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Discussion and Lesson Starters

Discussion and Lesson Starters

by Youth Specialties

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More than 200 proven openers, questions, and activities that get students involved in your lessons! - A Primer on Leading Discussions . . . Starting a discussion, and keeping it going . . . The importance of confidentiality . . . Asking questions that get responses . . . And working with different personalities. - 35 Creative ways to start a discussion or lesson on


More than 200 proven openers, questions, and activities that get students involved in your lessons! - A Primer on Leading Discussions . . . Starting a discussion, and keeping it going . . . The importance of confidentiality . . . Asking questions that get responses . . . And working with different personalities. - 35 Creative ways to start a discussion or lesson on any topic . . .Techniques general enough to fit just about any subject, but still quirky enough to attract adolescent attention. - Discussion & Lesson Starters, By Topic . . . What subject are you teaching this week? First, look up your subject -- apologetics, attitude, dating, disabilities, faith, family, the will of God . . . And more than 30 main topics, all arranged alphabetically. Then choose the opener that fits your purposes and your group. In fact, many of these openers are virtually complete lessons in themselves, with questions, activities, parables, object lessons -- all designed to draw opinions, thoughts, and feelings from your students. Whether you're a youth worker or recreation director in a church, school, club, or camp -- Discussion & Lesson Starters is your storehouse of proven, youth-group tested ideas.

Product Details

Publication date:
The Ideas LibrarySeries Series
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Discussion & Lesson Starters

Groupers are unfi nished sentences like 'I wish I
were....' They can be used to stimulate discussion.
Through them, young people can express and explore their beliefs and goals. As a result, kids can discover what their values really are.
One way to use Groupers is to follow these steps:
1. Give each participant a pencil and index card.
2. You can read aloud the groupers, write them on the board, or distribute them on index cards. Then have each person complete the groupers.
3. Encourage kids to complete their groupers honestly. No one will be graded or judged right or wrong. Every answer is acceptable. Each person has the right to decline to participate and the right to anonymity.
4. Collect the completed cards, read them aloud, and discuss them.
5. Conclude your discussion by reading your own grouper, and ask for feedback. Or read your grouper with the others so that kids won't know it's yours. Conclude with your own comments about the discussion.
Instead of reading answers for them, have kids read their own responses aloud. This works best if kids know each other well and if there is an atmosphere of freedom and trust among them. Kids can elaborate on their responses and answer group questions or not. All answers are acceptable, and kids can decline to participate.
Here is a sampling of groupers:
I fear most...
I wish I were...
I wish I were not...
I wish I had...
I wish I had not...
I wish I could...
If I were the leader of this country, I would...
The leader of this country should...
The happiest day of my life was...
If I could start this year over, I would...

Here are techniques general enough to fi t just about any subject,
but still quirky enough to attract adolescent attention.
My favorite place is...
My parents should...
I wish my parents wouldn't...
What hurts me the most is...
If I had $25, I would...
I would like to tell my best friend...
The worst thing a person could do is...
What always makes me mad is...
If I could do anything without being found out, I would...
I always cry when...
I always laugh when...
I hate...
If I were the principal of my school, I would...
If I had a million dollars, I would...
If my parents left me alone, I would...
The most important thing in my life is...
If I had X-ray vision, I would...
The hardest thing for me to do is...
Many young people are intimidated in church situations when asked to express opinions on controversial issues in front of their peers and/or adult leaders. This approach will allow them to say what they feel without fear of what others might think.
Cut up paper strips, about 111/2' x 8' long. Give everyone a pencil and a strip of paper. Ask questions that only require short answers and ask them one at a time. Each student writes a number 1 at the top and answers the fi rst question, then folds the paper down to conceal his or her answer. The papers are then passed to the person on the left and question number
2 is answered just below the folded-down portion.
With each question, the paper is folded and passed to a new person until all the questions are answered.
Collect the papers and redistribute them again and have everyone unfold the paper they received. As you repeat the questions for discussion, each person answers the way their paper reads. Usually the result will lead to further, less inhibited discussion,
especially when students discover that their views are probably shared by quite a few others in the group.
Whitey White
One of the best ways to get discussion going in a youth group is to bring in various points of view on a subject. One way to do this is by interviewing people outside of the youth group on tape or video and playing it for your youth group. For example, if the subject is love, interview a young child, an elderly person, and someone from an urban neighborhood,
asking them how they would defi ne love. Edit out the bad or dull ones and this can make an interesting program and a good discussion starter.
Do you have trouble getting your young people to share their experiences? Try a Textimony Service.
On slips of paper write verses of Scripture dealing with some specifi c promises that the Lord makes to believers for their everyday lives. Then pass out the slips to the group and have them share how the
Lord has been keeping that promise in their lives. If you like, you could let them pick their own verse to illustrate something that has been happening in their lives. Perhaps someone hasn't taken full advantage of a promise to which he is entitled; he might share that with the group. Someone else may have a helpful insight for that person. The group could pray for individual needs and needs that the whole group may have. Possible promises can be found in the following verses: Gal. 5:18, Eph. 2:14, John 16:23, John 14:27,
John 10:10, Ps. 91:15 (Reprinted with permission from HISWAY, 1445
Boonville, Springfi eld, Missouri 65802)
In order to get your group to open up and share their inner feelings and Christian experience, try using this technique. Take a ball of yarn (size is determined by the size of the group involved) and explain to the group that you are going to ask them to participate in a little experiment. Tell them that in a moment you are going to throw the ball of yarn (while holding onto the end so the yarn will unwind) to someone in the group. The group should be standing in a circle.
When that person catches the ball of yarn, she should share either:
* What God has done for her
* What God has done for someone she knows
* What God has done for all of us (Christ's death, given us his
Word, etc.)
* Something that she is thankful for
Then after she has shared one of the above,
she will throw the ball to someone else in the circle
(while holding onto the yarn) and the next person who catches the ball will also share one of the four things above. Keep this going until everyone in the group has had a chance to share at least once (several times is best, but this depends on the size of your group and the time you have).
After you have made a spider web pattern with the yarn and everyone has had a chance to share, stop the ball and begin to ask some questions:
1. What is this yarn doing for us physically?
Answers would range around the idea of holding us together. (Before this you could comment that the effect of the sharing has created a somewhat beautiful web between the members of the group.) You could briefl y mention that for a beautiful pattern to evolve,
everybody had to participate.
2. Have one or two members of the group drop their hold of the yarn. Immediately the center web becomes loose and the effect is for the circle to widen a little.

Meet the Author

For over thirty years, Youth Specialties has worked alongside Christian youth workers of just about every denomination and youth-serving organization. We're here to help you, whether you're brand new to youth ministry or a veteran, whether you're a volunteer or a career youth pastor. Each year we serve more than 100,000 youth workers worldwide through our training seminars and conventions, resources, and on the Internet.

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