I Am Blessed (Beatitudes)
Temple Courtyard (Games)
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will make maracas representing each beatitudes, then use them in a series of games to help them memorize the beatitudes.
- Children connect each beatitude with a visual image.
- Children connect the first and second parts of each beatitude
- Children progress toward memorization of the beatitudes.
- Highlighting pens
- Paper Plates (2 per child)
- Craft Sticks or paint stirrers (1 per child)
- Staplers (about one for every two
- children if possible) and extra staples
- Large beads or beans (optional)
- See: Adjustments for Age Levels and Abilities
- Memorize the beatitudes yourself, or at least be very familiar with them.
- Gather the materials.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Read the beatitudes together.
Children who have brought their own Bibles to class should be encouraged to highlight the passage and to write Matthew 5:3-12 in their “Notes” section of the Bible.
Have younger children point to each verse as you read it.
Have middle grades read the beatitudes in unison
Have older grades take turns reading a verse individually.
Discuss any unfamiliar vocabulary, looking it up in the dictionary if needed.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Make paper plate maracas
- Pass out 2 paper plates to each child and assign them a verse number 3-11.
- Children are to illustrate on the backside of each plate a picture of the person/s being described and on the other what that person receives from God. (for example, vs. 4 could be someone who is crying on the front and a drawing of a quilt – comforter – on the back) If a child is stuck, work together as a group to come up with ideas.
- Tape a craft stick or paint stirrer to the inside of one plate.
- Staple the plates together, adding a few beans or beads to make maraca
If there are more than nine children make more than one maraca, just make sure you don’t confuse the children in some of the games. If there are fewer than 9 children, write out the skipped verses on plates yourself.
Have each child read their verse and show and explain their pictures. Have the whole group repeat the verse together as the child shakes and turns their maraca.
Use the maracas to help memorize the Beatitudes. Children can begin with their own maracas, but you may want them to grab a different maraca each round. Play each game several times, spending extra time on the ones they enjoy and skipping those you don’t think will work. As you go, ask the children which beatitude they have the most trouble remembering and spend extra time practicing it. Also let the leader know so it can be emphasized in opening time in future weeks.
Act It Out
Stand in a circle. As you read each beatitude, the child holding that beatitude stands in the center, shaking the maraca. The other children act out the beatitude, using the picture on the maraca for ideas.
Have students sit on pillows facing the teacher. Read the first part of the beatitude. Have the child whose beatitude you are reading raise their maraca and shake it. When you call on him/her, s/he is to stand and say the second part of the beatitude.
Place all nine maracas on the floor in random order. Challenge the children to put the maracas in the correct order. Use Bibles to help if needed. If any children think they can put the maracas in order on their own, give them 60 seconds to try.
After the beatitudes are correctly lined up, turn them all to their front sides. As children look at the front picture, have them try and remember what is on the other side. Flip it over to test their memory. Then try it the other way around, trying to remember part one. A variation would be scattering the maracas around the room and have children wander to all the maracas (out of order). Have them test their own memory by flipping each maraca over.
Who Am I?
Ask “who am I?” and say the second part of the beatitude in first person form, i.e., “I will receive mercy.” Have the children point to the child holding the appropriate maraca. Then they say together “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.”
Encourage children to develop a “rap” or other rhythm exercise, for the telling of the beatitudes. Use the maracas as percussion instruments to emphasize their song.
End today’s lesson with a blessing prayer. (i.e., God bless ___)
Give each child a blank sheet of paper and encourage them to write out the beatitudes.
Some may want to try to work from memory, then check their work using their Bible.
Others may want to copy the beatitudes from their Bibles in special handwriting.
To take home:
Bookmark of the Beatitudes.
Adjustments for age levels and abilities
For the youngest age groups, draw black and white pictures representing each beatitude, photocopy, and use these as coloring pages for the children to tape on their plates rather than making them from scratch.
Different age levels will enjoy different versions of the games more than others. If something isn’t working, move on to another game, or replay a game they enjoyed.
Don’t underestimate the youngest students. The younger you are, the easier it is to memorize passages – even if you don’t understand the vocabulary. Know that an understanding of vocabulary will develop and focus on memorization.
If you have extra time…
Compare the wording in our NRSV translations with some other translations of the Bible. What is different?
Or, look up Luke 6:20-26 and compare Luke’s blessings and woes to Matthew. Highlight Luke and make a note to see Matthew 5:3-12
If time runs short…
Don’t let the children get too elaborate with their paper plate pictures. The idea is to put on an easily recognized symbol to help jog the memory, not create a detailed work of art.
Can you think of other games that will help the children with memorization?
A lesson originally posted by Lisa Martin.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.