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Clued In

Randy Warner

A "no yawns" teacher-orientation scavenger hunt to kick off the new year.

This fun scavenger hunt will orient your teachers and build relationships as they work together. This event is a lot of effort to set up, but it's a great way to transform a potentially boring meeting into an exciting event.

Volunteer teachers will:
-make a teacher notebook,
-think about and pray for children in their classes,
-collect supplies, and
-contribute to a closing time of worship.

Read the "Scavenger Hunt Handout." Customize clues and directions for your church. Create a "Scavenger Hunt Handout" for each teacher.

Prepare a notebook for each teacher. Include in each notebook any information you want covered that's not addressed during the scavenger hunt.

Prepare and pre-punch handouts. Place handouts at their appropriate places.

Label each classroom with teachers' names and grade levels in a bright, colorful way. Write a welcome note to teachers on their classroom chalkboards.

Inflate a balloon for each teacher. On half of the balloons, draw an ear. On the rest, draw a mouth. Store balloons in large garbage bags. Choose a lively praise song-perhaps from your curriculum-for the Praise Time activity. You'll also need refreshments and music for the fellowship time.

For each clue on the "Scavenger Hunt Handout," follow these directions.

Clue 1-Update and copy the church floor plan. Create a sheet on classroom setup. Include information specific to your church, such as fire code regulations and which classes share space with a preschool. Put these in the appropriate classrooms.

Clue 2-Put attendance books for each class in the church office. Include directions for taking attendance and where to place the book after attendance is taken. Provide a class roster with children's telephone numbers and addresses.

Clue 3-Display entire curriculum sets for each classroom-except for the teacher's book-in the Christian education director's office.

Clue 4-Place a bookmark in each teacher's book in the section about children's age characteristics. Set these books in your fellowship hall.

Provide enough student information handouts for the children in each class. This sheet could include spaces for the child's name, address, telephone number, parents' names, where parents are during the Sunday school hour, date of birth, date of baptism, allergies, special needs, hobbies or favorite things to do, the child's school, and siblings' names and ages.

Clue 5-Place copies of your discipline policy on a chair in a restroom. If your church hasn't created a discipline policy, then create a "Discipline Guidelines" handout. Provide classroom management information for teachers to place in their handbooks.

Clue 6-In the sanctuary, set up a cross, a Bible, and offering plates used during worship and in the classrooms. Set out a handout explaining what to do with student offerings and where the offering money goes.

Clue 7-Create an assembly time (large group meeting) handout that tells about your ministry's corporate meeting time. Arrange a cross, songbooks, hymnals, instruments, and handouts where the assembly occurs. Play continuous music in the room.

Clue 8-Attach a suggested classroom supply list to each labeled classroom supply container. Place these by the supply closet. Tape instructions to the supply closet door that describe what to do if needed supplies aren't found in the closet.

Clue 9-Clearly label library or resource rooms. Display resources and equipment in this room, such as a Bible background book, a concordance, a Bible dictionary, idea books, teaching pictures, videotapes, VCR equipment, cassette players, and computers. Highlight new resources. Include instructions for signing out materials.

Clue 10-Leave a short note describing child pick-up policies on the church kitchen refrigerator door.

1. Praise Time-Lead teachers in singing praise songs. Then read aloud Psalm 78:1-7.
ÁSay: This Scripture instructs us to hear and listen, tell and teach-especially to teach the children.

Give everyone an inflated balloon. Play praise music. Have people bat balloons to each other. When the music stops, have teachers freeze and look at their balloons. Mouths pair up with Ears.

Read one of the following talk-starters. Ear partners listen to Mouth partners answer the question. Repeat the entire process five times.

Talk-starters: Share five things you thank God for. What's your favorite parable? What's something you praise God for in your life? When have you experienced God's power? What do you hope to tell the children in your class about God?

2. Get a Clue-Form pairs. If you have teaching teams, have these teachers stay together. Teachers teaching alone can pair up with others interested in children's ministry, such as children's ministry committee members, prayer partners, parents, potential teachers, and substitute teachers.

Distribute the "Scavenger Hunt Handouts," church floor plans, teacher notebooks, and pencils. Have teachers move around the church using their "Scavenger Hunt Handouts" for clues.

Participants will return to the starting place at different times. When they return, encourage teachers to eat munchies and enjoy fellowship. Play Christian music in the background.

When all the participants are back at the original meeting place, answer their questions.

3. Eyes on God-Form a circle and give each teacher a candle. Light the candles and lead them in this Teacher Litany. Go around the circle and have each teacher complete the open-ended prayer.

Lord, help us love and teach your children.
We will teach the children you've entrusted to us.
Help me to encourage...
Help me to understand...
Help me to provide...

HELPFUL HINT: If you have a lot of teachers, have half of your teachers work through the clues backward-starting with Clue 10.


Hi ho! Hi ho! It's down the hall you go. Just use your map and find your class. Hi ho! Hi ho!
Action: Read the page on classroom setup. Write any questions on setup in your notebook. Tape the church floor plan to the wall so you can direct lost children and families.
Think about it: What challenges might children and parents have in finding my classroom? How can I effectively set up my room for students?

I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date. And in this place, they'll take my roll. I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!
Action: Find your attendance book and read the directions about how to take attendance. Find your class roster. With your partner, thank God for each child by name. Put the roster in your notebook.
Think about it: How will we take attendance? What needs might each child in my class have? What other children are there-not on our class roster-who we could reach out to?

Teachers and children don't knock; just enter. For this office is your Christian education center.
Action: Pick up your curriculum. Write any questions and notes concerning your curriculum in your notebook.
Think about it: Do I have all the pieces to my curriculum? What is my first impression of this curriculum?

This room is not narrow, though called a hall, and fellowship abounds through Christ for all.
Action: Read the information describing what you can expect from the children in your class. Pick up your set of student information handouts. Later, mail these to children with a letter of introduction, or pass them out the first day of class.
Think about it: What are kids this age like? Would I add anything to the information provided? Do I agree or disagree with this information?

Never mind whether you've been nice or naughty, right now you need to check out the potty!
Action: Find and read the discipline policy handout. Place it in your notebook. Look through your teacher book for any classroom management ideas.
Think about it: What is the discipline policy? What kind of atmosphere do I want in my classroom? What can I do to encourage that atmosphere?

Sing and pray, but do not race, for you have entered a holy space.
Action: Read the information on what to do with children's offerings and place the handout in your notebook.
Think about it: How will we collect children's offering?

Here the children gather and sing-ready to do most anything!
Action: Read the handout on assembly time and place it in your notebook.
Think about it: What's assembly time? How can I help with assembly time?

This is where we store supplies, take supplies, return supplies. This is where we find supplies, so early Sunday morning!
Action: Find your supply container by the supply closet. Please fill your box with the items on your classroom supply list. Notice what else is in the supply closet. Place the supply container back in your room.
Think about it: What supplies are kept in the classroom? in the closet? What if I need supplies that aren't in either place?

And now without a second look, go find a place with many books.
Action: Explore the resources in this room.
Think about it: Which resources might I use in my classroom?

Just like at home, when someone is missing, there hangs a note for you in the kitchen.
Action: Read the child pick-up policy note.
Think about it: Are students free to leave or are they picked-up at the end of class?
You've finished working through this sheet! Give your partner a "high five." Place this sheet in your notebook and return to where you began for refreshments and fellowship.

Randy Warner is a children's minister in Columbus, Ohio.


Having trouble tracking down the teachers you need? If the trail's grown cold, Ellen Larson's Recruiting: Help and Hope for Finding Volunteers (Standard Publishing) can give you a fresh start. Follow these clues:

Recruit a recruiter. Turnover in teaching staff is a fact of life. Give recruiting a top and continuous priority by creating a position for a recruiter who'll be part of the ministry leadership.

Recruit for the right reasons. Cultivate a conscious concern for the helplessness of each child if he or she doesn't have a teacher. And prayerfully search for people who are genuinely concerned about the spiritual development of children.

Know that God does the calling. God calls and gives abilities for the ministry needs in your church, but he asks you to do the praying.

Create a top 10 list. Take the time to think about the reasons people would want to be part of the teaching team in your church. You need to have a clear idea of the benefits before you approach others.

Write ministry descriptions on 3X5 cards. Describe all the volunteer possibilities, not just current openings. Include information on the time commitments and qualifications for each position. Keep them in an appropriate place for browsing.

Offer previews of classes in session. Invite prospective teachers to preview up to three classes of different age levels. Have previewers stay for a full class time on each visit.


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