We all know about the coronavirus disruptions and accommodations that have been made for schoolkids and teachers. Many of us are impacted directly or we’ve certainly heard about it from others.
But what about Sunday school? Does that take a hiatus or is there a way to adjust and move forward fruitfully?
Nora and I team teach 3rd-5th graders with another couple. So we get every other Sunday off, or whatever schedule we agree to. The class is normally 45 minutes directly after the church service.
The challenge is always engagement, or how to make learning fun. At this age, we don’t parse Pharisee talking points, discuss Aramaic word meanings, or employ the Socratic method. We play balloon volleyball, reenact a Jesus miracle (see raising of Lazarus, below), and do sword drills. It’s very hands on.
Unfortunately, hands on and distance learning are a poor combination. What to do?
First, it really helps to have a remarkable Children’s Ministry Director. Ours stepped up with some amazing ventriloquy work featuring the slow yet lovable K.J. (think Mater from Cars), plus some felt board lessons.
Feeling inspired, I began to think what we could do within the confines of Zoom videoconferencing.
And as the teacher, what am I good at? I decided:
- Basic bible truths
- Thinking like a 3rd grader 🙂
All of that together led me to create our own lesson. I call it the “For God So Loved the World Dollar Origami Project.”
I’ve done a post on dollar origami before. I think it’s a pretty cool thing anyone can do, with projects that range from simple to very advanced. Check out this awesome money wreath that a Personal Finance King reader made.
If you have kids or teach them, here’s how you can recreate this lesson. Feel free to add your personal flair.
We sent out the Zoom link with a request to bring a dollar bill to the session.
We logged in at 1 pm on Sunday, and reminded those without a dollar to get one. And to find a hard surface, like a book, to work on.
I walked the students through this 8-step Dollar Heart Instructables project. Nora held the iPad camera over my work area so the kids could see exactly what I was doing. It’s important to practice this beforehand, to make sure lighting (and shadows) aren’t an issue.
After the folding was complete, Nora raised the camera above my head to reveal a creative transcription of John 3:16 taped to the wall. We read through it and talked about what it means – about how this one verse neatly summarizes the Gospel message.
Moving the iPad back to the work area, I showed the kids how to create a loop of scotch tape for hanging the folded heart on their bedroom door or wall.
Nora followed me as I applied my folded heart to our bedroom door. I said that every time I saw it I would be reminded how God loves me so much that he sacrificed his son.
We closed in prayer, thanking God for the gift of eternal life for those who believe this message in John.
Overall, I think it went well. Out of 11 kids, 10 were successful. I was itching to reach through the screen to help that last one, but that will have to wait for another day.