Thursday, November 22, 2012

Counting Blessings Activity

I got this idea from HERE
A Rock for each student's shoe
A Piece of Candy for each student's hand

Have students assemble in a line and have them remove their right shoe.
Give them a rock and tell them to place it inside the shoe and then put the shoe back on their foot.
Give them each a piece of candy-tell them they can eat it now or save it for later.
Tell them you are going for a walk.
At the end of the walk, have them share their thoughts as they walked.

We did this the day before Thanksgiving break. I had the students go for a walk inside the building as we were looking for a surprise to use in an activity we did later in class.
As I asked them their thoughts, all they could talk about was the discomfort of the rock, etc.
No one mentioned the lollipop they had in their hands.

I compared this to looking at negatives more than positives.
No one focused on the candy (sweetness) in their hands and right under their noses.
No one chose to open their candy and enjoy it.
They all focused on the rocks(negatives) and over looked the positives.

As I compared this to our lives, it was interesting to see their faces light up when they "got it". I could have stood in front of the class for an hour telling them to be grateful and count their blessings, this simple activity taught more than any words ever could.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gratitude Doors

It is one thing to teach gratitude, but another to live it.
We studied the 10 Lepers this week as we learned about gratitude.
The 1 Leper who returned to Christ to thank him was healed on the inside and the outside, 
while the other 9 were only healed on the outside.
We spent time last week discussing Disciples vs Hypocrites. 
It tied in to most of the lessons and I would always go back to the question,
What are YOU?
This brought us to gratitude and how to live with a heart of thanksgiving every day.
We decided we needed to thank people for specific things.
Hence, Gratitude Doors to greet our Bishops.

Yesterday, the students made notes of gratitude for the Bishops.
My Seminary class includes students from the 2 Wards that meet in our building. We have the unique blessing of having both Bishops present every morning during class. I know that they usually go to their offices while we are in class, so this was their greeting this morning. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seminary In My Pocket

Seminary In My Pocket
This is my 7th week teaching Seminary at Six AM. I LOVE it! I have 24 amazing students. 
The first lesson, I gave each student a rock to keep in their pocket as a reminder of our lesson that day. Little did I know that "Seminary In My Pocket" had been born.
I shared a story with them about an experience I had when I visited the death camps in Poland and showed them a rough, rugged rock I found while I was there that had one shiny side and could be easily over looked. I compared it to people in our lives who may appear rough and rugged, yet if we will look at them the way Christ does, we will be able to find something "shiny" about them.
To remind them to look for the shiny side in everyone, I gave each of them a shiny rock to put in their pockets. I told them that each time they reached inside their pocket and felt that rock, to remember to view people as Christ does and always look for the good (the shiny) Seven weeks later, they are still showing me their rocks (a few have asked for replacements when they can't find theirs) Read on for more ideas...
You can use rocks with so many object lessons (Build upon my rock, solid testimony, etc)
 When we discussed Temptations of Christ and our own personal temptations, I gave each of them a rubber band to wear and told them to memorize something that they could keep in their minds that would push bad thoughts out (a Scripture, the Sacrament prayer, the Young Women Theme, a Hymn, etc. are some of the ideas we came up with for memorization) When they have a bad thought or are tempted to do something wrong, I told them to snap the rubber band and recite whatever they memorized to bring their mind and spirit back to Christ. (That was 4 weeks ago and they are still wearing them)

When we learned about the widow's mite and sacrifice, I gave them a penny for their pockets
 When we learned about choosing our words carefully and using uplifting language, I gave them a button. They were challenged to know when to keep their lips "buttoned" and when to open their mouths and share uplifting words of love and encouragement.

Last week, they received plastic spiders  as we discussed honesty and not getting caught in webs of deceit and lying. I challenged them to not weave their own personal webs like spiders do. We also did a fun group activity with yarn as we were standing in a circle and the yarn represented lying and dishonesty. We passed the yarn back and forth as we discussed lies and deceit until no one could move inside the circle due to all the lying and dishonesty. It was interesting to see the kids figure out that if they crawled down low, they could avoid the webs, yet it was awkward for them so I reminded them of how awkward it becomes when you have to constantly think of ways to avoid your own messes (webs)
 25 Scripture Mastery Scriptures= 1 Quarter with a red happy face painted on the back. I told them that there are 25 scriptures set apart from the others that they are to know inside and out this Seminary year. The other scriptures are valuable and for our benefit, but the 25 Scripture Mastery scriptures are to "stand out" in their hearts and minds. I used red nail polish to paint a simple happy face on the back of each quarter to make it "stand out" from the other quarters that they may have in their pockets that are also valuable.

Parable of the Sower. To represent the seeds, I gave them a popcorn kernel. I knew it would not sprout or break apart in their pockets as they year goes on. I really wanted to give them some beautiful black soil from Belle Glade, Florida (right next to where we live) but I was not sure how that would last through one school day, although I am still trying...
I dont have one specific day of the week I give them an item for their pockets, in fact, there will most likely be weeks that I don't give them anything. The items always go with a lesson and are designed to reinforce what we learn in Seminary. It is way for my students to carry a tangible reminder of Seminary throughout the day. At first, I thought they would throw the items away, but a day does not go by without a student showing me the items from their pockets. 
I have had the experience of  sitting in Sacrament Meeting and one of my students will catch my attention to show me they are wearing their rubber band. It has become "cool" to have all these little things that most teenagers would have lost or thrown away by now.
Most of my students are the only Latter day Saint in their schools. As they leave our class each day, it is my goal to send them armed with the spirit. I know these little reminders in their pockets are an effective way to re-inforce their experiences in Seminary class.
As I add more items to their pockets, I will share.
At the end of this week, I have a small drawstring fabric bag for each student who would like to keep their items in it. I know this will work better for some of them who don't have pockets or do not want to move their items from pocket to pocket each day. 
I ordered the bags from HERE . I wanted to make them, but this was a great price and the bags are the perfect size. I am going to write each students' name on their bag with a sharpie marker.

Please share any ideas you have for "Seminary In My Pocket" in the comment section below or
email me at shaunahh at gmail dot com