Samuel: Listening to God
Music/Movement Workshop: Blacklight Theater
Summary of Activity:
Children will perform motions to the song Here I Am Lord in blacklight theater as they explore how the lyrics connect to Samuel's story.
A little preface to our blacklight theater Music and Movement lesson for Samuel....
I've also included links to our videos of the performances. Please realize that these were NOT rehearsed -- we basically went over the lyrics, discussed how they fit the story of Samuel and then did it in blacklight! The younger kids did just the chorus; the older kids did the verses (and ended up doing the chorus as well, because I didn't want them to just sit there in the dark on the stage! lol)
For the 3-5 grade group, our adult helper (who had practiced with the poster board signs beforehand) overslept, so we had a totally newbie adult helper who bravely stepped in and did her best, but missed a lot of the neon signs.
A good reminder that it's the process that is the most important... this was our first attempt at blacklight and the kids LOVED it. We will definitely do it again.
I've also attached the video of the K-2 graders signing the memory verse in blacklight. We sign our verses almost every month as it's a great memory tool. Blacklight was extra fun!
Many thanks to Luanne Payne for her expert advice on setting everything up!!!
Samuel: Listening to God
Music & Movement Workshop
NIV Adventure Bible - I Samuel 1-3, “The Story of Samuel”
For K-2nd grade: Deep Blue Bible Storybook – “Hannah Prays, pages 110-113 and “God Calls Samuel” pages 114-117
Memory Verse: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3:9
Objectives and Life Application:
- Children will locate the story of Samuel in the Old Testament.
- Children will retell the story in their own words.
- Children will identify the characters in the story: Hannah, Elkanah, Samuel, Eli.
- Children will discuss ways they can listen to God.
- Children will discuss ways God answers prayer.
- Children will describe ways God can use them in the world.
- Children will memorize I Samuel 3:9.
Blacklight music drama idea which kicked off this whole thing
- Review the Background Information and Lesson plan.
- Gather necessary supplies and set up the room – see below. This lesson requires significant preparation time.
- Here I am Lord recording and lyrics (the version we chose is slower which made it easier to follow -- John Michael Talbot's version (Table of Plenty, Troubadour for the Lord,1997)
- Black foam core boards – 5
- Neon colored poster board – orange, yellow, pink, green
- Black plastic tarp (large enough to cover from floor to ceiling – 3 sided stage area
- Black plastic (on a roll) or large black trash bags to cover windows and glass in doors
- Painter’s tape
- Black lights (at least 2 for an 8 foot stage area)
- White gloves
- Black gloves
- Overhead projector
- Transparency sheet
- Here I Am Lord lyrics
- Black or dark colored t-shirts
- Tide laundry detergent
- Bibles: Deep Blue Bible Storybook (for grades K-2) and NIV Adventure Bibles (for 3rd - 5th)
Copy the lyrics onto a transparency and set up the overhead projector.
Contact parents asking kids to wear dark clothing or bring a large dark t-shirt to wear.
Prepare the black light stage:
Blacklight theater requires a completely dark room. Hang a black tarp from the ceiling to floor creating a 3-sided (back and 2 sides) stage area. The floor and ceiling do not have to be covered.
Cover all windows and openings in the doors with black plastic, taping to trim with painter’s tape to eliminate any ambient light.
Prepare the black lights:
Secure the black lights vertically to a chair using thick yarn or heavy string. Tape the cords to the floor to prevent tripping hazards. Remember the lights will be off frequently during this session! (See photo one in the slide show below.)
Prepare the Props:
Wash the white gloves in Tide laundry detergent before class to enhance the glow under the blacklight.
Cut out the following props from neon poster board or paint with neon poster paint onto black foam board:
- Tearful face (sad face with tear drops)
- Question mark
- Broken heart
Setting up the camera/video camera:
Set up a tripod with the camera facing the stage.
Videotape a test run to determine best placement of the camera.
Note after completing this workshop:
The kids had a GREAT time with this. It was very challenging to use the poster boards – although the neon signs were amazing on the video. If you have a very large class you could have one child per board assigned – which would make it much easier – no handing back and forth of boards. Or reduce the number of neon signs and use hand motions primarily.
Welcome and Introductions 5 minutes
Bible Study 15 minutes
Blacklight Drama 25 minutes
Reflection/Closing 5 minutes
Welcome the children warmly. Help the shepherds distribute name tags. Introduce yourself and invite children to introduce themselves. Please include the shepherd.
Light the Christ Candle and place in the middle of the table where all can see.
Say: We light this candle to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. God is with us wherever we go. God is with us here in this place today.
Pray: Heavenly Father, We thank you for today and this time together. This month we are learning about Samuel, and how he listened carefully to you. Help us to have open eyes, ears, minds and most of all hearts. Help us truly listen this month so we can draw closer to you. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending Jesus to save us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(the candle should remain lit until the end of the session)
Introduce the Story
Say: Many years before Jesus was born, Moses led the Israelite people out of Egypt and through the desert. Then Moses died. The people came into the Promised Land. They needed leaders to help them and guide them like Moses had done. Judges became the new leaders for Israel. Judges were religious leaders in the community who helped the people follow God. (This is different than judges today…. If necessary, explain this difference to the children.) Samuel was the last and greatest judge in Israel. This is his story...
Bible Study: Grades K-2 Deep Blue Bible Storybook
Where would we find a story in the Bible that takes place many years before Jesus was born? (Old Testament) Let’s find the story of Samuel in our Bibles now.
Pass out Bibles to children who did not bring one from home. Help the children turn to page 110 and read the following two stories: Hannah’s Prayer and God Calls Samuel. Have the children follow along in their Bibles.
Bible Study: Grades 3-5: NIV Adventure Bible
Help the children locate I Samuel 1 in their Bibles. 1 and 2 Samuel are books of history. Due to the length of the story, paraphrase the first part of the story: Hannah’s prayer (1 Samuel 1:1-17), Hannah dedicates Samuel (1 Samuel 1:26-28).
Read heading: "The Lord Calls Samuel."
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
Memory Verse Work - Sign the verse
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3:9
Say : God called Samuel in an audible voice. God most often speaks to us in quieter ways. How might God be calling you?
Do: Use these signs to learn the verse:
Speak – hold right index finger next to lips and wiggle up and down slightly
Lord – with index finger and thumb make “L” sign, place on opposite shoulder and bring across chest diagonally to right hip
I (your servant) – make fist with right hand with little finger extended up, placing thumb side to chest
Listening – place right hand behind right ear
Black Light Drama - Here I am Lord
Say: We are going to listen to a song or hymn that tells about listening to God's voice and responding to it. There are many stories in the Bible where people heard God's call and responded. Sometimes they followed God -- like Abraham. Sometimes they hesitated -- like Moses. Sometimes they tried to hide or run away -- like Jonah. It's one thing to know what God wants you to do. It's another thing to be willing to do it! God wants us to listen for his voice…. to spend time in prayer and quiet time. But when we know what God wants us to do, it's important to obey. In our story this month, God called Samuel -- a young boy. Even a child can be used by God to do important things if he or she is willing to listen and obey. Samuel wasn’t too young and neither are you!
Introduce the Song and the Motions:
Display the “Here I Am” lyric transparency on the overhead projector.
Gather the children near the overhead so they can see the words.
First we’re going to listen to the song and create motions to act it out. Then we’ll perform the motions under the blacklight! Blacklight is a special type of drama that is done in the dark with special lights called blacklight. Neon colors and white show up, but everything else is dark.
Note: If time is short – review the song quickly and just begin the blacklight drama. Teacher can stand behind the camera and make the motions (wearing gloves) and have the children follow your lead. We found that the kids easily followed the signs -- but we do this every month so our kids are used to this! Our kids also had suggestions for signs to use -- for example they came up with the "make your darkness bright" sign -- coming together to form a "sun")
Sea – make waves by moving right hand up and down from right to left.
Sky – birds with hands, cross thumbs together and move fingers like wings flapping
Cry – sad face poster board - 1
Dark – hide hands behind
Hand – raise one hand, palm out
Save – hold up cross poster board - 2
Stars - flick hands open and shut, twinkle hands
Darkness bright – all hands come together to form a bright “sun” like ball
Bear light – grasp right wrist with left hand, right hand with flickering fingers
Whom – question mark poster board - 3
Here I am – hands on chest, then move forward as if presenting self
Is it I ? Index fingers point to chest
I have heard you calling - hands to ears, phone sign
I will go – stepping motions with hands
lead me – hands in fists move outward and to right
hold – hands cupped together
heart – poster board heart - 4
wind and flame – swirl hands around, flicker for flames
tend the poor and lame – rocking arms
set a feast – move hands up and down outward from sides
hand – raise one hand, palm facing out
save - cross poster board - 2
Finest bread I will provide p – move hands forward as if holding a platter
Till their hearts be satisfied – hands crossed over heart, heart poster board – 4
I will give my life to them – brush hands up on chest, then palms up in front, sign life
Whom shall I send? – question mark -3
Note: This version eliminates two verses that are found in other recordings.
Do: Play the song through one time with the lyrics displayed.
Say: Next we will use hand motions and props to act out the song.
Assign 1 child (2 if you have a large class) to handle the foam board props. The remaining children will perform hand motions. Show the props. Line up the children in two lines, with the prop holder center stage in back, behind the children doing hand motions.
Assign an adult helper to stand at the side of the stage and hand the poster boards in the correct order to the prop holder as needed. Be sure to keep the poster boards turned around with black side facing outward, until it’s time for them to be revealed.
Read through the lyrics and demonstrate the suggested motions having the children follow along.
- All the neon and white glove movements will show. When not performing the specific movements, children should place their hands behind their backs.
- When turning or moving, have all children turn/move to the right – for us this was toward the door.
- Have children performing hand motions put on white gloves. Prop holders should wear black gloves or bare hands.
- If children are wearing white or neon colored shirts, have them put on a black t-shirt to cover their clothing.
- Turn out the overhead lights and turn on the blacklights.
- Start the video camera! (Note: I was really nervous about how this would work, but it was mostly great. There is one place in the video, where the hands were blurry, but otherwise it worked really well. It would be helpful to have a separate adult monitoring the video camera. I was busy leading the signs and didn't realize that the kids weren't centered in the video frame. Oops. Process not product, right?)
- Recite the lyrics to the song (slowly), allowing the children to demonstrate the motions. Prop-holder should hold theposter up high above the heads of the front line. Or simply play the song and demonstrate the motions as the children follow along.
- It’s helpful to have the adult helper be familiar with the order of the poster board props.
For younger grades, you may not want to do the entire song. Do just the chorus and allow the older groups to do the verses.
What parts of the song remind you of the story of Samuel? (a voice calling in the night, Samuel being willing to trust God and later becoming a great leader of God's people)
Do other words remind you of other stories? (creation, slavery in Egypt, sending Jesus, prophets)
Invite children to stand in a circle.
Say: Today we explored a well-known hymn about God calling us and about how we will respond to God’s call. Will we be like Samuel and “go where God leads us” and “hold God’s people in our hearts?”
Where might God lead us? What might God want us to do to hold his people in our hearts (love and care for them)? (be kind, be loving, share with others, be helpful, think about what others need, encourage others, etc.)
When it’s your turn, please say one way you think God might be calling YOU to follow him more closely and to love others better. This is important prayer time, not play time – so please remember to be respectful of God and others.
Go around the circle asking for each child’s prayer. Add your own. Then close with the Lord’s Prayer. Extinguish the Christ Candle.
Encourage the children to help you clean up. Place all props and other materials in the prop closet or the storage cabinet. Remove the black light tarps after the last session.
K-2 chorus on YouTube
3-5 Song on YouTube
To view some of our photos of our props, click on one of the pictures below. Use your left and right arrows to move through the "show."
A lesson written by Jaymie Derden for State Street United Methodist Church
Bristol, VA, USA
Images & videos copyright Jaymie Derden, 2017.