Archive - August, 2013

Parents and Teachers: Good Curriculum is Not Enough

As much as we care about good, God-centered, Christ-exalting curriculum at Children Desiring God, the curriculum itself is only a tool. The heart of the one using the tool is of utmost importance, too. Here are some wise words from Tedd and Margy Tripp:

Our homes are the laboratory of life for our children. They will believe that Christian faith is the genuine article if we know God—not just know about God. As children grow to young adulthood in our churches, they are searching for a faith that has warmth and vitality of close relationship with the living God, and the sure footing of sound doctrine that will stand the storms of life. Relationship with God is the passionate assurance that the Sovereign God of the Bible can be known by his people in all the experiences of life. Our relationship with God will beckon our children to draw near to him as their source of comfort and rest.
(Instructing a Child’s Heart, copyright 2008, page 29)

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Growing in Faith Together: Parent and Child Resource Pages

GIFT thumb

Parents have the unique responsibility and awesome privilege of shepherding their children spiritually. We want to help churches equip parents to bring truth to bear on the daily life experiences they share
as a family. It is in these daily experiences that the Word can be tried
and found true.

To that end, we include Growing in Faith Together (GIFT): Parent and Child Resource Pages with all our curriculum, to help parents in this important calling. GIFT pages have been written to help parents interact with their children about what they are learning in class. These pages help parents discuss truths that their child is learning in class and help the child apply these truths in daily life, in the hope that their son or daughter will grow in spiritual understanding and in faith.

Some of the benefits of the newly-revised GIFT pages are:

  • They are now available in a convenient spiral-bound version, which can be provided to parents at the beginning of the year. This saves administrative time for church staff and/or teachers.
  • Stories of God’s providence provided for each lesson can be read aloud and discussed as a family. These can serve as a supplement to your family’s regular devotion times.
  • As You Walk by the Way exercises are designed to prompt deep discussions, encouraging parents and their children to engage in spiritual conversations as a part of normal everyday life.

Spiral-bound GIFT pages can be ordered in sets of 10. Note: These pages are also available on the the DVD that is included in the Classroom Kit and can be e-mailed to parents or printed and distributed each week.

Learning Styles: Teaching a Lesson (Part 2)

Learning Styles

This is the second in a series of posts to equip teachers and parents with tools for effective teaching.

Understanding how the lessons target the four learning styles

God has given Children Desiring God an amazing gift in both of our curriculum authors, Sally Michael and Jill Nelson. They are experienced Sunday school and homeschool teachers who have masterfully integrated various teaching elements throughout the lessons in order to address each learning style. As a result, the truth taught in each lesson is conveyed to the students through more than one “channel,” while still having the same goal: reaching their hearts.

Let’s look at how you would target your students’ various learning styles using a lesson from our newly-released revised curriculum, My Purpose Will Stand:

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Whether you’re a new teacher who is just starting to know the children in your class, or whether you’ve already been able to identify some of the learning styles in your students, please remember this: targeting learning styles while teaching, although important, is not your ultimate goal.

Psalm 78 reminds us that as we tell the coming generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, our goal is that they “should set their hope in God” (v. 4-7). In His goodness, God has created us and our students with senses to understand truths about Him. Use your students’ learning styles as channels to convey the truth of God’s greatness and glory!

Remember that it is through His Spirit, not through our teaching endeavors alone, that He has promised to use the proclamation of His Word to bring about the fruit that He desires (Zechariah 4:6, Isaiah 55:10-11). Trust that and teach, “knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58b)!


Read Part 1: Channels for Conveying Truth.

Free Printables: “My Purpose Will Stand” Visuals

One of the things that we are really excited about in the release of our revised curriculum is the updated visuals and graphics. As we mentioned in the FAQs about the revised curriculum:

When our curriculum was first being developed in 1998, it was written for use in one church, formatting was done in Word (PDF files were relatively unknown), clip art was cutting edge, electronic display meant overhead projectors and this website did not exist. Since then, both technology and the needs of the churches using our curriculum have changed significantly. What has not changed is our vision to teach God-centered Bible truth to children of all ages.

We are so glad that the curriculum visuals are moving into the 21st century, with graphics and visuals that can hold their own in a digital age. These free printables from the newly-revised My Purpose Will Stand (6th Grade) will give you a taste of the amazing quality of the illustrations and artwork. Use them as your desktop wallpaper, pin them, or share them to inspire yourself and others!


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Lesson 3: God’s Sustaining Providence
God is able to sustain the universe because He is unlimited. Placed against the backdrop of this spectacular lightning photography, students are reminded of God’s power both visually and through the text.

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Lesson 7: All God’s Purposes Are Right
Students learn that God rules with perfect justice and righteousness. We can trust God to rule rightly because He is righteous in all He thinks and does.

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Lesson 28: God’s Providence Over Man’s Way
Original illustrations by Fred Apps are absolutely stunning as they capture the essence of the biblical histories they recreate. You can see God’s gift to him, and now to us, in this illustration of Rebekah watering the camels as God providentially revealed Isaac’s wife in response to the prayer of Abraham’s servant.

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Lesson 33: God’s Providence Over Prayer
This is the type of clean, fresh, modern graphics that are used in many of the teaching visuals. Students write this quote in their notebooks as they learn that God ordains prayer as a means to fulfill His purposes.

Fall Gear Up: The Church-Parent Partnership

Ministry Leaders: Here is an informative and inspiring video to crystallize your thinking on the church-home partnership. (You may want to share with the parents of your church to help them embrace their responsibility as well.)

David and Sally Michael explain the limitations of the church’s formal classroom instruction and the crucial role of parents in applying what is learned in the classroom to their children’s lives. Sally also provides some real-life examples about how parents can initiate spiritual “heart application” discussions with their children.

 

Creative Classroom Idea: Bible Memory Puzzles

Puzzle Piece Game
Here is a super simple activity that combines children’s love of completing puzzles with encouragement to memorize Bible verses. Target Age: 1st-3rd Grade

Supplies:

  • Cardstock or heavy-weight paper (e.g., 8.5″ x 11″)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic storage bags or envelopes
  • Computer and printer

Preparation:

  • Using a computer, type and format a Bible memory verse you are encouraging the children to learn. To add interest, include clipart or other design elements. Print the page on the cardstock.
  • Cut the page into 10-20 puzzle pieces, depending on the age of the children. (Search “puzzle template” for downloadable options.)
  • Make duplicate puzzles, depending on the number of children or based on how the puzzles will be used (e.g., one puzzle per group).
  • Place the puzzle pieces in the plastic storage bag or envelope. Label the bag or envelope with the verse reference.

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Revised Curriculum

Revised Curriculum

In June we highlighted the release of our revised curriculum. Since then people have been asking a lot of questions about the changes we’ve made to the curriculum and how it better equips teachers and engages students.

We now have a lot of helpful information about the revised curriculum on our website, including:

  • an Overview (check out the “Bible Skill Objectives” Chart)
  • a product guide (check out the Electronic Classroom Kit)
  • information about Upgrade Pricing (for existing customers)
  • FAQs (check out the curriculum availability chart)

We hope this information will serve you as you plan your fall curriculum purchases.

Learning Styles: Channels for Conveying Truth (Part 1)

Learning Styles

This is the first in a series of new posts to equip teachers and parents with tools for effective teaching.

A brief history of learning styles

Most of us remember that moment: our teacher passed a strange, new, and somewhat unknown object around the classroom so we could see and feel it up close as she taught. Perhaps she showed us a startling image of what, to our young minds, seemed to be a miniature monster… or, as she proceeded to explain, a human cell. Maybe she taught us a song to remember the alphabet… or present-tense verbs!

All these teaching aids are so commonly used in modern education that we don’t really give them a second thought. They seem to be “part” of the teaching/learning experience somehow. But it was not always so.

Teaching methods that used the student’s senses to better explain subject matter were not overly common. This began to change, in part, by the ideas and writings of a man named John Amos Comenius in the 17th century, who is best known as the father of modern education. He was a leader of the Moravian Brethren in what is now known as Czechoslovakia. His fresh, new approach to teaching included a strong advocacy for using the child’s senses as a means to aid his understanding and application of subject matter. He believed that God had designed the world with colors, sounds, and smells to teach us about His greatness.

When Jesus taught His disciples, He did so by illustrating truths about God using things that they knew and could perceive: birds, flowers, grain, seeds. Applying that same approach to his teaching of subject matter, Comenius worked on and published the first-ever book that applied illustrations to teaching. His ideas were the beginning of a brand-new approach to education that continued on to the twentieth century. In 1987, a man named Neil Fleming came up with a series of categories in which he identified each student’s learning style, based on the sense(s) that the student most commonly used to learn. The learning styles he identified are:

  • visual learners (understand through pictures, movies, diagrams)
  • auditory learners (understand through music, discussion, lectures)
  • reading and writing learners (understand through making lists, reading textbooks, taking notes)
  • kinesthetic/tactile learners (understand through movement, experiments, hands-on activities)

Watch for part two of this series to find out more about how our curriculum incorporates these learning styles to help engage students of all ages.

Fighting the Fight of Faith through Bible Memory + Friday Contest

What motivates us to memorize Scripture? Why is Bible memory so important for both us and our children? Watch John Piper as he explains the main reason why he memorizes Scripture:

Do you need some really practical ideas to encourage Bible memory in the home and church? Read the notes from our seminar, Bible Memorization by Kathi Westlund. You will find many wonderful (and simple) Bible memory ideas that cover a range of ages and variety of learning styles.

Friday Contest

  • PRIZE: A free Fighter Verse App for iPhone, Android or Kindle!
  • TO ENTER: Leave a comment, telling us the main reason why you memorize Scripture.
  • CONTEST CLOSES: Wednesday, August 7

The App is a tool to help encourage Bible memory. Features include:

  • 1000+ verses pre-loaded
  • Choice of six Bible translations
  • Three unique quizzes
  • Configurable schedule for weekly memorization
  • Review function
  • “My Verses” allows you to add your own verses
  • Includes “Foundation Verses”—a collection of verses for preschool children
  • Links to songs, weekly blog posts, and much more!

And don’t forget to check out our other Bible memory resources.

Welcoming David Michael!

Director's Desk

As Executive Director of Children Desiring God, I am pleased to announce that David Michael will be joining our staff in a new role as Director for Vision and Spreading. David will lead the strategic efforts to share the vision of Children Desiring God—the biblical vision for God-centered ministry to children and their parents, which is rooted in the teaching of Psalm 78:4-7:

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.

David Michael

David will focus his efforts on sharing this vision at regional events, expanding the Children Desiring God network and supporting pastors who are implementing God-centered ministry in their local churches.

“I am excited to lead these strategic, vision-casting efforts centered on spreading a biblical vision for God-centered ministry,” David said. “My greatest hope is that the next generation will put their confidence in God.”

We believe God has provided a unique season of opportunity to advance the vision of Children Desiring God. After 27 years of pastoral ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, the Lord has opened a new door for David to pursue wholehearted service at Children Desiring God. In addition to his vision spreading efforts, David will continue in his role as President of Children Desiring God.

On behalf of Children Desiring God, we are thankful for God’s providential redirection of David’s ministry and we eagerly anticipate what the Lord will do through him! Please take a few moments to find out more about our new vision-casting plans and to learn how you can partner with us through your prayers.

Brian Eaton
Executive Director
Children Desiring God

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