports adults of all age ranges and throughout all stages of life.
    • Classroom model
    • Printed curriculum
    • Additional online resources
    • Six-year scope and sequence (ISSL)
    We recommend ordering a Teacher's Resource Kit for each class/group and additional student and teacher materials as needed. Shop now >

    Understanding the Bible
    David C. Cook also offers another series of Bible-in-Life: Understanding the Bible. This provides a quarterly, expositional study of each book of the Bible to build a deeper understanding of Scripture. The Understanding the Bible study series is perfect for small groups, Sunday school classes, or as an individual study. 

    • Classroom model
    • Printed curriculum
    • Eight-year scope and sequence
    We recommend ordering a Teacher's Guide for each class/group and additional student and teacher materials as needed. Shop now >

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Happy Birthday!

    Make a list of your students' birthdays. (This Jesus Loves the Children Incentive Chart can keep track of attendance or memory verses plus birth dates. Comes in a pack of two.) As new children join your class, keep track of their birthdays, too. If you have a large group of students, consider having a monthly birthday celebration. Include everyone with birthdays during that month as your guests of honor. If you have a dozen students or less, try celebrating each child near the date of his or her birthday.

    Decorate one wall or bulletin board with this Birthday Celebration mini bulletin board set. It includes twelve cake slices labeled with each month of the year, 32 candles (one for each of your students), plus decorative balloons and noisemakers to put on the bulletin board. You may also want to give the birthday child a large Birthday star sticker that says, "It's my birthday!" These large 3 x 3-inch stickers come 36 to a package.

    Let the birthday child stand in front of the class next to you. Consider providing a special "Birthday Hat" for the child to wear during class. Celebrate the child's special day by leading the class in the Happy Birthday song. After singing it once through, add a second verse:
        God's blessings to you,
    God's blessings to you,
         God's blessings to [Jamie],
    God's blessings to you.

    You might want to provide an inexpensive present for the birthday child, such as a sheet of stickers. Choose napkins and a snack with a birthday theme (cake, cupcakes, muffins, circus animal cookies, etc.). Conclude with a prayer of thanks for the birthday child.

    If the child's birthday occurs during a time when your class is on vacation, send a "Happy Birthday" postcard. Visit for birthday postcards. (Or send a card to each child the week before his or her birthday. Children love getting mail and they don't get it very often. How special to get a card from their teacher.)

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Thanking God for His World

    Help your students begin to appreciate God's creation. No matter the weather, you can use the outdoors as an opportunity for the children to thank God. (This is a photo of a hiking trail up Cowles Mountain in San Diego, California.)

    If it's too cold to actually take your class outside, have them look at the view from a window. Then open the window and let them feel the cold air (make sure the window has a screen). Talk about how God made the seasons for us to enjoy.

    If it's not too cold, bundle up your students and take them for a brief walk in the snow. Show them the different sizes of footprints as they walk. Observe the trees and bushes covered in snow (or peeking out from the snow). If it's snowing, have them stick out their tongues and catch snowflakes. Point out the each snowflake is unique or one-of-a-kind. Explain that God created each person to be special and unique (one-of-a-kind), too. Here's a picture of snow falling in Virginia:
    If you live a warmer climate, take your students outside to enjoy the warm weather. Stroll along the beach and let them collect seashells. Talk about the creatures that make the shells their homes. Explain that God gives people homes, too. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about God's love and care for each person. Here' a beach in Kona, Hawaii:

    You may live near hiking trails or woods. Point out the variety of leaves and trees as you take a walk with your students. Pick some berries or grapes and thank God for giving us good food. Here are some grapes growing in Napa Valley, California:

    Wherever you live, take advantage of your location to share God's creation with your students–even if it's through your photos. Take some time to thank God for His beautiful world each day.