God's Word and Me!

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
Memory Work: Methods: PSALM 19: 7 - 11

Memory work philosophy and approach: During the week your children will be memorizing Psalm 19: 7-11 from the N.I.V. Bible. Because everyone will be working on the whole passage through the entire week, there has been no simplifying of the passage for younger children.

Biblical basis: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:18-25, 31:13; Psalm 119:9-11, Colossians 3:16, 2 Timpthy 3:14-17

One of the main objectives for the week is for the children to learn the Memory passage by heart and understand what it teaches about the Scriptures. The method outlined below has proven effective and fun. Remember the goal is to learn the whole by the end of the week - that is your goal!

The usual approach to learning a passage is to go verse by verse, day by day and you may well be inclined to do just that with our memory passage for this VBS: Psalm 19:7-11. However there are sound educational reasons for learning the passage as a block rather than verse by verse.

Studies in memory have found two basic principles which apply to learning: Time and Understanding.

Both Time and Understanding are necessary to move something from our short term to our long term memory.

Remember : Time and practice - the more we go over it the better. Keeping it interesting, using a variety of creative and fun ways, you want to recite the passage together over and over through the week. Working on a different verse each day does not provide enough of either of these factors. However, working and reworking the same verses using a variety of fun and interest provoking methods - reciting and thinking about the whole passage every day through the week should write this passage on all our hearts. We will work as a group as well as individually in this. And, because you are working on the whole, the age old problems of connecting the parts of the passage together, or of inadequately learning Friday's verse will be overcome as well.

Our goal is for the children to memorize the entire passage by the end of the week.

A principle "tool" is the use of a series of "icons" or "picture words". First we want to identity the various phrases in the passage with their individual "icons". A large flannelgraph board and a large set of the "icons" will be useful during the week, as well as smaller sets for the classrooms. When a child sees the "bee and honey", for example, he or she should begin thinking: "They are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.", etc.

In drilling, During the week, try and come up with all sorts of fun ways and games to drill on the Memory passage. Scramble the icons and have them put them back in order, while reciting. Leave blank spots to be filled. It is important to encourage every effort, even if a child gives a wrong answer. Remember that as one child is trying, the other children are reciting along with them in their minds and correcting and being corrected. Keep order in the group and have children answering speak loudly and clearly so every one can follow.

Develop Mental understanding - The children's minds must work on the meaning, putting it into images and content they can comprehend. Converting the content to symbols, and defining words and concepts is a part of this process. Teachers should study carefully the commentary on Psalm 19:7-11 and add their own ways of illustrating the content as well.

"Play with" or "on" the words frequently - for example - "Statutes" and "Statues," or "Precepts" and "Prescriptions", etc - to aid understanding. In the assembly, have a planted "nerd" staffer recite each day making deliberate mistakes and use the opportunity to illustrate and clarify meanings.

An Alternative Method - My daughter has found with younger children that sign language works well for teaching verses. She teaches hand signals along with the words to the children. There are a number of children's songs that use hand motions like "Rise and Shine and Give God the Glory Glory", so children are comfortable with them. You can use commonly accepted signs and make up your own hand motions, or perhaps you can find someone who knows American Sign Language that can help you with the signing. The children enjoy working at mastering the motions, and learn the verse as they do it.

The Object lessons each day will also illustrate the meanings of the various phrases.

The Memory icons are as follows for Psalm 19: 7-11:

THE PRECEPTS OF THE LORD are RIGHT, giving joy to the heart. [HEART W/ NOTES]
THE COMMANDS OF THE LORD are RADIANT, giving light to the eyes. [LIGHT BULB]
THE FEAR OF THE LORD is PURE, enduring forever. [DIAMOND]
THE ORDINANCES OF THE LORD are SURE and altogether righteous. [ONE WAY SIGN]
THEY are more PRECIOUS than GOLD, than much fine GOLD.[INGOT and COINS]
THEY are SWEETER than HONEY, than HONEY from the comb.[BEE AND HONEY]

© 1991 Barry McWilliams and Mission Church Fellowship, Hypertext Version © 1996 Barry McWilliams
This Curriculum may be downloaded, copied and used with permission of the author
by any Church or Christian Organization - Donations accepted.
For Permission and other information contact Barry McWilliams at eldrbarry@eldrbarry.net

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