10 Ways to Engage Bible Students the Minute They Walk In the Door

One of the little tricks professional educators use is to engage students the minute they walk in the classroom door. There are two reasons for this. First, it allows them to take advantage of every possible minute for learning. The second is that it is much easier to start class when the students are already engaged in an activity than when they have been allowed to run free for several minutes. The room is already more or less quiet and the students are ready to learn – because they have already started.

Not sure how to engage students in an activity while you are busy greeting the students who are arriving or while you are talking to their parents? Here are ten of our favorite ideas.

  1. What is it? Provide several unusual objects, photos of objects or super close up photos of objects and have students interact with them in an attempt to figure out what the objects are and perhaps how they were used. Use objects with a connection to your Bible lesson for the day. Make sure they can withstand student handling and that you have enough so that only two or three students at most are interacting with it at the same time. Having several objects or making sure the object you have chosen is really unusual can make this activity last longer.
  2. Vocabulary games. There are a lot of words in the Bible and in church that your students may not encounter elsewhere. Look online for vocabulary game ideas and adapt one to use with various Bible and “church” words to help familiarize your students with the words and their meanings.
  3. Books of the Bible or scripture memory games. Memory work helps move important information to the long term memories of your students. Look online for memorization games and create some for the things you want your students to memorize and review regularly.
  4. Work on ongoing projects. Have an activity that really takes more than one class period to finish? Leave it out and allow students to continue working on it when they get to class. Or if you have a lot of space, you can set up an area to the side where your students are working on a class project, like a Lego Bible museum. They can go work in that area until time for class to start.
  5. Eat “Bible” foods. Check for food allergies first, but many of your students may not have had breakfast before arriving. Some rustic bread, pita bread, dried figs and dates and other foods they would have eaten in Bible times gives them a healthy snack to raise their blood sugar to a level that encourages participation without the ensuing crash from donuts of other sweets.
  6. Write on the Question board. Provide plenty of dry erase markers. You can put up your question of the day or encourage them to write the questions they have about all things spiritual. Make sure to take the time at some point to address the questions and answers.
  7. Opening art activity. Many of our teen lessons include an opening activity that gets students thinking on a topic that is the focus of the lesson. Why not pull out the art supplies and let them create a piece of art about the topic of the day – the main theme of your lesson. At the end of class, ask them how they may want to alter their original artwork based on what they learned in the lesson.
  8. Roses and thorns. Use a white board or chalk wall and have students add their rose and thorn of the previous week (high point and low point).
  9. Prayer requests. Encourage students to write their prayer requests on a white board or chalk wall as they enter. Have a fun prayer request sheet where each student can create a prayer reminder list for the week based on what people are writing on the board.
  10. Famous Bible art. Print off copies of famous works of art based on Bible stories and the write on it the scripture reference where the story can be found. Encourage students to look carefully at both the scripture and the work of art and circle any errors or embellishments the artist made to the Bible story in his or her art.

Have fun with it. Mix it up to keep things fresh. Engaging your students the minute they walk in the door may be the answer to a lot of your classroom management issues.

Categories Classroom Management, Elementary, Faith Based Academic Program, Preschool, Special Needs, Teens
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