Computer Software Lesson for Psalm 23
by Neil MacQueen
Importantly: These lesson ideas also works for other memorable psalms, such as Ps 8 and 51.
Point of View:
Psalm 23, has been called “The Gospel in Miniature” and “The Most Beloved Psalm.” Hands-down, it has to also be the most MEMORIZED Psalm –and for good reason. So I’m not going to re-invent the wheel or ignore the obvious here. In the computer lab, we’re going to focus on MEMORIZING this wonderful passage, and NOT spend so much time on parsing out its various and deep meanings. Psalm 23 doesn’t need that much help, thank you very much.
Computers are particularly good at helping with memorization because they make it FUN and REPEATABLE. And those are two important factors in memorization. Repetition over the short and long term is the way our brain really memorizes things. So while this is ONE lesson about memorizing Psalm 23, fact it, you need to GET BACK TO IT OVER TIME to really make it work. Use it or lose it.
Some Ways to Memorize Psalm 23 with Software
There are several ways, and depending on how much class time you have, the age of your students, and how many computer classes you devote to Ps 23, you might do them all!
Have the kids type-in the verses. Do one or two verses per game. You can create a Ps 23 set. If you’re not familiar with Cal and Marty, once you see the verse editor in it you’ll know exactly what I mean. You will see that Psalm 23 is one of the verse sets that comes with Cal and Marty. That’s for demonstrating purposes. You want your KIDS to create their own set. It’s the typing/creating that starts the memorization process!
Way 2: Illustrate Flashcards of Verses with Kid Pix.
Simple enough. Have kids spend about 5 minutes illustrating/typing a verse on the screen and then print them all from your various computers (or various kids at one computer) and use them for a flash card game or unscrambling game on the table. Why not just color a page with crayons or make the flashcards yourself? Because when kids FOCUS on the verses through the mouse and keyboard and onscreen tools, they are GLUING the verses into their brains!
Way 3: Play “How Few Can You Do” using a wordprocessor or Let’s Talk CD or Kid Pix
Computer lab enthusiasts will recognize one of my ‘stock’ computer lab games for REDUCING a long passage to its essential “keywords.” Hence the name, “how few can you do.”
You start the lesson with a simple short Bible study. You’ll be doing more “study” as you debate which words to keep or toss.
Round 1: Have the kids reduce the Psalm to its 12 most essential words.
Round 2: Reduce the Psalm to its 8 most essential words.
Round 3: Reduce the Psalm to its 4 most essential words.
Each round can be a debate, and an opportunity to interject teaching comments, such as, “Group 1, why did you leave out the words enemies and house?” The number of keywords in each round is arbitrary. Depends on the kids and passage.
I will do VARIATIONS of this game based on the Psalm content itself. For example, in Psalm 23, I will have the kids ONLY TYPE THE VERBS. (The verbs in Ps 23 point to God’s action.) and then have the group come up with only 7 verbs, then 3.
I like doing this on the computer with programs where the computer is made to SPEAK OUT LOUD whatever the kids type. Kid Pix for the younger crowd. Let’s Talk CD for the older ones. This way each group gets to PLAY their words for all to hear.
(BTW: typing is a memorization device )
AFTER playing “How Few Can You Do” I will OFTEN have them ILLUSTRATE their 3 or 5 most important keywords and hang them in the room. That too is a good long-term reminder. I’ve done this a couple of different ways… posters, etc.