Tag Archives: Review

On Ideas for Games

We have gathered some ideas of games that can be played in Sunday Church School. Those of us who are on summer break can take advantage of this time to review these, select the ones that will work with our class, and then have them available for the upcoming year. Some of these games can be prepared ahead of time. Others we will just want to be familiar with so that we have them as an option for use with our lessons.

Let’s get ready to have some fun with our Sunday Church School classes! Here are some game ideas that we found:


Find some Orthodox game ideas here: http://orthodoxeducation.blogspot.com/2016/10/orthodox-games-on-go.html


This page offers 12 games that would each be a fun way to review or test learning at the end of a lesson. You may want to gather and prepare some of the required equipment so that you’re ready to go when you want to play one of these games with your class! https://paththroughthenarrowgate.com/sunday-school-games/


These games are perfect for Bible memory, but could also be adapted for use with a quote from a saint or a summary of the Sunday Church School lesson: http://paththroughthenarrowgate.com/12-bible-memory-verse-bible-games/


Despite the name, the activity ideas at this page are not nearly all games. However, some of them are, and all of the ideas could possibly come in handy for you. Check it out and see if any of the activities would work for your class this year! https://disciplr.com/49-best-sunday-school-games


Keep these wiggle-busters (at different suggested age levels) in mind for when your students need a few minutes’ break from an intense lesson: https://buildfaith.org/8-quick-games/#gref


This page offers ideas for using sticky notes for simple games to learn Bible verses or to inspire guessing what the lesson will be about: http://daniellesplace.com/html/fast-easy-bible-games.html


Although they’re called “Bible review games,” many of these could be adjusted to review other lessons, as well. http://daniellesplace.com/html/BibleVerseReview.html


“Praying Man” is a review game (like “Hangman,” with a more positive outcome for the loser)! http://www.booksbycorine.com/blog/how-to-play-praying-man


If your preschool class’ curriculum includes some Bible stories, you may want to check out these story-specific, free printable file folder games: https://christianpreschoolprintables.com/bible-file-folder-games/


Gleanings from a Book: “Icon” by Georgia Briggs

Author’s note: This book will be of great encouragement and benefit to every Sunday Church School teacher’s journey of Faith. However, since the book is geared to older children, be aware of the events of the book and use caution when sharing it with your students. You know them, so you know if they would benefit from reading it, or if the events would be too disturbing and they would not find it uplifting. The book would be an excellent upper grades/teen book study!

I did not want this book to end. That is the first time in a long time that I’ve read a book and felt that way. “Icon” by Georgia Briggs may be aimed at young adults, but it is no ordinary young-adult-aimed fiction book, and is a great read for adults as well.

The story line in this book is believable, though fictional, and I found it hard to put the book down because of both the story line and the Orthodox insights throughout the book. “Icon” is the moving story of a young Orthodox Christian girl in a era similar to our own, except that in this dystopian tale (set in 0000 ET, “Era of Tolerance,” with flashbacks to the Pascha before ET began), it is suddenly no longer legal to be a Christian, most especially an Orthodox one. “Icon” is a story of loss, finding, miracles, death, light, and restoration, written so believably that the reader thinks “this could really happen!” It is a gripping story of Faith put to the test.

This book challenges its readers to think about their own Faith. What if all that we currently do and take for granted with regard to our Faith were suddenly illegal and we were being watched at every turn? What if our family members died/disappeared simply because of their Faith? What if we were left alone and had to move to new surroundings and change even our very name to one unassociated with our Faith? And what if all of this happened to us at the tender age of 12? My guess is that many of us would not react with the same endurance that Euphrosyne does. (But neither is this one of those books that glosses everything over. Euphrosyne definitely struggles with doubt and temptation all along the way, and the reader struggles along with her, knowing what she ought to do, but also understanding the reality of what will happen if she stands strong for her Faith!) The book is written so realistically that one almost feels the need to keep an eye out for “traps” in his/her own life after reading it.

After reading Euphrosyne’s struggles and then thinking through the questions that those struggles point to, the reader is left with the determination to take nothing about the Faith for granted. Readers will continue to realize the blessing that icons are in their life, whether the human-written ones or the icons that are still wearing the flesh that God Himself wrote. When a reader makes the sign of the cross, they will ponder the “streaks of light” that Euphrosyne could “see” traced over her Orthodox friends’ chests near the end of the book. The Divine Liturgy will not be the “same old” liturgy so easily taken for granted… I could go on and on (at the risk of divulging too much of the story) with ways that the reader will be challenged to ponder their faith. Suffice it to say that this book makes its readers really think about their Faith and then value it like never before.

If you choose to share this book with your students, be sure that you read it first (it won’t take you too long: as I mentioned before, it is hard to put down!), so that you have a grasp on what is coming. If you share it with the class, you can read it aloud with them, or have them read several chapters at a time that you can then discuss when you meet together. It would make a great summer “book club” read that you could meet up during coffee hour to discuss the next few chapters, even if you are not having Sunday Church School over the summer! Regardless of how you read it, be sure to talk together about this book. It is my opinion that your Faith (and your students’ Faith!) will be strengthened after reading and discussing this book together!

Purchase your own copy/copies of “Icon” here: http://store.ancientfaith.com/icon-a-novel/

Learn more about author Georgia Briggs here: https://georgiabriggsauthor.wordpress.com/

Here are some quotes from different parts of “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, along with suggestions of discussions your class could hold when you arrive at that part of the book. (With apologies for spoilers: they are difficult to avoid in this book!) We hope that these selections can help to give you an idea of the types of discussions that this book can encourage!

“Mimi leans closer to me. ‘I’ll tell you a bigger secret,’ she whispers, ‘I am still Orthodox. My name is Mary. And guess what? It always will be.’

‘They made me change mine to Hillary,’ I say, ‘I used to be Euphrosyne.’

‘After St. Euphrosynos the Cook?’

‘Yeah. He was my patron saint.’

‘He still is your patron saint,’ Mimi whispers.

‘What if he isn’t, now that my name is different?’

‘They can’t change the name God gave you, Mimi says.‘Besides… you want to know something really ironic?’


‘Hillary is an Orthodox name too,’ she says with a grin. She shakes her head. ‘And Mimi is short for Miriam, which is just another form of Mary. Somebody didn’t do their research.’”~ “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, p. 44

This exchange between Euphrosyne and her new friend, Mary the librarian, offers the chance to talk about names. What name does each member of your class go by? What is their Christian name? Spend some time learning more about and teaching each other about your patron saints!


“I’m quiet for a few minutes, considering what he’s saying. It seems so easy, so simple, to believe that goodness is just following your heart and being nice to people.

It’s flat, thought. It’s like Winter Holiday instead of Christmas, warm and fuzzy but not real. It’s nothing like the rich smell of incense, or the warmth in your throat when you swallow communion, or the brightness of Pascha. I’ve pulled a bullet from an icon and watched it bleed. Maybe if I had grown up with my grandparents, I could agree with Dr. Snead, but you can’t go through what I’ve been through and not believe in God. The real question is if I want to follow God or not.” ~ from “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, pp. 99-100

Ask your students what they think of these thoughts Euphrosyne has in one of her “sessions” with Dr. Snead. Have them mentally compare their own spiritual life with the life of a non-religious person their age, to see if there are parallels to what Euphrosyne is saying about the emptiness of life without Faith. Invite them to cite incidents of times when they have had the opportunity to see God at work. Encourage them to think about following God as well, even if no one else around them is choosing to do so.


“He turns the icon toward me, and I see St. Nicholas’ stern eyes and set mouth…

‘I thought Christians weren’t supposed to worship things like this,’ Dr. Wilcott says. ‘Graven images. Isn’t that kind of like idolatry?’

It’s like a picture of a friend, I think. Not an idol. But if I get drawn in, I might say too much, so I just say, ‘I don’t know.’

Dr. Snead chuckles. ‘Same old Hillary, shutting herself off.’”~ from “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, pp. 162-163.

After reading this passage, talk with your students about icons and idolatry. How do the students define the difference between reverencing an icon and idolatry? Have they ever encountered someone who accused them of idolatry because of having icons in their home and church? Talk together about Euphrosyne’s personal description of what an icon means to her. Challenge the students to think of the best way that they can describe what an icon means to them, so that when they meet with opposition or accusations, they can clearly express their intent with having and/or reverencing the icon.


“‘So, I assume you’re here for one of these?’ [Dr. Snead] waves his hand from me to the icon. ‘Or both?’

‘Both,’ says Father Innocent.

‘How about we make a deal?’ says Dr. Snead. ‘I’ll give you one. You choose.’

‘Then I must take Euphrosyne.’

‘The sick orphan instead of a holy icon? Look at her. She won’t make it out to your car.’

‘There are two holy icons here,’ says Father.

Dr. Snead blinks in confusion.

‘And I believe St. Nicholas can take care of himself,’ Father Innocent says…” ~ from “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, pp. 180-181

Talk with your students about this passage. What does Father Innocent mean when he says that there are TWO icons in Dr. Snead’s office? There is St. Nicholas’ icon with the bullet hole and the bloodstain, and what/who else? Which icon is Fr. Innocent choosing to take with him? Do you think that is a good idea? Why or why not?


“When I get close, I realize I can see more than just the stuff on the outside. I can see her soul too. And it makes me sad. Its silver glow has dark scars across it. There’s a jagged rip over her heart and another on her right hand, the hand she’s holding over her face as she cries. The one across her heart looks old, but the one on her hand is fresh. I hover beside her, trying to touch her.

‘Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.’ she whispers over and over again. She makes the sign of the cross, and her fingers leave a trail of light that lingers for a moment before disappearing.”  ~ from “Icon” by Georgia Briggs, p. 195

Talk together about this passage after reading it. Why do you think her soul glows? Where did the scars come from? Why do her fingers leave a trail of light when she crosses herself? How does this make you think differently about your own soul and your own prayers?

Ideas for Year-End Review

Review is important to help our Sunday Church School (SCS) students reflect on what we have studied, realize how much they’ve learned, and cement those learnings in their mind. At the end of each lesson, we review what we have just learned in that lesson. In the same way, it is important that we review the whole year at the end of a Church School year. This blog will feature suggested ideas of ways to review with your class. These ideas can be used for any individual lesson or cumulatively at the end of the year.

  • Find a very thorough list of strategies for reviewing concepts on this printable pdf: http://www.gcasd.org/Downloads/Summarizing_Strategies.pdf. Strategies are divided into “written” and “non-written” categories. This pdf can be printed and kept in your teacher notebook, for easy reference as you plan every lesson.
  • Review using the  “Quiz, Quiz, Trade” method, where everyone receives a review question on a card (you can create these question cards, or have each student carefully write their own). Students find a partner, and take turns asking/answering each other’s questions. They then trade cards, find a new partner, and repeat. After what seems an appropriate amount of time, collect all the cards and quiz the whole group together. The students should know almost all of the answers at that point! See http://www.minds-in-bloom.com/2012/12/quiz-quiz-trade.html for more information.
  • Write key words/names/concepts, graffiti-style (in a variety of colors, if possible), all over your chalkboard/whiteboard in your classroom. Students take turns selecting one of the terms, explaining it or telling what they know about it, and then erasing that word off the board. See http://music-teacher-resources.com/graffiti-board/ for details on how one teacher used this activity.
  • Hand out a pile of index cards. Have the students write their own review questions, one per card, on the lined side of the index cards. They will write the answer on the blank side of the card. (This may take a at least one SCS period, depending on the age of your SCS students.) When you have a good number of cards, mix them well and place them, question (lined) side up on a pile. Use the questions for a review game. (Review Game Idea #1: Divide the class into two teams; each team takes turns pulling a card, reading the question aloud, and answering it. They can check their answer on the back of the card to see if they get a point for a correct answer or not. Review Game Idea #2: Class vs. teacher(s) if your class is not large. This version is played in the same way as idea #1, except that one team is the entire class and the other team is the teacher(s).)
  • Review game for younger children: turn your entire Sunday Church School classroom into a gameboard as suggested here: http://bibleschoolteachers.blogspot.com/2008/09/classroom-floor-gameboard.html. Write questions that review the concepts you have learned in class, and use those questions for the game.
  • Review game for older children: create a “Bazinga” card-and-card-pocket board and then play the review game as described here: http://simplifyingradicals2.blogspot.com/2012/05/bazinga.html. (Note: the blog comments after the game directions on this page are full of other review game ideas, as well!)


Here are more fun review ideas for the Sunday Church School classroom:


Use an online generator to create your own printables to help your Sunday Church School students review the concepts you have studied. For example, create your own crossword here: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/generator-crossword-puzzle.html; a word search here: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/generator-word-search.html; a word scramble here: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/generator-word-scramble.html; and a missing letters printable here: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/generator-missing-letters.html. Or, if you’d rather, create your own BINGO review game (with up to 50 randomly-generated playing boards) here: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/generator-bingo.html.

(*Note: the above generator is free and the printable you create can be printed with a watermark. If you wish to create and SAVE the printable and/or print without a watermark, however, you will need to become a Super Teacher member. There are other printable generators, as well.)


Use review questions on 3×5 cards to play “Concentration” as outlined in this review lesson: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/03/lp306-05.shtml


Larger Sunday Church School classes could participate in these year-end-review games: http://squareheadteachers.com/2012/09/21/best-ever-games-to-review-in-any-content-area/


Find links to five more fun ideas of classroom review games, such as “Will the Winners Lose?” on this page: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson321.shtml


There are 10 review game ideas (ever play “Pass the Chicken?”) here: http://www.teachhub.com/fun-review-activities-classroom-games-do-now