Friday, January 25, 2013

Scripture Mastery Poetry and Scavenger Hunt

I am thankful to be teaching Seminary at a time when technology links me to so many wonderful teachers around the globe. We are all teaching The New Testament and within a few days/weeks of each other.
I am continually adding another Seminary Teacher's blog to my google reader list.
Yesterday, John Bushman from NW Seminary, posted this brilliant idea for Scripture Mastery.
There is a poem couplet for each Scripture.
I am going to use them as scavenger hunt clues for an activity close to St Patrick's Day when we search for a Pot of Gold.
Some of the couplets are challenging and some are easy which will work well for my students who are all working on different levels.

You may recognize the photo above. It has been shared on Pinterest over and over in the past 24 hours. Again, another wonderful resource for sharing and learning from other Seminary teachers.
If you have seen this, what ideas do you have to use it?
Happy Weekend!
I don't know about you, but when Friday comes, I am ready to not set my alarm for 4:45!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Living Water

When we studied Jesus Christ as the Living Water, I came up with an object for our
 Seminary In My Pocket collection.
First I researched the physical and health benefits of daily water intake.
I presented facts that supported the importance of daily water to our physical bodies
(We will die without it)
Then I presented the benefits of partaking of spiritual water, the words of Christ, each day.
(We will spiritually die without it)
We compared the need for physical and spiritual water.

For example:
Health benefit of drinking water daily= weight loss
Spiritual benefit= loss of our burdens as we turn them over to Christ

And so forth.
The Seminary In My Pocket object came as I presented each student with their own bottled water. I told them to drink in at some point during that day and rather than discard the lid/cap, put it in their pocket. The cap from the bottled water is now their reminder that Jesus Christ is The Living Water we need daily.

In addition to a discussion on The Living Water, we counted how many times since we started the book of John that Jesus used water to teach or perform miracles (example: Water into Wine, Healing the woman at the well, Teaching Nicodemus about the need to be born of water, Healing the man at the pool, etc.)

I testified that we will die physically without water or our bodies and we will die spiritually without daily drinking of the Living Water known as Jesus Christ and his teachings.

I am The Bread Of Life

John 6- I am The Bread of Life
As we are learning the various names and titles of Jesus, we discussed the title of The Living Bread, The Bread of Life in John 6
As a bonus, we baked fresh bread and made butter. See below the photos for details

The optimum would have been to make the dough in class and have them knead it and I could have baked it for the next day. I figured out a way to have them actively involved and have freshly baked bread on the day we discussed the title Bread of Life:
I use frozen roll dough. The kind that already comes in the tin foil pan and does not need any defrosting. Hooray.
I got the Publix brand.
It has to sit out for 20 minutes before baking it for 20 minutes. The drive to Seminary and set up time made more than the 20 minutes of sitting out time.
I put it in the oven right when class was starting so they could smell it as it baked.
Each student had a jar filled half way with cream.
They were instructed to shake the cream until it was no longer liquid and that they would have butter if they followed the instructions.
While I taught from John 6, the students shook.
This could have been very disruptive but it proved to be just the opposite.
They were totally in to the lesson and participated along the way.
When the timer rang, I had a student go take the bread out of the oven and leave it in the kitchen while we completed the lesson.
The aroma traveled to our classroom and it was a perfect way to end the lesson comparing
physical and spiritual nourishment, thirst, hunger, etc.
We then enjoyed our freshly baked bread topped with freshly made butter.

Some day I do want to mix up bread dough in class and bake it. I'll figure out the logistics when the time is right. The time goes so quickly at 6am each day.

Scripture Scramble Puzzle

This is an easy and fun way to learn and reinforce Scripture Mastery verses.
See instructions and teaching moment at the end of the photos 

As students arrive, each seat has 2-3 post-it notes with a word, number, or punctuation mark. When I tell them to go, they must work as a group to get their words in order to make a scripture mastery scripture. Until they see who has the name of the book and some of the numbers, they generally have no idea which scripture they are trying to put together.
I like to do this on Monday and as the week progresses, I take a few post it notes down at a time and have the class repeat it with fewer words. If they already know the scripture, I have them face the back wall when we recite it.

A Teaching Moment
A new twist: Last week, I would not allow the students who are Scriptorians or Master Scriptorians to help with the scripture scramble. It was a great teaching moment when the other students realized how heavily they relied on those who know all the scriptures.
I compared this to their future as missionaries, teachers, parents, etc. and pointed out that no one would be there to help them when they need to find a scripture to teach a certain concept. I shared that they need to stand on their own and know the scriptures without the assistance of others.
I testified that if they do their part to learn and know the scriptures now, they would have the help of the Holy Ghost to recall what they had learned in Seminary at the moment they need it the most in the future.

Names and Titles of Jesus

As we are studying the book of John, I challenged my students to be explorers and discover all the different names and titles of Jesus. Daily, they come in to class and add to our growing list. 
As they do their research, I told them that this poster board would be filled with at least 3 columns of names and titles, without duplication. So far, we are on the way.

Scripture Chase and Scripture Mastery

Less expensive than laminating...
I used heavy duty page protectors for each of the Scripture Mastery references and clues.
They have stayed on the wall (cabinet) since October using "sticky tack".
Not one has moved from the original spot.
I use the page protectors for anything I want to use and re-use during the year.
I have not spent one dime or minute on laminating.
For now, I allow the students to refer to this wall when we are scripture chasing, but if they rely on it during competition, they usually don't open their books to the scripture in time to count for points.
We have 2 teams for Scripture Chasing and we keep a running score, 
adding points from new matches to previous scores.

Here is how we do Scripture Chasing:
  • I call out "Books Up" and students close their books and place their books out in front of them with the spine down and their hands on the front and back covers. No fingers touching the pages.
  • I call out a clue, key word, or state ask a question that can be answered in a specific scripture, then I say GO.
  • The first student to find the scripture yells CONTACT and holds their book up high.
  • The clock starts ticking for 10 seconds as soon as the first student yells CONTACT and I confirm they have the correct scripture.
  • During the 10 seconds, students from both teams try to find the scripture and yell CONTACT when they do.
  • After 10 seconds, I yell stop and students keep their books held high with their finger on the scripture.
  • The team with the student who yelled CONTACT first has the opportunity for 3 points
  • 1 point for being first and correct
  • 1 point for a student on the team being able to recite the scripture from memory (each team member may only recite a scripture 1 time until all team mates have had a turn) Team gets 2 tries (can be 2 students) to recite the scripture, otherwise, the opposing team may "steal" the point by reciting the scripture (they get 2 tries, also)
  • 1 point if everyone on the team finds the correct scripture within the 10 seconds.
We do individual scripture chasing most every day in class. Once a week, we divide in to the two teams for competition. It has been fun to see the students progress and develop confidence. They surprise themselves sometimes and the looks on their faces is priceless. 

It is easier to have another adult helping during the competition as you have to be in so many places at one time as they are yelling out CONTACT in rapid fire. I have 24+ students so another set of eyes is always helpful.

We have some very competitive students and I feared this could become a problem, but so far, not at all. I told them from the beginning that this was to be fun and for the purpose of learning and that if it ever got out of perspective or too aggressive, we would stop immediately. Knowing my students, this warning was not necessary but I covered my bases.

We are preparing to compete with another Seminary Class in our Stake and I am confident they will do well.

How do you Scripture Chase with your class?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Christmas Candy Ball Game

What does this have to do with Seminary, you may be asking. 
This was an ideal alternative to a class Christmas gift exchange. I did not want to ask anyone to bring a gift as it may have been a hardship for a few of my students and I did not want to single out any one of my 24 students. 
However....I wanted to have a fun gift-type game. The Candy Ball game fit the bill on so many levels. It was so much fun and very different than a regular gift exchange. 
I got the idea on Pinterest. There was a photo and no instructions so I had to figure it out on my own. Scroll to the end of the photos for instructions on how to make the ball and play the game. 

To make the candy ball:
I used about 75 pieces/ packages of candy. I used all sizes and types. 
To start the ball, I used a large jingle bell elf as the center. (It was fun for the kids to hear the jingle inside as they pulled off layer after layer. The closer they got to the center, the louder the bell jingled)
I wrapped it in bubble wrap and taped it with packing tape.
Then I placed a piece of candy on the ball that was forming and wrapped it up with shrink wrap (the sturdy wrap used for packing and moving) I would not recommend saran wrap as it is not sturdy enough.
I continued this process of placing a candy on the wrapped ball until it was a little larger than a basketball.
Every few layers, I would use tape to seal up the recently wrapped layer (this made it a little more challenging and I recommend doing this)

To Play the game:
A player hold the ball and starts removing the layers.
The player on their left is rolling 2 dice as fast as possible in an attempt to roll doubles
When the player to the left rolls doubles, they pass the pan and dice to their left and the ball is passed to them.
They tear as many layers as possible while the player to their left is rolling the dice
And so forth.
As the layers are removed, the candy starts to come out. 
Players keep any candy that comes out during their turn.
This took us about 20 minutes with 24 students playing.
This was fast moving and kept their total attention.
Everyone got at least 1 piece of candy.

To make this more challenging, have players wear gloves. If you plan on using gloves, you may not want to use as much tape when assembling the ball.

Back To Class

It has been too long since I posted my Seminary ideas.
I had the best of intentions to update my blog, clean out my seminary closet and tote, plan my lessons for a month, etc
Instead, I enjoy family and getting some extra sleep.
I had a substitue the first week back to class due to a funeral I had to travel to and then, boom-back to Seminary hit.
I found it hard to get my head back on the Seminary schedule but this past week, everything came together again and we are moving forward.
I am so proud of my students.
I have 6 Scriptorians. 3 of them are Master Scriptorians.
I have 3-4 more who will become Scriptorians before the month is over.
We are preparing to have a Scripture Chase competition with another Ward so they are very serious about Scripture Mastery.

Here are my questions for other Seminary Teachers:
1) Did you have a difficult time starting in January after such a long break? 
How did you handle it? How do you stay motivated?

2) How do you make Scripture Mastery exciting? 

3 How much class time do you devote to Scripture Mastery?

Share your answers so we can all learn.

Stay tuned...I have so much to post and share.