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SSTN  # 125 - December 13, 2002

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--> Stocking Stuffer!

1) "Attitudes" Bulletin Board   
2) Disruptive Children
3) Disruptive children
4) Christmas Ornaments
5) Disruptive children
6) Behavior issues
7) Words to "What Can I Give Him"?
8) Jesse Tree Service   
9) Ok to give money to poor children?

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Stocking Stuffer!

Fill your Christmas stockings with something faith-filled and fun!
Get FaithShapes ® , a must-have card game for home or Sunday School. 
The 64 cards are beautifully illustrated with historical explanations and
Scripture verses. Shape your faith with FaithShapes ®!

In the Curriculum section: 

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1) "Attitudes" Bulletin Board   

>Does anyone have a bulletin board idea for the topic of "Attitudes" - the
>kids are 5-10 years old. 

I am wondering if it shouldn't be "BeAttitudes."  You can pull a lot of
ideas for attitudes out of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)  Each one
offered by Jesus describes a way of being that people can posess or
express and these can be traslated to "attitudes"  which are
a.) positions assumed for a specific purpose and
b.) a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state. 
The Beatitudes give us a road map of how Jesus expects us to to conduct
ourselves and the good attitudes we can posess.  Using this can also
maintain a biblical theme in which you create your bulletin board while
reinforcing a very important part of the Bible for the children.
Just a thought...I hope this helps.
In Christ
Beth/New York 

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2) Disruptive Children   

I would like to respond to Lee, a 10th. grader who is teaching the younger
students.  WAY TO GO Lee!!  First of all I am very impressed that someone
your age is so willing to teach young children and how great that you know
that God chose you.  Also I want to thank you for realizing that we should
not use prizes and candy to manipulate or make the kids listen.  This is
so important, and its amazing how many adult teachers resort to this
method because its the easy way out.  God Bless your future Lee!!
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3) Disruptive children    

I teach preschoolers. If there is a child that's disruptive for more than
one week, I talk to them alone. In my opinion, everyone can have an off
week and I can work with that (it's the nature of preschool). I have a
teacher's assitant who can help. If it's more persistant I approach them
as a friend (which I hope I am!) and explain to the child that I have a
problem, I need to teach the class and thier behaviour is making that hard
for me. Can he/she help me? What can *we* do stop the behaviour?  Is there
a reason for it that I as a teacher can address? What can I do to help
them? How can he/she help me? They usually know exactly what they can
do...listen, stay in seat, etc. and they like to come up with their own
solutions. Sometimes I get feedback from their perspective that is really
useful to me. Once I heard that we "do too much sitting" craft, story,
singing - all fun but this child wanted to Move! The next week we played
hide and go seek for a while after a good lesson - not religious at all,
but he knew that I listened to him.

I try to ask each child from time to time what they would like to see at
next week's lesson. They will say a snack, color sheet, game, etc. I want
them to feel like it's *thier* class as much as mine.


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4) Christmas Ornaments

Hello.  I teach middle school Sunday School.  I thought, just for
something different, we would make the chrismon snowflake featured about a
week ago.  This was a stretch, 'cause I didn't think the boys would be
interested.  I was WRONG!  My son, who is a pretty good critic of my
Sunday School Classes said that was "really cool". and it was one of the
best things we have ever done in Sunday School!  So much for assuming
Jamese Nieman

--from SSTN: thanks for the encouragement, Jamese! For anyone else that's
interested,  learn more on this page: 
ysic, sarah keith <><

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5) Disruptive children   

I have been the pre-school/kinder. director at my church for two years
now.  We have two boys, brothers, who come from a very dysfunctional
household, and attend with their grandmother.  When the two boys started
coming to our church, before I took the position, they were not allowed to
attend the classes and were instead expected to sit in the service with
their grandmother, who would usually leave early because she could not
handle them and she did not want to "bother" anyone.  The "reasoning"
behind this, is because they did not want them to disrupt the children or
their ability to grasp the lesson.  These boys were completely out of
control, from biting, kicking & punching (us teachers that is/they never
did mean thing to the other children), to throwing chairs and flipping
tables over, everyone was scared of having them in their room and they did
not know how to take control of the situation.  Once becoming director, my
first major decision was to allow these two boys !
to attend the class every time they attended church.  We have one teacher
and two teens each Sunday, and I saw no reason that their grandmother
should have had to miss her own time of worship because we were turning
our backs on a family that obviously needed us.  It started off rocky - as
you could imagine, the oldest seemed to be the instigator, but I stayed in
the room with the scheduled teacher weekly to "watch after" the boys and
help if a situation occurred.  The oldest soon started to realize that I
was not going to give him the attention that he wanted when he would
scream at me, or lay in the floor and kick and yell, and this behavior
slowly started to dissolve.  After a few weeks, the he started relating to
the other children and actually enjoying himself in the classroom. If he
threw a fit, I would just walk away and let him get over it - but would
let him know that once he was finished he could join the class, until then
he was not allowed to participate in any of the activities.  I'm glad to
say that he now attends the class with The younger of the two however,
that was and still can be the challenge.  This was our chair thrower, our
biter, our kicker.  I've left church with many bruises on my knees and
shins, many times it came down to me guarding the door to the classroom so
that he could not "escape" and run out of the building into the street.
Eventually I would take him out of the classroom when he would start his
tantrums and would literally drag him into a room downstairs, where I
would sit in the floor by the door and let him scream and yell, punch the
walls, and kick the furniture all he wanted, until he would exhaust
himself.  Once quiet, I would explain to him the entire time that I wanted
to be his friend, and I didn't want to keep him away from the other
children, but that when he acted that way I would not allow him to stay in
the classroom, nor would I allow him to run around the church.  I
explained to him that when  you do bad things, you don't get awarded for
them, but you had to learn to behave the right way to do the fun things.
There were times when he would begin to reach out to me, telling me about
his mom and dad, his brothers and sisters, his favorite toys and
cartoons...that is when I knew that he didn't see me as the bad guy, that
he saw me as a someone that wouldn't let him just throw a chair and then
kick him out, but as a someone that would instead take him by the hand and
be with him throughout it all.
This went on weekly for a couple of months, I would be in worship service
and would hear him yelling up and down the hallway, because he had
"escaped" the class, I would leave the sanctuary, catch him, drag him the
"our room" and start all over.  I never raised my voice, I never lost my
temper, I silently thought to myself over and over again that this was a
three/four year old boy, he wasn't born this way..he was turned into this
by things that he has no control over.  When he's at home, he hears
yelling and screaming, he sees his parents throw furniture and other
things at each other, he sees his father beat his mother and hurt her.
This is what he knows..this is how he believes he is supposed to behave.
Who am I to decide that he is "a lost cause"?  Did God decide that we were
"a lost cause" because we were doing things that he did not approve of?
Did he turn his back on us and leave us to our own defenses?  No, he
instead gave to us his own son so that we could be saved of these horrible
things that we were doing.  Would he want me to turn my back, like so many
others, and walk away?  We are supposed to protect our children, to
cherish them, to guide them and teach them of the Lord...this means all of
our children, not just the well behaved ones.
After a few months of this, I'm pleased to say that I no longer had to
take him downstairs to "our room".  He no longer threw the chairs and
disrupted the class.  He started listening to the other teachers as well
as to me, and I was able to sit through an entire service without having
to go and take care of him.  I praised his good behavior, and constantly
told him how proud I was that he made the craft (which he usually gave to
me), or listened to the story, or participated in whatever activity the
children had that day.  I knew that he know looked to me as someone that
he could trust and feel safe with, but someone who expected good things
from him as well.  His grandmother teared up many a time when expressing
her gratitude to myself and my husband,(who would help me when he was
really out of control) and would send us thank you cards on a regular
basis.  She had never had anyone else at the church take even the smallest
steps towards giving these children any love or attention.  We let the
boys come over to the house to play with our son, who was the same age as
the older boy, and the other teachers started taking control of situations
when they would occur themselves, before they got out of control.
Regarding the other kids in the class and what I would tell them when he
was "acting up"...I would just tell them that he was having a bad day and
had not learned  how to behave in a classroom yet - but that they all knew
how to behave and it was all of our jobs to try to teach him.  The would
simply agree with me and turn back to the activity at hand, without
hesitation.  They would glance his way every so often, and they knew when
we left the room that I was taking him out to help to teach him what they
already knew - and they were proud of themselves for "helping" me by being
good children.
I'm happy to say that his grandmother finally got the nerve up to contact
someone regarding the boys at home situation, and now the parents are
being monitored on a regular basis.  The boys are both doing much better,
and attend class every time they visit our church with grandma.  Of
course, when I look at the youngest, I sometimes see that look in his eye,
and I make sure to make eye contact with him, give him my "look" and
remind him that we are having fun and that we all want to behave so that
we don't have to stop having fun...so far, so good!
So, for those that believe that a child with special needs should not be
permitted in a classroom with other children, or that they shouldn't have
to use their time to deal with one child and send that child away, maybe
the reason God placed that child in your classroom is because that is what
he/she needs...maybe you should look further in to see what he/she really
needs, to be turned away - or to be loved?

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6) Behavior issues   

I teach 3rd grade SS with 2 or 3 problem boys out of around 10 children.
Since I am by myself in the room, I could not keep stopping the lesson to
discipline children, so I started using the Clicker Trainer that I use
with my dog.  (See Karen Pryor's website on this)  It is simply a noise maker
that makes a distinct click when something is done RIGHT.  I don't have to
speak, I just point it at a child that is behaving and click, even while I
am talking. They get a "ticket" for each click, and they can choose prizes
based on how many clicks they earn.  It usually takes them 2 - 3 Sundays
to earn a prize.

While it could be seen as a bribe, I told my children up front that I was
using this to moderate their behavior and to reinforce appropriate
actions. Bad behavior is a habit, and I am teaching them good behavior by practice.
I discussed brain structure with them, and how that doing things the
correct way made it easier the next time.  They did not understand it all,
but I wanted them to know that just as you repeat Bible verses to put them
in your heart, you practice good behavior to put it in your heart.  Unless
I see physical violence or bullying beginning, I don't respond to negative
behavior, but continue to reward positive.

It has had an amazing influence on the children.  Average attendance has
doubled, children are remembering their Bible, bringing friends, and
really paying attention to the story so they can answer the questions. 

Many children of this age cannot developmentally put off the immediate
reward of bad behavior in order to get the long-term (eternal!) reward of
learning God's word, and I have come to see that my job as a teacher is
not just to put it out for "good" children to absorb, but to place it in every
child's heart for future reference.

Jami Nettles

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7) Words to "What Can I Give Him"?

Does someone have the words to "What Can I Give Him."I would sure
appreciate it. Thanks a bunch! L2henneigh@yahoo.com

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8) Jesse Tree Service   

I work at a church and in looking through some old files I found a worship
service bulletin based on the Jesse Tree theme. I would be glad to mail it
to the person whom requested it. Thank you for your ministry! I have
gotten a lot of ideas from the newsletter.
Pat Butler - Fort Wayne IN

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9) Ok to give money to poor children?

hi, im a sunday school teacher and at the same time im doing also an
outreach for kids living in slum areas.  I am using the Firm Foundation
written by  Trevor Mcllwain.  And God is so great that He increased the
children that we are ministering.  On the 14th we are having a christmas
party for them. We already gave the parents the invitation for their
children to come.  But as I give the invitation, one mother told me that a
lot of kids wanted to attend church but they dont have the money for the
transportation, she said the children really wants to come every sunday
but their parents cant afford to give them money for the public
transportation.  We are a small church from the Philippines and workers
like in sunday school dont get support from our church.  I am thikning
what to do in situations like that. Would it be ok to give money to the
children every sunday so that they can come to church?  what are the pros
and cons! of this.  thanksDonna

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