Friday, December 13, 2013

Super Laminator Deal

This isn't my normal type of blogpost, but since I am forever grateful for the time I spent laminating my FHE lessons all those years ago, I am passing on this amazing deal I discovered today.

 This deal only lasts through today or until they run out, but I thought I'd let you all know that as of 11:43am EST on December 13, 2013  
Amazon is offering a full-size laminator for only $13.99!!!!!  (***The super sale is now over, but they're still below $20, which is also an excellent price***)

I don't have this particular brand, but it does have good reviews on Amazon and would make for a great Christmas present for friends, family, or for yourself.   You can also add a package of 100 laminating sheets for under $10. 



 Click here to see my tips for laminating and storing the FHE lessons.

Happy laminating!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"The Nativity Song" Printable Posters

My husband has been serving as the primary chorister in our ward for about the past year.  It's a calling he was surprised to receive, but  one that he has enjoyed immensely.  As I'm usually the one in the house doing the cutting and pasting, it's been fun for me to see him use the creative side of his brain in his preparations each week.  

The primary kids are singing "The Nativity Song" in sacrament meeting next week and he thought it would be fun if the children had signs they could hold up during the song.  We wanted to make sure that the visuals were LDS approved, since they were being shown in sacrament meeting.  The pictures (all except the stable) came from the December 2004 Friend magazine.  Below you will find them cropped and enlarged  to fit onto a standard 8.5x11-inch sheet of paper.  ( Make sure you print them the highest quality that your printer will allow.) He decided that that still wasn't quite as large as he'd hoped, so we took the printed pages to Staples and had them color copied and enlarged 155% to fit onto an 11x17-inch sheet of paper (98 cents per copy).   

 He then mounted the pictures onto posterboard and hot glued them to wooden stakes that he got at Home Depot.   Duct tape would probably also work.  

Enlarged that big the picture quality wasn't quite as clear as it ideally would be, but it was definitely still good enough to see from across the chapel. 
All in all, he was pleased with how they turned out and I couldn't resist sharing it here to save  other choristers a little work next time they sing this great Christmas song!  Enjoy! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

12 Ways to Bring the Spirit of Christ into Christmas

by Lara Goold


1.  Plan your own 12 days of Christmas service for a neighbor or someone who could use a little TLC  (click here for some ideas)

2.  Make this Christmas Scripture Advent Calendar.  Even if it's past December 1st, you can make it today and pick up wherever you're at. 


3.  Christmas in Bethlehem dinner (we usually do it right after Christmas when life has calmed down a bit)

4.  Service chain--Instead of a countdown to Christmas chain, make a service chain out of strips of paper and a stapler.  Family members add a link every time they perform an act of service for someone.  We like to make a goal to have the chain reach a certain length and then we will go on a fun family outing together.

5.  Print off these Christmas Eve devotional books (that include songs, scriptures, and pictures) and spend about half-hour on Christmas Eve singing and reading the scriptures together


6.  Instead of gingerbread houses, make a graham cracker and candy creche scene with graham crackers, candy, royal icing, and toothpicks.

7.  Year by year drawings--Each year have your children draw a Nativity scene, then have them date and sign them and keep them in a binder as a scrapbook.  It will be fun each Christmas  to look back at the progression of their scenes.

8.  Watch inspiring videos and musical performances--if not in person, then on the internet.
Here's one of our favorites this year.  We also like this one and  this one.  


9.  Using supplies and toys you can find around your house, have everyone create their own nativity.  Here's the one my daughter made from Lincoln Logs and her dolls.  Next we are going to try this gorgeous nativity art project

10.  Go to the library and check out a variety of meaningful Christmas books and read one each day in December.   (this one, this one , and this one are a couple of our favorites and here is a link to my Christmas picture book review)

11.  If you live near one, visit your temple visitors' center's Christmas displays and performances.

12.  Invite the missionaries to your home to share a Christmas message.  Even better...invite a friend too!




Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas Advent Calendar for Kids



This Advent Calendar is from an old Friend magazine (Dec. 1998) and is designed to help bring the spirit of Christ into your home on a daily basis as you do the listed activities each day.  The activities (reading scriptures, singing songs, etc) are somewhat short and could be done as a morning devotional each day in December.

Please note that there is also a booklet in the document below that is meant as a daily  guide for using the Advent Calendar.  It contains all the mentioned stories, lyrics to songs, craft instructions, etc. and provides an accompanying picture for each day.  It should enhance the enjoyment of the calendar immensely!

It took me about 40 minutes to complete the calendar--from printing to completion, so you have plenty of time to get it done before tomorrow! ;)  Directions to make it are included in the printable portion of the lesson.

Enjoy!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Developing Christlike Attributes Lesson

This lesson is based on this lesson from the Come Follow Me youth curriculum and the activity is based on pages 115-126  in the Preach My Gospel manual.  I used it in a YW lesson I recently taught and felt like the girls really connected with the concept of it and the visual nature of the lesson.  There is a fair amount of writing required for this lesson, but it could also be easily  used for a FHE lesson for school age children, teens, or adults.  I believe that the success of this lesson depends on them following through with the goals they set and as such  I encouraged everyone to tape their page into their journals and refer back to it often.

Scroll to the bottom of the post to get to the printable version of the lesson, including pictures.  If you prefer only the lesson without pictures, click here.

Overcoming Weaknesses and Developing Christlike Attributes

Materials Needed:  picture of Christ (see below), one copy of activity per person(see below), colored pens or pencils for everyone, pictures of branch and hole on roof (optional)

SONGS:  
"I'm Trying to be Like Jesus," page 78 of Children's Songbook
"Be Thou Humble," page 130 of the Hymn book

HOLE IN ROOF STORY:    (use our real life story or tell your own) 
Tell a story (with included pictures if desired) of a house that has a branch fall on their roof during a storm.  It's not a particularly large branch and it doesn't appeared to have caused any damage.  

But the next time it rains, water starts pouring through their roof, soaking the insulation in the attic, and pouring water into their dining room.  Although the branch didn't seem likely to have done much damage at first glance, unbeknownst  to the owners it had weakened the defenses of their roof enough allow the elements in and cause much greater damage than just a small hole in the roof.   

RELATE:   That like that little branch on the roof,  our little sins can become holes of weakness in our defenses against the “rains and storms of life”.    Talk about how once the roof was repaired, it became a strong point in our roof.   We can do the same with our "little" sins and weaknesses....we can fortify ourselves and diligently work to overcome them and they, like the repaired roof, can actually become our strengths.  

READ ETHER 12:27:  briefly discuss why we have been given weaknesses and how God will strengthen us as we strive to overcome them.

SHOW picture of Christ (see below) and talk about how God is always there to lift us up and to help us in our day-to-day struggles.  

DEVELOPING CHRISTLIKE ATTRIBUTE ACTIVITY

1.  Pass out the activity sheets and multicolored pens and pencils.  

2.  Start off by pointing to  THE GIRL ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAPER.  Explain that she is to represent each of them personally during this lesson.  Encourage everyone to think of potential little “branches” of weaknesses in their lives  and to write at least 5-6 things surrounding the girl on the paper (encourage them to make it colorful) .  Some examples of things they could write:  Not studying the scriptures as diligently as they should, an ongoing irritation at a sibling, or how they're treating their parents, forgetting to say their prayers, etc.   
 
3.  Refer briefly back to Ether 12:27 and talk about how we are now going to talk about a way that we can start making those weaknesses into strengths.

4.  Point out the scriptures that are listed around the edge of the paper.  Have them look up a few of the  scriptures  and each think of a couple attributes of Christ.  
 

5.  Go around the room and have each person share a couple of attributes of Christ that they have found (or thought of on their own.)

6.  HAVE THEM WRITE DOWN THE ATTRIBUTES all around the drawing of Christ on the right side of the paper.  
7.  Have them circle/highlight ONE weakness they'd like to overcome and/or one attribute of Christ that they would like to start working on developing.

8.  HURDLES – along the vertical line that goes down the center of the page, have them write down a couple of the challenges they will  face in developing that attribute.  Have them be very specific....  These hurdles could include  fatigue, lack of time, not feeling motivated, etc.

 
9.  In the LARGE ARROWS in the middle of the page, read the scriptures and then write 3 specific ways that they can work on overcoming those hurdles and  start developing that attribute in to make it a strength instead of a weakness.

These should be very SPECIFIC ideas.  Not just I will read the scriptures more often.  But 3 specific and measurable ways that they can improve themselves:  (see example)
1.  I will read at least one page every night before supper.  
2.  If I am not home at supper, I will read it before bed.  
3.  I will place my scriptures on my pillow each morning to help me not to forget.   
10.  At this point their paper should be very colorful and filled with personal and meaningful instructions for developing a Christlike attribute.    Refer once more back to the story of the repaired roof and remind them this activity was their own personal instruction for fortifying the weaknesses in the roofs in their lives.   Encourage them to tape the sheets into their journals and to refer back to them often for encouragement in their quest.  Also encourage them to reread the scriptures and repeat the activity frequently.  

11.  PAPER AIRPLANE—drop an unfolded sheet of paper and point out how it flutters without direction or purpose.  Then, as you fold a piece of paper into an airplane, remind them that changing can sometimes be painful, but when we make the effort and allow ourselves to be pliable enough to be folded and changed, we can make weak things become strong and have enough wind beneath our wings to fly.  Throw the plane and point out the difference now that it has direction and purpose.

CLOSING PRAYER:  

REFRESHMENTS:  Homemade Twix Bars


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophets?

I typed this up as an outline of a Sunday YW lesson, but it was also easily adapted to our family's FHE lesson the next night.  For both the young women and my children, I found that the process of highlighting and subsequently writing the prophet's words on the wall surrounding a picture of President Monson was a very powerful and memorable illustration. Click here for printable version of all images.
 Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophets? 
Lesson by Lara Goold



CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE PICTURES

Suggested Songs:

"We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,"  Hymns, page 19
"Latter-day Prophets," Children's Songbook, page 134
 "Follow the Prophet," Hymns, page 110

Lesson Purpose:  To help the young women to understand what a great blessing it is to have a living prophet on the earth to give us guidance and direction for these latter-days.

Scripture:  "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets."  Amos 3:7

PREPARATION: 

1.  print enough copies of the talk,  Believe, Obey, and Endure for every YW (or member of your family)
2.  gather pens or pencils for every YW, also chalk and tape 
3.  Print off large picture of President Monson
4. (optional) print off wallet size pictures of President Monson for each of the YW to tape into their notebooks while they take notes

OPENING PRAYER:

ANALOGY OF THE GARDEN MAZE (see this link for printable version of pictures):     Imagine you are in a maze that is made up of tall hedges.  The bushes are too thick to see through, too tall to see over, and you can't tell whether you are heading towards a dead-end until you are right there. (SHOW PICTURE OF PEOPLE INSIDE THE MAZE) You start off knowing the approximate direction of where the exit is, but quickly lose your bearings and can't do anything more than wander aimlessly until you find the correct path out.  Then you notice a little look-out tower.  (SHOW PICTURE OF MAZE FROM THE LOOKOUT) You climb the tower and you can regain your bearings again and  plot a path to the exit.

Relate being lost in the maze to being lost in the maze of our lives.  Talk about how easy it is to get caught up in the "maze of life" and focus only on what is right in front of us.

ASK:  What are some of the concerns that are in your maze of life?  (you're looking for answers like a hard physics test, getting into college, boys, friends,  etc)

WRITE:  Have one of the YW come write on the picture of the people inside of the maze, some of the answers received.

TEACH:  There is someone we can look to who has been given the keys to be on the look-out  for our day and time.  They have the perspective of being able to see all the twists and turns in the maze and give us guidance and direction that will help us to the finish line (eternal life).

SHOW PICTURE OF PRESIDENT MONSON and tape to the top of the chalkboard.

DRAW a simple watchtower underneath the picture and explain that God has given him the authority to see.

BELIEVE, OBEY, and ENDURE: 
Hand out a pen and copy of the article to each student:  Divide the YW into groups and assign each  group a page of the article to read and to circle important messages that President Monson has given to the YW for this day and this time.

HAVE EACH PERSON SHARE SOMETHING THEY'VE CIRCLED IN THE ARTICLE:   and ask for a volunteer to come make speech bubbles around the prophet and write in the words of the prophet that the YW shared from the article.   If the girls have class journals, have them glue in a  wallet size picture of President Monson and reproduce this in their notebooks while you go around the room.

 Here are some of the things that our girls came up with:  Decisions determine destiny, seminary changes lives, they are a daughter of Heavenly Father, pray for guidance, fan the flame of your testimony, choose to obey, there is a way back!  

VIDEO:   watch this video  and discuss. 


SHARE A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF FOLLOWING THE PROPHET:  
and the blessings you received.  Bear your testimony about what a remarkable blessing it is to live in a day and a time that there is a living prophet.

CLOSING PRAYER:



HANDOUT (printable version below):

Additional Reading Material: 
YW Lesson:  Why is it Important to Listen to and Follow the Living Prophet?


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Teaching the Gospel Using Questions


Today's youth are used to information being presented in short little bursts.  Twitter and Facebook have shortened their attention spans to the point that it's difficult for them to concentrate on the same thing for 5 minutes, yet alone the length of the average church lesson. We all know that we learn better when we are engaged in the lesson being taught, but as a teacher sometimes the task of engaging the students is difficult in practice, because engaging the students means that as teachers we need to be better prepared and more engaged ourselves.

 In my article 14 Ways to Engage Students in the New Youth Curriculum, I presented some ideas of helping students to use both sides of their brain as they learn.  In this article I will present some more ideas from the same teacher training and talk about using questions to help students learn the gospel.

When Jesus Christ taught the people, he taught them with patience and understanding.  He sought to know his students enough, that he could teach in a way that connected with them. We've all read the accounts of Christ using parables and real life examples that illustrated what he was teaching far better than an hour long dissertation on the philosophy of it ever could.

Think of  when Christ answered the Pharisee's accusations in Luke 5 with the simple question, "Whether [it] is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?"  The act of curing the palsied man would have been remarkable enough, but with the question to provoke some deeper thinking, it was all the more a powerful teaching moment.  We can harness that same power when we teach.  Think of questions that invite thought and allow them to reach their own conclusions about what you are teaching.  Those kind of lessons will stick with them much longer than when all the information is spoon fed to them.

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The following are presented as a series of questions, in order from least to most thought provoking.  Our teacher encouraged using them in order as a way to build understanding during a lesson.


Different Types of Questions to use during lessons (with examples of how to use them)

1.  Search for information
Example:  What are the steps of prayer?

2.  Analyze for understanding
Example:  What things are appropriate to pray for?

3.  Invite feelings / testimony
Example:  What are your personal experiences with prayer?

4.  Encourage application
Example:  What will you work on this week to improve your prayers?



Monday, April 15, 2013

Using Time Wisely FHE Lesson


We actually used this as a mini YW lesson to help the girls pass off a choice and accountability value experience, but as I was teaching it I thought that it would make for a great family home evening lesson for older kids and teens as well.  A printable version of the handout can be found here

Opening Prayer:

Opening Song: Hymns #266, "The Time is Far Spent"

Scriptures:  Ecclesiastes 3:1, Doctrine and Covenants 60:13, Article of Faith #13

Materials Needed:  A clock, the video, and handout (click here to get it in a printable version)

Discussion:  Imagine for a second that each and every day, your bank account is credited with $86,400.    But at the end of each day the money disappears.    What would you do?

You would try to use up every penny of it every day.

Show:  Show them a clock and tell them that each and every day they are given exactly 86,400 seconds  to use as we choose.   We can't save them for another day.  Once the seconds are passed, they are gone and it is up to us how we use them.

Discuss:  According to studies, the average person spends 35-40 hours in front of a television or computer screen.  That is an average of 5-6 hours (=18,000 seconds) per day, which equates to approximately 20% of every day.    Think of what we could accomplish if we tried to cut that time down by half or fourth.

Quote:  
If you have a twenty-hour-a-week television habit and would repent and convert in into a gospel study habit, in one year you could read the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the entire Bible.  In addition, you could read Jesus the Christ, Gospel Principles, the Relief Society manual, Preach my Gospel, the Miracle of Forgiveness,  and this would still leave you time to read the Ensign, New Era, and Friend each month.  This is based on your ability to read only ten pages an hour.
paraphrased from Elder William Bradford



Video
:  Choose This Day (embedded below)

Recite Article of Faith #13 (emphasizing "seeking after praiseworthy pursuits"):
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Discuss:  What kinds of things qualify as "praiseworthy"?  The answers could be reading scriptures, serving others, developing a talent, being a better friend, sharing the gospel, writing letters to grandparents or missionaries, helping a family member, staying caught up in school, doing family history, etc.

Conclude:  Encourage students to try to prioritize their time in such a way that they can use a greater portion of their time each day in more praiseworthy pursuits.  Bear your testimony  of how you've been blessed as you've tried to use your 86,400 seconds each day more wisely.

Closing Song: Scripture Power

Closing Prayer:


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Divine Nature Week: The Last Envelope

Okay, okay...I just realized that I promised to post about the final envelope in the Divine Nature Week a long time ago and haven't done it yet.   

The final envelope contained two things: 
1.  this letter 
2.  Two copies of a picture  (shown below) of each YW (printed in matte finish in 4x6 size at Costco).  One copy was for them to tape into their journals, the other was to hang up in their room.  Enlarged and framed, it would also make for a  special gift for a graduating senior or for a birthday gift.  

A couple of weeks beforehand I had handed out the following survey to the YW, the leaders,  and their parents.  Each parent would write 3 sincere compliments about their daughter and each YW and leader would write three sincere compliments about three other YW.  So each person had 4 different people (including their parents) who complimented them.  I tried to assign people to compliment people that they knew fairly well. 

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SURVEY 
--> Please write three sincere compliments about each of the people listed and turn into Sister G. before or during YW.   Please make sure the compliments are about them or their character (not something superficial like what they’re wearing, etc).   Thank you! 

Ana:
1.
2.
3.

Rachel:
1.
2.
3.

Kaili:
1.
2.
3.

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Afterward I compiled all of the responses into one long list for each girl.  Then in Photoshop Elements, I cropped the background out of their photos, and added the compliments in different fonts. 

It ended up turning out very well and the girls really seemed to treasure their photo as a very special keepsake.  The whole week ended up being very memorable for me as well as many of the young women.  It is my prayer that the young women will reread their letters and admire their photos often, especially as they hit discouraging or difficult times in their lives. 


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Monday, April 1, 2013

Baptism Candy Bar Note

I can't take any credit for this candy bar note whatsoever, but I thought it was so cute when the primary presidency presented it to my daughter at her baptism this past weekend, that I wanted to remember it for the future.  They attached everything with rolled up packing tape and used a sharpie to cross off the part of the title of the candy  that wasn't applicable to the message.  It was a perfect, inexpensive, fun little baptism gift with a great message.   It would be perfect for  primary presidencies or for anyone looking to give a little something special to someone who is getting baptized! 


Dear Ellie SWEETTARTS,
Congratulations! We are so proud of YORK decision today.  You know baptism in more than a FUNDIP in the water.  It is an EXTRA special covenant between you and Heavenly Father.  This promise will bring you so much ALMOND JOY.  You also received the gift of the Holy Ghost today.  Use it MOUNDS so you can always know how to FRUIT CHEWS the right.  It is UP2U to keep your covenant.  You shine like a STARBURST! 
Love,
The Primary

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Atonement and the Tree of Life



The Atonement and the Tree of Life


SONGS:

"Christ the Lord is Risen Today,"  Hymns, page 200
"He is Risen," Hymns, page 199
"He Sent His Son,"  Children's Songbook, page 34

ATONEMENT SCRIPTURES: 
Alma 34:9--the atonement is necessary or we will perish
Alma 34:14-16--mercy can satisfy the demands of justice
2 Nephi 9:26--atonement saves us from hell
Doctrine and Covenants 88:6--Christ can comprehend all things
Mosiah 13:27-32--why we cannot be saved by just keeping the law of Moses
John 3:16-17--God sent Christ to atone for us because He loves us

EASTER FHE LESSON IDEAS:
Christ's Atonement--with the Parable of the Ketchup
Easter Walk with Jesus--go on a family walk and find objects that symbolize Christ's atonement
Symbols of Easter--a fun lesson to help tie the Easter Bunny into the true meaning of Easter
Easter Coloring Book--a simple coloring book about the life of Jesus and His sacrifice for us

OBJECT LESSON IDEA:
Drops of Awesome

QUOTES: 
"No mortal can cry out, "He does not understand my plight, for my trials are unique."  There is nothing outside the scope of the Savior's experience.  As Elder Maxwell observed, "None of us can tell Chrsit anything about depression."  As a result of his mortal experience, culminating in the Atonement, the Savior knows, understands, and feels every human condition, every human woe, and every human loss.  He can comfort as no other.  He can life burdens as no other.  He can listen as no other.  There is no hurt he cannot soothe, rejection he cannot assuage, loneliness he cannot console.  Whatever affliction the world casts at us, he has a remedy of superior healing power."  Tad R Callister, Infinite Atonement


"Each of us will taste the bitter ashes of life, from sin and neglect to sorrow and disappointment. But the atonement of Christ can lift us up in beauty from our ashes on the wings of a sure promise of immortality and eternal life. He will thus lift us up, not only at the end of life, but in each day of our lives."  Bruce Hafen

"I suspect that many Church members are much more familiar with the nature of the redeeming and cleansing power of the Atonement than they are with the strengthening and enabling power. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for us—that is fundamental and foundational to the doctrine of Christ. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to live in us—not only to direct us but also to empower us...

The gospel of the Savior is not simply about avoiding bad in our lives; it also is essentially about doing and becoming good. And the Atonement provides help for us to overcome and avoid bad and to do and become good. Help from the Savior is available for the entire journey of mortality—from bad to good to better and to change our very nature." 
Elder David A Bednar

“It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by his atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”
  Bible Dictionary

"There is one who understands, who sympathizes. He was misunderstood, rejected, knew supreme loneliness, was poor and had not a place to lay his head, suffered anguish and conflict of mind.  He understands.  He can give pardon and bring peace."  Marion D. Hanks


VIDEOS ABOUT EASTER AND CHRIST'S ATONEMENT
 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

14 Ways to Engage Students in the New Youth Curriculum

I went to a stake leadership training meeting this morning and came out with an entire page of detailed notes about how to engage students in the new youth curriculum.  The teacher of the class, Sister Bowen, is my son's early morning seminary teacher and has the chance to use these methods with a group of sleepy  high school students every single day.  Some of the ideas may be a little better suited to a seminary class, but I think all of them have the potential to really engage the youth (whether it be in a church classroom or during family home evening) and get them to use different parts of their brain as they learn the information in the lessons.   I'm one of those people who really needs to do more than just listen to a lesson in order to really get it to stick, so I wouldn't mind if  Sunday School and Relief Society teachers used some of these sometimes too!

One of the concepts that really stuck with me from her lesson is that sometimes as teachers we get too wrapped up in each student "contributing" to the class and forget that "participating" can be done in many different ways.  Just as we don't always contribute to a testimony meeting by sharing our testimonies out loud, it doesn't mean that we haven't participated  and felt the spirit.  It's more important to engage students and help them to actively learn the material, than it is for them to answer all the questions.   Here are some of the ideas she shared with us on how we can do that:


1. One Thing--Instead of asking the youth to retell an entire story or explain a complicated gospel concept, ask everyone to share just one thing about it.  This will allow more of the class to be involved and makes it less intimidating to answer. 

2. Draw--Don't be afraid to pull out the crayons and markers.  Just because they're teenagers, doesn't mean they won't a enjoy a minute to illustrate a scripture story or concept.  It won't be fine art, but it will give them the opportunity to use the other side of their brain as they're learning the lesson. 

3. Every Third Person--When asking people to read scriptures or whatever, instead of going right around the room, have every third person do it.  It's just another way to "spread the love" and make sure that more of the class has an opportunity to participate regardless of where they're sitting in the classroom.

4. Mix it Up--If you find that your class tends to always sit in the same seats and next to the same people, find a way to mix it up.  Have everyone write down their favorite song (or whatever), then have them sit alphabetically based on the what they've written down. 

5. Quizzes--Occasionally give short (low pressure) quizzes to help make sure they understand the material.  To make it even more meaningful, have them take turns writing the quizzes themselves. 

6. White Boards--Buy cheap whiteboards and dry-erase markers (at the dollar store or Walmart) for each member of the class.  Ask them a question and have them write their answer on the whiteboard and display their answers all at the same time.  It gives them an opportunity to think of the answer independently and also introduces a tad bit of healthy competition.   

7. Chalkboard--Give them the opportunity to move their bodies and come write something on the chalkboard.  They can fill in the blanks of a scripture, write down class feedback, or draw out a chart. 

8. New Era--Don't be afraid to use stories and tidbits from the New Era (or Ensign).  It's an especially great place to find real life examples of people living the principles of the gospel.

9. Write--Provide paper and allow them to write.  It can be as simple as taking notes, copying down charts, or giving them a minute to write down their thoughts.   The act of writing things down will give their brains one more way to process the information, so that hopefully they'll remember it better.

10. Journals--Beyond just providing paper, give them class journals to take notes in, write down their thoughts or experiences, or glue in handouts.  You can use a composition notebook or small binder.  Either way it's probably best if they keep the journals at church, so they always have them during class. 

11. Caveman Speak
--To liven things up, have everyone summarize their answers into 5 words or less (caveman speak). 

12. Epistles
--Have the students write an epistle to someone about a gospel topic that  is meaningful to them. 

13. Facebook
--print off a template of a facebook page and have them create facebook pages for people in church history or from the scriptures.  Make sure they include their beliefs, interests, and status updates. 

14. Media--Occasionally find ways to connect people in the media  with the lesson you're teaching.  It can be as an example of someone who's made bad (or good) choices, or someone who's sung a particularly meaningful song, or someone who's done contributed to society in a meaningful way, etc.    Our teacher shared how she brought in a bunch of pictures of Tim Tebow  and together they made a list of the scriptures he'd written on his face.  They looked up each of the scriptures and then had each class member pick the scripture they would write on their own faces. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

YW Divine Nature Activity

NEW:   Click here to see the final day's envelope. (the rest are listed below)

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Based on an idea I saw here, I wanted to make a special activity for the young women in our ward to help them to understand their great worth and divine nature.  I decided to link it to the lesson, "Who am I and who can I become?"  At the end of the lesson, I distributed a manila envelope to each girl filled with 8 individual envelopes to open on consecutive days.  I encouraged them to open them at quiet moments when they could devote a few minutes to reading it and writing in their journal afterward. 

Each envelope had a special message inside along with an encouraged action to complement the message....usually writing in their journals.  It ended up being a meaningful experience for me to put together, as well as a special activity for the girls.  I was really touched by some of the comments I heard from the girls and their parents.   I think the younger girls were a little more excited than the older ones, but I  figure if it touched even one of their hearts then it was a worthwhile expenditure of my time. 

Click here to read what I included in the envelopes  for days 1-7 (day 8 will be included in a separate post).   I was a little sad that my fun fonts and formatting did not transfer from Word to Google Docs, but you should be able to copy and paste it into your own Word document and make it your own.  Please note that a couple of the days include notes that share personal experiences.  You'll definitely want to change those up and make them your own.   Additionally, I personalized it wherever I could and tried to use their names as much as possible.   

Materials Needed (per person):
*8 envelopes
*one pencil
*printed notes  (find the link here, noting that you'll have to tweak at least Days 5 & 7 and  make them your own)
* a YW divine nature cootie catcher (see below)
*any desired embellishments to beautify the paper and/or envelopes

Here is the YW value cootie catcher included in Day 3's envelope.  Simply right click on the image, copy it, then paste it into a Word document and adjust it to the size you desire before printing.  Please note that it needs to be square shaped in order to fold properly.   See this demo for how to fold a cootie catcher, keeping in mind that you can skip the first three steps of the demo. 






And lastly here's a recap of the Personal Progress requirements they can pass off if they do each of the days' activities. 

Monday:  Individual Worth #3 or Good Works (write-in)
Tuesday:  Individual Worth #7
Wednesday:  Knowledge #3
Thursday:  Individual Worth #1
Friday:  Individual Worth #4 or Faith (write-in) 


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Day 8 was a little too much include in this post, so I've made another post about it.  Find it HERE!

Here's a sneak peek