How to Use

After years of writing lessons, I've finally arrived on a standardized format that I believe works. And by works I mean works well as a outline for gifted teachers to glance at or for more novice teachers to follow to the letter.

First, see what a typical lesson and resources file looks like, then read my descriptions below.

Items and Preparation
1. Resources: In the lesson, there might be a resources section listed below the title. These resources, as well as instructions to prepare them, are found in the resources file for each lesson.

2. Materials: This is a list of the items you'll need to find to teach the lesson.

3. Setup: This is what you'll need to do before you teach the lesson.

Lesson Format
1. Headings: Each section of a lesson is divided into smaller subsections. These are the non-indented numbered  sentences ending with a colon and are usually listed in bold. These simply provide a title to what the rest of the section contains. You don't need to say or do these items. These are added as a visual way to divide the structure, keeping you from losing your place as you teach. There is one exception to this rule, which I'll mention in the verse section below.

Example: Introduce the story:


2. Statements/Points to Make: Every line below the heading that begins with normal capitalization and sentence structure is something for you to explain to the children. You can either read the statement as it is written if you're new to teaching or paraphrase in whatever way you think is appropriate.

Example: The Bible is God's message to us: we read it to learn how to follow and love him.


3. Questions: Whenever there is a non-rhetorical question for you to ask the children, the ? is followed by parentheses that contain the answer or suggested answer. If the question is more open-ended without necessarily a right or wrong anger, the text in the parentheses will say "various responses".

Example: How many stars were there in Joseph's dream? (Eleven.)


4. Actions: When a sentence begins with a » and is highlighted in yellow text, it is an action for you to perform. In addition, some words will be written in ALL-CAPS. This is usually reserved for materials or items you'll need to use for that action.

Example: f. ▶ Hand the BASKET to the child who is representing Pharaoh's daughter.

5. Drawings: For some stories, you'll be instructed to draw various parents of the story. Normally, the lesson is accompanied by a Story Drawing Guide to show you what to draw. These sections begin with a » and have white text with a dark grey background.Once again, ALL-CAPS text is used to point out important items.

Example: b. ▶ Draw a TREE in the top right corner of the board.

6. Bible Readings: I use the text of the New International Reader's Version Bible for my lessons. The Bible text in written in italics and your job is to read it out loud to the children. At the end of each section of verses,  the verse reference is given.

Example: When you sin, the pay you get is death. - Rom. 6:23a

7. Dialogue to repeat: Many lessons involve children acting out the story. During these lessons, you'll have children playing those characters repeat dialogue after you read it, line by line. The beginning of a dialogue section is denoted by three asterisks (***). The dialogue for the character to repeat is then indented. Often times, the text is in italics because it is Scripture.

Example:
  • ***Then Jesus said...
    • Love the Lord your God...
    • ...with all your heart...
    • ...and with all your soul.
A Quick Note...

1. Bible Translations: I use two Bible translations when I write my lessons. I recommend the NIrV (New International Reader's Version) of the Bible to read during the lessons and activities. The NIrV is based off of the NIV (New Internation Version), but is written for a much younger reading level. It simply includes fewer words to define. I use the ESV (English Standard Version), which is the translation our church uses, for the memory verse activities. Many of the verses I have memorized are verses I learned as a child. Since I want these kids to hold these verses in their hearts as adults, I want them to memorize the verses in a translation that will serve them as adults. You are welcome to use any translation you wish, but you'll have to come up with your own motions for the Bible readings, as the words and motions mentioned in the lesson refer to the ESV.