Still More High School TalkSheets: 50 Creative Discussions for Your Youth Group
by David Rogers, published by Zondervan/YouthSpecialties
This is a great resource for anyone who teaches high school students! The lessons are taught by the means of TalkSheets, which have two parts to them. One part is for the teachers. This side provides ideas for an opener to get the students thinking about the topic before the lesson starts, background information on the Bible passages (verse by verse), and ideas to challenge the students to do during the week. The second part is for the students. It has a series of 6-12 questions to get the students digging into the Bible and discussing the topic in depth.
Not only would teachers love this curriculum, but students would find this interesting as well because each TalkSheet brings up topics that are relevant to their daily life. It encourages the students to dig deeper and apply God’s Word to their daily life and decision making. Each lesson is age-appropriate and engaging–I would say that 90 to 100 percent of your group would walk away spiritually fed from these lessons.
This curriculum covers 50 different topics that vary from sex and relationships (decision making) to prayer, the Holy Spirit, and Communion (faith life). Overall, I really liked the topics and how they are taught, but I did notice that some of the lessons are Law-focused and need balancing out with a little more Gospel. There are points in the lesson that leave the door wide open for adding in the Gospel, so it wouldn’t be hard to supplement. These topics are all relevant to the daily life of a teenager and serve as a great mirror to encourage students to look a little deeper at their faith life. I really liked how the topics are so varied, and they are creatively taught and encourage students to think outside the box. I will warn you that some of the lessons can get a little deep, so be prepared for deep conversations, but overall, these topics could bring about some life-changing experiences for students. Also, technology is integrated into some of the lessons via text messaging, music, and movies! And, there is a section at the end of each lesson that gives the students a tangible way to react to what they learned and put their faith into action.
There may need to be a few modifications of this curriculum to integrate it into a setting in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. The necessary modifications I found amongst the topics usually require a simple rephrasing of an answer on the teacher’s guide. A few other topics, such as Communion, may need a little extra care, but these lessons will literally tell you to speak to your pastor about doctrinal issues where a hot button issue is being discussed. They are pretty careful to make sure this curriculum is usable across the board.
These TalkSheets are designed to be “user-friendly and very flexible,” to work in all types of settings and are easily adapted into both a large group and a small group setting. Based on the deepness of some of the topics, I would recommend using them in a small group setting to help students have more one-on-one processing time with the leader, and this is a great way to get your volunteers involved in a mentorship program with the high school students. It would fit perfectly with volunteer leaders in small group settings to help build relationships with students.
So, if the question still remains of “Can I Use This?” I would say yes! Despite some minor tweaking on a few lessons, I’d say this curriculum would be a great addition to your resource library!