Does Curriculum Lose its Value When It Becomes Dated?

childrens-ministry-dated-curriculum

I have found a curriculum book among my resources from 1993. It has 52 lessons for kids ages 6-9 on the life of Jesus but it’s 22 years old!

Finding this curriculum book got me thinking. Does curriculum lose its value when it becomes dated?

As I previewed this particular curriculum I found a well-thought out year of lessons focused on the life of Jesus. The curriculum was designed with three aims for each unit (knowledge, attitude, and action) and goals for each lesson that helps the kids reach the unit aims. The lessons build on the previous ones guiding children toward the unit aims. The lessons were Bible-focused and all about Jesus. The lessons get kids into their Bibles and the development of Bible skills is built right into the lessons. There was also a great focus on group application.

This curriculum also suggested cassette tapes for music!

In the end, if the curriculum is Bible-based, Jesus-focused, and educationally sound, the rest can be updated or customized.

In the curriculum example that I used, the music was very dated, but the core of the material was solid. Had it lost its value because it was dated? No! I would teach this curriculum. I would add some updated resources (especially music!) but the most important part was exactly what I would want the kids in my Sunday School class to be learning.

So, before you throw out that material because it is a few years old, take a good look at it. Does it focus on Jesus? Does it encourage kids to get into their Bibles every lesson? Is it educationally sound? Does it teach Bible skills? Does it teach theology and Bible study skills? If so, it has not lost its value. The rest can be updated.

 

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Recommended Resource – Basic Bible Skills by Susan L. Lingo

Looking for game and activity ideas for teaching Bible skills? Check out Susan L. Lingo’s “Basic Bible Skills.”

childrens-ministry-basic-bible-skills-bookThis book has game and activity ideas for children ages 6-12.

I love the set up of this book. First, it contains books of the Bible cards that you can photocopy onto cardstock. These cards are unique in that they have the name of the book, which testament it’s in, which division it’s in, a sample of what’s in the book, and a key verse.

Second, it contains four sections.

  1. How the Bible is Organized
  2. Scripture is God’s Word
  3. People, Places, and Events
  4. Bible Maps and More!

What I love about this resource is the inclusion of many different Bible skills – not just books of the Bible. Some of the skills included are:

  • Using the Bible’s table of contents
  • Understanding what a “Testament” is
  • Identifying major Bible divisions
  • Identifying chapter and verse numbers
  • Learning visual cues for remembering verses
  • Studying parallel passages
  • Identifying main themes and ideas
  • Using a Bible dictionary
  • Reading Biblical maps
  • Using time lines

Check it out on Amazon!

Have fun with your class learning Bible skills for exploring God’s Word!

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Teach Kids to be Bible Detectives!

I think one of the greatest skills you can teach your class is to study the Bible themselves.

One fun way to teach kids how to study their Bibles is to teach them how to be Bible detectives!

childrens-ministry-bible-detective

Great detectives ask lots of questions and observe carefully. Great Bible detectives ask lots of questions and observe the passage they are studying carefully for clues.

In order to know what types of questions to ask, Bible detectives have to first observe the passage being studied. Is it a narrative or story? Is it teaching like one of the epistles in the New Testament? Is it poetry or wisdom literature?

If the passage is a story, Bible detectives will ask questions like:

  • Who are the characters?
  • What is the conflict? What are they doing?
  • When does this story take place?
  • Where does this story take place?
  • Why did they character do what they did? React the way they did?
  • How does the conflict resolve?

If the passage is teaching, Bible detectives will ask questions like:

  • Who wrote this passage? Who did they write it to?
  • What is the topic of the passage? What is the argument?
  • When did the author write this?
  • Where was it written?
  • Why did the author write it?
  • How does this passage apply to my life?

If the passage is poetry or wisdom literature, Bible detectives will ask questions like:

  • Who wrote this passage? Who did they write it for?
  • What genre is this passage?
  • When and where is the context for this passage? (ex. Psalm 51 was written after King David sinned )
  • Why did the author write it?
  • How does the style (or genre) inform our understanding? How does this passage apply to my life?

Who

This category of questions is all about people. Who are the people in the story? Some good follow-up questions would be, “What is said about the person or people in this passage?” and “What does the person say?”

  • Who is speaking?
  • Who was there?
  • Who is it about?
  • Who are the main characters?
  • Who wrote this passage?
  • Who is this passage written for?

 What

This category of questions is all about action. What are the main events taking place?

  • What is happening in the passage?
  • What happens to the characters?
  • What does this passage say about God?
  • What caused the trouble or conflict?
  • What is the subject covered in the passage?
  • What do you learn about the people in this passage?
  • What do you learn about the events taking place in this passage?
  • What do you learn from the teaching in this passage?
  • What instructions are given in this passage?
  • What is the argument?
  • What is the writer trying to communicate?
  • What is wrong with this picture?

 When

This category of questions is all about time. Questions are related to when things happen. What year; what time of day, etc? These are key questions in figuring out the order of events.

  • When did it happen?
  • When did it take place?
  • When do or will the events occur?
  • When did or will something happen to a particular person, people, or nation?
  • When did the events occur in relation to other events in Scripture?
  • When was the writer writing?

Where

 This category of questions is about location. Did the story take place in the wilderness; on the sea; in a boat; on a mountain; in Egypt; in Jerusalem?

  • Where did it happen?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Where will this happen?
  • Where was it said?
  • Where was it written?
  • Where are the people in the story?
  • Where are they coming from? Where are they going?
  • Where is the writer?
  • Where were the original readers of this text?

Why

 This category of questions is all about motivation.

  • Why did it happen?
  • Why is something being said?
  • Why would or will this happen?
  • Why at this time?
  • Why this person?
  • Why does this passage follow that passage? Why does this passage precede that passage?
  • Why does this person say that?
  • Why does someone say nothing?

How

 This category of questions is all about the mechanics of a situation and/or the application of a passage.

  • How did it happen?
  • How did lives change?
  • How did the story end?
  • How does this apply to my life?
  • How will it happen?
  • How is it to be done?
  • How is it illustrated?

Here’s an Example

Mark 4:35-41

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Who

Who is in this story?

  • Jesus and His disciples (v. 35). We know it’s Jesus by looking a couple of verses earlier in verse 33 (context is really important).

What

 What happens in this story?

  • A storm hits (v. 37) and the disciples in the boat are terrified. Jesus stops the storm (v. 39).

When

 When does this story take place?

  • Evening (v.35)
  • After a day of teaching by the lake (vs. 1-34).

 Where

 Where does this story take place?

  • On the sea (this is inferred since the disciples get into a boat in order to get to the other side).
  • Bible detectives have to go all the way back to the beginning of chapter 4 to discover where this story happens. In verse one we find out that Jesus is teaching by the lake, probably the Sea of Galilee.

 Why

 Why was Jesus able to calm the storm?

  • Because He is the Son of God and has power over nature.

How

 How does this story end?

  • The disciples ask who Jesus is (v.41). The identity of Jesus is key.

Good observation skills and the ability to ask good questions are just the start of becoming Bible detectives. Teach your kids these skills and then give them lots of practice!

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Books of the Bible Cards Expansion Pack – Testaments & Divisions

Books of the Bible CardsNow that you are having fun with your books of the Bible cards, it’s time to add on with the first expansion pack!

Testaments and Divisions are matching cards that contain Old Testament, New Testament, Law (or Pentateuch), History, Poetry, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Gospels & Acts, Paul’s Epistles, General Epistles, and Apocalyptic.

Print these cards off on cardstock and add them to the books of the Bible cards for even more Bible skills fun!

Download the Books of the Bible Cards Expansion Pack – Testaments and Divisions.

Books of the Bible cards are available here.

Here are some game ideas to get you started:

Old Testament/New Testament Shuffle

Required: Old Testament and New Testament cards from the expansion pack; 1 set of Books of the Bible cards.

Recommended for: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Set-up: Tape the Old Testament card and the New Testament card to the wall at least a foot apart. Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and put on the floor at the opposite end of the room.

Goal: To correctly place all books under their correct testament.

  1. Line students up.
  2. On “go” the kids will race to the pile, pick up one card, bring it back, and place it on the floor under the correct testament.

Variation: Play the same game with children in grades 4-6 but use the division cards rather than the testament cards.

Bible Divisions Blindfold

Required: one set of books of the Bible cards; the division cards from the testament & divisions expansion pack; blindfold.

Recommended for: Grades 2-6

Set-up: Spread the division cards randomly around the room (on the floor, on tables, on chairs, taped to the wall). Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and place in a central location.

Goal: To work together as a team and have the blindfolded player correctly place books of the Bible cards with divisions of the Bible.

  1. Choose a player to blindfold and give the player a books of the Bible card from the shuffled deck.
  2. The rest of the players direct the blindfolded player to place the card on the correct division.

Variations:

  1. This game can be played with one or multiple teams. If played with multiple teams, the leader must decide if each team will play in turns or all at the same time.
  2. If playing with a small class, use one team but hand out multiple cards at a time (will need multiple blindfolds).
  3. The leader rearranges the divisions during game play.

Beanbag Blast

Required: one set of testaments and divisions expansion pack; 2 ice cream buckets; beanbags.

Recommended for: younger children – pre-K – Grade 1

Set-up: Tape the New Testament card to the outside of an ice cream bucket and the Old Testament card to the outside of the other ice cream bucket. Shuffle the books of the Bible cards and place in a pile face-down on the floor a few feet away from the ice cream buckets. Place the bean bags beside the books of the Bible cards.

Goal: To throw the beanbag into the correct bucket.

  1. Line students up.
  2. The first student in line will pick a book of the Bible card.
  3. They will then pick up a bean bag and throw it into the corresponding bucket. For example, if they pick up “Matthew”, they will throw the beanbag into the “New Testament” bucket.
  4. On completion of turn, the player will go to the back of the line.

Variation:

  1. For older elementary children (grades 2-6) play the same game but use the division cards rather than the testament cards.

 

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New! – Books of the Bible Cards

Looking for new ideas for teaching the books of the Bible to your class? These Books of the Bible Cards are a great way for kids to interact with and learn the books of the Bible.

Books of the Bible CardsDownload your free Books of the Bible Card Pack here. Print them on cardstock and be ready to play with your students!

Here are some fun Books of the Bible Cards Game and Activities Ideas:

Matching

Required: 2 decks (can also be played with more decks for a really large group)

Best played with a larger group i.e. 10+ children

Goal: To be the first person to run out of cards

  1. Shuffle decks together and then deal out all the cards to everyone. (Not everyone will get the same number of cards. That’s okay. If you deal out extras, the people with the most cards should go first).
  2. On their turn, the player calls out the name of one of the books of the Bible displayed on a card in their hand. Everyone searches their hand for that card and the person who has an exact match gives their card to the person who called for it. Both cards are placed in front of the caller and they earn a point.
  3. The person who gave up their card goes next, calling out the name of a book of the Bible.
  4. Play continues until one person runs out of cards. (Hint: It’s not always the caller!)

 

Trade

Required: 1 deck (can be played with more decks)

Recommended: for older children

Goal: The goal is to run out of cards.

  1. Shuffle the deck and then deal out an equal number of cards to everyone. As soon as you cannot deal out an equal number of cards, put the rest in the middle, face-down.
  2. Play proceeds clockwise: On their turn, players can choose 1 of three actions: (1) exchange a card with one of the face-down cards in the middle table (2) trade one card with any other player at the table as a blind trade (3) call out “all trade” and everyone must place one card face-down on the table and give it to the person on the left.
  3. Each player attempts to collect a run of at least 4 books of the Bible (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. A run that bridges Old Testament to New Testament is also acceptable, i.e. Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark). Note: Depending on the number of players and their skill level and the number of decks you are using, you may want to adjust the goal. Make it easier by getting a run of 3 books or make it harder with a run of 5 books.
  4. When a player achieves a run, they can place it immediately on the table. Players who have a run are able to add to their runs or any other run laid down on the table as soon as they have a card (not as an action on their turn).
  5. The first player to run out of cards wins.

 

Charades

Required: 1 deck and an egg timer

Goal: To get the other team to name the book of the Bible

Set-up: Divide the class into 3 or more teams

  1. The teacher shuffles the deck but keeps the cards altogether and face-down in front of them.
  2. A team is chosen to go first and a team member chooses a card from the teacher’s deck at random.
  3. The team with the card decides on actions with the goal of getting the other teams to correctly guess the book of the Bible. Like charades, the actions must be silent and should not include using letters or numbers or mouthing the name of the book. And, the actions should aim to include all members of the team (for example, they can all perform the same action or they can work together for a quick and silent “skit”). For example, if a team draws the book of Exodus, they might have a character play Moses as he raises his hands, and the rest of the characters as Israelites crossing the sea.
  4. The team acts out the name of the Bible book. When the book is correctly guessed, the team that guessed AND the team that acted gets a point. If no one guesses in the allotted time, no one gets any points.

Note: A teacher might need to help the children identify a correct story in the book (encourage the children to check in their Bible) and provide guidance on some of the minor prophets or epistles.

 

Find the Bible

Required: 1 deck

Goal: To have the kids cooperate to find the books of the Bible and arrange them in order

Set-up: Hide the Books of the Bible Cards around your classroom

  1. Have the children locate the cards and put them in order. Older children may work from memory; younger children can consult a Bible’s table of contents.

 

Bible Book Relay

Required: 1 deck of Books of the Bible Cards per team

Goal: To be the first team to correctly order their cards.

Set-up: Divide the children into teams. For each team, shuffle the deck and put 5 cards face-down in front of the team. Place the rest of the cards on the other side of the room directly opposite the team face-down in a messy pile. Repeat with a new deck for each team.

  1. On go, each team will turn over their cards and start putting them in order. At the same time, each team may send one player at a time to the other end of the room to pick up one card and bring it back to the team. Each team will send one player at a time until they have all their cards. Meanwhile, the rest of the team puts the cards in order. The first team to organize all their cards correctly wins.
  2. Encourage teams to strategize. For example, they can split up into Old Testament and New Testament mini-teams in order to organize their cards faster.

 

Books of the Bible Go Fish!

Required: 2 or more decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To have the most matches at the end of the game

Best Played With: 2-6 children

Set-up: Choose a testament or division to focus on (ex. New Testament, Major & Minor Prophets, Epistles). Remove the corresponding cards from the decks and set the rest of the cards aside. Shuffle the cards and deal 5 cards to each player. Place the rest of the cards face down in the middle of the table.

  1. Before starting the game, all of the players put any pairs they happen to have in their hand down in front of them.
  2. Choose a player to go first.
  3. That player will ask another player if they have a particular card. For example, “Hayley, do you have the book of Romans?” If the player asked has the card, they must hand it over. If they do not, they say, “Go Fish.” (The player must have the card they are asking for in their hand.)
  4. If the player is told to “go fish,” they must pick a card from the deck in middle of the table.
  5. Whenever any player gets a match, they lay the cards down on the table in front of them.
  6. If a player runs out of cards, they pick up 5 from the pile in the middle.
  7. Play continues until all cards are gone from the middle. The player with the most matches wins.

 

Find the Match

Required: 2 decks of Books of the Bible Cards

Goal: To find as many matches as you can in the allotted time.

Best Played With: Younger Children

Set-up: Choose Old or New Testament. Remove those cards from the decks and put the rest of the cards away. Tape the cards from one deck to the walls of your classroom. Shuffle the other deck and spread the cards out on the table or floor.

  1. Children will choose one card from the pile and find its match on the walls.
  2. They can keep any matches they find.
  3. Children can only match one card at a time.

 

 

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