I have a confession. I'm not really fond of "scripture chases". For those who don't know what that is, our seminary students learn a set of 25 key scriptures for every book of scripture. We often have "chases" where the teacher gives a clue, and the students try to see who can find the correct scripture first. The kids have those key scriptures marked in colored pencil. What I don't like about scripture chases is that it teaches the students to flip to the page that has the key word written on the side. But it doesn't necessarily teach them what the scripture says. I went to seminary as a youth, but I have no memory of the exact reference of those scripture mastery verses. But I do have a good memory for what those scriptures say, so I can always do a search of the index to try to find the one I want.
With this in mind, I decided I wanted my students to memorize as many of the verses as possible. In some areas, this is expected, and is routine. But where I live, this is almost unheard of. But I devised this activity to help my kids memorize as many as possible.
Here is the activity:
1. Search through the scripture mastery verses and find the shortest ones. (about 6 or 7)
2. Print out three copies of each verse.
3. Break the class up in to three groups.
4. Give each group a set of the printed out verses.
5. Have the groups break off and go memorize the verses together as a group. One good way to do this is to write the entire verse on the chalkboard. Then read the verse together. Then erase a couple of the words and read it again. Continue to erase a couple of words each time you read it. Eventually you will have to do it from memory, as all of the words will be erased. ;)
6. When they feel they can recite the verse together as a group, they come back to me and recite it.
7. When the group has recited the scripture together, I place a scoop of skittles in a large bowl.
8. At the end of the activity, the class gets to share the skittles they have earned.
I know it might sound like cheating to have the group recite the verse together. But I don't care so much that each person gets it word perfect. It's a powerful activity even if they lean on the memories of their classmates when reciting. They really do learn better what the scripture says. Years from now, when they have forgotten the "keyword", and where it is on the page, they will remember what the scripture actually said!