Hello! I'm looking at launching a rotation model for our Wednesday evening curriculum, but I have no concept of how much time is spent in each workshop each week. I have an hour and a half to work with, and some of the lessons look like they won't take that long. What does your overall framework look like each week? How much time do you have the kids in the workshops? Do you do more than one activity if you have a longer time? Thanks in advance for the help!
Hey Kristin, congratulations!
I know a lot of Rotation churches that would be jealous of your 90 minutes. We hear the opposite: "only have 30 minutes" and such. (Often because their worship time is rather concurrent with Sunday School --letting the kids out at the children's sermon to go to class.) Makes it hard to do cool stuff.
If I had 90 minutes, I would do a 15 minute "gathering time" before workshops. Songs, worship, skits, announcements.
Most of the WT lessons are designed for 40-45 minute classes, though some workshops need more time and will often say so. Browse through a bunch to get the idea.
MOST of the Writing Team lesson plans also now have "time adaptations" ...especially the newer new ones. Many WT workshop lesson plans can easily fill 50-55 minutes if you take a leisurely pace through things (another luxury most Sunday morning programs don't have).
Let us know how it goes and feel free to ask for help.
In addition to Neil's suggestions above, other things that could fill up a little bit more time:
- Memory verse games and activities. Have a time when the students can repeat the memory verse (and maybe some catechism question answers) to a Shepherd or other helper.
- Journaling time to reflect on the lesson. Information here and here.
- Depending on your evening schedule, a time for snacks or dinner -- with time to get to know the leaders through conversation.
How exciting for your church and kids! And as Neil said, I'm really envious of that much time! Neil and Amy have given you good advice. I think having the luxury of extra time will really allow you to focus on deepening relationships with your kids and leaders. That's so important and it can be neglected when time is really short.
Our Wed. night kids don't do rotation, but for a couple of years they had journals. They stayed at church (they took them home at the end of the year). We always had a journal prompt or simple art activity that they could do in their journal if they had extra time. It took a bit of preparation on my part to get it ready, but not a huge amount. You could easily pull out a reflection question you liked from the lesson and print it on a label for them. They could discuss in pairs or small groups, then write or draw about it.
Another thing we used a LOT was Praying in Color activities. Are you familiar with Sybil MacBeth's work? The Praying in Color for Kids book (paperback) is inexpensive. We put one in each teacher's packet and let them know they could feel free to use them whenever they had extra time. Our kids LOVE this and it's a great way to add some reflection time and help kids focus on prayer in a hands on way.
Be sure to let us know how it goes and if there is anything else we can do to help, just post a question!
Thank you all for the help! I'm starting to understand a little more what this will look like now. I love the ideas of the journals, and I think I'm going to go and pick up some composition notebooks while school supplies are still cheap!
Believe it or not, I do have a true 90 minutes - we all eat dinner together before that starts so I won't need to incorporate dinner. Kids always love snacks, though!
I am familiar with Praying in Color as well. That's a great idea! I'm excited to browse through more of the lessons, especially now that this is starting to take shape in my mind.
So grateful for the wisdom of community! Thank you!
You're welcome, Kristin. Feel free to ask more.
FYI: Our Writing Team recently came across a "Journal" idea based on people's hobby of scrapbooking of their Bibles. Google "illustrating your bible" and you'll see lots of blogs and videos about it. Or start here as an example of one person's "how to."
Now apparently this crowd of devotional Bible illustrators use a Bible you can buy that is designed for llustrating/decorating as a means of scripture remembrance and personal devotion. That's a bit expensive and impractical for kids and classes. HOWEVER, it made us think of the idea of making COPIES of pages from our Bibles to go in a journal notebook, and leaving plenty of white space around the copied text to doodle, write, and illustrate. The possibilities seem endless.