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(WT) Psalm 23 ~ Computer Scripture Memory Workshop Writing Team

Psalm 23

Computer Scripture Memory Workshop

With adaptations for one or more computers, small or large groups.

Summary of Activities

Students will use "Cal and Marty's Scripture Memory Game" software to create and play a memory verse and quiz game about Psalm 23.  They will follow up with a reflection on the psalm's key words and their meaning by playing a game of "How Few Can You Do?" using a free download of "Let's Talk" software.

This lesson has several options based on equipment, size of the group, and time allotted. It also has options to play the two games without software. See the notes at the end of this lesson.

Scripture for the Lesson

Psalm 23 (NRSV)

Key/Memory Verses:  The entire psalm!

Lesson Objectives

See the Bible Background at for this set's complete list of objectives. 

The primary objective of the set and this lesson is to memorize Psalm 23. 

Preparation and Materials

Lesson Plan

The following assumes one or more computers with about three students per computer working together to input verses and quiz questions, then playing the memory game with their verses. If you will be using one computer with more than three students, then be sure to read the "One Computer Option" at the end of this lesson plan.


Welcome your students and explain what they'll be doing and learning in today's lesson.

The "Scripture Reading" for this lesson takes place as the students INPUT the words of Psalm 23 into the Cal and Marty Verse Editor -- which is part of Cal and Marty Scripture Memory software -- they'll be reading and re-reading the psalm as they input it into the Verse Editor (which helps them memorize it).

 If you decide to input the verses in advance of the lesson or use the NRSV version of the psalm included with the software, you will need to include a basic scripture reading activity. 

Putting the Verses into Cal and Marty

Ideally, you will have your students type the verses into the Verse Editor, even though the game comes with a pre-installed Psalm 23 verse set (NRSV). Remember: TYPING is part of their memory process.

Screenshot of the scripture unscramble game in Cal and Marty:scramble

If you will be using the pre-installed set of Psalm 23 verses, skip down to "Playing the Verse Game."

1.  Assign Verses to Different Computers/Groups

If you have more than one computer, you should assign different verses to different computers. For example, computer #1 can create/input verses 1, 2, and 3, and computer #2 can create verses 4, 5, and 6. After they have each inputted their verses in the Verse Editor and played their own verses, the groups can then SWITCH computers and play each other's verses until every student has played all of the verses. 

At each computer, assign one student to read the verse out loud and another to type the verse as they hear it. Assign one to check the spelling.  You may skip this step if you have one computer and a large group

2. Working with the Verse Editor

After assigning verses and roles to various computers and students, have them open the Cal and Marty software "Verse Editor" module and get started typing their verses into the Verse Editor. Students will be inputting and saving individual verses in the Editor rather than typing the entire Psalm in one long verse (which would have too many words for the game screen). You may combine short verses. See the Psalm 23 Verse Set that comes installed in the game for an example of how to group the verses into individual games.

NOTE: Cal and Marty comes with a Psalm 23 verse set. You can use this if you're crunched for time, or if you only have one computer and more than 3 or 4 students in the class. If at all possible, have them type the verse!  They will enjoy making their own verse games using the Editor -- and the reading, typing, and proof-reading can be an important part of their memorization process. See Cal and Marty "options" at the end of this lesson.

If you are not going to have them input the verses, give each student a Bible or printed copy of the Psalm and have them read a verse "for ten seconds" before having them close their Bible and unscramble the verse in Cal and Marty. 

If you have a large group using one computer, invite students or teams to take turns guessing "which word comes next" in Cal and Marty's unscramble game.

3. Adding the Three Question Quiz and a Note to Each Verse

After inputting a verse, students will be prompted by the software to ADD 3 QUIZ QUESTIONS and a "NOTE" about the verse.  The teacher should write down the three questions on an index card for the students and have the students input them into the Quiz screen. You may provide the right and wrong answers or let the students create them. 

Print the Teacher's Guide to Psalm 23 provided with this lesson set's Bible Background. This guide is a great source of teaching comments and quiz questions!

Following the addition of the quiz question and answers, students will be prompted to add a NOTE about the verse. Invite them to come up with a LIFE APPLICATION COMMENT or INSIGHT about the verse's meaning.  You may make some suggestions.

You are done creating the verse once you have typed in the verse, added the quiz, and added a note. Remember to 'save' it, and you can now move on to input another verse, OR open that just-created verse in the Cal and Marty Unscramble Game to play it!

Unscrambling Psalm 23 in Cal and Marty

Now it's time to play!  Select the verse you want to study then unscramble. Cal will give you 30 seconds to study it, and then he will SCRAMBLE IT.  Click and Drag the words into the correct order. Your score will be higher the faster you work and the fewest mistakes you make. 

Usually, you begin by dragging the first word of the verse into the first spot, but after that you can drag the words to any spot. If they don't "click in" it's not the right spot. 

If you have one computer and more than three students...
Invite students to come forward to "put the next word in the right spot" using the computer's mouse. You may let other students assist them or have them keep quiet.

If you have two or more computers...
After each group has created its assigned set of verses and has played its own verses, have the groups SWITCH to each other's computers to "play the others team's" Psalm 23 unscramble game and take the three-question quiz the other team has created.

Play "How Few Can You Do"

Using the free download of "Let's Talk" software (from Sunday Software, linked above), you will be challenging your students to see how many words of the psalm they can toss out to get down to the "most essential" words/concepts in the psalm.  Truthfully, "which" words should be kept is entirely debatable. The point of the exercise is the get them thinking about the words and "defend" their choices to the class.   Talk Now will speak out loud whatever the kids type -- revealing to the class and teacher their chosen words.

How to Play "How Few Can You Do"...

First, open the "Talk Now" module in the Let's Talk software and create a character. Whatever the kids type in the "talk bubble" above the character -- the character will speak out loud.

Round 1:  If you have time and good typists, invite the students to type all or a large portion of Psalm 23 into the Talk Now screen. Otherwise, have them type the first THREE verses into the Talk Now screen.  When all are finished, invite them to "play" their text for all to hear.

Round 2:  Challenge them to "remove non-essential words" or "less important words" and play back their reduced version of the verses for the entire class to hear. If they have only typed three verses, challenge them to get those three verses down to just 6 key words.  If they have typed the entire psalm, challenge them to get the entire psalm down to 12 words. Comment on and question the words they decided to keep and those they decided to remove.

Round 3:  Challenge them to get the psalm down to as few words as they dare -- words which capture the essence of what the psalmist is trying to say. Their differences of opinion are your teaching opportunity!

Teaching: Take note of which words they chose to remove and question why they removed certain words. Invite competing groups to debate which version is better. 

Key Insight:  In the Hebrew language of Psalm 23, the phrase "for you are with me" is at the EXACT NUMERICAL CENTER of the psalm. There are exactly 26 Hebrew words before that phrase, and exactly 26 words after it. This is not by accident as many psalms have such "hidden" goodies in them.  Is "you are with me" the summary of the psalm?


Recite Psalm 23 together from memory -- lining it out slowly to them if necessary. Conclude with a prayer that these words would "follow them all the days of their life."


Non-Software Alternatives to the Two Games

Cal and Marty is a verse scramble game. You could have the students write out the words of key verses on index cards, scramble them, and then have the kids put the cards in the correct order.

The "How Few Can You Do?" game can also be played using the same set of index cards. Simply vote on which words to keep and which to remove to reduce the verse or psalm to as few words as possible and still retain its essential meaning.

Options for Those Short on Time

Ideally, you'll have enough time for students to input ALL of the verses of Psalm 23 into their own version of the game. But if you don't have the time, you can input some or all of the verses ahead of time in whatever translation you prefer, or simply play the version of Psalm 23 (NRSV) that comes pre-installed.

One option for those short on time but who still want students to do SOME input is to open the pre-installed version of Psalm 23 (NRSV) and remove certain verses or parts of verses for the student to fill-in themselves. For example, you could edit the existing set by substitution hashmarks #### for certain key words which the student have to edit back into the verse themselves before playing the game (again...typing helps memory!). You can use this same idea with quiz by opening the existing quiz and replacing the "correct" answer with hashmarks which the students have to replace with the correct answer before saving the set again and playing it. 

For those with a little more time:

Use Cal and Marty's ability to "keep score" to create friendly competition between students to see who can unscramble a verse in the shortest time. Repetition is what we're after!

For Older Students and Non-Readers:

It's a popular technique to invite older students to "create" verse sets for younger players rather than "for themselves." This bit of "misdirection" often gets pre-teens on task. Then, invite them to shepherd younger children and non-readers through the game -- reading aloud the words and helping the kids move them on the screen.

Non-readers can identify KEY WORDS by recognizing the shapes of the letters/words on the screen. For example, they can be taught what the word "Shepherd" looks like, identify it on the screen and be helped to put it in the correct position with lots of hints.

Important Tech Tip:

Check out the end of the Cal-Marty-Guide PDF for directions to make both software programs appear LARGER on your screen by adjusting the Windows Display "Scale" option in Windows 7, 8, or 10.

Written by Neil MacQueen and the Writing Team

Copyright 2019, Inc.


Last edited by Luanne Payne
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