Sunday, 19 November 2017

The Nativity - Teaching Ideas and Resources!

Can you believe it's almost Christmas again?  Today I'd like to give you an overview of how I like to help kidlets know and understand the Christmas story, as well as a peek into a new unit I've made that puts together some of my tried and tested activities and printables

Late November and December are my favourite time of the year by far - I love decorating for Christmas, shopping for gifts, spending time with family and eating good food!  The lead up to Christmas is also my favourite time in the classroom. :)  Here in Australia we only have a few more weeks of the school year left, usually assessment is all done and there's time in the schedule for a few fun activities and crafts.  Most of my teaching career has also been in a school where the focus of Christmas is the Nativity - and there's so many wonderful ways to teach this story!   (I've also got some great crafts to share, stay tuned for that post later in the week.)

I like to break the Christmas story up into 4 main 'events', teaching one each week with matching crafts and activities (usually on 3 days of the school week).  This gives kidlets an opportunity to really think about the story as they're learning about it, and it also means that you're not rushing through - because with end of the year concerts, parties and other things that need to be done we often have to reshuffle our planning as the weeks go on! :)  My Nativity resource includes a suggested teaching sequence, but you can take as little or as much time as you want (or have available!).

Before each lesson I like to go over the story in full - using a different Bible, storybook or video clip each time.  My favourite paraphrased Bible storybook is 'The Jesus Storybook Bible' - the language and illustrations are really engaging for little learners.

There's lots of clips on YouTube about the Nativity -  but be sure you watch them before you show them to your class to make sure they're accurate. :) Every year I use this one from 'The Beginners Bible'.  (This channel also has lots of other Bible stories presented in a really kid-friendly way.)

I also love this little video from St Pauls Arts and Media. It is just too cute!

Having Nativity scenes or puppets that children can retell the story with is also great - there's plenty of printables online but if you're after something a little more durable try searching Etsy for 'Nativity finger puppets'.  There are some seriously gorgeous sets you can buy!  If you have any Bible costumes, kidlets can also dress up and tell the story themselves.  This is a great opportunity for them to think a little more deeply about the story.  As children are becoming familiar with the Nativity story, we set up our word wall and use these sequencing posters during our whole class learning time. 

During week 1 of our Nativity learning, our focus is on the angel visiting Mary to tell her that she will be the mother of Jesus.  Taking this event and looking at it alone is a great opportunity for kidlets to think about Mary and the type of woman she might have been.  This leads perfectly into conversations about what personality traits we might have that let others know we are part of God's family (I like to link to the fruits of the Spirit).   This cut & paste worksheet lets kidlets choose adjectives they think might describe Mary.

Next up we learn about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.  Now is the perfect time to teach your kidlets some traditional Christmas carols and songs!  'Little Donkey', 'Away in Manger' and 'Silent Night' are such beautiful songs that lots of children don't know.  Thinking about Jesus being born in such a humble place (even though He is a King) is a big focus of our discussions in this week.  There are so many gorgeous baby Jesus crafts to work on, too!  I'll have a post later in the week with the tree ornament we make, but I love this paper craft from Doodle Bugs that's available as a freebie! 

  We complete this 'Road to Bethlehem' maze and code cracker puzzle, too!

Our next focus event is the Shepherds!  I love talking about the Shepherds being chosen as the first to hear the Good News and go to visit Jesus, because it helps children understand that God doesn't care about what you look like, how much money you have or whether you have an fancy job!  We often talk about what a real Shepherd would smell like after living in the fields caring for their flock. :) Children complete a response worksheet after thinking about how they would feel after a chorus of angels visited them in the middle of the night, and a fun little 'Shepherd's Sheep Hop' counting maze.  We make a Christmas story booklet to take home and read to our family, too!

I think my favourite week of learning comes when we talk about the Wise Men and their gifts!  It's so interesting to see the links between the gold, frankincense and myrrh and Jesus' life.  Do yourself a favour and read up on this if you've never had the chance! (If you teach K you might like to enlarge this matching worksheet and complete it during whole class time - it might be a bit tricky for them to read alone.)

These 'My Gift for Jesus' flip flap pages make a gorgeous bulletin board display in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and you'll be amazed at the thoughtful responses you get from your kidlets!

This week we also make a cute Christmas story sequencing crown which is always lots of fun.  Wearable craft is the perfect way to spark discussion at home!  My Nativity pack includes the option to sequence pictures or sentences - but I find that using the pictures encourages children to retell the story in their own words.  

I usually leave the last week (or lessons) to go back and talk about any concepts that my class found either really interesting or difficult to understand.  Sometimes we have a worksheet or craft that we didn't have time for, too.  I've included a 'Find-a-Word', puzzle and question page to complete if you need them - but you might like to let your class lead you towards the activities they need to reflect on the story. :)

Enjoying the spirit of Christmas and reflecting on the birth of Jesus is such a great way to connect with your class!  Click on any of the images in this post to see my Nativity resource on TpT - and please leave me a comment if you have any other activities that you love to complete in your classroom.  I'll be back in a few days with a post all about Christmas crafts!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for popping by!