Introduction and Covenanting Lesson Plan

Here's a lesson from the curriculum we've been developing for our fall semester with the high school class. "Melvin the Christian" is an idea one of the teachers had at the end of last year-- build a chicken-wire frame, probably half-scale, of a person's body and over the year, as we talk about what it takes to live a Christian life, add layers of papier-mache, then clothes and other details, to Melvin to show how we're growing.

Feel free to use any of this that would be useful to you!

This matters on Monday morning
9th-12th grade curriculum
School year 2007-2008

Topic: Introduction and Covenant

You may need to complete this lesson in two parts; it’s designed to introduce the class to their teachers and to each other; get a sense of everyone’s spiritual activity; and create the class covenant that will make this a safe place.

Teacher’s Preparation:

How will I keep my classroom a safe place for all my students, in their bodies, minds and spirits?

Reflections for the Teacher:

In this class, you’re not THE BOSS in a negative sense. It’s not your job to keep everyone thinking exactly the same thing, or dump information into their brains and ask them to repeat it back.

You are a guide, a leader who points the way to our ultimate Teacher, Jesus Christ. That means we teachers don’t have all the answers, and that we expect ourselves to grow as our students do.

The goal of this curriculum is to present topics that our students deal with, through a Christian lens. How do we already act? What does our world teach us? How does God expect us as His people to be different? And how can we, every day, respond to God’s love by becoming more and more like our Savior.

Do challenge students’ opinions. Do make them think. Do tell them when God has a completely different idea than they think. But never make them think it’s not okay to wonder. Don’t make doubt a bad word; explain that wondering, and doubting, and feeling lost, are part of the journey we’re on, and that God will support us and guide us.

Who are we?

Ask your students to introduce themselves by sharing the following three facts:
Activity that will take up the most of my time this school year.

As teachers, introduce yourselves by name, reminding the students what you’d like to be called, (Mr. or Mrs. is okay, but students may have a hard time warming up to you with your title.)

Teachers, then share the thing about living a faithful life that you find the hardest to keep up with. You might want to share this in two parts—what God expects from a Christian, and how you find it hard to live up to.

Take time to pray.

Thank God for your students. Pray for them each by name during this prayer.

Pray for God’s strength and wisdom as we learn to live His way.

Ask for God’s guidance and forgiveness in the mistakes we make.

What will the tone of this class be?

Ask a student to take notes for the class during this next section.

Tell your students that your classroom will be a safe place for them. Then ask, “What should we expect from each other that will keep our classroom safe?” Write down all the answers.

Ask your students to define, “Confidential.” Explain that what you say in the classroom will be kept confidential. Then ask your students if they know any exceptions to a promise of confidentiality. (You’ll need to say clearly that if a student admits being a danger to him/herself or others, or is involved in a dangerous situation, you will have to report it to the right people—sometimes that’s parents, sometimes it’s law enforcement.)

At the top of the paper where you’ve written the expectations for your classroom’s tone, write, “We will,” and have students sign the paper. (We’ll laminate this or put it in a frame and make it part of your classroom.) This is your classroom covenant.

What has God already done in us?

Draw three long horizontal lines on a chalkboard, At opposite ends of the first line, write, “Don’t know what I think,” and “Completely set in my opinions.” On the ends of the second line, write, “Completely believe,” and “Completely doubt.” On the third line, write “Growing like a weed,” and “Standing still.” Ask your students to write their names on each line where they best fit.

The first line is for gauging opinions. The second is for checking where our belief in God stands as of right now. The third line is for asking, “How do I feel my faith has been growing over the summer?”


What’s the most powerful thing God has done in my life this year?
What does it mean to live God’s way?

What makes it hard to live God’s way?

How can we support each other as we work to live God’s way?

Explain to your class that you’ll be setting goals for yourselves to grow toward as part of each topic. Ask:

How can we hold ourselves accountable for our growth?

What should we do if one of us admits not making progress in a given week?

What support can we give each other during the week?

Melvin the Christian

Bring in the frame for Melvin and the papier-mache supplies. Today you’ll be making his first layer.

Ask each student to write on a slip of paper a sentence or two that describe where they’re at in faith. Use the scale you made on the board if you need to. These should be written anonymously, and can be pasted on face up or face down.

Close in prayer.

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