The many possibilities of story sequencing

Lots of our resources contain the suggestion of providing children with a set of pictures from the story and ask them to sequence them into the right order. When I started doing this I didn’t realise the potential of this activity.

We do it in groups and so immediately you have the benefits of team work. Straight away there’s some problems to solve, are you going to spread all the pictures out? Does one person hold them and just keep looking through them? Or do you dish them out to everyone in the group? Where will you put your correct sequence? Is there enough room on the table, where will you start it on the table, which direction will your pictures go?Some children are good at looking closely at the pictures to spot the clues, others can see the overall story much better. Making the pictures slightly tricky and perhaps including a few similar ones forces them to look at the details and try to work out exactly which order they come in. It ensures they have an understanding of the characters and the storyline.

Once you have your sequence you can easily extend the activity. They can find their favourite part, or what they think is the most important part. If you take a few pictures out, is the story still complete? Can you miss any bits out and still have the story? You could give them a list of emotions in the story and ask them to put them onto the sequence where they find them. Or ask them to label the emotions in each picture. They could have a list of ‘Christian words or belief’ found in the story (e.g. sin, forgiveness, miracle,) and asked to identify where they happen in the story.  You could ask them to write down all the questions they have about the story and pop them onto the part of the story they apply to.

Taking the sequencing outside adds lots more fun! If you’ve colour coded the picture sets they could have a relay race first to find their set of pictures. How can you stop the wind blowing them away? What will they peg them onto?

And I haven’t tried these out yet but I’m wondering if instead of pictures, we could use snippets of dialogue from the story which they need to put in order. Or emojis? Could they order the emotions they find in the story?

We’ve included pictures to print for sequencing activities for lots of our resources. Enjoy using them in your class.

A quiz for the Ten Commandments

I’ve just added an option for an active quiz into the Ten Commandment resources.  While the discussion has been brilliant in all the classes they’ve not remembered the story as well as I might have hoped. Adding a quiz, perhaps at the start of session two will help to remind them of the story. I’ve suggested using a ‘human buzzer’ format, it always makes for lots of fun alongside the learning.

 

 

Cross Curricular links

We’re really trying to encourage teachers to see the potential for cross curricular links from the stories. Each CPD Session we tell and explore the story and then ask the teachers to brainstorm cross curricular activities they could do with their class. On most of our Bible Story pages you will find a link to a list of these. I’ve just uploaded the one for Daniel and the Lions. Lots of literacy and expressive arts possibilities!

If you have more cross curricular ideas for any of the stories we’d love to hear them.

The Ten Commandments

I still can’t get over the depth of the questions and the thinking children have shown as we’ve explored this story in several second level classes this term. It’s such a great way in to thinking about rules and the need for them, it expands their thinking from their small world to the huge world we’re part of and it helps them reflect on war and the horrific situations they’re sadly seeing on the news so regularly. It gives them space to ask questions. We’re also seeing them develop the skills of debating and listening to different opinions and ideas from their own. So I can’t recommend it enough! We’ve twice this term followed up the sessions with a visit from a local minister, the children had so many questions they needed a set aside time to explore them and hear answers. How faith and religion impacts our world is such an important issue for children to dig into, we need to allow them to have opportunities to have conversations with people of faith.

I’ve updated the resources on the Ten Commandments page and added lots more photos.

 

Where else can I look for resources?

Storytelling and then sequencing the story using pictures from the story are two of the activities we have found children love and gain so much from. Good images are important to get the most out of these activities. The challenge is often where to find those images!

We use this website a lot. It’s fantastic. Very worthwhile having a look. All the resources are free to download.

freebibleimages.org

Questions!

These questions were asked to me by some P4s.

“I don’t believe in God. At least I think I don’t. If he is real why does he allow us to live in nice houses and have lots of food but make others live with nothing?”

“So, why do so many people believe in God? How do they know it’s true? How do they know about God if no-one told them?”

“How do you know God made the world? I thought it was a big bang?”

Great questions!!

And after hearing the story of the Israelites escaping from Egypt, starting with God sending the plaques when Pharaoh refused to let them go, a P6 asked “isn’t that God retaliating against Pharoah, does that mean it’s right to retaliate?”

We moved onto God giving the 10 commandments and the next part of the story where the Israelites despite all God has done start worshiping a gold statue. God punishes those people.

“Why should God punish people when they don’t obey him? Is he just selfish wanting everyone to only worship him?”

I directed them to think about all God had done for the people. Wasn’t he right to expect their worship and thanks?

“Oh, that’s like when my big sister tidied my little sisters room and she never said thank you. She just messed it up again.”

It is brilliant to see children thinking so deeply and exploring these big questions. We just need to give them a reason to start thinking about them and permission to explore them and possibly disagree with us. As they listen, process, ask questions and answer each others questions they are not just learning about Christianity, they are learning to think for themselves and developing the confidence to express their opinions about a whole variety of issues. I think it’s great!

 

Heart and Soul Festival

Each year as part of the Church of Scotland’s ‘General Assembly’ (kind of like a big ministers conference and leadership meeting) there is a festival in Princess Street Gardens called Heart and Soul. http://www.heartandsoul.org.uk/  We were invited to be part of that festival giving us an opportunity to showcase the Ten Must Know Bible Stories Project.

We had a wonderful time! 4 of us from St Columba’s Church went down (Sue works for the church leading the project, Shona is a teacher in a local school who have been collaborating with us on the project, and the two girls have both been part of the project in their school). We led a workshop exploring the story of David and Goliath. Everyone got to watch our fantastic new video (which you can see here) and enjoyed some of our activities. A big well done to the two girls who did a fantastic job working with people they didn’t know to help them understand the resources and demonstrating how to make sling shots.

Hopefully this is just the start of us being able to promote our resources to other schools and churches across Scotland.

After our workshop we explored the rest of the festival!

Why do Christians pray?

Exploring the story of Daniel and the Lions gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore the Christian practice of prayer. Daniel prays three times a day and doesn’t stop even when he knows it will have serious consequences for him.

We can explore with the children “What is prayer?” (Talking and listening to God) “Where do Christians pray?” (Anywhere) “When do they pray?” (anytime, every day,) “How do you pray?” (out loud or in your head, you can write prayers or draw prayers or as one boy told me – you can sing prayers, sometimes walking, sometimes sitting quietly, you don’t have to have your eyes shut and hands together) “What do Christians talk about when they pray?” (Anything! I usually suggest an outline of saying thank you, saying sorry and asking for help). And “why do Christians pray?” (Because they know God can help them, because that’s how they get to know God better).

Asking the children to write down everything they think they know about prayer first makes the basis for a great discussion and allows you to gently correct any misconceptions they may have.

Then they can imagine they’re Daniel. What do they think he would have said to God? What we would have said thank you for? What would he have asked God to help him with? With older classes you can encourage them to imagine they’re Daniel at different points in the story – can they empathise with him? What would he have been praying at that point?

As we’ve been exploring this story with several classes this term, it’s struck me that a lovely follow up to this, would be encouraging the children to think about what they’re thankful for in different situations. When life is fun but also when hard things happen. And encouraging them to think – who do they ask for help at different times? Who do they have to support them?

Outdoor Art

One of my favourite activities outside is simply to ask children to work in pairs or small groups to use natural objects to make a picture of the story. I find it works best if I give them a small sheet of material to use as their ‘paper’.

Yesterday I watched a class make pictures from Daniel and the Lions Den. It was lovely to look around and see all the different learning happening.

For some children just learning to talk to your partner and agree on what picture to make was a huge first step! And as the children brought different natural objects over they had to negotiate on what was going to be what in the picture. Was their lion going to have a grassy mane or a leafy mane?

There is of course activity as we run and hunt for objects. We’re learning to move around on an uneven surface with lots of obstacles around. What is a natural object and what isn’t? How do we look after nature? Should we pull things of trees? What is this we’ve found?! What natural objects should we stay away from? Nettles!

We’re recalling the story, considering what was our favourite part. Or sometimes I ask them to make a picture of what they think is the most important part. As they make one picture (in yesterday’s case usually a lion or Daniel), they can be prompted to think more about the story by asking questions like ‘what is happening here?’ ‘who else would be in this part of the story?’ ‘what would the background be like?’

Once we’ve finished we can move round our pictures like an art gallery. Can we explain to our friends what we’ve made? Can we ask questions about each others work? Can we be encouraging to each other?

All our Daniel and the Lions Den resources are here There isn’t much in them yet for outdoor learning – but watch this space, it’s on my to-do list!