Signs of a Great Student Leader

Scripture: Deuteronomy 31

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn Moses told the people God had chosen Joshua to be their leader after he died.
  • Students will learn Joshua had need preparing for the role of leader for more than forty years.
  • Students will learn sometimes God may take years to prepare us for something He wants us to do.
  • Students will participate in an activity helping them understand that God gives them opportunities to learn and grow to help them prepare for what He wants them to do. They need to take advantage of the opportunities He gives them, even if they don’t make a lot of sense at the time.

Guiding Question:

  • Why do we need to take advantage of opportunities we are given to learn something new or develop our gifts?

Materials: ASL cards, printable parenting resource Tips for Helping Kids, Discover, Develop and Use Their Gifts

Procedure: Review the story of Joshua, focusing especially on the times before he began leading the people of Israel. As you give a brief review of each incident, ask students if they think Joshua learned any important leadership skills from what happened. Discuss whether or not Joshua had any idea he might one day replace Moses as leader. (Remind students Joshua was in a sense an aide de camp- sort of personal assistant to Moses. Often these people rarely rise above that rank, so if is not a given that Joshua would have expected to become leader. The official announcement was indeed not until right before the death of Moses.) Explain that during these events Joshua may have wondered why he was doing these things, or as in the case with the sun standing still, why it was important he be told what he had missed while he was fighting the battle.

Divide students into small groups. Give each group at least two cards (preferably not in order numerically.) The only instruction you should give them is that they need to learn to do what the card is describing really well- and should be able to do it together very clearly and sharply when the number is called.

After a few minutes, tell everyone you will call out the numbers and when you call one of their numbers they need to do what the card said to do for that number. (Still don’t tell them what they are doing.) Call out the numbers in order- slowly at first-. Ask everyone if they understand what you have asked them to do.

Whether or not they are correct, tell them now you want them to do it again, but this time you will give them a little more information. This time as you say the number, say the word that goes with each sign as they do it. If they haven’t caught on before, this should help them understand.

Tell students, “What if I told you we had a new student joining us who is deaf? We want to make them feel at home by singing a song with ASL so they can participate and understand what we are doing. Being able to sign Old McDonald will help them be less afraid and let them know we are happy they have joined us. Now does the fact that I have asked you to learn what seemed like random hand motions make more sense?”

Tell students that sometimes God gives us chances like Joshua to do things that don’t make much sense at the time, be we may realize later that knowledge or skill is critical to do something God wants us to do. We need to try and take advantage of the opportunities God gives us to learn and grow. Remind students these opportunities don’t come with a note from God, so they will have to pay close attention to notice and take advantage of them.

If students are enjoying signing, you may want to do the song again with everyone singing and signing and without calling the numbers first. There are additional animal signs given if you want to do multiple verses with them.

ASL signs:
1. Make your right hand into a fist. Start at your chin and move your hand (fist) down towards your chest.
2. Open both hands with palms facing you; bring both thumbs to your chest as if you were sticking them under straps. Open and close the remaining fingers.
3. Make both hands fold at the knuckles, making an “L” shape. With thumbs pointed up, rotate your hands so that the fingers of both hands touch the chest.
4. Open your right hand, start with your thumb touching the left side of your jawline. Trace your jawline with your thumb (hand still open) from left to right.
5. Fold the fingers of your right hand towards your palm as if you were looking at your fingernails. Place your thumb under the other fingers where you can still see it.
6. Make a fist with your right hand and stick your little (pinkie) finger in the air.
7. Fold the fingers of your right hand towards your palm as if you were looking at your fingernails. Place your thumb under the other fingers where you can still see it.
8. Make a fist with your right hand and stick your little (pinkie) finger in the air.
9. Take the fingers of your right hand and touch the thumb of the same hand, making a circle.
10. Take your right hand place at chest level starting on the left side with your palm facing your chest, move your hand across your chest from left to right. As your hand is moving, also move your fingers and thumb together until they touch. The backs of the fingers should remain straight, flat and facing away from each you. (Almost like making a sideways sock puppet mouth.)
11. Place your left hand, palm facing the floor at chest level. Then place the right hand (also flat and palm down on top of it.)
12. Using your right hand, point to a spot in the room as if you were pointing to an imaginary person.
13. Make your right hand into a fist, them straighten out your pinkie finger and thumb. Place this with your thumb at your right eyebrow, palm facing out. Slowly roll the pinkie finger backwards, bringing the rest of the hand (still in the original shape) back with it.
14. Make 2 fists with thumbs on top (as if you were going to give a thumbs up sign- only your thumbs should be down). Bring the two fists together until they touch in front of your chest.
15. See “Key” Below
16. Place both hands flat at chest level with palms and thumbs facing up. (They should be several inches apart.) With fingers pointing to each other and the center of your chest, make tiny little circles while keeping your hands in the same basic position.
17. Take your flat tight hand, palm up, fingers pointing away from your body and move your hand another foot away from your body.
18. Place hands flat, palms up, on top of each other (without touching) in front of chest. Move them away from each other to sides of body.
19. Take both hands float out in front of body- bottom hand palm up and top hand palm down. Clap them together several times.
20. Take your right hand, pat your hip and then snap your fingers.
21. Take your hands and make them into fists. Raise your index fingers and middle fingers of both hands (like peace sign). With backs of your hands facing away from you, place the hands on top of each side of your head. Make the extended fingers go up and down.
22. Making a fist with your right hand, extend your index finger and thumb and touch them together so the tips of the index finger and thumb touch. Continue that motion on the top of your flattened left hand.
23. Take your flattened right hand and place it under your chin-palm down. Lower your fingers by bending at the knuckles connecting them to the hand and then straighten the hand again.
24. Take the index finger of the right hand and flick it back and forth across the tip of your nose.
25. Take both hands and bend them like paws, with palms facing away from your body. Have both hands take a couple of bounces away from your body.
26. Take your right hand and spread your fingers like a comb. With palm down, bring your hand “comb” to your forehead and “comb” if from there to the back of your head in one motion.
27. Make an “L” shape with the index finger and thumb of your right hand. Bring the middle finger up next to the index finger. Tuck the ring and pinkie fingers into the palm. Bring it up so your thumb is touching your temple. Open and close your index and middle fingers (together) into and out of a fist.

Translation:
1. Old
2. McDonald
3. Has
4. A farm
5. E
6. I
7. E
8. I
9. O
10. And
11. On
5. The farm
12. He
3. Has
13. A cow
5. E
6. I
5. E
6. I
9. O
14. With
15. “Moo” Person leading activity makes a “cow” face with no noises or sounds. (If you do additional verses, the face would change to the face of that animal)
16. Here
10. And
15. “Moo” (Repeat face)
16. Here
15. “Moo”
17. There
15. “Moo”
18. Everywhere
15. “Moo”
1. Old
2. McDonald
3. Has
4. A farm
5. E
6. I
7. E
8. I
9. O
Additional verses:
19. Alligator
20. Dog
21. Rabbit
22. Chicken
23. Pig
24. Mouse
25. Kangaroo
26. Lion
27 Horse

Additional Questions:

  • How do you think people react differently to you, if you try to learn more about them such as learning sign language to communicate with people who are deaf?
  • Do you have any talents or interests that are not considered obvious or typical gifts from God? How can you use them for God? (Students can answer the second part of the question for each other to help their peers brainstorm.

Supplemental Activity:
Prepare a performance of songs that combine singing and signing for person/people who are deaf or hard of hearing in your community. See if there are people at your church or local schools. Check hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living homes, etc. If there are people at your church who are deaf, students can learn a song that will be sung during worship. Near the holidays, students could go caroling to visit people in one of these facilities and learning holiday songs.

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