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This thread is for posting Computer Workshop Lesson plans and/or lesson ideas for teaching the story of Jonah.

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Jonah: The Whole Tale

A Lesson Plan using Elijah and Jonah software

Sunday Software's Elijah and Jonah software is now available FOR FREE to's supporting members for use in their church and church member homes. Learn more and download the program.

Leader Preparation:

Insights on Teaching Jonah and Using this Software:

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 program doesn't miss them.

When we were recording Jonah and God's dialog (which is 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 love teaching with media.

The story ends unresolved as if to say "what would YOU do?" 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 in the same software with Elijah and Elisha -- who are two of the more famous and sucessful prophets! But....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 MORE in the Jonah software than you can do in one lesson if you only have 30 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.

Guide by the Side! Go WITH your students as they use the program so that you can be a teacher and hold them accountable for content. You'll also find many teachable moments as you explore the story and content with them.

Age Range: This program 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.

Lesson Plan


Welcome your students and tell them what you hope they will learn today and what they'll be doing to learn it!

A Warm-up: What Does God Sound Like?

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.) You'll be returning to "God's microphone" at the end of the lesson too.

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:

  • Write a list on the board of the things you want them to "be sure to see and do" in the program. Base this upon your time available and age range. Use the attached GUIDE to help you make those selections.
  • Work through the story and look at all the hidden notes and activities. Tell them, "don't skip anything or you may miss something 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.

Dive into Jonah's Story in the Software

Work through the story. Make sure everyone finds the Whale Spittin Game (about being a prophet today). 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. This game is probably too hard for younger children who don't have help or are rushed.

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 the following statement (or something like it) 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 program!

My Dear Dear Children,
People, you really frustrate me. You want me to forgive you for your sins, but you often don't want to forgive others. You want me to be all-loving but you are not as loving as you should be to others. You want others to follow the rules, but you openly disobey me.
I want you to spread the message of my forgiveness and help others follow my rules for living, but you hold back.

Are you embarrassed by my Word? Do you think others aren't good enough? Do you think how you act doesn't matter to me?  it does. I forgive you and love you, but YOU have some things to change about YOURSELF -- just like Jonah did.

I can help you with that, if you will let me. And that's MY PRAYER FOR YOU!  That you would open your hearts to let me change YOU, so that you can be an example to others, and thus, help change the world. AMEN SAYS THE LORD OR HOSTS!!! and again I say A-MEN!.

-Love, God



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Last edited by Luanne Payne

The story of Jonah is one of the terrific presentations found in the SunScool Bible App for Kids.

  • If you choose Level 3 or 4 in the app (for readers and older kids), you will find one comprehensive lesson under the "Men of the Old Testament" menu.

  • If you choose Level 1 or 2 in the app, then Jonah gets his own menu with four separate lessons:

The App is free, ecumenical, and can be downloaded for use on tablets, smartphones, Windows, and Mac!    Get the download link and look up the story you need in our Outline of all 170+ stories in SunScool. That page also includes app helps.

SunScool Bible App for Kids


Images (1)
  • Jonah story menu

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