This fall our Sunday school began using the Workshop Rotation Model for children 4 years through 5th grade. They meet from 10:00 – 11:00 each Sunday. Here’s the Workshop Rotation Model in a nutshell: Teach major Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops: an Art workshop, Drama, Music, Games, A-V, Puppets, Storytelling, Computers, and any other educational media you can get your hands on. Teach the same Bible story in all of the workshops for four or five weeks rotating the kids to a different workshop each week. And here comes the extremely teacher friendly part: Keep the same teacher in each workshop for all five weeks -teaching the same lesson week after week (with some age appropriate adjustments) to each new class coming in. The results are astounding. “The kids love it, the teachers love it, and we can’t ever imagine going back to the old way.”
Here’s why it works: The Workshop Rotation Model concentrates on the major stories of the Bible over and over again. It eschews the popular but educationally unsound lectionary idea of changing the story each week. The model’s philosophy recognizes that kids not only love repetition, but they need it to develop a lasting memory and understanding of content. The multi-intelligences (creative methods) approach in the model isn’t a fad or merely kid-friendly, it is calculated to take advantage of our student’s God-given thirst for multi-modal learning. Traditional designs have long attempted to teach through multimedia, but their frenetic lessons with six or more different steps, a game, a craft, Bible study and music all in 45 minutes left our teachers breathless. And few had the gifts to teach in each mode properly.
The model allows teachers to get better at their lesson. By the second week of the rotation, the teacher is already improving the original lesson plan for the next class. No more “if I only would have….” in the parking lot after class. No more Saturday night planning. No more recruitment hassles, –teachers are happy to sign up for five week rotations. And because the teacher is assigned to teach in the creative mode they are comfortable with, the teaching and learning experience are enriched. No more lectures and music cassettes still in their cellophane wrappers, no more overused worksheets, or fumbling popsicle stick crafts.
Sunday school for 6th graders through adult are held from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.