Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

24 February 2013

Top Teaching Tips - PREPARE

1.     Pray.  Pray as you read the Bible and prepare the passage you are going to teach. Pray for the children that you will be teaching and their families. If you are teaching Scripture in a school, pray for the classroom teacher, praise God for your access into that school and pray that this access may long continue. Pray for yourself as you prepare and teach your lesson. Pray that God would be at work in the hearts and minds of the kids you are teaching.

2.     Be prepared. The less you need to refer to notes or stumble about in bags and boxes looking for equipment the better. You want to be maintaining eye contact with your kids as much as possible. Take your eyes off them to scurry around in your box and you risk losing control of the class. (I am reminded of that magnificent quote from the movie Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger..."Kindergarten is like the ocean. Never turn your back on it." Wise words.) In preparing, take only what you need. (You don't need to be rifling through your box with last week's leftover colouring pages and story telling props and the wrappers from the prizes from a fortnight ago.) Pack only what you will need for that day - and that includes one or more five minute fillers in case you need to fill in some time.

 Five Minute Fillers

Always have a stash of blank paper on hand. Draw a picture about today’s story. Give it some momentum by adding some element of competition:–
* draw this only using blue and green textas or
* draw this but you only have three minutes and seventeen seconds (and time them!) or
* draw this but in the picture you need to include... (Give a list. For example, if the story was Jesus fishing with the disciples the picture must include a boat, Jesus, two disciples and 27 unique fish.)

See how many times someone can say the current memory verse (or some other phrase) with their tongue stuck out and a marshmallow, mintie or smartie balanced on it without dribbling in a fixed time. Give a few children a go and make it into a mini-competition.

In your preparations, generate a list of 20 questions related to the story. Then:-
* draw a naughts and crosses game on the board. Divide the class into two teams. Ask the questions and if the team gets the question right they can place a naught/cross onto the board or
* draw a picture of a staircase with ten steps. Have a picture of a person (or just use a magnet on the whiteboard) and with each question correctly answered, move up one step. If the answer is wrong go back a step. They win if they get to the top of steps before your questions run out – you win if you get to the end of your questions and they’re not at the top. Throw in the occasional hard question to keep it interesting or
* play Heads and Tails with a set of twenty true or false questions.

Teach a new song. If you don’t like singing in front of crowds then let the CD do the teaching for you. Colin Buchanan is very helpful like that.

Work on a memory verse.

Timed challenges .

3.     As you prepare for a lesson if you don’t like the sound of a suggested activity (a game, a song, a craft idea, a way of presenting the story) because it is boring, cheesy, beyond your class or too simple for them or maybe it requires too much movement around the room and actually your class responds better to staying put at their desks, then leave it out of the lesson. You won’t pull off that part of the lesson successfully if you feel uncomfortable about it. You know your children – pick activities that you know they will respond to well.
This is permission to not use every single aspect of a prepared lesson.

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