Facebook group member Leif Halvorson uploaded to the files area of the group the Green Light pre-confirmation curriculum that he and his wife, Kim Halvorson, developed for their congregation. The curriculum now has been uploaded to this site also, and you can access it here.
Leif and Kim both are certified teaches and it is obvious that they brought their knowledge of elementary education to the task of creating this curriculum.
LutheranCatechism.com invited Leif and Kim to provide our readers with an explanation of how they use this curriculum. By putting the following explanation together with the curriculum download, you’ll have a ready-made plan to prepare elementary children for confirmation instruction.
This is a little background on why we created the Green Light program, and notes on how we use it at our church as a Wednesday Night grade school curriculum.
The Green Light program for our church was born out of the desire for a Wednesday Night program for the elementary children of our congregation, a lack of teachers, and the realization that the confirmation age kids were coming into confirmation as 6th graders with remedial knowledge of our church beliefs. Our church elders requested a program for our elementary age kids and as the Sunday School Superintendent; I wanted to make sure the teaching was solid.
At the same time, while talking to the Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor, it became clear that our confirmation students were coming to confirmation with virtually no knowledge of the catechism or even basic Bible knowledge.
Leif and I were tasked with putting something together. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel and combining good resources seemed like the best way to go, so Pre-Confirmation was born out of existing CPH materials.
After compiling our plan, it was suggested that the name “Pre-Confirmation” sounded a little boring. I didn’t want to come up with a meaningless name, so I searched for synonyms of “confirmation” and found the phrase “green light” as in, go ahead. We ran with it and created green pennants out of felt to collect the pins each student earned, and larger versions of each pin out of felt for reference. We also picked up large format Small Catechism posters from CPH to adorn the room.
The Green Light program was put together as a Wednesday Night Church program for elementary students. The program is designed as a type of confirmation preparation course using My First Catechism and the study materials that go with it, as well as the The Story Bible for the core curriculum.
The curriculum was split up into a 3 year plan to fit with our Wednesday Night church schedule. It is designed to have coordinating memory work for grades 1-5, with Confirmation beginning in 6th grade. Any student starting in 1st grade would have to repeat two years at the end and would have harder memory work as they got older, building on what was taught before.
The teacher binder includes all three years of scope and sequence, the order of service, and the My First Catechism Activity Book Answer Key.
Each student has a study guide binder. Each binder has a title page with the student’s name and the first page inside is the Student Schedule for the year we are on. We use this to have the teacher initial each completed study guide page and keep track of the progress.
In order to get all the lessons in the three year rotation, we had to pull the sections out of order. To help with this, we took the My First Catechism Activity Book to the local print shop to have the binding removed and all the pages three-hole punched. The books were then reassembled into a binder in the order of the curriculum. I then inserted the Earned Pin Pages to the end of each section in the binder, and split up the years with construction paper. The kids can keep a single binder through the entire program. Each student also has a My First Catechism book that stays at the church to follow along. Our intent is to let each student keep the book when they move on to Confirmation.
We begin each class by reciting/reading Luther’s Evening Prayer. This is usually followed by singing a hymn. We usually pick one from My First Hymnal, because they are shortened for the children and have accompaniment CDs. We usually choose one specific hymn for several weeks and like to coordinate the hymn to the church season.
After we sing the hymn, we take attendance with stickers and a chart I create for the church with our specific Wednesday schedule.
Attendance is followed by our motto, “God’s Word Does Stuff.” We have the kids say it several different ways (shout, whisper, like a monster, …) to make it more fun. As Lutherans, we want our kids to understand the power of God’s Word and to cling to His promises. God spoke the universe into existence because “God’s Word Does Stuff” (Genesis 1). We believe that God’s Word creates faith because “God’s Word Does Stuff” (Romans 10:17). We believe that God saves us in the waters of baptism and we can cling to His work baptism for assurance because “God’s Word Does Stuff” (1 Peter 3:21) We believe that through communion God works forgiveness of sins because “God’s Word Does Stuff” (Matthew 26:26-28). We believe that in Confession, whether public or private, God works forgiveness of sins because “God’s Word Does Stuff” (1 John 1:9). The motto is so simplistic yet speaks volumes.
After the motto, we practice the memory work that the kids are working on or test them on the memory work that is due for the day. We give more than one week to memorize most of the memory work. Then, we move to the Bible story of the day. All the Bible story page numbers listed are from The Story Bible, listed in the resources section. All the Bible stories were chosen to coordinate with the catechism lesson. In some instances, no Bible story from the book was appropriate, so we inserted the coordinating Bible verses or left it blank.
When reading from The Story Bible, I like to read the vocabulary words listed at the beginning and have the kids listen for them while I read and end with the “Ask” and “Pray” sections.
Next, we read the catechism lesson to the class and complete the workbook pages. In our current configuration, half of our class is lower elementary (just beginning to read) and half of our class is in 3-4th grades, so at this point we have the older kids go into another room to complete the workbook page and check it when they are done. The younger kids stay in the room and we complete the workbook page together adjusting to their learning levels.
If we have any time left, we close in prayer, clean up the room, and let the kids play. The Sing the Faith CD from CPH would be a great way to help the kids with the memory work. We use it at home and our kids love it.
As a final note: Ideally, this program curriculum is designed for grades 3-5, but we have had great success with a slightly modified version with children as young as 4. Our major change has been to go through the Activity Book pages orally. When we started this in 2014, three of our five students were ages 4-5 and couldn’t read. I have been constantly amazed at what they pick up and remember through this by just working a little more one on one. The Activity Book has worked very well for our older students ages 7-9 on a more independent level.