Friday, February 28, 2014

Visual Aids - #3 Flannelgraph

If you were curious when you were young, perhaps you discovered that certain types of fabric would "stick" to itself. Not every type of material would stay in place, but two types of cloth definitely would:  flannel and felt.  Both fabrics have a rough texture and will temporarily stick to the same kind of fabric. For example, flannel will attach itself to flannel as felt will fasten to felt. This is the idea behind flannel or felt storyboards.  By cutting small pieces of fabric into shapes and placing them upon a board covered with the same material in that they can be used to tell a Bible lesson. Personally, I prefer using felt fabric rather than flannel due to the lower cost, but both materials are recommended for this type of visual aid.

Flannelgraph is a unique type of visual aid that has many strengths. It is something different than chalking on a chalkboard or drawing on paper, therefore, it holds the interest of young children. Once you create a flannel or felt story, it will be many years before it ages.  It is extremely versatile, only being hindered by your imagination.

It is easy to plan a lesson by using this method of storytelling: First, read the verses from the Bible, noting objects that you may be able to cut out of fabric.  Cut out the chosen shapes from the fabric.  Next, you need a board. Flannelboards may be purchased at school supply stores or it is relatively easy to make a board.  Simply find a piece of cardboard large enough for your story.  I have used a 30" x 30" board which was large enough for all to see in the class.  Place a piece of your chosen type of fabric that is four inches larger all around than your board on a large table with the piece of cardboard on top of the material. Fold each end as you would a package and tape with a strong tape like book tape or duct tape. Continue folding and taping until all four ends are covered. Now that you have a board and your cut-out shapes, practice telling the story as you place the shapes on your board. Practice until you can easily tell the story.

Some Bible teachers have access to cutting systems called Ellison Die Cuts or Accucut.  Both systems are not inexpensive, and you can save a lot of money by cutting everything yourself. This type of visual aid takes advanced planning, but I do hope you find it useful as I do.  It is nice to have a variety of visual aids.  The children will be encouraged, and so will you!  Try it!