Friday, June 20, 2014

Bulletin Board - Prayer

Being uncertain exactly how to insert a blog in the middle of already 'blogged' blogs, I am adding a bulletin board into the mix every once in a while. It would be nice to have the Prayer board located near a lesson about prayer, but it looks like everything is entered by dates. Final decision: I am adding a bulletin board just like songs are added...whenever I have a new one!
Unlike previous bulletin boards on this blog, there are no exact dimensions, colors, materials, etc.for this bulletin board on Prayer which was used in a Vacation Bible School a few years back. The message on today's blog is how to create a friendly, inviting, yet biblical environment that is clearly understood by all.

Perhaps, the first step is to choose a theme for your classroom and to think about how many boards it would take to support that theme.  This is a pretty easy task for a Vacation Bible School since a typical Vacation Bible School has five main thoughts, one lesson for each day of the week. In this example, "Prayer" was the chosen as the VBS theme for this classroom. There were five main lessons to support that theme.  For example, the lessons below were selected to enlarge the thought of Prayer:

  • "I can Jesus" 
  • "I can say Thank You"  
  • "I can pray...when I need help" 
  • "I can pray...for others" 
  • "I can pray...and God hears me" 
Dividing the area that you have selected to display your bulletin boards into five lessons can be an extremely helpful tool. Everyone in the class is on the same page and everyone knows where they are headed that week! Huge letters "I CAN PRAY..." are stapled in the middle of the wall, supporting each lesson. (I think I would even use larger letters if I used this type of board again.)

The hard part may be in thinking up a visual aid or 'picture' for an abstract idea. Here, the first lesson was not difficult: Jesus was created on bended knee in the Garden of Gethsemane. Crumpling paper and folding leaves in half can add a nice 3-D effect.

The second board, too, was easier than others by displaying items for which we can be thankful, i.e. flowers, food, rain, home and family,safety, and good health (yes, those are band-aids and Advil sharing space beside a copy of Norman Rockwells' Doctor and the Doll). Here, 'real' items are used to create interest, such as cotton, empty food containers, silk flowers, etc.

The next lesson was a little more abstract. Thinking like a child, thunder and lightning might be a fear they might share with this bulletin board. Again, 'real' items are used, i.e. pajama top, small blanket, cotton for the cloud, and small stuffed animal. By creating interesting bulletin boards, children are drawn into a lesson that could be very plain. 

By using a world map and paper-doll children from different countries, the students understand that praying for others may include people in faraway countries, not only their own family and friends. Others in difficult situations away from home may also need their prayers. On the bulletin board below, the 'children' were purchased at a school supply store and the map was bought at a grocery store.

The last lesson for the last day of Vacation Bible School was perhaps the hardest for this Bible teacher. After much thought, a shiny mylar material was chosen for the children's faces in which different-sized VBS students could see their own reflections and was a good visual aid for this topic. Cotton, cellophane, layered butcher paper grass and store-bought butterflies completed the board.

These ideas can be easily applied to any subject. We have just finished our study on Joshua. We could have chosen five or six main lessons and applied this same thinking to our walls. 

Is it work? Yes! Is it worth it? YES! The environment that you create in your classroom can last in the memories of small children for a lifetime! Don't be afraid to think out of the box...but remember to keep it biblical. Always have book, chapter, and verse for everything in your room.  Keep up the good work!