Joseph and His Brothers
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will watch a video "Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event" showing the story of how Joseph’s jealous brothers sold him into slavery, and then how he is falsely accused and thrown into prison. They will consider how throughout these unfortunate events, Joseph knew God was near him.
I'm sorry that the video in the lesson plan is no longer available. You can substitute another Joseph video - you may need to change the questions a bit. And of course, always compare the video version to the Bible.
One choice is Greatest Heroes and Legends of the Bible: Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors, which is available at amazon.com. Amazon has other Joseph movies listed - you may want to check reviews or borrow a copy before purchasing.
Genesis 37, 39
Objectives for the rotation (see listing above)
Additional objectives for the Movie Workshop
At the end of the session, the students will
* have considered how the memory verse applies to their lives
Teacher preparation in advance:
- Read the scripture passages and lesson plan and attend the Bible Study, ....
- Prepare a closing prayer.
- Learn the memory verse.
- Preview the video. Be familiar with the places where the video should be stopped for discussion. From Neil MacQueen’s “Two Most Important SHOWING TIPS: 1.) Use the PAUSE button. It’s your most powerful ‘video’ teaching tool. 2.) Don’t be afraid to view an important scene a second time. Kids (and adults) watch movies over and over all the time.”
- Consider the age level adjustments needed each week (those included in the lesson plan and your own).
- Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Make sure you know how to operate the vcr.
- Prepare additional game show questions or use the ones from the Promiseland lesson plan.
- Get some old jigsaw puzzles that still have all their pieces, such as 25 piece puzzles — not too big or the children won’t have time to finish and younger kids will get frustrated. Paint the puzzles with spray paint. Then use permanent markers or paint markers to write the memory verse on the puzzle. Illustrate or add colors and designs.
Students will sit in seats or on the floor facing the television/projection screen.
- Video: Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event. Bible Dramas: Joseph — Lessons 7, 8, & 9. Willow Creek Association, 1999. You will just be showing the episode for lesson 7 -- about 15 minutes long. (This video is part of a rather expensive kit. Check around to see if you can borrow the video. Note: It is no longer "in print."
- Stickers for “game show” prizes.
- Popcorn; lemonade or water and cups; hand wipes.
- Memory verse puzzles: old jigsaw puzzles, spray paint, markers (or purchase blank jigsaw puzzles).
- Memento: heart stickers.
- Shepherd Time: plain or lined paper.
Opening-Welcome and Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name-tag. (Remember, you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.) Make sure the children are wearing name-tags.
We had an opening prayer during the gathering time, but you may open with prayer if you feel led to do so.
Explain the purpose of this workshop: Today we will see a video about Joseph, who knew that God was his faithful friend. (Next rotation we will study Joseph again and we will see how this all turns out.)
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
[Following game show/introduction adapted from Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event. Bible Dramas: Joseph — Lesson 7.]
But first, we are going to have a game show. I need three contestants for “The Faithful Friends Game Show.” [Choose 3 students and have them sit in 3 chairs in the front facing the class. Make it a big deal, like a game show announcer, such as, “Suzie Student, come on down!”]
Thank you for joining me today for the game where everyone finds out how much you know about being a faithful friend. I’m going to ask you a question and read three answers. Listen to all three choices and then tell me which answer you think is best.
Contestant number one, on Monday, you promised your best friend you would help him with his school science fair project this weekend. When you got home from school Friday, your dad was home from work early, packing up the car for a last-minute weekend fishing trip. Would you:
A: Call your friend and say you caught the flu and broke your leg and would not be able to help with the project after all -- and then go fishing with your dad.
B: Call your friend and tell him you are going to go study the life cycle of frogs up close and would call him late Sunday night with information for his science fair project.
C: Tell your Dad that you made a promise to a friend and you can’t go fishing this weekend, but you would love to go some other time.
[Let contestant answer.]
Contestant number two, . . . .
Contestant number three, . . . .
Thank you all for playing the “The Faithful Friends Game Show.” Let’s give our friends a big hand! [Give each contestant a sticker or other small reward as they head back to their seats.]
I think all of you already know something about what it takes to be a faithful friend. A faithful friend is someone you can trust, no matter what. In today’s story, a boy named Joseph learns that God is the most Faithful Friend anyone can have. Now, things weren’t easy for Joseph, but he knew that God was right there with him.
Let’s begin by reading part of the scripture. (The video will fill in “the rest of the story.” ) Open your Bibles to Genesis 37: 18-35 [younger: Genesis 37:18-30]. Remember that ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginning’ and the Book of Genesis is where? [Let the children answer.]
That’s right. Genesis is the first book in the Bible. Open your Bible to the beginning. See the big print numbers on each page? Those are the chapter numbers. Turn until you find chapter 37 of Genesis.
[We restate information about Bible organization in each workshop to be sensitive to visitors and new children in the class who may not have any knowledge of the Bible. We never want a child to feel like they do not belong because they do not know this information before they come to class. Encourage the children to use their Bibles in looking up verses. Ask for volunteers to read verses or paragraphs in the older classes; read the scripture with expression to the younger students.]
So, after reading this, do you agree that Joseph had some difficult problems? Were his brothers faithful friends? [No. Fill in a bit of the story (the coat and the dreams) if this is an early week in the rotation. Otherwise, the video will fill in the details.]
“A bit of background before we watch the video:
- God had promised a man named Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham and his wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. Isaac had two sons (twins) named Jacob and Esau. Jacob received his father’s blessing, and therefore God’s promise (the covenant about being the father of a great nation). Jacob had 12 sons. Joseph was not his oldest son, but he was his favorite son (he was the first son of his favorite wife, Rachel. Benjamin was his other son by Rachel; Rachel then died in childbirth.)
- Joseph’s dreams go against everyone’s expectations. Usually, the oldest child inherits the land, the business, the throne, ...
“While you’re watching the video, notice
- how Jacob, the father, treats Joseph and his other sons.
- how Joseph treats his brothers.
- how the brothers treat Joseph.”
Pass out wipes, popcorn and drinks. Start the video at the beginning.
STOP the video after Joseph tells about both of his dreams. The Narrator says, “...but their father remembered Joseph’s dreams.”
Q I wonder why Joseph had those dreams? [God sent them.]
Q Things look pretty good. Not only is Joseph his father’s favorite, but it looks like he is going to end up being the boss of everyone, even his older brothers. Why were older brothers so unhappy about this? [Talk about place of older brothers and inheritance if no one brings it up.]
Start the video again. STOP the video after Potiphar promotes Joseph. Potiphar says, “If his God keeps blessing him, then I’ll be richer than ever.”
Q Things look pretty good for Joseph now, don’t they? God is definitely with him and Joseph knows it. Joseph is still a slave, but he has a position of authority and everything is going right.
Let’s see what happens next. [Show video to the end.]
Q Oh my! Is God still with Joseph? How do you know?
Q Does Joseph know God is with him? How?
Any questions about the video? [If time and interest permit, show it again, straight through.]
Pulling it all together (closing discussion):
Things look pretty tough for Joseph. We’ll find out in our next rotation how he gets out of jail.
[The following discussion is adapted from Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event. Bible Dramas: Joseph — Lesson 7.]
But right now, things look awfully scary. Many bad things happened to Joseph. Many lonely things. Remember Joseph in the deep pit? God was there. Remember when the brothers sold Joseph as a slave to the traders? God was there. Remember when Potiphar’s wife lied and Joseph was sent to prison? God was there. Joseph was afraid, but he also knew that God was with him.
I bet some of you have felt afraid and alone before.
- Everyone stand up.
- If you have ever gone to camp and felt lonely, sit down.
- If you’ve ever moved to a new neighborhood and missed your old friends and felt lonely, sit down.
- If you’ve ever been to the hospital and had surgery and felt lonely as they rolled you into the operating room, sit down.
∙ If you’re here today, sit down.
We’ve all had lonely times, probably more than one. You wonder if you have any friends at all. And what is the answer?
Yes! God is your friend!
Some of you may remember at the beginning of the school year we talked about the Creation. God created the entire universe. And He has time to be your friend. It’s true. Does anyone know the memory verse?
Let’s read it/say it together: “Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and constantly loves those who love him and obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9
Does anyone know what a ‘covenant’ is?
It is an agreement. A promise to do something. Just like God made a covenant with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all of Jacob’s sons that they would be a great nation, God has made a covenant with you, with me, with each and every one of us. God has agreed to constantly love us. He is our friend. We can count on Him, no matter what.
So what is our memory verse telling us? [Make sure the children understand the verse and can put it into their own words before going on.]
Review the memory verse:
Let’s spend a bit of time learning our memory verse. We don’t want to forget the good news that God is faithful and constantly loves us!
We are going to work with groups of friends, 3 or 4 to a group [group size depends on age of class and size of puzzle]. Each group has a jigsaw puzzle with the memory verse on it. Put your puzzles together and then say the verse together a few times. [If some finish early, they can take their puzzle apart and put it together again or trade with another group.]
Okay, everyone read their puzzles with me. [Read the verse together several times.]
Anyone want to try to say it by themselves? [Only take volunteers — do not make anyone stand up and say the verse if they do not want to.]
By 11:45 a.m. ask the Shepherd to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers. Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a heart sticker to paste in their journal or wear home as a reminder of this story of God’s constant love.
adapted from The Potter’s Workshops Opening the Doors of Perception and Faith with Children “Joseph: Living in a Land of Many Colors” video workshop]
Younger: Draw a picture of Joseph at a time when God was with him.
Older: Think about a time when God was with you when you were lonely or afraid. When was it? What were the circumstances around the event? How could you tell God was with you? Write or draw a picture about how you felt or what happened.
This is meant to be a time of reflection and introspection. Writing about faith helps clarify lessons. In addition to the suggested activity, children may draw pictures relating to today’s scripture or memory verse, list highlights of the day’s activities, or rephrase the memory verse. The journal pages will be saved and given to the children at the end of the school year.
You may want to provide an extra activity or worksheet for children who finish their journals quickly, such as coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, word searches, games. See the Workshop Leader’s Background Notes and rotation.org for ideas.
Before noon, ask the students to stop journaling for a moment and sit quietly for prayer so they can leave when their parents arrive. Allow them to finish journaling afterwards.
Dear God, thank you for making a covenant with me, with each one of us, to love us and be our faithful friend. Help us to remember that you are our friend, no matter what. Help us to remember you are with us, even when we are afraid or feel alone. Go with us this week, and every week. Amen.
Tidy and Dismissal:
∙ Ask children to help tidy the room. Give any specific instructions for clearing the workshop room.
∙ Collect the journal pages before they leave. Make sure their names and the date are on them.
∙ Give everyone the parent take-home flyer the first week of the rotation; give it only to children who were absent and have not yet received it the other weeks of the rotation.
You will need to decide how best to adjust the lesson for older and younger students. Keep the children active and involved in activity. Do what works for you and the children. Some ideas are included in the lesson plan.
Derden, Jaymie. "Memory Verse Games." Rotation.org. Web.
MacQueen, Neil. “Teaching with Video.” Sunday Software. Web.
Life Application Study Bible notes. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1986. Print.
Live the Adventure: Discovering God Is Everything I Need: Promiseland Summer Event.
Willow Creek Association, 1999.
The Potter’s Workshops Opening the Doors of Perception and Faith with Children “Joseph:
Living in a Land of Many Colors.” Arlington Heights, Illinois: Potter’s Workshops, Ltd., 2003. Web.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
A lesson written by Amy Crane from:
River Community Church, Prairieville, LA
Copyright 2003 Amy Crane.
Permission granted to freely distribute and use,
provided the copyright message is included.
Printed from Rotation.org
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.