Saturday, August 20, 2016

Doctrinal Mastery Color Coding Ideas

The shift in Seminary has Doctrinal Mastery taking the place of Scripture Mastery.
We still have 25 scriptures per year, yet the focus is less about memorizing and more about applying, living, and understanding  the doctrines each scripture teaches and reinforces.

I belong to an LDS Seminary Teacher Facebook group and many teachers decided to assign a color to each doctrine and have their students mark the scriptures based on those colors.
At first is just sounded all too complicated for me and I resisted even thinking about using a system based on colors to mark and reinforce the learning of the Doctrinal Mastery Scriptures.
After one week in the classroom,  I change my perspective.
I see great wisdom in assigning a color to each Doctrine for the purpose of reinforcing, learning, and finding each Scripture.
This past week, I have been working on incorporating the color-coding system with my class.
I started with color coded posters  (ordered HERE from an etsy shop) on my classroom walls, yet quickly realized my students need more than that.

In their study journals, I had them color code the heading of each Doctrinal Mastery section. Again, very helpful but more reinforcement was needed.

One teacher suggested labelling a set of colored pencils for each student.
As complicated as that sounded, it has been very effective and a good use of time.
A few things I learned that may help you if you decide to label colored pencils:

  • Some students will enjoy labelling their own set.
  • Some students may take forever trying to get the print just the perfect size in the perfect location. Make sure this does not consume too much class time. You know your students so you can decide what will work the best.
  • Not all students can do this neatly without wasting a few pencils. You may want to consider labelling  a set of pencils for your students in advance (if your class is not too large) or making a few sets as "samples" and giving them to the students who may not be able to do this neatly of without wasting a few pencils due to errors. You will save a few mis-marked  or illegible pencils this way.
  • Use sharpies
  • Black sharpies don't show up on the darker colors so I used silver. If you have a white paint marker with a thin point, this would work well, also
  • Have a ziploc bag or a pencil pouch with each student's name on it for storage or these pencils are going to get lost...quickly. (pencil pouches are very inexpensive right now with back to school sales)
A few more thoughts:
I see where this color coding  can get complicated. This was the reason I did not even consider it all summer when I would read about it.

For me it is keep it simple...No dots, shapes, etc. Just colors
Everyone learns differently so I will keep my mind and heart open to the approaches that work best for my students. 
I won't insist that my students use the color coding. It is just a tool.
The most important factor is that students find a way to apply and live the doctrines in the scriptures we study.


  1. I love this idea. I've pinned several of your things on Pinterest over the last little while, but now that I've been called as a seminary teacher, I really don't want to miss anything. :) Would you consider adding a "follow by email" gadget in your sidebar, by chance?? Thanks for sharing your gre ideas.

  2. Where did you get pink colored pencils? I bought the Crayola 12 pack, only to discover there's no pink! Two shades of green, but no pink - tragedy! :)

    1. The pink are in the .50 walmart Crazy Art set.

  3. And do you have them mark all of the scriptures up front, or mark them as you study them?