Computer and Apps for Teaching About Judges in Sunday School
This topic is collecting programs, lesson ideas, and suggestions for teaching stories from the Book of Judges to children.
Judges, Othniel, Ehud, Deborah, Barak, Sisera, Gideon, Samson, etc.
A Computer Workshop
Summary of Activities
This lesson will find the students creating a condensed version of Judges 4. They will vote on what they think are the most important keywords and phrases in the story and develop a memory verse or outline of the story in the form of a Keyword Poem spoken aloud on the computer using either Let's Talk (Sunday Software) or Kid Pix 4 or the newer "3D" version (MacKiev).
"Let's Talk" software program is now free to the supporting members of Rotation.org!
This condensing game is sometimes called "How Few Can You Do?"
Scripture for the Lesson
Key/Memory Verse: “So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.” Then the land had peace forty years. Judges 5:31
The goal of this particular lesson is to examine the entire Judges 4 text and attempt to condense the story in a way that's both memorable and enlightening. Students debating which words/ideas are essential to the story becomes an opportunity to go deeper, and discuss life application.
Neil's Notes about this particular lesson:
How should you handle the violent ending in this story? Carefully!
Sisera was an evil person who led a powerful army. Armies led by evil people can cause vast amounts of death and destruction. They must be stopped. The Old Testament clearly believes that bad people are often "justly" done away with by the action of God or God's people. It is important to suggest that Sisera had an option too. He could have obeyed Deborah and God.
With pre-teens you may want to introduce "other options" for standing up against evil forces. Contrast Jesus' actions and "army" to Deborah and Barak's.
Preparation and Material
- Print and copy the story of Deborah text, (Judges 4) handout for the students (attached at end of this lesson). You are working from a handout in lieu of using an actual Bible because you are going to be asking students to mark "key words" in the story. Duplicate a copy of the handout for each participant.
A simple way to get a print out of the text is go to www.biblegateway.com and type Judges 4 in the search box, select your preferred version and click on the icon for print
- Print the software teaching guide here at Rotation.org Guide-LetsTalk.pdf
- Preview the software. Deborah's story is not found in any Christian software for children, so we're going to have to use Let's Talk (Sunday Software). The teaching guide for this program describe a game called "How Few Can You Do?" ...a word condensing game you will use the Let's Talk "Talk Now" module to play. Consult Guide-LetsTalk.pdf above for details.
- Download Let's Talk (Alternative choice purchase - Kid Pix 4 or the newer "3D" version)
- White Board (alternatives Chalk Board or Newsprint) & appropriate marker
- Highlighters or pencils
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Gather the students around a computer or computer projector and turn on HolyLand 3-D CD (out of print) or another Bible atlas or picture. In HolyLand CD, fly in and circle Mt. Tabor. Notice the prominent location of the battlefield. It can be seen throughout the Jezreel Valley.Note to the students that such a location would be a daily reminder to the people living in that area.
Ask: What are some of the landmarks in your town?
Ask: How would it help your faith and Bible knowledge if many famous Bible story locations could be seen around YOUR town?
Say: These stories were not an abstraction; the people could wake up in the morning and be reminded of them by looking out their window. How are WE reminded?
Note: Mt Tabor sticks up in the middle of a plain in northern Israel. It could be seen for miles around and thus, would have reminded the kids growing up there of Deborah's victory.
Do: Using the Bible story handout you have given each student, have the students take turns reading it aloud.
Working in groups, students will vote to keep keywords in the story, and eliminate others. To do this, they will have to decide what the important ideas/words are, and which can be left out. They will do this in THREE STAGES. If you are short on time, reduce it to two.
AT FIRST, because of the length of the story, you'll narrow down the story's keywords using your handout and the Board or flipchart.
THEN, you will move into the Let's Talk "Talk Now" module to have the kids narrow down the list even further (and play back their results for all to hear), in two rounds of play:
15 words. Then only 5 words. This process of condensing/refinement gets the kids to think about the most important word concepts in the story...the ones they should remember most.
See the Let's Talk Teaching Guide for details on how to play the "How Few Can You Do?" game using Let's Talk or other software.
Dig Round One: Working with the Handout and Board
Working in small groups of two or three, students read through Judges 4 and pick just 30 to 35 words or phrases that summarize the story. (Show them an example)
Provide highlighters or pencils and have them mark up the copy of the Bible text you have given them as a handout. Then have the groups list their keywords on a piece of flipchart paper or at the chalkboard for all to see. After about 10 minutes, reconvene the class in front of their flipchart sheets or chalkboard lists and compare what each group came up with.
Circle words everyone agrees on -- in effect compiling one agreed upon set of keywords. Use this as an opportunity to dig deeper into the meaning of the story.
Example results of a condensation of Judges 4 (NRSV)
Israelites did evil
Then Israelites cried to Lord
Deborah was judging Israel under palm
She summoned Barak
God commands you ... I will give Sisera into your hand.
(Barak said) If you will go with me, I will go
(Deborah said) the road will not lead to your glory,
the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman."
Ten thousand warriors went
Sisera called nine hundred chariots of iron
the Lord threw Sisera and chariots into a panic
by the sword; no one was left.
Sisera fled to the tent of Jael
she covered him with a rug.
Jael drove the peg into his temple
Dig Round Two:
Go into the Let's Talk program on your computers and open the TALK NOW module. Design a character and give him/her a name.
Next... Have students at each computer station use the first round condensation of words to create a further condensation. Maximum 15 or 20 key words. Give them 5 minutes, then have them playback their keywords for the other students. Take note of some of their choices. Ask why.
Dig Round Three:
Repeat round two but only let them use 10 to 12 words.
Example of a Final Deborah "KeyWord Poem"
Ask: "What's the Good News in this story?"
The Good News is that God heard his people's cry, and that Deborah and Barak responded and obeyed God.
Ask: "What is this story telling you about God?" "What advice about life and confronting problems can you take away from this story?"
Have students WRITE OUT their final keyword version of Judges 4 and post on wall.
Younger children: Begin with a greatly simplified version of the text written in large letters on the chalkboard/whiteboard or newsprint. Even if they can't read, this will help them sense the structure of what you are about to do. Tell them they must help you remove as many words from the story text as possible. As you read the text to them, ask them to vote by thumbs up/down whether or not to keep the phrase/sentence/word. As they vote to remove words, read it back to them. Each time you read back the words they've kept, invite them to say the words along with you. It will begin to sound a little nonsensical and they will like that. Continue on until you get it down to about 15 words. Next, type those words into your word processor on the computer and print them out on large paper. Have the students illustrate their "Deborah Keyword Poem."
A lesson written by Neil MacQueen from: Sunday Software
And of course, the disclaimer! "Neil is the creator of the CD's mentioned. The Rotation Board has encouraged him to post his free lesson plans and Neil is happy to do so!"
My work with CE software grew out of my work developing the Rotation Model. <>< Neil
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.