(To read more about the book we're using for our curriculum and a little more about why we chose it, click here. Scroll to the bottom of this post to find the links to my lesson plans and printables.)
In week 2 of our "Big Picture" study, we dove a little deeper into the Old Testament and how it's set up.
First we reviewed our previous week with a couple of questions:
I asked, "Based on last week's lesson, how many books make up the Bible?" (ONE) and "What is the 'main subject' of the Bible?" (God's redemptive plan through Jesus - okay, maybe they didn't use those exact words, but they knew it was Jesus! :) I was happy to see over half the hands were raised in anticipation of answering the questions!
I then asked "How many books are in the Old Testament?" (39). Most of the kids in my group have been in church their whole life, so I had quite a few ready to answer this one as well. Each year we work on learning the books of the Bible through song because having them memorized is one of the requisites for completing their Awana handbooks. The songs I use are CHEESY, but they work! I can't tell you how many times a child has sung their books of the Bible songs to me to complete their section!
Here's our Old Testament song to the tune of Ten Little Indians. Just in case you're wondering, we're not on the cutting edge of hair fashion here in the Ozarks, I just happened to take the video of these adorable faces on Crazy Hair Night at club. :)
The words? The books of the Old Testament with an "Oh!" thrown in before Ezra and Ezekiel. Sometimes we make the "Oh!" a little more dramatic for fun! :)
I really think it's important for a child to be familiar with the books of the Bible and their order because I believe the more comfortable they are with the order of the books, the more likely they are to engage in a lesson that uses the Bible. How many times have you missed a portion of a sermon because you were still looking for the Scripture the pastor referenced and he was done reading it already and had moved on to explanation?!? A child can be easily discouraged and frustrated by this, which is why I like to spend some time focusing on it.
We then talked about the divisions of the Bible: History (Genesis to Esther), Poetry (Job to Song of Solomon) and Prophecy (Isaiah to Malachi). If your child is familiar enough with this, you might refer to a Bible chart (like this -buy it OR this -free!) and talk about the Law, and Major and Minor Prophets as well. If not, these 3 divisions are sufficient to give them an idea of the kinds of things that are found in the Old Testament.
Last, we talked about how most of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew. This isn't life changing stuff or anything, but I'm pretty sure it was the kids' favorite part. I took a semester of Hebrew and a couple years of Greek in college, so I have a Hebrew and Greek copy of Scripture. I showed it to them and then read a verse to them. I'm assuming that most of you don't have a copy of the Bible in the original languages, so you can go here to print out a sample of Scripture written in Hebrew for the kids to look at. (This is Deuteronomy chapter 6). You can also go here so they can hear Deuteronomy 6 being read. (Under Torah, go to Deuteronomy and click on chapter 6. Starting at 45 sec. and going to 50 sec. is Dt. 6:4, which is the verse I read to my kiddos. I think it's fascinating to listen to and neat to think that this is how our ancestors in the faith heard the Scripture read!)
At the end of the lesson, we filled in the blanks on our worksheet and then it was time to play! I found this idea years ago in a Bible Skills, Drills and Thrills book. (There are lots of hands-on ideas in all of the "cycles" that I found helpful). I wish I could remember which one this idea came from, but the kids LOVE it! Basically they are given a stack of cups labeled Genesis to Malachi. They start with Genesis and then stack Exodus on top of it and so on until they've got a stack of cups that reaches all the way to Malachi.
I got the cheapest, durable plastic cups I could find. I got the ones pictured a few years ago at a Dollar Tree that came 12 to a pack. I used permanent marker to write the name of the books on the very bottom of the cup. They play in groups of 2 or 3 (I have a couple sets of cups so we can have at least a third of the kids playing at a time). You could have them race other groups or the clock, but honestly, I've never had to do anything more than send them to the cups to stack. They really like it and don't need any extra motivation because it's something a little different and fun! This is especially good for antsy boys who get tired of sitting still and being quiet for long periods of time.
The kids who weren't playing, quizzed each other on the books of the Old Testament, sang the song, filled in their books of the Old Testament worksheet and did Sword drills.
If you're interested the "technical stuff," below you'll find lesson plans, printables and links to various resources I've used. If you're interested in the other lessons from this curriculum, go to our "More Ideas" page and scroll down to God's Big Picture Curriculum.
Note: We're going to be making a notebook this year and adding to it each week. (We're using 2 pocket folders with prongs). By the end of the year, each child will have the material they've learned along with a timeline of the Bible and how it all fits together. I'm sure they'll all take it home, hang it on their wall and study it everyday! ;) But, honestly, writing things down can help solidify things and help visualize the lesson, so we're going to do it anyway!
If you'd like to print out my lesson plans, click here. (They are designed to take between 15-25 minutes to go through.)
If you'd like the supplemental worksheet, click here.
To print a copy of the books of the Old Testament worksheet we used, go here.
I also recommend having a Books of the Bible Chart handy. This is the one we have in our classroom and the kids like it, but it doesn't need to be fancy. You can print out one for free on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper here.
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