God's People and Me!

A Vacation Bible School Curriculum by Barry McWilliams
Memory Work: Methods: Acts 2:42 - 47

Memory work philosophy and approach: During the week your children will be memorizing Acts 2:42 - 47 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. Since the first step is converting the written text to representative icons, even non- readers should be able to learn the verses.

Biblical basis: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:18-25, 31:13; Psalm 119:9-11, Colossians 3:16, 2 Timothy 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: Acts 2:42 - 47. 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 "SMILY HEARTS", for example, he or she should begin thinking: "with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people..", 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.

"Play with" or "on" the words frequently the Keywords will be most helpful here. 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.

Suggestions for Memory icons are as follows for Acts 2:42 -47:

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. [FOUR INTERLOCKING RINGS - WITH A BIBLE, A CHURCH BUILDING, A LOAF/COMMUNION CUP AND PRAYING HANDS INSIDE THE RINGS] {mid week change it to just the four rings.}
Everyone was filled with awe,[Several "SMILY FACES" WITH MOUTHS HANGING OPEN]
and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles [A MAGICIAN'S HAT, RABBIT AND WAND].
All the believers were together and had everything in common. [A LINE OF PAPER DOLLS HOLDING HANDS]
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. [A HAND HANDING MONEY TO ANOTHER HAND]
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.[DESK CALENDAR BETWEEN TEMPLE PILLARS]
They broke bread in their homes and ate together [SLICE OF BREAD BROKEN IN TWO]
with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. [SEVERAL "SMILY HEART FACES" AND MUSICAL NOTES]
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. [LIFEGUARD'S RING with RED PLUS SIGN ]
© 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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