Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scripture Study For Busy Moms (and everyone else)

Shannon at "The Redheaded Hostess" blog shares excellent ideas on ways to find time to study the scriptures. Even though her message is focused on busy moms, it applies to all. Her blog is a great resource for gospel teachers, especially Seminary Teachers.
Click HERE for the entire article.

Twenty Seven Days and Questions

Summer is fading away...
Days like this are numbered.
Seminary starts in 27 days!
Part of me is prepared and part of me would like another month 
(and then another month)
As a teacher, what is the most helpful summer preparation?
What do you still want to accomplish before Seminary starts?
Are your students working on Scripture Mastery over the summer?
Over half of mine are.

Have you registered your students?
How do you handle registration and orientation?
Do you include the parents?
If so, when and how?

I have Parent-Student orientation on Sunday, August 11.
It will take place right after Sunday meetings.
I will serve muffins and juice as I know everyone is ready to go home.
Most of my students are registered. 
Final registration will take place at the Orientation meeting.

The numbers for my class are larger than anticipated.
Last year, the Bishops told me that the number of students is always high at first
 and students drop out during the year, that did not happen. 
I had a large number on the first and last day of class. 
What is your "ideal" class size? 
At what number do you divide the class?

Share your thoughts and more in the comment section.
I learn so much from other Seminary teachers.

It Is All In The Approach

As I have been preparing to teach The Book of Mormon curriculum for early morning Seminary, I set a goal to read the entire Book of Mormon over the summer.
At first, I took an academic approach, reading and taking notes much like I would in any class setting. I marked all the Scripture Mastery verses and embarked upon my study. I wanted to make sure  was prepared to teach my students every detail of The Book of Mormon.
I was enjoying my reading but something was missing. Something was a little "off". I analyzed the time of day and places I was reading. I minimized distractions and continued to be consistent in my studies. I was filling pages of my journal with notes and still felt there was something I was missing.
One day, it hit me...
I was reading "just to finish" and my approach was not always spiritual.
Many times, I decided, I was approaching my reading as I would any other text book. I was taking notes in my journal, but not writing the things of my heart.  I had been more concerned with facts, dates, history, etc.
As soon as I stopped treating The Book of Mormon as a text book filled with facts and history, my focus shifted to a spiritual study. With this approach, I was focusing on the things of the spirit, the doctrines of pure love, forgiveness, obedience, and the atonement of Jesus Christ. I was able to view the facts and history as a support to the doctrines that would enter my heart and mind each time I read.
My notes changed to heart-felt journal entries recording the things of my heart. I know the Holy Ghost is testifying the truth of The Book of Mormon each time I read.
It does not matter where I sit or what time of day I read, when I approach my study of The Book of Mormon with the desire to be taught by the spirit, my heart and mind are open. I feel love and gratitude for a loving Father in Heaven. My days are blessed by the power of The Book of Mormon.
With this approach, I can testify to  my students the powerful doctrines taught in The Book of Mormon and hope that they will have the same experiences as they read.
I feel blessed by the power of The Book of Mormon each day.
I am grateful for this lesson and the opportunity to study and teach the words of the Lord.

Seminary Teacher Manual

The new Seminary Teacher's Manual is WONDERFUL!!!!!
It is organized and very well-written. I am looking forward to using it all year.
I could write on and on about some of the things I love, but this is a post about the actual manual, not the contents.
I love the spiral binding, however, after only a few weeks, my manual was falling apart. The front cover was torn and separating from the binding. At that point, the manual had only been used on my desk so I knew that once I starting transporting it, the condition would quickly deteriorate.

My solution:
  • I removed the spiral binding,
  • Trimmed the page edges
  • 3-hole punched the pages
  • Placed the entire manual in a 3-ring binder.

See below for a few tips on using the best binder.
Best Binder features:

  • A clear pocket for the front page of the manual
  • The ability for the binder front cover to fold back (under) the manual when you have it open.
  • Make sure the 3 rings have a flat side (see photo below)
  • Pockets inside the front and back covers.
  • Enough room to add tabbed dividers and clear page protectors for holding other teaching and class information such as: class list, journal information, handouts, quotes, General Conference talks, Scripture Mastery information, attendance, notes, reading charts, devotional schedules, etc. Make it work for you and your teaching style


I am already finding this to be a great way to keep my teaching materials organized.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Scripture Mastery Cards

 As I previously wrote, there is a challenge with the printing of the 2013 Book of Mormon Scripture Mastery Cards. Below are photos of the former printing format side by side with the new format. Scripture Mastery Cards are a integral part of Seminary. My students carry them in their pockets, backpacks, car consoles, etc. for the purpose of learning and memorizing all 25 scriptures.  This is something they can do outside of class and is an effective way for them to keep the scriptures at the focus of their every day lives. I am certain this was key in so many of my students memorizing all or most of the 25 scripture mastery scriptures last year.

Originally, these cards come in a large sheet. Students separate them at the perforated lines, put them in order, hole punch the corner, and place a book ring through the holes. I have used yarn, ribbon, and rubber bands to hold the cards together but nothing works as well as the book rings. They are well worn at the end of the school year and you may have to use the small re-inforcement holes if the original holes become torn.

I will do my best to describe each photo:

On the cards at the top of the photo, you can see the printing format from previous years and on the bottom is a sample of the new printing. (New Testament-Book of Mormon)

  • With the old cards (at top of photo), the scripture reference is printed on the top of the card with the full verse. 
  • Note the new cards (at bottom of photo), the scripture is printed but no reference. This is awkward when using the cards for memorization and reading. 
  • When the card is hole-punched, the words on the old cards (at top of photo) are not affected, 
  • The words on the new cards are printed so high at the top of the card that, without exception, words are lost with every hole punched. Once again, very awkward, especially for those who are memorizing the scriptures word for word.

 By punching the hole at the bottom corner of the cards, losing words is avoided, however, this does not solve the issue of having the scripture reference printed at the top of the actual scripture.

Below are more photo examples of old and new printing format:
Old Format:
Reference and full verse on card
New Printing:
Verse only-no reference
 New Format:
Front of cards with Scripture reference, key words, doctrines, 
and historical settings has not changed.

I am sure with the change of the 25 scripture mastery verses for this year, that there was rush to get cards printed and distributed to Seminary classes all over the world. When another printing is planned, I am hoping these challenges are addressed and corrected.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Class Journals

A few weeks ago, I asked for ideas on how to use journals in Seminary Class. I feel strongly about having journals as part of our daily class. I continue to ponder the right format to use for my upcoming year. Shannon, at The Redheaded Hostess gave some fabulous suggestions on how to use Classroom Journals. Click HERE for her wonderful insight.
I love the link she gives for how to format a talk to pamphlet size. This helps with my thoughts on the size and type of class journal I am considering.
Thank you for sharing!
Our Regional Seminary training is this Saturday in Orlando. I am completely excited to attend. I am studying the Book of Mormon each day and hope to focus in on just the right journal format to use after the training.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Scripture Mastery Cards

The newly printed Book of Mormon Scripture Mastery Cards arrived in my mailbox last week.
As quickly as I got excited, I was at the same time quickly frustrated.
Has anyone else had this experience?

Teachers and Students, have any of you noticed this yet?
There are some flaws in the printing of the new Seminary Scripture Mastery Cards:

  • The side with the actual verse printed on it does not have the scripture reference printed on it.
  • The scripture verse is printed so high up on the card that when a hole is punched in the upper corner (which is what we have done for years and years), the hole punch removes a word or portion of the words in the verse. There is no way to avoid this if you want to punch a hole at the top of each card and use a book ring to keep the cards together. I ended up punching a hole in the bottom of the set. It is awkward but it will have to do.
  • It is difficult to put the verses in order because of the missing reference. 
Something that is good????
  • Each set of Scripture Mastery Cards comes with 2 reading charts that will fit nicely inside the cover of a set of scriptures. Super nice and a huge time saver for this teacher.
I reported this to my CES Supervisor who has passed the word along. He was already aware of the flaws. 
I am certain that since this is a completely new printing and there is a need to get the cards out to all of the eager teachers and students around the world that it was an oversight.
I am hoping that if enough Seminary Teachers and Students are frustrated by this new printing, they will report their frustration and a change will come with the next printing.

Many of my students are memorizing the Scripture Mastery verses over the summer. We were so excited to have the new cards early but they are just not as user friendly as they have been in the past. 

A Summer Read for Seminary Teachers

Thank you, Shannon Foster of The Redheaded Hostess for posting 
The reality is, as a Seminary teacher, I am enjoying a break this summer, however, my Seminary brain never shuts down. It is important to rest and take a break over the summer, but it is equally important to spend some time preparing for the upcoming year. I did not have this preparation time last year and I know it will make a difference  for this next school year. I can already feel it.
All Seminary teachers should read this.