This lesson plan is copyrighted and belongs to the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian,
Cary North Carolina. It may be used for non-profit uses only.
Scripture: Psalm 23:1-6 (A psalm by David). The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff - they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (New Revised Standard Version, with just a touch of King James!)
(A poster of this should be on display in the room.)
Concepts: God takes care of us like shepherd takes care of sheep.
God is with us even when we are scared.
God’s love and kindness are always with us.
1. The students will create scenes to help them visualize what the Psalm is saying.
2. The students will gain an understanding of the visual images the psalmist was trying to convey (what the landscape was like vs. the landscape the psalm described).
3. The students will be able to better memorize this important scripture passage through the process of creating a visual aid.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Welcome the kids and introduce yourself. Wear your name tag. Make sure that everyone is in the right classroom! Kids will either already have name tags on, or will get a name tag from their shepherd. Make sure that you know everyone’s name and greet the students individually. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.
Start the “lesson time” with prayer.
Ask for volunteers, but plan on praying yourself. You might want to read a verse from another
psalm as a prayer to start the lesson.
For example, Psalm 18:1-7 or Psalm 27:4-6. Use a psalm that has a lot of imagery in it.
1. Spend some time on the scripture passages referenced above. Have the kids use their Bibles and locate the above psalm. They can either follow along as you read the psalm or take turns reading verses for the class. Younger kids might not be able to all read, but they should be encouraged to find the passage and follow along. Their shepherds can help the class use their Bibles. Highlight parts of the scripture that reinforce the lesson concepts (listed at beginning of this lesson plan) that are demonstrated in these passages.
2. Practice one of the memorization activities. See the handout describing these activities. Tell the children that because the words of Psalm 23 are helpful in many situations, they will be memorizing it. They will be doing this same activity in each workshop throughout the rotation.
3. Spend some time talking with the kids about what the landscape in the Middle East looks like. Show pictures from books. What sort of area was the Middle East where the psalmist lived? Be sure that they notice how rough and dry much of the area is. Sheep need water every day and the shepherd must lead them to this as well as to places where there is grass. The sheep do not go into barns at night, so they must be protected from wolves and from wandering into places where they could fall. Shepherds are to sheep what God is to us. If the sheep follow and obey the shepherd, they will be well taken care of.
4. Now get the kids to focus on the description of the areas described in the 23rd Psalm. What do these places look like? Would they be places that the people living in Bible lands would see? What do you imagine some of these places might look like?
5. Pass out drawing paper. Demonstrate how the chalk/pastels blend and smoothly cover the paper. Place sets of drawing materials among the children and tell them to imagine a scene where shepherds are caring for sheep, providing for their needs - just as God does for us. As they draw, they should cover the entire paper with color, overlapping where necessary to show a picture of what they are thinking.
6. When pictures are finished, they may be taken outside and sprayed with fixative or hairspray. This will keep them from smearing, but the spray takes about 10 minutes to dry and it does smell strong. Hairspray will dry faster, doesn’t smell as bad, but will not ‘fix’ the chalk/pastels as well as the fixative. Use of fixative/hairspray is not essential.
7. Clean up! They will have to wash their hands. Involve all kids in this so that you will have time to share together in the closing. You may want to have a prearranged signal or sound for clean up and tell them at beginning of art project what that will be - perhaps giving them a 5 minute warning and then the final clean up notice to allow those who need a bit more warning that they need to complete whatever they are working on.
Shepherds will pass out the journals and pencils/markers. The children should spend a few minutes reflecting upon the morning’s lesson - why did they choose that part of the psalm to illustrate? What sort of food would there be at a feast to honor you? Have you even gone down the ‘wrong path’? What happened?
The closing is to be a worship experience for you and the children. The workshop as a whole is modeled after a large corporate worship service. We praise and pray together in the Great Hall, the children are “preached to” in the Bible Story and Application part of the lesson, reflection time provides a chance for the children to “connect” with the lesson and a chance for confession, and the closing is the place for corporate prayer, praise, lifting up and dismissal. PLEASE DO NOT SKIP A CLOSING!
1. You might want to have the kids all show and tell about their picture. Have them say the verse that corresponds to their picture. Perhaps put the kids in order so that you have pictures for as much of the Psalm as possible. You might want to have everyone say the entire psalm out loud and hold up their picture when the part that their picture is about is said.
2. Another idea for closing would be to have the kids think about God’s love and kindness the psalmist writes about. What do you think of when you hear the verse, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,”? How do you know God is always with you?
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages
2. Prepare an opening prayer in case nobody volunteers to pray. Find a psalm or other prayer that you would like to use.
3. Find some book or pictures that show the landscape of the Middle East. Look for landscape pictures, not cities - see references.
4. Prepare a few samples of scenes from the 23rd Psalm, but remember, the samples are NOT to show them what their creation should look like - they should just be something to help the children get started using this type of drawing material.
5. Prepare all the materials you will need for the creation process. Have the materials ready to go. There will be limited time for the creation process, so do everything you can to conserve time. You will also need to have some means of labeling their creation - that seems self explanatory, but it is very important!
6. Decide how you want to close the lesson. Prepare a prayer or use one of the group suggestions above.
A poster with the revised version of Psalm 23.
Rough textured, neutral color drawing or construction paper - 8 x 10
Fixative if desired (hairspray will work and is less toxic and smelly)
-Readers Digest GREAT PEOPLE OF THE BIBLE AND HOW THEY LIVED - Church library - pages 118, 152, 162-3, 274
-HOLY PLACES OF CHRISTENDOM, 726.PER, page 24
-BEDOUIN, J956 ALOT, page 24