Please comment on this curriculum, using these questions as a guide.

What’s included in the curriculum? It would be great to have scope and sequence here, or at least a link to the publisher’s website that provides this information.

Who produces/writes the material?

What workshops are offered?

What’s the format of each lesson?

How can it be obtained/purchased? What’s the cost?

What do you like about it?

What could be improved?

How do you use it?

How do you adapt it?
Original Post
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PowerXpress Curriculum Reviews

"Humble Servant of the WoRM"
posted September 17, 2002

I think PowerXpress has a lot to recommend it.
When I was looking at curriculum my church "test taught" a unit and we thought it was well done in many ways.
Here are the reasons we did not choose it:
1. It seemed a bit simplistic and did not have the creativity we were looking for.
2. All 8 workshops must be purchases each unit, which seemed wasteful if we only wanted to do 4 or 5 workshops. That did not leave me the flexibility I wanted to purchase some workshops and perhaps write some of my own.
3. The scope and sequence was still a bit limited, so I did not have a strong sense of where the material would be going over the course of 5 or 6 years.
The truth is however, that there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum no matter what anyone tells you.
You have to evaluate material according to what your particular needs are in your congregation.

Neil MacQueen Mechanic
"Mythic WoRM Warrior"
posted September 17, 2002

There WAS a discussion on this subject but it got nuked in a freak message board software accident last month. The summary of that discussion was similar to what Jan just wrote you: there is no perfect curriculum, each will appeal to different types of situations and needs. PowerXpress (UMPH) received decent reviews, as did Firelight (Augsburg) and Cornerstones. Each had listed deficiencies. Each offers SAMPLES. I don't recall the review on Potter's Workshop.
Most using the free lessons here at feel the same way too... it's not what you start with, it's what you put into it.

Cindy Merten
'Defender of the Worm'
posted October 26, 2002

We normally write our own curriculum, but in the last year I have twice used some of Power Xpress materials. The first time was the Pentecost unit, and that one worked well. It gives numerous options for each workshop, so I let the workshop leaders choose what they wanted to do. We used the Dig into the Bible unit over the summer when we combined workshops and needed a break from curriculum writing etc. Some of the Power Xpress units cover more than one story, so you need to check carefully which ones will work for you. The layout is simple to follow, and they offer some good tips for Shepherds and workshop leaders along with a story outline that is helpful to the storytellers.
We've used several Power Xpress lessons over the past few years. No matter which curriculum we use, we generally end up adapting it to fit our theology and our desires for that particlar rotation. Our observations:

1. One BIG downside is that it is not on CD; they mail a paper copy to you--which means you have to wait a week or so for it to arrive. When we rework the lesson we have to type it in manually instead of just cutting and pasting.

2. Some of the lessons have been simplistic so we sometimes need to beef it up a little. Sometimes the material is not enough to fill the time. Since they provide many more stations than we need, we sometimes combine the ideas from several stations to create a lesson long enough for the time.

3. A nice feature is that they give a number of different activities for each station. They generally have ones geared for younger kids, older kids, or all kids.

4. They could use more discussion quesions, especially ones that are more application-related.

We began using the rotation model in March 2006. We decided to use PowerXpress began we didn't want to write our own material. Also, a big positive in selling this new idea to the congregation was that we were using United Methodist approved curriculum. There are many positives to the material but we have some frustrations. The biggest ones are in the computer and movie areas. The lessons are written using software and videos no longer available. Then we have to scramble for something else and still write our own lesson. After purchasing 6 sets of software that cost $90 each, then I discover that new units require new software! Also, I searched and searched and finally found a set of the video series on eBay that was recommended. Now I find it isn't used very often. The curriculum people at Cokesbury are very helpful and will tell you which of the older units are in the process of being rewritten and lots of other good info. So if you go with PowerXpress, make sure you call Cokesbury and talk them before planning your scope and sequence. It'll save you a lot of headaches. Overall, I would give this material a thumbs up simply because we didn't want to spend a lot of time writing or adapting other material.
Originally posted by Gustie77:
I just reread my previous note and see I need to clarify. "The lessons are written using software and videos no longer available." should read "The lessons are sometimeswritten using software and videos no longer available." Thanks.

This is a criticism of MOST curricula, but particularly true of some rotation curriculum, including material at this website.

The Problem: Publishers and websites such as ours who originally collected their lessons from grassroots writers. By original lesson may have been written years ago, and the resource suggestions can be years out of date. That's not a problem with art supplies and drama lessons, but it plagues video and software suggestions. Fortunately, websites such as our are a great place to ask for help!

<>< Neil

I have only used PowerXpress a couple of times. Like all curriculums it has some advantages and disadvantages. I've been meaning to post my feelings about PowerXpress for some time but just haven't gotten around to it...until now. These were my feelings about their Noah lesson set, which I don't believe is even offered anymore! (Which is just as well when you read my review.) Advantages:

  • It does include 8 lessons.
  • It includes lots of different ways to tell the story (since it's too long to read the whole story of Noah out of the Bible). This is very helpful.
  • It does give lots of ideas to use for each lesson - useful if you like to let your teachers decide what they'd like to do.
  • It does give large group gathering suggestions- 8 weeks of material. Disadvantages:
  • The Bible background material is sketchy.
  • All of these lessons are missing an "open" - the lead in or introduction to the lesson. They just ... start. It seems weird to me. More disadvantages (with some advantages thrown in) broken down by the lessons that I looked at (I didn't look at all 8):
  • Art Lesson: There are lots of lesson ideas including this one:
Give each child a 4 1/4-by-11-inch piece of label paper. Let the children use felt-tip markers or crayons to draw and write bumper stickers for the ark.

Bumper stickers for a boat? Hmm, who else would there be left on Earth to read them? Bumper stickers are suppose to influence people aren't they? They at least could have given ideas on how to get kids to think about this project ... but they didn't. Here's a possible good use of this idea--Too bad that Paul probably just walked. If he'd ridden in a chariot... now that would be an interesting lesson idea for Paul's journeys. I don't think that this works for Noah.

  • Games: some of these games may be fun but what are they teaching? (For example the Animal Alphabet Toss and Noah's Noisy Ark.) Not much, in my opinion. And in the entire lesson just TWO questions are asked! Just two!
What is the sign? (the rainbow) What is the covenant?

Oh wait, one more question is asked during the closing but it's a repeat question (What is a “covenant?”). Missing are discussion questions which reveal God's character, or applies this story to the kids' lives. I just have experience with just two PowerXpress lesson sets. Both of them fell to this problem. Are they all like that? I hope not.

  • Storytelling: is OK but it asks just 2 discussion questions! (Do they assume that 2 questions are enough?)
Do you know why Noah was building an altar? What does the rainbow symbolize?

I can not keep myself from commenting on the first question: NEVER ask a question that can be answered with yes or no! Ask instead, "Why do you suppose Noah was building an altar?"

  • Video: It is just ideas of what could be done. Nothing is developed! Offers no discussion questions!! Not really a lesson in my book.
  • Cooking: One of its options uses peanut butter. (How many churches are there that don't have to be careful of peanut allergies?) Throw out the peanut butter ideas! At least this lesson asks discussion questions. This is obviously my opinion. Maybe they aren't offering the Noah lesson anymore because it was so badly written. I would welcome someone else's opinions who has recently used some of this curriculum.--Carol
I stopped using PowerXpress because I had to add or change too much of it and it's VERY expensive (110.00/lesson). The memory verses didn't seem to line up well with the lessons in some cases. It was quite a stretch to make some of the activities reflect the lesson. Overall, I feel it is a poor quality, expensive canned curriculum and one would do better to offer that 110.00/lesson (can you imagine the possibilities??!!)

Edited to remove long quoted material. Did not change anything else!
Update: PowerXpress is no longer actively being written/edited/updated. I see they are still selling it.

I am acquainted with some of the writers/contributors/editors and they did try to improve it as they developed new units, but there's a fair amount of unevenness across the years of material. This was not due to the people working on it. In my opinion, this was due to some flaws in their concept of development.

Imagine how amazing PowerXpress would have been (and could still be) had they taken our model of "cloud" writing/sharing, and put Powerxpress ONLINE for people to talk about it and improve it.

When will the denominational publishers figure this out? Confused

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