There was a small part of me that was hesitant to even type those words. It should go without saying that the last action we want to encourage in our ministries is throwing an object. However, here is an instance where I feel we can bend the rules just a tad.
In the teen special needs class that I teach on Sunday mornings, I have continually searched for fun and unique ways for the entire class to participate and be involved. Some are not comfortable reading in front of others, some are non-verbal, some might need a buddy to assist, you get the idea. Rather than just call on a volunteer, I found a fun way to foster more participation and fun. The good news is that this idea only required two items.
I picked this suction cup ball from Learning Express, but they are also available via Amazon.
All I needed was a surface for the ball to stick to that I could also write on. Our classroom has a giant dry erase board, and that certainly would have worked, but we also have two large windows in our classroom. Drawing on the windows seems way more fun than the dry erase board, right?
With the dry erase marker, we drew numbers 1-10 on the window, each one inside of a unique shape. Now, my intention initially was to draw a giant square grid and write the numbers in the squares. When our students saw what I was doing, they hopped in and helped draw some of the shapes. There was no pattern or method to what we did and that made it even better than I had thought it out in my mind.
With the numbers in place, each person took a turn tossing the ball on the window. Once it landed and stuck to the window, we would look at what number it was closest to and call that out. I had prepared a list of questions that I had printed out. If someone tossed the ball and it landed on number 4, I would look at my list and ask the corresponding question. To keep things interesting, I did not make all 10 questions on my list about the lesson. I added a few fun questions to the list. These could be random trivia, fun facts about your town or state, sports, or animals.
I found that this was a great way to wrap up the lesson for the day and to get everyone moving and engaged. Everyone got a turn and we all had fun participating with the questions in a new and different way.
A word of caution here for those considering giving this a shot in your classes, however. If you feel that doing this in class will not set a great example for your students, such as encouraging anyone to draw on walls when they get home, then obviously you can go another route. If that is a concern, have your class draw out numbers on sheets of paper and lay each sheet on the ground. You might have a bean-bag-type ball that does not roll and you could take turns tossing the ball to see what sheet it lands on. You can use that number to ask the question from your list.
Either way, it is still OK to throw things in church!
Options for Online Class
If you are not yet meeting in person, but like this idea, here are some ways you can change it up to fit your format:
- You will have to plan ahead of time, but most households have a set of dice somewhere. They might be able to borrow some from a board game in the closet. Going in alphabetical order, give everyone at least one chance to roll their dice and see what question they get. They get the first chance to answer and if they don't know, you can open it up to the rest of the class.
- If you want to really make an impact, pick up a bulk set of dice and mail a set to each person in your class. Also, include a bright-colored index card with the words "I KNOW" written on it with a magic marker. You could package it in such a way that says "Do not open this package until ______!" and have them wait until the day of class. That could be a really fun way to build the excitement! For those who have tuned into the class via their computers or mobile devices, allow everyone at least one turn rolling their dice. Whatever number they roll, you can scan your list of questions and ask that and see who holds their card up that says "I know!" first. This might be a fun way for them to "raise their hands" instead of using the traditional option available via chat.