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Disciple Builders

Christmas Around the World

Lessons summaries:

  • Cooking: make a Kransekake to celebrate Jesus’ birth and experience a Norwegian tradition.
  • Art: Make nativity scenes from a kit (Oriental Trading Company) Country Focus: Tanzania.
  • Video: Watch the movie “Nicholas” and learn about the celebration of Christmas in Russia.
  • Drama: Re-enact Las Posadas, the Mexican tradition of re-enacting Mary and Joseph seeking lodging in Bethlehem.
  • Computer: A visitor will "walk' through their experience of Jesus’ birth through showing pictures of the Holy Land that they have personally visited. The lesson of Luke is presented on the Life of Christ and Play and Learn software.


Scripture Reference:

Luke 2:1-20

Memory Verse:

John 3:16- God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son. Anyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life. (NIV)

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Jesus is the same yesterday, today, forever and everywhere!
  • We need to believe in Jesus Christ to have everlasting life.
  • People everywhere who celebrate Christmas are ALL celebrating the birth of Jesus.
  • People around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways.
  • No matter where you live, we believe in the same Jesus.
  • Encourage students to state their personal belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • The students will experience the celebration of Christmas from a variety of cultural perspectives and traditions.





Cooking - Norway

(Daily Bread Cafe)

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The children will make a Kransekake to celebrate Jesus’ birth and experience a Norwegian tradition.

Scripture/ Bible Story:

Focus: Jesus’ Birth, Luke 2:6-7a

Objective:
The students will focus on the birth of Jesus and be able to tell:

  • Jesus came to earth as a little baby
  • The birth of Jesus is God’s greatest gift to us
  • The gift of Salvation is only possible because of Jesus
  • The students will learn where Norway is, what language is spoken there, and some traditions followed in Norway at Christmas.

Teacher Preparation in Advance:

  • Prepare Kransekake rings and warm the tubes of decorator frosting
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.

Supply List:

  • Premade kransekake rings
  • Tube of white decorator frosting
  • Norwegian flags on toothpicks
  • Norwegian candy


Presentation

Opening- Welcome & Introductions:

  • Greet the children by name as they enter your workshop. (They should all be wearing nametags.)
  • Introduce yourself and have the children introduce themselves to each other. Perhaps ask them to say their name and their favorite Christmas movie. We are trying to build relationships.
  • Read the memory verse and reference together. Go over it a few times to enable the students to become familiar with the words. Talk about what it means. (In later rotations, you can see if anyone can recite it from memory!)
  • Explain the purpose of today’s scripture in one sentence: Jesus came for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brainstorm: What do the students know about Christmas? Have the class help decide which things are religious and which are secular.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Lesson: Happy Birthday Jesus!

  1. Ask the students if they know any stories about when they were born. (During a storm, the same day as their Grandpa, early, late etc.)
  2. Does anyone know someone born in another country?
  3. Describe Christmas traditions in Norway.
  • Find Norway on their maps
  • Merry Christmas = God Yul
  • Jul Nissen bring presents and do tricks to people
  • There is not much sun, but lots of snow in winter
  • Celebrate on Dec. 24th with their families
  • Eat roast pork, not turkey, for dinner

Directions:

  1. Arrange the kransekake rings from largest to smallest
  2. Place the largest ring on the tray and demonstrate applying a scalloped line of frosting around the top of the ring.
  3. Have the children take turns placing rings on the cake and adding the icing.
  4. Add the Norwegian flags in random fashion.
  5. Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.
  6. Listen to the table prayer in Norwegian.
  7. Enjoy eating the Kransekake!

Discussion:

  • Ask the students how they liked celebrating Jesus’ birthday.
  • Ask the students how they will be celebrating Jesus’ birthday with their families.
  • Any Ideas?????

Closing:

Please lead the class in a closing prayer such as: Dear Father; Thank you for the gift of Jesus, the greatest gift of all. Please stay close to us and in our hearts always. Help us to celebrate Jesus’ birth by sharing His love with others. Amen

Kransekake Recipe:

Exchange Volunteer adds a link to Kransekake recipe (if this link goes dead simply do an online search for a recipe for Kransekake: http://minicanteen.blogspot.ca/2009/09/kransekake.html




Written by Jan Macmann, Curriculum Team
Trinity Lutheran Church
Findlay, OH.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.






Art - Tanzania

(Creation Station)

Summary of Lesson Activities:

The children will create Nativity Scenes.

Lesson Objective:

Like the children of Tanzania, the children will assist in preparing their homes for Christmas by creating Nativity Scenes to share with their families.


Teacher Preparation in Advance:

  • Read the Scripture and the lesson. Look over the projects and have a game plan for accomplishing them.
  • Gather the materials

Supply List:

  • Nativity Scene materials (The Oriental Trade Company)
  • twigs
  • yarn
  • glue sticks
  • Maps of Tanzania


Presentation

Opening-Welcome & Introductions:

  • Greet the children by name as they enter your workshop. (They should all be wearing nametags.)
  • Introduce yourself and have the children introduce themselves to each other. Perhaps ask them to say their name and their favorite Christmas ________ (food, decoration, song. We are trying to build relationships.
  • Read the memory verse and reference together. Go over it a few times to enable the students to become familiar with the words. Talk about what it means. (In later rotations, you can see if anyone can recite it from memory!)
  • Explain the purpose of today’s scripture in one sentence: Jesus came for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brainstorm: What do the students know about Christmas? Have the class help decide which things are religious and which are secular.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Scripture/ Bible Story: Focus: Luke 2: 6-19

  • Before you read, ask the younger children to focus on where the baby was laid. Ask the older children to listen for how Mary reacted to all of the activity surrounding Jesus’ birth.

Discussion:

Younger:

  • Where was the baby Jesus laid?
  • What is a manger?
  • Who usually uses a manger?
  • What is it used for?
  • Why is that Jesus’ first bed?
  • Do we have a special place for Jesus?

Older:

  • What did the reading say about Mary?
  • In what way do you think these things are a “special treasure” in her heart?
  • Why do you think she thought about them over and over again?
  • Do you think about Jesus over and over again?
  • Can you try to do that as you get ready for Christmas?

Country Focus: Tanzania

  • Where is it? Locate it on the map.
  • What continent are we in?
  • What continent is Tanzania in?
  • Does Tanzania sound familiar? Why? Review our partner church relationship in Tanzania. Remind the students about the quilt we made as a gift for them.
  • Discuss what might be different about life in Tanzania.
  • Discuss what might be the same about life in Tanzania.
  • Do the people of Tanzania celebrate Christmas? (Some.) How?

Christmas Celebrations in Tanzania:

  1. The children memorize verses from the Christmas Story. (What is our memory verse? Is it from the Christmas Story?)
  2. The children practice singing Christmas songs.
  3. Mostly they help prepare the church and their homes for Christmas by cleaning and making and setting up the Nativity Scene. The Nativity Scene, or CrÈche, is usually made from wood, sticks and banana leaves.
  4. Christmas is celebrated much like it is here as a day of worship and family time.
  5. Since the weather in Tanzania is so warm, many families go on picnics.

Directions:

There are 2 projects. The simpler project is for the Preschool and Pre-K/K classes. The more challenging project is for the older classes. If time allows, the oldest classes can create picture frames from twigs, much like the Tanzanian children would use for project materials.

*Purchased foam kit projects for older & younger: please have the Shepherds, parents and Linda assist if needed. Use glue as provided.

Twig Frame directions:
1. Students choose twigs and arrange them in the desired shape for their frame.
2. Students choose yarn and wrap around the intersecting twigs to hold them together.
3. At home students can choose a picture, or draw one, to tape into place from the back of the frame.

Discussion: See above; discuss as the children are creating their projects.

Closing:

Close with your own prayer or something like this:
Dear Father, father of Jesus, and father of all of us, please help us to think about your son Jesus over and over again as we get ready and get excited about Christmas. Thank you for bringing each of us here today to learn more about you and your love. Please be with (then name all the students and adults in the room) as we get our hearts ready for Christmas. Amen.


Written by Christina, Curriculum Team
Trinity Lutheran Church
Findlay, OH.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.




Video - Russia

(Miracle Matinee)

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Watch the movie “Nicholas - The Boy Who Became Santa” and learn about the celebration of Christmas in Russia

Lesson Objective: The students will watch the story of Nicholas and be able to tell:

  • Who was the real Saint Nicholas?
  • What were some of the ways he followed Christ’s example?
  • What happened to Nicholas because he was a Christian?
  • How do people in Russia remember Saint Nicholas at Christmas?
  • The students will experience some of the Russian Christmas traditions.
  • The students will learn where Russia is.

Teacher Preparation in Advance:

  • Read through the lesson and view the movie.
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.

Supply List:

  • Bible
  • Lesson plan
  • Movie;  Nicholas - The Boy Who Became Santa” (approx. 30 mins.)
  • popcorn
  • appropriate Russian maps.


Presentation

Opening-Welcome & Introductions:

  • Greet the children by name as they enter your workshop. (They should all be wearing nametags.)
  • Introduce yourself and have the children introduce themselves to each other. Perhaps ask them to say their name and their favorite Christmas movie. We are trying to build relationships.
  • Read the memory verse and reference together. Go over it a few times to enable the students to become familiar with the words. Talk about what it means. (In later rotations, you can see if anyone can recite it from memory!)
  • Explain the purpose of today’s scripture in one sentence: Jesus came for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brainstorm: What do the students know about Christmas? Have the class help decide which things are religious and which are secular.
  • Scripture/ Bible Story: Focus: Christ given for all is the true celebration of Christmas.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Directions:

  1. As the students come into the room, ask them to leave their shoes outside the door.
  2. Have a volunteer read from the Bible Luke 2:1-7.
  3. Ask if any of the students know any facts about Russia.
  4. Help students identify Russia on their maps.
  5. Teach” Hristos Razdajetsja”- Russian for Merry Christmas, and explain that its translation actually means “Happy Birthday Jesus”
  6. Explain the origins of the Saint Nicholas Celebration in Russia. The Russian Prince Valdimir traveled to a town called Myra in Turkey to be baptized. When he became a Christian, he brought back stories of Nicholas’ devotion to Jesus and how he had given his entire inheritance to the poor and needy.
  7. Explain modern Russian traditions.
  • Christmas is observed on January 6
  • There is no meat served for Christmas Eve dinner, the most important food is porridge made of grain
  • Children leave their shoes out on Christmas Eve so they can be filled with gifts of “gold” candies and treats from Saint Nicholas
  • Until recently, people in Russia were not allowed to worship openly. Now many people go to church on Christmas Eve and join in a large procession all around the church

8. Pass out the popcorn and watch the movie.
Discussion:
1. Who was the real Saint Nicholas?
2. What were some of the ways he followed Christ’s example?
3. What happened to Nicholas because he was a Christian?
4. How can we follow Nicholas’ example at Christmas?
5. (Older kids) What would it be like if we were not allowed to worship Christ openly in our country?

Closing:

Please lead the class in a closing prayer such as:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for coming to the world for everyone. Help us to always remember to share your love with others, especially at Christmas. Please be with us this week and watch over us in all we do. Amen

Please collect all popcorn tubs and take to kitchen. We wash and re-use these each week.


References:

  • www.stnicholascenter.org
  • “Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa” Video produced by Creative Communication Center, Irving, TX

Written by Jam Macmann, Curriculum Team
Trinity Lutheran Church
Findlay, OH.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.




Drama - Mexico

(Disciple Playhouse)

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Re-enact Las Posadas, the Mexican tradition of re-enacting Mary and Joseph seeking lodging in Bethlehem.

Lesson Objective:
1. The students will focus on this portion of the Christmas story and be able to tell:

  • Why did Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
  • Why did they have trouble finding a place to stay?
  • (For the older students) What does it mean that Joseph is from the line of David?

2. The students will act out the parts of Mary, Joseph and the townspeople as they seek shelter.
3. The students will learn where Mexico is, what language is spoken there, and this is where this tradition is celebrated.


Teacher Preparation in Advance:

  • Read through the lesson and find the rooms you will be travelling to for each week. Decide what path you want to take.

Supply List:

  • Bible
  • lesson
  • candles
  • costumes and Read-Alouds.


Presentation

Opening-Welcome & Introductions:

  • Greet the children by name as they enter your workshop. (They should all be wearing nametags.)
  • Introduce yourself and have the children introduce themselves to each other. Perhaps ask them to say their name and their favorite Christmas movie. We are trying to build relationships.
  • Read the memory verse and reference together. Go over it a few times to enable the students to become familiar with the words. Talk about what it means. (In later rotations, you can see if anyone can recite it from memory!)
  • Explain the purpose of today’s scripture in one sentence: Jesus came for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brainstorm: What do the students know about Christmas? Have the class help decide which things are religious and which are secular.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Scripture/ Bible Story: Focus: Christ given for all is the true celebration of Christmas.

Scripture/ Bible Story: Focus: Finding lodging Luke 2:1-7

Directions:

  1. Read or have a volunteer read: Luke 2:1-7 from the Bible
  2. Discuss the questions listed in Objective #1.
  3. Ask if anyone has heard of Mexico. Is it a town? A city? A country? Where is it? Find it on the map. Find Ohio.
  4. Ask if anyone knows what language most people in Mexico speak (Spanish) and if anyone knows any words in Spanish.
  5. Teach “Feliz Navidad” - the Spanish for Merry Christmas. (Just the 2 words are fine, you don’t need to go into the song…unless you want to!)
  6. Explain the tradition of Las Posadas.
  7. Tell the students how you will re-enact this also, so you need to have a volunteer to be an angel, one to be Mary and one to be Joseph. The rest of the children can carry an unlit candle. (Traditionally, the posada is done at night and the procession is recognized by the candlelight.) Encourage the children to use the costumes.
  8. Remind students that as you go from place to place, you need to travel quietly as others are also having class.
  9. Go to each of the 2 assigned rooms for that week. At each room, have someone knock and Joseph ask for lodging. Someone from each room will turn you down, and you continue on your journey. End your journey at Disciple Playhouse, where they ask you for lodging and you show them to the stable (aka the tomb).

Discussion:

  1. Ask the students how it felt to be turned down at the other 2 rooms.
  2. Ask them how they think Mary and Joseph must have felt after their long journey.
  3. Ask the students if they have room in their hearts for Jesus this Christmas?
  4. Discuss what might get in the way and could crowd Jesus out?
  5. Brainstorm how to keep focussed on Jesus.

If there is extra time: Read another Mexican Christmas book or the Story of the Poinsettia (Which is from Mexico).

Closing:

Please lead the class in a closing prayer such as: Dear Father, we thank you for bringing …(say their names) here today. We ask you to be with those who could not be here with us. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus. Help us to think about Him a lot this Advent/ Christmas season. Amen.




Computer - Holy Land

(Cyber Bible)

Summary of Lesson Activities:

We will have someone "walk' through their experience of Jesus’ birth through showing pictures of the Holy Land that they have personally visited. (pick someone from your Church who has travelled in the Holy Land). The lesson of Luke is presented in the Life of Christ and Play and Learn software.

Lesson Objective:

  • Students will see what the Holy Land really looks like.
  • Students will develop a relationship with the presenter.
  • Students will be able to describe the site of Jesus’ birth.

Teacher Preparation in Advance:

  • Read through the lesson.
  • Turn on the computers so they are ready when the Presenter is done.
  • Gather the materials.

Supply List:

  • Presenter, who has traveled in The Holy Land
  • pictures
  • books…
  • Life of Christ Software
  • Play and Learn Software


Presentation

Opening-Welcome & Introductions:

  • Greet the children by name as they enter your workshop. (They should all be wearing nametags.)
  • Introduce yourself and have the children introduce themselves to each other. Perhaps ask them to say their name and their favorite Christmas movie. We are trying to build relationships.
  • Read the memory verse and reference together. Go over it a few times to enable the students to become familiar with the words. Talk about what it means. (In later rotations, you can see if anyone can recite it from memory!)
  • Explain the purpose of today’s scripture in one sentence: Jesus came for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brainstorm: What do the students know about Christmas? Have the class help decide which things are religious and which are secular.

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

Scripture/ Bible Story: Focus: Christ given for all is the true celebration of Christmas.

Application:

  1. Students should brainstorm what they think it looks like in Nazareth or Bethlehem. Does it look like a jungle? Like a cornfield? Like a desert?
  2. The students will be shown pictures of the Holy Land and the place of Jesus’ birth. The experiences of being there will be described.
  3. Ask how it felt to visit such an amazing place.
  4. Encourage students to ask questions.

Directions:

  1. Remind the students of our focus for this rotation.
  2. Introduce our presenter as a member of our congregation who has traveled to the place where Jesus was born and has pictures she will show as she discusses her trip.
  3. Help maintain the children's focus and attention as the presenter describes her journey to Bethlehem.

Discussion:

  • Have students compare/contrast our Presenter's journey with Joseph and Mary's journey.
  • How did they each travel?
  • How long did it take to get there?
  • How far did they travel?
  • Why were they travelling?
  • Did our Presenter already have a place to stay?
  • Thank our Presenter for sharing her journey.

Computer Application Time:

The younger children may benefit from the story lesson at the beginning of Life of Christ software but may need adult help to get there. Perhaps have 1 or 2 computers operating to show the Bible lesson. You may choose to just use The Play & Learn software for the youngest children and introduce The Holy Land concepts from visuals in the room (maps, books. We have 5 copies Of Life of Christ for the 5 new PCs.

Life of Christ software:

  • Insert Life of Christ CD. This always needs to be inserted to operate. Click on Continue Exploration and click on your class color (example: 1st & 2nd grade = orange).
  • Opens to Professor Newhart’s Office. Click on the wooden crate (Lesson Index).
  • In the lesson index, click on #11-15 "Introducing The Son of God". Click on lesson #7.
  • Proceed through the lesson. When it ends, take the quiz. If a clue is given record it in the clue book if you want or time allows. Move the cursor to the left of the screen, go to clue book, and record the clue. This happens at the end of the quiz.
  • Again, move cursor to the left of the screen and click on back until you get back to Professor Newhart's office.
  • Click on the bookshelf to the left of the screen. Click on the Practice book. Click on the Matching: Beginning to Baptism section. When done, click on back. Click on back again until you return to Professor's office.
  • Click on the filing cabinet drawers. Click on the Bethlehem slides. Click on close, click on back. When done, click on close. Go back to the office.
  • Click on the Globe "Geography Index"
  • Click on Life of Christ: Bethlehem, discuss. When done, click on Nazareth and discuss. Follow the path of Joseph & Mary on the map in the Cyber Bible room and on the computer program. Click until exited out.

*If extra time Fun-Time:

  • Click on Book Names under the Practice column. Put the Books of the New Testament in order. Click on back when done.
  • Click on office to enter into Professor’s office again. (Move your cursor to the left of screen to find this.) Point and click on different parts of his office and explore until wrap-up time. The question mark on the shelf will guide you. Have fun!

Play & Learn Software (youngest children):

  • Have the children click on the Play & Learn Icon (you may want to have this done before they arrive). Check the volume ahead of time also so that they are turned down to a soft volume.
  • Go to “Bible Stories” choice.
  • Go to “God's Son” choice.
  • Choose “Baby Jesus.” It will offer to read to the children or let them choose to read it themselves.
  • When finished, continue on to "Shepherds visit Jesus"
  • The pictures can be pointed and clicked on after the verses are read; the pictures will do silly things.
  • Have the children take turns and run through the story several times. It is quick and the kids like repetition.
  • Arrow back to the main menu (x2 clicks). The children like to play in the Game Room when they are finished with their lessons. The preschoolers have limited attention and enjoy this area.

Closing:

Please close in prayer. Ask the students to form a circle and hold hands. Please thank God for each of them by name. Pray for us to remember that Christmas is all about Jesus and God’s love for us.

Dismissal:

Have the students repeat the memory verse and reference.


References:

  • Play & Learn Children’s Bible Software, Educational Publishing Concepts, Inc. Wheaton, IL. 60189. 1997
  • The Life of Christ software, 1999-2002 Sky Media/Discovery House Publishers.

(Many Rotation churches have both of the above software).

Play and Learn Children's Bible CD is now out of print (only works on Windows Me/XP/Vista, and Windows 7- 32 bit.)

Discovery Interactive’s "Life of Christ" CD has gone out of print (its material has been turned into an online course). Learn more here!



Written by Chris Keck & Cathy Weygandt, Curriculum Team
Trinity Lutheran Church
Findlay, OH.

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne
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I put the words "Christmas Science" into the advanced search and got several hits. There were a few science lessons, most dealing with stars and constellations--relating it to the Magi. A lot of planetariums do programs on the Christmas star so it shouldn't be too hard to find information on that.

One Filipino Christmas custom is a "parol"--a star decoration made from lightweight sticks (like balsa) covered with tissue paper. Perhaps you could spend a little time on the Magi and stars and some of the "science" behind the Star of the East. And if you have time, they could also make a simple parol.

A Review:

During renovation of the Birth of Jesus forum, several reviewers recommended keeping CathyW's (Cathy Weygandt) lesson set as an example of a good "Christmas Around the World" set that actually focused on Christ. Some previously posted "Around the World" sets in the Exchange were mostly 'cultural travelogs' and they have been deleted.

Reviewers noted that the art project seemed particular to a mission project which the writer's church was working on, and suggest that other churches substitute their own art-mission project. The cooking project seemed to involve special pans, and we're hoping to get a clarification or substitution on that. It was also noted that some children have nut allergies.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

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