From Genesis to Revelation
Exciting things are happening at Westridge!  The 4th, 5th, and 6th grade class is about to begin a Journey Through the Bible.  We’ll be reading from Genesis to Revelation and digging deep into the scripture by looking at archaeology, scientific proof, and culture and foods of the day, with crafts, activities, and acting out scenes in costume to cement the stories into our minds.


The classroom has been redone to give the ambience of bible lands from the moment you step through the door.  This is total immersion into the time and place of bible characters to make it as real as we possibly can in 2018 in Pocahontas, Arkansas.
As we study each book of the Bible, students will add another card to their ring (66 in all).  These cards tell the basic ideas in each book, how it pertains to their lives, and what key points and stories are contained within that book.  They can be used as a quick reference to help with study later on. 


We’ll be adding to the Journey Through the Bible notebooks with useful and interesting information to bring the stories to life.  And at the end of the course, students will receive a beautiful bible that they’ll be proud to use for years.

Check back periodically to see what we’re learning.

December 04, 2017
Our journey began this past Sunday with a small, but enthusiastic group of children.  Miss Edie and Miss Karen, who dressed as women from the bible, were eager to teach, share, and encourage.  In our excitement about the day we forgot to take pictures, but this morning, thanks to a very generous couple from Westridge, we have a new addition to our classroom:  A brand new Smart TV that we can view videos, maps and images, and other visuals on to enhance the learning experience.
We are excited, blessed, and thrilled.  This will be an exciting journey!  
December 24, 2017
The first two lessons in the Journey Through the Bible series were from Genesis.  We learned God created the earth and all that is in it and about the nature of God and how he reacts to sin. 
We are SO PROUD of our students.  They are eager to learn and each of them contributes to the class in comments, questions, and participation.
Since we are in the month of December, we decided to take a little diversion and talk about the birth of Christ and why God came to earth.  We spent one week discussing the prophesies that foretold the coming of the long awaited Messiah.
Then on Christmas Eve, we reenacted the manger scene and the coming of the Magi later on.  One of our elders joined us and we took the opportunity to ask him to be our narrator.
With scripts in hand, each child handled the scenes brilliantly. 
We discussed the gifts that the wise men brought when they visited Jesus later on.  Students were able to smell  frankincense and myrrh and we talked about the medicinal properties of these precious gifts.
Afterwards we sang “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night”.  We have some good singers in the class and hearing “Silent Night” sung by sweet innocent voices is a beautiful sound indeed.  
When asked what they learned that they didn’t know before we acted out the scenes, something different stood out in each of their minds.  It was good to talk about what they remembered or noticed and to reinforce it with added discussion.
Since we celebrated the birth of Christ this week, we had a three layer birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.  Each student told us how they planned to celebrate Christmas.  And in every case, the first thing they mentioned was time with family.
Miss Edie and Miss Karen had planned to sing “Mary Did You Know?” to them, but to our delight and surprise, they all knew the song and we all sang it together.
Have I mentioned what an amazing group of kids these are?  In 45 minutes, we put on costumes, acted out an important scene from the bible, had discussions, songs, birthday cake, and a great time learning about the birth of our Savior.
Next week we’ll pick up where we left off in Genesis.
January 2018
This month we built alters!  
Each time God interacted with His followers in Genesis, they recognized it as a momentous occasion or place and alters were built to mark the spot. 
Noah built an alter and made a sacrifice to God when he came off the ark.  We are learning the importance of listening and obeying God, as well as remembering and honoring Him.
The children love to act out scenes and who doesn’t love a good sword fight? 
So when the tribes were fighting and Lot was kidnapped from the scene of the tar pits (notice the black spots on the floor), they really got into it – the acting out part, not the tar.
Then when the visitors came and visited Abraham and Sarah there was more fun.  Sarah giggled from inside the tent at the idea that she would have a child in her old age, and the visitors were fed and shown great hospitality.  
Lot was rescued and Abraham’s character was seen in his refusal to accept any of the spoils.  He wanted his wealth to come from God.  We emphasize over and over in class what God expects from us and how He reacts to sin.  
As Abraham watched the destruction of Sodom (presented to the children as a city filled with sin, whose every thought was evil.  Period.), we watched a video of scientists who dug up sulfur balls embedded in ash at the actual site of where Sodom stood and took it back to their lab in New Zealand to test.  The sulfur turned out to be much purer than that we find in geothermal regions on earth, which means it would have burned much hotter.  Miss Edie and Miss Karen  burned some matches in a large can so the kids could smell the scent of sulfur.  This is the link to the video if you’d like to see it.  We found it exciting to see the actual site and to hear the scientific proof – further confirmation of what happened in the bible.
Our goal is to make each story as real as possible so the children retain them and learn more about the character of God.
February, 2018
We are still working our way through Genesis.  There is so much to learn and Genesis sets the groundwork for everything to follow.
We’ve mentioned the notebooks that the students were given.  In keeping with the ‘bible lands’ look, and using the title we chose for our lesson series, the notebooks have a cover that says, “A Journey Through the Bible.”
Each student has made a bookmark that lets them locate their Bibles quickly and is customized with  stickers, color coding, and/or beads with their initials on them.  They put much thought into the colors and beads they would use to make these.
We are finally seeing God’s promise to Abraham and Isaac starting to come true.  Jacob’s life has many important lessons to learn.  We try to keep the kids interested and tuned into what we are teaching, and we couldn’t let the opportunity slip by to learn how to make a Jacob’s Ladder with string.  Miss Edie is an expert in Jacob’s Ladder making.  She says it is muscle memory from when she was a child.  Hopefully our children will gain muscle memory to make a string ladder and also to remember the story that goes along with it!
At the point we are reading now, Jacob has eleven of his sons.  We try to leave the students with a “cliffhanger” each week so they will want to come back and find out what happens next.  
From the very beginning we wanted to teach the song, “Trust and Obey”.  It’s a song Miss Edie and Miss Karen both remember from childhood and if you reduce the Bible teaching down as much as possible, we feel this is the essence of what we should be doing in our lives:  trusting God, and obeying His commands.  Each student has a copy in the front of their notebooks and we have one hanging on our wall to remind us how we are to live.  We will be singing this song often as a reminder to trust and obey.