Reply to "VIDEO, A-V Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Joseph"

Joseph in Egypt

Movie Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

The children will watch the VeggieTales video, "The Ballad of Little Joe" and will consider how to turn to God in the hard times.

Scripture Reference:

Genesis 40:1 - 47:12

Memory Verse:

Romans 8:28

Additional objectives for the Movie Workshop
At the end of the session, the students will

  • see that while God made things work together for good for Joseph, it took quite a few years.
  • see how God chooses a person to be the instrument of redemption for His people and how He used that person’s own special gifts and talents. 

Supply List:

  • Video: The Ballad of Little Joe. Big Idea Productions (VeggieTales), 2003. (35 minutes long)
  • globe or world map
  • Popcorn; lemonade or water and cups; hand wipes
  • whiteboard or flipchart and appropriate markers
  • Memento: just for fun — something Western or Veggie Tales stickers
  • Shepherd Time: handout with memory verse and "God used “Little Joe’s” special gifts and talents for His purposes and I know God can use my special gifts and talents, too!"

Teacher preparation in advance:

  • Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, ...
  • Preview the video. Be familiar with the places where the video should be stopped for discussion. From Neil MacQueen’s “Two Most Important SHOWING TIPS: 1.) Use the PAUSE button. It’s your most powerful ‘video’ teaching tool. 2.) Don’t be afraid to view an important scene a second time. Kids (and adults) watch movies over and over all the time.”
  • Learn the memory verse and learn the sign language to go with it (attached).
  • Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own). Confer with the Shepherd on “Stretchers” to use, especially with the youngest children.
  • To our teachers at RCC: The design of this workshop is very intentional. The activities and discussion questions for this workshop were designed to meet the goals of the entire rotation and the educational objectives of the Rotation Model (tm) at River Community Church. While we feel it is important to follow the serendipitous leading of the Holy Spirit, please do not change the lesson plan without consulting a Curriculum Planning and Writing Team member.
  • Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Make sure you know how to operate the vcr.
  • The bin with supplies is located in the Sunday School room. Purchase or request additional supplies from -- by February 21.

Room set-up:
Students will sit in seats or on the floor facing the television/projection screen.



Opening-Welcome and Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.

We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but open with prayer if you feel led to do so.

Explain the purpose of this workshop: “Today we are going to have some fun seeing the rest of the story of Joseph and his brothers. What do you remember about Joseph from our last rotation?” [Prompt if necessary to review the story of Jacob’s 12 sons, the jealousy over the coat, Joseph being thrown into a pit and sold to slave traders, and Joseph ending up in jail after the incident with Potiphar’s wife.]


Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Scripture/Bible Story:
Read a portion of the scripture: “This rotation’s story is too long to read the whole story, so we will read this section and then see the whole story in the video. (Remember, we left Joseph in jail last rotation, which is where this Bible passage begins.)”: Genesis 41: 14-40 (younger: Genesis 41: 14-16, 25-38).

[Help the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses. Remind them that ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’ and it is the first book in the Bible and includes the story of Creation, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob and his great-grandson Joseph, about whom we are studying this rotation. It is in the Old Testament. NOTE: We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class.]


Does anyone know what a Western movie is? [Accept responses. If necessary, talk about Westerns in the western part of the U.S. with cowboys and saloons and sheriffs and tumbleweeds and whatnot.]

Well, today you are NOT going to see a Western movie. But you are going to see a Western-Bible story. Did the stories in the Bible take place in the wild, wild West? [Show on the globe or map where the western U.S. is and where the Egypt and Canaan are.] Not close, is it? But the Veggie Tales people had some fun with the story of Joseph and that’s what we are going to watch today.

While you’re watching the video:

  • notice changes made to the story when it was moved from the Bible to the Wild West.
  • think about the question sent in to Bob and Larry: “If God loves me, why do bad things happen?”

Pass out wipes, popcorn and drinks. Start the video at the beginning.

STOP the video after Little Joe is arrested and put in jail, even as he is protesting his innocence — “Tell it to the Judge.” (Right before the Silly Song.)

Little Joe did the right thing when Miss Kitty encouraged him to steal the money. And he still ended up in jail.

Q How do you think he felt then? Do you think he was still happy he obeyed God and did not steal the money?

Q Little Joe has been hurt intentionally by both his brothers and Miss Kitty. How does it feel when someone hurts you on purpose?

Q I wonder why Little Joe is in jail? Did he do anything wrong? Do you think he told the truth? I wonder why no one believed him?

Q Any questions so far?

“I am going to restart the video. First we will see something really silly. And then in the first scene after the Silly Song, the Sheriff says, “You’ve got the best attitude of any prisoner I’ve ever had. . . If God is really good, why is all this happening to you?” Notice how Little Joe answers.

Start the video again.
STOP the video after Little Joe finishes praying: “..... Goodnight, God.”

Q Does Little Joe still have faith in God? I wonder why?

It’s hard sometimes to have faith, isn’t it?

Start the video again.
STOP the video after Little Joe gets all choked up talking to his brothers: “See the Sheriff .... Whatever you say.”

Q Did Little Joe recognize his brothers? (Remember, a number of years have passed and they think he is dead, so it is not surprising that they do not recognize him.)

Q I wonder why he doesn’t want them to know who he is? What do you think he is going to do?

Start the video again. Watch it to the end.

Any questions or comments about the video?

Let’s talk about the things that were changed in this video from the Bible story. [Help the children list as many as they can think of. Clarify ones that they are not clear about. Here are some of the differences:

Bible Story: / Veggie Video:
Joseph / Little Joe
Joseph’s two dreams: wheat bows, stars bow / One dream: cactus bow
Jacob gives coat / Pa gives vest
Thrown into pit / Thrown down mine shaft
Slave traders / Desperadoes
Sold to Potiphar, who worked for Pharaoh / Sold to Mr. McPothiphar, who owned a pizza place
Potiphar’s wife/seduction / Singer (Miss Kitty) sets him up so it looks like he stole money
Jail dreamers: cup bearer (back to work) and baker (beheaded) / Jail dreamers: baker (back to work) and blacksmith (up the river)
Pharaoh, had 2 dreams, one meaning / Mayor, had 1 dream (which had the same meaning as the Bible dreams)
Brothers made two trips to Egypt for food, no Benjamin the first time / Brothers made one trip and brought Benjamin along
Cup in Benjamin’s sack of grain / Money on Benjamin’s pizza
Went back for Jacob / Pa arrived with forgotten mittens


Pulling it all together (closing discussion):

At the end of the video, Bob the Tomato said to Pete McGinnis, the boy who wrote the letter, “We learned God can use the good stuff and the bad stuff and put it all together to make something great!”

Joseph’s brothers did an evil thing: they sold him into slavery and lied to their father. God used this evil deed to bring about something good. Joseph was able to use his gifts to save the lives of his father and brothers and preserve God’s original covenant with Abraham. God always keeps his promises.

I wonder, could something good come out of something bad in your life?

Remember, those good things don’t always happen right away. Joseph was 17 years old when his brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt and he was 30 when the Pharaoh made him in charge — that was 13 years! And is was more than 7 more years before the famine reunited his family.

Review the memory verse.
Teach the children the memory verse using American Sign language (see attached instructions).

By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker to paste in their journal or wear home as a reminder of the movie — maybe something silly like Veggie Tale stickers or Western/cowboy stickers.

Shepherd Time:
Give the children the attached sheet with the memory verse. Ask them to think about how Little Joe was really organized (remember, you could tell by looking in his sock drawer!). Did you notice how God used that gift for organizing as He used Little Joe to help His people.

What special gifts do you have? [Make suggestions if the children seem to be slow coming up with ideas. You may want to list them on a whiteboard or flipchart. Some possibilities — good listener, organized, good artist, caring, considerate, hard worker, good helper, patient, good with animals, good cook, green thumb, good with little kids, creative, ...]

How can God use your special gift(s) to help someone through a hard time? (How can your gifts be used to help someone — maybe yourself, maybe a friend of family member.)

Use the form with the memory verse and "God used “Little Joe’s” special gifts and talents for His purposes and I know God can use my special gifts and talents, too!" to think about how God uses people like Little Joe and Joseph and you for His purposes:
Older children: Write about ways your gifts can be used to do God’s work.
Younger children: Draw a picture of yourself using your gifts to help someone through a hard time. (Or dictate/write about using your gifts.)

This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.

You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Workshop Leader’s Background Notes and for ideas.

Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.



“I am going to read a prayer that has time for you to think quietly and pray to God about what I just said.
Let’s bow our heads and talk to God.
Gracious Father,
We praise You for using what others intended for evil to accomplish great good.

We thank You for Your blessings that never end.

We rejoice in the gifts You have given us that we can use in Your service.

We confess that sometimes we doubt You because hard things happen to us and life is sometimes difficult.

Please help us to have faith always, just as Joseph did, to know that all things work together for good for us because we love You.


Tidy and Dismissal:
• Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.
• Collect the journal pages before they leave. Make sure their names and the date are on them.
• Give everyone the parent take-home flyer the first week of the rotation; give it only to children who were absent and have not yet received it the other weeks of the rotation.

Additional Suggestions:
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas are included in the lesson plan.


American Sign Language Browser:

MacQueen, Neil. “A Brief Introduction to Teaching with Video.” Sunday School Software web site. (

Spangler, Ann and Robert Wolgemuth. Men of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002. (Closing prayer adapted from “Joseph: His Legacy of Prayer")

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Joseph in Egypt

Memory Verse Sign Language


And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

WE The index finger moves from one shoulder to the other shoulder.

KNOW The fingertips touch the forehead to indicate that knowledge is in the brain (hand flat, palm down).

GOD The open right hand is raised to the heavens and then downward in a sign of respect.

CAUSES Both S handshapes are thrown out from the front of the body (start with fists, palm side to chest, end with open hands extended, palm up).

EVERYTHING The signs EACH and THING are combined. EACH: one A handshape moves down the other A handshape; THING: the palm is facing upward and the hand bounces to the side to indicate different items (things).

WORK One S handshape taps the back of the other S handshape to represent the hands doing something (working).

TOGETHER The sign WITH is moved in a circle to represent many people are with one another (together). WITH: the A handshapes come together.

GOOD The hand moves forth from the mouth to the other hand. Something has been tasted and judged as being good; it is therefore offered to others.

LOVE The hands hug something over the heart to indicate the concept of love.

GOD The open right hand is raised to the heavens and then downward in a sign of respect.

CALLED One hand taps a single time on the other hand to get the attention of someone.


HIS The open hand is associated with the concept of possession. When it is done in the same location as the sign HE it becomes HIS. (HE: the pronouns he, she, and it are indicated in signs by pointing to the side or pointing directly to the person or object being referred to.)

PURPOSE The signs THINK and MEAN are combined. THINK: the index finger touches the forehead which is the location of the mind. MEAN: V handshape presses down on the palm, moves up and twists, then presses down again.

From the American Sign Language Browser: You can see the signs demonstrated there.


Posted by Nanci H

We used the Veggie Tales movie "Ballad of Little Joe" for our video workshop.

The kids really got a good handle on this very long story and remembered the sequence and events very well during discussions the next week.


A lesson written by Amy Crane from: River Community Church

Prairieville, LA



Copyright 2003 Amy Crane. Permission granted to freely distribute and use, provided the copyright message is included.


A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


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