Monday, February 28, 2011

Beautiful Bulletin Boards

Here are some ways to spruce up your classroom with easy bulletin boards. 
When preparing an eye-catching display, you don't actually need a bulletin board. Just frame a large area of one wall with bulletin board borders or trims. However, backgrounds are vital. Besides colored construction paper, use textured fabrics, felt or flannel, crepe paper, newpapers, aluminum foil, sandpaper, colored cellophane, or maps.

Borders make the bulletin board. Use corrugated paper, twisted crepe paper, yarn or rope, pictures strung together, paper muffin cups, scalloped strips of poster board, wallpaper samples, and designs printed from your computer.

Lettering conveys the message. Make your letters big, and keep the message short and simple. Mounting the same letters in two colors, one on top of the other, gives a shadow effect. Cut your letters from corrugated paper, sticky-backed felt, patterned paper (such as that used for scrapbooking), textured paper,  Form letters from colored feathers, and drinking straws bent into letter shapes. You can add a short Bible verse or your lesson theme to the bulletin board.

Variety adds spice to your display. Add a third dimension to your bulletin board by placing a thick piece of cardboard or foam core behind the lettering. You can also glue cotton balls, twigs, feathers, yarn, rope, colored paper plates, holiday trims, or an old lampshade cut in half to your board. Make sure you take a photo of your completed board so you can easily recreate your artistic masterpiece in the future.

For pre-made bulletin board sets and lots of fun bulletin board ideas, visit our Classroom Decorations Store. You'll also find attendance charts, posters, borders, lettering, stickers, and lots more—many items 30% to 50% off.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Picture This!

Here's one way you can lead your students in group prayer. Collect a number of pictures that have to do with the theme of your lesson. Place the pictures on the floor and talk about each picture. Then ask the children to select one of the pictures they would like to talk to God about.

If the pictures are of nature items, they might want to thank God for all that He has created. If the pictures are of people around the world, they might want to pray for the missionaries ministering in that country. If the pictures are of vocations or activities, the children might want to pray for the people who do what is shown in the pictures. Or they might want to thank God for the people in that vocation.

If you support a child through Compassion International or World Vision, bring pictures of your child or other children in countries around the world. Let each child choose a picture of a child and pray for that child and his or her family. The pictures can help your students think of something (or someone) specific to pray about.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"God Loves Me" Cookies

To help your students understand God's great love for them, explain the salvation story. (See the blog post Leading a Child to Christ from May 17, 2010.) Conclude by saying, "When the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, she ate from the forbidden fruit. Since sin (the wrong things we say and do) came into the world, humankind has been separated from God. But God was not ready to forget about us. God made a promise to Abraham to rescue His people, but the payment the devil wanted for us was high—God's own Son's life! God allowed His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins (the wrong things we do) because God loves us. God paid the highest price possible to make sure we were free from the penalty of sin. As we celebrate Valentine's Day, we remember this great love God has for us, and we thank Him for sending His Son, Jesus."

Before the lesson, bake or purchase unfrosted heart-shaped cookies so each child can have two. Bring frosting, red sprinkles, cinnamon candies, plastic knives, wax paper, paper towels, and a plastic sandwich bag for each child.

Give each child a sheet of wax paper, a plastic knife, some frosting, and two cookies. Let the child frost and decorate the cookies for a special guest who will be attending your class. Label each child's wax paper with his name in permanent marker. Place his favorite cookie in a plastic bag and the other cookie on the paper.

When done, gather everyone in a circle, and have each child show the others his favorite cookie. Then have the child pass the cookie to the person on his left, so each child receives a cookie from another child.

Explain that the special guests for this lesson are all the people in the room. Say, Each person is very important to God. God loves each one very much. Let the child put his other cookie in the plastic bag and label the bag with his name for refreshments or to take home after your lesson.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

To help your students understand that Jesus can help Christians adjust our attitudes to be attractive to others (and therefore a good witness) rather than a turn-off, try this object lesson.

Bring two similar sized drinking glasses and a pitcher of water to your lesson. Prepare one of the glasses to look dirty on the outside by smearing it with your dirty fingerprints or rubbing food particles or dirt on it, keeping the glass rim clean.

Show the students your glasses and pitcher of water. Ask, "Is anyone thirsty? I am! I have two glasses here, and I will pour some water into both of them."

Show the children the glasses and, as you pour the water, say, "The only difference between the two glasses is that one glass is dirty. Who would like to drink from that glass of water?" Get a show of hands. (Some of your more precocious kids will probably raise their hands. After the lesson, give them an opportunity to have a drink from the dirty glass.)

Then say to those who didn't raise their hands, "You wouldn't want to drink that water? But the dirt on the glass are only on the outside. Nothing bad or dirty has mixed with the water. Now who would like to drink from the dirty glass?" Get a show of hands.

"Who would like to drink from the clean glass?" Get a show of hands. Say, "The water in either glass will take away our thirst. But most of us aren't attracted to a dirty glass, are we? Why not? (We can't be sure the water isn't dirty or contaminated. If someone is careless enough to serve water in a dirty glass, that person may be careless enough to mix dirt in the water. The water doesn't look clean when it's in a dirty glass, even though it may be.)  Christians can present to the world an attitude that is attractive (hold up the clean glass) or we can present a grumbling, complaining, whining attitude (hold up the dirty glass). Which type of Christian are you? When you leave church do you grumble, complain, and whine?

Even during tough times, Christians don't have to act like grumps or complainers. As we let Jesus fill our lives, we will appear more joyful and attractive to those around us. Our up-beat attitude will help others want to know more about Jesus, too. The world is thirsty for the love of Jesus. Your attitude can either turn people away from Jesus or draw people to Him.

Jesus called himself "living water." We can offer people the living water of Jesus when we let Jesus adjust our attitude and clean up our language, dress, and speech. What areas of your life do you need to work on cleaning up? (If you have an example from your own life about how God helped you clean up your attitude, share it now.) Then let the students share prayer requests and praises or examples of how God is working in their own lives.

Close your lesson in prayer. Have the students pray, asking God to help them make an attitude adjustment and let Jesus fill their lives. Talk individually with any students who would like to know more about having Jesus as their Savior. (See the blog post from May 17, 2010,  "Leading a Child to Christ" for suggestions.)