social spark Aisling Beatha: How I Choose Assemblies


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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How I Choose Assemblies

This is my day eighteen post for the "31 days of blogging in October" challenge.  I am blogging 31 days of Children's Ministry.  To find links to all the other days (as they get posted) go to DAY 1.

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This week where I live and work is the half term break from school.  That means I have no assemblies to do, because the schools are not open.  It doesn't mean I won't be working, however.  During each half term break I choose the assemblies I will use during the following term.  So now I am choosing the assemblies I will do in January, February and March.  I will email these to the schools by the end of this week, so that when they get back at the beginning of the following week they can choose the dates for their assemblies.

I have a number of resources I use when looking for assemblies.

These are the ones I go to most often.

Then there are a few books that I go to to look for ideas:

Initially I will go to those (and other books and websites) for a quick scan through.  I will bear in mind any particular Christian Festival I want to cover plus any themes I am aware of in the school year, such as anti bullying day or walk to school day and so on.  I will bookmark a few assemblies on the sites, or put post it notes on pages in the books, initially marking more than I will actually need.  A couple of days later I will look again at the pages I have marked to narrow the list down.

Some assemblies need props to illustrate the point, others are just me talking.  Some need interactivity from chosen volunteer children, others are just me alone or the interactivity is from the whole school.  For some assemblies I make use of the multimedia equipment available to me in school, but most of the time I try not to, because that always has the opportunity to go wrong out of my control. I try to keep a balance across the term and certainly across the year of a mix up of all those things.

I will then narrow down my list to the 3 or 4 I need for that term with maybe one back up.  Then I look at whether I can use the assembly (or idea because sometimes I pull discussion starter ideas and turn them into assemblies) exactly as it is or whether I will need to do a lot of work on it to make it usable in the schools I work in.  Again I try not to choose 3 or 4 that all need a lot of work for me to use them, I try to keep a balance.

I also try to build the Christian content each term, beginning the term with something that might seem very Christian light to fellow church members, increasing that in the second assembly and going much deeper in the third and possible fourth assembly each term.

If I feel I have that balance right, I will set the list aside for another day and come back to it a third time to look over it again.  If I am still happy with my list, I will write a summary couple of sentences for each assembly that I can include in the email to schools.

Finally I type up or copy and paste for my own use, the details I do have and begin the work on editing them to be as I will use them.  Most time that editing work continues through the term as I LEARN each of the assemblies, because sometimes what looks good on the page will not necessarily come out the same when I start to speak it out and I will edit as I go through that learning process.  Maybe I will come up with a better way of saying something, or think of a different story to illustrate the point, maybe I will be able to add a personal illustration that means something to me, all of those elements might make the assembly more memorable first for me as I learn it and secondly for the children when I deliver it.

Those are not the only websites out there with assembly ideas on but a lot of the others are aimed more at school teachers who are having to lead the assembly, rather than Christians coming in from the outside.  There are plenty of other books out there of assemblies or short talks.  I also sometimes scour the books I use for Sunday School, particularly the books and websites with Object Lessons in them, although most of those assume a much higher level of Christian understanding already, than most of these children have, and assume the talks are being given to a Christian audience so you can say things I would not be able to say in school.  Having said that, sometimes there are some excellent ideas.

So with that I had better finish and get started on this week's process.
Later in the month I will share with you the list I have chosen for the Spring term 2013.

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