This lesson plan is copyrighted and belongs to the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian,
Cary North Carolina. It may be used for non-profit uses only.
Scripture: Psalm 23:1-6 (A psalm by David). The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Yea, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (New Revised Standard Version, with just a touch of King James!) (A poster of this should be on display in the room.)
Concepts: God takes care of us like a shepherd takes care of sheep.
God is with us even when we are scared.
God’s love and kindness are always with us.
1. The students will sing various arrangements/songs based on the 23rd Psalm. Singing the words will help those who have a hard time memorizing the scripture in isolation.
2. The students will use sign language to create a “movement collage” to help them remember the 23rd Psalm.
3. The students will learn a little about some of the people who wrote songs based on the 23rd Psalm and what the scripture meant to them.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Welcome the kids and introduce yourself. Wear your name tag. Make sure that everyone is in the right classroom! Kids will either already have name tags on, or will get a name tag from their shepherd. Make sure that you know everyone’s name and greet the students individually. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.
2. Start the “lesson time” with prayer. Ask for volunteers, but plan on praying yourself. You might want to start this lesson by playing some recorded music that is the 23rd Psalm. Have the kids listen and see if they recognize it.
1. If this is the first week of the rotation, have the kids locate the 23rd Psalm in their Bibles and read through it together. You can either have the kids read it together, read it verse by verse taking turns reading, or you can read it to them.
2. Practice one of the memorization activities. See the handout describing these activities. Tell the children that because the words of Psalm 23 are helpful when they are worried, sick or afraid, they will be memorizing it. They will be doing this same activity in each workshop throughout the rotation.
Depending on what you choose to include in your lesson, you may feel it would be redundant to do one of the above activities in addition to the activities planned in your lesson. AT THE VERY LEAST, HAVE THE KIDS LOCATE IN THEIR BIBLES WHERE THE 23RD PSALM IS!
1. Begin the lesson by asking the kids what “psalms” are. Remind the kids that we have hymns in our hymnal that are psalms. Why do we sing? What are some of the subjects in songs we sing here at the Kirk?
2. Tell the children that the psalms in the Bible are hymns that were used in worship and other special events during ancient times. We do not know the original tune that the psalms were sung too, but we have made up new ones!
3. Choose 2-3 of the below activities to use in the lesson. You will need to consider the age of the group you will be teaching each particular Sunday, the time involved and the activities that interest you when choosing which activities to do a particular Sunday.
§ There are many different versions of the 23rd Psalm set to various tunes. Listen to, play, sing a few of those for the kids. Encourage them to sing along with at least one of the versions that you present.
§ Choose one musical version of the Psalm and teach it to the kids. “The New 23rd” would be a nice one to use. There are, however, many different versions you could choose.
§ Use some sign language and background music to “dance” or move to the 23rd Psalm. Many of the key words in the Psalm have signs that the kids would enjoy learning and using. The words that are bold below would be good ones to teach the kids and use in a ‘movement collage’ set to music.
The Lord is my shepherd (sign for “sheep” and sign for “person), I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures (meadows); he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort (comfortable) me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell (live) in the house of the Lord forever. (New Revised Standard Version, with just a touch of King James!)
See the below listed website for information on the bold words below the words in
( ) are the ones used to find a sign that would work. Note that a sign for shepherd is “sheep” and “person”.
Remember, the younger kids will not be able to sign that many words you will need to decide how many different signs to incorporate based on the age of the class.
§ Use instruments to represent different words or parts of the scripture passage. What instrument would be good to use with the green pastures section? (chimes, bells). Drums for the valley of death and evil section. Sticks or other instrument for the table section and all instruments together for the last section. This is especially good with younger kids. They will have to listen for their section and make some connections between their instrument and that section. Ask them why that instrument is used for that section. What visual images are created?
§ Tell the kids about the lyricist Henry Williams Baker. Mr. Baker wrote a slightly different version of the 23rd Psalm that told of his faith walk and faith journey. His hymn is called “The King of Love my Shepherd Is”. Share with the kids the section by section ‘rewrite’ that Mr. Baker did. (see reference at end of this lesson plan). Encourage the kids to come up with their own version of the 23rd Psalm. Perhaps, if time, write one together as a class.
§ Act out a skit to the 23rd Psalm. You as workshop leader could be the shepherd, the kids the sheep. Use a green sheet or green streamers for the pastures, blue sheet or streamesr for still water, black streamers for valley of shadow of death, have some kids act has host/hostess and set a nice table, etc. Be creative - let the kids be creative!
4. Clean up! Begin clean up at approximately 10:30. Depending on which of the above activities you choose, more or less time may be needed. Involve all the kids so that as little time as possible is used.
Shepherds will pass out the journals and pencils/markers. The children should spend a few minutes reflecting upon the morning’s lesson which song or activity did they like best? What new signs did they learn? Ask the kids to close their journals and prepare for the closing.
The closing is to be a worship experience for you and the children. The workshop as a whole is modeled after a large corporate worship service. We praise and pray together in the Great Hall, the children are “preached to” in the Bible Story and Application part of the lesson, reflection time provides a chance for the children to “connect” with the lesson and a chance for confession, and the closing is the place for corporate prayer, praise, lifting up and dismissal. PLEASE DO NOT SKIP A CLOSING!
1. To close you might want to sing one of the songs you taught during the lesson. Another suggestion would be to have the kids listen to recorded music and have a quiet time together. You might want to close by asking the kids to share a sign they learned for the group and have everyone ‘read’ the sign.
2. End with prayer after doing one of the above. Ask if there are any prayer requests and if anyone want to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to pray yourself, but do ask the kids if anyone want to pray!
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study
2. Decide which activities you might want to use and gather any of the materials needed for those activities. There are simple instruments available in the Seekers classroom in the cabinets at the far end of the room. If you choose to use the suggestion with instruments, it is easy to make simple “jingle bell’ bracelets and wooden dowels cut into rhythm sticks work well.
3. Find some different versions of the 23rd Psalm in the hymn book, in recorded music and sheet music. Decide which one(s) to use and learn them. Have copies available for the classes to read.
4. Plan your closing. Decide which activity you would like to use. Prepare a closing prayer.
A poster with the revised version of Psalm 23
Copies of music to teach kids
Any props needed for suggested activities (streamers, sheets, instruments, recorded music)
Handout of activities for Memorizing Psalm 23
(“The King of Love my shepherd is” )