ADD A LITTLE F.U.E.L. TO YOUR LESSONS

Just a little bit goes a long way!
by David Goebelbecker, Kidco Labs

Does this week's lesson have you feeling a little stumped? Use the F.U.E.L. method to review what you have to most out of your lesson. Adding a little F.U.E.L. can be all that you need to make a good lesson great.

What is the F.U.E.L.?

It stands for Fun, Unexpected Engaging Lessons and is a checklist of sorts for teachers and leaders to use to review materials for getting the most out of your curriculum. No matter how good or clever your materials are, there are some portions that leave you stuck and wanting more. It's at times like this that you need to remember the F.U.E.L. principle and ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • Will this portion of the lesson fun and enjoyable for the children?

  • Is there something that is unexpected or different to keep their interest?

  • Is there an object or comparison that really makes them think?

  • Does it engage the children to really get them involved?

  • Will it really help them learn what is important about the topic?

IMPORTANT NOTE:

We should never lose site that children spend a majority of their week sitting in a classroom listening to teachers who talk while they listen. One of the most common mistakes that teachers and leaders in ministry make is falling into the same 'classroom-style' format. In some cases, the class time isn't always fun because it's too much like school.

As a contrast, children are barraged with high-energy, over-stimulating media through television, computer and video games. It's hard to compete with this level of excitement, and it's probably not wise to try because it is very difficult to keep that momentum going for the long haul. Here are some suggestions to take the boredom out of the classroom and add some interest and excitement without burning yourself out.


Make it FUN.

First is to consider that there are many different ways to convey the information. Look for alternatives for some of the more 'uninteresting' lesson elements. Then ask yourself, 'Is there a game that can be played to help them get the point? Is there an object lesson that can be used where the comparison can help make the point clear? Can I improvise a skit with other leaders? What other avenues do I have to add fun and variety to the lesson?' Use suggestions and advice from other leaders to help you make the decision. Work together with your team to continually add new levels of fun.

Add the UNEXPECTED.

Most people like surprises. If you have the time, think of things that relate to the topic that can be used as physical object lessons—the weirder, the better. For example, using a kernel of popcorn as an offering lesson to explain that a little bit under God's power, like the microwave, will get bigger, but we have to give it to Him. It can't stay in our wallet where it does no good. Sometimes the unexpected can be a surprise visitor, like someone in costume, science experiment or magic trick to help convey the basic principle of the lesson.

ENGAGE the children.

If you are not normally an outgoing person, you may think that it is difficult to engage the children and keep their attention. The truth is that you just need to find some tools, props or methods that help you look good. We mentioned games to make a lesson fun. This is an easy way to engage the children. Another is through interactive questions. As you teach your lesson, ask questions on a regular bases to see who knows the answer or has been paying attention. You can also offer prizes, like a small piece of candy to the person that answers correctly.

In our high-tech society, many of the children are learning at an amazing rate and from multiple sources. Spend a little time doing research on some of the shows that are popular, or even talk to a few of them to see what is interesting to them. If you can work some of these things into your lesson, then you are sure to engage their interest.

LESSON MATERIALS are everywhere.

Finally, we need to remember that class time should not be merely entertainment, but there should be something to take away from any and every activity. With just a little thought, any outdoor event, game or household object can be used to relate back to your weekly topics. In some cases, the weirder they are, the more memorable they will be for the children. All you need to do is think like a child, use your imagination to find ways to relate things back to your central theme for the week.

If you get stuck, an easy way to have fun and reinforce the lesson is with a review activity, but not in a traditional sense. There are ways to incorporate the F.U.E.L principle into even a review. Here are a few suggestions just to get you started:

  • REVIEW MATCHING GAME
    If you have a computer, type up questions in a large format so that only one question is on each piece of paper. Type the answers to each of these questions on another sheet and print the pages. Tape or pin up all the answers on a board or wall. Lay all of the questions face down on the floor. Divide the class into teams and allow a member of each team to come up and select a question, then match it to the answer. If they get it right, they get a point. If not, the other team can steal the point before they take their regular turn.

  • REVIEW GAME SHOW
    Use a projector and PowerPoint to it's fullest by projecting simple questions on a big screen and giving a point value to each question depending on the level of difficulty—more points for harder questions, less for easier ones. The team with the most points at the end wins.

  • REVIEW HANGMAN
    Use some of the more important words from the lesson as part of a game of hangman. Once the children solve the puzzle, ask a question or two about the word before moving to the next word.

Adding the F.U.E.L. to your lessons

By remembering these four points and evaluating each of your lesson elements, in many cases, you can greatly increase the effectiveness of your lessons. It also helps tailor you feel more comfortable tailoring lessons to meet your class needs as you give it your own personal flair. You will find that by adding a little F.U.E.L. to your ministry, teaching will become an even more enjoyable experience.


For more resources and ideas, go to our resource area main page to find more information on a variety of topics. We also have our Curriculum area where you can find our 13-week series available to review and purchase.




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