I have a hard rule in children’s ministry – no worksheets. But this week, I’ve decided to bend the rules a little with this graphic organizer. Following up last week’s lectionary reading from John 6 on the feeding of the 5000, in this Sunday’s reading, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” We’ll be on the theme of bread for a little while now.
During children’s time (which we now call “Faith Formation Moment”) I will ask children to compare two bread stories using a Venn Diagram. I can’t wait to hear what rich connections children make between the stories (what educators call text to text connections). I will get us started by brainstorming as many bread stories from the Bible as we can as a group. (Tip: If you have an old illustrated Bible tear it apart and, lay pictures out to jog people’s memories. I’ll be using a cut apart book from the beautiful Picture the Bible resources created by First Congregational Church in River Falls, WI).
I recently pulled my copy of “Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites” by Marcia Tate off the shelf. Dendrites are the branches our brain cells grow when they are stimulated. (Thanks be to God for the wonder of our brains!). Tate offers 20 strategies that engage learner’s brains including manipulatives, humor, games, are, movement and….. graphic organizers. She explains that graphic organizers help us visualize linear ideas – benefiting both sides of our brains. I’m a firm believer that faith is more than an academic activity. Faith involves all of our being. I pray this simple graphic organizer engages our brains in making connections among Bible stories – connections that will reach our hearts and hands as we taste the bread during communion.
This simple download, Bread Text to Text Connections, is free to use. Do you have a guideline on using worksheets? Share your best practices in the comments.