“There will be a TEST next Sunday. Everyone be sure and come!”
The boys and girls in your class would not jump for joy upon hearing such an announcement, yet the basic goal of teaching is learning! Acquiring knowledge comes through reinforcement, and reinforcement comes as a result of continual review.
A Calvin and Hobbes cartoon pictures Calvin sitting in class, eyes half closed, about ready to drift off to sleep. Suddenly he sits upright and screams, “BORING!” “UNINTERESTING!” “HO –HUM!”
I’ve seen it often. The child who sits in class like a zombie, showing no interest, will become almost automatically drawn into a Bible game. Or Joe Cool, who wouldn’t be caught dead singing or participating in any way, can’t resist participating in a game.
“A little bit of sugar makes the medicine Â go down,” sang Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Her point, of course, was that even things which are distasteful can be made pleasant – in fact, downright fun.
This same principle applies to Christian Education. The primary purpose of Bible games is to review Bible facts, verses, and concepts. Educational experts tell us that one-third of our teaching time should be spent in review! Application of knowledge is important for utilization. Reviewing helps learning become a meaningful part of a child’s life. One way to accomplish this goal is to teach with Bible games. The components of games are the same as for tests: questions and answers, with the added ingredient of fun!
1. Enjoy the game with your children!
As you enter into the spirit of the activity with them, you will grow closer to them on a personal level. Relax class rules slightly, but keep control.
2. Write your questions in advance
Keep in mind your objectives which are to review and re-emphasize. The questions used in the games determine their effectiveness as a teaching tool. Always think FIRST of what you want to accomplish with the children. Review questions fall into two basic categories: (1) Bible truth: facts, truths and verses and (2) Bible application: applying truths and concepts to life – encourages children to use the facts and apply to life in problem solving.
One of the best sources of questions is the pupil’s workbook that goes with your age level curriculum. In fact, it is more effective to turn the weekly reading-writing activities which are found in most pupil books into Bible games. The material is easily adaptable. As you do this, lesson review will change from drudgery to exciting adventure.
3. Try out the game ahead of time and think through potential problems.
By so doing, the purpose for playing the game, which is review, is not lost. If the children will be tossing for points – how far back should they stand? Is it best to place it on the floor or on a table? What happens if they miss? How many times can they try again? Write down the rules.
4. Do not embarrass pupils.
Use pairs or teams. If you have pupils who come irregularly and were not present when some of the Bible material was taught, team them with pupils who do come regularly. This will save an irregular attendee from embarrassment and allow him to enjoy the Bible game.
5. Read the answers to questions pupils miss.
In this way, the activity will aid learning as well as helping reinforce material previously learned.
6. Bring the game to a close while still at peak level.
Conclude the game while the students are still enjoying it and wanting more. About 10 minutes is normally enough.
7. Rotate games so they will stay new and fresh.
Use one for a few weeks and then put it away for a period of time. When you use it again, the pupils will respond with enthusiasm.
8. Be creative.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, for this is how new ideas are developed.