Monday, April 17, 2017

Teaching Kids How to Memorize Scripture

2 more days till the start of the AG Kidmin Conference! Here's another children's ministry idea blog repost:

What about memorizing scripture? Memorizing scriptures from the Bible is important, anytime we are hiding God's word in our heart, it's a good thing. But how do we get our kids or teens to do it?

Make it fun and practical! Below are some ideas on how to help that:

First teach them the importance of the Bible, what the book is about, why we read it, etc. And then try one of these ideas to make memorizing fun:

1. Sword Drills
     -Have every person lift up their Bible up high like a sword. Give them a scripture reference twice and say go. Tell them once they find it to stand up and say the first word of the verse, then they can go ahead and read the entire verse. Do this 3 or 4 times and have all of the "winners" come up front and do one last scripture verse with them to determine an overall winner.
    -This game helps children and teens to become more familiar with where books are in the Bible and how to find a given scripture.

2. Give a Contest or Incentive 
   -Give them a goal with a reward to reach, whether it’s a personal goal or a group goal. 
   -Have them memorize a scripture to receive a prize
   -Have their small group work together to memorize so many scriptures and at the end they’ll have a party together
  -The incentives can be endless, but make it something they can reach and would be excited over.

3. Scripture Pictures
    -What about the kids that can’t read? Scripture pictures are a great way to help even them memorize scriptures. Draw out some of the words or phrases so they can literally see the scriptures.
   -You can also make up motions for the words and teach that to them. This makes it interactive and fun for some, especially younger kids.

4. Play a Scripture Game
   -Poster Board Scripture. Put the scripture up in very large font, either on a screen or on poster board. Have them say it 2-3 times, than change the screen. With each screen the font gradually gets smaller and smaller until the last one is blank. By the end they will have the scripture down pat. 

 -Scramble Verse. Give each student a word of the verse. Tell them the verse 2-3 times then ask the group to put themselves in the correct order of the verse. If you can do multiple groups at a time this would give them more incentive to listen and do it quickly.

  -Join a quizzing team. Junior Bible Quiz and Teen Bible Quiz, both from the Assemblies of God, are great resources. These are teams that compete at district and national levels through Bible facts and memorized scripture.

-Relays. Gather items that have portions of the scripture on it. Put them as individuals or in teams where they run to one end to retrieve the item with a scripture on it, have them run back and place it in order. First individual or team to correctly have it in order wins. 

-Balloon Pop. Blow up the number of balloons for the number of words in the scripture. This can be done 2 ways. Write each word on a different balloon, have them get in the scripture in order first and say the scripture all together. Start popping balloons one at a time, in between saying the scripture each time, until all of the balloons are gone and the scripture is memorized.  Or put a slip of paper inside each balloon with a different word on it. Hand out the balloons, have them pop them and put all of the slips of paper in order to make up the scripture.

Memorizing scripture is important to raise kids and teens up who believe in God. It teaches them that what they are learning is real and it gives them something to rely back on. But it does not have to be boring. 

These are just a few of many ideas out there on how to memorize scripture. What is your favorite way to teach kids or teens to memorize scripture?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Teaching Water Baptism to Kids

In anticipation of speaking at my first KidMin Conference later this week, I'm going back through my blog and reposting some of my favorite ministry blog posts. The first one up is, on Water Baptism and some ways to teach it in Kids Ministry.

What about water baptism?

Water Baptism is an ordinance of the church, along with communion, and is also something talked about throughout scripture as something that Christians should do as an act of faith.

But how do you teach kids and youth about what it means?

Aside from reading Matthew 3:13-16, an account of Jesus' baptism there are a few other things we can share with them. With kids I usually involve a barbie doll or an action figure that they can literally dunk in a bowl of water. With this illustration we talk about the practicals of baptism, where the tank is located, who will be in there with them, how cold the water will be, there is no way they are going to drown, and whatever other questions they may have.

We also talk about symbols, like my wedding ring. My wedding ring is a symbol that I am married to my husband. My wedding ring isn't my husband and it's not my marriage, it's just an outward symbol to show other people that I am married. Baptism is similar. It's not our walk with Jesus and it's not what gets us into Heaven. It's an outward symbol to show other people that we've accepted Jesus's sacrifice for us and that He is apart of our lives.

And we finish our discussion by eating oreo cookies. Why oreos? Because they are fabulous with milk! :) When we dunk oreos into milk, they become one, some milk gets on the cookie and some of the cookie gets into the milk. When we accept Jesus into our life, He becomes a part of us, a true part of our life. During baptism, when we are dunked into water, we are showing everyone there that Jesus is a part of us, a real part.

Kids and teens learn a little more abstractly then adults do. Anytime we can add more than one of our senses into a theological discussion, not only will they remember it more but they will connect with it more.

What are some fun ways that you have taught about baptism to kids or to teenagers?

Monday, February 27, 2017

And That's a Wrap

It's really hard to believe that after almost 2 years, I am in my last week of my graduate work. I am going to have a Master's Degree!!! This has been a life long goal of mine, and it's so amazing to see it come to fruition.

At the conclusion of this program I have learned a lot. I've honestly probably learned as much about myself as I have learned about Early Childhood Education. I've learned that I truly can do anything I put my mind to, I really can sacrifice sleep for a goal if I need to, I actually am more interested in the education field then I first thought, and there truly is a need for more attention to spiritual disciplines for children (especially infant-8 years old).

In the Early Childhood field I've learned:
-how to write a grant proposal and where to look for grants for early childhood centers
-so much more of the inner workings of child development as well as the inner workings of the early childhood field in general
-how to write scholarly articles and papers on early childhood, and who knows maybe it will give me the push to submit something in the future

Thank you Walden University for teaching me more than I could have imagined, about myself and about education. Thank you to all of my professors for encouraging and pushing me to continue to learn more. Thank you to all of my co-students, I learned just as much from each of you, especially through your questions and discussions, continue to do amazing things! Thank you to all of my family, friends, and co-workers that put up with my slightly crazy complaints, questions, or random ah-ha moments :)

And a huge thank you to my husband Keven, who never let me give up, who encouraged me each time I needed it the most, and who thought it would be a great idea for us to both be full time students at the same time. We're almost done and I can't wait to see what doors it opens for us in the future! Thank you for believing in me.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

This week we are focusing on organizations that are international.  

UNICEF believes that quality education is a right for all children, whether in the developing world or amidst conflict and crisis.

I chose UNICEF, because I remember being a child and going trick or treating, while carrying the small little box, asking for quarters for UNICEF. I didn't understand fully what they did, but as a child, I knew it was important to do something to help other children. Currently, I work at a center, that has received financial grants from UNICEF. 

They had several job openings posted for positions all over the world. These positions varied from direct relief work with children to video production for promotion. Locations of the positions varied from their headquarters in New York to Brazil, Mali, Jerusalem, and anywhere in between.

2. Compassion International. In response to the Great Commission, Compassion International exists as an advocate for children, to release them from their spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.

I chose Compassion International because they have helped so many orphans across the world receive financial support to be able to be provided for. 

They had several job openings posted. Most of these positions were located at their headquarters in Colorado, but there were several in international as well. These positions also varied from direct interaction with kids or sponsors, to the marketing and administrative aspects of making the organization run for the benefit of the children it supports.

3. More than Me  More than Me  uses education as a catalyst for transformative social change for every girl in Liberia. 

I chose More than Me, because they have been a huge catalyst for educational change for girls in Liberia, and they were also a contributing factor in fighting the Ebola crisis that hit Liberia in 2014.

They currently have no job openings available, but do have fundraising opportunities.  

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National and Federal Level

This week we're exploring communities of practice on the national level.

1. ACSI -Association of Christian Schools International. Their mission: ACSI has advanced excellence in Christian schools by enhancing the professional and personal development of Christian educators and providing support functions for Christian schools.

I chose ACSI because of my interest in Christian education. Before this class I thought ACSI was for K-12 schools only, but now discovered that they have an early childhood arm to ACSI also.

They had only 2 job openings  posted. One was full time for a marketing and sales assistant, and the other was for a part time administrative assistant. Both were located in different locations in the US. Neither job really spoke to me as something I would be interested in, although I would have been qualified for the admin assistant position.

2. NAEYC-National Association for Education of Young Children. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. We advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.

I chose NAEYC because they are the gold standard when it comes to early childhood education. 

For Job openings  they had posted different ways to get involved. One of the ways was to be a consulting editor for their publications and books. I think that would be an interesting opportunity and a great way to be a voice on the national stage through early childhood. To apply, you have to be a member of NAEYC first.

3. Teaching Strategies for Early Childhood. Their mission: At Teaching Strategies we are dedicated to providing the most effective early education resources. Why? Because a child’s first 8 years form a critical foundation for her future successes. And we believe that early childhood educators play an important role as children’s door openers—in school and in life.

I chose Teaching Strategies because their assessments and curriculum have been a proven and strong resource in early childhood education.

For job openings they had 13 different ones listed. I was surprised that most of their job openings had nothing to do with early childhood or education, but more on the tech, sales, and marketing side. The one position I was most interested in their Content Development Associate position. This position would help to create content for their curriculum and reviews Teaching Strategies material. The position is located in Maryland.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State

Well that was a long break from my blog, sorry about that. Here I am with my last master's class and I get to write in my blog for the next 7 weeks as a part of that! 

This week we're learning about Communities of Practice, so for the blog this week we have to find 3 local or state agencies that I could partner with.

1. Southeast Regional Key (Pennsylvania): Their mission statement: "The Southeast Regional Key cultivates a community of early learning and school age programs to provide high quality, nurturing educational environments so that ALL children enter school ready to learn and succeed. It fulfills its mission by managing Pennsylvania’s quality rating and improvement system in the region through case management, professional development, technical assistance, financial awards, and community engagement."

I chose the Southeast Regional Key of Pennsylvania because this is the part of STARS, that the center I work at belongs to. As an organization they have provided important and useful professional development opportunities for our teachers and our center as a whole, as well as diagnostic help with navigating changes to the PA Key, Stars, ECERS, and ITERS that apply to our center specifically. 
They had no job openings posted, but did have their staff directory listed along with contact information for each one.

2. Chester County Intermediate Unit (Pennsylvania):  Their mission statement: "The Chester County Intermediate Unit is a dynamic educational service agency providing quality, innovative and cost-effective programs to enhance the lives of students and members of our communities. In support of the mission, the Intermediate Unit holds the following beliefsCustomer Service, Partnership, Leadership, Innovation, Advocacy, Professional Commitment, and Organizational Culture."

I chose CCIU because they have been a valuable resource for our center in providing therapists for some of our students who have needed it, as well as been a resource for fielding questions that teachers have had regarding certain situations with speech, diagnosis, specified testing, etc. They have also been a great word of mouth advertising unit for our center and have recommended us to other parents they service who they know live in our area and are looking for a center. 

The CCIU had several jobs posted, about 2 pages worth. Most of the jobs required driving to different towns or other certifications I don't have. One job I was not qualified for but was interested in was the Director of Pupil services but it required a PA Administrative certification and a special education certification as well as experience for 6 years being a principal, experience in elementary and secondary education, and at least 2 years experience already being a director of pupil services somewhere else. However one job did stand out to me, as one that I was qualified for: a Preschool Special Education Instructional Assistant. 

3. Penn Del District (Pennsylvania): Their purpose: A ministry network comprised of Assemblies of God churches within Pennsylvania and Delaware.

I chose them because the center I currently work at is a Christian Center. One of the aspects of our curriculum is to have a weekly chapel service for the entire center (Young Toddlers through Kindergarten) to be a part of. From the Penn Del District I have been able to gain ideas on aspects of the chapel service, chapel speakers, as well as themes for our services.

They do not have job openings posted on their website, but they do have a staff directory listed which includes both district staff as well as sectional leaders, so their is a contact point for each area of Pennsylvania or Delaware. 

I had a hard time finding an online presence for any local organizations supporting early childhood within Spring City, PA. However, I am aware of a directors group that gets together once a month to meet and discuss issues that relate to their particular centers as well as early childhood within our geographical region as a whole, but I don't believe they have an online association. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Adjourning in Teamwork

We've been learning this week that there are five stages of team development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. We were asked to think through the adjourning process of team work.

When I think through the groups that I've been a part of, I think the toughest ones to leave are the ones where I have grown more as a person or have made some of my favorite memories because of them. The easiest ones to leave have been more on the academic side, like group projects or even when I've graduated (in the general sense-both times I had friends that were really hard to leave).

In highschool I was a part of several clubs and activities-my goal was to have more activities next to my name in my yearbook then one of my uncle's had next to theirs (I think I won). In that list of ridiculousness, was drama. I had the privilege of being a part of set design for two of our school's productions-at the end of each production there were several rituals we followed-making Congo lines to some great music and parading around the school hallway was one of my favorites. Honestly some of those traditions became something that we looked forward to just as much as the actual production, even though it meant that all of our handwork was coming to an end. But the traditions of the ending, made the closure or adjourning parts just as famous as the rest of the project.

Each missions trip I've gone on has been hard to leave. They were hard because I discovered more of myself and on each trip I grew more spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. Each trip I poured a piece of myself out in blood, sweat, and tears and left that piece behind in a different town/state/country and I shared those memories with people that at the beginning of the week I hardly knew, but by the end of the week I would lay my life down for.

I'm a little over half way done with my master's program. The interesting part about doing this program online is I'm not interacting with my peers the same way I did in college, when I could see them face to face and hang out with them after class. There are a few that I've had multiple classes with, some I've only had 1 class with at a time. I don't know any of them well enough to miss them personally, but I will miss being challenged to grow more in my understanding of early childhood, but I'm also looking forward to running into them or their name in the future, stumbling upon a journal article or an idea that's been published on early childhood, and recognizing their name or blog.