Tips for people using CLAMcentral Sunday School curriculum.
Well first of all, at this time you are NOT using the curriculum because I haven’t released it yet! But I’m posting these comments well in advance so I don’t implode when the time crunch gets in full gear.
I’ve put the finishing touches on the Preschool lesson first this time, so we’ll start with that.
PRESCHOOL Lesson 2
The lesson is very loosely based on selections from John 1. The older age-levels learn from the passage that Jesus is God. In the Preschool, we major on the fact that Jesus is Creator, along with his Father, and that he made us.
My first little tip is to say I can’t emphasize enough that a puppet skit can flop big time if you don’t do it right. Best solution: Have one adult put a puppet on each hand and “play along” as another adult reads the skit. That way, the puppets will be lively and exciting for the kids to watch. Be sure to add your own attention-getting devices (questions, calling kids by their names and so on).
The skit is optional and, if you look closely, an almost word-for-word recital of the Advent Bible stories, but with a few puppet jokes tossed in. You can do both but it is not at all necessary, they are very similar.
The butcher paper activity was a huge hit each time we did it in our classes. The teachers will hang the finished papers on the wall; if you have a dedicated classroom you will likely see it hanging there for months. When you do the activity with the kids, do it at a table or on the floor.
This week’s coloring page (shown above) is educational; it teaches the parts of the face. Let me know if your kids like that sort of thing.
Introduction to the Lesson: Today we do a couple of things that set a precedent for future CLAbakes. First, the kids “take care of business” by working on fancy covers for their Bibles. Then they take a close look at who Jesus really is. Jesus is God! All CLAMbake lessons are built upon this truth.
Crazy Lunacy And Monkeyshines
Hopefully the kids you work with know the Bible’s table of contents upside down and backwards. But just in case…play the Lesson 2 game from the Bible
Wars CLAModule to help train kids to find Bible references. By the end of the year they will be experts. The games make it easy.
Christ’s Love And Majesty
Our main goal at CLAMbake is to teach kids the great Bible truths about our Lord Jesus; reasons to celebrate him in our lives. One obstacle we must eliminate is any aversion our children might have to the Book itself. Poor reading skills, an imposing big black book and so forth are reasons kids might avoid the Bible. We want to make the Bible “user friendly” for our kids, so let’s have the kids take some time to personalize their class Bibles. I like those Christian foam stickers that are available wherever Christian foam stickers are sold (like WalMart maybe).
Creative Learning And Memorization
Now that the “housekeeping” portion of our lesson is complete, let’s get into the real purpose: Who Jesus is. The Gospel of John, chapter 1, is today’s stop, the first of many we will make in the future. As you go over the passages and questions on the Teacher’s CLAM Bible page, help your students to feel a sense of awe as they contemplate the love and majesty of our Lord and Savior.
Once the Concentration game is finished, close in prayer or have a round of prayer, praising God for who He is. Or as we say here at CLAMbake: “Christ’s Love And Majesty.”
Note: CLAMbake is designed to gather steam as it rolls along faster and faster. Soon you will be amazed at how much the kids are learning as the truths of God’s Word are taught more deeply.
The main difference between this Middle Elementary lesson and the Upper version is the addition of a CLAMazine game activity and the subtraction of the Student Notebooks (only ever used in Upper) and no Bible Wars or Bible book covers.
The CLAMazine is a weekly activity sheet that doubles as a take-home paper. You want to encourage parents to go over the sheet with their kids at home. I intentionally make the CLAMazine reading level a little mature for the Middle Elementary kids so that they will enjoy reading it with the help of parents and teachers. The Early Elementary kids also receive the magazine so they very much need mom or dad to read it. There is always a simple coloring page for the younger set to enjoy, however.
In this edition, your students work individually or in pairs to solve a maze-like game that defines the meaning of the name “Jesus.” The meaning is “God’s Saves” (or “God our Savior”). This goes along with the lesson theme and the Biggie Verse, which focuses on the fact that Jesus is God. I want the curriculum to establish that fact very early on so that the kids have a solid base to build a powerful admiration for the Lord. Remember, when a person truly admires Jesus, he or she won’t leave him.
At this age-level I do a super-simplified version of our Bible passage. In this case, the children learn that Jesus had a great friend named John, who wrote a Bible book about Jesus. John called Jesus “The Word.” Our version makes it clear, as did John’s, that Jesus was with God before, during and after creation and is in fact, the Creator.
The students then play a Bible Bingo game that features cartoons of things Jesus made. I’ve learned that, even in my Upper Elementary group, kids love Bible Bingo. In fact, they won’t stop playing until ALL the squares are filled. You might want to recognize not only the first kid to get a Bingo, but the last one as well. And the first kid to get two Bingos. Silly fun that gets kids thinking about another reason to admire Jesus; he made everything including us.
Before the lesson is closed with a coloring page, the kids make handprints on a poster. If you want to go to the time and trouble of using clay or flour to make permanent handprints, that would be great, but I just go with tracings on a poster. The idea is that we were all created by Jesus; together we are his.