Free Sunday School Lessons, Ideas & Help at Rotation.org's Sunday School Lesson Exchange
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Ideas for HOW to Do Online Sunday School, At-Home Sunday School, What Churches are Doing
"Ideas for DOING Online Sunday School, How-to, Links, What Churches are doing" was created during the 2020 Coronavirus outbreak and was moved here and expanded into its own 'Online and At-Home Sunday School Forum.'
This particular topic is NOT about specific lesson ideas.
Rather, this is more about WHAT your church is doing to stay in touch and teach while your in-church programming is shut down.
Your replies are very welcome.
This topic began as a question from supporting member Heidi Jo Kissner in our "Help!" Forum. See the many responses below and check out other related topics in this forum.
Is anyone putting together some kind of online Sunday School for their families?
With the closing of churches temporarily in our community due to the Coronavirus, I would like to somehow continue to reach out to our children with bible lessons.
I was thinking of trying to put together a lesson for each week which would include a story, daily devotions and activities they could do at home. Not sure how to go about this. Life is overwhelming right now!! Suggestions??
There are many wonderful creative resources at our sitethat could be used by parents at home with their kids!
I know many people are watching movies while they are social distancing. Here is an article with suggestions of secular movies that can be used to teach Biblical truths. (How many times have you watched Frozen? Check out the great discussion ideas!) https://www.rotation.org/topic...e-stories-and-topics
And this site is filled with wonderful art suggestions, many of which can be done with simple materials at home. Chose a Bible story from our topical index and check out all the ideas! (Some might require and outing to a craft store, if that is possible. Or maybe you can supply them from your craft closet?) Here are a variety of Easter ideas to get you started.
And cooking lessons are great intergenerational family activities. Check out the Easter "empty tomb bun" idea here.
@Messiah, please come back and share your ideas (and pictures, too) to help out others! Thanks! And I and I hope others will share ideas, because this is a great ministry to focus on while things are "shut down" for a few weeks.
I received some great information from @Beth Tobin that I will be sharing on her behalf, as she is busy making lots of things happen at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Olympia, WA.
The platform she is using for Sunday school is Zoom. She writes:
For Sunday school: I will be sending out an invite to a Zoom. I can have 100 people on at a time for free. I’m still deciding how I’m going to run it, but here’s my initial thoughts: Welcome and Intro to Zoom. Zoom etiquette. Open with doing the prayer table. We are going to sing some songs together that the students are use to singing. That will take a least 10-15 minutes right there. This is going to be whole group two year olds - 5th grade. Wish me luck. Then I’m going to tell a Bible story. ( I’m planning to offer a drawing idea or story workshop idea they can follow up with at home or something similar.) Then we are going to break into groups. (I have to watch the tutorial on how to do this yet, but people are saying it’s really cool! So I’ve got homework yet for Sunday.) Then we’ll all pull back together for closing prayer. In the breakout groups we’ll have more of a discussion time. If that doesn’t work, when I check in with grade levels of kids I’ll follow up with discussion then. We get 40 minute Zoom sessions for free.
Oh! I’m also thinking of empowering fifth graders to help lead the break outs as well as shepherds. We’re calling all of this a Holy Experiment.
Side note: I did a Zoom with my family yesterday. Four states, Four time zones, three generations, pets, plant starts, 13 attendees, oldest 93 years old. It was so great and we were able to get my mom on without anyone being with her. It meant the world to her. There are so many cool uses for this great technology.
Here is a link to a Zoom webinar I was on for doing worship and ministry online.
This recorded webinar I was "in" last week was headed up by the Episcopals on how to use Zoom in ministry including worship. [This webinar was planned two months ago! Talk about timing!] One big take away for worship is to assign roles for people, so when the leader is saying things like, “The Lord be with you,” ONE other person audibly voices the response for everyone, “And also with you.” Everyone else is saying, “And also with you," but they are at home, muted.
We recently had a great first run Zoom meeting with 40 some pastors in our synod. Here are my notes:
I think it would be very helpful to not assume that people know how to use Zoom or know Zoom etiquette. I think it would be good to offer some guidelines at the start of the Zoom and also in an email preceding the Zoom.
• Mute your microphone unless you are speaking. - And how to do that if they don’t know.
• Please don’t monopolize the speaking time.
• Make sure people are aware of and know how to use the chat feature.
• There are also “reaction” features people can use to respond what people are saying.
Zoom meetings have the option to do break out groups. We could have a whole-group introduction by the bishop for whole group information dissemination and then break into our clusters to discuss particulars. When we come back whole group, one person from the cluster could report back to the whole group if there were anything to report.
Have Zoom meetings about specific topics - small parishes, churches still doing daycare, churches with food pantries still open etc.
Our worship is online and so are our devotions. www.GloriaDeiOlympia.org and also linked on our Facebook page. I did the first two devotions and tried to make them so they could be something kids could do/relate to. The first one especially. Our staff is taking turns with them. Some will be video. Some just audio. Some text. Some text and photo - whatever the person comes up with. I actually LOVE my first devotion - it was totally Holy Spirit inspired!
(No judging our website….. we are working on updating it, actually completely reworking it, but it’s functioning for now.)
We are pre-recording our worship. Uploading the link and then doing a live intro to it. We’ve got one under our belt and already have adjustments we are making. Some are addressed in the text around the Zoom info I sent you.
Our worship online is very shortened. Interestingly, attendance has practically doubled!
We are also planning a virtual children's choir using Zoom and grade-level Zoom check-in meetings.
The kids I’ve connected with already on Zoom were so excited to see me and just show me stuff like Lego creations and tell me all about it. I think even if we don’t do a Sunday school lesson, just even connecting will be such powerful community building time. I think checking in with highs and lows will be important. And praying together will be most important. I’m planning on logging their prayers and adding them to our Facebook page. I have lots of ideas. We’ll see what all I pull off or what is sustainable.
Zoom sounds like a good option for those who prefer meeting at an appointed time. This is a consideration at our church.
Worship teams are working on music licences beyond CCLI for live performance and recordings.
Adapting lessons and creating links for Google classroom would allow families to access materials on their own time schedule. Many schools in our area have moved lessons to Google classroom. Families here are already using this platform of distance learning.
I'm thankful for this community here to help us think of new ways 🙏❣️ and make Christian education available for all.
Great ideas! And THANK YOU to everyone out there working overtime...from home...working to continue to make sure children are still hearing the stories of the Bible and of God's love and promises! And as always, reading all your thoughts and the bible stories I am putting together always makes me re-center and remember why we do what we do.
One thing we are doing with our children is creating a Spring Bible Challenge! We are encouraging families to download a free app bibleappforkids. This is a pretty cool app. You can read and listen to the story with cute animation. After you read the story it opens up 5 activities you can do. So each week I will send an email out to our families with the story for the week and an attached activity card with 5 activities. They are asked to do at least 2 of the activities. The children who do this for now through Mother's Day will receive a prize to a local ice cream place, plus get their name in an drawing for a gift card. We also have a Bible Bucks Market that the children could earn Bible bucks and then buy stuff at a month Market. For each activity the child does they will recieve 2 bible bucks in their Sunday School "account". And at the end of May, we will hopefully have an ice cream social to celebrate and open up the Bible Bucks Market.
We are doing Zoom calls with our Confirmation kids (7th & 8th graders) on Wednesday evening.
We are asking our high school kids to watch a particular movie during the week, and will Zoom conference on Sunday evening during our regular meeting time.
With our 5th and 6th grade group I am working on something similiar to what we're doing with the children....still in progress.
We sent out our first emails to our "Spring 2020 Bible Challenge" and so far our responses have been very positive. I've attached (I think!) the Intro letter, calendar through May and the Bible Activity card for this lesson. We started with Jesus and the Donkey lesson on bibleappforkids so we can be in line with our stories for EAster. The challenge for each story has been to find activities they can do without leaving their home. Would love your input and suggestions.
We are a small church with a small Sunday School (2-8 kids on a given Sunday) and an all-volunteer staff. So we are keeping things on the simple side. We aren't presenting an online lesson for them to watch--we are supplying a simple lesson that the families will do together on their own.
Since our state is currently under "shelter in place", most families are juggling working and working at home and home-schooling so we wanted to keep things simple for them. And because shopping can be a bit of a nightmare, we wanted them to be able to use what they would probably have at home. For this upcoming Sunday, if they have rocks and paper (not scissors!), markers and glue then they are good to go! Definitely NO activities using toilet paper!
I went through my treasure trove of old Rotation lessons from the past and also scrolled through what our Rotation.org site had to offer. I put together a small lesson with the Bible reading and a few points to make, also linked to a Saddleback Kids video. Then I am giving two short activities paired with a few questions--they can do one or both.
This coming Sunday, we are doing the Palm Sunday story. The art activity is taken from Jesus' comment to the Pharisees that if He told His followers to be quiet then the rocks would cry out. So they can decorate rocks with markers and fabric scraps and write "speech balloons" of what the rocks might be crying out. We also have a game--a take on HORSE, but called HOSANNA. There is a combo of answering questions and shooting baskets.
The following Sunday we are doing a Holy Week Overview. We don't normally have Sunday School on Easter Sunday but I am going to put together a lesson for that too, because who knows if our churches will be open then or not.
As stressful as these times are, they have provided an extraordinary opportunity in my Christian community to reflect on our identity and mission as the church, and to imagine ways of being more connected than ever with our fellow church members.
I know that members of my church as well as the pastor are being very intentional about reaching out and calling each other so we don't feel as distant.
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