I’ll bet you didn’t know that my husband and I teach 1st and 2nd graders on Sunday mornings.
Yep. Last year we taught along with another friend, but he moved up to another class and this year, we’re on our own. Which has been a little challenging to say the least as our average class size has doubled since last year. We went from averaging about 8 each Sunday morning last year to averaging about 16 each Sunday morning this year. To the elementary school teachers out there, 16 may seem like a cake walk… but we’re not talking about school. Sunday School is a whole different animal and, admittedly, I am not a teacher by training, vocation or gifting. So to us, 16-18 each week is HUGE.
But I digress.
One of the things we enjoy doing with our class is a “Genealogy of Christ Paper Chain.” We find it to be a really good teaching tool to talk about Messianic prophesy on a level that 1st and 2nd graders can comprehend and the links of the chain act as a visual to link together the old and new testaments of the Bible.
I thought my husband was very creative with the lesson portion of the morning. He started out by talking about the Old Testament and the New Testament and the difference being that the Old was before Jesus lived on earth and the New was during and after Jesus. Then he began reading some scriptures and asked the kids if they knew whether it came from the OT or NT and began to work in some scriptures of Messianic prophesy. He quoted Micah 5:2 which talks about Bethlehem among others which refer to Christ to try to trip them up a little and make them think he was reading from the New Testament so that it would be a surprise that it came from the Old. Once we were able to establish with the kids that the Bible talks about Jesus in the OT, we were able to talk about how the promise of the Messiah was made all the way back in Genesis and we began to read prophesies about the family that the Messiah would come from all the way back to Abraham.
We know that the details of our lesson probably did not all stick. But we don’t expect them to. If those 16 kids walked away from our class knowing that the Bible talks about Jesus in the Old Testament all the way back to Genesis, then we’ve accomplished our goal, in my opinion.
So, back to the genealogy chain… in pictures, here’s what we did:
For our class, I pre-printed all the names from the Matthew 1 genealogy of Christ on colored strips of paper. Older kids could write them down themselves. And the Luke 3 genealogy from Adam to Jesus could be used as well.
Because I have to have things very organized for our group of 1st & 2nd graders, I put all the names in order with Jesus on bottom and Abraham on top. I put them in sandwich baggies as shown below so that after starting with Abraham, each child could just take the next strip of paper with the next name on it out of the bag and the rest would remain in the bag and in order. The links of the chain may be fastened with staplers or with tape.
Now, when you have 16 1st and 2nd graders working on such a project, there is absolutely no time whatsoever for pictures to be taken. But with two kids working on it at home, it was a fairly peaceful affair.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for a fun way to bring my family and especially my kids back to what we are truly celebrating at Christmas time… the birth of Christ. I hope that this is an idea that might help some of you in your endeavors to do the same thing.