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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Teaching Bible Skills – The Old & New Testaments

biblical literacy

I believe that Bible skills are important. I believe that it is part of our job as children’s ministry volunteers and leaders, as Sunday School teachers to teach our kids Bible skills.

There are 2 major goals when teaching Bible skills.

#1 – That kids will become comfortable and familiar with their Bibles.

#2 – That kids will be able to navigate their Bibles.

We want kids to be comfortable and familiar with their Bibles and to be able to navigate their Bibles so that they will read their Bibles.

The purpose of teaching Bible skills is not simply knowledge or a means of keeping kids occupied. We teach Bible skills so that kids will read their Bibles!

But more than just reading their Bibles, we want kids to love the God of the Bible and choose to follow Him.

So far in this series, we have covered finding books in the Bible and understanding the reference. Now I want to talk about the Old and New Testaments.

 What is a Testament?

The word testament means covenant. A covenant is a promise. So we have the old promise and the new promise.

In 1 Corinthians 11:25, Paul writes regarding the Lord’s Supper,

“In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.”

Jesus talks about a new covenant. If there is a new covenant, there must be an old covenant. In the Old Testament, we read of Moses going up to meet with God on Mount Sinai. There a covenant was agreed between God and the people Israel. They would follow Him and He would make them His treasured possession.

God always keeps His promises. In the Bible, we read about what God has done and the promises He has made.

 The Old Testament

The Old Testament is the first part of the Bible. It has 39 books. The Old Testament tells what happened from the time God created the world until the time of the prophet Malachi (about 400 years before Jesus was born.

 The New Testament

The New Testament is the second part of the Bible. It has 27 books. The New Testament tells about the life of Jesus, the early church, and the Christian faith.

Here are some game ideas to get you started teaching kids about the Old and New Testaments.

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