Here’s the flow:
- Get there early to set up
- Challenge Verse
- Start of Class
- Memory Verses
- Homework and Break
- Question Time
Take a breath, my friend, the “meat” of the class time is done, and now it’s on to some fun stuff!
Again, keep in mind that I have an hour and half with my class, so if you have less time than that, you’ll need to tweak my system.
When you teach kids, individually or in groups, it’s really important to have some games or activities whenever possible. Because of time, I can’t always do this in my class, but I would never go two classes in a row without it. Kids like to get up out of their seats, and having a productive activity is good for them and good for the class as a whole.
Whenever possible, I try to come up with something unique to what we covered in the homework. Not only does it give some variety to our activities, but it reinforces the material with an object lesson or game. There are some great resources for these kinds of things, my favorite being the books from Family Time Training (read my review and description here). Another good one is Just Add Family from FamilyLife. In both cases, you have to do a little searching to see if you can find one that goes with the book you’re studying or a principle you’re covering.
If I don’t have something unique to that particular lesson, I have some go-to games and activities, like The Drawing Game (or Drawing Relay Game) (which can also be played as charades) or the M&M Draw game you’ll find at the back of Precept’s Discover 4 Yourself Teacher Guides. The Teacher Guides have a Drawing Game similar to mine, as well. You could also do Hangman using a term from the study or an Inductive Bible Study term. The good thing about Hangman is that it requires no advanced prep by you. So if you finish up and still have class time left, you can always play Hangman. (And if you’re studying Esther, you can play Haman! Sorry, bad joke…)
For the record, I take as much competition out of the activities and games as possible. I don’t want anyone to feel like they lost at the end, and I don’t want my more competitive kids to get distracted by wanting to win. It’s pretty easy to keep score-keeping out of it, and in cases like The Drawing Game, you just have the correct guesser get the next turn, and so on.
Something else the kids love is when I have a passage written on the white board, along with the key showing all the markings we did on our Observation Worksheets that week, and they get to come up and mark it. The best way to do this is to have them form a line to the side of the white board, instruct them to be looking for what they are going to mark while they wait, and then take turns marking the verse. Use common sense as far as preserving the colors on your dry erase markers! Newer students or younger kids may need a little help, so of course, encourage them as you help them. Gently lead them to find one instead of just pointing one out and telling them how to mark it. Again, you’re moving them toward doing all of this on their own.
(Next up, Question Time)