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SSTN # 19 - March 12, 2004

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Experiencing the Passion of Jesus

1) Creative Challenge Ideas
2) Candy and Bad Behavior
3) Easter Program For A Small Group

Egg-Shaped Easter Cards

4) Candy & Bad Behavior
5) Disruptive Child
6) Puppet Ministry

Jesus Ascending Mini-Movie

7) Clown Communion?
8) Puppet Ministry
9) Unsure what to do

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Experiencing the Passion of Jesus

Who really killed Jesus?
What crime did Jesus commit?
Did it really happen like that?
Why did Jesus suffer and die?
What did the Resurrection accomplish?
How is this story relevant to me?

A study and discussion guide for the movie The Passion of the Christ
presents these questions with detailed lesson plans and leader's guide.
Designed primarily for use in seeker small groups, but is also applicable
for use in believer small groups. For older teens and adults.

Find it in our Bookstore by typing, "Experiencing the Passion of Jesus",
into the search box: 

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1) Creative Challenge Ideas
You can now access the Creative Challenge webpage to read how other
teachers have used this month's recyclable item, Paper Towel Rolls,
in their ministry to kids. Check it out at:
Thank you to the teachers that shared their great ideas!
I hope to hear from more of you!
Your webservant,
Sarah Keith <><
"Home of The Sunday School Teacher's Network"

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2) Candy and Bad Behavior

I thought I remembered reading some things about this, and did a quick
internet search to refresh my memory .... as far back as 1990, studies
have shown no correlation between sugar and hyperactivity, though many
people continue to believe there is a link. It may be that other things in
the candy (caffeine in the chocolate, for example) affect a person's
behavior, or the circumstances (he's been sititng in church, kind of
cooped up, perhaps not understanding much so he's pretty bored, but now is
in a more relaxed atmosphere and his energy "explodes").
The "bad behavior" may be a plea for attention. I've had several cases
over the years of having children, usually boys, of single moms who were
very active, mischievous, etc. I had success with all them when I
recruited a man (most of the time, it was someone old enough to be
"Granpa", other time was a college student) to be their "special friend"
... to help me in general in the class, but give special attention to and
build a friendship with the boy. It took a while, and sometimes even meant
the man taking the child out for a walk on really disruptive days, taking
the boy out of class so the other children weren't being disrupted,
talking to him to build a friendship, but also talking about how to act in
class and with his friends, about what we were learning, etc. When I first
tried it, I was concerned that the extra attention would encourage the
disruptive behavior or enourage other kids to try it, but it didn't. I
think since the friend was there all the time, through good times and bad,
some of the need for recognition was met, and the boys realized that they
didn't have to act up to get attention.
If Mom's pretty defensive, you may not want the man taking the child out
of class, but if he could sit with the boy and forge a relationship, that
might help.  And I know it can be hard, having been in similar situations
where it seems as though you're constantly reprimanding a child, but if
you can recognize him when he's "being good", and love him no matter what
kind of day he's having, that will help. It's amazed me that some of these
little guys (and girls), the ones that I feel like I'm constantly trying
to get their attention and to stop unwanted behavior (it's felt like all
I've said is "Jordan, please look this way. Jordan, remember to keep your
hands to yourself. Jordan, Michael doesn't like it when you poke
him.....") will come up to me afterwards or during the week with a smile
on their face and give me a hug!
An observation that's really here nor there, and won't help any : I'm
amazed that your church has put out announcements about "please, no candy
before Sunday School" without starting a major problem! I can think of
many people at our church who I'd guess would react pretty defensively to
a church announcement telling (or even asking) them what they should or
should not feed their kids!  Most of them go along pretty well with
"please don't bring toys, because we can't keep track of them", and I can
say "no candy in my classroom", but whether to allow candy outside of the
classroom seems like that's really messing with the family's authority and
responsibility for the children.
It sounds like you have a trying situation with this little boy and his
mom. But right now, God has put him in your class and you as his teacher
for a reason (Lord, help me to remember this :), so don't give up!
Linda in Ohio

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3) Easter Program For A Small Group

Hello, this message is in response to the person looking for an Easter
Program for a small group. I don't know what age group of children you are
working with, but here is a really simple, really powerful way to
demonstrate the message of Easter that includes Palm Sunday, the Last
Supper, the Crucifixion, and Jesus rising from the dead. I used it with
four year olds, so it may be too young for your group. We started with
cutting palm leaves (three for each child) out of construction paper. I
found a simple pattern on the DLTK Kids website that you folded a piece of
paper in half and then cut out half the pattern to make a really simple
palm leave. Then used green chenille stems taped to the back of them,
hanging down along the bottom a couple of inches to make the stems and a
place for the children to hold them. Then I constructed a "stick donkey"
using an idea I found on Danielle's Place, it sort of resembles a stick
horse toy, but you make it using a wrapping paper roll, a paper lunch bag,
construction paper scraps, and yarn scraps. All of the children except the
one who was to play Jesus stood on either side of a piece of long brown
paper that we used for the road. The children took their jackets off and
threw them onto the road and each threw one of their palm leaves ont he
road, then Jesus came in riding the "donkey" and the children waived their
other two palm leaves and shouted Hosanna. Then they all sat along the
benches of a picnic table (half the children on each side) and "drank"
from empty plastic cups that looked like wine goblets and were purchased
at a party supply store. We used drawings of food that were colored in and
attached to cardboard and the bottom edge was back up to stand up on the
table, but you could use real food. Then the boy who played Jesus was
"nailed to the cross" using a plastic hammer from our classroom tool
bench, we used a crown made out of brown pipe cleaners for the crown of
thorns and I bent them in half and twisted the pointy ends tight around
the base so it looked like it had thorns but they were not sharp to the
touch or the wearer. Then Jesus was put behind a cardboard wall which was
the cave, and a big aluminum foil covered piece of cardboard was rolled in
front of it (the stone). Then the girls in the group came and saw the
stone rolled away. I know it's sort of simple, and kind of lenient on
Bible verses and complete details, but for four years olds it was one of
the most powerful lessons we ever use.
Hope this helps!
Love in Christ,
Sarah in California

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Egg-Shaped Easter Cards

When the cards are cut, colored and assembled, players can play Easter Egg
Scramble and discover a secret Easter message! Now with two black and
white "cross" and "resurrection" drawings to color! Reproducible so your
whole class can make a set!

Find them in the Curriculum section at: 

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4) Candy & Bad Behavior

>A single mother of a very obese 4 year old boy continues to give the child
>candy during service prior to Sunday school.  We have place notes in the
>bulletin forall parents to refrain from giving the kids sugar before class
>because it tends to make them disruptive

Please note that there is no medical research to prove this. If there is I
cannot find it and I have looked.  I don't think the sugar is the
problem, it sounds as if there is an underlying problem here.  The child
acts out for attention, probably he manipulates his mother in this way.  I
know we will hear from those who say you should understand the moms
position as a single mom, or the child's position as a child in a single
parent home.  If you have many children in your class you can easily get
bogged down in all the issues the kids have at home.  While I am in
agreement to being sensitive to issues, I believe good firm rules in class
are necessary.  I have found that posting the rules and consequences, and
talking about them each week helps. Make sure the parents are aware of the
rules and the consequences. Then, when a child acts out, you have a policy
to fall back on, and you can point out that this is how all problems are
handled. No one can accuse you of treating one child different from the
Does your SS have a missions statement or goal? Our goal is to teach
children the Bible and in doing so teach them about salvation and see each
child saved, and show them how to live a Christian life in accordance with
the Word. In other words how to apply Biblical principles in their lives.
This encompasses many things and is tough to put into a sentence or two.
We want them to learn about a loving God who was so concerned about them
that He provided a way for them to be saved. It is easy to get bogged down
and forget why you are there.
Many churches are hesitant to put policies (and sometimes goals/missions
statements) in place. I know in years past churches did not do this, but
in years past we did not have to deal with many things we deal with today.
It is SO necessary!  It protects the church (and staff) if there is ever a
lawsuit. I know that no one thinks it will happen to them, but churches
involved in major lawsuits right now thought the same thing (especially
smaller churches).  It also makes it easier on the staff when they have to
deal with an out of control child or irate parent.  Perhaps you could talk
to the person in charge of your SS and suggest having a written policy
(offer to help set it up). I prefer to have a meeting and brainstorm with
staff members about discipline, consequences, etc. You could hve the
children in your class help set the rules and consequences. They are much
tougher on themselves than you would be!
All policies should be explained in a teachers meeting with all staff
present. It is wise to have all staff members sign that they have read or
heard the policy and understand it.
Public and private schools have policies for all of the above reasons.  I
know SS is not secular school and no one wants kids to have fun more than
I do. But ... the Bible instructs us to be wise, and pre planning protects
I hope I have helped you. Feel free to email me if you have questions

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5) Disruptive Child

I also am a young (21) sunday school teacher and i've faced some of the
same things such as not being able to send a disruptive child out. while
frustrating there is a real reason besides the parents in not sending a
child out. they need to hear the message too. and if they're acting up
then they need it even more. try putting them in a small space to
themselves (corner or make them your new shadow, everything you do they
do), a time out for a couple of minutes and instruct the other kids to
continue doing what they were doing. tell them that when someone acts out
in a negative way we should not reinforce them, encourage them, by
laughing or reacting, but walk away and ignore them. it works i have a
broad age group 3-9 and the 3 yr old loves to hit and spit and he gets put
in time out and we ignore him when he's doing little things to distract
us. older children hate time out because its for little kids and it
quickly squashes their unwanted behavior.

To add spice to your routine look on the internet there are soo many p.e.
sites, educational sites, craft sites, etc. dltkids.com is a good one just
do a general search for sunday school, bible study for kids/children. You
can even bring in a guest to teach one day. you'll learn new exciting
things from watching them. as far a the bathroom I had the same problem so
we have designated times during which we talk (beginning of class, during
snack, after lesson right before we go home) and use the bathroom. During
the lesson, worship, craft, and/or anything else I need them to pay
attention for we zip our mouths with an imaginary zipper and lock our
hands in our laps, and look straight at whoever is speaking, unless asked
for input.

But whatever you do don't give up. God has called you and what an honor it
is to be chosen to lead the little ones who will grow up to be great ones:
preachers, teachers, parents, etc. If God put you there they the little
ones need you and you need them. I know whenever I teach another class or
am out of town while greatful for a break I miss them. Be strong in mind,
in spirit, and in classroom.

Romans 8:28-31, 37-39


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6) Puppet Ministry

A good suggestion which I did with our puppet ministry was ordering
puppets through Children's Ministry Today - The Outlet Mall.  I haven't
ordered from them in about two years, but when I did, I was able to order
with a check instead of a credit card, which I don't like to do on the
internet.  They have very good "people" puppets and some animal and
biblical puppets, too. You will find that the 14" puppets are a great size
for the kids to work with.  I also have two of the larger puppets, but am
pleased with the smaller ones because of the ages of the children working
with them.  I think you will be pleased with these puppets.


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Jesus Ascending Mini-Movie

A unique flip-card pattern that children color and assemble, then watch
the resurrected Jesus ascend into the clouds. Kids make it and take it
home!  Print out as many patterns as you need for a onetime fee. To see a
picture and to learn more, follow this link:

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7) Clown Communion?

Good Morning,
We just did a Clown Communion and I was wondering if anyone else has done
or seen a different type Communion?

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8) Puppet Ministry

We started a Puppet Ministry last year ,and the kids love it.  Our youth
perform with the puppets and we use them in our Jr. Church.  The way we
did it is we had the women in our church that could sew to bring their
machines and  come to meeting for about 4 or 5 times.  We got a pattern
for puppets and made our own... The congregation donated material, yarn
for hair, and stuffing for the puppets.  All we had to buy was eyes etc.  
     The kids have named the puppets and have given them their own
personalities.  Whether they are know it alls, or dense.  Happy or
argumentative... Our jr. church kids have even written them fan
letters!..... We have 2 girl puppets, a boy puppet, a lamb, a wolf, and a
blue monster puppet.
   They are going to perform for our adults during morning worship on
March 28!  The kids are thrilled and nervous!
                 Hope that helps, Gail

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9) Unsure what to do
My name is Kelley and I am a Children's Ministry Director in Omaha,
Nebraska.  I just wanted to reiterate what Sarah said on Feb. 27th in
response to your situation.  As a Director it is my job to be involved in
every aspect of Sunday School and to know the needs of my teachers.  If
you are not getting any help from your Sunday School Director then I also
recommend that you take it to the next level.  Even if you decide that
teaching is not your gift I am sure that you wouldn't wish this same
situation on whoever would be taking your place.  My teachers know that
they can come to me and to the parents of any child who might be having
behavior problems.  If your director is not helping you then take the
matter to his/her director and so on until someone helps you.  You need to
be sure to do this with respect and to seek God's help with the right
words.  I have had similar experiences when I was in my early 20's and was
serving as a teacher.  It is hard to confront this kind of situation, so
definitely find either one of your parents or a respected teacher/mentor
and seek their guidance.  Sincerely, Kelley Henderson, Omaha, NE

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