Go Teach: God’s Word to 8-11s
Hazel Smith, Go Teach Publications Ltd, 2017

£8.85 (Approx)
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Overview

What does it say on the tin?

For teaching children approaching secondary school age. Each book contains the material to teach 16 Bible lessons.

For each lesson it provides:

  • clearly stated teaching and response aims
  • thorough notes for the teacher’s preparation
  • a clear, easy-to-use lesson outline
  • a verse to learn to summarise the teaching
  • suggested follow-up activities

Each book contains copiable resources which are also available on the Visual Aids CD.

Book Ten

  1. Elijah Fed by ravens
  2. Elijah Mount Carmel
  3. Elijah Horeb
  4. Elijah Elisha
  5. Paul Ephesus
  6. Paul Eutychus
  7. Paul Jerusalem
  8. Paul Storm
  9. Paul Onesimus
  10. Elisha Widow’s oil
  11. Elisha Blind army
  12. Elisha Lepers
  13. Jonah Running away
  14. Jonah Nineveh
  15. Christmas Wise men
  16. Christmas Escape to Egypt

What do you get?

Resource book with 16 lesson plans and an optional teacher workshop.

Leaders can also choose whether or not to buy the accompanying visual aids (£7.30) and activity book (£2.75)

Who is it for?

Children aged 8 – 11 years of age.

Review

  • What is the overall quality of material presentation?

    The material is presented as an A4 magazine style booklet with colourful images and instructions throughout. Each session lays out ‘preparing yourself’ and ‘teaching the children’ as the main content with side notes on extra content and a reference to the relevant visual aid.

    How clear are its aims and outcomes?

    There are two aims listed for each session; a teaching aim and a response aim. The teaching aim is directed at the leader to guide them as to the key message the children should take away. The response aim broadly explains what the children should learn about God during the session.

    How accessible are the leader’s notes?

    Instruction to leaders is accessible and easy to follow especially for the ‘preparing yourself’ and ‘teaching the children’ sections. The story is laid out as a monologue so leaders know what to say, and there are instructions throughout for when to ask questions or prompt children to learn the verse. There are a few activities so leaders aren’t overwhelmed with choice and the visual aids are easy to use and find for the corresponding session. The free CD-ROM is easy to navigate and has resources for ages 3- 11 years old. As there is an optional teacher workshop, this gives the leaders an opportunity to think about the best way to teach their group in their context.

    Who could lead it?

    Experienced Children’s Workers as well as Children’s Workers in training could lead these sessions. They are easy to follow, however, as different activities are in different places and the leader needs to create a full lesson plan, an adult with experience in this area would be best suited.

    How helpful are the participants’ resources?

    The visual aids are simple but relevant to the talks. The activity books for children consist of 1 double-sided A4 page of activities per session which include true or false questions, filling in missing words, word searches and more. Most activities are word based and all are relevant to the story being taught.

    How good is any digital material?

    The free CD-ROM contains material for ages 3 - 11 years old. There are activities, PowerPoints, visual aids, colouring sheets and memory cards which are simple, colourful, easily labelled and relevant to each story. The PowerPoint presentations are short and have one slide showing the title of the session and one slide with images to reveal during the story-telling.

    How much prep will I have to do?

    These sessions do not require much time for preparation. There is a section on ‘preparing yourself’ which teachers need to read and gather information on the context of the story. There is an optional workshop per book to help leaders to engage in the topics and decide on the best ways to engage their audience. Leaders then need to go through the ‘teaching the children’ section and ensure they understand everything and can find extra resources and activities mentioned throughout. Leaders need to decide on the full session format and collect any materials needed (all materials are inexpensive and standard for any craft cupboard) which includes photocopying some activities from the resource book. If using the CD-ROM for support, leaders will need to print off what they intend to use.

    Is there website support? Links?

    No direct links for session support however leaders may need to access some external sites for starter activities. For example, for the session 7 it recommends having images of Malta.

  • How well does it encourage interaction with the group?

    Children primarily interact with the leader during the teaching time in the form of answering questions, learning the verse, and taking part in the starter activity (there are two choices listed for each session). They interact with small group leaders and one another most during the follow up and response activities.

    How well does it cater for a variety of both learning and delivery styles?

    Learning is mostly done by interaction with the leader during the ‘teaching the children’ section and also during written activity completion and doing crafts. This may be done in small groups or one large group depending on how many participants there are. The children also learn a verse and take home a memory card to help them remember a key message from each session.

    How adaptable is it to my situation?

    The material for the Go Teach programme is in a four year cycle and aims to cover all appropriate, major Bible characters, events and teaching. It is designed so that while you may have one specific age group, another age group will cover the same topics most of the time and each issue has Old and New Testament references. The resources were designed to be used as Sunday school material but they are not confined to this use only and can also be used for after school clubs or for sessions in schools as they are not too long, are easy to resource and can be done as one group or in small groups too. Activities are mostly paper based with word activities and answering puzzles. There are some crafts but these are simple and use standard craft materials. Leaders will need access to a photocopier or printer to get the most out of these sessions and may also need helpers depending on the amount of participants. The sessions can be run in a large or small area and last between 20 minutes - 1 hour and Go Teach also provide posters and timelines which can optionally be purchased to help demonstrate the timeline of events in the Bible.

    How well does it encourage people to work together in applying the material?

    Children apply the material by completing the written activities and puzzles and by answering questions during the ‘teaching the children’ time. During the teaching, they answer questions about the story itself and then have a response activity presented at the end of the section to either do there and then, or to take away and complete during the week.

  • How much of the material is Bible-based?

    Around 15 - 20 minutes of each session is Bible based with the leader reading directly from the Bible and reiterating the story with a more modern explanation. During this time, children also learn the memory verse which is usually from a different passage to the main teaching but on the same topic.

    How well is the biblical material presented and used?

    Biblical material is presented by the leader during the ‘teaching the children’ section. Leaders tell the story by reading directly from the Bible, as well as using modern language to go through the event. There are questions for children to answer to keep them engaged in the story, and activities to complete after the teaching to solidify knowledge.

    How well does it apply biblical material to everyday life?

    Each session starts with a starter activity (there is a choice of two) and this often links the story to the children’s lives so they can relate to the passage immediately. Throughout the passage, the leader is prompted to question the children about how they might feel or what they might do in situations similar to those in the story, and by learning the outcome in the Bible, they learn more about how they might react themselves.

    Is there a particular theological perspective?

    No it is open to all denominations and uses translations from the NIV and AV Bibles for memory verses and activities.

  • How well does it inspire people towards whole-life discipleship?

    This volume teaches whole-life discipleship by introducing a variety of God’s personality traits through a passage in the Old or New Testament. They then take this personality trait, and learn how it applies to their lives. For example, when learning about Eutychus falling out of a window, children see that being a Christian doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen to us, but that God can use all things for good. In this case, Eutychus is healed by God’s power, but children learn this won’t be the case all the time, so we need to keep trusting God even without seeing his power. These concepts are approached much more directly in the books for 8-11 year olds than for younger years. Children also learn about the importance of obeying God through the life of Jonah, the importance of forgiveness and how to pray, with practical suggestions like keeping a prayer diary.

    How well does it encourage and enable people to grow in their faith?

    As this is a four-year syllabus, and intended for church use, this resource covers lots of Bible characters, events and teachings. It covers Old and New Testament teachings and lessons from the Gospels in each issue. Lessons are mostly taught in chronological order to help children build on contextual knowledge and understanding too.

    How well does it stretch faith and vision of God and his purposes?

    As the syllabus has an order to the teaching, this means children learn the full stories and not just the ending or a condensed version which misses out detail. They learn that sometimes bad things will happen and that being a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean God will always fix them but that He has a wider purpose which these events can be used for.

    How well does it connect with real life issues?

    Children learn throughout the series about God’s provision in life during difficult times and good times. They learn about difficulties characters in the Bible had and how God helped them to persevere but that this didn’t always mean just fixing the problem. For example, in book 10, they learn this through the lives of Elijah, Paul and Elisha.

  • How well does it encourage personal evangelism?

    Session 4 encourages children to learn about people who worked for God and made a difference to others. They learn that by following God, we can benefit others. Session 5 teaches children about how we can help people understand Jesus well, for example by not having distractions. Session 12 also challenges children to think about how to share the news with people that Jesus saves.

    How well does it encourage local or network-based community involvement?

    In book 10, children learn about community involvement through God’s work with Elisha. He protected her and used her to bless people, so children think about how they can show kindness to others too. For example, by being challenged to go away and think about how to be nice to someone in the week who has been nasty to them.

    How well does it connect with global issues?

    When learning about the life of Elisha, children think about those who are hungry, poor and ill.

    How well does it encourage global mission?

    Not a huge focus of this particular issue but mentioned through the life of Paul.

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