Symbols of Lent

Today in rotation Sunday school our fourth and fifth graders were in the “Galaxy of God,” which is our computer lab. Our teachers showed and discussed several different symbols of land, and then the students use the program Kid Pix to draw these symbols. Rather than end the lesson there, or print them out, we use the free iPhone app “Shadow Puppet” to take pictures and then have the students narrate, explaining what they had drawn on their screens.

Three students were involved in the creation of each short video. One student pushed all the commands on the iPhone (including taking the photo), another student shared a short introduction, and the third student described their drawing.

After class, I use the free iPhone app “YouTube Capture” to merge the eight videos into one and upload them to YouTube. Here is our final video!

This post was mobile blogged with WordPress for iPhone

Comparing Biblical and Worldly views of Christmas

Yesterday was Shepherd Sunday for Sunday School, and we did several activities in 4th grade to get to know each each other better, connect after the holidays, and continue to learn about the birth and life of Christ from the Bible.

We started by playing a name and action game, where each student (and teacher) said their name and did a unique action or movement. Each time someone new shared their name and action, we repeated together all the names and gestures of the people who came before them. I’m not sure what the name of this game is, but it is something I’ve done before with students and it was a fun and energetic way to get us started.

We next sat in a circle and shared the one or two favorite gifts we RECEIVED for Christmas. Answers included a piano, microscope, new tennis shoes, Android tablet, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire HDX, Razor scooter, light up pillow, and more. We discussed how Christmas is much more than receiving gifts, and next brainstormed the messages which “the world” tells us Christmas is about. Our list included:

  1. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
  2. Santa Claus / Kris Kringle
  3. Elvis singing “Santa Claus is coming to town” (but also talking about God in kind of a confusing way)
  4. Giving gifts
  5. Money

We next brainstormed what the Bible says about Christmas. This was our list:

  1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem
  2. Jesus was born in a manger
  3. Jesus is God’s son
  4. Jesus was born from the virgin Mary
  5. Elizabeth visited Mary before their children were born, and John the Baptist (still in the womb) jumped for joy when Mary came with Jesus who was still in her womb
  6. 3 wise men came to visit Jesus and his family after his birth
  7. Herod, the king, killed all the baby boys under the age of two when he learned the wise men hadn’t returned to tell him about the child they had found. He did this because he didn’t want another king to grow up who would challenge him.

We then started to work on a “5 Photo Story” to highlight some of the things we knew are true about Christmas from the Bible. The students wanted to first stage a photo about Herod killing the babies who were under 2, and this led to a lot of discussion about why he did that and how the holy family left to be safe in Egypt. We talked about how an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told them to go to Egypt.

We ran out of time and were only able to take that first photo. I hope this background about our lesson and discussion helps shed some light on what we did and talked about Sunday! Please discuss these ideas with your child, and use their interest in different aspects of the story (including the Herod story) to deepen their understanding of Biblical truth and the story of Jesus.

We’re looking forward to a great 2014 of Sunday School! Our next rotation starts next week!

Jonah & The Whale (a 4th grade narrated 5 photo story)

Today was “Shepherd Sunday” for youth at our church during the Sunday School hour. My co-shepherd and I facilitated a 5 photo story with our kids, which they later narrated using the iPad app “Explain Everything.” This entire project was created and published on an iPad2. The students were very creative figuring out how to represent each scene! Here are the photos we created together.

Jonah & The Whale

Jonah & The Whale

Jonah & The Whale

Jonah & The Whale

Jonah & The Whale

This was the storyboard we created together before we started taking photos.

Jonah & The Whale

Here is the final video we created together!

Learn more about media projects like this on “Mapping Media to the Common Core.”

Bible Stories on Rocks

4th graders at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, drew pictures on rocks to represent their favorite Bible stories on September 22, 2013. In this 2 minute video several of the students explain their illustrations and stories.

Wisdom of Soloman

The Life of Jesus in 5 Pictures

Posted April 15, 2012
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Last week we drew five pictures (using Brushes for iPad) about the life of Jesus, and this week we narrated them (using Explain Everything). Here’s our video! Please leave us comments.

Trying to not be selfish: James 4:1-10

Posted February 12, 2012
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Today in our 6th grade Sunday School class we read James 4:1-10 and discussed how we are called to focus on God instead of our own selfish desires. Please listen to our recording and leave us some feedback as a comment.
Trying to not be selfish

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?  You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.  And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.  What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?  But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, but favors the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.  Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”

(James 4:1-10 NLT)

The Importance and Power of Our Words

Posted February 8, 2012
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Our words are powerful. On February 5, 2012, our 6th grade Sunday School Class recorded this 82 second sound file after discussion how our words can be used to help as well as hurt. The choice is ours.

James 3:2
James 3:7-12

Power of our Words: Sticks and Stones

Obedience and Faith

Posted January 29, 2012
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We recorded this 2 minute audio recording of verses from James, Galatians, Romans and 1 John which we discussed in 6th grade Sunday school class today, focusing on the themes of obedience and faith.

Brainstorming about Obedience and Faith

Inspired by Nick Vuljicic to Persevere

Posted January 8, 2012
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We watched this video today about Nick Vujicic to discuss perseverance.

We need to remember temptations don’t come from God. God will strengthen us when we face temptations.

James 1:12-18 MSG

“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.”

See it at