Sunday, August 24, 2008

Please Move Chairs

2 little boys are talking. They are into the lesson, they are obviously getting the point but...I'll start from the beginning.

I ask a girl to come up and step in a pretend puddle of mud. She's very dirty, covered head to toe. How will she get clean? I ask another girl to come up and spray some pretend paint on the chair. She does and even gets some on the ceiling. What will we do to get rid of this graffiti? I have to lift her up so she can cover up the paint on the ceiling. I have one more example, but before I can get to it, 2 little boys are talking. They are pretending to spray each other with paint and then paint over the graffiti.
What should I do? Should I:
ignore the disruptive behavior
talk over them
scold them
tell them they aren't being reverent
Boys! You are so smart, you get the point! Please put the spray cans under your chair and think about our next example. (They still fidget with their cans so I step closer and whisper do you need to move chairs? Quickly they stop.)

*Be polite to children and make sure they know you mean what you say. Follow through my friends, follow through.

I invite another child to come up. This time I tell the boy that it was the first day of school and he told a lie. How or what can he do to fix this problem? He can't wash anything or paint over anything. A child shouts out repentance!!
What should I do? The child knew the answer, but when one starts shouting out others will follow suit. Should I:
ignore the disruptive behavior, after all it was the answer I was looking for!
scold them
tell them they aren't being reverent, but it was the right answer
I'm so happy you know about repentance! You are brilliant! Please remember (I look at the boy and then direct my comment to all the children) to raise your hand when you have such a wonderful answer! (look back at the boy and smile, he's still smiling too)

*Be positive. Maintain an environment conducive to learning and where the spirit can be felt.

It's the last 5 minutes of sharing time and my 2 little friends, sweet 8 year old boys, are talking again and this time hands are pinching each other.
What should I do? Should I:
ignore them, keep on going- after all everyone else is paying attention.
scold them
tell them they aren't being reverent, stop it you guys, I've already had to tell you this one time before

"Please move chairs." (One boy moves. Away from the other boy. It's simple.)

(I love this happy chairs!! picture courtesy Arne Jacobsen 1996)

I continue on about the importance of the atonement. I take the pennies out of the ketchup, clean them while bearing testimony that God will forgive and will remember our sins/mistakes no more if we truly repent. I feel the spirit. All eyes are on the penny. It's no longer old and grimy, it's shiny and like new.

We, as teachers, are going to have moments that interrupt learning. The way we respond to our children's behavior can be positive or negative. We have the choice. Pray to our Heavenly Father for guidance.

One time, I and 25 children, were unfortunate enough to witness a "ranting" as I called it. The sharing time hadn't gone that smoothly.

Why might I say this?
Because the adult hasn't prepared enough
the adult is talking too much
the adult didn't think about the children's needs
the adult isn't using proper language, suitable for children
the adult isn't energetic
the adult is stressed out or nervous
the adult is trying to do too much with not enough time
the adult is ignoring behaviors that detract from the spirit
the adult is chastising behaviors that combines also to detract from the spirit
it's not the kids who are talking, but the leaders in the background talking, detracting from the spirit... boo!! hiss!!

The ranting lasted for 12 minutes!!! Lecturing, belittling, publicly berating them in front of others... oh my, it was terrible! I was furious! I didn't stand up for the children. I know I should of, and I didn't. I am far from perfect. My point is this though "An inspired, loving rebuke can be an invitation to unity." (President Eyring Sept. 2008 Ensign) Please move your chairs, indeed. We don't need 12 minute lectures, we don't need constant "You're not being reverent, fold your arms now!" We need the Savior. We need our children to know who He is. Make your primaries places of unity. I often will stand by or direct their attention to the beautiful paintings of the Master to bring back focus if we've gone astray. I pray for the spirit to be with us.


Michelle said...

This is awesome! Exactly the counsel I needed right now.
Thank you for a wonderful resource!

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Michelle- Thank you!! It's a simple thought, but hopefully effective.

texasblu said...

Dear Sister,

I just found your blog. I so agree with this post! I'm sharing the link with others on my blog, as well as blogrolling you. I hope you don't mind! :)

Islandalli said...

Thank you for this post. I so appreciate it- at just the right time. Some great, practical ideas. Thanks again.
~Alli Hubbs, primary pres in Manette, WA

The Gray Team said...

My sentiments exactly! You said everything I've been wanting to share with my presidency, but didn't know how to do it without hurting anyone's feelings! Do you mind if I use your message? Thanks for all your fabulous ideas! It is a great to have insight to someone else's creative mind!

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Texasblu, not at all, thank you for the honor!

Sister Hubbs, thank you for your kind words. Timing is just another one of God's miracles.

Sister Gray, communication is an interesting thing. I wish it was easier also. Please use what you can!! And thank you also for your kind words.

Monster Mary said...

I appreciated your thoughts and advice. THank you so much. We've been struggling so much with our junior primary being reverant. We have a large junior primary. We finally decided to move the chairs so that they split the room and it's been helpful so far.

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Mary- I hope it just gets better and better! I'm sure it will with you as a teacher!

The Poulters said...

It's obvious you love the kids and have experience sharing that love with patience. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Those of us with less experience definitely benefit from your example.