Saturday, November 28, 2015

Gabriel's Good News

Bible Truth: The angel brings good news.
Bible Story: The angel Gabriel told Mary and Joseph they would have a special baby named JESUS.
Bible Study: Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-28

teach


I like using felt characters to tell and illustrate the Christmas story.  Especially for the annunciation of Jesus' birth. I can have the angel Gabriel appear and disappear, just as he did when he announced the birth of Jesus to both Mary and Joseph.  I keep the felt characters in a gift box and pull them out of the box as I tell the story each week.  This accomplishes two things.  Number one: it helps to pique the curiosity and interest of the children.  Number two: it emphasizes that Jesus is the greatest gift of Christmas.




Our children's ministry purchased this felt set over twenty years ago, and it has been an absolutely worthwhile investment!  If that is not quite in your budget at this time, I have a suggestion for you. You can create your own felt characters by purchasing a children's Bible story book with nice simple pictures.  Cut out the characters, and attach felt to the back of them.  Wah-la!  You have your own beautiful felt characters at a tiny fraction of the cost!

I would also like to recommend the Little People Nativity Set to you.  I like using the set as a visual, but it's also a great set for the children to play with as the reenact the story, and tell it in their own words.  A child's play is a child's work.  It is how they process and internalize what they have learned.  Most nativity scenes are expensive and fancy, and children are told, "Don't touch!"  But we want them to touch this story.  We want them to know that this is their story, because Jesus was born to be their Savior.


Gabriel brings a very similar message three times, announcing Jesus the birth of Jesus to Mary, Joseph, and later to the shepherds.  I use this message as a refrain that we repeat throughout the telling of the Christmas story.  It is the good news of Christmas!


Putting it on an anchor chart is a good visual for emerging literacy skills, and also helps all the teachers repeat the same refrain throughout each week.  Repetition is the mother of learning!  Soon I am able to leave out those key pictorialized words, and let the kids fill them in.  (I'm pretty sure I just made up a word there, ha!)  Adding actions for each of those keywords helps too!

sing


The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah for thousands of years.  When Gabriel brought the message to Mary, the Messiah finally had a name. JESUS!  The Name that is above every other name, and the only name that has the power to save us.  Sing that sweet name of Jesus with your kiddos with this fun and simple song.

Download "J-E-S-U-S" tune and lyrics here.

This song works best for little ones if you have a visual like the one below to help them follow along. Download the printable visual here.  Use Velcro to remove the hands, and then add them on as you sing the song.




craft


the angel appears


For this craft you will need:
  • this printable
  • scissors
  • an Exacto knife
  • gold glitter glue
  • paint brushes
  • brad fasteners
  • crayons
To prepare, use an Exacto knife, to cut along the dotted lines of the printable, to create a space for the angel to "appear".  Cut out the circle printable.

In class, provide crayons for the children to color the picture of Mary and Joseph.  Help the children use gold glitter to paint the angel.  Attach the angel wheel to the back coloring page with a brad fastener.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Ten Lepers

We begin this unit with a story of a man who had a thankful heart so that our preschoolers can see thankfulness played out in action.

Bible Truth: Jesus loves a thankful heart.
Bible Story: Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one said, "Thank You."
Bible Study: Luke 17:11-19

sing


As you are singing for worship, tell the children that when we sing to Jesus we are saying, "Thank You" to Him.  Tell that today we are going to hear a story about a man who said, "Thank you" to Jesus.


teach


In addition to reading this story from a children's Bible storybook, here's a captivating visual to help you illustrate it.  I used a pair of bath gloves, but this will work with any gloves.  Cut out twenty little circles, draw happy faces on ten, and sad faces on the other ten.  Hot-glue the sad faces to the back side of the gloves, and the happy faces to the palm side.   Attach a Band-aid to each finger on the sad side of the glove. You will also need a little red heart.  I attached a "hook" piece of Velcro to the heart.  Since the Velcro hooks to the bath glove, the heart can easily be placed on and removed from the glove.  Wear the gloves as you tell the story! 


The Bible tells us a story about ten men who were very, very sick.  Let's count the men.  Wiggle each finger as you count.  They had a disease called leprosy.  Can you say leprosy?  That means they had owies all over their bodies.  They wore Band-Aids everywhere to cover their owies.  They were so sick, they couldn't go home to their families, and they had to stay away from people.  If they touched anyone, the other person would get sick too!  They went to lots of doctors, but the doctors couldn't make them better.  One day they saw Jesus walking down the road, and they cried out to Him.  Move the gloves to either side of your mouth as you raise your voice to "call out".  "Jesus, have mercy on us!  Heal us Jesus!"  Do you know what Jesus did for them?  He healed them!  Close your hands into fists.  Turn your hands and open them to show the happy side.


Wow!  Jesus did a miracle!  He answered their prayer and he healed them!  They had no more owies. Now they could go home and give their families big hugs and kisses!  Move your hands as though they are running away.  But one man stopped.  Stop your hands.  Close your fingers except one pointer finger. He went back to Jesus, bowed down, and said, "Thank You Jesus!  Thank You for healing me and taking away my leprosy!"  Bend your finger as if to bow.  Jesus said, "I healed ten men.  Why did only one come back?  Where are the other nine?"  Then Jesus blessed the man who remembered to say, "Thank You," because he had a thankful heart, and Jesus loves a thankful heart.  Add the heart to your pointer finger.



Open your hands to show the ten healed men, and only one with a thankful heart.  Do you want to be like the nine men who forgot to say, "Thank You," or do you want to have a thankful heart?  Yes, I want to have a thankful heart too.  We can say, "Thank You" to Jesus for all the beautiful things that He created. We can thank Him for dying on the cross for us, giving us a clean heart, and giving us a home in Heaven with Him forever.  Lead the children in a prayer of thanksgiving.

practice


For the rest of the service, as you are doing a craft, and/or eating a snack, help the children practice saying, "Please and thank you."  When they remember to say, "Thank you," praise them for having a thankful heart like the man in today's story.  Remind them that Jesus loves a thankful heart.

read


If you have a book about manners, and saying, "Please and thank you," it would be good supplement to this lesson if you have extra time at the end.


craft


one thankful heart


For this craftivity you will need:

  • this activity page
  • Band-aids
  • red paper
  • scissors
  • crayons
  • glue
To prepare, make double-sided copies of the activity page, and cut out a red heart for each child.  

In class, provide crayons for coloring.  Give each child two Band-aids to stick on to the sick leper side of the activity page, and one red heart to add to one finger on the healed leper side of the activity page.




thank You Jesus


Print this activity page for your kids to color, and follow the coloring directions on the page.  I found the original coloring page of Jesus here.  It would also be fun to add a sticker to the man who is colored yellow, to help distinguish the one from other nine, especially for younger children who may not yet be ready to follow the coloring directions.  As the children are coloring, count the men symbol figures with them.  Count how many were healed, how many said, "Thank You," and how many forgot.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Theme 6 Scope & Sequence

This is our final teaching unit of the year.  Thank you for joining me on this journey of teaching in the first year of this blog! This unit follows the spirit of the sesason, and is all about a thankful heart and the birth of our Savior.  There are so many stories and messages surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas that young children have already absorbed.  May our classrooms be a sacred space where we focus on Jesus, and elevate Him to the rightful place in the hearts and minds of our little ones.



Gold Heart

When I taught this lesson, I loved the "go follow Jesus" theme that I used for the green heart even more. The concepts flowed seamlessly.  We are following Jesus all the way to Heaven!  This is the last lesson in the Color Me Christian unit, and it sums up the glorious Gospel for our little ones.

Bible Truth: Gold - Some day I'll walk streets of gold.
Bible Story: I can life forever in Heaven because Jesus washed away my sin.
Bible Study: Romans 6:22-23; 1 Peter 1:3-5

sing



teach


gold & shiny


Gather up a shiny gold gift bag or box for this lesson, as well as a picture of Heaven and a picture of Jesus, perhaps from a children's Bible.  You will also need a crown (see the craft below).  Keep the lesson visuals in a box or bag, out of sight from the kids, until you are ready to to reveal them in the lesson.


SAY: This last heart is gold because in Heaven there is going to be streets of gold!  I brought some shiny gold things with me today.  Would you like to see them?  Slowly pull out the golden items to show the kids. Look at how beautiful and shiny these are!  When you are riding in the car, what color are the streets? That's right, they are black.  The Bible says that in Heaven the streets are beautiful, shiny gold.  It's a golden city.  Wow!  Can you imagine that?  Heaven is going to be a beautiful place.  Hold up a picture of Heaven.  The best part about Heaven is that we are going to see Jesus there!  Hold up a picture of Jesus.  I can't wait to see Jesus!


Turn your attention to the colored heart visual, and point to the dark heart.  Can you go to heaven if your heart is dark with sin like this?  No, you cannot, but Jesus wants us to be in Heaven with Him forever, so what did He do?  Point to the red heart.  Jesus died on the cross for us so that His blood can wash away our sin.  Jesus gives us a clean heart!  Point to the white heart.  Can you go to Heaven if you heart looks like this?  Yes!  Thank You Jesus for giving us clean hearts!  Point to the green heart.  Now we are going to go follow Jesus all the way to Heaven.  Point to the gold heart.

When we get to Heaven, Jesus is going to give each of us a beautiful crown, and say, "Well done," because we loved Him and followed Him.  Take out the crown and put it on your head.  We're going to take our crowns off, lay them at the feet of Jesus, and say, "Thank You Jesus.  I'm only here in Heaven because You died on the cross for me and gave me a clean heart."  Take off the crown and set it on the floor.

Let's pray and say thank You to Jesus right now.  Bow your heads, close your eyes and repeat after me. Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me.  Please wash away all my sin, and give me a clean heart so that I can go to Heaven to live with You forever.  In Jesus name, amen!

lamb's book of life


I created a label for a nice little notebook to introduce the children to the Lamb's Book of Life.  I first hold up the class list, and explain that this is a lit of all the kids that are here in our classroom right now.  Then I explain that Jesus has a special book called the Lamb's Book of Life.  It has a list with the names of all the people who belong in Heaven.  When you ask Jesus to forgive your sin, and you decide to follow Him, He writes your name in His book so that you can go to Heaven.  For added effect, ask the children if Jesus has washed away their sin so that they can go to Heaven.  Write each child's name in the little notebook, and let them each see their name.



read


"Jesus Is Coming Back!" is another book in the series by Debby Anderson that would be great to add to your library, and can be used for this lesson. 

Jesus Is Coming Back!


craft


streets of gold


Print out this coloring sheet for the children to color.  Add gold glitter glue to the road!

victory crown


For this craft you will need:
  • paper crowns (I got my beautiful crowns for free at Burger King!)
  • white card stock
  • heart paper punch or scissors
  • gold Sharpie or pen
  • glue 
  • sequins


A couple years ago I purchased this heart paper punch from Michael's, and I can honestly say that it was a very worthy investment!  It is such a time saver, and makes perfect hearts.  With a 50% off coupon, it's very reasonable.  Of course, folding and cutting with scissors gets the job done as well!


To prepare, punch or cut out enough white hearts for each of your students.


In class, write each child's name in gold ink on a heart.  Give them their clean heart from Jesus to glue onto the front of their crown.  Provide glue and sequins for decorating.  To keep the glue under control, my helpers and I apply a line of glue to the front of the crown, and then allow the children to add the sequins on their own.


  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Green Heart

Traditionally, the green heart in Color Me Christian has symbolized growing in Jesus, and teaches children to read their Bible, pray, attend church, keep their heart clean, and tell others about Jesus in order to grow spiritually. To be completely honest, until this year I've really struggled teaching this lesson to preschoolers. I felt like they were never quite grasping the concept of spiritual growth. I was asking God to show me a better way to teach this lesson, and I believe He gave me something!  I felt much better about the way I taught this lesson and I'm excited to share it with you all!

Bible Truth: Green - Christ will help me learn and grow.
Bible Story: Go follow Jesus.
Bible Study: 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Peter 2:1-3; 2 Peter 3:17-18



Seeing the colored hearts visual posted in my classroom this way was key to the moment of inspiration. Green can be associated with "growing", but it can also be associated with "going." Preschoolers are familiar with the meaning of red and green lights as stop and go. Now stay with me, Jesus forgives us of our sin when we repent. To repent is to stop sinning, turn around and follow Jesus. See how the visual setup is great for illustrating this?!  The approach to my lesson became "go follow Jesus!"

I think preschoolers have an easier time associating green with "go follow Jesus" rather than "growing in Jesus."  Also, by defining  repentance this way, the green heart is more connected to the other hearts. Next year I will probably change the words to the song, but since we've already been singing it this way for several weeks I won't change that now.


teach & sing

I often like to weave songs through my lesson.  Here is a great example of how I do that.

SAY: The Bible says we have all sinned and disobeyed God. Point to the dark heart.  What is the only thing that can wash away our sin?  Yes, only the blood of Jesus can wash away our sin. Point to the red heart. When we pray, and say, "Jesus I am sorry for my sin, please forgive me," Jesus washes away our sin with His blood and makes us white as snow!  Point to the white heart.  What is the next colored heart that we are going to learn about?  Yes, today we are going to learn about the green heart!  Let's sing the song.

Sing See My Dark Heart (see this post for an explanation of the visual)

When your mommy or daddy is driving in the car and they see a red light what do they have to do?  Yes, they have to stop.  When they see a green light what do they do?  Yes, they go!  Hold the white heart. Jesus washed away all our sin and gave us a clean heart.  Do we want to go back to sin and foolishness? Move the white heart towards the dark heart.  No, we don't.  Jesus says to stop sinning.  Point to the red heart.  We turn away from sin.  Now we GO this way and follow Jesus!  Move the white heart towards the green heart.

The Bible calls that repent.  Can you say repent?  Good! Repent means to stop sinning, turn around and GO follow Jesus.  Stand up and sing this song with me.


Sing The Repent Song

Before class, color the coloring sheet below, and use it as a visual for this portion of the lesson.  See these children?  They are reading their Bible, praying and going to church.  When we do these things, we learn how to follow Jesus.  They help us grow strong Jesus muscles to keep sin out of our heart!

Sing Read Your Bible and Pray Everyday


read

Here are a couple books that compliment this lesson, and would be a great addition to your teaching library.  I love all the titles in both of these series.


I Love My Bible! by Debby Anderson is no longer in print, but used copies can be purchased from book sellers on Amazon.  When I read this book to my class for this lesson, I skip some of the pages about Bible translation to focus on the parts about how the Bible is different from any other book, and it gives us instructions about the best way to live, or in other words, how to "go follow Jesus!"


Jesus in Me by Dandi Daley Mackall is a book about the Fruits of the Spirit.  This book is great because it shows a little girl living out the Fruits of the Spirit in her everyday life with her family, at the park, at school, etc. I explain that these are the things that we do when we "go follow Jesus!"


play


Jesus says

This is just like Simon Says.  Call out actions for the kids to do (blink their eyes, hop on one foot, spin around, etc.)  However, they should only do the action if you first say, "Jesus says."  Otherwise they should not do the action that you call out.

stop heart, go heart

A fun game to play to accompany this lesson is a modified version of  "Red Light, Green Light".  For this game you will need the dark heart and the green heart.  Have the children line up along a wall, or behind a line, a determined distance opposite from you.  Instruct the children to begin running towards you when you hold up the green heart.  When you hold up the dark heart, they should stop, and kneel down to "pray."  With younger children, I eliminate the competitive aspect of this game, and just celebrate when they make it to me by singing the "The Repent Song."  They will want to play this game over and over again!


craft


bible bookmarks

Print this bookmark template onto colored card stock.  Cut out each bookmark.  Provide markers and stickers for the children to color and decorate their bookmarks.  Add a ribbon to the top if you like.  Explain to the children how to use their bookmarks to mark their place in their Bible so that they remember to ask their parents to read them a Bible story everyday!



trace & color

Print this activity sheet.  Provide crayons for children to color, and help them trace the path.  Talk about how we learn to follow Jesus when we read our Bible, pray and go to church.