Friday, June 27, 2008

July 2008 Sharing Time Ideas

Hello! I read the article by President Packer and thought perhaps I should do some more work! While I can't commit to doing this every month (yes, I have fear of commitments... my husband was the only relationship I ever had that lasted over three months :) And here's to eternity!), I'll try to post more ideas on weeks that I don't teach. I still plan on only doing full out lesson plans for the third weekly idea. So here's to it!

As the theme this month is missionary work, here is a picture of the very good looking hubby when he served honorably in Dallas, TX English and Spanish Speaking

1. I will prepare to be a missionary by praying and reading the scriptures daily.

* Invite a couple of return missionaries (or even current missionaries in the ward/branch) in to talk about what life was like on their missions. Let the kids ask as many questions as they like and have the guests bear their testimonies (briefly) of prayer and reading the scriptures daily in another language.

* Have a world map and a bunch of missionary cut out people. For senior sharing time you could do a scripture hunt on references on prayer and scripture study. Each time they find a scripture, they can put up a missionary anywhere in the world they'd like to serve. For junior sharing time, have a list of questions based on prayer, scripture study, missionary work (E.G. 1. Who was the prophet in the Book of Mormon that prayed all the day and night until he received a testimony of Christ? Enos 2. Who was a wicked man who persecuted Christ's church and then miraculously became one of the best missionaries for Christ's church? Paul, Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah 3. Why do the prophets tell us so often to read our scriptures? It's important to do!
4. Why do you want to serve a mission? I'd make a list of about 15 questions.... better to be over prepared, but remember you don't have to squeeze everything in!!!)

* Make charts for the kids to decorate and put by their bed to encourage prayer and scripture reading.

* An opening activity could be to have a kid come up and dress up as a missionary (perhaps even just put on a missionary tag). Tell them that they are serving a mission in Greece (shout out to all my fellow greeks!) BUT THEY CAN'T EAT AT ALL OR DRINK on their mission. Ask the kid if that's OK? Does he think he'll be able to make it the two years doing that? No! That's silly! But if one doesn't pray or read his/her scriptures, missionary life would be as hard or harder than not eating or drinking! Then read John 6: 33, 35, 48, 51 (Bread of life scripture)

2. I will prepare to be a missionary by being faithful and obedient.

* Have a child dress up as a missionary, have them start somewhere where they can take ten or 15 steps to get to the door. Have the kids brainstorm 10 examples of faithful and obedient missionaries in the scriptures and in their own lives. Once they reach the door they can knock. Have someone open the door and on the other side is a picture of Christ. (make the point that when we are faithful and obedient, as friends in primary or as missionaries, it will lead us to Christ)

* I noticed in the friend magazine a little picture of a missionary they can make that expands. You could blow it up to a regular 8x10 size and have them write on his legs things they can do now to show their faith and obedience. For as we do those things, we grow in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

* Reader's Theatre!! Lights, camera, action... Find a fun and powerful story of a convert in the ward (Hopefully one of the kid's parents... if possible) Write a short play based on the story and end with I'm grateful for the missionary who taught me the gospel, because he/she was faithful and obedient I have happiness and joy! You can do this too!

* Have a string and a wagon picture that can move on the string. Talk about the mission of Parley P.Pratt and Oliver Cowdry to the American Indians. As you tell the story, there were times of obstacle like the terrible winter storm, Pratt was arrested on false charges, the wouldn't allow them to teach the indians because they didn't have the proper permit (have the a child come move the wagon back a little) but then because they were faithful and obedient they were 2 great missionaries and we have the gospel in our lives because of it! (have a kid move wagon forward when you talk about how Pratt ran free of the dog and warden so he wouldn't have to go to jail, how they braved the winter storm, how they taught the chiefs of the tribes anyways) For more info of the story see the Church History Religion Manuel chapter 8 or 9 ?? I think.

4. I help to bless others when I share the gospel.

* Brainstorm some really awesome gifts. If you could give anything in the world to anyone you liked, what would you give? Some answers might include a car, a pony, a dog, another sort of animal :) don't you love how they always bring up animals? a house, a watch or a diamond ring.... Then have a nicely wrapped box at the front. Have the kids come up and pull things out of the box that have to do with missionary work.( E.G. Book of Mormon, Bible, Picture of Christ, Pass along card, tithing slip-show the part with the missionary fund, a picture of the MTC, a mirror-when they live their lives righteously their good example helps to spread the gospel, a candle-read Luke 11: 33-No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light., etc.) Explain that while all the toys of life might be fun, the greatest gift we can give is the gospel and the blessings it brings. Also point out the greatest gift ever given was the atonement and that because of this ultimate sacrifice we can have eternal life.

* Sing If you Chance to Meet a frown... Have a child come up and hold a face that can be turned as either a smiley face or frowny face. Give them gospel sharing scenarios (E.g. Micah went to school and said a swear word. A friend overheard him and asked, are mormons supposed to swear?) and then have them decide whether that was a happy thought or sad thought. If it was a sad scenario, how could they make it happy. Give each kid a happy face sticker. (This geared more toward junior primary) Also, the story on "Benjamin's Name" in the July 2008 Friend would be good to include here.

* D&C 65: 2 - The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth. Have the children decorate rocks to send to a ward/branch missionary. Write a letter to the missionary as a primary and have the kids share some thoughts on missionary work.

Friend Article: Do you want to go to Primary with me?

Do You Want to Go to Primary with Me? By Renee Harding (Based on a true story)

In the July 2008 Issue of the friend is a WONDERFUL!!! story and is as above mentioned!

For most members of primary, we want to fulfill our callings because we know of it's sacred nature. The Visiting Teaching message from June talked about the premortal life. There was a quote from Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president: “Women have distinct assignments given to them from before the foundation of the world. …" May I suggest that for many of us, some of those assignments meant making Primary a place where children could grow in knowledge and feel of the Savior's love and spirit.

So here's a personal experience. I like I think it's an exceptional website and offers a forum for us to share ideas and insight. However, I have to limit myself there. Because often times I find posts that get me too excited or frustrated. For example, one post asked... I'm paraphrasing... how do we increase spirituality within the primary? Often times, teachers feel they aren't getting much out of primary and within our presidency we feel like we are running around too much to learn much either....

Seriously. Why doesn't Heavenly Father just send lightning from the sky and end it all now?

I commented on the post, but mildly. Here on my own blog, I feel I can give more scope and vent.

FIRST, Primary is spirituality defined. They are the ones who are perfect. They are the one's we need to become like to enter heaven. The concepts in the 2008 Sharing Time, when prayed carefully about and taught properly offer experiences as joyful and wonderful as those found in the temple.

SECOND, Primary needs positive attitudes. I hear soooooooo many women complain!!!! It's unnecessary. It does no good. Children are so perceptive and incredible. I've been in many a sharing time when you could just tell the teacher wasn't prepared or that into the lesson... and bam! The children were done too!

THIRD, Primary needs RESEARCH! Yes!! RESEARCH!! I got my degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Urban Education from BYU. I grew up with a mother as a school teacher, 3 aunts as school teachers... it's in my blood. May I be so bold as to suggest that everyone in primary should learn some basics of teaching children. (How to write a sharing time lesson plan, quick attention grabbers when kids drift off, proper vocabulary to use with children, etc.) Research what makes an effective learning environment!! Let teaching children become so natural to you that you never have to make comments like "our teachers aren't getting much out of sharing times."

FOURTH, AND MOST IMPORTANT!!! Primary needs workers who are willing to work and be close to the Lord. What good is any of it, if we aren't under the direction and promptings of our Heavenly Father. He is all wise. His plan is perfect. How will we be instruments in His hands? How will we make our own individual primaries places where little ones will invite friends, where friends will feel the spirit and where homes can be changed because of it.... as so beautifully written in this friend article!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I will be reverent, dress modestly, and speak kindly to be worthy to enter the temple.

June ~4th Sunday~ Primary Sharing Time

We have a new convert in the ward that was recently called to teach sunbeams. She has the class sharing time for this Sunday and called me because she wasn't sure what to do. I wrote her the following:

Hello Sister C!

I hope I don’t freak you out. I’m sorry I’m such a scattered person and hope these ideas can help.

First of all, let me reiterate the power of prayer. I often find myself very humbled to be able to teach our little ones. For though they are small, they are the great ones. They are what we must become like to enter into heaven. ( 3 Nephi Chapter 9 Verse 22) I never plan or prepare anything without first saying prayer, asking for guidance, for the words Heavenly Father wants presented to these precious souls. I am also careful to be aware of what I’m feeling while I plan and to be open to ideas that come into my head.
Second, I highly recommend going to the temple. (She has never been) This is the Lord’s house. This is where Christ can come, this is where the spirit can be felt very strongly. It is a place of service and nothing but selfless service! It is a place of knowledge, a place to take your problems to the Lord and find answers. Of course, God will hear the prayers of all, anywhere they call upon His name… but the temple is set apart and is very special. Of course you can teach all this to the children, but to have a personal testimony is of much value.
Third, you are extremely special. You are a gifted teacher, you are humble and obviously in tune with the spirit. The spirit ultimately is what teaches, you are the instrument. The love you radiate influences my child and I’m indebted to you for securing the truths we teach within our home. So!! Whatever you choose to do, WILL BE GREAT! If you use any of these ideas or not! You are fantastic!

Your theme/idea for the lesson is: I will be reverent, dress modestly and speak kindly to be worthy to enter the temple. However, if you feel prompted to choose another idea or theme… feel free to do so!! (Hello... we want her to feel good and grow in the gospel, the more positive experiences the better. Otherwise I would never recommend straying from the Primary outline unless strongly prompted by the spirit)

I didn't want to bombard her with the formalities of a lesson plan so I just gave some basic ideas.

Reno, NV Temple
1. Have a bag full of pictures (from magazines, the internet, you own personal drawings… whatever you can find) On the chalkboard, have a picture of the temple posted and a garbage posted. As the children draw pictures from the bag, they decide whether it’s something that would help them get to the temple or is just plain garbage.
* Pictures could include a couple people dressed modestly, a picture of a mini skirt or really holey type jeans. People with talking bubbles and then in the bubbles you can write scriptures, nice words, or like “I’m not going to be your friend anymore!”. You could also have word strips in the bag too with examples… Tommy is running in the halls at church. Is this reverent? Helen is thinking about Jesus during sacrament. Is this reverent? Since it is a little harder to draw reverence… but you’re probably really talented… so whatever you think. A variation could be they could actually throw the bad ideas out in the garbage. Place the good ideas on the chalkboard by the temple. (The sunbeams can help put the pictures and phrases where they go… me or Lorna can help them at the chalkboard while you continue the discussion) Emphasize how the temple is a special place and we need to prepare to go there by doing good things in life and throwing all the bad things away in the garbage!

Toyko, Japan Temple
2. Brainstorm some things that are important to prepare to go to the temple. Have a couple pictures so they can visualize and stimulate ideas, in case they are stumped. ( A girl praying, scripture study, someone taking the sacrament reverently, someone dressed nicely, someone serving a person) Then have a copy for each child of a basic body. (like a step up from a stick figure) Ask them to draw on the person some modest clothing. The body could have a speaking bubble coming out and you could ask them to write something that is kind for them to say. Then have all the children bring their person to the temple (again it could be posted on the chalkboard) Reiterate the theme when we are reverent, dress modestly and speak kindly we prepare to be worthy to go to the temple. (The sunbeams can hold pictures during the brainstorm)
Buenos Aries, Argentina Temple
3. You could invite a couple people who attend the temple regularly to speak to the children about how to prepare to go there and take any questions the children might have. Sister H, your mother in law, Sister S are all temple workers. Feel free to ask them any questions you might have too! (This idea of sorts was in the friend magazine this month)
Ghana Temple
4. “Grungy Greg”. On a large poster board, draw a person with removable features. He could be wearing short shorts, a tank top, a gameboy in his hand, a stereo on his shoulders, shoes with a hole that his toe is poking out of. Then have pieces that can be put on him that are more fitting for him to go to the temple. Make Grungy Greg, Giddy-Up Great Greg! A suit, scriptures for his hand, nice shoes, hearts with kind words he speaks, a picture of Jesus that he remembers during church to be reverent… does this make any sense? Have the kids choose something they don’t like about him, a sunbeam can take that off… then have the kid answer a question like, why can’t you wear short shorts to the temple? Once they answer, then put up the appropriate attire.
Oakland, California Temple
5. Have about 10 pictures of different temples covered or turned so the kids can’t see at the front of the room. Divide the primary into 3 groups. (mind you we only have about 12 kids in Jr. Primary) Give them each a large poster board and ask them to draw a picture(s) of reverence, modesty and speaking kindly. Put an adult with each group. They can add words to their picture too. Tell them that when they do these things they can go to a very special place! Ask a child if they will be reverent. If they say yes, invite them quietly to the front to choose a picture and turn it around. Ask another child will you dress modestly? Invite them quietly to the front, etc. If they aren’t being quiet then they aren’t being reverent... does that prepare them to go to the temple?

Possible scriptures to include: D&C 88: 119, Hel. 4:24, Acts 3: 1-3, 8, 10,

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 2008 Sharing Time Reflection

So... of course. I couldn't figure out my whole heart idea. Instead, I had the kids come up, choose a heart, answer the question or sing the song and then they got to choose a piece of the puzzle to turn over. We had had an activity day where we went to the Reno, NV temple, so I put a picture of all the kids that went too. Pardon my artwork. It is definitely not a talent of mine!

Also I've been reading more in depth President Boyd K. Packer's The Holy Temple. Highly recommend of course! And there was a very interesting quote from Wilford Woodruff, that Joseph Smith included in his history, "The Bible says, 'I will send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord; and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.' Now, the word turn here should be translated bind or seal. But what is the object of this important mission? or how is it to be fulfilled? The keys are delivered. The spirit of Elijah is to come, the Gospel to be established, the Saints of God fathered, Zion built up, and the Saints to come up as saviours on Mount Zion." (HC, 6:183-184)

I think I'd add a few more questions with info. gleaned from his wonderful book!

1. What is another word in reference to temple work for the word turn? Then incorporate the quote

2. What is the greatest responsibility we have, according to Joseph Smith?

"The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead." (HC 6:313)

3. What did the saints in church do when they first learned about baptism for the dead?

They performed baptisms in the Mississippi River. And they did so without a man to record a single act that they had performed. (The Holy Temple, Packer, p.198) Later, President Woodruff gave a manifesto in 1890 to clarify what should be done concerning this sacred ordinance. (The Holy Temple, Packer, p.196)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 2008 Sharing Time

June 2008 Sharing Time
I will do family history work so my ancestors can receive temple blessings.
Malachi 4:5-6, D&C 138:47-48

(have a couple pictures of a primary child’s ancestor and a short story to tell about each picture)
Opening Activity: Ask a child to come to the front and have their backs to you. Tell the children not to shout out ANY answers to the question you will ask. Hold up the picture of the ancestor and ask them to tell you what you are holding. They can guess, but they probably won’t get the right answer. Ask the child to turn to you and show them the picture.


Tell the story of the picture. Reiterate how they would have never known this unless they turned and looked!

Sharing Time: Have a giant heart puzzle. As the children answer questions about family history work, they can turn over a piece of the puzzle. One side of the heart should be red (or whatever color you choose) and the other side should be a picture of a child and his/her father or family. Be careful so that the picture is the right way as they turn. You don’t want a mixed up or backwards picture. Line each side carefully. Or the message is kind of defeated…:)

1. What is an ancestor? (Your family generations gone before you)
2. The first ordinance of the gospel performed for both the living and the dead is what? (baptism)
3. How soon can temple work be done for a person after they have died? (1 year)
4. Please find and read D&C 138:47-48
5. Why can’t people be baptized in the spirit world or be sealed there? (It has to have been done on earth with a body)
6. The parents of your parent’s parents are your what? (Your great grandparents)
Find Malachi 4:5-6 and please read it.
7. Since you aren’t 12 yet, what can you do to help do family history work?
Ideas for answers to this question:
(In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball told Church members: “All members should write a personal history.”,
Vickie Matsumori “When you do family history work or write in your journal, you are helping to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Mal. 4:6). As you learn stories about your grandparents and other progenitors (ancestors, forefathers), you see into their hearts and you develop an appreciation for them as real people—as members of your family. As you write about your own life in your journal, you will remember the Lord’s blessings to you, and you will provide an opportunity for your future children and grandchildren to see into your heart.
You can begin doing family history today by talking to, phoning, writing to, or sending e-mails to family members. You can find out about the things that are important to them. You can begin writing your personal history today by starting a journal. Write down the things that are important to you and that will help you and your posterity.
You can live the commandments and be worthy to go to the temple when you are twelve so that you can be baptized for the dead. You can choose the right each day so that when you are older, you can go to the temple to receive your own endowment. You can continue to live a righteous life and be worthy to return to the temple and do work to help your entire family, including your progenitors, receive the “crowning blessings the Church has to offer.”
Songs to intersperse throughout lesson:
I love to see the temple p.95
Family History- I am doing it p.94
The Hearts of the Children p.92

Once they have turned the puzzle and see the picture, emphasize again how important it is to turn to see! Since I am teaching on Father’s Day, I am also integrating something they can take home for their dads.

Making a small journal for the kids with Malachi 4:5-6 as the front cover. Have their first entry be about their dad. Teachers will need to help the little ones.
The first page will look like similar to this:
Draw a picture of you and your dad.
1.My dad’s favorite food and color are…
2.I like to go… with my dad.
3.My dad is really fun because he…
4.My dad looks like…
5.I love my dad because…

PLEASE BE AWARE that not all children have fathers that are so grand or that are even in the picture! This is a perfect time to talk about Heavenly Father as our father who will NEVER fail us!!! The kids can still fill out the questions, but in reference to Heavenly Father!! Reassure them that Heavenly Father loves to hear what His children are thinking and that He’d love to see what they put in their journal about Him! After all, isn’t that what all the prophets did?!?! They wrote about their Heavenly Father all throughout the scriptures!!

Closing Activity: Bring up a child, have them turn away from you. This time hold up a picture of Christ along with their journal. Have them guess. Have them turn around. Bear testimony of how doing our family history will bring us closer to Christ and help us have happiness.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

May 2008 Sharing Time Reflection

I wanted to mention that I used an actual dollhouse for our sharing time. I set up a little people family inside and had a car and swingset. I hid little pieces of paper with corresponding numbers to questions and songs and let the kids come up and find numbers. I also let them try to blow down the house and even brought a blow dryer. Nothing could knock it over. It was a pretty powerful, yet fun, demonstration. I really could feel the spirit and felt like the importance of the message was sent.

We also did this activity as a family home evening. It is just really hands on and a great way to visualize Helaman 5:12.