Our Moses workshops – pictures!

We’ve just finished up a couple of Rotations on Moses. We started in January with Moses’ birth, his trip through the bulrushes in a basket and his adult experience with a burning bush. Then in February we continued the Moses story with the plagues on Egypt and the very first Passover. (I love how this will tie into our March Rotation on the Last Supper.) Here is a review of our study of Moses, with lots of pictures!

Reviewing a story in the Bible
Each workshop starts off with reading the story in the Bible. By the third week everyone knows the story! But finding it in the Bible is still important.
(This photo from our Green Wood location.)

In January there was a Games Workshop using our life-sized board game. Kids played a game modeled after the board game, Cranium.
1st grade use the large game board in the Games Workshop

The game in action; pointing out the game cube First graders in the Games Workshop
See that cube thing? (At the orange arrow). That is the game die. A team tosses it and depending on the picture they roll, they have a certain type of activity that they need to do. Here the card might have said “Using Playdoh, see how quickly team members can create a pair of sandals.” Of course, meanwhile the leader was asking everyone, how sandals enter into the story.

There was a Storytelling Workshop…

Moses visits in the Storytelling Workshop Moses at Green Wood
“Moses” visits the Storytelling Workshop downtown (for 4th-6th graders)

  And “Moses” at Green Wood.

(Okay, so it wasn’t really Moses. Just a couple of guys who did a great job portraying Moses!)

In the Drama Workshop kids acted out the burning bush portion of the story…

the 5th grade poses on stage at the Drama Workshop
Nice burning bush. Notice all the sheep? There were lots of props. Which ones can you name?

Meanwhile, in the “Greenhouse” (ages 3 years old to kindergarteners) they were learning about Moses as well. Here they learned about unleavened bread.

Trying unleavened bread Kids in the Greenhouse

In February it was on to the Plagues and Passover portion of the Moses story. There was a different Games Workshop. This one was Bible Bowling. Here the 1st and the 6th graders work together in teams. Teams had names like “the Gnats” and “the Frogs.”

1st and 6th graders work together in the Games Workshop A team member takes a shot at the bowling pins
Kids sure do know the answers to the questions! When the team answered correctly, they got a chance to knock down the pins.

There was a Cooking Workshop…

5th graders in the Cooking Workshop
Mixing up some unleavened bread – in a hurry!

And there was an Art Workshop where kids made comics using thumbprints…

An artist at work in the Art workshop More artists
Another artist More artists
Created art work Created art work
Can you tell the story using these thumbprint drawings? What part of the story does this one tell?

What was your favorite Workshop?

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Other photos by Beth Pascoe, Carol Hulbert and folks at Green Wood. Used by permission.

I dare you to notice God at work

Now that we are turning the calendar page to February, how are your New Year’s resolutions coming? I personally have already given up on daily exercise. (Such lofty thoughts!) There is one area however, where I am going full speed ahead: Noticing and counting God’s gifts.

I’m pursuing the “Joy Dare”

A real dare! It goes like this: in 2012 can I make a conscious effort to write down one thousand gifts? (That means roughly three a day!) These gifts are more than just things, they are graces from God.

Can I mark that many ways that God shows me love?

I’ve been writing down gifts for the last three years. But my annotations were intermittent. (It took me two years to get to 500.) Climbing to one thousand more in 2012 takes an effort! But this dare is aptly named: A Joy Dare, because I’m finding real joy even on days filled with chaos and confusion; I look for beauty in the ugly mess. It’s become for me a habit: repeatedly giving God praise – for everything.

Then it occurred to me that this tallying of thankfuls is a way to notice God in our lives! Exactly what we are trying to teach kids in our current Rotation on Moses.

It’s not too late to start this dare. Perhaps it could be reworded?

I dare you to notice God at work in your life.

share the dare
Click on this button to find out more about the dare.

Some of my list (from its beginnings back in November 2008 but with up-to-date photos)…

a family gathering

6. A healthy family

11. Authentic refried beans

35. Blue sky days

a blue sky fall day

702. Texting blessings

279. Family discussion with tears

833. Smiles noted when someone unexpectedly lends a helping hand

1010. Foot pain

1013. A cheerleading friend.

Want to start this dare in your family but worried about where to find God’s graces? Might I point you to help? Click here for a wonderful list – a way to capture God’s gifts – three a day all through February!

Photo credits:
Photos are from my archives.
Button from onethousandgifts.com

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Holy ground

A well-used sneaker

Our current Rotation on Moses is so full of areas for contemplation. We can’t do it all in 45 minutes of Saturday or Sunday’s Cool! Here’s a topic which is not touched on but is still important. Ask these questions at the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) To print out a one-page family discussion guide go here.

Moses met God at the burning bush. God’s first instruction to Moses was: take off your shoes. (Okay, he called them sandals.)

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”   Exodus 3:5

“Holy,” in this instance, means “set apart,” “specially recognized” or “declared sacred.” What made this spot holy for Moses, was the presence of God. Anywhere we meet God can be considered holy!

Ordinary desert dirt became holy ground.

When you hear the words “holy place” what do you think of? What/where are
the holy spots in your life? Mention a holy place and right away our thoughts go to chapels, churches and cathedrals. Think of our church sanctuary. The word sanctuary means “safe place” or “holy place.” Churches are places designed for us to have an encounter with the holy. The next time you are waiting together as a family for worship to begin, talk quietly about what parts of the sanctuary help it to feel like “holy ground.”

At home, where can you talk to God? Discuss how any space can feel like holy ground, an acceptable spot to meet God! Anywhere we talk to God can be considered a “holy place;” it’s not that a space needs to be holy before God will enter! How do you prepare yourself to enter holy ground?

Do you suppose there ought to be a special “holy spot” in your home that
reminds you that God is near? What should that space feel like? Look like? Spend time arranging such a holy place – a bench or a chair or windowsill. Encourage everyone to spend quiet time in this holy location.

Photo credits:
Empty shoes by Jérôme, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

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A Blessing: celebrate God with you

A young boy runs into someone's arms

God used a burning bush to speak to Moses. I don’t know about you but I’ve never encountered a burning bush; at least not one of the caliper that Moses described. I have, however, encountered God reaching out to me in other ways: Through the Bible, through books, through other people, through nature… God is always waiting for us to notice his intersection into our lives. Isn’t it wonderful? Something to celebrate! Use this blessing with your child(ren).

Say your child’s name and…

May everyday be a celebration of God’s presence with you.

Click on a box if you would like to…
A check-box Satisfy your curiosity about why you should bless your child.
A check-box View other suggested blessings.

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
Into Your Arms by Darrel Birkett, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

What does “God at work” look like?

Moses and the burning bush

Moses’ story, from his birth to his experience with the burning bush, is rich in content, and opens numerous chances for discussion. One of our targets for this Rotation is to help kids recognize God “at work” in the lives of Moses and other story characters. A second objective is to apply the concept of “God at work” to their own life. Great topics for families to discuss!

What does God at work look like in this portion of our story?

Read the scripture together as a family. Since it’s a long story, use the following chart to read and talk about our story in stages, over the course of several days. (If you’d like to print out this reading plan/discussion guide, click here.)

Read a passage and then ask where you see God making his presence known. I’ve provided some suggestions. Feel free to comment on other ways you notice God taking action.

Read Discussion points. How is God at work in the lives of story characters?
Exodus 1:1-7 Fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham to have as many descendants as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5).
Exodus 1:8-21 What are two Hebrew midwives able to do?
Exodus 1:22-2:4 Imagine the trust in God necessary to hide your child in a basket in the river!
Exodus 2:5-6 Just at the right time, Pharaoh’s daughter decides to take a bath.
Exodus 2:7-10 Miriam showed some courage. And Moses gets the best of two worlds – being raised as a youngster by his family (and being seeped in Hebrew culture) and life in Pharaoh’s palace.
Exodus 2:11-15 What good ends up coming from this bad? (It does require knowing the rest of the story.)
Exodus 2:16-25 Moses lived in Midian for 40 years. I wonder what sort of “learning” Moses needed to acquire during that long time in the “wilderness.”
Exodus 3:1-4 God is starting his rescue plan! I wonder what would have happened if Moses hadn’t said, “Hmm, that’s unusual. I’d better go and look at that.”
Exodus 3:5-12 This one is obvious: God speaks to Moses!
Exodus 3:13-15 Pagan gods never revealed their name because disclosing a name was like giving away power. But our God is a personal God; he has a name!
Exodus 4:1-9 God gives Moses concrete examples of his power. I wonder how Moses will feel when God doesn’t seem so close at hand?
Exodus 4:10-12 God really wants Moses to do this job. I wonder why Moses is so hesitant?
Exodus 4:13-17 What does God give Moses to remind him that God will be with him?

What are ways that you see God at work in your life?


Photo credits:
Burning bush by the Providence Lithograph Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Break down the Moses story into study-able chunks

Moses as a baby is discovered by Pharaoh's daughterThe stories about Moses are sizable! They cover 40 chapters in the Old Testament book of Exodus! How should they be taught?

Using the Workshop Rotation Model, we have chosen to teach Moses in sections, beginning first with a Rotation that covered the early years: Moses’ birth and his float among bulrushes — to his burning bush experience as an adult.

Then we followed up with the sequel — a Rotation about Moses and the plagues on the Egyptians! We had conveniently planned these Rotations so that we could follow up what happened in the last plague (Passover!) with a Rotation on the Last Supper.

Read the first part of our story in Exodus 1:1-4:17. Yep, it’s a big story. Break it down; read a bit of it every night at the dinner table. Hey! That makes me think that I need to post a family reading plan. Stay tuned! Here it is!

For prosperity, here is what we did in each workshop for our Rotation on Moses – Birth through the Burning Bush.

(We used these Workshops in January 2012 and in January 2018 — we repeat stories every six or so years. )

  • In the Art Workshop (2012 & 2018) students created a variation of the ancient Jewish art form of micrography to create a burning bush scene. (Micrography uses very small writing to create shapes and designs.) Focus on the burning bush portion of the Moses story
  • In the Cooking Workshop (2012 & 2018) students heard the story about Moses from a portion of a video, What’s in the Bible, Vol. 2 Let My People Go. Then they made something to take home to tell the story of Moses – edible baby Moses baskets.
  • In the Drama Workshop (2012) students participate in enacting the burning bush portion of the story. (Watch for a possible video clip?)
  • In the Games Workshop (2012) students will play a review game modeled after Cranium, focusing on events in our story. This game involves using a life-sized game board!
  • In the Storytelling Workshop (2012) students will hear the story via a “visitor” posing as Moses from Bible times. (I hear he’s been growing his beard to look the part!)
  • In the Video Workshop (2012 & 2018) students watched portions of the animated video Nest Entertainment: Moses, enjoy popcorn (can’t have a movie without popcorn!) and learned story details.

Why are we doing different workshops for the different times we’ve taught this story?

There are several reasons including:

  • Our focus for a Rotation has changed (we’ve gained new understanding!)
  • We know our kids. We know what will, and won’t work with them.
  • We’ve got a new idea!

Explore more about Rotation Model goodness!


Photo credits:
Illustration from an old story Bible, via Wikimedia Commons, is in the Public Domain.