Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Greece they "Shhhh" the goats

(Image Courtesy Essjay is Happy in NZ Aug. 2005, found on
My mother is a teacher. A great teacher. A great mother. She is also Greek. Perhaps a great Greek? One thing my mother always told me is, "In Greece they shush/ "shhhhhh" the goats."

How can we maintain an atmosphere of reverence in primary... without "shhhh"-ing? After all, the children are not "cachikis" (goat in greek) and primary doesn't need to sound like a leaky faucet.

* Sing a song. Or sing a song. Did I mention sing a song?

*Quiet Signals. Let the children know when you give the signal, you expect attention and calm. For example say Give me 5 and hold up your hand. (Ask the children to hold up their hand and 5 fingers) Another example, using your hand cup your ear. (When they see you do this, they need put their hand to their ear... listening is important!!) Move on quickly. There's no need to chastise.

* Stand by a picture of the Savior, pointing to Him and quietly wait. (No more than 30 seconds, just enough to quickly get back to what you are doing with the primary's full attention)

* Touch your knees, your toes, your eyes and your nose. (whisper this and have them follow suit)

*Look at the ceiling, look at the floor, look at the door, look at Helen's shoe, smile at your neighbor, look at the picture of Christ. (speak this as quickly as you can and have them follow suit)

* Have the picture of Jesus stilling the storm (GAK 214) on a popsicle stick. Hold it up, you say peace, they say be still. Smile. Move on.

* Hold up a mirror. When it's quiet say "Can you see His image in your countenance?" I think so, thank you.

One reason we come to church is to learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus. To get closer to them. We need to PRAY beforehand that Primary will be uplifting and that the spirit may be felt. With God all things are possible. Be confident because the Lord is by our side when we are doing the things He asks.


Jennie said...

I just wanted to thank you for your great ideas. I am doing my very firt sharing time next week and have found your tips very helpful. Thank you for helping to ease my fears!!!

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Jennie- I'm sure the sharing time will be wonderful and that you will excell in your calling with the Lord's help! Wish I could be there to see how great it is! Thank you for your kind words!

Simone said...

I love your ideas, Sofia. I'm not that creative but I share some materials on my blog. A friend of mine sometimes translates you ideas into Portugues. I wish we had as many resources in Portuguese as you have in English.

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Simone- thanks for your kind words. Sometimes I think we have too many resources! All we really need is our scriptures and some humble prayer. (And the children's song book and outline of course!!)

If you know any teachers too, talk to them and find out activities that are engaging to children.

Also, YOU be the resource. Think and reflect on how your sharing times go. What can go better? What needs to be changed? What went really well. Patience and persistence my sister. I bet you are wonderfully creative! Don't doubt yourself, the Lord is on your side.

Simone said...

Hi Sister! Actually, I have many resources and I agree with you. I'm President of the Primary in my Stake and I see the biggest problem here is that teachers mostly read in the classes. I'm trying to find out why they do not use the basic resources available suc as the Friend maganize and motivate activities described in every each lesson. Children distract easily when the teacher keeps on reading all the time. But of course I'll think about what you've said. Thank you so much! have a nice weekend

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Simone- You make a wonderful point! I'd love to hear what you find out. The only way to do so, is to ask the teachers of course. I'd venture to say it's teacher confidence issues or unrealistic expectations of the children.

Children do not need to be sitting 100% quiet 100% of the time.

That's a tough one. We, here in Nevada have bookstores that sell tons of books on sharing time helps. We've been asked by our Stake to not use those books for sharing times, that's the only reason I bring up too many resources in English.

Teaching No Greater Call has wonderful insights. Perhaps the teachers need to see how those ideas work? And the other reason I brought up personal reflection is because it's probably the least thought about aspect of one's lesson, but the greatest opportunity for growth.

Hmmmm... I'm sorry to go on and on. I am very curious though as to what you find out. You have a wonderful weekend also!

Simone said...

I'm wondering that some of them doesn't prepare the lessons, indeed. We'll give a training next month and we'll use the parable of the muffins (from the Mormon Share website). With the parable we'll try to show how important each of them are. I've translated the parable into Portuguese and posted on my blog. Further, I'll give a muffin as a gift at the end. This, I'm sure they'll like...laughter

Usually in training with make (or do? sorry my English) an exposition of materials using resources from "teaching no greater call" so they can see that they are really possible to be used. Seeing possibilities is differente from reading. Hopefully they will be motivated by seeing and touching the materials more than "only" hearing about them.

Thank you so much for your ideas and answers.

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Thank YOU Sister Simone! You are a wise woman with wise words!

Sarah said...

Love the idea of Jesus & the storm. Great cue! I am in the stake & get to see lots of primaries in action. The ones with the most reverent, participating kids are the ones with leaders who are actively involving them. I think it comes down to the controversial word "discipline". It's controversial at church because it seems wrong to discipline.

However I went to a general training that talked about the root of the word is disciple: a follower of Christ. That is what we are trying to teach the children. I think when we get frustrated we fall back on negative discipline like warnings or hushing etc. But if we are prepared & constantly interacting then the kids WANT to learn.

I saw one leader use different ways to call on kids. Really they were attention getters. So instead of always calling the reverent child, she would ask all the kids to be a shark (hands over head), be an elephant, stand up, 2 fingers up, make a certain noise. It was PURE genius!!