For over 30 years, schools around the world have been using Positive Action Bible Curriculum. Recently, several churches have contacted us about using these materials in Sunday school settings. Though not originally designed for this, many churches have found these studies useful with the following adaptations.
Amount of Material
Most of our elementary school studies have 35 lessons designed to cover one school year. Each lesson provides enough work for one school week. You should be able to get at least two Sunday school lessons from one school lesson, which would give you 70 weeks of material or more.
With our middle and high school studies, you can easily get three weeks’ worth of material from one lesson. For example, you could introduce each lesson using the Teacher’s Lesson and the Additional Teaching Suggestions the first week. You could then use the next two weeks to cover the material in the Student Manual, allowing students to read Scripture passages and answer questions together.
A couple of our school studies have even more than the standard 35 lessons. For instance, our preschool (K4) curriculum Exploring God’s Love has 40 lessons, with three stories in each lesson. You can get three Bible lessons from each week, which means you will have 120 lessons for Sunday School—giving up to 2 years’ worth of material. This works really well if you have a combined class with four year olds and kindergarteners because you would have enough lessons to avoid “repeated” stories the second year.
Another study with more than 35 lessons is our middle school study Route 66. This study, a survey of the 66 books of the Bible, contains 70 lessons, designed to be taught at a pace of 2 lessons per week in a school setting. This study could definitely be taught over a couple of years, or even split up with Old Testament one year and New Testament the next.
Having 70+ Sunday school lessons can provide a substantial savings for a church with limited resources. Your church would be purchasing materials every year and a half to two years versus purchasing quarterly or per semester.
Need to combine grade levels? No problem! You would simply choose the grade to start with (most of the time that would be the lower grade level), and when you are finished with that curriculum, go to the next one up. For example, if your church combines 1st and 2nd grade, start with first grade and then go to second grade. The students will eventually get both curriculums without “repeating” the same material.
Ease of Use
The Student Manual pages for K4 – 1st grade are perforated for ease of use. However, there will be some days that the teacher will need to keep the papers until the next Sunday in order that the back side can be completed. After both sides are completed, the children can take the papers home.
Our Kindergarten – 6th grade curriculum includes character traits each week. Teachers could send home a note each week stating the character trait and suggesting ways to emphasize that trait and/or remind parents to look for teachable moments. Save the notes on a computer for quick use in the future.
Kindergarten – 2nd grade Teacher’s Manuals also have “modern day” stories that go along with either the Bible story or one of the character traits for the week. These fictional stories could be used as a third week of material if needed, or they could be used for a children’s church lesson, if your church has that ministry.
Our secondary materials work beautifully for adult Sunday school classes. Studies like Route 66, Life of Christ, and Behold Your God provide foundational themes for both young and old. Again, the teacher could easily get three weeks’ worth of material from one lesson, so one study could last a year or more.
- Give yourself time. It may take several weeks to get the feel for how you want to divide the information in each lesson. It takes a little work, but it is well worth it!
- Plan ahead. Write out what you are planning to teach for each lesson, including extra crafts, handouts, and games. Keep your lesson plans in a binder, adding examples of coloring pages or crafts. After teaching a lesson, make note of what worked well and what to change the next time. This will be an invaluable tool as you continue your ministry teaching future generations about our great God!
- Keep track. Make notes in the Teacher’s Manual of how you divided the lesson so that when that lesson comes around again, you already have the hardest part done.
- Supplement ideas. If you need to hold a page over but would like to have something for the children to take home, search the internet for simple crafts that go along with the Bible stories. Free coloring pages are readily available on the internet, as well.
- Be creative. You can also search the internet for game ideas to play with your class as a way of review. For example, bean bags are always a hit with kids. Use your imagination and have fun with the children!