This is the spot for posting your creative ideas for teaching your Sunday school kids about the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Add your ideas here if they do not fall into the existing "Workshop" categories.
There's a lesson set on Beatitudes with my comments pros/cons in the Lesson Exchange.
We found that even the older kids had a tough time grasping the 'upsidedown' logic of 'blessed or happy are the poor.' (One little girl said it would be no fun being poor no matter how blessed you were).
If you're looking for music, a wonderful piece for the Beatitudes called "Blest are They" by David Haas from GIA Publications. It made it into the new Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (#624).
Moved here to consolidate posts...
My book, "Bible Time With Kids" (Abingdon Press, 1997) has a section on teaching The Beatitudes...song,craft, puzzles. You can order it from the publisher, Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes and Noble or any Christian bookstore.
Bee Craft Idea for Preschool Children
Hi! I'm new to the group! I do family devotions at home with my preschool-age kids every night and thought I would pass on a great idea for the Beatitudes discussions!! Today we are going to do a Bee craft project. I have limited supplies so if you can think of any additional cool things to add to your bee or beehive you can! Take a white paper/styrofoam cup and some cut up pieces of black and yellow construction paper. Have the kids glue the black and yellow pieces of paper to the white paper/styrofoam cup to make a "bee". Tape on some wax paper wings on the top. The bottom of the cup is the face so have them draw on a face! The small lunch paper sack is the beehive. Have them decorate the outside of the paper sack to look like a beehive! Then, on yellow pieces of paper, write out the beatitudes on each piece of yellow construction paper and discuss them, and then have the kids use the bees to "scoop up" the beatitudes and place them in their beehive!!
A great video that even our youngest kids enjoyed and understood was "How to Get Blessed Without Sneezing" --- available here: Episcopol Marketplace.
It's done with wacky oversized props, 2 "mime" actors, and laughter. There are 8 separate vignettes. After each one we paused the video to discuss -- I was surprised by how easily the kids understood the concepts being acted out.
Notes added by Luanne:
You can request a 33 page curriculum which includes questions for each segment of the movie and additional teaching material.
Note: DVD has no menu,
Art (BEE) Projects
- "Busy Bee Shelf Sitter" a craft kit by S&S Worldwide (no longer available).
Pictured are ones we made back in 2005, with our own supplies, that we called the "BEE-ATTITUDE Holder" as in the Bee's held a "Beatitudes Pocket Size Card" I'd typed up and printed on cardstock - one side scripture from the bible and the other side in kid-friendly language.
Supplies: Styrofoam Eggs 3 1/16" x 2 5/16" (Duck Eggs 3 1/4"), Yellow 1" Pom Poms, Wiggly Eyes-mini (self adhesive easier), Chenille Stems-Black, Paint-yellow and black, Paintbrushes-small, White Glue in small containers, Toothpicks, Netting-white, Beatitudes cards (size was 4.83 cm x 8.64 cm), bee sticker (optional).
Directions: We painted the body first, then stepped away to watch and discuss two sections of the DVD "How To Be Blessed Without Sneezing - approx. 10 mins) to allow it to dry (or do your bible study) then came back to finish, continuing our discussion while the children worked. Wrap chenille stems around a pencil to get feet and hand shapes, then dip other end into a small container of white glue before pushing into body. For the netting (wings) using a pencil tip start a small hole in back of bee body, then cut the netting into a small circle, folded in half and pinched the middle together then dipped into glue, then start pushing the pinched section into the the back of the bee hole you started using a toothpick. For the antenna's prep your chenille stems beforehand so one end has some bare wire they can dip into the glue and insert into the pom pom, otherwise your have difficulty attaching the antennas. When done arrange Beatitude card so bee holds it in it's curled feet and hands.
- The Idea Box.com has a simple craft idea Paper Bumble Bee - you could write the Beatitudes on it's body and wings.
- Bee Puppets - Just do an on-line search, I have also seen bee puppets at dollar stores, on occasion, so keep your eyes open. You can buzz around the room, buzzing a beatitudes into a child's ear. They then get to take the bee and buzz that beatitude into someone else ear.
- Making Friends website as a cute "Cup Bee Puppet" (the bee pops in and out)
- Puppet Resources website as a Beatitude puppet script entitled Ernesto Lillolman Builds His House.
- "Galilee Flyer" - also check Neil's Brain Dump at his site for other software ideas for this story by Sunday Software Sunday Software
Resource Books or Activity Sheets
- "The Beatitudes", Mcgraw-hill Children's Publisher, (1997 Shining Star), ISBN: 1564179559 (OUT OF PRINT - try Amazon.com). Includes: puzzles, games, crafts, and more. Grades 4-6.
- Beatitude Crossword (Church of God Ministries International - thecogmi.com) - Blessed Attitudes Activity Sheet
- "How To Be Blessed Without Sneezing" - 30 mins. (see details above)
- "Built Upon the Rock" - by Nest 30 mins. animated - they have revamped the DVD's, so you can now go to specific chapters, see scripture references on screen and they've added a trivia section, on this particular DVD "Quiz Level #2" asks questions about the Beatitudes segment. Note: this story ties in the two Parables: House Built on a Rock, and Two Sons and a Vineyard with Jesus telling the Beatitudes. Nest Website
- "Close Encounters with the Beatitudes", Young Jimmy is puzzled as to what the Beatitudes mean to someone his age. An angel shows him in a dream how some of his schoolmates are already helping to build God's Kingdom, and Jimmy makes a commitment to live the Beatitudes in his own life. Ages 8-12. 13 min. (Catholic) YouTube Trailer
Posts moved by Exchange Volunteer to consolidate topic.
I stumbled on a great idea for a cooking workshop for the Beatitudes. The idea came from an old Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine I was getting ready to throw out. The magazine included a cookie recipe for making bee cookies. They are adorable! The cookie dough actually includes a little cornmeal which gives the cookies a nice yellow color. The bee is formed from two doughballs with miniture choc chip eyes and almond slice wings. You use a toothpick dipped in cocoa to make the stripes on the back of the bee. The sermon on the mount doesn't come up for 2 more years in our scope and sequence but I wanted to post the idea for anyone who is looking for an idea.
Since I'm not sure about the copyright issues on the recipe, send me an email and I will send you the recipe from the magazine.
UPDATE! Thanks to CreativeCarol for sending me the guidelines for posting the recipe! So here goes:
- 1/4 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- mini choc chips
- cocoa powder
- sliced almonds
- Beat butter, sugar and egg in a large bowl until smooth.
- In another bowl, mix flour, cornmeal and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture. Mix until dough feels like clay.
- Now form the body of the bee. Roll dough into small balls (not quite an inch). You need 2 balls for each bee.
- Press the balls together and place on greased cookie sheet.
- Place 2 mini choc chips on the first ball to make the eyes.
- Dip toothpick in the cocoa powder and press lightly on the second ball to make the bees stripes. Do 3 stripes.
- Tuck two almond slice sticking up between the two balls to make the wings.
- Refridgerate while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. Chilling will help the bees hold their shape!
- Bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until edges are starting to lightly brown.
Picture: Bee Cookies created by Hampton United Church in 2005.
Music - Ben Harper song "Blessed to be a Witness"
Lisa M. Posted:
In struggling over how to teach the beatitudes and the upside down concepts they present, a song I like kept popping up in my head "Blessed to be a Witness" by Ben Harper, a contemporary Christian performer.
The song begins by mentioning "Corcovado" which is the hilltop in Rio de Janiero that features the stone Christ with outstretched arms that towers over the city. (If you look up the image, you'll probably recognize it.)
In our opening time we are going to talk about the song, what it means to be a "witness." Then, each week, we are going to ask how the "poor in spirit," "persecuted," etc. can "witness" to Christ in the way that more fortunate people cannot. Can you imagine someone who is "poor in spirit" singing this song? We may also show some images of Corcovado by printing it onto overhead transparencies and perhaps also talking about life in Rio -- which includes the very rich and the very very poor -- and what this Christ figure over the city might mean.
I can see this working for a music rotation or an art rotation, too. I hope it inspires someone.
The Ben Harper CD can be ordered from Ben Harper "Diamonds on the Inside"
The lyrics can be viewed at "Blessed to Be a Witness"
Pictures of Corcovado are at Rio de Janeiro photos, Corcovado Christ and at many, many other sites on the web. http://www.bigfoto.com/america/rio-de-janeiro/
Mission Workshop Ideas
Edie Downs Posted a Request:
Our church is new to rotation, and loving it! We're planning to use the Beatitudes lesson plan, but it's a goal for us to always include a missions workshop in each rotation. Any help is appreciated finding missions ideas for Beatitudes.
Julie Burton posted a Reply:
Several years ago Gospel Light put out a book called "Kid Misssion" which was based on Paul's ministry. It had some real good mission lessons in it.
If you are Presbyterian, (and even if you're not!) I highly recommend the Children's Mission Yearbook. It is a brand new resource. It is based on the lectionary, designed in a weekly format. It has tons of mission information for the USA and countries all over the world. Available from Presbyterian Publishing House (PCUSA.org).
Another good source is the interpretation materials from One Great Hour of Sharing, which comes out before Lent. Or, ask a Presbyterian Hunger Action Enabler for ideas.
Be advised that I recently ordered "How to Get Blessed without Sneezing" and it is only available as a DVD now. Also, my efforts to get a Leader's Guide to go with it have all failed even though the website still says they'll send one on request. So be aware that if you order this DVD you'll probably have to write your own guide.
Blessed without Sneezing is a wonderful DVD. Even our younger children love it--we purchased it in 2006, during our second year of Rotation Sunday School. We are now in the second round of our five-year sequence, so we are watching it again--love it!
Write Your Own Beatitudes! Idea by Anne Camp
Background Notes on Matthew 5:1-12:
Here is Matthew’s understanding of the central points in Jesus’ teaching. Just as Moses went up the mountain to bring a new law to the people, so Jesus from the mountain describes the way God wants us to live now. Jesus commends the meek, the merciful, those with undefiled hearts, and those who work for peace. These are virtues we have come to know throughout our whole history with God. Others in the list are more surprising. Jesus blesses the poor, the hungry, and the weeping as well as the virtuous, recognizing the injustice of their situation and assuring them of God’s care.
We cannot allow our familiarity with these words to rob them of their continuing shock value. Jesus’ wise words are as surprising as anything Paul or Micah were saying in the Old Testament and Epistle Lectionary readings for these weeks.
5 min Welcome & introductions; Attendance
15 min The Bible story: Enough CEV Bibles for all; one different translation for each
5 min Present day people who represent Beatitudes; Newsprint
15 min Write your own Beatitudes (5 categories); paper, pencils
5 min Closing: candle, snuffer, script
Opening-Welcome and introductions:
The Bible Story
Set the stage for the Bible story. Where does it come? (Matthew 5:1-20)
Give every student a Contemporary English Version of the Bible. Turn to the intro to Matthew. Ask for volunteers to read these 5 paragraphs.
Ask a volunteer to read the section headings from Matthew 1-5:
The ancestors of Jesus; The birth of Jesus; The wise men; The escape to Egypt; The killing of the children; The return from Egypt; The preaching of John the Baptist; The baptism of Jesus; Jesus and the devil; Jesus begins his work; Jesus chooses four fishermen; The sermon on the mount
Make sure that every student has a DIFFERENT translation of the Bible.
Read verses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 , 8 , 9, 10 and 11 (the Beatitudes), one verse at a time.
List the different ways these are translated on newsprint. (Note, just FYI, you don’t need to talk about it unless it comes up: Matthew uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven” rather than the “kingdom of God” because he’s a good Jew and doesn’t want to say the name “God” - “Yahweh.” It doesn’t mean he was thinking about “heaven” or life after death.)
Talk about how the different translations help you think about Jesus’ teaching in new ways:
- Why do we have different translations?
- Why do we have books like The Message?
- What is valuable about studying exactly the Greek words that have come down to us? (An answer might be that what Jesus had to say was so important, and so surprising, we need to be very careful to get it right.)
- What is valuable about restating the ideas in a way we would talk today?
- Do you think God WANTS us to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, persecuted?
Eugene Peterson, author of The Message, says. “This version of the New Testatment in a contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message current and fresh and understandable in the same language in which we do our shopping, talk with our friends, worry about world affairs, and teach our children their table manners. The goal is not to render a word-for-word conversion of Greek into English, but rather to convert the tone, the rhythm, the events, the ideas, into the way we actually think and speak.”
Present Day People Who Represent the Beatitudes
Come up with a list of who these people are in the present day...
- the poor in spirit (for example, people who are depressed)
- those who mourn (for example, someone whose best friend has moved)
- the meek (for example, people who are very shy or frightened)
- those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (for example, civil rights’ workers)
- the merciful
- the pure in heart
- the peacemakers
- those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
Write Your Own Beatitudes
There will be 5 bags labeled: place, person, weather, mood, activity. Each group will draw a slip of paper for each of the 5 categories. The possibilities are:
Place - Person - Weather - Mood - Activity:
jungle - old man or woman - rainy - happy - selling ice cream
desert - little girl or boy - sunny - sad - flying a kite
mountains - school teacher - windy - grumpy - catching butterflies
Disneyland - dog catcher - hot - sleepy - eating watermelon
circus - sailor - snowy - angry - dancing a jig
These of course can be silly, but encourage them to communicate the idea of blessing and being blesssed! Be sure to save time to share your creations.
It is really a silly exercise, but the whimsy can be great fun.
Take the words you are given and create a "blessing saying," "a beatitude." FOR EXAMPLE:
Blessed is the old man in the rainy jungle who makes his neighbors happy by selling ice cream. ("Giving away ice cream" would certainly be better!)
Blessed is the grumpy school teacher in the windy mountains who loses her grumpiness by catching butterflies. ("Chasing butterflies" would also be better.)
It's not a very deep activity, but the notion is to turn these disconnected words into a blessing -- and enjoy some smiles together.