How do you engage students when they enter your classroom? Some teachers may spend the beginning of class chatting with students as they arrive, while others may be focused on setting up for the day’s lesson. In young children’s classrooms, students may play with toys or games to keep them busy before the lesson begins. But with a little effort, you can create activities that relate to the lesson and direct your students’ focus to biblical themes.
First, check out the Answers Bible Curriculum Come On In activities in the Prep Chart. These are designed to engage students as soon as they arrive. Come On In options include review coloring sheets, activity sheets, Bible question games, and books of the Bible memorization activities. Instructions and downloads are available for each option, and you can rotate through them or focus on one for a set time. Older students are encouraged to discuss a Come On In question that will be addressed in the lesson.
Second, consider a fun learning concept called “exploration stations” that are designed to make connections to specific points in the lesson you’re about to teach. Exploration stations are areas set up in a classroom with materials provided for students to explore individually, as a group, or through teacher-led activities when they arrive. Each station is filled with materials that pertain to the main themes being taught.
You could set up one or two areas in your room for students to use on their own or do an activity together. Younger students enjoy touch tables, which are bins with a variety of objects and tactile fillers such as sand, Easter grass, or even a little water. Simply change up the objects each week with new ones corresponding to the lesson. Setting up a drama station can be a fun way to pique your students’ interest. Allow them to explore and choose some costume pieces and props then direct them through a scene from the Bible. Help them connect the scene to what they will hear next.
Even high schoolers and adults can enjoy a unique activity once in a while—I know I would! You might provide older students with a list of Bible references and challenge them to figure out the common theme. See how many Bible verses teams can come up with that correspond to items on a tray or give them a list of Bible verses and let them figure out the connections between them and a pile of objects. Play a game of 20 Questions, guessing Bible people, places, or things from previous lessons or—even more challenging—from the lesson you’re about to teach. You might choose to write 10–20 words on index cards that relate to the lesson for students to draw on the board or act out for the class to guess.
Take time to be creative and engage your students from the start. Whether you allow them to explore from station to station or lead them in one specific activity, you can be intentional to begin each class with a biblical focus.