Summary of Lesson Activities:
Focus on learning the story sequence by hearing about the story characters and their feelings and by enacting the story. [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.]
Genesis 37:1-36, 39:1-6b
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a (CEV)
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the materials
- Easel; appropriate maker
- Masking tape
- For 3rd grade: Bibles; One Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.); and a Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen
- The Read with Me Bible
- Costumes including a multi-colored “coat”
- Chairs (to construct a “pit")
- Two or three large pieces of fabric (in a rock sort of a color) to cover the chairs – to make a “pit”
- A bag of coins
- Script (not included here as this is copyright material, we used the book: Crazy Clothesline Characters).
Before Start of Class:
- Write the key Bible verse on the easel.
- On one side of the room, set up the chairs in a circle to represent a pit. Cover the chairs with the large pieces of fabric.
- Familiarize yourself with the three areas of the room to be used in the drama – the pasture, the “tent” and the pit.
- Book mark a Bible to Genesis 39.
- Lay out some appropriate costumes on the pasture side of the room (opposite side from the pit).
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Drama Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Ask the Shepherd to take care of attendance/nametags while you start the lesson.]
Ask: Does everyone know what we do in a Drama Workshop? (allow a few answers)
Say: In the Drama Workshop we act out stories from the Bible. Sometimes we pretend we are people from the Bible that lived long ago. That’s what we’ll do today – we’ll act out the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers. It’s a story about how some brothers didn’t get along.
Ask: Do you sometimes have trouble getting along with other people – your friends or classmates or brothers or sisters? (allow a few answers)
Say: Before we act out our story, let’s begin with prayer. Ask for any prayer requests.
Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: Thank you for this day and for everyone who is here this morning. Thank you for sending Jesus to be with us always. We can count on Jesus being near, even when we are having trouble getting along with other people. You are an awesome God! (End with the Lord’s Prayer). Amen.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: We have a story to act out about Joseph and his brothers and a coat of many colors. Does anyone know where in the Bible would we find the story of Joseph? (OT, Genesis)
Hold open a Bible to Genesis.
Say: The Bible is like a library. There are 66 books in the Bible. Our story for today is in the book of Genesis. Genesis is the first book in what we call the Old Testament. The Old Testament is stories that happened before Jesus was born.
For 3rd graders:
Distribute Bibles. Have everyone find Genesis, chapter 37.
For all students:
Say: Let’s review the story so you know the characters, the people, in our story. As we tell this story let’s concentrate on the characters and how they are feeling. Knowing about the characters helps us act out the story because we can try to express the feelings they felt.
Using the Read With Me Bible, show pages 75 to 85. As you show each picture, briefly review the story by asking questions… [If students don’t know the story you may end up telling parts of it.]
- Page 75
Ask: Here’s someone receiving a colorful coat – who’s that?
Who are all these people in the background? (his brothers)
Did all the brothers get beautiful coats? Why not?
How do you suppose Joseph feels about receiving a special coat?
How did Joseph’s brothers feel about Joseph?
What does jealousy mean? (feeling unhappy because of another person’s possessions or advantage)
- Page 77
Ask: What’s happening here? [point to wheat] (Joseph is telling his brothers about a dream he had where everyone in the family had a bundle of wheat. The brother’s bundles of wheat bowed down to Joseph’s bundle)
I wonder what that could mean?
- Page 79
Ask: Here’s Joseph telling his brothers and his father, Jacob, about another dream.
Does anyone know what that dream was? (the sun & moon & 11 stars bowed down to Joseph)
Say: Joseph looks pretty excited to be telling his dream.
Ask: How did the brothers feel about these dreams? (were jealous)
- Page 80/81
Ask: What happened next? [Or, Say: One day Joseph’s father, Jacob asked Joseph to go and check on his brothers who were a long way off, caring for the sheep. The brothers saw Joseph coming.]
What are the brothers planning? (to kill Joseph)
- Page 82/83
Ask: What happens to Joseph? (his brothers take his colorful coat and throw Joseph into a well)
How do you suppose Joseph felt? (confused, scared)
- Page 84/85
Ask: Then what happens? (his brothers sell Joseph to some traders on their way to Egypt. They killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s coat in the blood. They gave the coat to their father, Jacob.
How did Jacob feel? (very sad)
- Page 86
Ask: What happened to Joseph? (the traders took him to Egypt and sold him)
How do you suppose Joseph felt? (allow a few responses)
Warm up for drama!
Say: So Joseph ended up in Egypt as a slave; a man named Potiphar bought him. There is more to the story, but that’s as far as we’ll hear for today. Before we act out the story, lets do some warm up exercises to practice showing how we feel.
Have the students move to the “pasture” area of the room and:
Be the tallest person (by stretching).
Be the smallest person they can be.
Be someone who is showing off a beautiful coat.
Be someone who is feeling mad because they don’t have a colorful coat.
Be someone who is scared.
Enact the Story
A note about acting out the story: This will work best if the leader gets involved in the drama. Use a dramatic voice to read the story. Don’t read too fast. Pause, to let the students act. You may have to guide them in what it means to ad-lib. They do not have to repeat your dialogue exactly – just so they get the feelings.
Have the students quickly choose costumes. Gather everyone in the “pasture” side of the room.
Say: I’ll read the story in pieces, giving you a chance to act out what you’ve heard. You may add actions and talking. Remember to show how the characters felt. I have added to our drama some more of the story from the Bible. I will be taping your drama so that we can watch it on the TV when we are finished.
Characters needed: Jacob (the father), Joseph, and a bunch of brothers.
Follow the script shown on page 23-25 in the book Crazy Clothesline Characters. Stop after the station 2: Jacob’s Tent portion that is on page 25.
Ask: Would you want Joseph for a brother?
Have you ever seen someone that showed off something that you wished you had?
What did you do about your feelings of jealousy?
Have people ever been jealous of you? How did you handle that?
Say: Jealousy can lead to problems. Joseph’s brothers sure didn’t like the way Joseph acted – showing off his coat and telling them about his dreams that made it sound like he was most important. They ended up selling him so that Joseph became a slave in Egypt!
Ask: Joseph had been taught that God is always with us. Do you suppose at that point in Joseph’s life – when his brother’s sold him – that he wondered where God was?
What about you, have you ever faced a rough situation in your life and wondered, where was God? Did it seem like God was hidden?
Do you suppose that having God as your friend means that nothing bad will ever happen to you?
Say: God’s promise is not to stop all our trouble. We unfortunately are still going to have some bad experiences. But God’s plan is to always be with us and to help us through those experiences.
Say: God was with Joseph. Let me read to you a bit more of the story from the Bible. Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. He’d been sold as a slave to a man named Potiphar.
Read Genesis 39:2-5.
Say: God’s activity in our lives may appear to be hidden to us, but God does have a plan for each of you. God is always with you, at work in your lives. Let’s look at our key Bible verse for this month. This is a good Bible verse to know by heart.
Refer to the easel with the key Bible verse. Ask students to say it with you: “We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.” Romans 8:28a
Ask: Why would it be good to learn this Bible verse by heart?
Say: If you ever feel like you are in a pit – like Joseph was – it can help to remind yourself that God is always with you! Challenge yourself to learn this Bible verse!
If you have extra time:
Re-enact portions of the story.
- Mader, Carol. Crazy Clothesline Characters. Loveland, CO: Group Publishing, 2000.
- Read With Me Bible: An NIV Story Bible for Children. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993.
Copyright 2010 First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI.
Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use
provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.
If you use this material, even in a modified form, please include the following reference:
Hulbert, Carol. "Joseph’s Coat: Drama Workshop." Jan. 2010. Place URL where lesson found inside angle brackets<>.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.