Choose one teaching idea from each section of the drop-down menu to build your own dynamic 5-part Bible lesson.
- Story basket Put items, or pictures of them, mentioned in the story into a large basket. Bring the items out as you introduce the story. e.g. water (water to wine), rock (house on rock), shoe (Moses removes shoes), branch (I am the vine), star (Abraham, wise men), etc.
- Generate anticipation Share 3-5 true/false statements relating to themes or events that encourage discussion. e.g. statements about Mount Sinai, Moses and the cloud on the mountain in preparation for reading the 10 Commandments.
- Predict the outcome Pose a problem and ask the students to predict a character’s response or to predict what may happen next. e.g. The Lord gave Moses the power to do miracles. Will Pharaoh be able to do them too?
- Similar situation Have students think about a time they might have been in a situation similar to one that is in the story for the day, e.g. wanting something (Hannah wanting a child) or facing a difficult task (David and Goliath). Share their thoughts with a classmate or with the class.
- Key words Tell students one key word in the story e.g. ark, ephod, drought or leprosy. Brainstorm what the word means, and write responses down to activate prior knowledge.
- Listening key Ask students to listen for a key word or phrase as you read the story and raise a hand whenever they hear the word.
- Show a picture Pictures for most stories are available online. Make it more interesting by showing only part of the picture and having students guess what it might be. Slowly reveal more until the entire picture can be seen.
- Hide something in a box Put something from the story into a box. Pass the box around. Let the children feel and shake the box to guess what’s inside. Open and discover contents e.g. new truth from heaven (book), rubber snake (Aaron’s rod) etc.
- Visualize the setting Have students close their eyes and describe the setting, customs or events that they will hear about in the story.
- Use props Gather a few props to show the children as the story progresses, e.g. a staff, clothing item, pitcher, oil, etc. Decide whether to spark interest by sharing ahead of time, or keep props hidden to retain interest later in the reading.
- Book-in-hand theater (some preparation) Prepare a script by downloading the text from a website such as biblegateway.com, and pasting it into a Word document. Use colors or a variety of fonts to distinguish different characters in the story. Add character and narrator names. This process should take less than 15 minutes. Print a copy for each child in the class. Introduce the story. Give a few basic staging directions e.g. where a house, stream or mountain might be. The children will read the story as a play and act it out as they go. If the children enjoy it, repeat the reading and change who is reading which character.
- Acting (more preparation) Create as script (see above). Prepare costumes and a few props. Proceed as above. Present play to another Sunday School class.
- Choral reading Students read a section of the story aloud as a group. Works well if there are phrases that recur e.g. All that the Lord has spoken, we will do. Write the phrase on a board, large piece of paper, or make copies and hand out.
- Jigsaw reading This reading method is good for long stories e.g. Daniel. Divide the story into sections. Assign each section to a group of students. Each group reads independently, and then get together as a class. Each group tells their part of the story to the class.
- Reading buddies Divide students into groups of 2 or 3. Take turns reading the verses aloud. When everyone has finished reading, discuss the story with the group.
- Silent reading Give students a reading question, e.g. who helps David? Each student reads the story silently and then all students discuss their answers.
- Attribute chart List qualities of a person mentioned in the story and provide evidence to support your claim.
- Feeling chart List 3-5 key events in a story on the left side of chart, character list across the top. Note the feeling or response of each character to each event.
- Actions chart Note actions of characters toward each other e.g. David and Saul.
- Whole class discussion Identify the most important part of the story; different (better) decisions that could have been made by people in the story; consequences of poor decisions. Lead the discussion to connect previously learned ideas that students could not connect on their own.
- Draw one scene of the story.
- Draw a main character, a person with whom they most relate, a symbol in the story, or an important object.
- Story map Use pictorial symbols to illustrate what happens in the story at various places.
- Journey map Trace the journey of a main character e.g. David’s flight from Saul.
- Large scale map Use rope (indoors) or chalk (outdoors) to outline a map of Canaan. Include main cities (optional: make standing signs) and walk the routes taken in the story. Use sturdy tape or paint to make a more permanent map in your Sunday school space and use it again and again.
- Terrain box Create the terrain of the story in a box using sand, rocks or clay. Use figures to show the action of the story.
- Sequencing Put pictures or story cards with people or events in the order they appear in the story.
- Use your setting Use the outdoors to measure out the Tabernacle of Israel, set up a tent or re-create the burning bush by tying colored fabric strips to a bush.
- Illustrated book Students create their own miniature book on a theme e.g. Elisha’s miracles. Depending on how you design the project, this may continue on from week to week.
- Board game Teacher or students can create a board game for an ongoing story in the Word. Keep and play again later.
- Who am I? Put the name of a character on the back of each student and have them try to figure out who they are by asking questions that can be answered by saying “yes” or “no”.
- Story ladder Retell the story through pictures and words in 4 panels. Fold paper into 4 rectangles and write or draw a part of the story on each section.
- Accordion book Fold a long strip of paper in accordion fashion and make book with text and pictures. Write or illustrate a story in sequence e.g. Creation. Optional: make a front and back cover.
- Jigsaw puzzle Glue a picture on to lightweight cardboard. Cut the picture apart to create jigsaw pieces. Students reassemble the picture. Send home in an envelope or Ziploc bag.
- Banners may be made for permanent display, or in simple form to provide a learning experience. Divide up the characters in a story, give each child a piece of felt and have them cut out figures. Use alphabet templates to cut lettering. Assemble as a class. Banners may be arranged in sections to show a sequence of events, or depict one central theme or scene.
- Art projects The sky is the limit! Here are a few tips to help you:
Glitter—put the project to be glittered on a large rectangular baking tray or low-sided cardboard box. The tray will catch the extra glitter. Tap it in to one corner and pour back into the container.
Paints—use a muffin tin to separate colors.
Use a paper cutter to reduce preparation time. Stack the paper and cut out multiples.
Use a rotary fabric cutter Layer the fabric you want to cut and cut once.
- Crossword puzzles and word searches Create your own puzzles using online websites. Enter keywords from the story. Make the activity simple or complex depending on your students. Some programs allow you to create puzzles in appealing shapes.
- Students write up a question about the story for other students to answer.
- 20 questions Teacher thinks of a person, incident or book of the Word. Students ask 20 questions to see if they can discover the answer. Teacher gives yes/no answers.
- Adapt a commercial game Look for games that are fun for children, but which could lend themselves to Bible stories e.g. Pictionary. Students will illustrate stories or characters from the Word while others guess what they are drawing. Teams advance with correct guesses.
- Songs Singing songs that tell stories from the Word is a great way to review. The powerful pairing of words and music may stay with a person for a lifetime.