At our church we always have a Holy Friday retreat for the kids. We have activities planned to help them learn more about the important events of the day and of Christ’s Resurrection. A couple of years ago I had to teach the kids the hymn, Christ is Risen. Since my group was preschool through 6th grade, a lot of the kids may not be reading or not reading well enough to read the bigger words. My teacher brain was thinking of ideas to help the non-readers be able to sing along. I’m sure many of you have seen early reader books where they have the text and a small picture that shows the word. I love how icons tell stories and especially love it when a hymn describes exactly what is happening in the image, so I decided to make a visual version of the hymn for my students.
I wrote out the lyrics and then cropped parts of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection icons to match certain words. This helped the kids be able to participate, even if they could not read…they knew what the picture was showing. This print out is not just for Sunday School classes, but it is also great to have at home for prayer time. You can hang it on the wall by your icon corner so your little ones can follow along. You could even take it to church for the Resurrection service or the first few Sundays after Pascha until they know the words well.
To print, download the PDF here: christ is risen with pictures
There seems to be two common English translations of the hymn amongst the jurisdictions, so I created the file with both translations. It is all in one document, but you can print just the page you need.
I want to share with you a few tips on how I would teach this lesson to a group of kids. First, I would go over the icon and point to specific words that I highlighted in the hymn. For instance, “Look at Christ’s feet. Does anyone know what he is standing above? In the song we say he is trampling down death. Those are the doors of Hades where the dead person’s soul would go. He took the people out of Hades and gave them eternal life with Him. Can you show me with your feet what trampling looks like?”
When teaching any songs to a class, I like to sing the song 1-2 times by myself so they can hear how it goes and then I have them try to sing along with me. After they sing with me twice, I like to pause my voice for the ending words of a phrase so the children will be the only ones singing. I’ve noticed that when children try to sing a song they’ve heard, they tend to get the ending words of a phrase before the middle parts. So I would sing, “Christ is Risen from the , By death trampling down upon .”
I found that when I pause, more kids participate because they feel like they are participating! 🙂 I’ve seen it happen a lot where a teacher gets frustrated because the kids are not singing loud or singing at all. But whenever I’ve done my pausing trick, it seems to really get the kids involved and they learn the song faster.
Feel free to print these and use them at church and home. I hope this resource helps your little ones learn the hymn, Christ is Risen!
How awesome! Thanks for doing all the heavy lifting here because i know i can follow these steps!
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