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Reply to "ART Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Talents, Pounds"

A Talent Coat of Arms (or Family Shield)

Art Workshop

Wormy Notes:

A coat of arms or "family shield" in ancient times was a Family Flag, an Emblem with symbols that told people "who you belonged to", "what you were known for", and "what people could expect out of you".

This is a project that goes home and hangs in a child's bedroom. It was suggested by one reviewer not to think of it only as a "drawing" but something that could hold objects, such as a Nail Cross, a favorite Bible verse, the child's outlook on life, photographs of the child and "church family", and clippings from magazines about what the student likes, and who their HEROES are.  (Jesus! for example.)

The Coat of Arms typically has FOUR SECTIONS on it, with a main emblem surrounded by smaller ones.  You can designate one section as "faith", another as "your talents" and personality  --what others would say is good about you, another as "your likes/dislikes", and another as "people you look up to" or heroes, or family.   Words can be written around the edge of the shield.

Many coat of arms have an ANIMAL on them that represents the person's character.

You can make the shield on PAPER in the shape of a Coat of Arms shield, and then glue it to a pre-cut cardboard shield when finished. Tie a string on the back of the cardboard so that the shield can be hung.

Younger students may need items 'pre-found' but let them choose from a wide variety.

Sit with them during this project, helping them select. Do not have them glue anything on their shield until you have had a chance to talk with them.

To set up the idea:  Tell them "Imagine if all that was left of you one day was this Coat of Arms. What would you want people to know about you just by looking at this shield?  What would you want to tell them was important to you?  

What were your talents?

What was your character like?

By way of closure... bring the coat of arms concept back around to the TALENTS parable and the "burying" aspect of the story.  "How do we SHOW PEOPLE what we're made of? What our character and faith is like?  How do we BURY/HIDE our faith from others?   In the olden days, people hung their shields on their castles, and on the flags so that others could see what they stood for. How do we do that today?  How do people know us?  Do they know you are what your shield SAYS you are?

You might even sing a short version of "This little shield of mine, I'm gonna let it shine".

Summary of Lesson Activities:
In this workshop the learners will have the opportunity to think about some of their own gifts and talents while hearing about how people throughout history have used their particularly gifts and talents for good. The learners will create a personal shield that will be another way for them to recognize and name their talents and how they can use them.

Supplies List:

  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories
  • books with biographical information
  • 8½ x 11 paper in different colors for cross
  • 8½ x 14 paper for shield
  • Cardboard shield pre cut.
  • Magazines
  • some copied images of crosses, logos, super heroes.
  • scissors
  • glue
  • patterns for shield and cross
  • crayons
  • markers
  • dry erase board and markers
  • pencils

Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passage. Read over the background material included in your teacher packet as you review the lesson plan. Become familiar with the biographical information, especially for those news and historical personalities with whom you are not as familiar. Make your own shield, filling it out with your own personal information.
  • Gather the materials.


Opening - Welcome and introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs if there are new students or visitors.

Open with a prayer.

Dig - Main Content and Reflection:

Lesson Plan:

1. Have the students gather around the table. Explain that you are going to read the Parable of the Talents from The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories. Read story #311 entitled “The Three Servants” on page 353. After reading the story, briefly review with the students the important points of the story. Ask the students if they have any questions about the story.

2. Ask the students the following questions:

  • Do you think God gives each person a talent or ability to do something well?  
  • Name some talents.
  • Do you think God gives us all the same talent?  
  • Why does God give us different talents?
  • What do you think God expects from us when God gives us a talent?
  • Do you know what your God-given talent is?  Name one!

Tell the students that we are going to do some projects that help us with some of these questions.

3.  Describe a Coat of Arms and Seed the Project with Ideas!

Show the children some COAT OF ARMS  (easily found on the internet)

Show them your denomination's logo. The PCUSA cross, for example, has many images in it.

List five different "gifts" or "talents" God gives people, and ask students to describe their OWN talents.

a. an ANIMAL that has those qualities.

b. a person they know or superhero that has those qualities.

List five different good personality traits, good character, ...such as "honesty"

List 3 symbols of our Faith  (cross, nails, what else?)

4. What's My Talent?

Discuss with the students that we all have different things we like to do and we are all good at different things. No one talent is better than another. Invite the students to play a game called “What’s My Talent?” In the game, you will read from the list below. As you read the list, ask the students to stand as you read an item that they like to do, or that they do well. Pause after each item allowing students to stand for a moment and then take their seat again before the next item is read. After you are done with this list, you could ask the students to add their favorites.

Paint a picture
Sing a song
Take a walk in the woods
Play a board game
Make cards to give others
Play an active sport
Talk to a friend on the phone
Read a book
Put together a model
Do math homework
Write a story or poem
Bake cookies
Write letters to friends or family members

5. Tell the students that they will be making their own personal shield that will demonstrate their talents and how they want to use them to serve God.

Show them the pattern and/or the one you made for yourself. Ask the students what they know about shields. Accept all answers. Be sure they know that sometimes shields have pictures or words on them that tell about who you are.  Discuss the different sections they can put on their  (show them your example).

Most Christian family coat of arms have a cross on them, sometimes as a way to create the sections on the shield.

Let the students select two sheets of paper--one piece of 8½ x 11 paper for the cross and one 8½ x 14 for the shield. Show them how to cut out the cross and shield by folding the paper or by using the pattern provided. Have the students glue the cross on top of the shield so that it divides the shield into four sections.

6. Summarize the activities and lists you've previously worked on and make specific suggestions about what each person should consider to be on their shield. Move them to consider not only HOW they are, but WHAT THEY SHOULD BECOME

  • What I do well
  • How I can help my family
  • How I share my talents with my friends or my school or church
  • How I make God happy by using my talents

Take time. Work with individuals


Taking turns, ask the students to share their shields with others in the class. If you filled one out, you could share yours with the class first to get the ball rolling.

A lesson originally posted by member JanMarshall,
the above "Talents Coat of Arms" (shield) project was originally suggested in
two other art workshops posted by Desoto Pres and Bedford Pres churches.

During 2013's review and renovation, this lesson was kept as the best of the three,
and some modifications provided by reviewers and Wormy.

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

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