October 13, 2010

Interactive Bible Storying with Children

Yesterday, I was invited to tell some interactive Bible stories to a group of children. I expected about 40, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw busloads of kids arriving. There were over 300!

The neat thing about stories, is that once you’ve told them a few times, you don’t forget them easily. (In the case of Bible storying, I would say you should tell every Bible story you know at least once every six months to keep them fresh in your mind.) Once you have learned a number of stories, you can string them together into a bigger narrative. This is a wonderful experience for both the storyteller and the hearer.

Since the children were all sitting on the floor, and rather disorganized, I knew I would have some trouble keeping their attention, so I used a hand sign to represent each story before and after I told it. Every time I got to a new story, I would do all of the hand signs with them from the beginning and say something that would remind them of the story. Most of them were “two-minute stories.” They were only a few verses long. So, I was able to tell these stories straight from the Bible.

Here are the stories I told and the hand signs I used.

1. They put their hands over their heads with their fingers out to make a star. The Birth of Jesus
2. They pounded their hands like they were hammering Jesus flees to Egypt and returns to Nazareth
3. They held their hands out parallel and folded them down and back up. Jesus baptized in the Jordan
4. They folded their arms and shook their head “No” Jesus was tempted in the wilderness but did not sin.
5. They made a “Come here” gesture Jesus and the great catch of fish. (Fishers of Men)
6. They made the number 12, (10 + 2) Jesus called the Twelve.
7. They made a triangle with their arms. The sermon on the Mount
8. They put one arm out, then the next parallel to it. Jesus taught with parables: the wise builder
9. They raised their hands and shook them, then lowered them softly. Jesus calms the storm.
10. They patted their bellies. Jesus feeds the 5000.
11. They kneeled and pointed up Peter’s confession of Jesus.
12. They passed their hand across their faces. Jesus was transfigured.
13. They covered their eyes and uncovered them. Jesus cured a blind man
14. They did a crying gesture, then dropped their hands and lifted them up palms up. Jesus wept and the raising of Lazarus (a longer story)
15. They did the Zacchaeus was a wee little man move. Zacchaeus believed
16. They held invisible reins The triumphal entry into Jerusalem
17. They swatted invisible whips. The cleansing of the temple
18. They broke invisible unleavened bread The last supper.
19. They folded their hands in prayer Prayer at Gethsemane
20. They pointed at their cheek and kissed Judas betrays Jesus
21. They pounded an invisible gavel Jesus was tried unjustly
22. They shook their finger “no” Peter denied Jesus
23. They held their arms outstretched. Jesus was crucified
24. They folded their hands down and back up Jesus was buried and rose again.
25. They held their palms out and up. Jesus appeared to the 12
26. They shaded their eyes from the sun and looked up. Jesus ascended into Heaven

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