Reply to "ART WORKSHOP Lessons and Ideas for Joseph's Story"

Joseph in Egypt

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
The children will make scrolls that depict events in the life of Joseph that helped Joseph grow in his faith and brought him to an understanding that allowed him to forgive his brothers.

Scripture Reference:
Genesis 40:1 - 47:12

Memory Verse:
Romans 8:28

Lesson Objectives: 
At the end of the session, the students will

  • begin to understand how the events in Joseph’s life brought him to an understanding that allowed him to forgive his brothers.

Teacher preparation:

  • Read the scripture passages and lesson plan.
  • Check the Internet, library or an encyclopedia for some background information on hieroglyphics and for some samples to show to the class.
  • Prepare a closing prayer.
  • Learn the memory verse.
  • Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Confer with the Shepherd on “Stretchers” to use, especially with the youngest children.
  • To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
  • Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.
  • The bin with supplies is located in the Sunday School room. Purchase or request additional supplies from -- by February 21.
  • List the events of Joseph’s life on an index card to use during the Bible story time.
  • Look through examples of hieroglyphics and design one on your own so you can help the children go through the process in class.

Supply List:

  • Paper that looks like parchment or papyrus, 2-3 pieces per child
  • Cardboard paper towel rolls or ½ inch wooden dowel rods cut in 10 inch lengths
  • Markers, crayon, and colored pencils
  • Pictures of Egyptian hieroglyphics (library books or Internet)
  • Tape for attaching paper to the cardboard rolls or dowel rods
  • God’s Story by Karyn Henley
  • White board or flip chart with appropriate markers and eraser
  • Memento: Egyptian stickers
  • Shepherd Time: blank plain or lined paper

Lesson Plan

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions: 
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.

We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but open with prayer if you feel led to do so.

Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today we are going to make scrolls that show some of the events in the life of Joseph that helped Joseph grow in his faith and brought him to an understanding that allowed him to forgive his brothers. 


Scripture/Bible Story:
Instruct the children to open their Bibles to Genesis 40 and tell them that this is where the Bible story begins and it continues to the end of the book of Genesis. As the children begin to look up the passage, tell them that the Bible is divided into two parts, the Old and New Testaments. Also tell them that Genesis is the first book of the Bible and the first book of the Old Testament. [We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.]

Tell them that because the Bible passage is such a long passage for this lesson you will be reading a version of the Bible story from a Bible story book. Have them close their Bibles and put them away while you read the story.
Read the story from God’s Story, by Karyn Henley.

Joseph had some hard things happen in his life. Let’s make a list of those hard things. Think about what happened in the story I read today and also anything you may remember from the last rotation’s Bible story. [As the children name the events in Joseph’s life, write them on the white board. Have a list of these events handy on an index card so you can “jog” the children’s memory if necessary.]

Tell the children that all of these events helped Joseph to grow, not just in terms of getting older, but also growing in his trust in God. Hearing and understanding Bible stories can help all of us to grow in our trust in God. The same God who was with Joseph is with us and can help us trust God more.

Say: This Bible story takes place in Egypt about 3800 years ago. Do you know how people wrote stories during this time in history? [hieroglyphics]

Say: People wrote using symbols or pictures to denote objects or concepts and this written language is called Hieroglyphics. (There are also hieroglyphics that denote letter sounds, but we are not looking at these today.) We are focusing on hieroglyphics that convey ideas. These are called pictographs, or ideograms. These characters are literal representations of ideas.

Show some examples of hieroglyphics and share other information as appropriate that you found doing your research.

Say: You are going to make a scroll that depicts events in the Joseph story to help you remember the events that helped Joseph grow in his faith and brought him to an understanding that allowed him to forgive his brothers.

Brainstorm with the students ideas about what symbols/pictographs of their own design could be used to depict parts of the story. Tell the children they may show whatever portion of the Joseph story they would like to depict. Pass out paper and markers, coloring pencils or crayons. Encourage students in their creativity to make their own hieroglyphics.

If they work quickly encourage them to pick another event in Joseph’s life and make another picture or series of pictures.

For younger students: Pick one of the events in Joseph’s life and design the hieroglyphic together and write it on the board. Allow the children to copy this design if they do not want to design one on their own.

As the children work ask the following questions:

  • I wonder how Joseph felt when the cup bearer/waiter did not remember Joseph after he got out of jail?
  • I wonder what Joseph was thinking when he was summoned to Pharaoh to interpret his dream?
  • I wonder what Joseph thought when he was made second in command of all Egypt? What would you be thinking if it were you?
  • I wonder how Joseph felt when he first saw his brothers after all those years?
  • I wonder what the brothers thought Joseph would do to them when Joseph told his brothers who he was?
  • I wonder what the brothers expected Joseph to do?
  • I wonder if it was hard for Joseph to forgive his brothers?


Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
If you did not have the opportunity to ask the questions from the application section, use them now.

Review the memory verse.
MEMORY VERSE REBUS: a rebus is a sort of hieroglyphic. Pictures and symbols are used to replace some words. Together we are going to make a memory verse rebus.

Write the memory verse on the board. Ask the children they can think of symbols to replace some of the words in the Bible verse. As they suggest symbols, erase the word or part of the word that the symbol replaces and draw the symbol in place of the word.

“And we know that God cause everything to work 2 + gether 4 the good of t + (picture of a water hose) who (picture of a heart) God and are called a + (picture of a cord) + ing 2 his purpose 4 them.”
Each time a word or part of a word is replaced, have the children say the verse together.

By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the activity – maybe something Egyptian-looking.

Shepherd Time:
Close your eyes for a minute and think about this past week. Was there a time where you did not get along with a member of your family? Why didn’t you get along with them? What happened? How did you feel? When you weren’t getting along, how did you know your family/family member still loved you? How would you feel to have to leave home or be sent away because you did not get along?

Let’s think now about Joseph and his brothers. They certainly did not get along in the beginning, did they? The older brothers were jealous of Joseph, and Joseph was a tattletale. Did anyone ever say “I’m sorry” in this story? Did anyone ask for forgiveness? Did Joseph forgive his brothers? Why?

Think about your family again. How do you show you are sorry when you do something wrong? How do you ask someone to forgive you? [Hand each child a piece of paper.]

Older Children: On this piece of paper, write about a time you were sorry and asked someone to forgive you. Or write about a time when you forgave someone. What words did you use? How did you feel before and after? How do you think the other person felt?

Younger Children: On this piece of paper, draw a picture of a time you were sorry and asked someone to forgive you. Or write about a time when you forgave someone or were forgiven. (If you don’t write well or need help spelling, just ask me or the Workshop Leader for help.) What words did you use? - you can write them in balloons on the picture.
Or: How did you feel before and after saying “I’m sorry”? How do you think the other person felt? Draw a picture that shows your feelings or the other person’s feelings.

This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.

You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Workshop Leader’s Background Notes and for ideas.
Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.


Thank God for written language that has allowed us to hear the story of how He provided for Joseph and his family. Ask God to help us remember to call on Him when we are in hard situations and are tempted to be discouraged. Ask God to help you and the children say “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” when necessary.

Tidy and Dismissal:
Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.
Collect the journal pages before they leave. Make sure their names and the date are on them.
Give everyone the parent take-home flyer the first week of the rotation; give it only to children who were absent and have not yet received it the other weeks of the rotation.

Additional Suggestions:
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas in addition to the suggestions in the lesson plan:

Younger Children:
For classes composed primarily of pre-readers, show the children how to find the passage in the Bible (for example, “To find the Gospels, open the Bible in the middle and then open the second half in the middle - you should end up in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Our passage is in Mark and then have them do it. After everyone has found the passage, have them close their Bibles and listen while you read.


Cripe, Douglas D., editor. Bible Quest Leader’s Guide, Grades K-1, Fall 2001. Louisville, Kentucky: Bible Quest Publishers, 2001. (Lesson 9, “Jacob and Esau” - source for Shepherd Time discussion and questions on forgiveness.)

First United Methodist, Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Joseph in Egypt” Lesson set at

Henley, Karyn. God’s Story: The Bible Told As One Story. Wheaton, Illiniois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

This lesson was written by Jamie Senyard for River Community Church in
Prairieville, Louisiana.  

Copyright 2003 Jamie Senyard. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included. 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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