Be sure to see the suggestions at the end of this article for capturing some of the power of "do over" in a traditional Sunday School.
The Power of "Do Over"
Not every lesson goes as planned. Not every teacher gets the lesson plan 'right' the first time, any more than the kids learn all they need to know in one week. And that's why I love the Rotation Model. My best lesson plan is the one I know how to teach AFTER I've done the dry-run in week one of Rotation.
In the Rotation Model, teaching nearly the same lesson each week to a different class lets me correct my mistakes, and improve my lesson delivery for the next class.
In the traditional model, you're always "hoping" the lesson will go as planned. In the Rotation Model, you get "do-overs." In Rotation, the first week is effectively a test lesson, and the second week is the lesson you knock out of the park.
The inspiration for teaching this way was the result of a lot of frustrated walks to the car on Sunday morning.
After the lesson, I often found myself wishing I had:
- done a better job
- been more prepared
- approached the activity differently
- managed my class time better
- and remembered to share that important insight I forgot about !!
That's the problem with teaching a new lesson plan each week. I rarely got the chance to go back and improve a lesson. I just had to forget about it, and hope next week's all-new lesson worked out better. "One and done" is a lousy way to teach, especially if you're a volunteer teacher, and especially if you care about being creative.
Grace and Manna
The Rotation Model's "Do Over" each week is grace to teachers, and manna to our students.
At the end of the first lesson, I already know how I'm going make it better for next week.
By the second week of the rotation, our kids are getting the teacher's "BETTER EFFORT," instead of their ONLY effort.
The third week of the rotation I'm starting to go deeper into the story because I have students who remember it.
One of the great "side effects" of repetition, is that my prep time goes WAY down because I'm not changing the lesson every week. This let's me invest in extra preparation for some cool lessons because I'm going to be re-using it all the next week.
Do the kids get "bored" working on the same story each week? No, they do not, ...if your lessons are varied. That's why we came up with the "workshop" concept. In fact, the kids are excited to have a different workshop and teacher each week. And the lessons are so much better that they don't get bored. What they get is a deeper understanding.
Hey, even Jesus repeated himself !
Remember that day he said....
Yo Pete, tend my sheep.
Peter 'ol buddy, did I mention FEED MY SHEEP? (John 21)
WHO does the "new story every week" model benefit?
- People who sell curriculum.
- People who aren't very creative.
- People who think plowing through 52 passages a year will produce a generation of Biblically literate children, even though it failed to do so in the past.
Here's are some ways a Traditional Sunday School can harness the power of Rotation's "Do Over"
So let's say you can't go "full rotation" in your church ("why," I don't know, but...). Here are two ways you can modestly harness the power of do over:
1. Weed Out the "lesser" stories in the curriculum they give you, and spend TWO WEEKS on the "major" ones. Most currics come in 13 week units, so identify the 6 major stories in the unit and double up on them. Use lessons from Rotation.org to help you with that second week for each of the major stories you keep.
2. Switch Classes with another like-minded teacher every other week and teach your awesome lesson plan a second time to their class, while they are repeating their lesson to yours. This is a guerrilla rotation model on a small scale.
3. If you "team teach," you can offer to teach your really cool lessons a second time to any other teacher's class who wants you to show up and do it for them. (The other members of your team can cover your class while you're guest-starring in another class.)
All of these are also sneaky ways to introduce the Rotation Model to your people.
Your comments are welcome.