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Reply to "The Rotation Model's "Dirty Little Secrets""

I'd be interested in seeing some information about the pitfalls of the Rotation Model.  To my mind, one of the biggest things that curriculum writers (and yes, I know around here that's a dirt word, but hear me out) do is CONNECT concepts.  What I mean is the curriculum writers usually have a set of core knowledge goals and concepts that they want kids to know by the end of the year.  Then they use the different Bible stories to teach to those things (for instance: we'd like our kids to be equipped with these different prayer practices, have these basic core concepts about God, and be able to pray these verses/prayers).  


The problem with having only stories as an overarching scope and sequence without any core knowledge goals behind them is that each lesson can become "What would be a fun activity for the kids to do around the Moses story?"  Yes, the kids will learn the Moses story (which is, in itself, valuable), but they may get to Middle School without any real concept of the core values/beliefs/tenets of their church's faith.  They also don't get the chance to build on concepts (for instance, the idea of forgiveness may look different at 5, when their main relationships are with siblings, than at 10, when they've experienced the betrayal of a friend).  In traditional curriculum writing, core concepts like that are visited repeatedly, delving more deeply into them in each succeeding year.


I think the Rotation Model's weakness is that it either asks Christian Ed coordinators to become curriculum writers (for instance, I write all the lesson plans for my church so that they teach to the kid-language friendly core values I developed from our church's mission statement and vision--see core values I pasted at the end of this post) or it leaves the connections in the hands of volunteers (Okay, Susan.  This week, we're making Moses baskets in Indian Paintbrush.  Read the story, and here are your supplies.  Now, go teach those kids!).  The problem with the first is that not all Christian Ed coordinators are equipped to write curriculum (unless they've had some sort of background in education).  The problem with the second is that the kids get a series of fun activities but are never really asked to think through the stories and how they inform or challenge our faith.


I'm writing all of this because I love the workshop rotation model.  It's been great for our church in many ways, but this is the major flaw I saw when I walked in.  I think it's fair for every church considering the WoRM to know that this is the challenging part of the model.  And it's something that needs to be addressed in the scope and sequence they set up, as well as in the way they execute each rotation's lesson plans.  I would recommend the WoRM to any church...but not without a very careful setup team, a scope and sequence that extends beyond just the stories you want covered, and some really good lesson plan writers...or the budget to purchase some of the modules offered by different publishing companies.  


Here is the set of core beliefs we determined after looking at our church and denomination's different creeds and mission statements.  My hope is that all of the kids will know these basic things by the end of their 6 years in the rotation model--even if they can't recite them word-for-word:


Some Important Beliefs:


*God created everything and said that it was good.

*God is with us in every moment, good and bad.

*God loves and forgives us.

*God is still speaking to us in many ways.

*Jesus came to lead us into new life.

*The Holy Spirit is in us and works through us.

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