Sing-Along: Teaching The Christmas Story

W hen teaching the Christmas story, asking students to sing along with popular carols captivates the entire class with the joy of that long-ago night. We are drawn into one of the most important events in the history of the world, the moment the Divine became human. Each carol and story gives our spiritual ancestors–the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and the Wise Men–a delightful way to reach out and touch us. The music connects our hearts to their hearts. The stories connect our minds to their minds, and we have a you-are-there experience.

This classroom lesson plan is also used as the demonstration lesson in the Teachers Workshop (Part III).

The Christmas Story — Nativity Scene
Download Full-Size Image
Continue reading Sing-Along: Teaching The Christmas Story

Hymn Study: On Eagle’s Wings

Hymn Study: On Eagle's Wings

<em>On Eagle's Wings</em><br /> <small>• Listen to this hymn.</small>
When we embark on a hymn study of On Eagle’s Wings, we soon realize how well this song conveys the experiences of the ancient Israelites. It transcends a reading of the scriptures.

Usually, when turning to their store of teaching methods, religion teachers overlook hymn study. That is too bad, because the songs we sing yield a great many answers to important questions. In any given text, we may wonder: was Jesus offering comfort, courage, or inspiration? Was Moses warning the Israelites or urging them to persevere? If we could hear their tone of voice, we would know their feelings. We simply cannot get this information by reading from the written page. Only a hymn study of On Eagle’s Wings reveals the true emotions of the people in that time.

Continue reading Hymn Study: On Eagle’s Wings

Storytelling: The Good Samaritan

Jesus was the master of storytelling. The Good Samaritan is recognized as one of the greatest teaching stories in history. During this workshop we will discover the elements that make this parable such a powerful story. Then we will use our storytelling skills to compose a modern-day version that delivers the same message as The Good Samaritan.

Storytelling: The Good Samaritan
Jesus delivers The Good Samaritan.
Continue reading Storytelling: The Good Samaritan

Embellish A Parable: The Good Samaritan

Embellish A Parable - The Good Samaritan
Embellish Parable Of The Good Samaritan  image
W hen we embellish a parable like The Good Samaritan, students will better understand the concepts of compassion and mercy within Jesus’s well-known story. Few teaching methods come as close to creating a you-are-there-moment.

Why and when should teachers embellish a parable?

Learning intensifies when students engage in deeper analysis of a bible story. That is because the struggle involved in this teaching method inspires them to “own” the message of the parable. Studies show that it is the mind’s struggle to understand and create that is the learning process. Struggling causes emotions that change the brain chemistry. It excites the brain of the person who is struggling, which makes it more accepting of ideas and concepts.

Continue reading Embellish A Parable: The Good Samaritan