Winter 2013-14 Grades 1-6 Leader Extras (with suggested Dates!)

Winter 2013-14 


Unit 1: Starting Over*

Session 1: Hope (Suggested date: 12/1/13)


Session 2: Forgiveness (Suggested date: 12/8/13)


Session 3: Love (Suggested date: 12/15/13)


SPECIAL FOCUS: Jesus Was Born (Suggested date: 12/22/13)

Session 4: Change (Suggested date: 12/29/13)


Session 5: Renew (Suggested date: 1/5/13)

Session 6: Faith (Suggested date: 1/12/14)

Unit 2: Real-Life Questions*

Session 1: Does God Love People? (Suggested date: 1/19/14)

Session 2: Who Is God? (Suggested date: 1/26/14)

Session 3: Why Should I Tell About Jesus? (Suggested date: 2/2/14)

Session 4: Who Wrote the Bible? (Suggested date: 2/9/14)

Session 5: How Did God Create the World? (Suggested date: 2/16/14)

Session 6: Why Is There Sin? (Suggested date: 2/23/14)


*Suggested dates are for churches who are using the December-February quarter.


  1. At the KidMin Conference we talked about having a supply list that I as the director can gather or at least be sure we have the supplies available for each group. Once I give the leaders their book and cd I have no way to know what they need unless they actually look ahead and tell me. Is a lesson specific supply list coming or do I need to go through and read each book before I pass them out? Thanks for your help.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Bethany,

      A total resource list for every book would be quite and endeavor. We will work on it, but I’m not sure when that could be ready. I did put the unit overviews and Bible stories online so that they can be easily referenced.

  2. Are the pages where the review questions are located listed in the table of contents in the winter quarter’s leader guide?

  3. I am not sure why LifeWay would not automatically incorporate a Christmas lesson in the curriculum for December. And still virtually nothing for December 22 in this “Optional Christmas Session.” Since when is Christmas an optional topic in our Sunday Schools? I feel like listing reasons why we should be teaching Christmas lessons at Christmas time but that is really a silly thing to do. Our staff and most of our Children’s ministry leaders, if not all, are very confused and pretty upset about this decision. Could you give me some sensible reasoning for doing this? Have we just missed something here? Thank you.

    • Hi Dwight,

      Our curriculum now runs under general dates instead of “hard and fast” dates. That means many churches, like the one I attend started using the Winter curriculum weeks ago. It also means that until a few weeks ago, people were still heavily ordering our Fall curriculum, which would put them using the Winter curriculum at the end of January at the earliest. Because one of our guidelines is being flexible, we wanted to make sure that everyone had enough lessons, so for Winter, we provided 17 sessions instead of 13. 4 were available for extra Christmas sessions both on the post where you commented and on the Enhanced CD. I’m sorry for the confusion, but our intent was to make the curriculum easy for all churches to use. Please make sure that you notice the 4 additional lessons on this post and the the similar post which lists the preschool Lessons.

  4. I am very disappointed in the new children’s materials and how it has been changed so drastically. It is not user friendly and most of it doesn’t make sense for first and second graders. It’s too far over most of their heads. Why weren’t those of us that use this material consulted before such drastic changes were made? All of our children’s workers feel the same way about their materials.

    Some of the adults in our church aren’t happy with the changes in their material either. The Senior Adults would like NIV Bible verses, but that isn’t offered so, unless they change to another study, they are stuck with the Holman version. How are workers that don’t have access to the internet or aren’t internet users going to know there is optional material for the children’s December lessons online?

    It’s about time you got on track and included Christmas lessons for the whole month of December with the children’s Bible material. Why did it take so long? I was appalled to find that you only included the birth of Jesus and then it wasn’t even for the Sunday it should be. Most appalling was the lesson presented the week before the birth of Jesus. Fortunately, I saved my 2012 packet of material so I have all the lessons, games, etc. for the month of December and I am using it this year. I do not find the weekly take home papers or the devotional books of any use any more. The kids used to ask for them, but now they don’t want to take them home. Sorry, but these are the messages I’m getting from our children and workers. Thanks for listening.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Sandi,

      I would like help you with your frustrations. I am sorry that you are so frustrated.

      We did consult with users over the past year and during the process. In fact, we actually kept everything much the same, except for changing the names around a bit. I actually wrote a post recently where I explained how things had changed.

      The Senior Adult curriculum is available in NIV digitally, but not in print.

      As far as Christmas goes, I wouldn’t say that it took us long to get on track. The additional sessions have been included from the very beginning. In your leader guide, under the Table of Contents just below the Special Focus session, we noted that additional sessions were available on the Enhanced CD. As far as them being online, we loaded them over a month ago, so they have been up a while for users who wanted to access them that way.

      Again, I’m sorry for your frustrations and I hope that my explanations help.

      If you wouldn’t mind, can you email me the things in the first and second grade curriculum that are over your kids head. That is the same curriculum that I teach on Sunday mornings, so I want to compare your notes to mine.

  5. I agree with Dwight. We shouldn’t have to go searching through a website or CD to find the Christmas curriculum. I think this new formatting is completely confusing & don’t like it.

  6. Sandy DUnker says:

    Thank you for all your hard work, it truly is appreciated. I understand that it is important to update materials on a regular basis and always look forward to them. I have taught 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School and VBSl using LifeWay materials for the past 30 years. The doctrine is always sound and can be trusted. I, however, was also concerned about the lack of Christmas lessons for December. The prophecy and Christmas stories are all the cornerstone of the entire year. They should not be “alternate” lessons. Materials should have been in the leader pack and not have to be searched for. I also have noticed that the lessons are a little over the head of my 1st and 2nd graders. They really have trouble relating to the DVD. The DVD is a great idea for connecting the lesson to everyday living, but, the 1st-6th grade span is a little too much . I”m sure it is perfect for 4th-6th graders.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Sandy,

      Many churches will still be using our Fall curriculum in December, which for years has had them complaining about the fact that they get Christmas sessions in January after Christmas. This was an attempt to try to help everyone who uses our curriculum. You know, trying to make everyone happy. So, we provided 1 printed and 4 digital lessons. It wasn’t an attempt to undercut the meaning of Christmas, but rather make our curriculum more flexible for all groups.

      I’m sorry the DVD isn’t working for your group. Budget constraints are a factor in trying to make two DVDS. I personally use the DVDS in my second grade class. My kids love the Cartwheel, but tolerate the Mayflower. My wife uses them with her older girls class and has the opposite experience. You might consider the preschool DVD. Samples are on our website.

  7. I am probably one of the only people that has this problem, but every week I am having to print something for my lessons, either from the CD or the website. Right now, I’m printing eight (8) pages of the optional Christmas lesson provided on your website because I believe it is important to emphasize those lessons during December. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just feel that after my church has paid for the teacher’s guide and the resource kit that most of the lessons/activities should be included in there. Fortunately, I have access to a computer and printer; but printer ink is outrageous. I agree with previous posts that this literature is quite confusing. While the lessons provide lots of activities, they often call for supplies that must be purchased, as well.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Sandy,

      Anything that you print from the Enhanced CD is optional and shouldn’t be considered required. If there is something that you are using from the CD that you feel like you had to have because there weren’t instructions in the leader guide on how to create it, please let me know. The Christmas sessions were placed online as a options for churches as well. We don’t want to cause you any additional costs, but we also want to provide as MANY options as our customers want. In order to print everything in the leader packs and guides, we would have to increase our cost to the church as well.

      Please explain how you are finding the curriculum to be confusing? Also, check this post for more information:

      We try to walk a slippery slope in terms of supplies that have to be purchased. If you look back on previous comments you will find that some people have complained because activities are “too simple” while you are saying that they require too many supplies. We try to provide enough activities that you can pick and choose which activities you want to use and still have enough for the hour. Please don’t ever feel the need to do everything suggested.

  8. I generally like the changes in the children’s curriculum, but the Christmas lessons should not be something that we have to search for and print off ourselves. This created additional work for me at a busy time of year, not to mention the expense of copies for all our children’s Sunday School teachers. Then there are the unused materials that we have paid for and are not going to use. You certainly could have done a better job of communicating how and where to find the Christmas lessons. What percentage of your subscribers did you accommodate by not including Christmas lessons in a printed format with the regular curriculum?

  9. Jeff,

    Thanks for your work on this curriculum. Speaking personally, and from what I can gather from the majority of my fellow children’s teachers, the transition to this curriculum has been fairly smooth. The new format seems cleaner and better organized, which helps make for smoother planning. The Bible is always the foundation of my Sunday School class. Bible Skills For Life is the framework for each morning’s session. These elements plus my own teaching experience help build a fun, Biblically-centered learning environment. My first graders are enjoying learning about the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Thank you for making these extra lessons available online. Keep up the good work!

    Similar to your second graders, my first graders like Cartwheel, but not Mayflower. Will he and the Mayflower crew continue indefinitely or will they be replaced by other presenters or segments? Thanks, again!

    • Hi Matthew,

      Captain Cartwheel and the Mayflower videos will change significantly for the fall. Can’t give away too much just yet! Keep watching!

  10. We printed the Christmas lessons and will be starting the Unit 1 material on January 5. We plan to use all of Unit 1 and only two lessons from Unit 2, Session 5 & 6. I am copying the EXTRA ideas into a word document, printing out the EXTRA’s and giving hard copies to teachers…I’d love to hear ways other directors might be helping…my teachers are also pulling prior years lesson plans to get more ideas. The 1/2 grade teachers say that the lesson is over the heads of their children and the DVD is not engaging the kids. The 3/4 grade teacher would like a work page (not a coloring sheet). My teachers liked the previous material. To be honest, they are asking if we can try an alternate curriculum. We have been very pleased with the past products, including BTFK and Worship Kidstyle formats, and the faithfulness that LifeWay has to providing accurate and trustworthy Bible lessons. How can we help going forward?

  11. Elaine Hardin says:

    I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into the new cirriculum but find it very difficult for the children as well as the teachers. There is no lesson in the childrens books, only scripture references. The children read the Bible but some are too young to read well and they are frustrated. Please return to the simpler, easy to understand lessons for grades 1-6.
    Elaine Hardin
    Pleasant Grove Baptist Church
    Pickens, SC 29671

  12. helen Johnson says:

    I agree with so many of the comments — this literature is not working for us either — I have taught Sunday School for many years — over those years the literature has changed for worst. I feel confused…

  13. Thank you for the time that was spent in developing the new curriculum. We are a small church in Texas that has used Lifeway curriculum for years. Our preschool and children’s workers are discouraged with using Bible Studies for Life. Much of what has been written in previous posts sums up what we are experiencing. We have tried using the DVDs but they are not working for us. The inclusion of technology is exciting, if available. We do not have access to anything beyond teacher’s personal tablets or laptops. Funds are limited in going totally digital. We are considering other curriculum. Thank you for allowing us to share our views.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Karen,

      I’m sorry that the DVDs don’t work for your group. I completely understand your predicament. Can you let me know more specifically the problems you are facing. It’s possible that we have addressed them.

  14. The Curriculum Manager has different suggested dates for the Third Grade Class.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Priscilla,

      Whomever sets up your Curriculum Manager also enters a “start date”. Your curriculum is automatically dated from the start date entered. The Session numbers and Titles stay the same, however, so if you are looking for ideas for a particular session, just use that session.

  15. Our class is not happy with the new changes in the Sunday School materials. I agree with all the comments that this new Sunday School literature is very confusing. I co-teach 3rd – 4th grade and it is very difficult to divide the material by lessons. We never had this problem before. Please go back to the original literature with dates. We could not understand why the December lessons were not Christmas stories. We had to ask our church secretary to print us lessons for December. Then we tried to catch up and share several of the current December lessons at one time to get back on track with your material. All is just too confusing. We loved the original children’s Sunday School materials. I hope you hear the complaints and return to the former children’s literature. Thank you.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Janice,

      We will now print the Christmas lessons in full each December. I’m sorry that you find it confusing. The dates will be back on the Table of Contents starting next quarter.

      • Janet Mitchell says:

        It is not that helpful to move the dates from the back page to the Table of Contents. We really need every lesson to be dated in the Leader Guide and the Student Book and all the Pack Items to be dated as well.

        • Hi Janet,

          I’m sorry we aren’t able to put the dates on every session at this time. We are trying to make the curriculum easier for everyone, including churches that don’t use the traditional teaching calendar. Many people have written and told us that they have just written the dates on each session when they get their leader guides.

  16. 2/2 I teach 1-2 graders. I love this lesson. It’s the first one I’ve come to that I actually will enjoy teaching. I’m glad you worked the new material and I’ve tried to like it, but I feel as others have said, it’s over their heads. Most activities require children to read and write and that takes SO MUCH time at this age. I show only the ‘captain’ parts of the DVD because they don’t understand the video story and I was spending more time explaining what was going on there than in the lesson. Why can’t yous how children doing GOOD things each week instead of a ‘preacher’ talking about it. A picture is worth a thousand words! I love the use of the Bible activities each week.
    Like many others I was upset to see only one Sunday dedicated to Christmas. I didn’t know about all the extra lesson until after the fact. There has to be a better way to notify us about these things. I do like to story on the back of the picture, too. Thanks for listening.

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Kay, I think that you will see many improvements in the coming quarters. From dates to publicizing important things. I hope you have a great lesson on Sunday.

  17. Patti Ray says:

    I would like to thank Lifeway for branching out to write new literature for children and in hope that I might add suggestions from using the new literature to make it more effective. My FAVORITE part of the new literature, by far, is the DVD. My children LOVE Captain Cartwheel and, though we have to sometimes watch the “real life” part twice, I think it is very effective to use real life situations when teaching children. The follow up with Captain Cartwheel reiterating the theme of the lesson is also effective. Thank you for a new, more up-to-date, teaching tool.
    I MISS the lessons being dated each week. It is hard, especially if a sub has to come in, to know which lesson the students should be studying each Sunday.
    I LIKE the idea of the kids and parents having something that they can study/talk about later after class, but unfortunately, we live in a world where I feel like this is an unrealistic expectation. I would say that this might happen 0%-5% with my students. The story each week seems so broad and doesn’t center on 1 specific that we can drive home to our children. I felt that the previous literature DID center around 1 specific.
    I MISS having a different memory verse each week.
    Overall, I think we as teachers need as much help with organization as possible. The lack of dates, individual memory verses and broadness of literature is somewhat frustrating and can be overwhelming.
    Thanks for hearing me out – Maybe we could get the best of both worlds – Lessons like the OLD literature & the addition of the DVD!

    • Jeff Land says:

      Hi Patti,

      Thanks for the positive feedback. You will be happy to know the dates will be back in the Table of Contents starting in the Spring. Also, there is an optional memory verse every week. We are working to lift this option up as it seems many people have missed it.

  18. Where are the extras for the spring (March-May, 2014)? I’ve refreshed and all I see are the Winter ones still. Have they not been posted yet?


  1. […] and the Bible Stories will be back on the One Conversation pages. In the meantime, here is a link to a handy resource of dates and Bible Stories. The link also has extra activity ideas for every […]

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