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SSTN # 54 - April 30, 2003

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--> A Great Graduation Gift!

1) Fish Costume   
2) Rotation discipline?
3) Discipline   
4) Fish costume
5) Stories of Jesus - VBS

--> Buggie For Jesus - I'm A BEE-liever!

6) Down By the Creek Bank   
7) Discipline...let the kids teach
8) Children in church
9) Fish Costume
10) Post Office Bans Bibles

--> Armor of God Playing Cube - $3.00
11) Stations of the cross
12) The Bible is 100% true.
13) How do you train teachers?
14) Does God exist
15) Down By the Creek Bank   

<>< <>< <>< <>< TODAY'S SSTN POSTINGS: <>< <>< <>< <><

A Great Graduation Gift!

Give your graduating class, FaithShapes! ® - the premier card game of
Christian symbols. The 64 cards are beautifully illustrated with
historical explanations and Scripture verses. Shape their faith with
"FaithShapes" ®.


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1) Fish Costume   

This message is for Pam in FL. Here are two (of many I am sure) different
variations of make it yourself fish costumes. One is actually a shark, but
with imagination you could likely make it resemble a fish, that one is
found at:
To make a fish costume from Fun Foam and Foam Core, You need an Exacto
knife; a piece of foam core big enough to cover the childs torso (if you
live in an area where Fun Foam comes on a roll where you cut the amount
you need, you can easily use Fun Foam in place of the foam core); Fun Foam
sheets in assorted colors (your going to be cutting it smaller, so you can
easily use one of those buckets of fun foam shapes if you have it on
hand); Aleene's tacky glue (I am sure they make other brands, but I swear
by this brand that comes in a gold bottle); 1 giant googly eye (this is
the kind that usually come two in a pack and not in really large packs
like the tiny ones; if your in a pinch, you could easily cut black fun
foam in a large circle, and then a piece of white foam in a smaller circle
to make your own eye); Heavy-Duty adhesive backed Velcro (The kind on the
roll, or the large dots will work); plain colored sweatshirt (depending on
your creativity, you can make this part of the fish costume, or you can
use a blue sweatshirt and it will look like water, use white if you want
the sweatshirt to just dissappear or be barely noticeable). With the
knife, cut the foam core into a fish shape large enough to cover the
child's torso. Use foam core or Fun Foam to make the fish large enough to
go past the child's knees so that the child will not have to wear pants (I
recommend having the child wear shorts under the outfit);  Cut fins and
scales from the fun foam, and glue them to the fish shape; Glue the eye
onto the fish; Attach a 6-in. strip of Velcro to the back of the fish
shape and another on the child's sweatshirt, and stick the fish costume on
the sweatshirt.

I have never made the one that resembles a shark, but have made the
second one, so if you have any questions on it let me know at
Love in Christ,
Sarah in California

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2) Rotation discipline?

First of all, thank you Karla for writing.  Your response is deeply

The question is, do you have more discipline problems with the rotation
method?  My church is moving to rotation, and I am trying to decide where
belong in this.  I have taught 3rd grade for 3 years, and this year I
tried something different and it has been successful.  I described it in
earlier email, but I use a "clicker trainer" that is used by dog
and I "click" for good behavior. Since I teach alone, I did not want to
my lesson for positive or negative discipline, so I can look at a child,
click, and not stop talking.  Each click can be redeemed for a ticket and
tickets for prizes.  I told the children that we were working together to
shape their behavior and reinforce respectful actions, we discussed brain
structure, and how this helped them practice proper behavior. 

I am really concerned because I think I have made significant inroads
some problem behaviors, and I wonder if the rotation method will make it
more difficult to achieve consistency with the children who need it.
I just need an attitude adjustment, but my strength has been getting to
what makes each child tick, and making those personal connections so that
each child learns and retains well. 

Does anyone have experience or ideas on rotation discipline?

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3) Discipline   

Re. sstn#48
All the things you said on discipline were great but you left out the
main thing LOVE AND PRAYER, being that most of your kids or from the bus
ministries the first step for them is to get on the bus after that we as
christians have too give an EXTRA 110% to let them know about GOD and a
child shall lead them so we have too remember "MUCH PRAYER MUCH POWER" So
we keep asking GOD for strength. yours in CHRIST Cheryl IN GEORGIA

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4) Fish costume

>I was wondering if anyone can give me some ideas on how to make a fish
>costume? My 5 year old has to be a fish for her Spring program at

We used for rainbow fish play...blue t-shirts with a little net tail off
back...a u shaped scale in shiney material on the front and then a head
band wit hgills...and 2 big eyes it was very cute very easy!!
Kim S.

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5) Stories of Jesus - VBS

>>Hi! I need ideas for crafts, songs, snacks ect... for our VBS theme
>>me the Stories of Jesus" - - - -

Here three simple object lessons that you could use with your stories of

Walking on water.
One of the amazing miracles that Jesus did was walking on water. We all
know that one of the natural laws of the Universe is that objects heavier
than water sink. However Jesus overcame this natural law, and I am now
also going to overcome this law by floating a pin on this water. You all
know that a pin is much heavier than water and usually sinks to the
bottom. But today I am going to make it float ! Proceed to gently lower a
pin onto water in a glass, and watch it float. Because water actually
forms a thin film at it's surface with the air, this flotation can really
be done - provided you have a steady hand and the film isn't broken.And,
of course, ensure that nobody knocks the glass during the procedure!

If your hand isn't too steady, you can still float the pin by placing it
on a paper tissue, and lowering that onto the water. After a few seconds,
the paper will have absorbed enough water to make it sink, leaving the pin
floating alone.

MIRACLES. This one can be used with any of Jesus' miracles.
-Preparation. Take a piece of cardboard ( about 40x40cm. ) and cut out a
round disc (about 15cm. diameter) from the centre. Retain both pieces.
Find a solid disc (an ordinary plate is ideal) a little larger than your
cardboard disc e.g. about 20cm. diameter.
-Presentation. "Sometimes we find that we just cannot do certain things.
But we need to remember that God can do absolutely anything. With Him
nothing is impossible." Hold up your cardboard sheet and disc. Explain
that the disc is just small enough to pass through the hole. Pass the disc
through the hole a few times in different ways e.g. face on and side on.

State that if the disc were any larger, it would be "impossible" to pass
it through the hole. Your class should agree. Produce your larger disc and
pretend to attempt to pass it through the hole in different ways as
before. Remind your class that what is impossible for us is possible for
God, and state that you are now going to demonstrate that by passing the
larger disc through the small hole.

Fold your sheet in half, and place your larger disc inside so that the
top protrudes through the hole. Grasp this part of the disc with one hand,
and with the other pull down on the side of your sheet - this actually
stretches the hole - A gentle tug on your disc will ensure that it passes
through the hole without tearing it in any way. You may wish to repeat the
operation a few times.

God is all knowing.
I use this one with the Story of Zacchaeus (Jesus not only saw him in the
tree, but knew his name!).

Take four pieces (you could use more if you wish) of differently coloured
cardboard - e.g. Yellow, red, blue and green. On the back of the yellow
card write "You will pick up the yellow card."  Write on three small
pieces of paper "You will pick up the red card ----------------- blue
card.  ------------------green card." Place these papers out of sight, but
in easily accessable positions e.g. inside a plain envelope which is in
full view of the class, inside the front cover of your Bible, etc.

Place the four coloured cards in full view of the class, and ask for a
volunteer to come and pick up one of the cards - stating that you know
beforehand which one they are going to choose. If the yellow card is
chosen, ask your volunteer to pick it up and turn it over - showing the
words "You will pick up the yellow card." They will probably think that
the other three cards have a similar message written on the back. Show the
class that  this is not the case !

If your volunteer picks up one of the other cards, direct him/her to the
appropriate piece of paper in the envelope, Bible etc.

Conclude by stating  that what you did was a trick (without revealing how
it was actually done), but that our God really does know everything - even
the future !

Maurice Sweetsur.

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Buggie For Jesus - I'm A BEE-liever!

Reproducible buggie crafts, games, lessons, and yummy devotions
to coordinate with your summertime VBS programs, or midweek classes.

In the Curriculum section: 

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6) Down By the Creek Bank   

We did down by the Creek Bank about 25 years ago on a
VERY LIMITED budget.  People still talk about it.  We
make a creek bank with fake grass from a home
improvement store.  I have bought it lately for about
10 cents a foot.  The kids made paper mache rocks.  We
used some cheap blue fabric and draped it on the stage
and down the steps to the aisle. We had one of those
pictures in the baptistry that had trees and a river
so we just continued that onto the stage and down. We
covered it with sheets of thin, clear plastice to look
more like water.  We used every kind of plant--real
and fake--we could find.  We also made paper mache
turtles and had the kids to bring stuffed animals to
set around on the stage and in front. We had a log set
on the stage that different kids sat on and we also
had a tree stump the right height to sit on. This was
used when a child had a solo.

We ordered spider and bug rings from a novelty store.
The kids passed them out when they came down the aisle
from the back towards the stage singing the opening

For Germ, my 5 year old son wore overalls with no
shoes and a bandage wrapped around his big toe.  He
wore an old straw hat his real dog had chewed on.  He
entered holding one of those fake collars with a wire
lead that looks like you had an invisible dog.  He
told it to "stay" as he got on the stump to sing.

We used a plastic sandwich for the tuna sandwich and
of course an old boot. 

This was one of the most fun things we have ever done
and the kids loved the musical as well as setting the
stage.  Hope this helps and enjoy the musical as much
as the kids.

Peggy K

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7) Discipline...let the kids teach

I am not sure who to write this to but with Discipline for me I let the
be in charge, It seems crazy but it works, I have a little bike horn and
give it to one of the kids, each Sunday it is a different child, they get
honk it ONLY if the kids are noisy or disrespectful etc. If everyone is
behaved and they didn't get to honk the horn, at the end of their 1/2
shift, then everyone in class counts to 30 as the discipliner honks the
30 times. In my Kindergarten class I have a little boy who loves to talk,
one day after telling him 3 times to please listen, I finally decided to
him be the teacher, I handed him the Bible and said "ok you are the
now". He said" I can't read", I said I will help you. These kids used to
soooooooooo unruly, but when the little  people are in charge of the
people they really pay attention! We also are on the Bible Buck system
if they really  don't listen they have to pay  5 Bible Bucks. I give them
the count of three to do as I ask and then ... they have to pay if they
not cooperate.   But they have a change to earn them back PLUS one if
are not called on to behave the remainder of class. It  is sooooooo much
not to have to be the bad guy. And the kids beg to be the teacher! Have
with it, they really are AWESOME little Jesus'.! Cheryl Myers

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8) Children in church

Our students this year took turns to dress the altar during the
offertory.  The opportunity made them aware of the change of color with
the church seasons.  There was another teachable moment when they asked
what the corporal was for.  While setting the altar they were to be very
respectful and  make sure the altar cloth was placed neat and straight on
the altar.
Hope this is something helpful.

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9) Fish Costume

AS regards fish costume, here is what came to mind.
Mutton cloth(shoulder to toe length) , washed and pressed to get the
Elastic for the neck-line.
Fabric dyes in (fishy) colours+ fabric paints.
Matching organza fabric for fins(to cover the arms)
Thin wire(the kind they put in wedding dresses to make the hem/sleeves
curl.) Newspapers, wall paper glue, paints and a balloon.

The body;
TYe-dye your muttoncloth in two or three colours. Measure the elastic and
sew a channel for it on the neck. Hem the bottom. Paint scales on to the
fabric with your fabric paint. Pop the "body on to your little girl and
decide where you want he r arm-holes to be and carefully mark and cut
out.Make a pattern on some newspaper of a FIN the top of which must fit
the arm-hole (s )you made on the BODY. Draw it to stretch a little
the tips of your daughter's fingers. Draw a paper pattern for the tail to
fit behind the ankles on the BODY of your fish. Cut and sew thes out of
organza, sewing a channel for the wire afterwards . Thread the wire
and sew on to the BODY of the fish. Bend the wire to suit your asthetic

THE HEAD; Blow up the balloon to beyond your daughter's head size. Pate
least 8 layers of paper mache ( I tear and paste straight away, I do not
bother with the paper in the bucket routine as its not appropriate with
balloons) Dry each layer in front of a heater resting the ballon on a
fire-proof bowl so that you can complete the head within two days.I turn
balloon as soon as I feel that one side is dry(its easy to fit it in with
your other chores this way!) by drying each layer you create a very
base.When its done pop the ballon and peel it out by cutting a hole large
enoughto enable you to slip the ball over your daughter's head. I start
cutting near the area where the ballon was tied up.It makes a sort of
helmet. When its on ,mark the eye holes to cut out later and decide how
are going to mould fishy lips and construct a fin from thte top of the
to the neck. Make these out of paper mache(I would use cardboard cut in a
curve to fit the curve of the balloon and serrated on the other edge to
create the fin look. Tape the fin on with large strips of paper and build
up a bit to thicken it at the base and on the top with mor strips and
Its like moulding with clay but you are using paper.Dry the fin and lips
thouroughly. I edge the eye-holes with strips of paper to neaten them off
too. Paint the head to match the body using shimmery paint for the
details on the
fin and scales(SILVER??) Spray with varnish to protect the head from the

Hope it works out. I made Kermit and Miss Piggy this way for my friend's
daughters ballet review and for people who wanted heads for fancy dress
parties. Great fun if you are patient!!!Yours in Christ, Gill.

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10) Post Office Bans Bibles   

This is an untrue statement. The Post Office has NOT
banned Bibles or religious materials for personal use.
Check the U.S. Post Office guidelines, and you will
see it says:

"Although religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith are
prohibited in bulk quantities, items for the personal use of the addressee
are permissible."

This would include Bibles, etc.
Read it for yourself at:

It is very disappointing to see people get in an
uproar without checking the facts first. It makes us
believers look quite silly. Perhaps that local post
office in North Carolina was mis-informed and needs to
be set straight.

Lynette Sowell

--from SSTN:
I did follow up on this and I agree that Christians need to be informed
before making silly statements. However, the postal regulation is not as
plain as the Post Office's press report indicates. It is being left up to
certain individuals within each post office to make a judgment call. (Not
a good thing.) This case was recently reported on MSNBC and is being
handled by a reputable law firm that defends the rights of Christians in
America.  I believe it is important for Christians to not lose their
rights as US citizens and to voice their rights when infringed upon. Even
the Apostle Paul used his rights as a Roman citizen to defend himself when
imprisoned for preaching the Gospel.

Make sure you read the Rutherford institute's website:  rutherford.org 
and sign their "Operation Religious Freedom" petition if you feel
compelled to do so.

Many blessings,
Sarah Keith <><

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Armor of God Playing Cube - $3.00

Kids can make it and take it home. A great memory tool!
Only $3.00 to download and print out as many as you need!
Go to the following webpage to get the free lesson and to learn more: 


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11) Stations of the cross

>I am teaching 10 year old children and would like some ideas on how I
>make the station of the cross meaningful for these children.

Dear Bridget,
In a church that I belonged to before I moved several years ago, they did
what was called
"The Living Stations." The children are the ones who participated in the
acting out of the Stations of the Cross, from the very young being town
(a few older ones were as well) along the path to Calvary, to an older
who portrayed Jesus. All were in costume of the time...very easy with
and cording to tie head pieces. The soldiers had swords and even a bull
Someone in the church donated the wood and made the cross that actually
"Jesus" during his crucifixion (he hung onto the very large spikes in the
cross as well as a small piece of wood for his feet to rest on). There
were a
couple older boys to hold up the cross while Jesus was hung on it. The
practiced a few times a week for a few weeks during Lent (don't remember
long) to understand why they were doing what they were doing and then to
learn their parts. "The Living Stations" was presented on the last Friday
Lent. There was an adult speaker or if you have enough youth, an older
that can emphasize the words to give them more meaning to the ppl in the
church attending. The church was darkened with the exception of lights
on the Station being acted out. After that Station was done, there was
complete darkness (yes..you'll need flashlights for the speaker and the
person doing the lights) while the speaker then spoke of what they just
Then the ppl doing the Stations would move up a little bit, the lights
be turned on only them and the next Station would be acted out. It
made you shiver when the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross would
take a
hammer and pound it into the wood and Jesus would scream out in pain! I
this helps and wasn't too confusing. If you have any questions....feel
to ask.

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12) The Bible is 100% true

I usually avoid this kind of discussion, because I see no point to it.  I
agree with Linda N (following) about there being all sorts of facts that
are true that are not in the Bible.  This does not make the Bible untrue,
nor does it make the facts untrue.  We (English-speakers of the 21st
century) tend to want the Bible to be something that it is not.  St. Paul
said that WE (Christians) are to be all things to all people, not that the
Bible must be all things to all people.  The Bible is 100% true, but it is
not a science text book nor is it a history text book.  It was written
over many centuries by many different people of cultures that are not our
cultures.  It is not a book of facts (scientific or historic) but it is a
book of faith.  Unlike the Koran, which is said to have been dictated by
the Angel Gabriel to Mohammed, the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
One of the gifts of the Bible, is the fact that it contain! s many clues
as to how it can be received wholeheartedly by all people.  For one thing,
there are two creation stories and two flood stories, with just enough
difference between them to tell us that we must take the truths and ignore
the "facts".  The truths are that God created the earth (how He did it is
His business, not ours!) and that God wants us to live righteous lives (Or
there are dire consequences).  Six days of creative work followed by a
seventh day of rest, gives us the wonderful idea of taking time off from
work and devoting that time to God.  But the psalms tell us that a
thousand ages in the sight of God are as an evening, so how long would six
days be?  Plenty of time for dinosaurs!  (And cats and lots of other
creatures that aren't listed in the Bible, but are familiar to us.)  The
creation story tells us that not everything happens at once, but God is in
charge.  By all means, believe the Bible, but remember that 400! 0 years
have passed since Moses received the ten commandments from God on Mount
Sinai (there are 2 of them in the Sinai peninsula, depending on which
route you think Moses took), and another 2000 years since Jesus gave us
the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) or was it on the plain (Luke 6)?   If
you're like me (and most other present day Christians) when you read
Colossians chapter 3, I bet you do a bit of editing there.  Do you take it
literally?  Or do you adjust your reading glasses to see what the Holy
Spirit is saying to the Church of today in our culture.  I think that is
what we are supposed to do.  For me, the most important FACTS to believe
are: Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.
Marana tha!
Diane J.

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13) How do you train teachers?

how do you train children Sunday School teachers and
what times?

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14) Does God exist - skit    

Hello. This is the website that i found this skit on, and also some info
on it.
God Bless You.


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