Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bedtime Blessings

As a good teacher, I've always read to my kids at bedtime...  I soon came to realize that this was another time where I could choose wonderful children's literature or I could take advantage of another chance to impress God's truth into my children's young hearts! 

This book is a favorite read Hush Little One-and we have read it so much I have it memorized and often just sing it with that last snuggle of the evening (okay and sometimes at naptime). I like the phrasing of the 2002 version better than the 2005 reprint.  I keep some around for a gift for new babes or their toddler sibling.

I put my kid's name in it instead of One... and they have each called it 'their song' at the right age/stage. 

Some of the words are:
Hush little one, it's time for bed, now it's time to climb into bed and lay down your sleepy head...
Of the darkness have no fear, Jesus your Savior is always near, He who died and rose again, now forgives your every sin.... 

My boys like Goodnight Warrior because the cover glows in the dark.  I like the truths and simple words presented with the short devotional that follows.   (I did order Sweetdreams Princess but my daughter is too young to appreciate it yet, but we have been listening to her audio set when we play in her room)

How do remind kids of who God is at bedtime?  what stories or scripture do you share with them?  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bible Book/Reading Lesson for Kids Part 1

I shared in my seminar parts of a lesson I delivered with kids.   I thought I should write it down here so that others could adapt and replicate it with their own children or in a teaching session. I was surprised that in all my online searches, I could not find lessons using strategies that reading teachers implement combined with the Word of God. 

 Bible Features Lesson

Objective: To engage your children in thinking about the Bible as a book (with many types and helps in different Bibles), and guide students to discover what features their Bibles have and what types of Bibles exist, how those features help them understand the Bible, and to decide which Bible features and types that they personally like.

Hook/Anticipatory Set:  a KWL chart
Ask students what they KNOW about the Bible and make a list.   Then ask students what they want to KNOW about the Bible.  (at the end of the lesson, ask students what they learned TODAY about the Bible)

List these answers on a whiteboard or on chart paper.  (if this lesson is revisited another day or week, start to seek answers to what they want to know about the Bible and share at the start of subsequent lessons).

Some hints to help generate the lists:
Know: the Bible has 66 books, 39 Old Testament, 27 New Testamant, many authors, many translations, many languages, is the most read book worldwide, is a guide for daily living, is a living active book, sharper than any 2 edge sword...

Want to know: anything goes-- but you can prompt with -- what is the longest book of the Bible, what is the shortest verse, my kids asked about how many women were in the Bible, how many wars, etc...

LOOK Input/Modeling:  Show some children's Bibles. Tag features in them and talk about them.  The first time we did this in a group setting, we used 15 copies of the same Bible so that we could ALL see the same features. If you have a document camera, you could show any Bible that is large enough, or preselect Bibles that all have at least one feature in common (like a concordance or topical list).  After your kids understand what a feature is (like a caption, vocabulary word, cross reference, footnote), put them in small groups and give them some post it notes, to list ALL the features they can find in a collection of Bibles.  (In a Sunday School Setting this was a second lesson the next week with all the kids bringing a Bible or two from home). 

Hint: line up your kids by age-- by birthdays- and then pull an oldest student and pair with a youngest student to make the small groups so readers/writers of all levels end up in mixed groups! 

Post the notes on the wall, and talk about all the different features found-- then ask your small groups to decide which features are most IMPORTANT, FUN, HELPFUL to them.  (We want our kids to not just know features exist, but to push their thinking to critical thinking (analyze, synthesize, evaluate) where real memory and application is accessed.) 

BOOK:  Talk about a scripture about how believers are to use the Bible in a meaningful way.  Colossians 3:16 or Hebrews 4:12 or Psalm 119 would be great places to start.  Even assign or select a verse to memorize this week!

TOOK:   Assign homework-- ask your parents, teachers and friends- what Bible features they like to use and why!   Fill in your KWL chart with what I learned or was reminded of  today about God's Word!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Whispering the Word ISI 2012

Motivating Kids to read, understand and enjoy the Word of God! 
I will present this Whispering the Word livebinder and a lesson plan for motivating kids to read and understand the Bible at ISI, a conference at Emmaus Bible College for church leaders.  Here is a list of important concepts from my takeaway handout-- what would you add to it? 

·        Live it (let kids see you read, question, think, and process this living Book!) 
·        Talk about it (book club, at dinner, in normal conversation)
·        Read it (in many formats)
o   and as a good reader (asking ?, visualizing, connecting, clarifying, summarizing)
o   at your reading level (Bibles at 2nd grade reading levels-adult)
o   at your interest level (pictures, comics, with notes, as a novel)
o   as a storybook (with excerpts, pictures, questions)
o   in devotionals
o   on blogs
·        Study it (must be taught how!)
o   With tools (, concordance, maps, word study)
o   With methods (SOAP, inductive, ?)
o   By book, by chapter, by verse, by topic
o   Alone, with a partner, with a group, online
·        Think about it (critical thinking essential: evaluate, analyze, synthesize for meaning)
·        Pray through it and before/during/after reading.
·        Meditate on it.
·        Sing about it. 
·        Listen to it (in music, sermons, recitations)
·        Act it out (skits, charades, storytelling, drama, movies)
·        See it (pictures, movies)
·        Live it… (and remind that it is alive in me, my choices, my decisions)

Memorizing God's Word

I've been working on memorizing more the past two years... I've always memorized my kid's AWANA verses with them as a motivator for them to work on them and help "poor old Mom" get it down... but I've been convicted of the need to memorize whole passages more often.   My first attempt was to get Psalm 103 memorized and I started on bedrest with my 3rd pregnancy.  I didn't achieve word perfect memorization, but I did achieve conceptual memorization and most importantly-- I found personal value in ABIDING in HIM through His Word. 

Personal Story (skip this if you want just the facts or don't like needle discussions) When they had trouble getting my spinal in so they could do a c-section, I was nervously sitting on the operating table, and supposed to be perfectly still.   In my other two experiences, this was a five minute or less process.  This time the Doctor struggled and I was there for over 40 minutes (and he called for a 2nd Doctor), as fear and worry crept in, I realized that God was in control and started reciting the concepts from Psalm 103.  As soon as I did this, my body relaxed and the same doctor easily slipped the needle into my spine!  God's Word brought strength and comfort to me and even the anesthesiologist was amazed that he was successful. 

I was humbled when asked to share resources and tips for memorizing God's Word at Iron Sharpens Iron, a conference for church leaders, at Emmaus Bible College.   I am by no means an expert, but I aspire to this spiritual discipline, and pulling all the 21st century tools together is definitely in my skill set!

Here is a Memorizing God's Word livebinder (an online 3 ring binder where you have tabs, subtabs, and can see websites or documents, all in one place, and I can even add comments to describe the artifacts.)  You can copy the binder and edit it yourself, or just visit this link for my most updated resources on memorizing God's Word.  

What is your favorite way to memorize scripture? any tips? any successes to celebrate?  tools? please share!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Impress Your Kids Online Memory Games

Stumbled upon this last night... and I'm intrigued, and can't wait for my boys to try this tonight.... It appears that you can practice memory verses and the books of the Bible in a fun, online, interactive way.  I worked on John 14 as a game, an a used karate chops on the books of the OT and fell in love...Now want to get some families to test it and see if a membership for our chapel is worth it!

Anyone ever used this? or test it and let me know what you think. I tested it as a guest and played games, but you can have a 14 day free trial (thinking I'll wait til schools out June 5th to start that.)  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Creative Correction

Power in the Word... how my whispering started

I first discovered the power of scripture in my parenting, after reading a book by Lisa Whelchel, entitled Creative Correction.

While my initial concept of correcting my children with scripture, may not be the best interpretation of God's Word, it started a conversation and it changed my heart...When my boys were fighting over who got to do things FIRST... I shared Matthew 20:16 with them "So the last will be first, and the first will be last" and we talked about this truth from God's Word and how it could apply in our lives... it  helped.. at first out of selfishness- my oldest let his little brother go first so he would be honoring God, and my youngest was too little to understand... but I had peace and an ongoing conversation from God's Word...  and when I told them it was from God's Word- it wasn't just an order, a direction, or a rule to follow. It was a truth that stood on it's own!

My second attempt was better scriptural interpretation. It is a concept that my boys have even shared on the playground with other boys.  1 Thessalonians 5:15  See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. 

The key message to me was I had to know the Word of God and be meditating on it, so I could come up with examples to share TRUTH to my children in my discipline and instruction.   Because God's Word stands on it's own! 

The Bible Whisperer...

Motivated after reading Donalyn Miller's book entitled The Book Whisperer

I am creating a blog to start sharing how I hope & pray that I whisper God's Word to my children. I am humbled daily at the challenge of whispering the Word of God into my own life and also my children's lives.... The challenge given in Deuteronomy to impress these truths onto the hearts, hands, and heads of our kids... is a gigantic one.  But as I have embraced it in the past 5 months, it is a passion for me!  

I hope that this blog becomes a place for all teachers and parents to share how they motivate their children to read, understand, and ultimately love the Word of God!