Jonah: The Whole Tale
Summery of lesson activities:
Uses the Elijah and Jonah CD (Sunday Software)
- Gather the materials
- Explore the software ahead of time.
- Read the scripture ahead of time.
- Load the computers
Insights on Teaching Jonah and Using this CD:
Parts of the Jonah story are so well known that we often forget what else is in there. The righteous sailors, for example, and Jonah's Psalm. The CD doesn't miss them.
When we were recording Jonah and God's dialog (which tooks 98% straight from scripture), it became extremely clear to us that this story was meant to be heard out-loud. God's verses are so calm, and Jonah's are word-for-word irascible! The contrast between the two is profound, teachable! ...and another great reason why we teach with media.
The story ends unresolved. God saves Nineveh, but we don't know if he has gotten through to Jonah. There's a whole lesson in that! We put Jonah on the same CD with Elijah and Elisha --two prophets who know how to listen and obey God. Elijah tried hiding too, remember? We all do.
Because of that darn 'whale', people remember Jonah more. Yet whether by whale or worm, or earthquake, wind and fire, the outcome is the same: God always eventually gets our attention, and there the stories converge: God speaks in a small calm voice to both Jonah and Elijah, ...a message of redemption and encouragement. ...A voice our children need to learn how to listen for.
Time: 35 to 40 minutes. Jonah is a long story. Start on time. The story as presented on the CD functions like your entire Bible study. It presents the full text of the story (narrated and animated), with background/study notes, and follow-up activities and reflection content.
There's probably MORE in the Jonah CD than you can do in one lesson if you only have 40 minutes. A primary goal would be to "learn the scope and sequence of the story", --so if you're short on time, focus on the interactive story, and the "story order" game at the end.
Print my free outline to the CD from Sunday Software's website. It will be invaluable as a discussion guide, and especially if you're short on time, or going to split the story into two lesson periods.
Guide by the Side! Go WITH your students as they use the CD in order to be the teacher, rather than standing back. Kids will be kids. Your presence will hold them accountable for content, rather than merely looking for "clicky-dos". And you'll also find many teachable moments as you explore the story and content with them.
Age Range: This CD has a large age range. It's sophisticated and fun enough for older children and teens, yet accessible enough by young children if they have help. All the story is narrated, and some of the study notes must be read.
This story is about SO MANY THINGS that it would be a shame to try and distill it down to one idea. (It's an entire book of the Bible!) Therefore: Teach the story! ...and the story will be able to continue to unfold its meaning and voice to us.
The story on the CD is presented as "an interactive comic-book". Students move at their own pace and skip to sections if needed. Here on the right is an example of the interface.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introduction:
Greet the students and introduce yourself.
Open with a prayer.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
1. Gather your students around a microphone and ask them to show you "How do you think God sounds when he's calling people to be obedient and stop sinning." Mostly likely they'll pick a stern authoritarian voice. Now ask them to show you God "sounds in your heard" when you hear him telling you to do the right thing and stop doing wrong things".
(If you don't have a microphone, ask your music dept or a musician in the congregation. A microphone attached to even a small guitar amp is a wonderfully fun tool for this and many other lessons.)
Say: Today we're going to learn the famous Bible story about Jonah, the prophet who argued with God about forgiveness. As you work through the story, listen to how God sounds, and be ready to tell me at the end of the lesson, what the story tells us about the way God speaks to us, his character and personality.
Give them some tips about the software:
- Work through the story and look at all the hidden notes and activities. Tell them, "don't skip anything or you may miss something cool...like the Whale Spittin Game!" ...and they will if they try to blow through study notes.
- Take turns, letting different students at the controls for different pages.
- When answering a mini-quiz pop-up question, confer with your fellow students and agree upon the answer before clicking it.
2. Dive into the Elijah & Jonah CD... Jonah's Story
Work through the story. Make sure everyone finds the Whale Spittin Game (about being a real prophet). The Game Guide tells you which study note it is hidden in.
At the end of the story are several options:
Select them according to your age range, and time left.
THE END: An interesting discussion you could have about "whatever happened to Jonah? and why does it mean that the story ends like this?"
Wormy's Game: A fun game reinforcing story content.
Further Study: More about "compassion".
Jonah's Story Game: The story's 15 key episode are graphically represented in order. Roll over them to see captions. Click scramble and drag them back into order.
3. Closing: "God Prays for Your Class"
Come back to the microphone and see if the kids have picked up on God's gentle patient voice in Jonah's story. Ask them to talk like God, and then talk like Jonah. This will be fun.
THEN.... Have this statement written out on a flipchart or handout and pass around the microphone giving each a sentence to say using their best "new God's voice" which they hopefully learned from the CD!
My Dear Dear Children,
People,you really frustrate me. You want me to forgive you for your sins, but you openly disobey me. I want you to spread the message of my forgiveness and help others be obedience to my rules, but you hold back. Are you embarrassed by my Word? Do you think others aren't good enough? You pray for changes in the world, but it is YOUR heart that must first be changed. I can help you with that, if you will let me. And that's MY PRAYER FOR YOU! AMEN SAYS THE LORD OR HOSTS!!! and again I say A-MEN!.
I hope you like my lesson and CD.
PS: Here on the right is a photo sent to me by the Kirk Church in Tulsa of their kids 'inside the whale' using the Jonah CD. The fan-enabled 'blow up' whale is a fun project described elsewhere in the Jonah forum.
Alternate Software and computer workshop ideas:
A brief retelling of Jonah is found in two preschooler software programs: Charlie Church Mouse, and Play and Learn Children's Bible CDs.
You could also pick up on the "microphone" idea I describe in the above lesson and use it to record key verses from Jonah "in God's patient voice" and "in Jonah's angry voice" using Kid Pix which has a voice recorder/playback function that allows you to put your voices with illustrations you make in that program and play them back. You'll need the kind of microphones with tiny jacks that plug into the computer jack.
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen
Disclosure: I am the author of the CD. The Rotation board has invited me to post my free lessons, and I appreciate that. My work with Christian software grew out of my Rotation work.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.