Here is a complete set of lessons for…

Psalm 23: A Shepherds Psalm

 

Summary of all workshops in this Rotation:

  • Art:  Children will create felted pictures/sheep from sheep's wool.
  • Games & Bible Skills: Children will play several games about following and listening to God.
  • Computers: Children in Grades 2-5, & 6-7 will use Crossword Studio Bible Edition software to create crossword puzzles to explore the meaning of the words in the psalm .  Children in Grades K-1 will use KidPix to illustrate the psalm.
  • Drama:  Children will visit 8 stations to experience the different verses of the psalm. (For example, verse 2 - lie down on a large piece of green felt. Discuss how God helps you rest.)
  • Music & Movement: Children will use Sign Language to learn to sign the psalm.
  • Video:  Children will view The Story of David (Children’s Heroes of the Bible, Gateway Films-Vision). They will learn about King David's role in writing many of the psalms. (Video-running time 23 minutes)

 


Scripture References:

Psalm 23 (Using the NIV Adventure Bible)

The Picture Bible: "The Chosen One" pages 278-280 (for younger students)

Memory Verse:

Psalm 23 (Encourage the children to learn as much as possible of this psalm)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters. 
He restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Note:  This is not the translation found in our Bibles, rather it is NRSV with a bit of New King James – a version more familiar to most people.

Theme: 

  • God loves us and cares for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

Rotation Objectives:

  • Children will define psalm:  a song or poem in the Bible.
  • Children will locate Psalm 23 in the Old Testament of the Bible.
  • Children will explain the meaning of the Psalm in their own words.
  • Children will define Psalms as a book of poetry (older grades).
  • Children will identify David as the author of many of the Psalms.
  • Children will describe some of the responsibilities of a shepherd.
  • Children will describe how God is like a shepherd to us and how we are like sheep.
  • Children will recognize that God is with us even through scary or sad times.
  • Children will identify Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
  • Children will memorize Psalm 23.

Bible Notes in the NIV Adventure Bible:

  • Words to Treasure:  page 618
  • Life in Bible Times:  What God is Like, page 618
  • Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd, page 619

Resources for Workshops: 

  • The Lord is my Shepherd, Illustrated by Anne Wilson, Eerdman's Books for Young Readers, 2003
  • The Lord is my Shepherd: Psalm 23 for Children, Christopher L. Webber, Morehouse Publishing, 2004
  • The Lord is my Shepherd, Little Shepherd Books, Scholastic, 2006.
  • A poster of Psalm 23 for each room.

Rotation Music CDs

  1. “Books of the Old Testament,” Books of the Bible, Custom CD, Troy and Genie Nilsson.
  2. “Books of the New Testament,” Books of the Bible, Custom CD, Troy and Genie Nilsson.
  3. Psalm 23 - Jeff Majors, Sacred Major 7th, Music One, 2007.
  4. He Will Carry Me – Mark Schultz, He Will Carry Me, Word Entertainment, 2003.
  5. "I'll Lead you Home," Michael W. Smith, 1995.
  6. "Do not Fear," Seeds of Courage, Seeds Family Worship, 2007.
  7. "I am the Good Shepherd," Verse 2 Verse, Top Kidz,
  8. "The Lord is My Shepherd," Hidden in my Heart, 2009.
  9. "Draw Me Close To You," the Katinas, Lifestyle: A Worship Experience, 2002.

 


 

Background Information for Teachers

The book of Psalms is an Old Testament book of Poetry, found in about the middle of the Bible.  The word Psalm actually comes from the Hebrew word mizmor, a term meaning a “sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment.”  This was translated psalmos in the Greek.  In Alexander’s Old Testament translation, the book of Psalms was called Psalterion, from which we get the word Psalter.  In the Hebrew Bible the book is called sephir tehillim, meaning Book of Praises.  This is a good description of the Psalms, for much of the book consists of praises to God. 

A glimpse into emotions

The Psalms give us a glimpse into Israelite history – but not simply a record of events that occurred.  Rather the Psalms provide us knowledge of the emotion and spiritual aspect of the Israelites.  The Psalms provide a witness to the “timeless and universal nature of man.”  The Psalms capture the emotions, personal feelings, attitudes and thoughts of the average person.  They show us that these very same experiences of old are also ours today.  For no matter what our experiences are, we can find them somewhere recorded in the book of Psalms.  The overarching theme of the Psalms is a theology of relational: God in relationship with us!  The Psalms model intimacy with God. 

A guide for prayer 

The Psalms are a guidebook for prayer.  They describe the Israelites’ struggle with situations, emotions and how they brought these feelings to God.  They teach us the right way to handle our emotions as we work through our troubles.  Emotions are not bad; they are a part of being human.  By coming before God and honestly sharing our emotions, we learn to handle them.  We can vent in a safe environment.  After all, God is big enough to handle all of our emotions – good and bad!  We cannot hide our feelings from God anyway.  By bringing them to God, we develop a more personal and intimate relationship. God is not a distant God who winds us up and sets us free while watching us from afar.  God desires nothing more than an intimate, close and daily walk with us!  We see in the Psalms that God accepts us as we are, in fact God treasures us as His special creation. The Psalms teach us that God is deeply personal and relational.  The Christian faith is not just an intellectual exercise.  It is about a relationship that engages the heart as well as the mind!

Authorship; dates written

The Psalms were written over a long period of time, possibly from 1400-400 B.C. Some of the Psalms may be among the oldest of Bible literature.  Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses!   Of 150 psalms, 73 are believed to be written by David.  The different psalms are organized into five books based on the time they were officially added to the worship collection of the Hebrews. 

  1. Psalms 1-41:  These are believed to have been compiled before David’s death.
  2. Psalms 42-72: These were probably added during the reign of Solomon.
  3. Psalms 73-89:  Added during the period of the Exile.
  4. Psalms 90-106:  Also added during the period of the Exile.
  5. Psalms 107-150:  Added during the time of Ezra, mostly liturgical psalms

Understanding psalms

Psalms are classified as Old Testament poetry.  To understand the Psalms it is necessary to understand the concept of parallelism.  There are several types of parallelism reflected in the psalms.

  • Synonymous Parallelism – The same thought is repeated using different words.  Hebrew poetry does not repeat sounds or use rhyming words as Western poetry does.  Rather, thoughts or ideas are repeated using vivid imagery, metaphors or similes.  This allows Hebrew poetry to be effectively translated into any language!
  • Antithetical Parallelism – One thought is followed by a contrasting thought.
  • Synthetic Parallelism – Adding thoughts to further develop or explain the original thought.

The Psalms also reflect different themes:

  • Praise Psalms focus on God and describing God’s nature.
  • Historical Psalms explain how God deals with God’s people throughout history.
  • Relational Psalms describe the personal relationship between God and the believer.
  • Imprecatory/cursing Psalms call on God to judge and overthrow the wicked.
  • Penitential Psalms express repentance and sorrow over personal failings and sin.
  • Messianic Psalms refer to Christ, the One who is to come through King David’s line.
  • Liturgical Psalms are used in worship for specific occasions or annual festivals.

Psalm 23 - a Psalm of David

Psalm 23 is probably the most well-known and loved psalm in the Bible.  Many of the psalms were written by or attributed to David.  Psalm 23 is one of David’s psalms. David was a shepherd before being chosen by God to become Israel’s king.  His many years spent alone with sheep must have prepared him for the role he was to play in Israel’s history.  Certainly the quiet of long days apart from human conversation led him to a deep and abiding faith in God.  Through David’s experiences as a shepherd, he found key correlations to God’s relationship with us. 

Sheep are mentioned over 500 times in the Bible.  A shepherd cares for the sheep, providing safety, nourishment and love to his flock.  In this Psalm David describes God as the shepherd and we humans as His sheep. The prophets and New Testament writers continued with this imagery. Jesus himself, referred to himself as the Good Shepherd who lay down his life for his sheep.  Sheep imagery is found throughout the Bible, perhaps because sheep were such a common and well-understood part of life at that time.  Sheep were valuable assets and a strong economic resource.  To be called sheep was affirming our worth and importance to God. 

Because David was a shepherd, it can be helpful to examine this Psalm from the perspective of a real shepherd.  Phillip Keller, in his book, A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, illuminates the text from the viewpoint of one who has spent his life caring for sheep.

The Lord is my shepherd...

Sheep and people share many characteristics.  Both can be stubborn, fearful and prone to following the crowd.  Who is our shepherd?  David clearly states that the Lord is our shepherd!  Do we claim him as our shepherd?  Do we truly belong to the shepherd?  Are we content to be led by the Shepherd, rather than heading out on our own?

Shepherds keep track of the sheep in their flock by branding them with a notch on their ears.  This makes the sheep easily recognizable to the shepherd and to others if the sheep should wander off.  Are we easily recognized as belonging to our Shepherd?  Do others recognize us as Christian?  What notches do we have in our lives that clearly show we belong to the Shepherd?

I shall not want….

The meaning of the word want here is that we have what we need, we are not lacking, we are satisfied.  The underlying thought is that when we claim the Lord as our shepherd, we are content.  We do not crave or desire more.  This does not mean that God promises us wealth and prosperity.  In fact, Jesus promised the opposite to his believers.  There is a cost to following Jesus.  But contentment means our greed lessens and that we no longer have a constant desire for more material things. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures….

It is hard to make sheep lie down.  According to Keller, four things are necessary for sheep to relax enough to lie down.  They must be:

  1. Free of fear.
  2. Free of friction and tension from other sheep
  3. Free of pests, parasites and aggravation
  4. Free of hunger.

Only the shepherd can provide freedom from these situations.  Sheep are by nature fearful and vulnerable animals.  One startled sheep can cause a whole flock to blindly bolt without ever understanding what the threat is!  The presence of the shepherd is calming to the sheep. 

For Christians, the presence of the Shepherd is calming as well.  Knowing the shepherd is nearby helps us deal with our anxiety, calms us down during panicky times and helps us cope with the fear of the unknown and the unexpected. 

Like many animals, sheep have a “pecking order.”  Dominant sheep will aggravate the more passive animals, keeping the flock in continual state of jealousy and conflict.  When the shepherd is present, this behavior ceases.  We as humans struggle with the desire to be “Top Dog”(?sheep?), for status and to keep up with our neighbors.  When we are in the presence of Christ, our selfishness, snobbery and rivalry will stop. 

Insects and parasites torture sheep, especially during certain seasons of the year.  The shepherd applies insect repellants, provides shelter and shade to protect the sheep from these irritations. 

The Holy Spirit’s presence provides us with contentment and calm during times of aggravation. 

Sheep tend to thrive in hot, dry climates because there are less parasites and health hazards.  Unfortunately, lush green pastures don’t thrive in those climates!  Preparing a pasture for sheep requires diligence and care on the part of the shepherd.  Rocks are removed, soil must be prepared and seed sown. 

God provides green pastures for us by removing the stony rocks of unbelief in our lives, breaking up our hard hearts and sowing his Word like seed in the soil of our hearts.

He leads me beside still waters….

All living things require water.  Thirst is the body’s natural response to lack of water.  If clean water is unavailable, sheep will drink from any mud hole or ravine.  Cool, clear water is what sheep need. They are afraid of fast-moving water.  Sheep scare easily so shepherds search for calm, still waters where the sheep can be refreshed.  We too, are thirsty for God’s Word – and we are never truly fulfilled until we recognize that.  Sheep can get all the water they need from grazing on dew-soaked grass in the early mornings.  Wise shepherds make sure the flock is out early.  Then once the hot sun comes up, the sheep can rest quietly in the shade content, well-fed and well-watered.

Many strong Christians recognize the wisdom gleaned from the shepherd.  Spending time in God’s word in the early morning is perhaps the best way to start the day. 

He restores my soul…

Sheep have the unfortunate characteristic of getting stuck on their backs or being “cast down” or “cast.”  A resting sheep might roll over a bit too far on its side and end up stuck on its back with legs flailing.  They depend on the shepherd to come and set them on their feet again.  A “cast” sheep is easy prey for predators, so a shepherd is always on the lookout, counting all his sheep to make sure they are all safe. 

Once found, the shepherd gently lifts the sheep onto its feet, massaging its legs to restore circulation and helping it regain its balance. 

We too, can easily get “cast down.”  When we fall or get discouraged, God is always there for us, gently lifting us up, encouraging us, showing us compassion, restoring our souls.  When we go astray, God looks for us, just as the shepherd looks for the “cast down” sheep.

There are some important principles to recognize.  It’s easier to get into trouble when we find ourselves in too comfortable and cozy of a spot.  Just like sheep, we can roll over and find ourselves stuck!  Just when we think we have it made, we may actually be in the most danger!

Sheep can get weighed down with too much wool.  The shepherd then must hold the sheep down and shear it for its own good.  Sheep struggle against this, even though, once sheared, they feel much better.  Are we weighed down with our accumulation of stuff?  Do we also struggle with accumulating too many material things?

Sheep can get too fat.  We can get complacent.  Do we allow our sense of material success to determine our well-being?  Do we equate this with spiritual well-being?  The Good Shepherd may require us to go on a diet!

He leads me in right paths…

Sheep are creatures of habit.  Left alone, they would happily follow the same trails, quickly turning paths into deep ruts and ravines.  They will overgraze their favorite spots, even digging out the roots and killing the grass. 

A wise shepherd keeps his sheep on the move, shifting from pasture to pasture and working out a pattern of grazing that allows the pastures to thrive.

We as humans prefer to do our “own thing.”  We are creatures of habit as well, even self-destructive ones.  We don’t want to be led, we don’t want to follow, we want to do it our way!  But Christ calls us to follow him, to be willing to deny ourselves and to put others first.  He calls us to be willing to go against the flow and to set aside our desire to be the boss.  He calls us to always have an attitude of gratitude and to be obedient to the Shepherd’s will for us. 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley…

Shepherds lead their sheep to different pastures depending on the time of year.  In the summer months, the shepherd takes his sheep to upper pastures, in winter they return to lower elevations.  The path to the mountaintop takes the sheep through the valleys.  The valleys can be a dangerous and dark place for sheep and for us. 

The shepherd does not expect his sheep to pass through the valleys alone. The shepherd guides his sheep.  God is with us as we pass through the valleys also.  Passing through the valleys leads us to higher ground.  We can’t get there without going through the valleys.  We don’t want those valleys, we are afraid of them.  But they are a necessary part of our spiritual growth.  God uses the valley experiences in our lives in mighty ways.  Often it is in the darkest places that we find closeness to God. 

Your rod and staff, they comfort me…

A shepherd’s rod was a club-like weapon used to protect the sheep, to check the sheep for parasites and to soothe the sheep.  The rod is also a symbol of power and authority (as in Moses’ rod).  The rod for us can be the Word of God, whose authority will guide and protect us.

A shepherd’s staff is a long slender stick with a crook on one end.  It is specifically designed for use with sheep.  Shepherds use their staffs to draw their sheep closer to check them, to comfort them and for gentle correction.    For Christians, the shepherd’s staff is a symbol of God’s Spirit providing for us the same benefits as the sheep receive from their shepherd.

You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies…

We’ve talked about the higher elevation pastures for the sheep.  High country plateaus are called mesas or tables.  Before sheep head to the high country, the shepherd goes ahead – checking out the pastures, pulling out the poisonous weeds, removing any dangerous objects.  He brings salt and minerals to set out in the pasture.  Only after the table is prepared are the sheep brought in. 

We humans want to try out everything, to taste this and that even if it is destructive to us (much like the little lambs love to eat the poisonous weeds).  Just like the shepherd, we know that Christ goes before us in every situation.  Because of all Christ has done – he was tempted as we are, he suffered, he grieved, we are confident that he understands us through and through.  He experienced it!  Christ has gone before and prepared a table for us – in plain view of our enemies.   It came at great sacrifice and cost to him.  When we come to Christ’s table and eat the Lord’s Supper, we recall all that Jesus has done for us.

You anoint my head with oil…

Sheep are pestered by flies, especially nose flies which lay eggs in the moist membranes of the sheep’s nose.  The larva hatch and crawl into the sheep’s head causing intense irritation and even leading to blindness.  Sheep desperately butt their heads against trees, shake their heads violently and sometimes even kill themselves in a frenzied attempt to rid themselves of these pests.  At the first sign of flies, the shepherd applies ointment to the sheep’s head and nose.  This immediately calms and soothes the sheep. 

We face many irritations and aggravations in our day-to-day lives.  Just as the shepherd anoints the sheep with soothing ointments, God’s Holy Spirit provides a daily anointing to us to counteract the irritations of our everyday lives.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life….

With good planning, a sheep’s pasture gets better and better.  The fertilizer from the sheep’s manure is rich and well-balanced.  Sheep eat the largest variety of plants of any grazing animal. They feast on weeds that can easily choke out the vegetation of a field when left unchecked.  They can restore balance to fields. 

When we allow ourselves to view our lives through God’s eyes, we see things in a different light.  Even through the calamities of our lives, we can see the Shepherd’s hands.  As we are going through a trial it is often difficult to see clearly and  to wrap our finite minds around God’s infinite plan.  What do we leave behind?  Do we see (even if it is in hindsight) blessings and kindness and mercy? 

And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever…

Wherever we are – the pastures, the high places, the valleys, wherever we dwell with the Shepherd is home.  We are content to follow the lead of our loving and caring shepherd.  We are glad to be a member of his flock, to be a part of Christ’s household.  We will dwell in the Lord’s presence forever! 


Sources: 

Bullock, C. Hassell An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books. Chicago: Moody Press,

1988. Print.

Keller, Phillip. A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970. Print.

Richards, Lawrence O. Bible Teacher’s Commentary.  Colorado Springs: Cook Communications

Ministries, 2002. Print.

---. Richard’s Complete Bible Dictionary. Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, Inc. 1984. Print.

Vine, W. E. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996.

Print.

Walton, John H. and Victor H. Mattews and Mark W. Chavalas, IVP Bible Commentary Inter Varsity

Press, 2000. Print.

 


 

A lesson set written by Jaymie Derden for State Street UMC 

Bristol, VA.


List of all our Bible Lesson Forums

Original Post

Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm 

Art Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will use the technique of "wet felting" to create felted illustrations of the psalm.  K-1 graders will use cookie cutters to make their wet-felted sheep.

 

Scripture References, Memory Verse, Theme and Objectives

 

Refer to first post in this lesson set.

 

 


Resources for the Workshop

 

  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1970.
  • Poster of Psalm 23 for each room.

 

Important note for Art workshop leaders:

In the Art workshop, the Bible story is reinforced through creative and hands-on art activities. The children may make something that they can take home to help remind them of the monthly theme or they may work together as a team to make something for the church to display.

 

During this rotation children practiced signing the psalm each week before class began. This was presented in worship service at the end of the rotation.


Leader Preparation and Room Set-Up:

  • Review background information, teaching tips and lesson materials.
  • Gather necessary supplies
  • Cover the tables with the old tablecloths
  • Print out a copy of the 23rd Psalm for each child
  • Review the Music CD.
  • Plan to play the music as the children arrive, work on their art projects and during journal time.

Supplies List:

Supplies for plastic baggie wet felting (grades 2-4, 5-6)

  • Wool roving in a variety of colors (white, black, grey for sheep; green, blue, yellow for grass, water, sky and sun; pink, purple or red for flowers). Wool roving can be purchased online or from knitting and fiber arts suppliers. We purchased from Stony Mountain Fibers, http://www.angelfire.com/va2/fibers/
  • Piece of craft felt
  • Quart-size ziploc bags - one per child
  • Hot and cold water
  • Plastic water bottles - one per child
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Bath towels - one for each pair of children
  • Cutting board
  • A copy of the 23rd Psalm for each child
  • Paper towels

Supplies for cookie cutter wet felting (grades K-1):

  • Wool roving in a variety of colors (see source above)
  • Sheep cookie cutters - one per child
  • Plastic container large enough to hold the cookie cutter and several inches deep - one per child
  • Plastic water bottles - one per child
  • Hot, warm and cold water
  • Thick hand towels/bath towels - one per pair of children
  • Liquid Soap
  • Embroidery floss (optional)
  • Large needle (optional)
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Paper towels

 



Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Introduction

 

Welcome all children and introduce yourself. Make sure each child is wearing a nametag.  Briefly describe and overview of the day's activities.

 

Opening Prayer

Please open each session with prayer.

Dear Lord, We thank you for this day and for all the people who guide and protect us.  Teach us as we read your word and allow it to guide us also.  Amen.

 

Important Teacher Notes:

 

Each workshop includes the Bible story.  One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy!   If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the Background Information to help you introduce the story.

 

Remember that as the Rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion.  You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well.  Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

 

Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session.  Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks!  Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

 

Introduce the Story - All Grades

 

What is a shepherd? (A person, who takes care of a lot of sheep, guides or leads the sheep, and keeps them safe.  He has enough food and clean water for the sheep, keeps the sheep from being scared and makes sure they don’t get lost.  Throughout the lives of the sheep, the shepherd walks with them as they travel from one place to the next.  The sheep are never asked to guide themselves or find their ways alone.)

 

Who was King David? (He was chosen by God to be Israel’s king long before Jesus was sent to be the King)

 

If David lived long before Jesus, where would we find the stories about him in the Bible? (the Old Testament)

 

Does anyone know what job David held before becoming king? (He was a shepherd.  That meant he understood how to lead and protect those that he was in charge of.  Additionally, during the time he spent with the sheep, he became very close to God.  He had a lot of time to think about life and all the gifts that God had given him.  He learned patience and kindness and was able to see how God worked in his life.)

 

As David learned more about God, he realized that God is our shepherd.  He is the one who should guide us.  He is the one we should depend on every day of our lives for safety, for answers and for all that we need.

 

David had such a wonderful relationship with God that he wrote about it. He wrote songs for people to sing.  In the Old Testament, they were called psalms.  David wrote many psalms during his life.  His most famous is probably Psalm 23.

 

Additional Information for older grades:

 

Sheep can easily follow another sheep if they don’t have a shepherd.  The sheep cannot determine if the other sheep are leading them into danger or to a place that doesn’t have any food or water.  They must follow a shepherd and trust him if they are to be safe.  Additionally, sheep would happily follow the same paths over and over again even if it meant they ate all their food and/or if it became a dangerous place.  If the sheep follow a shepherd, he will ensure that they change their path if it is not the best one for them.

 

A shepherd’s rod is used to protect the sheep.  The shepherd would use it to gently guide the sheep, check for parasites on the sheep that would irritate them, and to gently scold them if necessary.

 

Bible Study: K-1

 

Let’s read the 23rd Psalm and think about being a little lamb with a shepherd as your leader.

 

Have the children turn to page 278 in The Picture Bible.  Read "The Chosen One" from page 278 to the top of page 280 (stop after the first frame).  This reviews David being chosen by God to be the new king and briefly mentions his work as shepherd and creating psalms.  Next pass out the handout of Psalm 23.  Read as the children follow along.  Have the children close their eyes as you read the psalm a second time asking them to try to imagine every image described in the psalm. 

 

Discussion:

  • What is a psalm?  (a song or poem written to express emotion to God)
  • Who wrote Psalm 23?  (David)
  • Who did David say is his Shepherd in the Psalm?  (God)
  • What was David's job before he became King?  (shepherd)
  • Where in the Bible would we find Psalms?  (Old Testament – about in the middle of the Bible)

Bible Study:  Grades 2-5, 6-7

 

Bibles: 

  • 2-4 graders - NIV Adventure Bible, turquoise blue cover with embossed lizard
  • 5-6 graders:  NIV Adventure Bible, dark blue plain cover 

Have the children locate Psalm 23 in their Bibles. Children with Bible ribbon bookmarks can use their blue ribbon to locate the books of poetry.  The book of Psalms is found in about the middle of the Bible. 

 

Hand out the copy of the 23rd Psalm and read it to the children.  Read it a second time and ask them all to close their eyes.  Ask them to try to visualize every image described in the psalm.

 

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:

  • Words to Treasure:  page 618
  • Life in Bible Times:  What God is Like, page 618
  • Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd, page 619

 

Memory Verse

 

Help the children locate the memory verse in their Bibles.  

 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…." Psalm 23

 

Encourage the children to memorize as much of the psalm as they can (at the minimum, K-1 graders should memorize the first line of the psalm.  Older children should memorize several lines and hopefully the entire psalm). Children who participate in Worship Arts this month will learn to sign the psalm -- which will greatly help them with the memorization process. Children will present the signed psalm in worship!

 

 

Discussion questions:

  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, love us, gives us what we need, guides us)
  • How are we like sheep?  (we can be stubborn, want our own way, sometimes we wander off)
  • What are some things that people do that show us that they’re not allowing God to lead them? (Lying, cheating, hurting others, saying mean things)
  • How does a shepherd help calm the sheep?  (keeps predators away, helps them stay calm, puts ointment on face to keep bugs away)
  • How can God help to calm you when you are scared or worried?  (prayer, reading about Bible people who were scared and God helped, talking with parents or good friends) 
  • How about when you are “bugged” by people or things?
  • What does it mean to “restore my soul?”  (a good feeling in your heart, a sense of safety and comfort)
  • How did the shepherd “prepare a table” for his sheep?  (got the pastures ready – removed the weeds, rocks and dangerous places)
  • What table do we have here at church in our sanctuary?  (Communion table)
  • How does God prepare this table for us?  (Christ had the Last Supper with his disciples, he died for us)
  • What were the rod and staff used for?  (to protect the sheep, to guide them, to pull them close to the shepherd)
  • What brings us closer to God?  (spending time with God, prayer, worship, study)
  • What are some things that worry you or scare you? (Did you know that if you pray to God to help you and to guide you, he could lead you away from those fears and frustrations.  It doesn’t mean that those things will completely go away, it does mean that if you pray and read the Bible, He can lead you to a point where it doesn’t bother you or scare you as much.)
  • Has your soul ever been troubled?   How has God "restored your soul?"
  • What does this psalm teach you about God?  

Wet Felting with Wool

 

Adapted from ideas at the following sites:

 

Older children  will use the technique of wet felting to create an illustrated square of the psalm.  Younger children will wet-felt sheep using a cookie cutter. 

 

 

Preparation:

  1. Practice with the materials so you are comfortable with the technique. Make at least one felted illustrated psalm and one cookie cutter sheep to show the children. 
  2. Cover all tables with old tablecloths.
  3. Set out towels for each child.
  4. Fill water bottles with hot water and several squirts of liquid soap. Shake well. 

 

Introduce the Activity:  What is Felt?

 

Show the children the piece of craft felt. Do they know how felt is made? 

True woolen felt (not acrylic) is actually made from wool from sheep.  (Show a piece of the wool roving.) When a sheep is sheared its fleece is washed and brushed to clean it. Then it can be spun into yarn and used to knit clothing. Before the wool is spun into yarn it is called roving. It is fluffy and soft. It can be dyed into different colors (show the different colors of roving). Wool looks and feels soft, but the fibers actually have little barbs or hooks that help it stick together. Wetting the wool and adding soap helps it stick together and turns the fluffy wool into a solid mat of wool felt.  Anyone who has mistakenly put a wool sweater into the washing machine knows how water, soap, wool plus friction make felt!

 

Show the felt you created before class. 

 

Say: We're going to make a felted square that will illustrate something from Psalm 23. What are some images that you remember from the psalm?  (sheep, shepherd, staff, green pasture/grass, still water, etc.).  We will use the different colors of the wool roving to create a picture. Then we'll add water and soap to turn it into a felt picture. You can hang it in your room as a decoration or use it as a coaster for drinks.

 

 

Directions - Felted Pictures:

 

To view pictures of this process, click on the attached pictures at the bottom of this lesson.

 

  1. Have the children think about the picture they would like to illustrate. The images will need to be VERY simple -- a sheep, blue sky, green grass, yellow sun -- think simple coloring book shapes. Give children a handful of wool roving in the colors they need. Have them use the wool roving to create a design - first the background color, then the foreground objects.  It takes more than you think -- the wool should be about 3/4-inch high so that when felted it is about 1/8 inch thick.
  2. Background:  It helps to pull apart the wool roving and layer it first in one direction, then the opposite.
  3. Figures:  Gently shape the figures with your hands into the desired shape and place on top of the background roving.
  4. Once the design is complete have children gently slide the entire wool picture into a zipper quart baggie.
  5. Place the baggie on the folded towel.
  6. Carefully pour the hot, soapy water into the bag, saturating the wool completely.
  7. Place the bag with the wool flat on the folded towel. Gently press from the bottom of the bag to the top, squeezing out most of the water.
  8. Seal the bag.
  9. Show the children how to use their fingers to press and poke the baggie until the wool inside becomes firm and matted together.  (this will take about 5 minutes).
  10. Once the wool has felted, gently remove the piece from the bag and carefully rinse with first hot, then cold water.  You can place the felted piece on a cutting board and pour the water over top, pressing the felt with your fingers to remove the soap.felted productSqueeze out excess water by rolling felt picture in a towel.
  11. Lay flat on paper towels to dry.
  12. Be sure to label children's creations on the paper towel.
  13. Children can take their felted pictures home although they will need to dry for about 24 hours.

 

 

Directions -  Cookie Cutter Felted Sheep (younger grades):

  1. Place the cookie cutter in the bottom of the plastic container.
  2. Pull off small pieces of wool roving (children may want to make white or black sheep, or colorful "rainbow" sheep).
  3. Place the wool roving inside the cookie cutter -- completely filling it to the top and making sure all the nooks and crannies of the cookie cutter are filled.  Try to keep the roving inside the cookie cutter -- not letting any spill outside the edges or underneath the cookie cutter at the bottom. 
  4. Next gently add hot, soapy water (from the water bottles) to the container until the wool is completely saturated. You may need to pour some directly onto the roving inside the cookie cutter.
  5. Hold the cookie cutter in place with one hand and have children use the fingers of their other hand to poke up and down for about five minutes until the wool has become firm and felt-like.a cookie cutter sheep made with wool roving
  6. Remove the cookie cutter and felt sheep from the container and rinse well in very warm and then cold water. 
  7. Press into a towel to press out excess moisture. Set on a paper towel to dry. Be sure to label children's creations on the paper towel.
  8. Once dry, use the needle and embroidery floss to create a hanging loop in the top of the sheep.

 

Reflection and Journal Time

The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned.  

 

Journal Questions:

 

  • Grades K-1:  Draw a loving shepherd with his sheep. 
  • Grades 2-4:  Imagine you were David singing to your sheep.  What song would you sing to them?
  • Grades5-6: When have you experienced God as a shepherd in your life?

Clean up

Gather all supplies and encourage each child to clean his/her own work area.  

 

Closing:

Gather the children together before leaving. Review with them one word or concept that they learned (sheep, shepherd, lead, guide, love). Ask for prayer requests and pray together.


A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC

Bristol, VA

 

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

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Psalm 23: A Sherpherd's Psalm

Games Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will learn about Psalm 23 with special emphasis on following right paths by playing several games.  Includes two games each for Grades K-1 and two games for Grades 2-6.

 

Scripture References, Theme, Memory Verse, Objectives, and Life Application

 

Refer to first post in this lesson set.

 


Resources for the Workshop

  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by Phillip Keller, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1970.
  • Poster of Psalm 23 for each room.

 

Important Note for Games Workshop Leaders:

The purpose of the games workshop is two-fold:  to develop Bible skills and to reinforce that knowledge by having fun with games.  The games are not frills and fluff!   Playing games helps to cement the knowledge and reinforce the skills you introduce during the Bible lesson.

 

Children learn best when actively involve, so please do not skimp on the games portion of the lesson!   Follow the time guidelines to help you stay on track. 

 

Remember –  in the Rotation model, children study ONE lesson or story for 4 weeks, so it is not necessary to cover every detail in each session.


 

Leader Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Read Background Information, Teaching Tips and Lesson.
  • Gather necessary supplies. 
  • Play the Rotation Music CD as the children arrive, play games and during journaling.

Supplies List:

  • Text of Psalm 23,
  • Paper sack
  • Music CD
  • Supplies needed for each game listed below.

 

Psalm 23 Verse Match

 

As children arrive, play the matching game to encourage the children to commit the psalm to memory.

 

 

Advanced preparation:

  • Cut the attached lines of text from Psalm we into strips, one sentence per strip.
  • Put the strips into the paper sack.

 Directions:

  1. As children arrive, have them draw strips from the sack.
  2. Have them work together to put the psalm in order.
  3. Refer to the Psalm 23 poster in the room.
  4. As the weeks go by and the children get better at remembering the psalm, cut each strip in half and progressively smaller sections
  5. Repeat this activity each week until they have the psalm committed to memory.

 Variations:

  1. Read the psalm back to them with some inaccuracies and let them correct you.  (Don’t do this until the end of the rotation and only if the children seem to have memorized the psalm.
  2. Have them tell the psalm in their own words. 
  3. Cover up key words on the Psalm 23 poster in the room and have the children fill in the blanks… “The Lord is my _________.”  “I shall not _____.”  “He makes me lie down in ________ pastures.”  Etc.

 



Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Introductions

 

Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their name tags. Always begin each class with introductions.

 

Tell the children that today they will learn about one of the most well-known and loved psalms in the Bible:  Psalm 23.

 

 

Opening Prayer

 

Dear God, Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today. Be with us today as we study and play together. Help us to learn more about you.  AMEN.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

 

Introduce the Story

 

Long, long ago, before Jesus was born, there was a shepherd named David.  David became a famous king in Israel one day, but first he was just a simple shepherd.  He took care of his father’s sheep.  What do you know about sheep? About shepherds?

 

David loved to play his harp and make up poems and songs to sing to the sheep.  Many of his poems are found in the Bible.  They are called psalms.  Psalms means song or poem. 

 

David spent a lot of time with the sheep. It was hard work to care for sheep and David was a good shepherd.  He took good care of them.  David also loved God.  David wrote a psalm to tell us that God is just like a good shepherd.  This is called Psalm 23.  Let’s find it in our Bibles now.

 

Bible Study:  Grades K-1

Where would we find a psalm that was written many years before Jesus was born?  (Old Testament)

 

Have the children turn to page 278 in The Picture Bible.  Read "The Chosen One" from page 278 to the top of page 280 (stop after the first frame).  This reviews David being chosen by God to be the new king and briefly mentions his work as shepherd and creating psalms.  Next pass out the handout of Psalm 23. Read as the children follow along. 

 

Discussion:

  • What is a psalm?  (a song or poem written to express emotion to God)
  • Who wrote Psalm 23?  (David)
  • Who did David say is his Shepherd in the Psalm?  (God)
  • What was David's job before he became King?  (shepherd)
  • Where in the Bible would we find Psalms?  (Old Testament – about in the middle of the Bible)

 

Bible Study:  Grades 2-6

 

Bibles: 

NIV Adventure Bible

 

Where would we find a psalm that was written many years before Jesus was born?  (Old Testament)

 

Have children locate Psalms in their Bibles. (A quick trick to find Psalms is to open the Bible to about the middle – they should find the Psalms or be very close).  Psalms is an Old Testament book of Poetry. 

 

Help the children find Psalm 23. Read (or ask for a volunteer to read) as the children follow along in their Bibles. (Note that the translation we are asking them to memorize is slightly different.  This is because Psalm 23 is so well-known. The version we are memorizing is more familiar to most people.)

 

Have children with their own Bibles use the Bible highlighters to highlight  “Psalm 23:1"

 

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:

 

Words to Treasure:  page 618

 

Life in Bible Times:  What God is Like, page 618

 

Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd, page 619

 

Memory Verse

Help the children locate the memory verse in their Bibles.  Children (2-7 graders) with their own Bibles should highlight the verse using the Bible highlighters provided or a colored pencil.  Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles.  Encourage children to take home a verse card (available at the sign in desk and tape in their yearly Memory Verse booklets. The Memory Verse booklet gives them a convenient place to store the year's verses and to review them regularly.

 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…." Psalm 23

 

Discussion

  •  What makes a shepherd good?  (he takes care of his sheep, loves them, protects them, feeds them, etc.)
  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, loves us, guides us, is always with us)
  • Our focus today is going to be on the line in the psalm, “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.”
  • What are “right paths” for the sheep?  (paths that lead them to green pasture, fresh water)

 

Use the Background Information to talk with the children about sheep. Sheep are creatures of habit.  Left to their own devices, sheep will use the same path over and over again until it has been turned into muddy ruts with deep holes.  They will also eat from the same spot of grass until the grass is completely gone.  They even dig up the roots!  Left alone, sheep would ruin their pasture and probably fall and hurt themselves on the paths they take!  Fortunately, a good shepherd leads the sheep on the right path – a path that takes them to different spots to graze. 

 

Right paths for sheep are paths that lead them away from danger and to good, green pastures and quiet still waters. 

 

  • Do the sheep always follow?  Do we?
  • What are some of the “right paths” we should take?
  • What are some paths that might not be so right?
  • How do we know what the right path is?  (listen to parents, trusted adults, God’s Word, prayer) 

Let’s play a game that will help us find and take the right path. 

 

 




 

Games

 

Choose one or more of the games below to play with the children.  Note the recommended age groups for each game.

 

Say:  Today we are going to talk about how God guides us like a shepherd. This line in the psalm says, “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.”   Shepherds have to lead their sheep or else the sheep get lost.  Sheep like to do the same things over and over again.  If the shepherd didn’t lead them, they would use the same paths until they wore them down into giant holes!  Then the sheep might fall and get hurt or even die.  A good shepherd guides his sheep to take different paths so that they don’t get hurt.

 

God guides us like a shepherd to take right paths, too.  God wants us to do what is right so we won’t get hurt.  How do we know what is the right thing to do?  (listen to our parents and teachers, learn about what God wants from church and Sunday school)

 

What happens when we take the wrong path – do the wrong thing?  (sometimes we get hurt, we hurt others, we get in trouble)

 

Let’s play some games to help us learn about following the right path.

 


Walking in Right Paths (Grades K-1)

(Adapted from Psalm 23 Sample lesson, Danielle’s Place, www.daniellesplace.com)

 

Supplies:

 2X4 board about 8-10 feet long

 Sign with “God” written on it

 

Advanced Preparations:

 Set the 2X4 on the floor in an open area.

 Tape the sign to the wall opposite the 2X4.

  

Directions:

 Say:  Let’s play a game about staying on the right path.

  1. Line the children up behind the end of the board.
  2. Explain that sometimes it is hard to know the right thing to do. Listening to God’s word helps us know what to do. 
  3. Have the children take turns walking across the board while keeping their eyes straight ahead on the sign marked “God.”
  4. Next have the children cover their eyes (or use a blindfold) and walk the board again.  As they are walking, call out suggestions – to them, “Go to the left,”  “more to the right,”  “go faster,” “go slower,” etc.

 Reflect:

  1. When was it easier for you to stay on the right path?
  2. What was it like when your eyes weren’t on God?
  3. What was it like when other people were telling you to do different things?

 Sometimes other people can confuse you.  They may not always want you to do the right thing.  Some things that people might say are:  “It’s ok.  Everyone else is doing it.”  “It’s ok.  Nobody will see you do this.”  “It’s ok.  You won’t get caught.”  “It’s ok.  It’s not a very big lie.”  

 

You can decide the right thing to do by thinking about what God wants you to do.  Your parents and teachers and other trusted adults can help you do the right thing, too.  When you are unsure about what to do, first STOP and think.  Think about what God says in the Bible.  Think about what Jesus did and said.  Think about what your parents have told you.  Pray for God to help you make good decisions. Remember, God will always lead you in the right path!

 


Follow the Shepherd (Grades K-1)

 

Supplies:

Shepherd’s crook

 

Directions:

  1. Hold the shepherd’s crook and line the children up behind you.
  2. Say:  I am the shepherd and you are the sheep.  I am going to lead you in the right path, so you must follow me and do exactly what I do.
  3. Walk around the room doing a variety of different things and have the children repeat what you do.
  4. Some suggestions:  march, crouch down, skip, stop and kneel down, pretend to drink from the “still waters,” pretend to be scared as you go through the darkest valley, jump up and down three times, take tiny steps, take giant steps, pretend to eat good food, rub your tummies, pretend to lie down in green pastures, scratch your head, touch your knees, crawl, etc.
  5. If desired, let the children take turns being the shepherd and having the others follow them.

Reflect:

 

What was it like to follow the shepherd?

 

Is it always easy to do the right thing?

 

What helps you do the right thing even when it’s hard?

 

I wonder how the shepherd feels when the sheep follow him and stay on the right path?

 

I wonder how God feels when we stay on the right path?

 


Listening to the Shepherd (Grades 2- 6)

 

(Adapted from an idea from Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church, www.rotation.org)

 

Supplies:

  • Blindfolds, one for each child
  • Two long pieces of yarn to create a “right path”
  • Music
  • CD player

Directions:

  1. Divide the class into two groups – the sheep and the distracters.
  2. Have the adult class shepherd take the “sheep” outside the room and explain what they will do.
  3. Sheep’s role is to find the right path when they get inside. 
  4. Blindfold the sheep. 
  5. While the sheep are in the hallway, place two pieces of yarn parallel to each other to create a “path” from the doorway to one side of the room. 
  6. Assign one of the children in the room to be the voice of God.  Place this person at the end of the yarn path. The “voice of God” should call quietly to the sheep, saying things like, “Here I am,”  “Come to me,”  “Listen to me,”  “Follow this path,” etc.  The voice of God tries to get the sheep to follow the “right path.”
  7. All the other children will be the “distracters.” 
  8. Have the distracters spread out to different parts of the room (play in an open area free from too many obstacles). 
  9. The distracters should all talk at once trying to get the sheep to come to them and get off the “right path.” They should say things like, “Come this way,” “It’s much more fun over here,”  “Come on!  Hurry up!”  “Buy me!”  “On Sale, On Sale!”
  10. Play the music on the CD player to add to the distractions.
  11. When you give a signal, the distracters will stop talking one by one until finally only the voice of God is heard.
  12. How many sheep found the “right path” to which God was directing them?
  13. Remove the “sheep’s” blindfolds and gather in a circle on the floor.

Reflect: 

  • How did you know what was the right path?
  • How easy was it to hear God’s voice?
  • What distracted you?  (other voices, music)
  • What kinds of things distract us every day from hearing God’s voice?

 

Say:  You can always know the right thing to do by thinking about what God wants you to do.  Your parents and teachers and other trusted adults can help you do the right thing, too.  Sometimes it’s not always easy to know what to do.  Thinking about what God says in the Bible, thinking about what Jesus taught and remembering what trusted adults (like parents and teachers) tell us will help you make good decisions. When you face a difficult choice, you can pray and ask God to help you and guide you.  God will always lead us in the right path! 

 

Switch groups allowing the “distracters” to be the sheep and the sheep to be the distracters.  Change the yarn path so that it is different this time.

 

Repeat the activity.

 

Reflect: 

  • What was it like for you to try to stay on the right path?
  • Was it easier to hear God’s voice, now that you knew what to listen for?
  • What are some wrong paths people sometimes take?  (lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, being unkind to others)
  • What kinds of things distract us from making good decisions or tempt us to get off the right path? (all our friends are doing it, watching TV ads that make us want more things, not wanting to do work or chores, not wanting to be different from others)
  • How can you listen more closely to God’s voice and pay less attention to the voices that distract you from the right path?
  • Why does God want us to stay on the right path?
  • If we get off the right path, can we get back on?

 

You can decide the right thing to do by thinking about what God wants you to do.  Your parents and teachers and other trusted adults can help you do the right thing, too.  When you are unsure about what to do, first STOP and think.  Think about what God says in the Bible.  Think about what Jesus did and said.  Think about what your parents have told you.  Pray for God to help you make good decisions. Remember, God will always lead us in the right path!

 


Choices (Grades 2-6)

 

Supplies: 

  • Situation slips – see attached (you can make up your own or use a book about making good decisions.  Some examples are: Games Children Should Play by Mary K. Cihak and Barbara Jackson Heron, Scott, Foresman and Company, 1980 or Sticky Situations by Betsy Schmitt, Tyndale Publishing, 1997) 

 

Advanced Preparations:

  1. Cut the situation slips apart.
  2. Place strips into a sack or basket.

Directions:

  1. Have children draw out a situation slip and read it to the group.
  2. Discuss the possible actions that could be taken.
  3. What does the group think the “right” path would be? 
  4. How do you decide what to do?
  5. What might happen if you made that choice?
  6. Repeat with other situation slips.

Reflect:

 

It’s not always easy to make the right choice.  But the more right choices we make, the better we become at making them.  Many times, if we make a right choice, we can set an example for others and they will decide to do the right thing, too.  But whether or not others follow along with us, it is important for us to choose to do the right thing.  God promises in Psalm 23 to be our shepherd and guide, and to help us choose the right path.

 

Reflection and Journal Time

 

The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned.

 

Journal Questions:

 

 Grades K-1:  Draw a picture of the sheep following a right path.

 Grades 2-6:   Draw a picture about a choice you have made to do the right thing.

 

Closing:

 

Gather the children together. Review with them one word or concept that they learned in today’s lesson.  (choices, right path, God’s love, God’s guidance, Shepherd).  Encourage the children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite a friend, especially friends who do not belong to a church. Remind them to bring their Bibles.  Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

 

Clean-up

Have the children help put away all supplies.

 

**********************

Situation Slips

 

Copy and cut apart for Choices Game.

 

You have invited a friend to your house to play and spend the night.  Another friend calls and wants you to go to the movies.  What will you do?

 

You are visiting at a friend’s house.  You are having a great time, but it’s time to go home.  You would really like to stay.  Your friend wants you to stay.  What do you do?

 

You and your best friend are playing together.  Another person comes along and wants to join you.  What do you say?

  

You are playing in a championship soccer game.  Your teammate is chasing the ball to keep it from going out of bounds.  The ref thinks the ball is still in bounds, but you know it was really out.  What do you do?

 

You are spending the night with two friends.  One of the friends wants you to leave and go swimming, just the two of you, leaving the other friend out.  What will you say?  What will you do?

 

You are spending the night with several friends.  They decide to rent an R-rated movie.  You are not allowed to watch them.  What do you say?  What do you do?

 

Your best friend didn’t have time to finish his homework last night.  He wants to copy yours.  He’s never done this before.  What do you say?  What do you do?

 

You were so tired last night that you didn’t finish your homework. You ended up watching TV and playing computer games instead. The next day your teacher asked you why you didn’t have your homework.  What do you say?

 

Several of your friends are sitting together at lunch.  You sit down and realize they are saying unkind things about another girl in your class who is not there.  What do you say?  What do you do?

 

You are supposed to practice piano before watching TV.  Usually your parents remind you, but this evening they didn’t.  They have gone out to dinner with friends.  Your favorite TV show is about to come on.  What do you do?


A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC – G.R.E.A.T. Adventure.

Bristol, VA. 2004 (revised 2010).

 

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

 

Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm

Computer Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will create crossword puzzles to explore the meaning of the words in the psalm (Grades 2-6). Children will illustrate the psalm (Grades K-1)

 

Scripture References: 

NIV Adventure Bible - Psalm 23, "The Chosen One" from The Picture Bible, pages 278-280.

 

Memory Verse: 

Psalm 23 

 

Theme:

God loves us and cares for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep. 

 

Lesson Objectives:

See Background Information


 

Supplies List:

  • KidPix Software
  • Crossword Studio Bible Edition Software

Advanced Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Read the Background Information, teaching tips and lesson plan.
  • Preview the software.
  • Copy Shepherd graphics for the Crossword Puzzle activity (clip art or internet search).
  • Copy the navigation tips and handouts for each computer station.
  • Turn on computers, insert CDs and open programs before children arrive.

Notes for Computer Teachers: 

This workshop can always use extra hands, especially for the younger children.  Ask the shepherds to sit with the children at a computer station and help with navigation, reading text and discussion.  At the 10:45 session, use your shepherds and the 5-6 grade helpers.  You might also want to pair older students with younger ones.  As much as possible, try to sit with your students as you go through the software together.  The lesson is not what’s on the computer.  It’s what you and the students do with what’s on the computer.  Guide your students through the content, share yourself and facilitate their sharing with each other.  Model your enthusiasm for the Word of God.  Please make sure that children take turns at the mouse and keyboard.  If necessary, use the timer in the room to help the children switch roles.  



Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Introductions

Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often, and the children may not know you. Please include the shepherds in introductions. Tell the children that today they will learn about one of the best-loved psalms in the Bible.

 

Psalm 23 Verse Match (Grades 2-6)

As children arrive, play the matching game to encourage the children to commit the psalm to memory.

 

Supplies:

  • Psalm 23 text
  • Paper sack

Advanced preparation:

  • Cut the attached lines of text from Psalm 23 into strips, one sentence per strip.
  • Put the strips into the paper sack. 

Directions:

  1. As children arrive, have them draw strips from the sack.
  2. Have them work together to put the psalm in order.
  3. Refer to the Psalm 23 poster in the room.
  4. As the weeks go by and the children get better at remembering the psalm, cut each strip in half and progressively smaller sections
  5. Repeat this activity each week until they have the psalm committed to memory.

Variations:

  1. Read the psalm back to them with some inaccuracies and let them correct you.  (Don’t do this until the end of the rotation and only if the children seem to have memorized the psalm.
  2. Have them tell the psalm in their own words. 
  3. Cover up key words on the Psalm 23 poster in the room and have the children fill in the blanks… “The Lord is my _________.”  “I shall not _____.”  “He makes me lie down in 

 

Opening Prayer

Loving God, We praise you and we thank you for all you do for us. Be with us today as we learn more about you.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.      

Important Teacher Notes:

Each workshop includes the Bible story.  One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy!   If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the Background Information to help you introduce the story.

 

Remember that as the rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion.  You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well.  Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

 

Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session.  Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks!  Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

 

Introduce the Story

Long, long ago, before Jesus was born, there was a shepherd named David.  David became a famous king in Israel one day, but first he was just a simple shepherd.  He took care of his father’s sheep.  David loved to play his harp and make up poems and songs to sing to the sheep.  Many of his poems are found in the Bible.  They are called psalms.  A psalm is a special song or poem in the Bible. 

 

David spent a lot of time with the sheep.  Being a shepherd was hard work.  It was not a very attractive job -- in fact it was considered a lowly job.  But David was a good shepherd.  He took good care of his sheep.  David also loved God.  David wrote a psalm to tell us that God is just like a good shepherd.  What is a psalm?  (a special song or poem in the Bible)  This is called Psalm 23.  Let’s find it in our Bibles now.

 

Bible Study:  Grades K-1

Where would we find a psalm that was written many years before Jesus was born?  (Old Testament)

 

Have the children turn to page 278 in The Picture Bible.  Read "The Chosen One" from page 278 to the top of page 280 (stop after the first frame).  This reviews David being chosen by God to be the new king and briefly mentions his work as shepherd and creating psalms.  Next pass out the handout of Psalm 23.  Read as the children follow along.  Have the children close their eyes as you read the psalm a second time asking them to try to imagine every image described in the psalm.

Bible Study:  Grades 2-6

Where would we find a psalm that was written many years before Jesus was born?  (Old Testament)

 

Have children locate Psalms in their Bibles. (A quick trick to find Psalms is to open the Bible to about the middle – they should find the Psalms or be very close).  Psalms is an Old Testament book of Poetry.  

 

Help the children find Psalm 23.  Read (or ask for a volunteer to read) as the children follow along in their Bibles.  (Note that the translation we are asking them to memorize is slightly different.  This is because Psalm 23 is so well-known.  The version we are memorizing is more familiar to most people.)

 

Have children with their own Bibles use the Bible highlighters to highlight  “Psalm 23:1."

 

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:

Words to Treasure:  page 618

Life in Bible Times:  What God is Like, page 618

Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd, page 619

 

Discussion

  • What is a psalm?  (a song or poem written to express emotion to God)
  • Who wrote Psalm 23?  (David)
  • Who did David say is his Shepherd in the Psalm?  (God)
  • What was David's job before he became King?  (shepherd)
  • What does a shepherd do?  (watches sheep, cares for them, protects them, loves them, gives them food and water)  
  • What does it mean to say that God is our shepherd?  (God watches over us and cares for us)What makes a shepherd good?  (he takes care of his sheep, loves them, protects them, feeds them, etc.)
  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, loves us, guides us, is always with us)

 

Say:  Today we are going to talk about ways God is like a shepherd to us. One line in the psalm says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil.”   Shepherds have to lead their sheep or else the sheep get lost.  Shepherds have to take their sheep to new pastures for fresh grass.  In the winter shepherds bring their sheep down to low land.  In the summer they take their sheep up high in the mountains to new pastures.  When they travel, they have to pass through the dark valley.  Sometimes there is danger in the valley.  What kinds of danger do you think might be in the valley?  (wild animals, people who want to steal the sheep, bad weather)  The shepherd loves the sheep, but they still must go through the dark valley so they can get to the other side.  Does the shepherd send the sheep through the valley alone?  (NO!)  No, the shepherd always goes with the sheep.  In fact, the shepherd walks ahead of the sheep to check out the dangerous areas.  The shepherd uses his rod to protect the sheep from enemies and the staff to guide the sheep along.  No matter what the sheep go through, the shepherd is with them. 

 

God guides us through dark valleys, too.  The dark valleys are like the hard or dangerous times we experience.  What are some hard times you have experienced?  Did you know God was with you during that time?  One of the most important things to remember about Psalm 23 is this:  God is always with us! 

 

If time allows, use the Background Information to talk more with the children about sheep and shepherds.

 

Memory Verse

Help the children locate the memory verse in their Bibles. 

 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…." Psalm 23

 

Encourage the children to memorize as much of the psalm as they can (at the minimum, K-1 graders should memorize the first line of the psalm.  Older children should memorize several lines and hopefully the entire psalm).  Children who participate in Worship Arts this month will learn to sign the psalm -- which will greatly help them with the memorization process.

 

Computer Exploration (K-1)

Children will illustrate traveling through the darkest valley with God to protect and comfort them.

 

Before sending children to the computers, discuss with them some scary times they have faced.  What scares them?  When have they been frightened?  How does it feel to know that God is with us no matter what we face?  It’s important for children to realize that being Christian does not mean we won’t face hard times – in fact we can be sure that we will.  What we do know is that no matter what we face, God is always with us.  Like a shepherd, God will not leave us alone to face our fears.

 

Directions:

  1. Gather the children around one of the computers to demonstrate use of the drawing tools.
  2. Show them the basics of drawing with pencils, paint brush and using stamps.  Show how to increase the size of the items and how to choose colors and backgrounds.
  3. Divide the children into pairs at the computer stations.
  4. Pass out the navigation tips.
  5. Have the children illustrate a situation or thing that scares them at the top part of the screen.
  6. Then have them draw how it feels to know that God is with them.
  7. Children should take turns drawing – one child may want to draw the scary thing while another draws the comforting thing.  If time allows children can each draw a picture.
  8. Be sure to save the pictures.
  9. Print out two copies of the pictures – one to take home and one for our scrapbook.
  1. Save about 5 minutes at the end of class for children to share their pictures with one another.  You may either show the printed copies or move from computer to computer to view the screens.                                                 

Computer Exploration (Grades 2-6)

Children will explore the words of the psalm by creating a computer crossword puzzle.

 

Software:

Crossword Studio Bible Edition

 

Directions:

  1. Before bringing children to the computer stations, brainstorm with them some of the most important words used in Psalm 23.  Write these words on the white board in the classroom.
  2. Gather the children around one computer to demonstrate how to work a puzzle.  Use one of the samples already created.
  3. Next quickly demonstrate how to create a new puzzle and how to insert a graphic.
  4. Divide children into pairs at the computers.
  5. Have children work together to solve the Psalm 23 puzzle on each computer. 
  6. Next have children work together to create a new crossword puzzle using words or concepts from Psalm 23.  Allow about 10 minutes for this.
  7. Be sure to save the puzzles.
  8. Then have groups switch computers to try to solve one another’s puzzles.
  9. If desired, print out copies of the puzzles for each group to take home.
  10. If time allows, children may create additional puzzles.
  1. Save about 10 minutes at the end of class to share the different puzzles. 

Reflection and Journal Time

The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned.  

 

Journal Questions:

 

Instead of journals, use the children's illustrations and crossword puzzles for discussion.

 

Closing:

Gather the children together. Review with them one word or concept that they learned in today’s lesson.  (Shepherd, sheep, psalm, darkest valley, hard times, comfort, God with us). Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

 

Clean-up

Have the children help put away all supplies. Remove CD’s from the computer.  Replace in their cases and store in the cabinet in the room.  Turn off all computers.  Close windows and turn out lights.


KidPix Navigation Tip Handout

(copy one for each computer station)

 

Basic Drawing Instructions:

  1. Click pencil tool or paint brush on left hand side of screen.
  2. Select size of line by clicking on dot on lower screen.  Medium usually works best.
  3. Be sure to completely enclose your shapes if you want to color them in.
  4. Click paint can on left hand tool bar to color in drawing.  Choose solid colors/colored textures, stripes or patterns by clicking on the paint buckets at lower tool bar.  Use the up and down arrows for more selections.
  5. Erase mistakes by clicking on the face in the middle of the left-hand tool bar.  Important:  You can only erase the last thing you did!  The eraser icon will erase your entire picture.
  6. Click the green arrow at the upper right of screen to hear the computer read the text.

To SAVE: 

  1. Click on the disc icon on the upper right tool bar to save the picture.
  2. Type in name and click SAVE.

 

To PRINT: 

  1. Click printer icon on right hand tool bar to print.
  2. Be sure to click “landscape” orientation.
  3. For new picture, click on the paper icon on the middle right hand side of the screen.
  4. Click on the door on the right hand tool bar to exit program.

Advanced Options:

  1. Children may also use stamps by clicking on the Stamp tool on the left.
  2. Select more stamps by using the up and down arrows on the bottom of the screen.

 

Crossword Studio Navigation Tips

(Copy one for each computer station)

 

 

To Open Program (Do this before children arrive)

  1. Double click on Crossword Studio icon on desktop.
  2. Click PLAY to start the program.
  3. Click anywhere on the screen.
  4. Click on CLICK HERE.

 

To Solve a Puzzle Already Created:

  1. Click on one of the Psalm 23 puzzles in the box.
  2. Click OPEN
  3. Read the clues in the Down and Across boxes.
  4. Use the mouse to click on a box in the puzzle.
  5. Type in the letters into the boxes.  Type over letters that are already in place or skip past them.
  6. Watch your spelling!
  7. When all the boxes are complete, check your answers. 
  8. Go to FILE à DISCARD MISTAKES.
  9. Re-enter correct answers.
  10. To start a new puzzle to to FILE à CLOSE

 

To Create Your Own Puzzle:

  1. Click on CREATE NEW PUZZLE.
  2. Type “Psalm23-(your initials) in FILE NAME
  3. Click SAVE.
  4. Type words followed by a colon ( followed by the definition à ENTER.
  5. Example:  Psalm:  a sacred song or poem
  6. Enter 6-7 words.
  7. Enter larger words first to make sure they all fit on the puzzle screen.
  8. Click OK when done.
  9. If you need to edit your clues, go to EDIT à EDIT WORDS AND CLUES.

 

To Add a Picture:

  1. Exit the Crossword program à FILE à EXIT
  2. Double click on the SHEPHERD IMAGES FOLDER on the desktop.
  3. View the different images available and select the image you want. 
  4. RIGHT CLICK on the image.  Click EDIT.
  5. A new window will appear in the upper left.
  6. Click EDIT à SELECT ALL à COPY
  7. Open up the Crossword Studio again (double click on the desktop icon)
  8. Open the puzzle you have saved – be sure it is yours and not the example!
  9. Click EDIT at top menu bar.
  10. Click SCREEN LAYOUT.
  11. Adjust the size of the puzzle screen by grabbing the box on the lower left and making the box smaller.
  12. Click EDIT on top menu bar à PASTE GRAPHIC.
  13. Position the puzzle and clue boxes so the arrangement is pleasing and you can see the graphic.
  14. To add background color:  Click EDIT à BACKGROUND COLOR à select the color you like and click OK.
  1. Click EDIT à SCREEN LAYOUT to remove the puzzle grid and view your puzzle.
  1. SAVE CHANGES?  Click YES.
  2. Switch computer stations with another group and try to solve each other’s puzzles.

 


 

Psalm 23

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

 

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

 

He leads me beside the still waters. 

 

He restores my soul.

 

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;

 

For you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

 

You anoint my head with oil.

 

My cup overflows.

 

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,

 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 


 

Resources:  

  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23,  Phillip Keller,  Zondervan  Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1970.
  • Poster of Psalm 23.

 

A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC

Bristol, VA

 

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

 

Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm

Drama Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:  

Children will visit eight different stations to explore the meaning of Psalm 23.

Scripture References: 

NIV Adventure Bible - Psalm 23, "The Chosen One" from The Picture Bible, pages 278-280.

Memory Verse: 

Psalm 23

Theme:   

God loves us and cares for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

Lesson Objectives: 

See background Information.


Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Read the Background Information, teaching tips and lesson materials.
  • Preview the Rotation Music CD.  Play the music as children arrive and during journaling.
  • Gather the necessary props and supplies for the lesson.  Do the required Advanced Preparation. 

Supplies List:

  • Bibles
  • Green fabric (felt or fuzzy fabric would be good)
  • Large bowl or tub filled with water
  • Blue food coloring
  • Chairs – 10-12
  • Large empty boxes
  • Dark sheet or piece of black fabric
  • Shepherd’s crook
  • Shepherd’s rod – a short club or branch will work
  • Tablecloth or blanket
  • Cheese and crackers – enough for each child
  • Paper plates – one for each child
  • Petroleum jelly – 2 tablespoons
  • Ground cinnamon – dash or two
  • Small cups – one for each child
  • Pitcher of water
  • Bowl
  • 4 X 6 inch index cards
  • 12-inch piece of yarn for each child
  • Markers
  • Hole punch
  • Cross 


Presentation

Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions:

**As children arrive, use a permanent marker to draw a small cross on each child’s earlobe. Tell them they will discover why you did this during today’s lesson.

Gather the children together in the chairs with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often, and the children may not know you.  Please include the shepherds in introductions.  Tell the children that today they will learn about a very special Psalm in the Bible.  This psalm describes the way God takes care of us like a shepherd cares for sheep. 

Opening Prayer

Please open class with prayer each week.

Dear God, We praise you and we thank you for all the ways you care for us.  We thank you for being with us always and loving us like a good shepherd. Be with us today as we learn more about you.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.      

Important Teacher Notes:

Each workshop includes the Bible story.  One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy!   If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the Background Information to help you introduce the story.

Remember that as the rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion.  You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well.  Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

Each lesson contains more Background Information and discussion questions than can be used in one session.  Remember, children are studying this story for four weeks!  Be sure to follow the time guidelines and leave ample time for the activity.  

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:      

Bible Study:  Grades K-1

Story Props:

Cut out of heart

Cuddly, soft blanket

Recorder (in large cabinet in room)

Stuffed sheep

basket

Gather the story props and place in a basket at your feet.  As you tell the story, pull out the appropriate prop to provide a visual clue for the children.

Introduction:

  • Can you tell me about a time when you were scared?  What helped you to feel better?
  • The Bible teaches us that no matter what happens to us – good things or bad things, fun things or scary things, God is always with us.  God loves us.  God wants us to depend on Him when we are scared!  (show heart and warm cuddly blanket)
  • Today’s story is called a psalm.  Can you say that?  (Psalm)  A psalm is a poem or a song.  There are many psalms in the Bible.  They were written long ago, many years before Jesus was born.  So they are found in the Old Testament of our Bible. 
  • David wrote many of the psalms. (children may remember some of the stories of David from our study of him this past summer -- David's anointing, David and Goliath or King David). 
  • David liked music.  He wrote many of the psalms in the Bible.  Lots of times the psalms were set to music.  People sang them.  (We still sing them in worship today!)  (Show the recorder - and blow into it to make music.)
  • David was also a shepherd. (show stuffed sheep) He took care of his father’s sheep, so he knew a lot about sheep. He knew what they needed and how to take good care of them. 
  • David wrote Psalm 23.  In this psalm David tells us that God is like a good shepherd.  God takes care of us, just like a shepherd takes care of his sheep.  Let’s read Psalm 23 now.

Slowly read Psalm 23 (use the version from the lesson, not the text in their Bibles), but place the text inside your Bible as you read.

Reflect:

David wrote Psalm 23 to help us learn what God is like.  What does the Psalm tell us about God?  (like a shepherd, takes care of us, is with us when we are afraid)  Today we are going to explore the different lines of this psalm so we can understand how God is our shepherd.

Bible Study- Grades 2-6

Today’s story is actually a psalm.  What is a psalm?  (a sacred song or poem from the Bible)

Many years before Jesus was born, people wrote psalms as a way to express their feelings to God.  They praised God through psalms, worshiped God through psalms and poured out their feelings about everything in their psalms. There are 150 different psalms that are in our Bible. David wrote many of them.  David was a shepherd long before he became King of Israel.  In Psalm 23, David writes about God being like a shepherd.  This is one of the best-known and well-loved psalms in the Bible. Psalms are found in the Poetry category in the Bible. Where would we find this in our Bibles?  (Old Testament).  

Have children locate Psalm 23 in their Bibles.  Children with Bible bookmarks should use the blue ribbon bookmark to locate the first of the books of poetry.  Ask if the children remember a quick way to find the book of Psalms in their Bibles.  (Open the Bible to about the middle and they should be at or very close to Psalms)  Read (or ask for a volunteer to read) as the children follow along in their Bibles.  Have children with their own Bibles use the Bible highlighters to mark Psalm 23:1 in their Bibles.  Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles.

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:

Words to Treasure: page 618

Life in Bible Times: What God is Like, page 618

Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd, page 619

Reflect:

David wrote Psalm 23 to help us learn what God is like.  What does the Psalm tell us about God?  (like a shepherd, takes care of us, is with us when we are afraid)  Today we are going to explore the different lines of this Psalm so we can understand how God is our shepherd.

Memory Verse

Help the children locate the memory verse in their Bibles. 

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…." Psalm 23

Encourage the children to memorize as much of the psalm as they can (at the minimum, K-1 graders should memorize the first line of the psalm.  Older children should memorize several lines and hopefully the entire psalm).  Children who participate in Worship Arts this month will learn to sign the psalm -- which will greatly help them with the memorization process. 

Psalm 23 Stations (All Grades)

(Adapted from an idea from SSTN: Christian Crafters, www.sstn.com)

Additional Supplies For Grades 2-6:

Psalm 23 booklet pages – see attached

Colored pencils/gel pens

(Copy the attached sheets front and back to make a page for each station used in the drama.  Copy the cover on a different color if desired. Fold the pages in half and staple together along the fold.  This will create a booklet with a cover and eight pages, front and back. Make one booklet for each child. Children in grades 2-6 will use the booklets as they move through the stations.)  

Advanced Preparations:

Set up eight different stations with the appropriate props as described below.  Do this before the children arrive.  If necessary, use the hallway for some of the activities.  Or use one of the classrooms that is not in use.  Be sure to check the schedule.

Station 1:  Bibles

Station 2:  Green fabric (felt or fuzzy fabric works well)

Stretch the green fabric out on the stage to resemble a large,

 

Station 3:  Large bowl or tub filled with water, blue food coloring.

Add a few drops of blue food coloring to create a pleasing shade.  Set the tub in a corner of the room close to the green grass.

Station 4:  Chairs, boxes. 

Use the chairs to create a narrow pathway with several twists and turns.  Add some empty boxes or other obstacles if desired.

Station 5:  Dark sheet or piece of black fabric, shepherd’s crook and rod 

Place the fabric over the top of the puppet stage to create a dark valley through which the children must pass (with God’s help of course!)  Pull open the side curtains of the puppet stage so the children can enter, walk through and exit the other side.

Station 6:  Crackers, picnic blanket or tablecloth, petroleum jelly, ground cinnamon, small cups, pitcher of water, bowl. 

Set out the plates, napkins and tablecloth on the tablecloth/blanket in a clear area of the room.  Place a basket with crackers on the “table.”  Set out the pitcher of water, the bowl and cups.  Mix a few dashes of ground cinnamon into 2 tablespoons of petroleum jelly for the anointing “oil.”  Place the mixture in a small container or cup.

Station 7:  Index cards, pieces of yarn for each child (or rubber band that is large enough to fit around a child's ankle, hole punch, markers. 

Punch a hole in the top center of the card (the short end works best). Place the cut yarn pieces close by.  Set out the markers.

Station 8:  Cross

Set out a large cross (there is a wooden one in the corner of the room) in a clear area of the room.

Directions:

  1. Gather the children together to explain the activity.  Tell them they will move through eight different stations to learn about Psalm 23. 
  2. Take the children through the stations you have prepared using the Station Discussion Guide – see attached.

Adaptations for Older Children: 

Children in grades 2-67 will also create a small booklet as they move from station to station.  Have them pause at the end of each station to answer the question from the Discussion Guide. Feel free to add additional details from the background information in your discussion.

Adaptations for Younger Children:

Keep the discussion simple and concrete.  The main point for the younger children is to learn that God loves them (like a shepherd) and that God is with them always, even in hard or scary times.  

Reflection and Journal Time

The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned. 

Journal Questions:

Grades K-1:  Draw a picture showing one way the shepherd cares for his sheep.

Grades 2-4:  Share your Psalm 23 booklets with one another.  What is one new thing you learned about God today?

Grades 5-6:  What is one new thing you learned about God today? 

Closing:

Gather the children together.  Review with them one word or concept that they learned in today’s lesson.  (shepherd, sheep, God’s love, forever, anointed, comfort). Ask for prayer requests and pray together.

Clean-up

Have the children help put away the supplies and props.  Props may be left in the classroom until all three sessions have been completed.


Psalm 23 Drama Stations (K-1 Discussion Guide)

Station 1 

Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.”  This tells us that God is like a shepherd.  God loves us and takes care of us like a shepherd.  Did you know that shepherds make a special mark or notch in each of their sheep’s ears?  This shows the shepherd that the sheep belong to him.  What special mark do you have on your ear?  (a cross)  To whom do you belong?  (Jesus/God)  The Bible tells us that God knows you and loves you.  You belong to God. The Bible tells us that God takes care of us by giving us what we need.  That doesn’t mean we will always get everything we want, but it does mean we can trust God to give us what we need.

Review together:  The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.

Station 2

The next line of Psalm 23 is “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”  A pasture is a field with grass.  Shepherds always look for nice green grass for their sheep to eat and where they can rest.  Sheep are very nervous animals.  If they feel scared or worried they will not lie down.  Shepherds look for a safe place away from danger for their sheep.   (Have children lie down on the grass and pretend to rest.)  What helps you rest?  What do you do before you go to bed at night that helps you sleep?  I wonder how the sheep feel resting in their green pastures…

Review together:  He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Station 3 

The next line of the psalm is “He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.”

Remember, sheep are nervous.  They have skinny legs with little tiny hooves for feet.  Fast, rushing water scares them.  If they get in the water it is easy for them to lose their balance.  Then they might fall and drown.  They can also get stuck in the mud really easily.  So the shepherd always tries to find calm, still water for his sheep.  That way they can drink and not be afraid.  (Have the children dip their fingers into the “still waters.  The psalm tells us that calm water “restores their soul.”  I wonder how the sheep like it?  I wonder how this “still” water makes you feel?  I wonder what “restores your soul?”

Review together:  He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.

Station 4 

Then next line in the psalm says, “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.”  The Bible tells us that God helps us.  God is our leader and our guide.  God shows us the right way to go. Let’s follow God’s “right path” now. (Have the children travel through the maze or obstacle course you have set up.) Sometimes it is not easy to follow the right path.  Sometimes things get in our way – just like these chairs and boxes made it harder for us.  Shepherds always traveled a path first before they took their sheep to a new place.  They wanted to make sure the path was right!  The Bible tells us that God always goes before us, too!  God wants us to choose the right path so we will be safe.

Review together:  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Station 5

The next line of the psalm is, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Even though the shepherd loves his sheep, sometimes they have to go through dangerous places.  The shepherd has to move his sheep across the mountains to find new grass and fresh water.  Sometimes that means the sheep must go through scary places where there is danger. As the sheep go across the mountains what might happen to them?  (might fall off the side of the mountain, wolves or wild animals might try to catch and eat them)  But even though it might be scary for the sheep, they are not alone.  Who is always with them?  (the shepherd)  The shepherd uses his staff and his rod to protect his sheep.  He uses the staff to catch the sheep if they fall or get stuck.  He uses the rod to scare away wild animals that might want to hurt the sheep.  (Lead the children through the “dark valley” using the shepherd crook)  I wonder what the sheep feel as they go through the dark valley with the shepherd…. I wonder what the sheep think of the shepherd’s staff and rod?  I wonder what scary things you go through…  I wonder what comforts you?

Review together:  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;  for you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Station 6

(Have children sit around the table you have prepared for them.  Pass out the crackers.  As they eat, discuss with them.)

Here is the next line: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows.”

The sheep have come through the dark and scary valley.  Now they are in a new fresh pasture high in the mountains.  The high field looks like a table!  God sets a table for us too.  We call it the Communion table.

(As children are eating, dip your thumb into the cinnamon petroleum jelly and “anoint” each child’s head with it)

The sheep are happy to be in their new field.  But then they discover that there are tons of bugs everywhere!  Think about summer nights when there are lots of mosquitoes.  Isn’t it awful how they buzz around and bite you?  Well, the bugs bother sheep too.  The shepherd puts smelly ointment on the sheep’s heads.  This keeps the bugs from getting into their eyes and noses and driving them crazy!  It also makes their bites feel better.  The shepherd is just like your mom or dad who puts bug spray on you before you go outside to play at night, or rubs lotion on your mosquito bites to make them itch less.  The shepherd takes care of his sheep because he loves them.

I wonder how it feels to get away from those pesky bugs… I wonder how it feels to be away from the pesky bugs that bother you…

The sheep say, “Ahhhhhhhh…. This feels so good….. a beautiful table full of food, ointment to keep the bugs away…. And a shepherd who loves me!  Life is good!  (take the pitcher of water and hold it over the bowl.  Pour it into the cup until it overflows).  The shepherd pours out so much love on the sheep that it just overflows!  God loves us so much that it overflows, too!

Review together:  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows.

Station 7

(Give each child an index card.  Have them draw a heart on the paper using the markers.  Thread a piece of yarn - or rubber band through the hole in the paper and tie around each child’s ankle, so that the heart is toward the back.)

The next line of the psalm says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.”  The shepherd loves the sheep.  What ways has the shepherd shown love to them?  (stayed with them, protected them, fed them, gave them fresh water, put ointment on them, etc.)  The sheep know that the shepherd loves them and is with them always.  God’s love is just like the shepherd’s love.  No matter what we do, God’s love stays with us, just like having this heart tied to our foot.  No matter where we go, God’s love comes with us.  Let’s leave this heart tied to our ankle to remind us that God’s love is always with us.

Review together:  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Optional:  Sing “God is so Good” together as you move to the next station.

Station 8

The last line of the psalm is “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  We have seen that God loves us just like a shepherd loves his sheep.  The Bible promises that God will always love us and will always be with us.  We can be with God forever!  This cross reminds us of God’s love.  Let’s kneel down and say a prayer of thanks.  Let’s thank God for loving us like a shepherd.  Let’s thank God for loving us forever!  (Invite children to each say one way God loves them like a shepherd.  Or they may thank God for one thing.)


Psalm 23 Drama Stations (Grades 2-6 Discussion Guide)

Station 1 

Psalm 23 begins, “The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.”  David tells us that God is like a shepherd.  God loves us and takes care of us like a shepherd.  David knew all about the life of a shepherd.  Did you know that shepherds make a special mark or notch in each of their sheep’s ears?  This shows the shepherd that the sheep belong to him.  What special mark do you have on your ear?  (a cross)  To whom do you belong?  (Jesus/God)  The Bible tells us that God knows you and loves you.  You belong to God. The Bible tells us that God takes care of us by giving us what we need.  That doesn’t mean we will always get everything we want, but it does mean we can trust God to give us what we need.

Review together:  The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.

Booklet:  What in your life shows that you belong to God?

Station 2

The next line of Psalm 23 is “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”  A pasture is a field with grass.  Shepherds always look for nice green grass for their sheep to eat and where they can rest.  Sheep are very nervous animals.  It is hard to make them lie down.  If they are scared or worried or hungry they will not lie down.  Only the shepherd can soothe the sheep so that they will lie down and rest.

(Have children sit down in the “grass” and close their eyes.)  Imagine you are in a safe and restful place.   The shepherd is very near.  I wonder how the sheep feel resting in their green pastures…

Review together:  He makes me lie down in green pastures.

Booklet:  What is one  way God calms you so you can rest?

Station 3 

The next line of the psalm is “He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.”

All living creatures need water.  Sheep do and humans do!  Remember, sheep are nervous. Fast, rushing water scares them. They have skinny legs with little tiny hooves for feet.  If they get in the water it is easy for them to lose their balance.  Then they might fall and drown. They can also get stuck in the mud really easily.   They are also not very smart… sheep will drink from any mudhole or puddle of water they find – even if the water is dirty and nasty.  What they really need is clear, calm water.  So the shepherd always looks for fresh but still water for his sheep.  That way they can drink and not be afraid.  (Have the children dip their fingers into the “still waters. The psalm tells us that calm water “restores their soul.”  I wonder how the sheep like it?  I wonder how this “still” water makes you feel?

Review together:  He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.

Booklet:  What “restores your soul” and makes you feel refreshed?

Station 4 

The next line in the psalm says, “He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.”   Sheep are creatures of habit.  Left alone, they follow the same paths over and over again until they wear away the ground into deep and dangerous ruts.  They choose to eat grass from the same place, even digging out the roots until there is nothing left in the field except for mud!   Left on their own the sheep would quickly ruin their pasture!  But a good shepherd doesn’t let the sheep do this.  The shepherd keeps his sheep moving on the right paths, rather than following their own way.

The Bible tells us that God is our leader and our guide just like the shepherd.  God shows us the right way to go. Let’s follow God’s “right path” now. (Have the children travel through the maze or obstacle course you have set up.) Sometimes it is not easy to follow the right path.  Sometimes things get in our way – just like these chairs and boxes made it harder for us.  Shepherds always traveled a path first before they took their sheep to a new place.  They wanted to make sure the path was right!  The Bible tells us that God always goes before us, too!  God wants us to choose the right path.  If we follow the shepherd, we will follow the right path.

Review together:  He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Booklet:  What is one thing that sometimes makes it hard for you to follow God’s right path?

Station 5

The next line of the psalm is, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Even though the shepherd loves his sheep, sometimes they have to go through dangerous places.  In the summer the shepherd takes his sheep up into the high meadows.  In the winter, the shepherd brings them back to the lower pastures.  Either way, the sheep must pass through the valley.  Valleys can be dangerous places. As the sheep go across the mountains what might happen to them?  (might fall off the side of the mountain, wolves or wild animals might try to catch and eat them)  But even though it might be scary for the sheep, they are not alone.  Who is always with them?  (the shepherd)  The shepherd uses his staff and his rod to protect his sheep.  He uses the staff to catch the sheep if they fall or get stuck.  He uses the rod like a club to scare away wild animals that might want to hurt the sheep.  (Lead the children through the “dark valley” using the shepherd crook.)  I wonder what the sheep feel as they go through the dark valley with the shepherd…. I wonder what the sheep think of the shepherd’s staff and rod?  I wonder what is a scary thing you have experienced.

Review together:  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;  For you are with me.  Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Booklet:  What comforts you when you are scared.

Station 6

(Have children sit around the table you have prepared for them.  Pass out the crackers.  As they eat, discuss with them.)

Here is the next line: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows.”

The sheep have come through the dark and scary valley.  Now they are in a new fresh pasture high in the mountains.  But before the sheep can come into the new pasture, the shepherd goes ahead to prepare the field.  The shepherd removes the rocks and the poisonous plants.  He brings salt and other minerals to the field for the sheep.  Only after the field is ready does the shepherd let the sheep come in.  The table is prepared for them. God sets a table for us too.  We call it the Communion table.  Every time we take Communion, we remember that Jesus died for us because he loves us so much!

(As children are eating, dip your thumb into the cinnamon petroleum jelly and “anoint” each child’s head with it)

The sheep are happy to be in their new field.  But then they discover that there are tons of bugs everywhere!  Think about summer nights when there are lots of mosquitoes.  Isn’t it awful how they buzz around and bite you?  Well, the bugs bother sheep too.  The shepherd puts smelly ointment on the sheep’s heads.  This keeps the bugs from getting into their eyes and noses and driving them crazy!  It also makes their bites feel better.  The shepherd is just like your mom or dad who puts bug spray on you before you go outside to play at night, or rubs lotion on your mosquito bites to make them itch less.  The shepherd takes care of his sheep because he loves them.

I wonder how it feels to get away from those pesky bugs… I wonder how it feels to be away from the pesky bugs that bother you…

The sheep say, “Ahhhhhhhh…. This feels so good….. a beautiful table full of food, ointment to keep the bugs away…. And a shepherd who loves me!  Life is good!  (take the pitcher of water and hold it over the bowl.  Pour it into the cup until it overflows).  The shepherd pours out so much love on the sheep that it just overflows!  God loves us so much that it overflows, too!

Review together: You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows.

Booklet:  Draw a picture of God’s overflowing love!

Station 7

(Give each child an index card.  Have them draw a heart on the paper using the markers.  Have them write: love, mercy and goodness on the card.  Thread a piece of yarn through the hole in the paper and tie around each child’s ankle, so that the heart is toward the back.)

The next line of the psalm says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.”  The shepherd loves the sheep.  What ways has the shepherd shown love to them?  (stayed with them, protected them, fed them, gave them fresh water, put ointment on them, etc.)  The sheep know that the shepherd loves them and is with them always.  God’s love is just like the shepherd’s love.  No matter what we do, God’s love stays with us, just like having this heart tied to our foot.  No matter where we go, God’s love comes with us.  Let’s leave this heart tied to our ankle to remind us that God’s love is always with us.

Review together:  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Booklet:  How is God good or merciful to you?

Station 8

The last line of the psalm is “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  We have seen that God loves us just like a shepherd loves his sheep.  The Bible promises that God will always love us and will always be with us.  We can be with God forever!  We are with God wherever we are and wherever we go.  This cross reminds us of God’s love.  Let’s kneel down and say a prayer of thanks.  Let’s thank God for loving us like a shepherd.  Let’s thank God for loving us forever!

Booklet:  Write a prayer thanking God for loving you like a shepherd.


Resources:  

  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1970.

A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC
Bristol, VA

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

Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm

Music and Movement Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will memorize the psalm by learning to sign it to the music of Jeff Majors “Psalm 23.”

 

Scripture References: 

Psalm 23, “God is My Teacher and Guide – Psalm 23” page 207 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible  

 

Memory Verse: 

Psalm 23 

    

Theme:   

God loves us and cares for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep.l  

 

Lesson Objectives: 

See Background Information


 

Preparation and Room Set-Up:

  • Review background information, teaching tips and lesson materials.
  • Photocopy the 23rd psalm onto a transparency to display while learning the signs.
  • Make a copy of the signs for the psalm (see resources above).  
  • Review the Music CD.
  • Practice signing the psalm to the music so you are familiar with the order. This version follows the psalm very closely, but there are a few differences.

Supplies List:

  • Transparency with the words to Psalm 23
  • Overhead projector
  • CD player
  • “Psalm 23” by Jeff Majors


 

 

Presentation

 

Opening- Welcome and Introduction:

Welcome all children and introduce yourself.  Make sure each child is wearing a nametag.  Give the children a simple one or two sentence synopsis of what you will be doing during the workshop.

 

Opening Prayer

Dear Lord, We thank You for this day and for all the people who guide and protect us.  Teach us as we read Your word and allow it to guide us also.  Amen.

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

 

Introduction: K-3

 

Begin by asking the children a few questions…

  1. Who can tell me what a shepherd is? (A person, who takes care of a lot of sheep, guides or leads the sheep, and keeps them safe.  He has enough food and clean water for the sheep, keeps the sheep from being scared and makes sure they don’t get lost.  Throughout the lives of the sheep, the shepherd walks with them as they travel from one place to the next.  The sheep are never asked to guide themselves or find their ways alone.)
  2. Who was King David? (He was chosen by God to be Israel’s king long before Jesus was sent to be the King)
  3. If David lived long before Jesus, where would we find the stories about him in the Bible? (the Old Testament)
  4. Does anyone know what David did before becoming king? (He was a shepherd.  That meant he understood how to lead and protect those that he was in charge of.  Additionally, during the time he spent with the sheep, he became very close to God.  He had a lot of time to think about life and all the gifts that God had given him.  He learned patience and kindness and was able to see how God worked in his life.)

 

As David learned more about God, he realized that God is our shepherd.  He is the one who should guide us.  He is the one we should depend on every day of our lives for safety, for answers and for all that we need.

 

David had such a wonderful relationship with God that he wrote about it. He wrote songs for people to sing.  In the Old Testament, they were called psalms.  David wrote many psalms during his life.  His most famous is probably Psalm 23.

 

Let’s read the 23rd Psalm and think about being a little lamb with a shepherd as your leader.

 

Have the children turn to page 207 in the Little Kids’ Adventure Bible.  Hand out the copy of Psalm 23 and let them read along.  Read the psalm a second time while the children close their eyes.  Ask them to visualize every image described in the psalm.

 

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a psalm?  (a song or poem written to express emotion to God)
  • Who wrote Psalm 23?  (David)
  • Who did David say is his Shepherd in the Psalm?  (God)
  • What did David do before he became King?  (shepherd)
  • Where in the Bible would we find Psalms?  (Old Testament – about in the middle of the Bible)
  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, love us, gives us what we need, guides us)
  • How are we like sheep?  (we can be stubborn, want our own way, sometimes we wander off)
  • Do sheep always follow their shepherd?  (no, remember the lost sheep we studied this summer!)
  • Do we always follow where God leads? 
  • What are some things that people do that show us that they’re not allowing God to lead them? (Lying, cheating, hurting others, saying mean things)
  • What helps us get closer to God? (Reading the Bible, praying, coming to church)
  • What are some things that worry you or scare you?
  • Is there anything that bugs you?
  • Did you know that if you pray to God to help you and to guide you, he could lead you away from those fears and frustrations. It doesn’t mean that those things will completely go away, it does mean that if you pray and read the Bible, He can lead you to a point where it doesn’t bother you or scare you as much.
  • What do you think David meant when he said that God “restores his soul?” (He fills your heart with a good feeling, and your mind with happy thoughts)

Bible Study (Grades 2-5)

Follow the same introduction, but add a little more information…

 

Sheep can easily follow another sheep if they don’t have a shepherd.  The sheep cannot determine if the other sheep are leading them into danger or to a place that doesn’t have any food or water.  They must follow a shepherd and trust him if they are to be safe.  Additionally, sheep would happily follow the same paths over and over again even if it meant they ate all their food and/or if it became a dangerous place.  If the sheep follow a shepherd, he will ensure that they change their path if it is not the best one for them.

 

A shepherd’s rod is used to protect the sheep.  The shepherd would use it to gently guide the sheep, check for parasites on the sheep that would irritate them, and to gently scold them if necessary.

 

Have the children locate Psalm 23 in their Bibles. Children with Bible ribbon bookmarks can use their blue ribbon to locate the books of poetry.  The book of Psalms is found in about the middle of the Bible. 

 

Turn on the overhead projector with the transparency of the 23rd Psalm and read it together.

 

Read and discuss the following Bible notes:

Words to Treasure:  page 655

Life in Bible Times:  what God is Like page 656

          Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd page 657

 

Discussion questions:

  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, love us, gives us what we need, guides us)
  • How are we like sheep?  (we can be stubborn, want our own way, sometimes we wander off)
  • How does a shepherd help calm the sheep?  (keeps predators away, helps them stay calm, puts ointment on face to keep bugs away)
  • How can God help to calm you when you are scared?  (prayer, reading about Bible people who were scared and God helped, talking with parents or good friends) 
  • How about when you are “bugged” by people or things?
  • What does it mean to “restore my soul?”  (a good feeling in your heart, a sense of safety and comfort)
  • Has your soul ever been troubled? Talk about sheep getting stuck on their backs and how the shepherd “restores” them to health and to the flock.
  • How did the shepherd “prepare a table” for his sheep?  (got the pastures ready – removed the weeds, rocks and dangerous places)
  • What table do we have here at church in our sanctuary?  (Communion table)
  • How does God prepare this table for us?  (Christ had the Last Supper with his disciples, he died for us,
  • What were the rod and staff used for?  (to protect the sheep, to guide them, to pull them close to the shepherd)
  • What brings us closer to God?  (spending time with God, prayer, worship, study)

Signing the 23rd Psalm:

 

 

Optional:  “The Lord is my Shepherd” by Verse 2 Verse (this is a lively version of Psalm 23, but doesn’t include the entire psalm.  Once the children know a few of the signs, they can have fun with this one!)

 

Directions:

  1. Gather children around the overhead projector so they can see clearly.  Explain that sign language is used for people who cannot hear.  It is a beautiful language and can express emotion through the way the hands and body are used.  Many people know and love the 23rd psalm.  It is full of meaning for many people.  We will learn to sign it and then share it in worship as an anthem. 
  2. Stand in front of them and demonstrate the signs.
  3. Have the children repeat the signs several times. 
  4. Make sure they use the correct hand.  Most signing is done with the right hand dominant.  If necessary, demonstrate the sign and then turn with your back to the children so they can follow your motions easier.
  5. Demonstrate the signs first without the music.
  6. (Children will not be able to learn the entire psalm in one session. We will be practicing this for the next two months for 10 minutes before class begins).
  7. After the children feel confident with several of the signs, play the music and have them sign along with the song.

 

Reflection and Journal Time:

The last ten minutes should be reserved for journal time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned.  

 

Journal Questions:

 

Grades K-1:  Draw a picture of your favorite part of the psalm. 

Grades 2-6:   What is your favorite part of the psalm?  Why?

 

Memory Verse:  Each rotation we encourage the children to memorize a verse.  Remind the children to try to memorize as much of Psalm 23 as they can during this month’s rotation. We are also learning to sign the psalm and will be doing this in worship on January 9.  If time allows, review this with the children. 

 

Clean up: Gather all supplies and encourage each child to clean his/her own work area.

 

Closing: 

Gather the children together before leaving.  Review with them one word or concept that they learned (sheep, shepherd, lead, guide, love).  Ask for prayer requests and pray together.  Dear Lord, We see Your beauty all around us.  We thank You for shepherding us throughout our lives.  We pray that we will always allow You to lead us, protect us, encourage us and change our paths whenever necessary.  Amen.

 


 

Resources:  

  • A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, 1970.

Signing Resources: 

  • “Signing Illustrated:  The Complete Learning Guide, Mickey Flodin, Berkley Publishing Group, 1994; Religious Signing:  A Comprehensive Guide for All Faiths, Elaine Costello, Bantam Books, 1986. 

Music Selections: 

  • “Psalm 23” - Jeff Majors, Sacred, Music One, Inc. 1997
  • “The Lord is My Shepherd” Verse 2 Verse, Power Disc #4:  Keys to the Kingdom, Wonder Workshop, Inc., 2003
  • “He Will Carry Me” Mark Schultz, Stories and Songs, Word Records, 2003
  • “Fear Not” Scripture Rock, Brentwood Kids Company, 1997
  • “You Are My Shepherd” Group’s Singable Songs for children’s Ministry, Volume 4, Group Publishing, 1995
  • “Give Your Worries to the Lord”
  • “Gentle Shepherd” The Ultimate Praise Songbook for Kids, Pilot Point Music, 1995
  • “Draw Me Close To You” Michael W. Smith, Worship, Reunion Records, 2001

A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC

Bristol, VA

 

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

 

 

Psalm 23: A Shepherd's Psalm

Movie Workshop

 

Summary of Lesson Activities: 

Children will watch a video about David to learn about his role in writing many of the psalms.

 

Scripture References:  

Psalm 23, “God is My Teacher and Guide – Psalm 23” page 207 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible  
 
Theme:  

God loves us and cares for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep.

   

Lesson Objectives:  

See Background Information


 

Preparation and Room Set Up:

  • Read Background Information, Teaching Tips and Lesson.
  • Preview the video prior to class.
  • Prepare the popcorn before children arrive and have it bagged and ready to distribute so your attention can be given to the children.

Supplies List:

  •  The Story of David

    (Children’s Heroes of the Bible, Gateway Films-Vision)

    Video-running time 23 minutes

  • Popcorn

Important Note for Movie Workshop Leaders:

Children love this workshop!  Often the video is a direct correlation with the Bible story and creates a concrete, visual image in the children’s minds.  They refer to this image over and over throughout the rotation as they visit other workshops.  Some videos may take some liberties with the story-you may need to point out these discrepancies.  As much as possible sit down with the children and watch the video together. Feel free to pause the video to discuss something that you especially want them to note.  Please ensure that the children treat the room with respect-no standing, jumping or otherwise abusing the seats.



 

Presentation

 

Opening-Welcome and Introduction:

Have the children sit in the theatre seats.  Have smaller children up front so everyone will be able to see. Welcome the children and introduce yourself and the shepherd.  Please make sure you are wearing your nametag and the children have picked up their nametags.
 

Opening Prayer:

Please open each session with an opening prayer.  You may pray your own or use the one below:
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for being our Shepherd, to guide us and protect us. Amen

 

Dig-Main Content and Reflection:

 

Video:  The Story of David

(Children’s Heroes of the Bible, Gateway Films-Vision)

Video-running time 23 minutes
 

Introduce the Story

Our memory verse is from the Book of Psalms.  What is a psalm?  (a sacred song or poem, many were sung during worship)  The Book of Psalms is one of the books in the Bible.  Many psalms were written by David.  What do you remember about David?  (shepherd, David and Goliath, became King of Israel)  David was a shepherd before he was chosen by God to become Israel’s king.  As a shepherd, David spent many hours in the fields with his flock.  A shepherd’s life was a lonely life – not much company except for the sheep.  David The sheep depend on their shepherd for guidance and safety.  God is our shepherd.  Do we let God watch over us and guide us or do we attempt to guide ourselves?
 
Start the movie and hand out the popcorn and a drink.
 
Once the movie is finished, have the children throw away their trash and move to the table for Bible discussion.

 

Each workshop has a Bible story time.  One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy!  If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories.  Use the handout “Helping Children Learn to Use their Bibles” and the background information to help you introduce the story.
 
Remember that as the rotation progresses; the children will become more familiar with the story.  When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know.  The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well.  Be sure to fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you.  One of the greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

 

Bible Study:  Grades K-1


David lived many years before Jesus was born.  Where would we find the psalms that David wrote in the Bible?  (Old Testament)  Have the children turn to page 207 in their Bibles and note the blue title on the page, “ Psalm 23.”   Children who have their own Bibles may use the Bible highlighters to highlight Psalm 23.  Please do not mark in the classroom Bibles. They may put their red Bible bookmark here to mark the memory verse.

 

Read and discuss the following Bible Notes: – Please remember the Kindergarteners need lots of help-some are not reading yet.

Life in Bible Times:  What God is Like, page 207
Let’s Live it:  God is my Shepherd, page 208


Bible Study:  Grades 2-5

The Book of Psalms is an Old Testament book of Poetry.  Psalm 23, the most well-known and loved psalm in the Bible, was written by David.  David was a shepherd before being chosen by God to become Israel’s king. 

 

Help children locate Psalm 23 in their Bibles. Children with Bible bookmarks can use their Blue bookmark to find the Old Testament Poetry books.  Then read the psalm as children follow along.  Have children with their own Bibles use the Bible highlighters to highlight Psalm 23:1.  Please do not mark in classroom Bibles.

 

Read and discuss the following Bible Notes:

Words to Treasure:  page 655
Life in Bible Times:  what God is Like page 656
Let’s Live It:  God is My Shepherd page 657
 

Discussion Questions:

  • What is a psalm?  (a song or poem written to express emotion to God)
  • Who wrote this Psalm 23?  (David)
  • Who did David say is his Shepherd in the Psalm?  (God)
  • What did David do before he became King?  (shepherd)
  • How is God like a shepherd?  (cares for us, love us, gives us what we need, guides us)
  • How are we like sheep?  (we can be stubborn, want our own way, sometimes we wander off)
  • Do sheep always follow their shepherd?  (no, remember the lost sheep we studied this summer!)
  • Do we always follow where God leads?  
  • What are some wrong paths we can take?  (lying, cheating, stealing, hurting others, saying mean things, gossiping, taking drugs, drinking, etc.)
  • What helps us stay on the right path?  (reading God’s word, coming to church, praying, talking with friends who are Christians, talking with parents)
  • How can we hear God’s voice in real life?  (prayer, reading the Bible, listening to trusted adults, listening to Sunday school teachers and preachers)
  • Use the Background Information for further discussion if you have time.

 

Memory Verse:  Review the memory verse with the children.  Use the Psalm 23 poster in the room. We are encouraging the children to learn to sign the entire psalm and will be signing this during worship.  If time allows, review with the children. 

 
Reflection and Journal Time:  The last ten minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection Time.  This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what children have learned. 

 

Journal Questions:
Grades K-1: Draw your favorite part of the psalm.

Grades 2-5:  Draw your favorite part of the psalm.  Why do you like it?
 

Closing:

Gather the children together.  Review with them one word or concept that they learned in today’s lesson.  (shepherd, sheep, God’s love)  Encourage the children to attend again next Sunday for another workshop.  Ask them to invite a friend, especially one who does not belong to a church.  Remind everyone to bring their Bibles.  Ask for prayer reguests and pray together.

 

Clean-Up:  Have the children throw away their popcorn bags and cups of they have not done so already.  Clean out popcorn machine and sweep up any stray kernels.  Put away Bibles, paper, pencils, videos, etc.   Bag up trash and place outside the classroom door. Replace trashcan liner (extras are found in the hallway supply closet)


A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC

Bristol, VA

 

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

 


 

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