How DWELL Leaders Can Utilize the CRCNA Digital Library

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For the past 3 years, I’ve been a coteacher of DWELL Marvel (4th-5th grade) in Sunday school at my church. I teach a lesson every other week, and I usually prepare on Saturday night by reading through the leader’s guide lesson and by printing out the printable pages (handouts) from the DWELL website to photocopy at church the next morning. I am excited about the new CRCNA Digital Library because it’s going to make preparing and teaching easier for me.

Take-homes. My lessons refer to the Storymark—the take-home children’s resource for Marvel. I usually don’t know what’s in the Storymark until I look it over at church on Sunday morning. As a result, I often “wing” it when I walk the kids through the Storymark. Now, with the Digital Library, I can view the Storymark online while I’m preparing for the lesson, and I can plan which activities I want to point out in class.

Printable pages. Recently I taught a lesson that had three different sections to be read aloud in class by two people, and a map of Paul's missionary journey. I don’t really like to print out copies of a reading, skit, or map that may only be read or viewed once in class. Since our church has WiFi, I’m considering taking my iPad to church to use in reading the skits or showing the map.

Leader’s guides. I like teaching from the book, but since the leader's guides are in the Digital Library, I may try teaching from my iPad. There are also times when I need to cover for my coteacher in a pinch, and if I don’t have the leader’s guide with me, I can access the Digital Library anytime to get all the lesson materials I need.

Parents. I’m hoping that since my kid’s parents will now have access to the Digital Library, they can take a look at what I’m teaching—and even see the take-homes (since some of my kids like to drop those take-homes into a recycle bin instead of taking them home!). I may even email parents monthly with a link to the current unit so that they can take a look at it.

Church budget. Our church repurchases children’s resources (take-homes) every year, so the 20 percent discount for CRCs will really help our church budget. I hope the discount allows our church and others to make more resources available, such as God’s Big Story Cards for families (we use them only in class) or copies of the Dwelling handbook, for all of our DWELL leaders and teachers. If our church decides to use the downloadable Leader’s Guide PDFs, the discount will apply to those too.

I’m really looking forward to having access to DWELL materials in a new way.

Are you a DWELL leader or teacher? If so, how do you think you’ll use the Digital Library to help improve your church’s ministry to children?

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Let's Discuss…

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It's great that the library is available to teachers, however this article has some red flags for me, that you may consider. Firstly, the expectation that a Sunday school lesson can be prepared the night before or even 'on the spot'. Our children deserve better than that. 

Secondly, the 'take homes'. In this article they are mentioned as being a surprise to the teacher, unwanted by some children, foisted on the parents ( I can't be bothered checking what's in them, your kids don't want them, but you should deal with them). I suggest you either use them properly and excite your students, or give them something more valuable to take home, such as a memorable lesson.

Thirdly, the budget. Should we really be penny pinching when it comes to discipling our kids? There's something wrong with the idea that a church treasurer would suggest that the savings made (by the teachers reading something from their iPad rather than printing a few sheets of paper), entitles them to ask for further resources. Just buy the darned story cards! 

These are my thoughts on how I would use the Digital Library, to get others thinking about how they could use it, and how it could benefit their church. Every church, and every teacher, is different. Life happens, and I’m doing the best I can as a volunteer in a smaller church. The kids enjoy coming to class—and we’ve had great discussions using the wondering questions in DWELL.

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