Hey! In about a dozen weeks I hope to begin uploading the first set of CLAMbake New Testament lessons. Each set is five weeks worth in four age-levels: Upper, Middle and Early Elementary and Preschool. With the lessons are posters, games, activity pages and much more. My colleagues and I are doing the final teach-through now (each lesson in earlier forms have been taught at least twice already to eliminate klinkers).
As promised, I am posting extra tips here. I’m starting now, well before the release date, to make sure I don’t burn out down the road. I am going to talk to you now as though you have a lesson plan in your hand, because by the time you read this, you probably do.
Let’s begin with the UPPER ELEMENTARY Lesson 1: Jesus is Our Friend
I picked that title and topic because this is the week we welcome younger kids into our classes for the first time, a great time to talk about making new friends. Jesus is our very best friend because he is the one who paves the way for us to come to God for salvation and eternal life.
The first thing to do is to make your classroom a welcoming, fun place. Check the Promo Posters CLAModule for posters to hang up. Also highly recommended: Little cupcakes or similar to form a bit of a party atmosphere. The lesson plans don’t mention a snack break, but if they did, the paragraph would look like this:
Cookies: Luscious And Mouthwatering (Notice the CLAM in the heading?)
We have found that a ten-minute break is worth it’s weight in gold when it comes to class demeanor. Kids seem to do better in a class that takes a break in the middle. Teachers, too! On the other hand, don’t waste your money on expensive refreshments—kids this age are not known for their culinary discernment. Having said that, today would be a nice time for a special welcoming treat of some sort.
The Student Notebooks: This first CLAMbake is the kick-off for a year packed with great truth and wisdom from the New Testament. The student notebooks that you begin today make it possible for your kids to treasure God’s Word for a long, long time. Keep the notebooks each week, but have the kids take them home when they graduate at the end of the year.
I do have lockers (shelves, really) for the kids to put their notebooks in. Everything in my classroom is “CLAM” this and “CLAM” that–the lockers are “Cubbyholes, Lockers And Mailboxes.”
The Friendship Chart activity: Whether your students know each other well or not at all, the Friendship Chart notebook page gives them a chance to build relationships and have fun. This activity also provides a lead into the subject of Jesus as friend. The Chart has all the instructions.
Now it’s time to look at Luke 1:1-14. For future lessons you will want full Bibles for each student. Part of the CLAMbake experience this year is gaining familiarity with the Book. Even so, we have provided our own CLAM Bible pages for the student notebooks—a series of Bible stories to help your students comprehend each lesson. Use the CLAM Bible page in the lesson plan to guide your discussion.
The Job passage is a beautiful look at our Savior Jesus. Job desperately needed a friend. He found the best friend a person could ever have when he turned to the Lord. Incidentally, many Bible scholars think that Job may have lived very early in biblical history. Even so, he seems to have a clear understanding that he had a friend in heaven who served as a go-between bridging the gap between man and God.
How to Build a Bridge: A bridge can consist of two chairs crossed with a bit of plywood, lumber or anything that will work. Place these materials around the building for kids to go find. Once a bridge is built, have kids walk across it. PHOTO OP: Take a picture of the kids on or near their bridge.
MIDDLE ELEMENTARY Lesson 1: Jesus is Our Friend
The “Would You Rather?” game is a lot of fun to play. The kids will want to keep going with it, so feel free to ad-lib as many questions as time allows. Of course, with kids this age, anything gross earns extra points. You know, like “Would you rather have someone accidentally sneeze in your face or in your food?” Never mind, let’s move on…
The Hangman game gives you the opportunity to talk about CLAMbake (the name of your class) and the meaning of CLAM: Christ’s Love And Majesty. Tell the kids that Christ’s Love is everything he says and does, and his Majesty is who he is, the Son of God. Let the kids know that we will spend the year talking about the things Jesus did and said in the Bible and all the great things about him.
A really great thing about Jesus is that he is our very best friend. The Bug Splat game lists many wonderful things Jesus does for us. The game is super fun to play and will have the kids shouting and laughing. And that’s what we want! Remember, we aren’t in church just to have fun, but we USE fun to communicate the gospel to our kids.
After telling the kids a little bit about your life with Jesus, hand out the CLAMazine take-home paper. The CLAMazine features things to do at home, and you can often use one or two of the activities in class if time permits.
EARLY ELEMENTARY Lesson 1: Jesus is Our Friend
After playing “Would you Rather?” ask your learners one more question: “Would you rather be named Luke or Theophilus? Yes, I said Theophilus! Raise your hand if you’d rather be named Luke. Raise your hand if you’d rather be named Theophilus. Let’s read our Bible story, the first little bit of a Bible book called the Gospel of Luke. The book is actually a letter from a man named Luke to his friend Theophilus.”
The Hat Craft: The kids are employing a number of skills such as taping, reading, using stickers, working with partners, thinking about friendship and about Jesus, and sharing snacks. By doing so, the idea that Jesus is our friend is etched into their thinking. Celebrating Christ’s love for us gives you the opportunity to repeat the message of his friendship toward us.
In the CLAMazine: Every issue provides a coloring page for you to use in class if you wish. Because our friend Jesus created everything (see John 1:3), today’s coloring page shows some of the things Jesus made, including trees, hills, the sun, clouds, elephants, birds, fish and people.
In addition to giving you an additional activity or a replacement for one of the others, today’s coloring page brings one more opportunity to talk about our friend Jesus. Point out to your learners that one of the greatest examples of his friendship toward us is the many wonderful things he made for us.
PRESCHOOL Lesson 1: Jesus is Our Friend
The lesson has way more than you need to capture the attention of kids as young as Preschoolers. Choose the ones that work for you. Most lessons won’t have this many, i just had plenty to go around this time.
The Advent Bible covers four lessons with two stories each. So that would be two stories each for lessons 1-4, with the 5th lesson being review (CLAMbake curriculum will be made available in five-lesson increments). The way the Advent Bible works is really fun for kids, and you do not need to worry about which stories they pick; any and all will work on any week.
Preschools being what they are, don’t sweat it if you can’t get them into one large group to do an activity. Just do the activity several times during the hour as different kids become interested.
That’s about it for now. More to follow; stay tuned.