Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Journal Writing Ideas

This is a wonderful article containing 100 Journal writing prompts.
It could be used in a Sunday Youth lesson, Fireside, Seminary Lesson, or a weekly activity for Young Women or Young Men.

Copy the list and cut into strips with each idea on one strip.
Place them inside a "Journal Jar" that the youth decorate during the activity.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Scriptures Side By Side

Happy New Year!

Some lessons call for comparing scriptures from John in the New Testament and John in the JST (Joseph Smith Translation) or other books from the Bible.

Most of the the time when we do this comparison, we meet the following challenges or I lose half of my class for one or all of these reasons:

a) Merely finding the JST (although each of my students have a bookmark in the JST section of their Scriptures)
b)We don't use it often enough for them to be confident in locating it.
c) The switching back and forth as we compare verses, sentences, and words is confusing for some
d) The confusion caused by the switching back and forth is such a distraction that the messages and meanings are lost or, better yet, never found.

This morning, I had a brainstorm as to how to avoid the switching back and forth (the bookmarks help them find the JST but don't solve the switching back and forth) and more importantly, how to have my students gain understanding and find meaning in the messages.

This method took no advance preparation or extra supplies.

At the beginning of class, I divided my students in groups of 2.
In each group, I asked one student to turn to John in the New Testament and the other to turn to John in the JST.
Then they put their books side by side (some put theirs one above the other)

It was very effective for them to see each scripture at the same time. The students were able to compare words, meanings, and clarifications with ease. As a result of their understanding the messages, they gave meaningful input which created a discussion that demonstrated to me that a few lights were turning on in their understanding. At the end of our study, a few of my students even turned to both the New Testament and JST in their own scriptures and highlighted some points that were important to them.

Another noted benefit was have a "study buddy". If one was not sure where to look or what to read, they helped each other.

This method would  also work when the reading calls for several footnotes and cross-references. The two students could keep one book on the main scripture while they use the other book to turn the pages to the references.

***I will note that in our class, we use paper scriptures. It is the best choice for our class. Many of my students don't have their own electronics and I find it is important that we are all on the same page, literally and figuratively.
We do have  "Tech Tuesday" where we use electronic scriptures, lds. org, mormon.org, etc. so that my students who do have their own portable electronic devices understand how  and where to search for answers. Most of them have access to a computer of some sort and hopefully, "Tech-Tuesdays" will inspire them to use sites that will help them search and find answers to their Gospel and Doctrinal questions.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Turkey Shoot-Scripture Activity

This is a fun way to help students learn the Doctrines associated with each Doctrinal Mastery Scripture. It is not my original idea. 
This idea is from fellow teacher, Sharon Haynie, who uses marshmallow shooters for her Turkey shoot. Click HERE for directions she shared on how to make Marshmallow shooters.
I use Nerf guns because that is what I have.
You could also use rubber band shooters.

Set Up:
Turkeys on paper plates stapled to upside down large plastic beverage cups. (see photos below)
Inside each cup is written a point amount ( 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50) 
(I recycled my cups and plates from last year-they come apart easily and store in a small space-I don't like to do double work so anything I can use from year to year is a win!)

Divide students into teams ( I had 4 teams of 3 each-one team had 4 members)
Each team sat together on the perimeter of the "Turkey Coop" (see photos below for set up ideas)
 For each round:

  • Students sit as teams in the chairs set up around the perimeter.
  • Each team has a Nerf gun
  • Call out the key words or phrases from a Doctrinal Mastery scripture
  • Teams work together to locate the scripture ( all team members must  turn to the scripture), then a runner comes to me and shows me the scripture and states the Doctrine associated with that Scripture.
  • When I confirm it is correct, I say, GO!
  • The Team takes their Nerf gun and starts shooting the paper plate turkeys (each round a new team member takes their turn with the Nerf gun-some of them rotated during the same round so they all got more "shooting time")
  • Each team  does the same to find the scripture and show it to me
  • When the last team comes to me with the correct scripture and doctrine, I call out "30 seconds left" and set my timer.
  • When I say stop, the teams would bring their turkeys to me and call out the points earned.
  • Points are posted on the chalkboard and added up at the end.
  • After each round, the turkeys are put back on the tables so we would have enough for each round.
  • I would go scramble them sometimes as I could tell the students were catching on to some of the higher point turkeys.
As much fun as this is, the most important point is that the students had to dig into their scriptures match them to the doctrines associated with them. This was very effective.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Changing Things Up

Welcome to our "Seminary Living Room"
I collected all the soft furniture from around our Church building and we held class "Family Home Evening Style" in our own "Seminary Living Room"
My students loved it so much that they asked to have class in the same location tomorrow.
The photos with the students in them were taken at the end of class when the sun was up. 
I was concerned that this may be too "comfy" and encourage sleepers, but it was exactly the opposite. My students were engaged in thoughtful, on-point discussion for the entire time.
We started in the dark.
Daylight Saving time blessing!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...I Went Down To Jerusalem Game

Take a familiar game, "Fruit Basket Turnover" and adapt it for Seminary, Sunday, School or any Youth Group Activities.
Rather than names of fruit, use names of the Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke,  and John.
Play this game any time during the year.
The beauty is that it takes zero preparation and it gets them up and moving while they are reviewing the names of the 4 Apostles

In the "Matthew, Mark, Luke, John" version, the person in the middle says, "I went down to Jerusalem and I saw__________" (Person can call out 1, 2, or 3 names. If they want to call all 4 names, they say, "I went down to Jerusalem and saw all 4 Apostles who wrote the Gospels." or something similar.

The people who are assigned the name(s) that the person calls out must quickly get up and change seats with the others who have the same name.
The person in the middle tries to grab one of their seats in the process.
The students love the lively, fast pace of this game.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parable of the Ten Virgins- Lamps of Faith

We made lamps of faith as we discussed the parable of the ten virgins from Matthew 25:1-13
I debated as to what type of clay to use. After some consideration, I decided to use Crayola Air Dry Clay- the terracotta color.  I suppose you could purchase white and color it, but I was not up for that experiment.
This clay was just messy enough for the students to have the "I worked with clay" experience, yet not too messy and very easy to clean up.  Not "globby" messes or stains on tables, clothing, etc.
I did cover the tables with disposable plastic but if I had not, the tables would have wiped clean with little effort.
I had Lysol wipes available for hand washing.
This video from the Seminary New Testament Manual was very effective at providing many points of discussion and in helping the students know what to shape their lamps like.

When our lamps are hardened, I hope to add wicks and light them and reinforce our discussion on the need to add oil to our lamps daily, build our testimonies and to Know, not Know About, Jesus Christ

Friday, August 26, 2016

Magnifying the Scriptures

Here is a simple, yet effective, method to use for a discussion-based lesson.
In the past years, I have felt that classroom discussion and interaction was something I needed to improve. I know students learn from discussion but I have been at a loss as to how to make it fresh and have everyone want to be involved.

For our lesson today, I told them in advance that it was important to read the Scriptures that go with the lesson and to be prepared to discuss.
When we started, this morning, I told them that I am teaching with the assumption they all read and will contribute to the lesson.
I showed a large magnifying glass (from the Dollar Tree)  and asked them what a magnifying glass is used for.

Some of their answers:
To make things larger (enlarge, enrich, make more)
To make things easier to see (read)
The clarify details
To search for things

Then we compared these answers to reading/studying the scriptures and how to apply them to Scripture study. We discussed how to magnify the messages of the scriptures using prayer, footnotes, cross-references, lds.org, Bible dictionary, Topical guide,  New Era, Ensign, asking parents/leaders, etc.

After the discussion of how to magnify the scripture messages,  I handed the magnifying glass to a student and asked her to share what she learned from the assigned reading (I made sure to choose a student who I could tell had read the assigned scriptures)
I asked her to share the chapter and verse from where she was sharing. When she was done, she was to pass the magnifying glass to another student who would do the same and so forth.

As a note: do your best to have a seating arrangement that supports discussion, such as all seated around a table, seated in a circle, etc. It is important that they see each other as they discuss.

This simple prop, a magnifying glass, was perfect for getting everyone involved.  Every student was engaged and contributing.  Even my sleepy, reluctant students were alert and engaged.
At one point, many of the students were begging to have the magnifying glass so they could share.

It was one of the best discussions I have experience in my 4 years of teaching Seminary.
I won't over-use this method but it will definitely be part of my plans all year.
I am  thinking about attaching the magnifying glass to something like a small stuffed animal or a holiday/seasonal object just to keep it fresh.

Happy Teaching!