My grandma employed flannelgraph to narrate Bible stories 75 years ago, and this technique has stood the test of time. The flannelgraph scenes, characters, and props provide children with a tangible, engaging, and visual connection to the Bible story. When children take the lead in recounting the story using the props, it elevates their learning to the highest level and greatly enhances retention. Because of this, flannelgraph is an optional supplement tool used in the ABCJesusLovesMe Preschool and Bible Curricula.
When using a flannelgraph board or props, I recommend following a three-step process, which has proven effective for teaching a child a new concept.
Day 1 (Monday): Narrate the story to the child while utilizing the flannelgraph or props but do so without involving the child.
Day 2 (Tuesday): Allow the child to assist with the props as you tell the story.
Days 3-5 (Wednesday-Friday): For the remaining days, prompt the child to recall the key points, characters, or locations in the story by allowing the child to actively participate with the flannelgraph. By the end of the week, the child should be capable of telling the storyline independently.
1. Preparation is key. Without proper preparation, using flannelgraph to teach may not yield success. It may be necessary to rehears the process a few times before presenting story to children.
2. Have the supplies ready before you begin. For example, collect the flannel board, scenes, characters, and props needs.
3. Arrange the characters and pieces in an ordered stack ensuring that you can quickly pick up the next piece required in the story.
4. Before beginning, place the background scenes on the flannel board.
5. Use the figures and props to supplemental the story, instead of making them the main focus of the time.
Here is an example from the Betty Luken's Teacher's Manual:
Wrong: "Now, this is Noah. See his long beard and his very beautiful robe!..."
Correct: [As figure of Noah is placed on the board] "Noah did just as God told him to do. Every day he preached to the people [as figures of people are added] ...
6. Less is more. When working with younger children, it's important to keep in mind that simplicity is often more effective. Young children have difficulty processing a large number of story details. Start with the main pieces and gradually introduce additional figures with each retelling of the story.
Here is an example: On Monday, place Jesus and the lost lamb on the board. On Tuesday, add additional lambs to depict the 99 that Jesus left behind while searching for the one.
7. Don't stand in front of the flannel board.
8. Placement of characters is very important. Make sure that people are "grounded" (not floating in the air) and that children don't appear to be taller than adults.
9. My grandma never told a Bible story to children without a Bible in her lap. I recommend keeping the Bible open with the Interactive Bible Script placed on top. Remind the children that the true story comes directly from God's word.
10. Relax and have fun. Don't be afraid of silence while you place the pieces on the board. And if you mess up, remember that children are very forgiving!
Some suggestions taken from the Betty Luken's Teacher's Manual. Thank you Aunt C for additional ideas.
While various companies offer flannelgraph sets, the Betty Lukens set stands out for its exceptional clarity and lifelike representation of each figure and object. My children were able to easily pick out the different Bible stories just by looking at the pictures. The quality is superb, with thick felt and vivid, vibrant colors.
I suggest purchasing the Deluxe Set as it contains all the characters and props used in the ABCJesusLovesMe Curricula Bible Scripts. The Small Deluxe Bible Set (6 1/2" figurines) is perfect for a family or classroom. The Large Deluxe Bible Set (12" figurines) is wonderful for larger groups because the characters are significantly larger and more visible.
Yes, the Deluxe Sets are expensive. As a result, use of the flannelgraph in the ABCJesusLovesMe Curricula is optional and not mandatory.
With that in mind, if you intend to teach your children about the Bible or plan to teach in a preschool or church over an extended period, I believe you will discover that this investment is highly valuable and worthwhile.
Betty Lukens has given ABCJLM users an exclusive 10% discount on products purchased on their website!!! Use code ABCJLM10 to receive this discount.
If purchasing a flannelgraph set is not in the budget right now, discover how to create your own Bible visuals. One idea is to use illustrations from the ABCJLM Bible Activity Workbook or the Curriculum Workbooks. Read more...
The ABCJLM Interactive Bible Stories digital downloads provide an age-appropriate script to actively involve the child in the story. Optional flannelgraph suggestions included. View for FREE:
Below are two videos of my children as preschoolers telling a Bible story using the Introduce/Practice/Identify teaching method and the Betty Lukens Flannelgraph.
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