Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No Sunday School Curriculum? No Problem!

Our kids at church participate in the local Bible Bowl.  For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, area church kids  meet at a central location once per month and have a competition over  predetermined Bible texts.  This year we are doing the life of Jesus, and we cover three chapters per month.  On Wednesday nights, we help our kids prepare, one chapter at a time.  For the past year and a half, I've been working with the first and second graders.

Before that, I'd always used whatever curriculum the church provided when teaching a Bible class.  I might alter it a bit, but I had some kind of guide for stories, reviews, and crafts.  Now, however, all I have is a chapter of the Bible, and I need to create my own curriculum to go with it.  In the past, this would have been a daunting task, but there are literally thousands of resources on the Internet to make teaching Bible class easier, even for the creatively challenged (like me!).  Today we are going to share some of those resources.

These are resources that include complete lesson plans:

  • At her blog Debbie Jackson has years worth of material for elementary aged kids.  The site is searchable, allowing the teacher in a hurry to find the lesson that matches what she is scheduled to teach.  Also if you are putting your own curriculum together, she has entire lesson series complete with memory verses, crafts and worksheets. She also has a special section with lessons for preschoolers!
  • I've long used the DLTK site for chore charts, but they also have free Sunday School lesson plans for many Bible stories. These lesson plans include opening activities/crafts (with free templates!), simplified Bible stories for the younger kids, and memory verse posters you can print.  There are also coloring sheets and printable puzzles.
  •  This site has lessons for preschoolers as well as teens, including skits, templates for crafts, and games.  It is run by a lady who has years of experience making her own lessons, which she wisely kept and is sharing free of charge. 
  • This is another great free resource with multiple lessons from the Old and New Testament, complete with games, craft templates, and activities.  The great part about these lessons is that it has an "at home" page that parents can do with their kids that is easy to do for busy parents.  It includes reading the story, answering a few questions, and memorizing a short verse. It's a great way to get parents involved!
Let's face it, though.  Sometimes you'll need to teach a lesson that won't be in a typical online resource.  Last year we went through the kings of the Israel and Judah. When was the last time you saw a ready made lesson about Rehoboam?  Here are some helpful hints for going off the beaten path.

  • Pinterest.  Pinterest is actually good for planning a typical lesson or one that is a little different because you can get ideas to fit your own lesson. Here are some search tips.
    • Be specific.  If you are just looking for a craft, plug that in your search. 
    • Search by board instead of by pin.  Some enterprising Pinteresters (including Helene!) have entire boards devoted to a unit of Sunday School.
    • Don't get overwhelmed and spend hours on Pinterest!  You'll never plan a lesson that way!
  • This is a word search maker.  You can enter your own words, tell it how  you want them to appear (up and down, side to side, diagonal, backwards) and it will make a word search for you.  You can make it as big or small as you want, as long as the words will fit.  
  • This is a crossword puzzle maker.  You can have as many as 35 clues, choose whether to have a word bank or not, and change the size to make it fit on one page.  
  • This has several jigsaw puzzle templates for printing on a single page.  You can print a template, and write the memory verse on top or print an image over the puzzle template (like a coloring sheet for the story) before cutting it out for the kids to assemble.  The website recommends pasting the sheet to cardboard, but printing it on cardstock will work in a pinch.  
  • Google Image Search.  A great way to find coloring sheets is to do a google image search.  I even found a Rehoboam coloring page. 
  • From time to time, we'll do a review day, and this tool has been my kids' favorite.  It's a jeopardy game that you can create with any questions you like for as many teams as you need.  Since I don't have internet in our classrooms, I've downloaded the flash version to use on my laptop.  If you do have internet access, this tool is even better.  You can use it on a tablet and even embed pictures and videos.
I hope you find these resources to be as helpful as I have.  Of course, this is only a small sampling of all the free resources out there, not to mention the ones that are available for purchase at reasonable prices.  If you have a wonderful Sunday School Resource, we'd love for you to share it in the comments below!


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