Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Building Bible Vocabulary

While the Bible is written in simple terms, there are some words that we all have trouble understanding the meaning. This is true especially for children. Again, I have adapted this idea from another lady who taught me so much about teaching. Her idea was basically this: Before the lesson begins, talk to the children about one or two words that they will hear or see in the story. Talk about these words - what they mean, who they are, where they are, etc. Then, when the word is used in the story, they will have an idea of what it is and can grasp the story better. To do this, I use Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House in my 5 year old class. On the Disney show, Bear lived in a big blue house and each show he highlighted a word for the children to learn. Laura Beth had a Bear stuffed animal that she had out grown, and so I borrowed it for my classroom. I made a big blue house out of a science fair project board. I made windows and a door to attach to the board and used the white header the project board came with as the roof.
Bear sits in the house and at the beginning of the lesson, students will find Bear holding the words for that lesson in his mouth. I usually write the words on sentence strips and add a piece of tape to hold it in Bear's mouth. We look at the words in Bear's mouth, spell them, say them and talk about them to open our lesson each Sunday/Wednesday. Once we learn the words, we add them to the house. This serves as an easy review later on because I can point to a word and we can talk about its meaning as well as what story it came from. I also use these words in a center game as seen here.
Of course, not everyone has a bear. You may have a bird and a nest. You could place words on eggs in the nest. You could have bees and a hive. The thoughts are endless.
For older children, you could just have a special word wall where we place the words we need to know. You could even put them at a center with a Bible dictionary and have them find the words and their meanings.
May this idea help you and your students dig into the Word a little bit more.

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