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Welcome to our public Pentecost ~ Acts 1 and 2 ideas and lessons forum. Don't forget to check out the supporting members' "Wind, Fire, Faith!" Pentecost lesson from our Writing Team. The lesson summaries and Bible background are open to all. If you're looking for Ascension lessons and ideas, go to our Jesus After the Resurrection forum.

Music and Movement Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching "Pentecost" in Sunday School, Acts 1 & 2

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The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, followers of Jesus, disciples, 50 days after Easter, Whitsunday, the birthday of the church, Acts 2:1-31. Bible lessons for "Pentecost" - with Music, singing, movement, dance, body sox, etc.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Pentecost

Music and Art Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learners will hear the hymn “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” and will learn about the background of this hymn. They will make a pinwheel to understand the power of the wind.


Supplies:

  • The Children’s Bible;
  • Bible;
  • two-color craft of foil paper, scissors, rulers, pencils, glue, brass fasteners, straws, markers;
  • diagram of pinwheel construction;
  • pre-made pinwheel;
  • cd (or tape) player, cd (or tape) with choir music recorded;
  • hymnals;
  • poster board with memory verse.


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet.
  • Read over the entire lesson plan and become familiar with the pinwheel activity.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Dig:


  1. Hand out Bibles and read our story for this month from The Children’s Bible, pp. 384-385 (stories 338-339). Refer to the poster board and repeat the memory verse together. Tell the children that today the class will be talking about wind and breath. Ask if they remember what the story said about wind. Ask them what they think the wind filling the house represents. (Let them speculate—hopefully someone will connect it with the spirit of God.)
  2. Tell the children you are going to read some verses from another book of the New Testament about wind. Read John 20:21-22 to them. Ask them what they think the significance of Jesus’ breathing on the disciples is.
  3. Hold up your pinwheel. Use the following for a dialogue and discussion:
    “Since we’re inside, our pinwheel isn’t moving. Why? (Allow the children to guess. Someone will probably offer that there is no wind.) Can anyone think of a way to make this pinwheel move even though there is no wind? (Some may suggest waving the pinwheel; wait until someone suggests blowing on it.) We can make the pinwheel move with our breath, can’t we? But you have to be really close to make this work. (Demonstrate.)
    “Today we will be learning about a hymn for Pentecost that is called ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God.’ Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. On the first Pentecost, in the story we read today, the disciples experienced God’s presence through a mighty wind that blew through the upper room where they were praying. Interestingly, in the Hebrew and Greek languages that the disciples read and spoke, wind and spirit and breath are all the same word, so it isn’t hard to understand that the wind of God’s spirit could also be called the breath of God.”
  4. Tell them they will hear the hymn being sung by the Brookhaven choir. Play the cd or tape with the choir singing the hymn. When it is finished, continue the discussion with the following:
    “The man who wrote this hymn knew about the ancient Greek and Hebrew languages and would have understood the connection between wind and breath. Edwin Hatch, the songwriter, was an Anglican minister in Canada. He was a scholar and a lecturer—one who knew a lot about church history. But more than knowing about God, he also knew God in a close, spiritual way. He was inspired to write the hymn ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God’ when he was walking in the beauty of Eastern Canada, surrounded by lakes and mountains. Later, a tune written by Robert Jackson for another song began to be used with the words Edwin Hatch had published.”
  5. Pass out the hymnals. Ask the children to turn to hymn number 295. Tell the children to read along with you the words to the hymn from the hymnal. For the beginners, let them echo phrases of the hymn as you say them first. Continue the discussion with the following:
    “This hymn celebrates the importance of living a life in relationship with God. Just like our pinwheel, we must be close to the source of the energy—we must be close to God to experience the Spirit—the wind or breath of God. Edwin Hatch’s hymn is a prayer—not just for Pentecost, but for every day of our lives. Our pinwheel expresses the idea behind our hymn today. Each section of the pinwheel shares part of the prayer, ‘Breathe on Me, Breath of God.’ Perhaps we can learn this hymn, or at least the first verse of it. Then you can make a pinwheel of your own to remember the prayer of Edwin Hatch and the beautiful Pentecost hymn we sing today.”
  6. Play the cd or tape again as the children make the pinwheels.
  7. Make the pinwheels. During the process, refer to the enclosed drawings for help if needed. For each pinwheel, measure and cut a 6 inch square from two-color paper. Fold the square in half diagonally and crease it. Open the paper and fold it diagonally to the opposite corners. Reopen the square. Draw a 1 inch circle in the center of the paper. Cut each folded line from the corner to the edge of the circle. Write the following words in each quadrant:
    Top left: Breathe
    Top right: on Me
    Bottom right: Breath
    Bottom left: of God
    8. One by one, bring the right corner of each triangle to the center of the square, bending each piece over the previous section. Make a small hole in the center of the four points and push a paper fastener through the front of it. Open the fastener at the back of the pinwheel. Attach a straw to the back of the fastener to use as the handle.


Reflection:

Let them children make their pinwheels spin for a few moments. Then gather them together and ask them to get their hymnals, open to number 295. Play the cd or tape, and everyone sing along to “Breathe on Me, Breath of God.”

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals. Ask the children to answer the following question:
What would you like for God’s breath to give you the power to do?

Closing:

Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Living God, thank you for people like Edwin Hatch who write hymns to say the things to you we want to say. Breathe the power of your spirit into our lives. Amen.


References:
Wezeman, Phyllis Vos and Leichty, Anna L. Hymn Stories for Children: Special Days and Holidays. Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, c. 1994.


 
A lesson posted by member Jan Marshall
Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Brentwood TN

Last edited by CreativeCarol

Pentecost

Body Sox are great for expressive movement

"Our Acts" — A "movement" workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

In this workshop, the learner will experience the story of Pentecost through rhythm and movement by using "Body Sox." They will be able to tell of the love of God for all people.


Supplies:

  • The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories (or whatever version of the Bible you use in your Sunday school)
  • Body Sox
  • Poster board with memory verse


Teacher preparation:

  • Read the Bible passages.
  • Read over the background material included in your teacher packet.
  • Read over the entire lesson plan and practice the rhythm and verses to be used.


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet the children and introduce yourself. Remember that you are interacting with a different group of students each week—some may not know you. Wear your nametag and make sure that the children are wearing theirs.

Dig:

  1. Have the students sit where you would like them to during the reading of the story. Hand out the Bibles. Have the children find page 384.
  2. Ask them to think back to the time just after Christ had been crucified and resurrected. Ask them if they remember what Jesus told the disciples before he ascended into heaven? (Wait for the Holy Spirit to come and fill them with power.)
  3. Read page 384 to the end of the last full paragraph of the first column. Pause and ask the children:
    How do you think the disciples felt when they were all together again? (Accept any answer.)
    What do think they thought and felt when the extraordinary thing happened? (Accept any answer; be sure "astonished, very surprised, and afraid" is included.)
  4. Read the rest of the first column and to story 339 of page 384. Pause and ask: What would you have thought if you were part of the crowd that heard this? (Accept any answer.)
  5. Read the rest of pages 384 and 385. Ask: How do you think the disciples and the people felt now? (Accept any answer.)
  6. Tell the children they are going to act out what happened by responding to sentences in a verse that already has been written. If you have body socks now would be the time to help the children to get into them.
  7. Read through the verses to “Pentecost: Awaiting Agape” (page 87 of 52 Bible Stories in Rhyme and Rhythm) one line at a time and let the children respond. If the children have trouble coming up with what to do use the ideas suggested under the verses. You should read through this a couple of times with the children responding.
  8. If there is time go to page 90 of 52 Bible Stories in Rhyme and Rhythm and follow the directions for doing the rhythm with the verses on page 91 and 92


Reflection:

Conclude by asking what this all means to us today? Lead the children to understand that the Holy Spirit gives us the power to tell the world about Jesus. Refer to the poster board and repeat the memory verse together.

Close with a prayer of your own, or use the following:
Thank you, God, for loving us so much that you sent the Holy Spirit to help us have the courage to tell all people about your love. Continue to give us this courage. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Journal Time:
Help the shepherd pass out the journals.
Young Children: Have them write or draw what they remember about the story.
Middle and Older Children: Have them write what Pentecost means to them or how they experience the Holy Spirit.

Dismissal:
Have the children help you tidy up the workshop space, helping straighten up supplies to be used next week. Dismiss them with instructions about where they are to go. If you complete the lesson with quite a bit of time left, you may allow the children to visit the Ewing McGee Children’s Library, being quiet so as not to disturb classes still in session.


References:
Wezeman, Phyllis Vos. 52 Bible Stories in Rhyme and Rhythm. Shining Star (A Division of Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc), Torrance, CA 90505, c. 1995.


 

A lesson posted by member Jan Marshall,
Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Brentwood, TN, USA

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Pentecost

Music/Movement Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activity:

Combine music created with Boomwhackers® and expressive movement with Body Sox, into a learning experience about the Holy Spirit.

Scripture Reference:

Acts 2:1-8, 12-18, 36-47

Key Verse:  
“And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38b (NIV)

Workshop Objectives

After completing this Rotation, participants will be able to:

  • Name that the story is found in the New Testament, that it is a story of the early church after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  • Locate the story in Acts. Identify Acts as a book of History.
  • Re-tell the story in his/her own words of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
  • Describe the roles of the Holy Spirit and explore other names for the Holy Spirit including: Counselor, Special Helper, and Comforter.
  • Discuss what it means to have the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

Leader Preparation:

  • Read Bible Background and scripture.
  • Gather the following materials.
  • Arrange the colored cards on the easel in the order indicated at the end of the lesson.
  • Practice running through the tune of Happy Birthday in your head while pointing at the colored cards. Separate the shorter red Boomwhackers from the set. [You’ll be asking the Shepherd to play this note.]
  • Place the Body Sox in a place that is easily accessible. Notice that (in our case) there are different sizes (lengths). You may wish to organize them by size.
  • Cue the CD to play the song Breathe on Me, Breath of God.
  • When 3rd graders and up visit, arrange Bibles in a circle where the students will sit.


Materials List:

  • Easel
  • Masking tapeBoomwackers in action
  • Boomwhackers®
    Bommwhackers are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, which produce musical tones when struck. We own two, one-octave sets (8 in one set) Boomwhackers in action are shown on the right.
  • Color coded music cards for tune: Happy Birthday
  • Body Sox (tubes made of a very stretchy Lycra material)
  • CD player and CD of music: Breathe on Me, Breath of God
  • Story Bible for 1st and 2nd grade – The Praise Bible
  • For 3rd grade: Bibles, One Adventure Bible with tabs (Law, History, etc.), Bible tab writing kit: tabs, fine-line Sharpie pen




Lesson Plan


Opening:

Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Music/Movement Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.

Ask: How many of you have ever seen wind?
What does wind look like?
Have you actually seen the wind, or have you seen the wind at work? (allow all answers)

Say: Our Bible story has an amazing thing happen with wind, and with flames. In our story it describes these flames as “tongues of fire.”
Ask: Do you suppose that flames could be described as tongues of fire? (allow all answers)
Say: Describing flames as tongues of fire gives us a picture in our minds.
Ask: Can you picture tongues of fire "resting" on everyone in the room, but not hurting anyone?

Say: That’s very mysterious isn't it! Wind causes things to move about. Today we will be moving our bodies; we are going to be using our bodies to make music and to respond to our story. First, let’s start with prayer.

Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. [You may ask one or two students to lead the Lord’s Prayer.] A suggestion: “Holy One, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who teaches us the truth about God and Jesus and gives us peace and joy. (End with everyone joining in on the Lord’s Prayer.) Amen.”

Dig:

Do:  Show a Boomwhacker. Demonstrate how they are played: by knocking one on the floor or on your foot. Boomwhackers can even be played by tapping your arm or your head! Make a rule: “Stay in your own body space with your Boomwhacker. Your neighbor is off limits! Please use common sense if you choose to whack your own body.” [Words of wisdom from the Boomwhackers web site.]

Do:  Point out how each color of Boomwhacker is a different musical note – do this by playing two different colors at the same time so that students can hear that they produce different tones. Explain how you can play tunes by following the music indicated by the colored cards. [Point out the colored cards on the easel.] Explain how you will point to a note and the people with that color of Boomwhacker will play, whacking their Boomwhacker once for each card.

Do: Distribute Boomwhackers. Give the Shepherd the high C Boomwhackers, the shorter red ones. [They are marked with a prime sign to differentiate them from middle C.] If there are enough, everyone may have two Boomwhackers.

Say: In our Bible story something happened that amazed a crowd of people. These people were from different countries; they spoke different languages. All of a sudden they heard their language being spoken! Let’s see if we can recreate the way they felt by seeing if we can figure out the name of this tune we will play.

Do:  Point out the note that only the Shepherd will play – the red card with the prime sign.
Run thorough pointing out the colored cards and having the students with the corresponding tube play their note. [Note: This works best if you sing the tune of Happy Birthday in your head, switching to a different card with each note.]

Ask: Does anyone know the name of the song we just played? [You may need to replay it.]
How did it feel when you recognized the tune? (accept a few answers)

Do:  If desired, replay the tune one more time.

Say: As we tell our Bible story, think about the feeling of suddenly hearing something that you recognize.

Do:  Collect the Boomwhackers.

Ask: Where in the Bible would we read about something that happened 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection? (in the New Testament)
What are the first four books of the New Testament? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
What do we call those first four books? (the Gospels)
Say: The word Gospel means “good news.” Today we will hear another story about the good news of God’s love and how that good news was spread to lots of people. Our story is found in the book of Acts.

Reading/reviewing the story:

For 1st and 2nd graders:

Read them the story on pages 436 – 442 of The Praise Bible. Show the pictures as you read the story. [Note: if these students visit later in the Rotation, show the pictures and ask the students to tell you the story. Cover the points listed below in the older students reading.]

For 3rd grade and up:
Do:  Make sure that every student has access to a Bible. Have everyone find the book of Acts, chapter two.

Say: Acts is the first book after the Gospels. Acts is the only book of History in the New Testament. If you have your own Bible today, be sure you receive a tab for the History section in the New Testament of your Bible. The Old Testament has a section of History books, that’s where we found stories such as David and Goliath.

Do:  If this is a week early in the Rotation, read the scripture (Acts 2:1-8, 12-18, 36-47). In later weeks review the story; have the students check their Bible for facts. Cover the following points in your review:

  • Where were the disciples and followers of Jesus? (in Jerusalem, in a house)
  • What happened? (the Holy Spirit came – there was a noise that sounded like a strong wind & there were “tongues” of fire that rested upon everyone in the room. They all began to speak foreign languages.
  • A crowd gathered (they were a multi-national bunch), they wondered how come they heard the followers of Jesus – common men from Galilee – speaking their language.
  • Peter made a speech explaining what had happened.


Discussion:
Ask: How do you suppose it felt to the crowd, in a whir of different languages, yet each being able to hear something in his/her own language? (allow a few responses)
How was the crowd hearing the disciples tell about Jesus in their language, like discovering what song we were playing?

Say: What made it even more interesting was the disciples had never spoken those languages before. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus’ followers and gave them the power to talk about Jesus, in foreign languages that they had never learned or spoken before. The Holy Spirit had come! It sounded like a great wind and there were tongues of flames that came and rested on the disciples.

Ask: What is the Holy Spirit? (they might not be able to answer)
Say: I have asked you a tough question – adults even have a hard time understanding about the Holy Spirit. It is part of the mystery of our faith in God, that the Holy Spirit came and that there was a loud wind and tongues of flames.

Ask: Do you suppose that for us today the Holy Spirit comes to us with wind and flames? (accept a few answers)
Say: There doesn’t have to be wind and flames, in fact there probably won’t be wind and flames. There was wind and flames on that first coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, because God wanted people to notice that something was different. Jesus had told his disciples that God would send the Holy Spirit; that the Holy Spirit would be our friend and our helper. Today the Holy Spirit helps us to understand that God loves us. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God.

Ask: How does it feel to know that God is always with us as the Holy Spirit? (accept all answers)

Say: We need to remember that the gift of the Holy Spirit comes by asking God. We need to remember to pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Now let’s do some creative movement with our bodies to reflect how we are feeling about this story.

Make movement:
Play a bit of the CD, Breathe on Me, Breath of God.

Say: This song is a hymn that we sing in church; it’s called Breathe on Me, Breath of God. In the language that the New Testament was written in, the word for breath is the same as the word for spirit and also means wind.

Talk about different ways they could move. How might they move to

  • Mimic breath? (or wind) or the coming of the Holy Spirit?
  • Express hearing and understanding?
  • Being filled with new life?
  • Express their love of God?
  • Express their desire to do what God asks us to do?

Do:  Explain how there are various levels for motion: low (kneeling or crouching), middle (standing or walking), and high (arms up or jumping). “Try moving fast and slow, smoothly and jerkily, straight and roundabout to achieve different effects” (Crane).

Say: Creative movement is a way of moving our bodies to show feelings. The goal is not a polished performance, but a visual expression of our understanding of God’s word. There are no right or wrong movements.

Do:  Pick up a couple of the Boomwhackers and make a sound with them. Tell the students that when they hear that sound they must stop talking and be still.
 Go over the rules for wearing body sox:

  • Move safely so you and others don't get hurt and

  • No talking (use your body to show your feelings).



Do:  Ask everyone to take off their shoes.
 Pass out body sox and have everyone put them on. 
 [Expect chaos for several minutes because of the excitement. After everyone is in Body Sox, sound the noisemaker. Stress that they move without making noise.]


Play the song Breathe on Me, Breath of God. Let the kids enjoy moving in the Body Sox.

Reflection:

Do:  Have everyone remove the Body Sox. Sit quietly in a circle and listen to the song Breathe on Me, Breath of God.

Say: Don’t worry if you haven’t ever felt the Holy Spirit in your life or if you hardly ever feel it. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life. The Holy Spirit will grow in our hearts. We will learn, with time and practice, to listen for and feel the Holy Spirit.

If you have extra time:
Allow students to re-do the tune to Happy Birthday with the Boomwhackers.


Resources:

  • Crane, Amy. “Beatitudes: Creative Movement Lesson.” Rotation.org. 2001. Web. https://www.rotation.org/topic...tive-movement-lesson
  • “Vine and Branches: Creative Movement Lesson.” Rotation.org. 2001. Web. https://www.rotation.org/topic...5#295011598215941455
  • Foncannon, Ellen. “Ellen’s Tube Tips.” 1999. [This material appears to no longer be available on the Internet.]
  • Thomas, Mack. The Praise Bible. Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 1998. Print.
  • Music for Happy Birthday downloaded from www.8notes.com
  • Color cards were downloaded from boomwhackers.com (single colored cards no longer available, but they do have chord cards for bells.

Boomwhackers song:

Red  |  Red  |  Orange  |  Red  |  Light Green  | Yellow
Hap-    -py     Birth-     -day        to           you.



Red  |  Red  |  Orange  |  Red  |   Green   |  Light Green
Hap-    -py     Birth-     -day       to          you.



Red  | Red  |  Red Prime | Purple  | Light Green | Yellow  | Orange
Hap-   -py      Birth-      -day        to           yo-      -ou,
  


Pink  |  Pink  |   Purple  |  Light Green  |  Green  |  Light Green
Hap-     -py       Birth-        -day           to           you.



A lesson written by Carol Hulbert, from First United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Boomwhackers in action image - offered by Hillary, under a Creative Commons License, via Flickr.

Copyright 2009. Permission to copy materials granted for non-commercial use provided credit is given and all cited references remain with this material.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

Contemporary Christian Rock Songs:

Here are two good contemporary Christian songs that could be used in a variety of ways in your classroom, including for discussion, re-enactment, or as the background for your own student-created music video.


"Start a fire in my soul"
By the band "Unspoken" (one of my favorites)

YouTube video. http://youtu.be/xrEzr-rWwe8

The  (WT) Pentecost: Wind, Fire, Faith! uses the above n their Music and Movement Workshop.

Lyric excerpt:

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we're in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever?

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

(Chorus)
Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there's no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it's You, that it's You that we need
Start a fire in me

(Full lyrics easily found online)




And here is another one by Third Day, called "Soul On Fire"


Last edited by Luanne Payne

Heart's on Fire is yet another great song from Sidewalk Prophets.
This one sounds like a Prayer for Pentecost.

Really great lyrics.

I want to see Your face
As clear as the midnight stars
I want to feel Your love
Like a train running through my heart
I want to hear Your voice
Louder than a cannon blast
I want to chase after You
Never, ever looking back
Maker of all
I want to know You
You are the flame
My heart’s on fire
Just like the sun
Tears through the darkness
I’m burning for You
My heart’s on fire
I want to write to You
My story for a King
I want to play for You
My greatest symphony
I want to sing to You
The song of souls set free
I want to live for You
Just like You died for me
Maker of all
I want to know You
You are the flame
My heart’s on fire
Just like the sun
Tears through the darkness
I’m burning for You
My heart’s on fire
....
Songwriters: Ben Mcdonald / David Frey / David Douglas Frey / Sam Mizell / Samuel C. Mizell
Heart's On Fire lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

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