Summary of Lesson Activities:
Watch an animated video of the story, the Veggie Tales movie “Esther.” Learn critical viewing skills; Compare the story in the Bible to the video. [Note: 4th – 6th graders visited this workshop.]
For scripture, background, and objectives, see above.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Preview the video and have it cued to the correct starting place.
- Gather the materials.
- DVD: “Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen.” Big Idea Productions, 2003. (Viewing time about 30 minutes, 20 seconds.)
- Snack items: goldfish crackers, cups, napkins, water pitcher
- Easel with paper; appropriate marker
- Good News Bibles (TEV)
Before Start of Class:
- In the kitchen, fill a pitcher with ice and water. Gather enough plastic cups – the washable type – to serve water and Goldfish crackers.
- In your classroom, prepare snack by pouring Goldfish crackers into cups. Pour cups of water.
- Make sure you know how to use the TV/DVD, especially how to move by chapters and scanning forward and backward within a chapter.
- Insert the DVD. From the main menu, choose “Chapters.” This is where this video will be started. Turn the sound down on the TV.
- Make a “Things to watch for” list. Include these items: King Xerxes, Esther, Mordecai, and Haman. Also write the words “Esther 4:14b” and these words; “Doing what’s right, even when afraid.”
- Bookmark a Bible to Esther.
Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the video workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
[Note: If you’d like the children to have nametags you may need to remind the Shepherd to make them.]
Show the Esther DVD box.
Ask: Is everyone familiar with Veggie Tales videos, where the characters are vegetables?
Say: Today we’ll watch the Veggie Tales video called “Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen.” This video tells our Bible story about Esther – an ordinary girl who became a queen. First, let’s find our story in the Bible. We always want to be familiar with our Bible story so that we can check to see if the video is following the story correctly.
Dig- Main Content and Reflection:
Ask: If I told you that this was a story that Jesus learned as a child, where do you suppose we would we find our story in the Bible? (OT)
Help the children find the book of Esther in the Old Testament. [Remind them that opening their Bible in the middle gets them to around Psalms. The book of Esther is a couple of books before Psalms.]
Say: The story of Esther is covered in the entire book of Esther. It’s a lot of reading but it’s an exciting story so do take time to read it at home.
Have the students look at the heading above chapter 1: “Esther Becomes Queen.”
[Have kids leave the Bibles open.]
Say: Esther is one of the characters in this story that we’ll be watching for in the video. [Refer to the “Things to Watch for” list.] Esther was just an ordinary girl, yet she became queen. Let’s watch our video to see how it was that Esther had a chance to become Queen.
Using the DVD, from CHAPTERS MENU, choose 1 – “Just an Ordinary Girl.”
VIEW scene of about 2 minutes.
PAUSE when the words “Big Idea Productions Presents” appears on the screen.
Ask: Why was the first queen kicked out of the kingdom?
Say: The video says it was because she wouldn’t make the king a sandwich.
Ask: Do you suppose that was really why she was banished? (no)
Say: These videos sometimes slightly change the real story. If we read this story in the Bible the first queen, whose name was Vashti, was kicked out because she refused to go to the king when he had called for her. This presented the opening for Esther, an ordinary girl, to become queen. In the next part of the video we’ll be introduced to Mordecai who is Esther’s wise cousin.
Use CONTROLS option to SCAN FORWARD until you see the sign that says “Public Transportation, why wait till A.D.” [This is bypassing just a short amount.]
VIEW scene of about 1 minute and 40 seconds.
PAUSE when the door opens to Haman’s vehicle.
Ask: What wise words did Mordecai have for Esther? (you never need to be afraid to do what is right) [Refer to the easel.]
Have the Shepherd distribute the snack.
Say: Esther and her cousin Mordecai were both Jewish but they were living in Persia, a country far from the Jewish homeland. They were living among a people who did not believe in God. Their families had been taken captive from Jerusalem but even though they were prisoners, they were allowed to settle down and live normal lives. Now we will meet Haman
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
PAUSE after Esther sings, “what now should I do.”
Ask: What is Esther puzzled about? (what she should do, why she is where she is)
What was Mordecai’s response to why Esther was where she was?
If the kids didn’t catch it, SCAN BACKWARDS until 6:35 and re-watch the scene until Mordecai says, “I’ll come visit you again.”
Say: Mordecai said that he didn’t know the future, but God does know; maybe God has a plan for why Esther has a chance to be the queen.
Ask: Have you ever wondered about the events that happen in your life, if God has a plan? (allow all answers)
Say: Let’s keep this thought in mind: if God has a plan for our lives then we don’t need to be afraid to do what’s right. [Refer to the easel.]
SCAN FORWARD until 9:20 (where Esther is standing in front of the microphone).
Say: In the next part of the video there is a talent contest to see who becomes queen. In the Bible it wasn’t a talent contest, it was a beauty contest.
VIEW scene of about 1 minute.
PAUSE when the flash bulbs start flashing.
Say: Esther sang a song that reminds us that there is nothing we can’t face when God is at our side. That is what we call having faith – trusting God even when it is scary to do so.
Ask: Have you ever found yourself in a scary situation where you trusted God or wanted to trust God? (allow any answers; sharing something from your life would be helpful)
SCAN FORWARD until 12:18 (where the side door with the “pea” peeking out closes).
Have the students read in the Bible, the heading that is half way through chapter 2: “Mordecai Saves the King’s Life.”
Say: Now we will see how the video tells this next part of the story. Watch in this next segment for the scribe – the character that is always writing. He will play an important role.
VIEW scene of about 4 minutes and 25 seconds.
PAUSE when the view of the front of the castle appears and the narrator says: “…found these things out the hard way.”
Ask: What do you suppose the island of perpetual tickling represents? (death)
Have the students read in the Bible, the heading that is at chapter 3: “Haman Plots to Destroy the Jews.”
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes and 22 seconds.
PAUSE after the edict gets posted on the pillar.
Ask: What was Haman’s real problem with Mordecai? (Mordecai wouldn’t bow to Haman)
If students don’t know the answer: Have them read Esther 3:5-6.
Have the students read in the Bible, the heading that is at chapter 4: “Mordecai Asks for Esther’s Help.”
VIEW scene of about 2 minutes and 5 seconds.
PAUSE after Mordecai says, “Perhaps he put you here for such a time as this…perhaps this is the reason.”
Have the children locate the key Bible verse, Esther 4:14b. Refer to the easel and point out that the “b” means we are reading the second half of the verse; starting with: “Yet who knows…” Read the verse together.
VIEW scene of about 17 seconds.
PAUSE after Mordecai says, “We’ll all pray for you” and he disappears down the vines.
Say: In the Bible it tells us that Esther’s reply was…
Hold a Bible open to Esther 4:16 and read the following:
“Go and get all the Jews together; hold a fast and pray for me. Don’t eat or drink anything for three days and nights.”
Say: Esther used prayer and fasting, which means not eating so as to focus on your praying.
Ask: How can prayer help us to figure out what God wants us to do? (allow all responses)
Say: It can be hard to figure out what we should do in a particular situation. Prayer is a way to listen and talk to God. Perhaps your parent’s use the words: “check it out inside” or “listen to the voice within.” ( From the book Parent Talk by Chick Moorman.)That is a way we listen for God.
Have the students read in the Bible, the heading that is at chapter 5: “Esther Invites the King and Haman to a Banquet.”
Choose MENU. Choose Chapter 6: “A Dinner Invitation.”
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
PAUSE when Haman is shown walking down the path to the gate.
Say: This video is for the most part, following our Bible story. One thing that they don’t have right is that in the Bible it was nearly a year before the Jews were scheduled to be eliminated. Haman cast Pur – kind of like throwing dice – to determine when the Jews would be killed.
Have the students read in the Bible, the heading that is part way through chapter 5: “Haman Plots to Kill Mordecai.”
Say: Haman did however, want to have Mordecai killed right away.
VIEW scene of about 4 minutes and 40 seconds.
PAUSE when the king says, “Good night.”
Ask: Do you suppose that Haman thought that the king was describing an honor that he himself would get? (yes)
Say: That is quite a plot twist for Haman to have to lead Mordecai through the streets in a parade. Let’s see if Esther can save her people.
VIEW scene of about 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
STOP when the screen goes black.
Say: There are some other details that the video left out. Read the story in the Bible to see what they are.
Say: Esther was an ordinary girl. She didn’t know it, but God planned for her to be queen so that she could help save her people. Esther was afraid, but God helped her to be brave. With God’s help Esther was able to do what was right
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, help us have the courage to always stand up for what we believe. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”
Further Discussion (if time allows):
Ask: Is it easier to do what is right or what is popular?
How can we let God help us do what is right?
- Crane, Amy. “Esther: Movie Time.” 2003. link
- MacQueen, Neil. “A Brief Introduction to Teaching with Video.” 2002. https://sundaysoftware.com/site/teaching-with-video/
- Moorman, Chick. Parent Talk. Merrill, MI: Personal Power Press, 1998.
- Trimboli, Kim. Retired “Rotation.org Writing Team Lessons on Esther: Cinema Workshop.” 2002.
A lesson written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
Ann Arbor, MI
Copyright 2003, 2008 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
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