TWENTY FOUR WAYS TO TEACH A SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
By: Rev. Marilynn Gazowsky
METHOD 1 – MUSIC AND SOUNDEFFECTS
When using music and soundeffects to teach a class, you have to put in a good deal of advance work pre-recording. When making tapes, be sure to put your material in proper sequence, also allowing enough time in between segments.
ILLUSTRATION: Lost lamb
Tools: Tape recorder, music, sound effects from public library.
MAKE A POINT DEMONSTRATE IT WITH SOUND
1. Lamb looking for herd 1. Record night sounds, create of sheep a certain darkness in room, sound of crickets, howling wolf in distance, running stream.
2. Looking everywhere 2. Crowd sounds, traffic, feet walking
3. Other religions 3. Chants, funeral music, eastern instruments
4. God keeps an eye on 4. Record counting aloud from everyone and knows when 1 to 99 one is missing
5. How do I find God to 5. Song “One Lost Shoe” or to get His help similar appropriate song
6. Lord looks for His 6. Record crying out to the Lord lost lambs and weeping sounds of lonely, lost person.
7. Lord sends someone to 7. Record verse 3 of “One Lost to tell us where He is Sheep”
8. Compare the plan of 8. Play soothing, gentle music salvation to a shepherd taking his sheep home with him
9. Sing-along-song “He 9. Record song twice. so you can Touched Me” talk during the first time
through, then begin singing along without having to pause
METHOD 2 – MAGIC
Begin a lesson using magic by making a statement to the class to the effect that impossibilities are possible with God. Use parts of your own testimony in demonstrating God’s magical power, if you feel led.
THE LESSON ILLUSTRATING IT WITH MAGIC
1. Jesus said it was easier 1. Can a man walk through a for a camel to pass piece of paper 8 1/2 x 11″?
through the eye of a A piece of paper that size needle than for a rich can be cut into a long ribbon man to enter the king- and then stick together so dom of heaven. But that a giant ring is formed. things that seem impossible to us are simple when God is the master mind who shows us how it is done.
2. We think sin can never 2. Get an ordinary pop bottle. get ahold of our life. Pass it around the class to
We can stop it anytime to show it is empty. Have a we want. But it grabs piece of cork cut completely
and imprisons us. round. Shove it slyly into the bottle and insert a rope. The cork will fall down again the rope and keep it from falling out. You can even tug on the rope but it will not come out.
Only God can break the Then push the cork back and the holds of sin release the rope.
METHOD 3 – DRAMA
There is so much in the Bible that can be dramatized that problems can arise if the teacher tries to dramatize a scripture that is not appropriate. Pick a scripture that is simple, dramatic and not too
complicated, such as the conversion of Saul.
CONVERSION OF SAUL
a. Participating students should be selected the previous Sunday. Each student must bring the necessary prop or other tool to complete his part;
b. Tape a pre-recorded narration (by teacher);
c. Limit the drama group to 3 to 5 students;
d. Actors: Ananias, Saul, Magistrate. Also, need a light man.
e. Each actor needs to read the scripture so that he knows the story;
f. Actors are responsible for assembling a costume.
g. The light man has to obtain appropriate equipment and should learn how to operate it.
h. Students and teacher need to meet once (plan ahead so that everything can be accomplished in one practice session only) during the week or Saturday to rehearse.
Magistrate: sits behind his desk and listens to Saul’s proposal, then after considering the proposal, gives him letters permitting him to arrest and jail Christians- As Saul leaves he laughs. Ananias: prays when he hears that Saul is headed for Damascus; later, when Saul is repenting, he has the vision and hears the voice of God and tries to argue with God. Show Ananias praying for Saul and eventually baptizing him. In the last scene Ananias listens to Saul as he preaches and rejoices.
Saul of Tarsus: Appears at magistrate’s office, walks away with the threatening letters.
Blinded by the light;
Groping and feeling his way; praying during his conversion;
Preaching in Jerusalem, where the magistrate is listening in surprise horror;
Ananias listens in praises and worship
METHOD 4 – FIELD TRIP
Take your youngster to a construction site. You can visit the site on Saturday to help yourself prepare for the class and lay out the points you want to emphasize. You should seek out a construction site that suits your purpose, one that’s large with quite a bit of the building already underway.
You want to show the comparison between God and a builder, with us as the building that God is working on. But you can also use other parallels. We can also be seen as the workers, toiling in the Lord’s grand design.
As you look at the building site, you will see how the ground is dug out so the foundations can be poured, with beams added to give additional support to the structure. Notice the heavy equipment that stands silent until it is ready to be used.
METHOD 5 – PUPPETS
Puppets are a great tool to be used in teaching, but you can overdo it. If you know how to do puppet shows, use wisdom in making your presentations and they will be more effective. If you are going to use puppets in a particular class, introduce them at the beginning and again at the end and perhaps briefly in the middle of the lesson also. But don’t make the puppets your whole lesson. Remember, they are only an instrument to bring the lesson home to your class.
It is important that you attend classes on “How To” work with puppets and that you keep in practice. Use a mirror at home when you’re practicing. Develop a range of voices. Don’t be afraid to pretend and act silly.
Children love it.
METHOD 6 – LECTURE
Most Sunday School teachers are very uncertain when it comes to giving a lecture. A few people can give a good lecture off the top of their heads, but the beginning teacher may find himself in need of a lecture method. Here are some that are easy follow and will keep your students listening with interest:
1. Start out with a happy tone; it draws the student to you;
2. Never tell a joke that is not relevant to the lesson. A joke along the same lines as your subject matter is an asset, however, as long as it’s funny;
3. Now, present the lesson. Illustrate: your subject by seeming to almost stop the lecture in order to tell compelling, truelife stories that illustrate the truth you are presenting;
4. Personal applications are important and you will need to interject the personal note from time to time, particularly with subject matter that doesn’t seem to yield to that sort of treatment.
At the end of your lecturing, introduce an unforgettable story that will be the hook for your topic, so that when he leaves, your student takes the subject with him and never forgets it.
METHOD 7 – SLIDES
Do not rule out a slide presentation cause you don’t have a camera or your own slide collection. You can probably assemble a good set of the appropriate slides just by asking around among your church congregation. Libraries also sometimes may have slides you can use.
Be sure in advance that the frames are labeled with the owners name, if the slides don’t belong to you.
Use your imagination in putting together your presentation. Slides of fields and water, woods and purple canyons can all be used to weave the way towards the natural, present day application of a Bible story.
Don’t be afraid to use contrasting material in your slide show. It will make the presentation stronger, and the lesson will be stamped on the mind so that it leaves a lasting impression.
METHOD 8 – TEACHING BY MOVIES
Possibly the most important aspect of using a movie for your class is making certain that you can review the material. Christian bookstores and other christian establishments almost always will let you review a film. We suggest you do not rent by mail unless you are sure of the content of the film.
You may want to give an introduction to the class before you show the film. If there is a lot that you wish to say about the movie, save most of it for after the presentation. Keep your introductory remarks brief.
You may want to increase the students interest by quizzing them after the film. You can make up a test in advance with questions like “when did the star of the movie first make a step to God and what did the star do?”
Award prizes to the best students, but try and set up the situation so everyone can win something.
After the test is over and prizes have been awarded, you can summarize the movie to make any points you feel are important, and also clear up any confusion that may still exist in the minds of the students.
METHOD 9 – TEACHING BY GAMES
Increase my Faith is a game that you can play with your class in teaching them about faith. Take the title of your lesson, INCREASE MY FAITH, and using each letter of the title, have your class list the things that will increase their faith. Like this: Inspiration, Name of Jesus, C…
A dart game (not with sharp points). You can actually pick up your lesson by letting the students throw darts. Change the board to become:
2. Attending Church
3. Born Again
Teach your lesson as a dart is thrown, showing that your goal is God.
METHOD 10 – FELT
Using a flannel board, try creating your own pictures by adhering pictures to flannel.
You are provided a good means of elaborating during your lesson by simply adding one piece of flannel at a time, pausing to teach before adding the next piece, then adding the piece when you come to your point.
A good, complete flannel graph set can be obtained commercially from:
Educational Felt Aids
400 College Avenue
Angwin, California 94508
A visit to their display room is well worth the effort.
METHOD 11 – STORYTELLING
Pick a story that you know well.
Prepare by setting up some props like a rocking chair, lamp, and a small table.
Put something on that changes your role from teacher to storyteller and your room has now become a story room.
Practice voice emphasis for your story, letting your voice become the different characters, a shading your inflection to give meaning and expression to the narrative.
METHOD 12 – RESEARCH
First, the teacher needs to build a library of research materials.
You must have: study Bibles, concordances, and a Bible dictionary. These can be picked up without too much trouble or time involved.
You can add: atlases, travel books, books on history and religion and biographies, commentaries and even some novels on religious subjects. Don’t bite off more than you can chew though.
Prepare yourself for the lesson by reading up on the subject thoroughly and by finding the relevant material that correlates with it in your reference collection.
In your class, the students can look up the things the Bible says about your subject and if you have other references, they can look there too.
Give the students all the help; they need and question them to make sure they are understanding the lesson.
METHOD 13 – VOCATIONAL
Invite a painter or a potter to give a demonstration to your class. Have the artist make his pot or picture while you are teaching your subject. Show how a painting is like life itself, with every portion of it fitting
into the total spectrum. It is all inter-related, and every part is necessary to the whole. One portion may not make sense at the time, but when it is finished, it will all blend together – but only if we let God do the painting.
The potter – watch how he pounds, and molds, his hands so sure of themselves as they guide and shape the material. We are clay in the hands of the Lord, to be molded and shaped.
If you go to the effort to get an artist to come to your class it can be one of your most exciting presentations!
METHOD 14 – TEACHING THE LESSON BY CHOICE
Let students know before next Sunday that you are going to study whatever the choice of study is for the next week, so they can have time to think about it.
The next week when the class comes together have them begin to express themselves about what they would like to know and understand about God, their personal life, or unanswered questions concerning a particular problem.
Go through the whole class,allowing each child to speak on what they want, and then you teaching from it.
With this exercise, you not only teach the students, you learn about them and their needs and how to accommodate them.
If one of the students makes a wisecrack instead of being sincere, get to whatever is behind the remark and address yourself to that.
Teach from the standpoint that these are precious times (right at this moment) and when we have the opportunity to get the answers we need, we shouldn’t waste it.
Sometimes self-consciousness causes a child to react this way, and if you can make them feel at ease, you can then finally get valuable reaction from the difficult student.
METHOD 15 – MAKE BELIEVE
1. You pretend you have an invisible friend. You talk with your friend as if there is a two way conversation. Your friend is curious about your class and what they know about discipline. So you tell your class what your invisible friend wants to know. (As the children if they want to meet your friend – play it up a lot, like a real person.)
2. The Story: Tell the story about Saul and what happened when he didn’t obey.
3. After telling the story, ask the children how they view and react to discipline. Verbalize and expound on everything they say.
4. Have your invisible friend ask how children react when they get angry. Then you can continue to carry on a two way conversation with your friend about that also.
5. Finally, discuss the right and wrong ways of dealing with anger and right and wrong about obedience. When children realize that they are wrong they feel sorry, don’t they? The teacher should verbalize this to the invisible friend also.
6. Let the children know the invisible friend is crying and is repenting because he wants everything right with God.
METHOD 16 – THE SERIES
A series of related lessons can be a very effective method of teaching Sunday School. One example is the series I taught on the 26 organs of the body, taking them one at a time each week. By the end of the series we were very knowledgeable about the human body and about our spiritual walk also.
You have to be very systematic when you set-out on a course of that length, so I devised some basic strategies for dealing with the material and I’ve included them here:
A. I always drew a large picture of the organ to be discussed.
B. I explained its amazing function in the body and how was designed by God.
C. Told what things were harmful to it and what nourished it.
D. Then I related to the class something in our spiritual life that had a similar function to the organ.
E. Then went into a discussion of what was nourishing and what was harmful in terms of this spiritual function.
EXAMPLE: THE SKIN
a. a moisture sack so we don’t dry out;
b. germ deterrent (when our skin is punctured, we get infected);
c. temperature controller (sweating cools us off);
d. warning device (skin breaks out when germs contact it);
e. a covering that regenerates quickly for healing
f. contains sensitive nerves for danger signals.
LIKENED TO LOVE IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
a. keeping us pliable;
b. keeping out the world;
c. love will keep us balanced;
d. when we cease to love we are backsliding;
HEART – Church attendance
NOSE – Prayer Life
LUNGS – Holy Spirit
METHOD 17 – CHALKBOARD
The chalkboard can be a very effective way of making a point. It is important to know how often to use the chalkboard and when. Here is an example in which the board is used sparingly, but still creates a dramatic
Going to Heaven: Tell the children about the Lamb’s Book of Life, then draw an open book on the blackboard and put the names of a few of the children on the pages of the book. Now, if you tell your story the Lamb’s Book of Life will remain on the chalkboard and in the minds of your students.
Explain that everything in our life is recorded, (chalk in some x’s on your book).
Explain that those who are not going to heaven will not have their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Tell a story about children going into the grocery store and stealing candy and cookies,etc. (Put down x’s)
Give further emphasis to your point by using the example of a department store, where bad children shoplift small articles.
Give another example, of not returning the proper change when adults send you on an errand. (Chalk in more x’s.)
But when the students repent of their sins and get baptized, their bad deeds are erased from the book of deeds (Erase x’s.)
Once your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life – once you are saved – the important thing is to make sure that your name stays in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
METHOD 18 – LEARNING BY TEACHING
For next Sunday divide the lesson into portions.
Ask for volunteers from the class to teach each of the parts.
Let the students know they can call on you are anyone they want for help in preparing their part. Because all the portions are being presented in one class, you may have to work more on length and timing.
Call on Saturday morning to be sure they have prepared for tomorrow and also at this time give them reassurances.
When Sunday morning class comes, talk to your class first to bring it together before calling on the first “teacher”. Your lesson slots have been divided equally among the participating students, but if one student falls short of the allocated time, you can fill in by taking over temporarily to make additional remarks.
Timing is important, and you want the last student to be put up right on schedule and not too early.
METHOD 19 – FLIP CHART
Flip chart teaching calls for large, blank sheets of paper preferably, but not necessarily bound together.
Pre-trace outlines of a head (do not include ears or hair in the outline).
Then, as you tell the story, put in eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hair and ears to create different expressions.
This is only one idea for flip chart teaching.
Use a circle for the head of a stick figure, adding in the above plus stick hands, legs and body.
METHOD 20 – QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Tell the lesson for the week in great detail, with some dramatics to impress the story on the children’s mind.
Tell them you will give them a treat for their answers.
Show a special treat for using exact or almost exact phrases that the teacher uses.
Make sure each child gets something for whatever effect they made. If there was something humorous about the child’s answer, for example, use that as a reason for awarding a prize.
METHOD 21 – TAPE TEACHING
Set a tape recorder in the center of your class table. Turn it on and tell the class “Let’s sing and record it just for fun and then listen to it to see how we sounded.”
Sing all together, a song that everyone will enjoy.
Now play it back to them listening to them laugh and make comments about their singing. But don’t turn off the recorder. Now teach the lesson, encouraging lots of comments from the class.
When you have finished turn off the recorder and play it all back to them. The reaction will be priceless.
Also, by proceeding this way, you are teaching the class twice, a good method for material that needs to be gone over more than once. But remember to cut your teaching time in half, so that you’ll have equal time for listening.
Portions of the tape you have made can be used again in the future lessons when you want to make an illustration.
METHOD 22 – PROGRESSIVE TEACHING
With this method, you make your Sunday School class a smorgasbord where the students get to be taught by many teachers.
All the teachers in department need to get together to plan this lesson in advance.
Each one of them takes a part of the lesson. You don’t want to arrange the class sequentially, however, as you did in Learning By Teaching. In this arrangement, you want all the teachers to be teaching simultaneously, rather than in sequence.
This is supposed to be a festive occasion, so have music play when it is time for each class to move to the table of the next teacher.
When the lesson is over, each class has rotated back to the beginning, so that they are once again with their own teacher.
METHOD 23 – CURRENT EVENTS
Prepare the class by announcing next week’s lesson in advance. “We are going to study”:
1. five wise and five foolish
2. sheep and goats, etc.
“Now students, this week clip out articles or advertisements that show a christian life of good. Also cut out flips showing a worldly life of sin.”
On the day of the lesson have two large boards prepared. One black and one white.
Have the students pin their contributions to the proper board.
The teacher will need to call students Saturday morning to remind them of their homework.
Also, the teacher had better bring clippings in case the students don’t bring enough with them.
This lesson will give your students a chance to see that the teachings of Jesus are still fitting in today’s world.
METHOD 24 – STUDENT PARTICIPATION
Have students be different sins – choose about four sins.
Then have four students be each of the sins.
Each student stands up and tells the class about himself.
Example: “I’m lies.” The student then tells the class what a liar is and does.
Then tell the class they must help the liar through the Word of God.
Have the class find the scriptures that apply to lying, so they can tell the liar what he should do.
Do this for each sin.
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