6 Tips for Dealing with Discipline

behave yourself! - teacher1. Be consistent but handle each case individually.

By this I mean that it’s important to learn the circumstances of the situation as you discipline. Despite how you might feel in the heat of the moment, most children aren’t acting out just to make your day more difficult! Children are responsible for their actions and need to accept the consequences, but it is your job to find out what lead to the outburst. Discipline is not about punishment; it’s about discipleship. The child may have heavy things going on at home or be dealing with difficult situations at school. Take the time to talk with the child and give them ways of dealing with their feelings that are acceptable.

2. Always handle discipline in private.

Don’t embarrass the child by reprimanding them in front of the other kids.

This doesn’t mean being alone with the child. It means showing respect by speaking with the child off to the side and not in front of the other kids.

3. Discipline out of love, not anger.

If you are angry, give yourself a time out before you deal with the issue. Discipline that is handled in the heat of the moment when you are not in control of your emotions is not true discipline. If you are angry, you are not in a position to offer a child effective discipline. Remember, it’s not punishment, but discipline.

When you discipline out of love, rather than anger, you are training in a way that will mold character, behavior, and values.

4. Make sure the child understands why they are being disciplined.

Most children know exactly what they did! However, there are times when kids don’t know what they did that was wrong. They may be so focused on one thing that they do not realize that their actions resulted in hurt bodies or hurt feelings. When you discipline a child, ask them if they can tell what they did that was wrong. Remember, you are training to mold character and behavior.

5. Give kids a chance to make things right.

Part of the discipline process should be the opportunity to apologize. If a child has hurt another child, they should be encouraged to apologize. If a child has stolen an item they should be encouraged to return it. Whenever possible, give kids the chance to apologize and make things right. In your discussion, talk about how and when they might make things right with the person they have wronged.

6. Always welcome them back to the group.

Children need to know that we love them and care for them no matter what. This doesn’t mean that we ignore issues that arise. It means that we deal with them and then move on. Welcome the child who has been disciplined back to the group.

Cell Phones in Sunday School

Teenage Girl Sitting Outdoors Using Mobile PhoneRecently I was looking for a picture of a child reading on the stock photo site that I use. I got a good amount of photos to choose from. In the first row of options was a picture of a child “reading” from their phone.

Kids today have cell phones. Cell phones can be distracting, so it can be tempting for teachers to prohibit the use of cell phones in the classroom. However, people sometimes have their Bible as an app on their cell phone. So simply prohibiting their use is not the answer.

A better response would be to limit the distraction, but teach good Bible skills for cell phone users.

Limiting the Distraction

1. Create rules.

In order to limit the distraction that cell phones can be, you need to create some rules for using them in the classroom. It will be up to you and your students to create specific rules for your situations.

Here are some parameters that should be covered in the rules:

  • If a student has a cell phone, but not a Bible app, then the phone needs to be turned off and put away. Exceptions to the rule (ie. a child is expecting a call from their parents) should be dealt with by the teacher on a case by case basis.
  • If a student  has a cell phone with a Bible app, they may use it under these conditions:
    • the phone needs to be put on silent
    • when not using the Bible app, the phone needs to be face down on the table or under their chair.
  • There will be a consequence for breaking the rules. For example, “If your phone becomes a distraction it will be taken away until the end of class.”

2. Teachers should model proper cell phone use.

Teachers can become distracted by their cell phones as well. Make a point of leading by example.

  • Put your phone on silent.
  • Use only the Bible app (if you don’t have one, put your phone away.)
  • If you do have a Bible app, teach your students Bible skills for Bible apps.
  • Don’t be distracted by your phone as students are arriving or as they are leaving. Show them you care about them by being prepared and focused as they arrive.

Teach Bible Skills for Cell Phone Users

Students may not realize that using a Bible app still requires Bible skills. Continue to teach Bible skills for hard copy versions of the Bible. These skills are useful regardless of what type of Bible you use. Talk with your students about using a Bible app for Bible study.

Here are some topics for discussion:

1. The advantages and disadvantages of using a Bible app.

Some advantages include easier searching, the selection of versions available, the ability to compare versions. Some disadvantages include limited text on screen (esp. certain devices), loss of context, some difficulty in comparing texts (esp. if they are from different books of the Bible.)

2. Can you use both a Bible app and a hardcopy Bible?

You can use both. If you are looking at two different passages of Scripture you can look up one on your phone and one in your Bible. You can use a different version on your Bible app then the hardcopy Bible available as you study a passage. You can choose to use just the Bible app on your phone or just a hardcopy Bible or both.

3. How to Choose a Bible app

There are a lot of options when choosing a Bible app. This is an important discussion to have with your students.

When choosing an app:

  • Ask for help from your parents or your teacher.
  • Be aware that some apps are free and some cost money.
  • Some apps are not Bibles, but are devotionals, daily Bible reading plans, quotes, or trivia.
  • If you already have a Bible app, your teacher can review it with you.
  • Some apps have many versions; some apps are a single version.  If it is a single version, make sure it’s a version you are comfortable reading.
  • Different religions also have a bible. Watch for this when choosing an app.
  • Teachers, find some Bible apps that you can recommend to your students (if you don’t know any, find someone in your church who can help)
  • Don’t get distracted with the bells and whistles. Choose a Bible app for its content.

4.  How to Use a Bible app

Bible skills are Bible skills. They are transferable from hard copy to apps. Reinforce these skills with your students.  Also talk about using the bonus features of these apps, for example making use of reading plans, etc.

5.  How to Choose What Version of the Bible to Read in Your Bible app

This is an important discussion that includes educating your students and teaching discernment.

Talk about:

  • Translations versus paraphrases
  • Some versions available could be Catholic bibles, Jewish bibles, Morman bibles, etc.
  • Some versions include the Apocrypha
  • Some versions are more difficult to read.

Have some recommendations for your students of versions that your church uses or versions that are easier for students to read.

Cell phones are a reality in our Sunday Schools. Whether kids use a Bible or a Bible app, let’s continue to encourage Bible reading, Bible studying, and Bible skills! Our goal is the same–making disciples!

My Book Recommendations for Your Classroom

There are certain books that I recommend all classroom have to enhance the learning experience for kids.Girl reading books.

1. Bibles

It’s important to have extra copies of kid-friendly Bibles in our classrooms. Have enough so that you can have Bibles available for kids who forgot to bring their and also so that you can give a Bible to a child who does not have one.

2. Bible Dictionaries

One reason why I love Bible dictionaries in the classroom so much is that they can be used by teachers to encourage students to discover the answers to their questions themselves.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary For KidsHolman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids is hardcover, beautifully illustrated, and indexed for easy use. It includes reconstructions that show how building and cities may have actually looked in Bible times; illustrated charts such as foods in Bible times or tools of the Bible; Charts such as the names of God, musical instruments of the Bible; pronunciation guides; photographs; and definitions. This great resource is available for about $13 from amazon.ca

The Action Bible Handbook – A dictionary of people, places, and things. Vivid illustrations and kid-friendly explanations. A complete index is included so you can find just the topic you’re looking for.

3. Reference Books

These are any books that help the children understand that the people and events in the Bible are real. They are real people who lived in a real place. Look for books with maps, atlases, descriptions of life in Bible times.

The Amazing Expedition Bible by Mary Hollingsworth– contains 60 Bible stories told chronologically. Some features include an historical timeline showing the dates of Bible & non-Bible events, illustrations, history mystery and Bible mystery sections, special sections for Science, Technology & Growth, Daily Life, History & Politics, etc.

The New Kids Book of Bible Facts by Anne Adams – This book is full of facts, lists, details and trivia about life in Bible times. Sections on customs, daily living, education, government, occupations, travel, and warfare.

Thomas Nelson Publishers put out a series called Bible World. One book in the series is called Everyday Life in Bible Times: Work, Worship, and War. Another is called The Bible Story Begins: From Creation to Covenant.

Atlas of Bible Lands by Broadman Press is an illustrated atlas of the Bible including  terrain maps, photographs, city plans, diagrams, and a time chart of Bible history.

4. Storybook Bibles

Be selective of the storybook Bibles you have in your classrooms. Make sure students understand that they are not Bibles, they simply tell some of the stories of the Bible.

For preschool classrooms I recommend:

My Great Big God – 20 Bible Stories to Build a Great Big Faith by Andy Holmes. This board book contains delightful illustrations with one story per page. The reference for the story is included under the title. I love this storybook because it focuses on our great big God! Each story has a key theme: My great big God made everything! My great big God hears me when I pray! My great big God saves His people! My great big God gave us Jesus!

The Beginner’s Bible – contains more than 90 Bible stories with wonderful illustrations. The large font makes for easy reading.

The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm – This storybook is designed to help kids see the big picture of the Bible. The back says, “The Bible is a big book, about a big God, who keeps a big promise!” Includes an audio recording on 2 cd’s.

For elementary classrooms I recommend:

The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – this storybook Bible was written to highlight how everything in the Bible points to Jesus.

The Action Bible – God’s Redemptive Story – includes over 200 fast-paced narratives in chronological order. This comic book style storybook Bible will appeal especially to boys.

5. Missions Books

Include books in your classroom about missionaries and other parts of the world. I recommend:

Operation World by YWAM Publishing- the definitive prayer guide to every nation. This book includes information about every nation – population, languages, politics, missions activity. Highly recommended!

From Akebu to Zapotec – A Book of Bibleless Peoples by June Hathersmith – this book is available through Wycliffe Bible Translators. 26 people groups are highlighted in this book. Descriptions of where they live and what life is like for them are included. Great illustrations!

There are a series of books called Hero Tales by Dave & Neta Jackson that tell the story of Christians throughout history and around the world. These books don’t contain a lot of illustrations, but each story is short and kids can read them on their own or enjoy hearing the story read outloud.

There is a lot of great material out there, but you don’t need all of it in your classroom! Do your research and be selective. Carefully choose a few really good books for your classroom that will add fun and learning to your students Sunday School experience.

(The links above are affiliate links.)


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