Core scripture: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Message: I remember the night I discovered my voice. I was in my mid 20’s. My two brothers and I were on the patio at a sports bar, laughing and goofing. Somehow we got to talking about Elmo. Yeah, the red furry Sesame Street character.
It just came out of me. Elmo’s voice! My brothers stared at me in amazement. Jaws dropped. I was kinda surprised myself. I tried it again. And again. Before I knew it tables around us were laughing and giving me high fives.
“Dude, it’s Elmo!”
Alright, so I realize that is a somewhat goofy talent, but hey, why not bring that talent into good old room 135 to my 7th graders? I mean, they still love cartoons. They will be entertained to say the least. And I could use Elmo’s voice to make otherwise ordinary lessons more … uh … riveting?
I tried it in my writing with voice lesson. Having personality. Flavor. Making your writing your own. Who better to teach that than Elmo? The kids loved it! So much that they started asking me if I could do any more voices.
I tried another one. Steve Irwin. The Crocodile Hunter. Crikey! Oh yeah, his voice was much different than Elmo. More enthusiastic. Excited. And of course, he didn’t talk in the third person. Once again, it was brilliant.
They asked for ANOTHER one. I was totally improving now. My mind whirled and suddenly landed on a famous movie character: Forrest Gump. Life is like a box of chocolates. Lieutenant Dan, what are you doing here? Jenny and I was like peas and carrots!
Talk about a variety of characters with different voices! I used those three voices to teach my voice lesson for years. Along the way, many other characters began to emerge from the depths of my soul. Each one taught a different lesson.
- Dude: I put on my mullet wig and became a California surfer.
- Valley Girl: I donned a blonde wig and talked like a valley girl.
- Gramps: I bent over slightly and took on the personality of an 85-year-old grandpa.
- Dr. Cringeworthy: I talked like a nerd, trying to use all the lingo the kids use.
- Heavy D: I threw on some fake gold chains and shades, talking like a rap star.
- Captain Daniels: I put on a camo hat and became a Southern drill instructor.
- Pierre: I put on a wig, apron, and became a world-renowned French chef.
I will stop there. Every year I added someone new. And for teaching something boring like grammar or sentence structure, the kids became all that more captivated. Today I use my voice talent as an incentive. If they behave well, they get Dr. Cringeworthy the next day. He seems to be the favorite as of late.
What about you? What hidden talents do you possess? Maybe you play a mean guitar. Strum a song for your class. What if you can play Yankee Doodle by flicking your fingers on your throat. Create a new song to that tune that teaches the correct use of a comma.
The good Lord has blessed us all with hidden talents. Get creative! Use them for His glory in your classroom! You never know what memory will be created that makes learning stick.
Challenge: How are you gifted? In what areas has God blessed you? More importantly, how can you let those gifts shine in your classroom?
Clint speaks: I will never forget the day Dr. Cringeworthy was born. I used this video to help my students with their time management at home. My favorite part comes around 5:50 when Dr. Cringeworthy becomes so loud that my wife yells at me to be quiet.
Scripture study: Read 1 Corinthians 12 and journal or discuss the following questions …
- How does Paul say spiritual gifts should be used?
- What part of the body of Christ are you?
- How can you use your talents and gifts in the classroom?
Prayer points: Lift up the following areas to the Lord …
- Praise God for the talents He has given you!
- Pray that you would find creativity to allow those talents to flourish in your classroom.
- Pray that your students would discover their talents, utilizing them to showcase learning.
Just for fun: One year I was doing the whole Crocodile Hunter routine. I chose one of my goofball 7th grade boys to become a part of that lesson, creeping around him, pretending he was a dangerous crocodile. When I got within arms reach of him and tried to pet him, he jumped out of his seat, attempting to attack me. I instinctively defended myself, ducking and grabbing him around the waist where his legs were kicking. I kept my character, saying, “We got a wild one here!” in my best Crocodile Hunter voice. The class was floored with shock and laughter. I wonder if that lesson stuck?
Prayer: Lord of all our talents, thank you for making each of us unique and full of talent. Help us utilize those talents for Your glory. Amen.
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