Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Teaching the Bible to children...how to whisper the Word guidelines

If you are going to whisper the Word to children, you need to reach the children where they are at.  This will involve engaging the kids in the learning, being active, developing a relationship with your students, building connections, showing unconditional love, eye contact, being animated or using intonation well, smiling, body language, etc.  You will need to remember that real learning begins when you apply, evaluate, analyze and create (Higher Order Thinking or Bloom's Taxonomy).  Remember that when you only remember or comprehend, that's the foundation you need to be able to think at a higher level, but it's only low level learning.

The next KEY to teaching children the Bible (or anyone) is to focus on Who God is in the story, passage, or scripture text you will be teaching.   Here are some things to be aware of:
  • Use your Bible- let the children see that you are reading from God's Word.
  • Use a real translation.  The International Children's Bible (written at a grade 2/3 reading level) is simple to comprehend.  Nivr is written at a 3rd grade level.  You can also add in Bible storybook lessons that may be paraphrased- but you want to be sure in your retelling that you also connect that this story is part of God's book.  
  • Make a connection to how this story or passage fits in the Big Picture- is this a type of Christ or as we may more commonly refer to it- is it part of the Creation to the Cross development from the OT to the NT.  Share where this character fits in time.  Review and connect to your previous teaching.  
  • Remember that when you review, when you repeat, when you build connections between stories that you teach from- the MAIN point isn't recalling all the details of a human's life- the main point is reviewing how we see Who God is from the life and experiences in the passage.  That's really the application for people- we need to see that the God of Abraham, Issac, Noah, Disciples is still the same today and is still working in our lives the same way.  
  • Make sure you define vocabulary, and that you plan to check for understanding of Bible words or Theological concepts that connect to your lesson.  Plan to teach that God is Sovereign- also could be rephrased as God is in Control.  (and even better if you add hand motions to help kids remember the meaning of the name- so if you say "God is Sovereign" they all move their hands like they are holding a game controller for a device.) 
  • Share the Gospel regularly, especially with Children.  It's essential to review that Jesus was sent as God to be Man to die a sinless human being, and show that He is God by raising from the dead three days later, in order to allow humans (who do sin) access to God.  Don't assume that kids have heard it over and over.  Some may repeat the facts of the gospel, but not understand it or have accepted the truth personally.  Others may not have ever really listened when it has been shared.  
  • Think like a reading teacher.  You are teaching students how to understand and/or read the Best book ever: the Bible!  So make make predictions, connections, explain vocabulary, help them see the inferences, ask questions, and summarize.  It's your job as the teacher to share the thinking that is in your head aloud for your students, so they learn to do it for themselves. This is called Meta-cognition.  I have a Pinterest Reading Board that has ideas and bookmarks with the strategies. 

Image result for reading strategies

  • As your students are older, you also want to teach them HOW to study the Bible on their own, so you want to explain the features in their Bible, how to use a concordance, commentary, favorite online Bible tool.  
  • Pray before you teach, while you are teaching, and after that the Holy Spirit would guide your heart and mind and the students as well. 
  • You can also teach them formulas or a graphic organizer for reading the Bible.  SOAP, Homiletic s, Inductive Bible Study, Focused Questions, ....  more to come....

Monday, February 19, 2018

Resources I use in whispering the Word or teaching others.

When teaching the Bible with children, you start with what it is you want to teach them.  If you want to know if a child is ready to learn a concept, the best way is to interact with the child and get to know him or her.  But if you are teaching a specific age group, or grade level, there are experts who look at how a child's developmental growth (emotional, social, physical, spiritual development) looks by age.

 Focus on the Family published this very helpful book and it's available at Amazon. The Focus on the Family website has a section on Spiritual Growth for Kids. I also have a padlet on Spiritual Formation.

Padlet is an online bulletin board.  I love that I can 'post' new to me links or any links at all- to an online resource and add a comment about it, and that you can click directly to the link. It's fast and easy for the one who creates the padlet.  You can share padlet creation with others. And you determine who can see it... anyone on the web, only those with a link, only those you invite, only you... this is what it looks like...

Today, I'm sharing some padlets that I have created to train future Bible teachers or future educators.  I think they have some great ideas, resources and links to help communicate content- and what better content than the Word of God!

Lesson Planning 101  Hook, look, book, took, Madeline Hunter, and more ways to plan....As well as ways to reach ALL types of learners- considering Bloom's Taxonomy, Multiple Intelligence, Learning Styles, ....

Children's Ministry or KidMin curriculum choices...

Spiritual Formation of people, but focusing on children.

Learning Theory, a collection of resources that I agree with some aspect of, and try to emulate in my teaching.

Teaching about Salvation.... key concept...

A new board- look for blog posts in the future- Christ in Christmas options

Old resources on a livebinder... same concept but a binder.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review: What if Jesus Meant What He Said by Nate Bramsen

This book review is from a book that I bought!  It was published Dec. 7, 2017.  I have the kindle version, and a print book, it's that inspiring!

Published by Emmaus International, you can purchase there or from amazon.  The kindle version is only $3.99.

This book was very well done!  But I warn you, this book will as Nate Bramsen says in the intro, make you uncomfortable.  He is correct, but he has a great way with his words, questions, and scripture connections of instilling a plan that with the Holy Spirit leading, it can be done, but not if I stay in control of me. 

One of my favorite features was at the end of the book, a bonus feature.   Diving Into Scripture
Nate Bramsen shares how he studies and meditates on scripture with a LOT of higher level thinking involved.   His concepts are not new to me, but how he approaches his study is, and he gives a formula to follow as you study any verse or passage.  I can't wait to try it. 

Here are other aspects I loved:

  • Written for any age person.   Children would do best going through this with their family, as there is so much meat and good content in the book.  If you look at the amazon reviews, two reviewers already comment on how the book was for them. One is a 70 year old man (it might be my Dad!)  and another is a stay at home Mom who wondered if the book would be for those younger than her, she enjoyed it.  
  • Reflect and Respond Chapter Endings.  Every chapter has questions about the concept to help you apply the thinking to your life, and help you move ahead and grow in the challenges presented. 
  • Easy to Read, Lifetime Applications. The books format is appealing to almost any reader. (Sorry no pictures, but a whole portion of the book is connected to the image that we frame our lives with the Word of God!).  But it is complete with a lot of scripture, personal stories, balanced with life connections in hymns, poems, reading, culture, etc.  It has 27 chapters, with the reflections at the end of each chapter.  They are not very long, so it's an easy book to pick up when you have a few minutes.  The book is divided into four themes as well, making it easier to comprehend and connect the ideas.  As well as every few paragraphs have a heading or bold quote to keep the reader focused and on task.  
  • Simple concept but complex application. The book is based on Matthew 16:24 "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."  (Berean Study Bible).  The book is about the pursuit of following Jesus completely.  
  • Challenges for Life.  Bramsen shares the uncomfortable, he warns you, he reminds you that even people who are written about in the Bible didn't always measure up, they may even have failed, but with a mindset focuses on scripture, he teaches, shares, and challenges the reader to grow in applying the concept of dying to self.  
  • Teaching Bramsen is a gifted teacher.  I've heard him speak several times.  He's so easy to relate to, youthful, exuberant, yet direct, grounded in scripture, highly intelligent and well read, and committed.  I really was curious to see if he could continue that charisma on the printed page, and I was not disappointed.  
  • Questions The book is full of 'probing' questions that help the reader determine, can I really take Christ as His Word?  Bramsen gives scripture as answers, and then makes compelling statements with convicting concepts to help be sure that the reader knows what it means to pursue an intimate, loving relationship with our Great God.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

When God Made Light Content Area Connections

When God made you, God made light.... 
Lessons ideas or connections drawn from the book: 

Matthew Paul Turner shares 5 ways to encourage your children to be the light on Ann Voskamp's blog. 

  • Introductions/Launches of a written work are important to set the tone, setting, and characters. This book's launch is: "LET THERE BE LIGHT! That's what God said. And the light began shining and started to spread." The teacher would read this aloud twice, and then the students can use it as the inspiration to change the concept, tone, character and would write their own launch idea in their notebook."  So I might be inspired to write: "Let there be snow! That's what the weatherman said. And the snow began to fall, faster and faster until it spread as far as I could see."  Kids love mirroring the work of published authors, but changing it up to fit their own topics, narrative, persuasive, or expository pieces.  
  • Style/Description: This book has amazing style, lots of great word choices to describe light. The style has a rhyming pattern.  Uses great active verbs to describe light. Examples of Alliteration.  A teacher could do a bunch of mini-lessons on style (number, colors, names, places, faces, that describe and bring the story to life.) 
  • Guided Discovery/Inferences or Connections- have the students read and re-read the book searching for all the science concepts the author brought into the book. I'd call the lesson- Unveiling hidden gems, perhaps.  I'd have them make a T chart and on one side put the words from the text and the other side what is.  So the first note I'd make is: Planets (this is tricky it's only in the images) and on the right side: Science: Planets, Universe, Galaxy

Here is my draft or notes if I were leading this T chart...

Other Content:
  • Science Concepts: Light, Light rays, Dark, Night/Day, Space, Galaxy, Planets, Sun/moon/stars, Weather, Plant growth: photosynthesis, farming, seeds, fire 
  • Math Connections: Shapes: bolt, star, Calendar: Day/Night, Counting (all the ways He made light)
  • Social Studies: Camping (culture, experience)- smores 
  • Character Education: Family, Gratitude/Thanks, Light in You: Self Esteem, Worth, Self Efficacy, Value, Kindness, Helping Others, Love, Shining bright (forgiveness).  

Monday, February 12, 2018

When God Made Light Connections for Bible lessons

The best children's books are to be enjoyed, repeated over and over, and used to bridge a child's interest, motivate learning, hook kids into listening, and then build a connection to new knowledge.  This book has SO much potential to do just that!  The educator in me loves this.  
I would use this book in a public school for story time, lesson intros or hooks, and lessons that are focused on character.  I would use this book in a kids club, Sunday School, bible teaching lesson hook.  I could see it connecting to science lessons, self esteem/character lessons, as a model for writing lessons, and a discussion of how a concept, in this case light, has multiple meanings.  I think with a little bit of thought this book could turn into a VBS curriculum alone or with Matthew Paul Turner's first book, When God Made You.  

My full review I shared last week here.  

Bible Concepts:  Light, walking in the light, the glory of the Lord, Creation, Jesus is the Light, gospel message

I asked Matthew Paul Turner, the author, what verses he thought of or connected to the story as he wrote it.  Here's what he shared. 

Let your light shine before others...Matthew 5:16 

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you...Isaiah 60:1 

But now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.  Ephesians 5:8 

He also shares at Ann Voskamp today! 5 ways to encourage your child's light to shine!
Lessons from the Word of God that involve light:

Ministry to Children has a Fruit of the Spirit Series.  Lessons Two and Three are on Shining as Light
I searched for "light" and there are lots of lessons, object lessons on this page. Here are some direct connections I found: 

  • New Year, Let Your Light Shine, complete with a Mandy Grace printable coloring page.  To download and use. Pictured to your left.  
  • Lesson for older kids on Ephesians 5.  Walking in the Light, teaching on living a life that focuses on Jesus, the Word, and Prayer, and touches on the role of the Holy Spirit in the believers life as we strive to live in the light, not darkness.  
  • Bible Puzzle the Light of the World.  A printable page with images of lamps, and a lesson on Matthew 5:14-16.  

Bible Fun for Kids has some lessons as well.  
  • Teen Lesson on Let Your Light Shine with a printable bible verse page Matthew 5:16 
  • Lighthouse Themed Lessons focused on Ephesians 5.  Thinking about characteristics that are the ways our lights shine.  Compassion, Responsibility, Fairness, Perseverance, Respect, Trustworthiness,....there are ten, and each uses a different Bible Story to share how that person modeled a characteristic.  
  • Here is a search for light.  There are lessons on creation, Paul, Saul, ...
Bible.org shares teaching for adults: 

You could add light verse coloring pages. 

Ministry to Children has coloring pages.  You can print as a pdf and they make an editable download as well.

Let your light shine, cute free coloring page

Super Coloring has several here.  Mathew 5:14, John 1:4 

Sweet To The Soul Ministries did a 31 day study on Letting Your Light Shine and here are printables that include 31 verses to study, bible journal images, and journaling pages for your own study. 

Let your light shine Valentines, how cute is this!  with glow sticks! 

And I've only scratched the surface of a two of my favorite children' s ministry resources, my favorite adult teaching resource, and then a few from a Pinterest search.  Up next connections to content areas!  

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Book: When God Made Light by Matthew Turner, illustrated by David Catrow

I'll be posting a full review of teacher ideas of this lovely book later this week. My kids all got out early today, but I wanted to post this to give you the most chance to get this great book!  

Here's my short elevator review:  
  • Warm, endearing pictures, with a rhythmic, joyous verse of a story about God making light. 
  • The light isn't just the light of creation, the sun, moon, and starts it's much more than that, it speaks of the light that lives inside you with God in you. 
  • It celebrates living in the light (God) and outdoor living with family as the light brings different adventures, and teaches not to fear, as God is here when the light is night.  
  • The book is empowering, melodic, and brings a smile to the readers face (showing YOUR light!).  
  • The illustrations are detailed, lifelike, family friendly, fun/silly, and child friendly.  The children are children of color likely siblings, with the best facial expressions that show true light and joy.  And they are beautiful girls and the pets look animated. So appealing. 
  • There are so many natural connections and educational opportunities to expand on this book, I can't wait to share more details, but here is my list: As an educator, you could use this book to hook kids into learning about shadows, seasons, universe, sun/moon/stars/constellations, and showing love to others by being the light.  
  • The hardcover book is well made, has heavy, thick shiny pages that won't tear easily when little hands explore alone. 
The book itself is rooted in scriptures from Genesis 1 creation of light, to the light in you, because God is in you- which opens you up to the gospel story, and the New Testament light comparisons.  Jesus is the light, being a light to the world, being bold as you are--as you bring the light even in a dark world, how God made you with purpose/intent (Psalm 139). 

I'm an optimist.  I choose to see things with an open mind and easily put a spin on things that is positive.  I think some people might be disappointed that this book doesn't include scripture references or more direct teaching on the connections to God.  This book is simple. It's written as a fun read aloud that will be read over and over.  And as a parent who memorized many board books, several of which had very little merit in their recitation, this book is a much better option.  But perhaps some may be put off by the intent that this is a "God-positive" book instead of a more direct connection to the Word of God.  I see it as a great connection to the Word of God, and a great conversation starter, to bring in the Word of God to those you read it to or with.  And because it is God-positive, and open ended, it could be used in a public school setting, as you aren't specifying who God is, but you would have children in your classrooms who will then make that connection.  So it could open some doors for conversation and the gospel among-st those children who know God. 

Pre-order the book before it releases February 13, and get his first book for free! Amazon has the book for 8.37 and if it gets cheaper, between now and then, they give you the lowest price from the date you pre-order til it's released and it arrives ON release day!   You submit your order # and what retailer you ordered from here at the Waterbrook/Multnomah website.  It takes 1 minute or less. 

Here's a blogger that tells you how to submit your receipt.  If you want more step by step.   I just did it- I'm launching the book and have a copy, but when can you get a baby gift for $4? not often.  And since I'm ordering it as a gift, I chose the $1 credit for ebooks at amazon.  

Don't forget that Goodreads is also hosting a giveaway, between now and March 30, 2018, so you might also win one!  I've done well when I enter a giveaway on goodreads- two books in one month!  and I only entered on two days a handful! 

One Word Restore update

It's amazing how when you choose to ponder and intentionally learn about something, all of a sudden, you see it everywhere.  When I was a classroom teacher, I'd work on a science or social studies unit, and all of a sudden, I'd see concepts that I would be teaching in the real world all around me.

It's even more amazing to me, when I choose to focus on Who God is, this year- the One who Restores, it's all around me.

It's in my book launches...

Life without Lack by Dallas Willard
Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23

Rest creates the ability to restore energy, restore your mind to look at who God is.  

Restore-- I'm restored knowing that God is sufficient, not just barely- BOUNTIFULLY capable-- He will restores my soul-- by who He is.... think about that-- it's pretty incredible!

I'm working on two different studies this month, the book of James and Lifeway Women's online study by Priscilla Shirer, Hearing the Voice of God.  Both are reminding me that on my own, I'm fallible, I'm hopeless, I'm broken, I sin.... but as I learn to hear the Holy Spirit, trust in God's plan, I am able to have, to be so much more because God restores my soul not only at the moment of salvation, but also for the present age as I live in intimate communion and relationship with Him.  I'm restored to all that He has called me to do and it is not I who will accomplish anything but the restoration of Holy Spirit who seals me, sanctifies me, all that lead to my life being restored for His glory.  Amazing!  

Seeking to see who God is, all throughout my day, really has a huge impact on my soul- and I'm soaking in that He restores my mind continually... with my soul. Oh the power, presence, and joy that brings to my soul amnesia and heart!