Monday, February 1, 2016

Mission Monday: SIM Kids

I am a huge fan of getting kids involved in missions as early as possible.  Putting your focus on others instead of yourself can be a hard lesson to learn, but the earlier you start, the easier it will be.


One really cool way I've found to get kids excited about missions is through the interactive website www.SIMkids.org.  There, kids can choose between Africa, Asia, or South America, where they will find information about the people groups, stories from actual missionaries in that area, ways they can help, and to add a little more fun, they can also play games.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Lectionary Round Up - Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Revised Common Lectionary is a calendar of Bible passages used in many Protestant denominations and churches.  Each week there are four passages, one from each of the following: Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament, and Gospel.  Additionally, some weeks have optional alternate readings for some passages.

For churches that use the Lectionary, it can be fun to match the children's lesson to the same passage. It is a perfect way to encourage conversation between parents and children, while everyone has the same passage fresh in their mind.

Check back each week to find lessons, activity pages, and more.



Old Testament - Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
New Testament - 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Gospel - Luke 4:14-21

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January's Theme: Classroom Organization - Devising a Plan & FREE PRINTABLE


If you were here last Tuesday, you would have seen the beginning of this three part series on classroom organization, starting with "The Purge".  Once you've made it through that stage, REJOICE, the hardest part is over.

The next step is to plan a strategy, starting with taking inventory.  Get the free printable inventory checklist HERE.  

During your purging process you should have been grouping like items.  Using the FREE PRINTABLE, take inventory of everything you have, and make note of any additional items needs.

Once you have a good idea of what you have, you can determine what it will take to hold all of those supplies.  Look for shelves or cabinets with a high shelf, so you can keep small hands away from the messy supplies like glitter, paint, or beads.  Doors are nice, but not necessary.  My favorites are below.

Unico 20 Cube Organizer
$129.99
Elite Storage Cabinet
$171.84
Ameriwood 5 Shelf Bookshelf, Set of 2
$84.98
No matter which system you choose, you will need containers to hold all of your supplies.  Make sure to take into account the dimensions of your closet, shelf, or cabinet, as well as choosing the appropriate shape and size for the various items you want to put in them.

When dividing up supplies into bins, there are two ways to go about.  By item, or by child.

Most typically we store supply by product, with a huge tub full of scissors, another full of crayons, etc.  This way you can pull out the exact supplies needed for a specific lesson ahead of time.  This typically works well unless you have a slow chooser in your group, or a limited number of a popular item.

The other option is to group basic supplies by child.  This is a favorite of mine, as each child knows exactly what they are responsible for and what they have.  Supplies are usually better taken care of, and the cleanup process goes much quicker and smoother.  Using a pencil pouch or pencil box, give each child their own pencils, pens, crayons, markers, scissors, and glue stick.  Label each pouch for the regular attenders, and keep 5 or so on hand for any visitors.

No matter how you choose to divide your supplies, you will need a lot of containers.  For personal items I prefer a pencil pouch or pencil case like the ones below.  You can also find similar products at Dollar Tree, and during the back to school season.
3-Ring Pencil Pouch, Set of 24
$28.03
Sterilite Pencil Box, Set of 12
$19.52
For all other products I always tend toward containers with lids, to prevent spills, and clear containers so that no matter where the label may be, you can still know exactly what each container holds.  I also try to by multiples of the exact same container when possible, so that they can easily be stacked.  And when choosing a drawer system, look for removable drawers to make passing out supplies easier.

IRIS 6-Quart Clear Container, Set of 10
$19.10
IRIS 13.5-Quart Clear Container, Set of 16
$73.99
IRIS 41.2-Quart Clear Container, Set of 4
$68.19
Sparco Removable Drawer Storage
$7.99
Other things to look for are specialty storage pieces.  These are especially useful for papers and coloring books that cannot stand upright on their own.
Classroom Keepers Construction Paper Storage
$22.75
Tot Tutors Book Rack
$34.99
Whitmor Magazine Organizer, Set of 5
(Perfect for Coloring Books)
$12.99

If you are able to spend a little extra, instead of purchasing a shelf and containers separately, look at classroom storage systems like the ones below.  These will cost extra, but are typically very durable, and the space is used wisely.

ECR4Kids Cubby Storage, 25 Drawer
$375.79
ECR4Kids Fold & Lock Cubby Storage, 20 Drawer
$543.46

Once you have all of your supplies ready, you will go about preparing the room, filling, labeling, and arranging bins to maximize your space.  Check back next week for layout ideas, and free printable labels.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mission Monday: Operation Christmas Child - Tracking my Boxes


I was excited to find out recently that the 24 Operation Christmas Child boxes I pack with my small group are on their way to Botswana.  A total of 88,968 boxes are being sent there this year.


I have already begun collecting for this years boxes, and I can't wait to pack them and send them off again.  Have you found out yet where your boxes went?  Be sure to check your email if used tracking labels.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lectionary Round Up - Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Revised Common Lectionary is a calendar of Bible passages used in many Protestant denominations and churches.  Each week there are four passages, one from each of the following: Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament, and Gospel.  Additionally, some weeks have optional alternate readings for some passages.

For churches that use the Lectionary, it can be fun to match the children's lesson to the same passage. It is a perfect way to encourage conversation between parents and children, while everyone has the same passage fresh in their mind.

Check back each week to find lessons, activity pages, and more.




Old Testament - Isaiah 62:1-5
New Testament - 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Gospel - John 2:1-11