Several years ago, member SheilaB posted her notes on her Presentation About the WoRM to her congregation. We've preserved them here and you are welcome to borrow from them.
She begins with describing the multiple-intelligences theory of learning, then has the adults demonstrate their learning preferences. Then she introduces "the problem with Sunday School" and how the multiple-intelligence-informed Rotation Model attacks those problems.
Since Shelia originally wrote this, many new presentation resources have been created here at our website.
- Here's our ONLINE SLIDESHOW.
- Here's a ONE PAGE PDF HANDOUT.
- Here is our article about Multiple Intelligences.
- You will also find many helpful ARTICLES you can copy and modify for your use.
Originally Posted by member SheilaB:
Below is my presentation a year ago introducing WORM to my parish. It is based on the Parable of the Talents. Some of this content was put into a powerpoint presentation (no longer available).
Moderator has inserted [topic headings] to assist presenter.
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[Traditional Sunday School]
The traditional Sunday School model has remained pretty much unchanged for generations. Learn a bible story, talk about it, do a craft or a song, have a snack, go home and soon forget what you learned that day. The next week you go back and hear a totally different story and so on. Many children find this boring, including my own. When I asked my son to be part of my presentation today he said “You mean I can get OUT of Sunday School?” I want kids to want to get IN to Sunday School. The Model I am presenting to you today is a means to do this.
Over the past two decades a new understanding about "how we learn" has begun revolutionizing "how we teach". The approach is based on research and brain science. It is called the "Multi-Intelligences" theory of learning. According to Harvard researcher Howard Gardner there are 8 "intelligences" that the brain is wired to use when learning. The theory of multiple intelligiences is well known to public school educators. You long-time Sunday School teachers will recognize many of them as "creative approaches."
- Logical-Mathematical: You like to work with numbers, you think logically and operate with reason.
- Linguistic-Verbal: You use words effectively, orally or in writing. You also enjoy listening.
- Musical: You enjoy experiencing and/or performance in any form of music.
- Spatial: You perceive the visual-spatial world accurately, you enjoy visual art forms and can graphically represent ideas.
- Bodily-Kinesthetic: You use your whole body to express ideas and feelings and use your hands to produce or transform things.
- Naturalistic: You appreciate, nurture and care for plants, animals and the environment.
- Interpersonal/relational: You are a people person and have an awareness of other’s feelings.
- Intrapersonal/introspective: You have a good sense of self and are focused within.
[Your Mental Abilities Pie]
We each have the CAPACITY for all eight intelligences. If we made them pieces of a pie, our pie pieces would be shaped differently to show our preferences. And in most cases, we are using multiple intelligences at the same time when learning. Our brain is truly amazing.
On the table as you came in, you were asked to rank some activities to help you determine the shape of your Mental Abilities Pie. I will put the letter next to the area it pairs with.
A. Hum, whistle, sing, play music while doing work or relaxing – Musical
B. Do some activity that involves your entire body – Bodily-Kinesthetic
C. Read, recall words once memorized, do word puzzles and/or listen to a lecture and remember what was said -Linguistic/Verbal
D. Draw a quick picture of the floor plan of your home or draw a map to your
friend’s house, doodle or illustrate while explaining something– Spatial
E. Remember a dream you had recently/spend time alone thinking.– Intra-Personal
F. Complete numerical sequences explaining the logic– Logical/Mathematical
G. Be with other people to do some kind of group project or game or have a lively discussion in order to come to a consensus. – Interpersonal
H. Spend time caring for the plants you may have in your home or garden – Naturalistic
[SheilaB Mental Abilities Pie]
(adjust to your mental abilities if not the same or use her as an example)
Your preferences affect the way you learn and respond in a teaching environment. If you are an Interpersonal, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic person for your top three as I am, then sitting in a room being lectured to is boring, tends to make me unfocused and tests my comfort level. This is another reason I teach the way I do.
I have taught in different learning styles before they were given a fancy name. When you work with non-verbal children and pre-schoolers you don’t use verbal-linguistic much and therefore that is my weakest area. I really have to work on holding focus in lectures, while reading and in general conversation. On the other hand if you are a Linguistic-Verbal, Intrapersonal and Logical-Mathematical person then some of the activities we do today may push your comfort levels. The important thing to realize is that we have the ability for all intelligiences and it is good to be exposed to all 8 and push that comfort level just a little to encourage growth.
I made it through college and grad school and straight lecture was the way it was but the classes I remember most were my lab classes, practice teaching classes and classes where I had to get up and make presentations. At the conference to learn about this model, ironically we were lectured to 85% of the time. The Three Trees play that we did at Holy Saturday’s noon conference, and most of the things you will see today were the few things we did get to experience and they made the greatest impact on me. The other material we learned, I had to go back and re-read just to remember what was said.
Let’s do a quick survey of hands, raise your hand if the intelligence I mention is one of your top 3. Look around the room.
Now do the same if it is in your bottom 3. Musical…..Bodily-Kinesthetic…Linguistic-Verbal…
Retention is the key to learning. Thus, HOW MANY WAYS we learn and retain information is critical to teaching:
It has been said that we remember:
10% of what we READ
20% of what we HEAR
30% of what we SEE
50% of what we SEE and HEAR
70% of what we SAY
90% of what we SAY an DO
100% of what we EXPERIENCE
[The Problem with Traditional Sunday School]
THE PROBLEM WITH SUNDAY SCHOOL....
Last Month, Prince and I went to a 2 day conference to learn about a dynamic multi-dimensional learning model for Sunday School that attempts to fix many the problems with traditional Sunday School. Wait! "Problems with Sunday School?" But we’ve always done it this way!
Well here are some problems I and many other Christian Educators are experiencing.
Curriculum that is expensive, rushes through the stories and tries to teach to all “learning styles” in 40 minutes with many materials bought not being used.
Recruiting teachers is a major self-esteem defeater. You end up having to beg people to teach because they have to commit for such a long time.
Ugly space, sterile and not kid friendly – just take a walk upstairs.
Poor attendance or no attendance, there are twice the numbers on the church roles and I do see these children in church than come to Sunday School. Those that do come, most don’t come on a regular basis.
Poor retention of the materials, just ask any child what did you learn in Sunday School last week and most will give you a blank look.
The impossible task of teaching in multiple-intelligence informed ways and having to do it every week with a new story!
[The Rotation Model]
So what is the model that is going to change all this and how is it going to do that?
I am so glad you asked that! It is called the Workshop Rotation Model. It was born in a Presbyterian church by Christian Educators that were trying to solve these problems in their own church and it worked and they shared the idea. It is growing very fast among all denominations and we are joining the ranks this fall.
In a nutshell the Workshop Rotation Model teaches major concepts and Bible stories through kid-friendly multi-intelligence workshops such as an Art/Cooking/Science workshop, a storytelling and puppet workshop, a music, movement and game workshop, a drama and multi-media workshop, a church history, reflection and prayer workshop. It teaches the same Bible story in all of the workshops for four to five weeks rotating the kids to a different workshop each week. And here comes the extremely teacher friendly part: The teacher commits to only one 5 week rotation teaching the same lesson each week to the different classes coming in. They can always commit to more if they want.
How it solves the afore-mentioned problems:
The curriculum is chosen by the needs of the congregation, what they think is important. Six concepts and stories will be chosen for the year. There are many free shared rotation lessons on the official website and if you want you can buy full rotation lessons. The curriculum is very personal for each church, even bought curriculum must be adapted a little to meet individual needs. It only teaches to one style at a time so it doesn’t overwhelm the teacher or the students.
Recruiting of teachers is easier because people only have to commit for a 5 week period and they get to teach to their talent by teaching in the workshop that fits them best. You don’t have to be a bible scholar, you teach what you know. In our case, we will have 2 programs. The elementary teacher will commit to 3 classes in a 5 week period and the teen teacher will commit to 2 classes in a 5 week period.
Ugly space is eliminated because the rooms are decorated in themes that reflect the workshops using that space and give the WOW effect for those spatial children/adults and make it a fun place to visit. The same decorations stay up for all rotations maybe only being added a little to keep them fresh.
"Workshops" are specifically designed to teach in different ways, rather than every week being the same learning approach. Games, drama, computers, discussion, maps, music, art... all the creative ways we have ALREADY been using in Sunday School get emphasized and concentrated upon in the Rotation workshops. Howard Gardner would undoubtedly be VERY pleased!
It has been said that most churches who use this model see an increase in their numbers attending Sunday School by as much as 30% by December. For those children that can’t attend every week, they never totally miss out on a story if they come at least once a rotation and most WANT to come more.
The 5 week repetition of the story helps with retention of the story and it’s concepts.
[Sampling Workshops - Theme Parable of Talents]
Now how would you like a brief tour through one full rotation?
These posters have been set up in the order of the rooms upstairs, though we won’t visit them in order, it might help your spatial sense if you knew which room you were visiting. I have colored them to represent my vision of the themes for those rooms. I will introduce you to each room as we come to it. Participate as much as you are comfortable or else just sit and reflect.
I have been playing with names for our Workshop Rotation, I have come up with Journey to the Son for the children and Journey of Faith for the Teens.
Today our rotation is going to be on “The Parable of the Talents”. The concepts we will learn is that God gives each person talents; these talents are gifts, the gift of faith and the gift of certain abilities or strengths. God expects a return on His investment. He requires us to take risks with our faith and to use our talents. We may not see results from our “investments” of time, kindness or money but God sees. Pass it on, give of your gifts.
The first room we will visit is what I call Wilderness Wonders which is the storytelling and puppet room complete with a puppet theater and a tent set in a desert. Imagine coming into this room for the first time. At the beginning of each lesson, the bible story of the rotation is retold in various ways. Today we will only tell it once since we are sampling each rotation and we will combine it with the puppet workshop. On one of the tables is the bible story typed out on paper, would someone from that table pick it up and read the story of the talents when we are ready. While you read 4 of us will act out the story with puppets. There is a puppet at 3 different tables, I need a puppeteer for each please, you are the servants. The puppets are operated like this (demonstrate with master puppet) These are called Handle Bag Puppets¹ and I learned to make them at the conference. Reader please if necessary pause between each servant a little so I can get from table to table.
<Read and act out story> *need 4 puppets, 3 graduated sizes bags of money, 2 extras of larger bags of money.
Thank you for participating. Remember Pass it on, give of your gifts.
[Art / Science / Cooking Workshop]
On each of your tables, you should see a glass of water and a white strip with a black dot² on it. Please put it dot side down into your water. The second workshop on our journey is a room I call Journey’s Inn which is where the children will experience art, science and cooking. It is decorated like a Jerusalem home/Inn. A cooking activity that could be done with this story would be to make Amish Friendship Bread. This is a bread that is from a starter and grows and grows and you divide and share it with friends. If you will now look at your strips you should see a rainbow coming out of the black dot. The Black Dot represents you and the rainbow represents the many hidden talents in each of us.
Remember, Pass it on, Give of your gifts
[Drama / Video Workshop]
The third workshop is a room I call Ark Acting and it is the drama or multi-media room set on the deck of the ark and is used for watching and making videos as well as acting out the stories. Besides acting out the story of the rotation you can act out a story that teaches a similar theme and compare and contrast. Today Father Don and my son Nathan are going to verbally act out an abridged version of the story “Knots on a Counting Rope” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. I would suggest you listen with your eyes closed and imagine a grandfather and a grandson sitting around an open campfire.
<Nathan and Fr. Don do play.>
This story emphasizes the need to pass on the stories and learn through repetition.
Remember Pass it on, Give of your gifts.
[Movement and Music Workshop]
The fourth workshop is a room I call Movement and Music with Noah and it is a music, game and large movement room set on the other half of the deck of the ark. Room C is split in half with a room divider and a curtain from the ceiling. To experience this room, let’s play a game.
Any one out there like to sew? Come on down (hand strip³) How about any scientists? Do you have a green thumb and like to garden? Are you a poet or writer? How about cooks, do you like to cook? Do you play and instrument, sing or dance? Do you like to bargain hunt, go to garage sales? Are you an actor? Are you a theologian and understand the bible or church history or love and understand the liturgy? Do you work with clay? Do you like to lead group games? Are you a decorator, do you have an eye for detail. Are you and artist/painter?
(when 6 get up front, stall long enough to get them facing 3 to 3 holding the end of each other’s strips. As each of the others come up have them weave their strip across the 6 people.
Look at all the talents in this church. We have made a Talent Tapestry. Remember, Pass it on, Give of your gifts.
[Church History / Reflection / Prayer Room]
The fifth and final workshop is The Chapel and it is a church history, reflection, and prayer room. There are papers being passed out that I would like your thoughts on regarding what church/religious concepts do you feel are important for our children to learn or you wish you had learned and what Bible stories do you feel are important. I have a basket if you want to fill them out today and leave them before you leave or you can drop them off at the office. I would like them by next week. I am going to tally up the results and the top 6 will be what we do this year. Then I will see what is freely available and what is for purchase and meet with those people who are interested in helping with the curriculum to tailor the available material to our need.
At the end of each week’s lesson if time allows, the children will write in their Spiritual Journals. These are Journals that lets them keep a record of thoughts about the lesson through pictures, poems, cloze sentences or free style writing depending up the child. They will stay at church and be given to the child at the end of the year.
[Steps to Change]
What does this program need to get off the ground? How can you help?
First 6 rotations must be chosen and made, borrowed or purchased and adapted to our special needs so I need people to help do this.
Second The rooms upstairs need to be decorated in theme styles. This can be done simply or elaborately depending on work effort. Prince and I will host Pizza and Painting Parties 2 nights a week this summer. Look for the article in topics explaining more about this and look for the dates in the bulletins. Come as much as you want.
Third I need people willing to teach a rotation.
Fourth I need people willing to be a shepherd for at least a semester commitment. I am going to try to have 2 per group. A shepherd stays with the same group each week and gives them continuity. They keep track of attendance, act as helper and help manage any behavior problems and over see the Spiritual Journals at the end of lesson.
I have a sign up sheet on the table. This does not commit you to anything, it just tells of your interest right now and preferred areas. When I am filling spots I will call you first and you will get first chance to choose lesson before opening it up to all. It also lets me have people to call. Please put your name, phone and e-mail if you have one, I would like to use e-mail lists as much as I can for notification.
The video that will be playing is a loop video of a powerpoint presentation on the rooms we saw at the convention. Use them for inspiration but also remember, some of these churches were huge and we don’t have to be as elaborate at the beginning and we want to start with the flavor of the themes and add on a little each rotation to keep it fresh and new.
Note: in the next post are helpful resources for the above presentation.
¹ Handle Bag Puppets
² Science - Black Dot
³ Talents (Strips of Cloth)
Video - use our ONLINE SLIDESHOW or create a PowerPoint using pictures of different workshops found here https://www.rotation.org/forum/photos-of-workshops.
- Here's a ONE PAGE PDF HANDOUT.
- Here is our article about Multiple Intelligences.
- You will also find many helpful ARTICLES you can copy and modify for your use.