summer surprise

Warning: This is another church post. This time about church school.

We don’t cancel the education hour for the summer (though honestly, that would be my leaning). Instead, we combine all the classes–pre-school to middle school with high schoolers as helpers–and different people sign up to teach one week of “Summer Surprise.” The woman in charge copies out the lectionary passages for each week and has a list of suggested activities. It’s not a bad thing–the kids have fun, and some grown-ups who don’t want to commit to teaching during the school-year look forward every year to their Summer Surprise week. My ambivalence about Summer Surprise is that it tends to be light on the scripture and heavy on the activity. There is sometimes little to no connection between scripture and activity. But I don’t know that church school has to always be about The Week’s Scripture Lesson. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to just make root beer floats. If we cancelled for the summer, they wouldn’t get anything, so who am I to complain if they are having a positive church experience?

I do wonder though, what would happen if we had some teacher training and helped those who will do Summer Surprise find some ways to connect lessons and activities. We do sign-ups and hand out the envelopes at Family Camp. What if we also had a 2 hour session one afternoon to talk about the lectionary and look in small groups at all the weeks and brainstorm ideas?

A couple of tough things about Summer Surprise are that no one knows how many kids we’ll have–the estimate is between 7 and 20–and with non-readers through tweens, it’s a little tough to figure out how to do a lesson. My bent, being an English teacher and all, would be to have them write something (Let’s all write our own Psalms! Fun, huh?!). Maybe not so much.

All that introduction is to say that this is my week. I had a few ideas, but I settled on one I think I like. I’m doing I Samuel 15:34-16:13 from the semi-continuous lectionary: Samuel anoints David as king. I’m going to begin with verse 17b that says “for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then I’ll give them a (very) little backstory on Israel and king Saul, read/tell the story of Samuel going through each of the brothers (I’m thinking I might print some celebrity photos to use when I’m talking about the brothers, but I’m not sure who tweens think is handsome) before finally anointing David. Then I’ll talk again about verse 17b and ask them what heart qualities they think God wants to see. Finally, I’m making heart cookies and I bought a bunch of tubes of frosting. I’ll give them the cookies and have them decorate them in ways that show a heart that is pleasing to God. And then they can eat them. It sounds fun to me and Bubble approves (and so does Computerguy–I outlined my various ideas to him and he liked this one). I hope it works. I’ll post cookie photos if it does.

Oh, yeah. I wasn’t thinking about Father’s Day when I signed up, or I would have left the slot for someone who would have done some nice little Father’s Day craft. I hope the dads aren’t disappointed that I’m skipping it entirely.

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2 Responses to summer surprise

  1. I love what you will be doing.

  2. Betsy says:

    What a great idea! We do a very similar summer Sunday school, and though we generally follow the curriculum that we use the rest of the year–adapted for a single multi-age group–I find it a lot easier to get volunteers anytime there is food involved; people seem to be comfortable with that. So, this is perfect.

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