By Sally Wizik Wills
In a rotational setting, the same Bible story or theme is taught for several weeks. Each week, learners rotate to a different station. The story remains the same, but children encounter it in different ways in each station.
Repetition is an important part of the rotation approach. The more different ways children explore a story or concept, the more it is reinforced in their memories. The variety of experiences keeps interest high throughout the unit. Teachers teach the same lesson, with age-level adjustments, for the length of the rotation.
Rotational learning is exciting for students and teachers alike, as teachers teach to their strengths and students experience Bible stories in ways they learn best.
There are three main advantages to using PowerXpress!. First, it includes everything teachers need to teach the lesson including the Bible story, Bible background, and stations at a glance (highlights focus, learning preference benefited, and activities for each of the eight stations), how to set up stations, and specific activities appropriate for younger and older children.
Second, it's the only rotation model that provides all music for each unit. Within each unit is a music compact disc, and lyric transparencies for ease of use in teaching the words to the children.
Third, almost all of the recommended resources are available at Cokesbury. There's no hunting or searching needed to find "suitable" material. Listings are provided with each unit and are categorized by station.
The principles and ideas of rotational learning are in many ways reflective of the small church. A strong sense of community and a balanced division of leadership are desirable for the success of both.
Rotational learning fosters connections between the teachers and the children by allowing teachers to share in areas where they are gifted and interested. Children benefit from learning from a diverse group of leaders using a broad variety of activities. Rotational learning almost always broadens the opportunities to bring in new adults who possess gifts and talents that fit well with a particular unit, but don't want to teach all year.
Please consider teaching a unit. We would like to have seasoned teachers and new teachers working together to form a group to rotate throughout a school year.
Thank you, Vicki Gartzke
December 18, 1955 was the beginning of "Christ's Birthday Party" at Peace United Methodist church. In 1955 our pastor was Paul Stevens; his wife Frances was very supportive of the Christian Education Program. Helen Smith was the Sunday School Superintendent at the time and Hilda Schubring was the Primary Superintendent and Chairperson of Education. In the fall of 1955 the Education Committee and teachers were hoping to do something different to make Christmas meaningful and exciting for all. Frances read an article about a Christ's birthday party in a McCall's magazine; the idea was used by a church in California.
The idea was brought before the committee and teachers. They all liked the idea and plans were made and a date was set and they very first Christ Birthday Party was held at our church. The party planners were all very anxious about how it would turn out. The weather was rather stormy that evening, but the people just kept coming and the thirteen birthday cakes arrived on time. Pastor Paul had fixed the cardboard and candles for each of the cakes, at that time we had the party first and the program followed the meal.
There was a cake for each month of the year and one for Jesus, thus thirteen cakes. Each person was asked to bring a gift wrapped in white paper, as each month was called those with a birthday in that month put their gifts under the tree. Over the years the white gifts have gone to Bellin Hospital, Casa Clare House, needy families, and our local food pantry- Loaves and Fishes.
Over they years hundreds of cakes have been baked and enjoyed. Thanks for all the memories and your generosity over the years.
Today we serve one birthday cake and it is an Angel Food Cake in honor of Jesus' Birthday, we all sing Happy Birthday and still put the white gifts under the tree after calling off each month of the year. This is truly a wonderful tradition and one that we hope the children will always remember and that will bring a smile to their face from the good memories and maybe someday they may even start it in their own home church.