Saturday, January 10, 2015

Words Of Encouragement Along The Way #15 - Simplify

Certainly, there are times when a Bible teacher takes a look at an activity and thinks, "Wow! That's difficult!" Only the Bible teacher knows what their students are able to accomplish in a short amount of Bible class time. Perhaps the students are young and are unable to finish certain tasks, or maybe the students' abilities to write or even form letters is at a lower level. May a suggestion be offered? Simplify! 

How To Simplify a Bible Activity:

  • If the Bible teacher determines that the activity may be a little too involved for their students, it is a good idea to break down the project into smaller, easier jobs.  For example, drawing a man may be a difficult concept for a student. Break down the job. Draw a circle on the white board or chalkboard for a head; draw a triangle for the clothing; add arms and legs; complete with details, such as hair and face. 
  • An easy fix is to only hand out one part of the activity at a time, so the student is not confused with many parts. For example, if there is a background, an ocean, and clouds in the project, only hand one piece of paper to the student at a time. Glue that part on the background and 'build' the project until it is finished. 
  • Writing Bible verses or sentences on a Bible activity may be a hard task for small hands. Perhaps typing the words on paper in advance, and then having the student cut the sentences in strips may be a way to help the student finish the project more quickly and without much frustration. 
  • If cutting is difficult for your students, the Bible teacher may want to cut out the more detailed items before the Bible class or perhaps cutting around the items may be easier.
  • The same idea works for drawing difficult objects.  The Bible teacher can definitely draw an occasional difficult object in advance and then the student may finish the coloring and cutting tasks. 
  • If there is any confusion over what the student has drawn or whom they have drawn, the student may want to label the drawing. For example, if it would be unclear who was swallowed by a great fish, the student could draw the man, then label him "Jonah" to avoid confusion or questions from others asking, "What is that?" 
  • Using an "assembly line" approach to art is not as much fun as having freedom to create, color and cut, but it is certainly quicker! If the Bible teacher finds that Bible class time is running out, assign jobs one at a time, quickly advancing to the next portion of the project. 
There are two important factors in a good Bible activity. The most important factor is that the Bible activity should be biblical. Even though the Bible teacher has simplified the project, make certain that book, chapter, and verse is found somewhere on the project, preferably in the child's own handwriting.  

The other factor is that the emphasis should always be on students doing their own work, or at least as much as possible. Parents know the difference in the Bible teacher's work and their own child's work. Remember that parents do not necessarily treasure the Bible teacher's artwork, but they will always treasure their own child's artwork, even if it is askew, spelled incorrectly, and globbed with glue.