Monday, September 19, 2011

A box of chocolates

In my Sunday morning class I love to encourage discussion. But asking an open ended question to a group of fourth graders is like the proverbial box of chocolates, you just never know what you are going to get. This past Sunday our topic was the book of Judges. My open ended question to the class was, “Who or what comes to your mind when you think of a famous judge?”

Now, being in a Bible class I’m thinking maybe I’ll get a Samson or Gideon answer. But I realize I did not specify a judge in the Bible, so I’m ready for Judge Judy or a general answer such as a person that wears a robe and sits in a courtroom. So I wasn’t quite prepared when the first answer I received was Jennifer Lopez. Those of you who are up on your pop culture are probably thinking that was a great answer, but I have to admit it took me a while to connect the dots. My light bulb did eventually illuminate when I remembered that Jennifer Lopez replaced Paula Abdul as a judge on American Idol. Opening the box of chocolates with my fourth grade class almost always makes me smile.

It also serves to remind me that even though my ship hasn’t sailed totally over the horizon yet, the gap between me and my fourth graders is getting wider. The things that shaped my experience growing up are different than the things shaping our kids today. In the midst of all this change it is comforting to realize that one thing will never change. God’s love is the same yesterday, as it is today, and will be tomorrow.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Behind the scenes

If you are a repeat visitor to the Creative Learning Ideas web site it may appear that very little has changed recently. Actually there is a lot going on, but it may be in an area of the web site that you may not use.

For the last month or two I have been enhancing the Online Lessons. I’ve changed the format to a flip-book presentation. All of the lessons have been converted to this new presentation format and now I am going back and adding the ‘icing on the cake’. The icing includes small Video Snippets, Tic Tac Toe Review games, and Before or After questions. These are cosmetic enhancements but my hope is it will make the lessons more engaging and interactive. My guess is that it will take about 6 months to complete these enhancements.

I’ve mentioned it in past posts but I really do appreciate the comments being left on the Guestbook. It’s encouraging to know others are finding the resources on the web site useful. If you get a chance leave me a note, no personal information is required and I don’t collect email addresses. In particular, I like to hear what resources on the web site are most useful to you. I use this feedback to decide where to make my next enhancements.

Until my next post, may God bless you in His service.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brain teasers and riddles

Over the years of teaching a 4th grade Bible class on Sunday mornings I have discovered that the start of class, as the kids are entering the room, is the most challenging. They are usually full of energy ready to do “something”. Channeling that energy into an activity that doesn’t necessarily involve running, throwing, or loud voices can be difficult. I have tried many things without success until I accidently stumbled on an activity that involves their brains instead of physical activity. As they enter the room I give them a ‘brain teaser’ or ‘riddle’. For some reason that I don’t fully understand, the kids love them. I have been using the same set of riddles for about 4 years now. The kids pick up their riddle as they enter the room, sit down and start thinking. When they think they know the answer they will come up and whisper it in my ear. I didn’t design that arrangement, it just happens, year after year.

After all the students arrive, and class formally starts, we reveal the answer; at which point I collect the paper the riddles are written on and begin my lesson. They can take a riddle with them at the end of class, which most of them do to share with their family.

I have incorporated these riddles into the Class Newsletters that I have added to the web site (Newsletters/Worksheets Heading). The Class Newsletters also have a Bible name picture puzzle, memory verse, and fun facts. These Newsletters can be used ‘as is’ or can be downloaded and modified with Word. I hope you will find these as useful as I have.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Up with Downloading

I can’t believe my last post was in December and it is already February. If you visit the web site regularly hopefully you noticed some very significant changes. You can now download all of the games and lessons to your local computer. You might ask, “Why didn’t you do that before now?” Here are some of my reasons:

1. I rationalized that if people downloaded the games and lessons they would have no reason to return to the web site. After much thought and prayer I came to the conclusion that my ultimate goal is to provide resources useful to Bible teachers and students. I realized that the resources on the web site were only useful when there was an internet connection available. Even though this is becoming more common, there are still plenty of church buildings and classrooms that do not have access. Surprisingly, traffic on the web site has actually increased since making the downloads available….go figure.

2. Another reason I haven’t made these available is that I was afraid people would turn around and try to sell these free resources to others. I have resisted the temptation to commercialize the web site (there was actually about 1 week where I had an online store link which has since been removed). The best defense against this is for everyone to spread the word about these free resources. If everyone knows about them, then who would pay for something that they can get for free? Remember, it’s more blessed to give than to receive.

3. The last reason is purely selfish. Each game, lesson, or cartoon represents a part of me and sometimes it’s just hard to let go. Now that they can be downloaded and shared I have almost no control….which in this case is a good thing. My prayer is that these resources will bless someone’s life, no matter what path they may take.

Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope you are one of those who have been blessed. Until next time….whenever that might be.