My grandma used flannelgraph to tell Bible stories 75 years ago and, remarkably, the technique survived the test of time. The flannelgraph scenes, characters, and props, give children a visual handle on the Bible story. Allowing the children to help place the flannelgraph items on the board actively involves them in the story. When you allow the child to tell the story using the props, it takes their learning to the very highest level and maintains the greatest chance of retention. Because of this, flannelgraph is a suggested supplement for the ABCJLM Basic Preschool Curriculum.
Flannelgraph is also an optional suggestion in the:
How Do I Teach a Story Using Flannelgraph?
In using a flannelgraph board or props, I recommend a three-step process, which is also a proven method for teaching a child a new concept.
Day 1 (Monday): Tell the child the story while using the flannelgraph or props, but without the child's involvement.
Day 2 (Tuesday): Allow the child to assist with the props as you tell the story.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Each day, encourage the child to recall the main point, characters, or places in the story. By the end of the week, the child should be able to tell the basic plot of the story without help.
1. Be prepared. If you are not prepared, this will not be successful. You may need to practice a couple times before telling the story to children.
2. Before Bible time, collect the flannel board, scenes, characters, and props needs.
3. Lay the characters and figures in order in a stack so that you can easily pick up what is needed next as you tell the story.
4. Before beginning, place the background scenes on the flannel board.
5. Use the figures and props as supplemental to the story, not the main focus.
Here is an example given in 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. With younger children, less is more. Since they are less likely to process many details of a story in one sitting, consider adding extra figures each time the story is told.
Here is an example: On Monday show Jesus and the little lost lamb. On Tues. have Jesus, the lamb, and add additional lambs he left behind to hunt for the one, etc.
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 children don't appear to be taller than adults.
9. My grandma never told a Bible story to children without the Bible in her lap. I would suggest having the Bible open and if you need the manual, lay it on top of the Bible. Remind the children that the story comes directly from God's word.
10. Relax and have fun. Children are very forgiving!
Some suggestions taken from the Betty Luken's Teacher's Manual. Thank you Aunt C for additional ideas.
A few flannelgraph options are available. But after viewing the Betty Lukens set, I was thrilled with the clarity and realness of each figure and object. My children immediately picked out the different Bible stories just by looking at the pictures. The felt is thick and the colors are vivid. I am very impressed with the quality of the pictures. In using the ABCJLM curriculum, I suggest the Deluxe Set as they contain all but one of the Bible stories in the ABCJLM curriculum. 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 a large group of children as the characters are much larger.
I do realize that the Deluxe Set are expensive. Thus, adding the flannelgraph to the ABCJLM curriculum is a suggestion not a requirement. With that said, if you are looking at homeschooling, running a preschool, or working in a church setting for any length of time, I believe you will find your purchase worthwhile. (And from what I hear from several of you, it was a worthwhile investment.) But, if you find yourself jumping between ideas in teaching your children, then I would start off with a small set and track how often you use it before further investment.
The sets can be purchased on Amazon, Betty Lukens website, and on Ebay.
Betty Lukens has given ABCJLM users an exclusive 10% discount on products purchased on their website!!! Use code ABCJLM10 to receive this discount.
Purchasing flannelgraph sets can be very expensive. But there are ways to create your own! One idea is to use illustrations from the ABCJLM Bible Workbook or Curriculum Workbooks. Read more...
The ABCJLM Interactive Bible Stories provide you with an age-appropriate script to actively include the child in the story. All interactive stories available to order as a digital download. 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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