I don't know about you but with our children being at home I am quite excited about the opportunities for faith at home this presents. We have been taking a closer look at the contents and order of the bible. Using an egg box tray, buttons, labels, paints and pens we have created a books of the Bible resource. The below will explore how we made this resource which is proving to be both fun and invaluable.
How we made our New Testament resource
I like to see what things look like so I have placed a slide show of images that show the process we went on. Under the images is a step by step guide to our make.
Step 1 - We took out our Bible and spoke about the sections of the New Testament (we broke this down into The Gospels, a history book, Paul's Letter to a Church, Paul's Letter to his friend, Letters, A book of prophecy).
Step 2 - Rather satisfyingly, we tipped out a jar of buttons and grouped the buttons into colour groups.
Step 3 - Once done we assigned specific colour groups to specific sections, ensuring that we have enough buttons as there are books in a particular group.
Step 4 - We sorted out small brown parcel labels (and made a few out of brown card to ensure we had enough labels)
Step 5 - On the front of each label we wrote one book, using a coloured pen that matched the colour of the button
Step 6 - On the reverse of the label we wrote the corresponding category
Step 7 - We the tied a button to each label ensuring that the colours matched. Once tied with a double knot we cut the excess string
Step 8 - We took our egg box tray and turned it upside down (the underside has 30 individual sections whereas the topside has 42 sections so we are saving that side for the Old Testament books). We painted the the individual sections the colour of the button and writing. We made sure that the there were the exact number of coloured sections as there were number of books, buttons and labels. This is what Montessori referred to as a 'control of error'. The painted sections act as a scaffold to support the children in ordering the books of the Bible in the correct order.
Step 9 - We placed the finished, buttoned labels in a box whilst the paint dried and then we were ready to use the game.
Making the resource with the children was super important. We were able to discuss the contents and characters of the books and explore any questions that the children had. Making the resource together seems to have given a really good grounding in understanding the order of the New Testament.
How we use the resource
Possibly out of habit to introduce the resource I drew on the principles of the Montessori 3 part lesson. The Three parts are as follows:
Part 1 - This is
Part 2 - Show me
Part 3 - What is/are
In part one I set out the first few books of the first fourteen books out on the table in a random order. I then picked up each buttoned label in order and said the name of the book as I placed them into the sections of the box .
Once completed we moved onto part two where I took the labels again and set them out in a random order. The video below shows my daughter on her second go with the resource:
You will notice that I don't praise her when she places the buttoned label in the correct order. As a primary teacher by trade I have found moving out of the habit of saying 'well done' when my children give what I perceive to be the 'right' response difficult. Montessori was keen that children developed satisfaction in undertaking the activity rather than getting satisfaction out of the praise that they are given by others. In supporting children to develop an 'owned' and personal faith I think that this is a really important principle. If we can support children to develop deep rooted, personal faith rather than behavioural responses this has got to equip them well as they journey on in their relationship with God.
In the final part of the presentation (using the resource together) we spoke together about the different sections of the New Testament. The video below shows how this went:
This is the best bit. Although knowing stuff is an important part of our Christian faith, exploring what we believe in our hearts and exploring God's gifts together is so important. Rachel Turner, of Parenting for Faith fame, talks about this as children being God connected. Using the resource to support talk and conversation, respond in prayer and praise is possibly the most wonderful next step I can imagine!
Our next plan is to use the other side of the egg box tray to help us learn the books of the Old Testament, exploring the groupings and contents together.
Stages before and stages after
My daughter quickly picked up the activity and asked to try to complete the whole New Testament by herself without me undertaking the first part of the lesson. Once she is confident in this we will remove the egg box and just use the buttoned labels.
We have three under 5's. Reading isn't where they are at yet so we play to simply get the children to use coloured buttons and match the colours to the coloured sections. Supporting the children to be aware of colour and quantities will help them when they are ready to read and interact with the buttoned labels.