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PastorTMcKeever
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Posted: 19 August 2009 at 4:13pm | IP Logged Quote PastorTMcKeever

Who is using DiscipleTown and how is it going for you? I am just getting ready to roll it out myself and am very excited.

Come on and share your stories.

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Posted: 20 August 2009 at 2:21am | IP Logged Quote franktan14123

We'll use it starting this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.

What I like so far is the many options that allow for a team-teaching approach. Hoping to get my volunteers involved in different parts of the teaching hour.

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wbman
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Posted: 20 August 2009 at 7:41pm | IP Logged Quote wbman

I will be starting it on Sept. 6
looks like a fun series that will really kick off my year!

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Posted: 04 September 2009 at 1:27pm | IP Logged Quote franktan14123

We've gone through two weeks already of Discipletown. I love the fact that there are a lot of elements to choose from. I'm having fun with the puppet, although my older kids (4th-5th graders) are still deciding if it's cool to like a puppet.

Here are some areas though where improvements could be made:

1) Main teaching is primarily topical and not narrative. Depending upon the teacher, this could be difficult to teach and hold children's interest.

2)The activities are primarily sit down and are not interactive enough for the majority of kids. Would love to have more physical activities so the kids can move.

3) Dee's Tips could be transferable if available in the Table Talks or in a take-home bookmark for the kids.

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Posted: 13 September 2009 at 11:39pm | IP Logged Quote arobin13006

These comments of Franktan are mine too...exactly! I do like the material, oh, and the video clips are great but am so hoping for more narrative based material in the future, and when does that come out?

Oops, I think I have it figured out, I had thought this would be able to replace my previous Small Group, Large Group, Small Group Curriculum. But this is intended only to supplement Sunday School Curr. The balance of the content would be found in Discipleland's Sunday School material.
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wbman
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Posted: 14 September 2009 at 3:00pm | IP Logged Quote wbman

Karl,
I started DTown, yesterday and the kids seemed to really get the main point. I do echo what Frank has suggested. I think for many just having the outlined ideas will not be enough.
I think there is a ton of materials and it was nice being able to pick and choose. I also appreciated the quality of the powerpoints. The kids enjoyed the puppet skit and the other skits.
I actually ran out of time this week so I've got to do more editing for nest week.
Oh, I would suggest a basic bookmark or take home sheet that will have some reminders on it to help the kids remember what they learned.
I'm praying for my families that they will use the table talkers this week!


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Posted: 15 September 2009 at 2:02pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

franktan14123 wrote:
Main teaching is primarily topical and not narrative.

Can you expand on what you mean by "narrative teaching" - someone else emailed me with that phrase. What do you mean, what would that look like in a curriculum? My guess it is more than including a scripted story?

I personally use a LOT of narrative when I teach, but it is personal stories, humor, childhood stories, etc. that is hard to translate into curriculum. Which is why I included the "Connect with the Kids" personal object lesson segment to encourage the teacher to use a personal object lesson to connect the lesson to their own life when teaching. However, most of how I do this is too personal and unique to include in a published curriculum.

I'd love to get others input on narrative teaching.
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Posted: 15 September 2009 at 2:04pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

franktan14123 wrote:
Dee's Tips could be transferable if available in a take-home bookmark for the kids.

This is a FANTASTIC idea! I am going to talk to the designers at DiscipleLand about this! The second unit is already in production, but I think we can add this to the third unit, and the advantage to a download product, is this can be easy added to past units in the future, so be watching for the Frank Tan take-home bookmark!
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Posted: 15 September 2009 at 3:34pm | IP Logged Quote Glen Woods

Kidologist wrote:

  so be watching for the Frank Tan take-home bookmark!

But will there ever be a Frank Tan Bobblehead? Just wonderin'...



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Posted: 15 September 2009 at 6:40pm | IP Logged Quote wbman

I think as I was teaching, I was thinking about more narrative to help with the flow from point to point. I could see some, like my assistant struggling with how to make it flow. You and I have lots of stories and such to bring the points together but for some people they do need the script. So I guess what I would suggest is a bit more storyline to help out the teacher.

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Posted: 16 September 2009 at 12:41am | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

wbman wrote:
I think as I was teaching, I was thinking about more narrative to help with the flow from point to point. I could see some, like my assistant struggling with how to make it flow.

OK, so by "narrative teaching", people mean those bold words in the curriculum telling you what to say to transition between the different elements? I never even read those when I use curriculum, as I do it naturally. This is helpful to know what people need/desire from a printed curriculum, as I will adapt to make it as helpful as possible! I appreciate the feedback. The Tom Bump's Assistant Narrative Transitions coming soon!

Others - is that what you mean?
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Posted: 16 September 2009 at 12:43am | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Glen Woods wrote:
But will there ever be a Frank Tan Bobblehead? Just wonderin'...

Coming to a Toybox Tale near you soon!

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franktan14123
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Posted: 16 September 2009 at 1:39am | IP Logged Quote franktan14123

Kidologist wrote:
Glen Woods wrote:
But will there ever be a Frank Tan Bobblehead? Just wonderin'...

Coming to a Toybox Tale near you soon!


I just saw this post in an email, and was dumbfounded as to the why and wherefore of a Bobblehead discussion. Then I went back to the discussion thread and went, aaah!

If you ever find a Bobblehead in my image, make sure it either looks dumb or is going, aaaah!

About the narrative teaching approach, most children's ministry lessons are taken from narrative passages in the Bible. Most CM volunteers are good storytellers first, rather than teachers or preachers. Thus the benefit of a narrative approach (bibllical narrative that illustrates the point) is that it is more user-friendly to your average CM leader.

I agree that given a wealth of experience and training, most children's pastors or ministers can make a topical lesson come alive. That would be the ideal, but most volunteers are not at that level. So it would make sense to "dumb down" (without any malice intended) to allow DT to be more teacher-friendly.

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Posted: 16 September 2009 at 2:17am | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

franktan14123 wrote:
About the narrative teaching approach, most children's ministry lessons are taken from narrative passages in the Bible. Most CM volunteers are good storytellers first, rather than teachers or preachers .... So it would make sense to "dumb down" (without any malice intended) to allow DT to be more teacher-friendly.

Thanks for the clarification what you mean by "narrative approach." First of all, the focus of DiscipleTown is teaching Disciple Skills, so by design it will be more topical in nature rather than attempting to teach through Bible stories as its foundation. However, that doesn't mean narrative couldn't be incorporated into it more, and I wouldn't consider that dumbing down at all. It is merely a matter of of prayerfully seeing if I can better incorporate that teaching skill in future units. Keep in mind, Unit 2 is already written and submitted, but I'll be reflecting on this as I begin praying about Unit 3, How to Grow Spiritual Fruit. There are certainly many narrative passages on that topic I can include!
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franktan14123
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Posted: 17 September 2009 at 5:12pm | IP Logged Quote franktan14123

Here's another idea that may also work. Since DT teaching is discipleship skills more than narrative stories, we can also train kids (probably older elementary more than so than younger ones) to take notes.

How about a sermon notes handout page that has designated spaces for
  • Main Unit (What discipleship skill are we covering?)
  • Today's Main Point (What's the main point today?)
  • Bible Passage (Where can I find this in the Bible?)
  • Key Verse (What verse can I memorize to help me?
  • Highlights (What stood out for me?)
  • Application/Assignment (What do I do with this?)
  • Dee's Discipleship Tips


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Posted: 18 September 2009 at 3:36pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Kidologist wrote:
so be watching for the Frank Tan take-home bookmark!

As promised, the "Frank Tan" DiscipleTown Bookmark has been added to DiscipleTown!

Below is a sample bookmark from lesson one of the NEW How to Use My Bible:

DOWNLOAD HERE: Sample DiscipleTown Bookmark - Lesson 1

THANK YOU Frank for the wonderful suggestion keep them coming! Here on Kidology, we listen and respond!
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Posted: 18 September 2009 at 3:58pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

franktan14123 wrote:
Here's another idea .... How about a sermon notes handout page that has designated spaces for ....

Boy, you are on a roll! Great idea, but since children's church takes place during the adult service, it's not a strong fit at this point, but this unit will address kids getting into the Word on their own. The new Kids Church Book coming out SOON will have some in-church ideas for sermon note taking with kids.
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Posted: 21 September 2009 at 9:40am | IP Logged Quote Surge-Matt

I think he means the older kids taking notes during the large group lesson in kids church.

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Posted: 21 September 2009 at 9:53am | IP Logged Quote slccelpaso

We just finished DiscipleTown Unit 1 - and WE LOVED IT! At the very beginning of the unit I had the kids create WORSHIP BOOKS and then every week used the Cy's challenge as a take home assignment. They bring their books and Table talkers each week and they love to talk about worshipping God. Also because of the varying agaes we have - I altered the Bible Search to a Bible treasure hunt...we hide pictures that depict each scripture and then the teams search for the pictures, match the scriptures to them and race to be the first back -- each we say: WHAT TIME IS IT? And the kids shout: ITS TREASURE HUNT TIME! They are FINALLY excited about God's word! We used this curriculum as a revamp for our ministry and IT WORKS! Just a small request -- the first lesson had a scripture hand motion "dance" the kids loved this so much I had to make up one for each week!!!!! Love to have more! Thanks...
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Posted: 22 October 2009 at 12:39pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

slccelpaso wrote:
They are FINALLY excited about God's word! We used this curriculum as a revamp for our ministry and IT WORKS! ..... Love to have more! Thanks...

Thanks so much for the encouragement, you made my day! Loved YOUR creative ideas! Working hard on Unit 3 right now!
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Posted: 22 October 2009 at 4:24pm | IP Logged Quote arobin13006

We just started Unit 2 and are loving it. The aspect we felt was missing, "The Narratives" are Bible Stories as we believe kids remember and recall and relate to stories not just mine but in the Bible. However, that is the easiest thing for us to add, and I guess we wouldn't be so concerned if we had only older students but we go from 1st grade to 6th and the topical point to point teaching gets lost on the younger ones. I like slccelpaso's ideas of a Treasure Hunt as that also is a time our younger kids get lost in. We had gone to searching for fewer verses. Keep up the good work, I am looking forward to the next unit, it would be great to know ahead what units are coming up. Bless you!

EDITOR'S NOTE: DiscipleTown now includes Bible Narratives in response to the many requests like this one.
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Posted: 22 October 2009 at 4:34pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

arobin13006 wrote:
Keep up the good work, I am looking forward to the next unit, it would be great to know ahead what units are coming up. Bless you!

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement, here is an overview of the upcoming units as posted in the Kidology.org/DTquestions thread.

#3 November 20th: How to Grow Spiritual Fruit
#4 December 20th: How to Make Good Friends
#5 January 20th: How to Follow God’s Plan
#6 February 20th: How to Make Good Choices

Lots of good stuff coming! Working on ways to incorporate narrative without straying from the focus of the Disciple Skills which is the purpose of this unique curriculum since it is the compliment to DiscipleLand's Core Bible Curriculum which is VERY narrative based. Appreciate the feedback very much!
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Posted: 07 December 2009 at 11:23am | IP Logged Quote rjbacon9636

We have used DiscipleLand Core Bible Curriculum for years and I was thrilled to see the DiscipleTown offered.  Our teachers have always like a variety of options for teaching and DiscipleTown has not disappointed. 

Because of the timing with Advent and the late November release of Unit 3, I used a similar format (games/skits/verses/lesson/object lesson/advent craft, etc.) to put together a 5 week Advent series on the prophets, angels, shepherds, the Christ child and the Wisemen.  My Advent curriculum is working but I was wondering whether there were future plans for a Christmas/Advent Unit? 

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Posted: 21 December 2009 at 7:03pm | IP Logged Quote Mingin

I have just purchased and downloaded Units 2 & 3. We will be using them in term 1 next year. We only get one 'shot' at what we do here, as there is only one kids program (not kids Church and Sunday School) on a Sunday.

I like the look of it all, but had misunderstood the outline. I thought I could actually edit stuff without having to rewrite it.

I will see how it goes with my teachers next year and let you know. My concern is it will be too American for my team!

Certainly the content looks good, but most of my team need a very clear outline of what to say and do, and the concept of changing stuff is tricky for some of them!

I also will have to work out with the Table Talkers and the activity sheets if they can go home, most I think won't be able to :(
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Posted: 21 December 2009 at 8:59pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Mingin wrote:
I like the look of it all, but had misunderstood the outline. I thought I could actually edit stuff without having to rewrite it.

Let me know what you need via PM (private message) with your e-mail, and I will send you my original Word docs that I sent to the publisher. It will be pre-editing (!) but you will be able to edit as you wish! Hopefully that will help with any rewriting you need to do.

Mingin wrote:
I also will have to work out with the Table Talkers and the activity sheets if they can go home, most I think won't be able to

I'm curious why you think the Table Talkers wouldn't work at home? Not sure what 'activity sheets' you are referring to? The only take home is the family Table Talker (which is just a discussion guide) and book marks (which is just a reminder of the main lesson points.) I'm eager to hear how well it adapts "down under" to your culture there. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.
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Posted: 11 March 2010 at 11:45am | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Once again, we have responded to your feedback and made DiscipleTown even better because of YOUR feedback! New with DiscipleTown #6 is a new cover and spine PDF for those of you who like to print everything out and put into a 2 inch binder! Eventually, we will make these for past units as well!



"How to Make Good Choices" comes out March 15th!
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Posted: 12 March 2010 at 5:19pm | IP Logged Quote marylynn12539

You read my mind.  I was just thinking I would like to have a cover and spine.  Thanks
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Posted: 19 April 2010 at 2:17pm | IP Logged Quote Commander Bill

I've just begun using Unit 2.

The Bookmarks are good, I'm wondering if the Key Verse should be added to them.

Also, a rough estimate of how long each segment takes, so as planning is done, there is a rough estimate of how long the session should take. Maybe not for each lesson, but a general idea for churches using it for the first time, then they can tweak it from there.

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Posted: 14 May 2010 at 1:14pm | IP Logged Quote Kidologist

Commander Bill wrote:
I've just begun using Unit 2.

The Bookmarks are good, I'm wondering if the Key Verse should be added to them.

Also, a rough estimate of how long each segment takes, so as planning is done, there is a rough estimate of how long the session should take. Maybe not for each lesson, but a general idea for churches using it for the first time, then they can tweak it from there.

Those are BOTH excellent points, I will consider them both as I start writing the next unit, #8 How to Pray which comes out June 15th. The KeyVerse on the bookmark I'm a little embarrassed, that's kinda a "duh" - how did we miss that?? Somebody slap me! I'm going to talk to the publisher right away on that, though they JUST redesigned the bookmark for #7! But, Im hoping they will be with me on "making room for the word of God" LOL

On the timing, that's a little trickier, as obviously, it can be hard to estimate - but I'll give it some thought. I can see it could help with planning for sure. Have you looked at the planning guide in the supplemental resources?

Thanks!
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Posted: 15 May 2010 at 7:39pm | IP Logged Quote Commander Bill

Kidologist wrote:
....On the timing, that's a little trickier, as obviously, it can be hard to estimate - but I'll give it some thought. I can see it could help with planning for sure. Have you looked at the planning guide in the supplemental resources?


Yes, I looked at the planning guide and it helped a little. I know it can't be estimated at exact times for something as we all have different stories to share and ways to present things, but maybe estimated times 5 - 10 minutes / 5 - 15 minutes, or similar. Some things like the visitor, key verse, the intro items etc probably have a general range of times each lesson. Others would be more variable. I guess just a rough estimate to give the "newbie" an idea to gauge and to tweak from there. Maybe just noted in parenthesis or somewhere on the planning guide.
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