By Christine O'Brien
Over the last two weeks, we explored the opening and closing pages of every Hearts Alive lesson. In these final two blog posts, we’ll look at what’s in the middle—first in a Sunday School lesson and then next week, in a Children’s Church lesson. This blog covers a typical Sunday School lesson. The good news is, no matter what age group—pre-k/kindergarten, lower elementary, or upper elementary—the layout of the lessons is exactly the same.
First we begin with the Welcome Activity. Often a hands-on activity to help engage your class from the moment they walk in the door, it may be a simple game, a fun experiment, or a hunt for objects around the room, depending on the age group. No matter what, our step-by-step directions make it easy and fun.
The great thing about our curriculum is that you can be creative with it. You know your class! Easily adapt any activity to work best for your group.
Next comes the Lesson Introduction. Here you gather your group into the teaching area and help them get excited about the upcoming Scripture story . You’ll do that with a fun “hook” or intriguing intro. Then, you’ll tell the Scripture story—a portion of God’s Word presented in a way that meets children right where they are. And there’s great variety! One week you may illustrate the story with simple props or photos. Another week your class may help tell the story with movement or fun sound effects.
This variety and interaction really helps children remember the lesson. It sticks in their hearts. And that’s a perfect lead-in to the next elements of the lesson: the Story Discussion.
The children will gather to answer simple questions about the Bible story. This time helps you, the leader, see how much they’ve grasped, and it offers a time to answer any questions they have or clarify the lesson’s take-away. Don’t worry! We’ve included the answers, though some questions will be open-ended.
After the Story discussion children will enjoy an engaging activity to reinforce the lesson—or teach the week’s memory verse. It may be a craft with photo illustrations, a lively game, a cool experiment, or even a skit for those who want to take part in the drama. Drama provides a great gateway to draw in young hearts. After all, God’s Word is powerful, exciting, and full of history-changing moments! It’s the furthest thing from dull you could ever imagine.
Some weeks you’ll have more than one activity to help the lesson stick, depending on the time each one takes. You can choose to do one or the other, or both. It’s all up to you. Remember, the chart in the opening pages gives you the approximate time for each lesson segment so you can plan ahead what you want to include.
That brings us to the end! The Closing. Here the class gathers once more to remind them what you’ve learned together and to send them out with a prayer and a smile.
Every lesson also includes a Snack Time and time to enjoy it. Some weeks have snacks themed to the scripture story—or simply choose any snack your class enjoys. If Snack Time is not best for your group, omit it.
We’ve just covered the Core Elements included in every Sunday School lesson. Look for next week's blog where we will conclude this series with an in depth look inside a Children’s Church lesson.
Hearts Alive Sunday School and Children's Church provide liturgical congregations a highly-anticipated children’s curriculum that combines captivating content, lectionary alignment, and Gospel focus for children ages 3-12. For those seeking to engage children in a fun, age-appropriate application to the Revised Common Lectionary, Hearts Alive is a three-year course of study to give children a strong overview of the story of salvation and how it ties to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Hearts Alive supports and elevates liturgical traditions and the church calendar while using clear, contemporary learning techniques to present the Word of God. Learn more in our online community.
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