Monday, January 26, 2009

Push Me Pull Me

Image courtesy creative commons license by rustman may 2007

I had to go in with our CTR 6 class, about 7 children for 15 minutes unawares that I would have to do so with my 2 year old. I didn't have any pictures, any chalk, paper, crayons, or manuals.... but I did have chairs, bodies and God's love/mercy.

A simple thought came to my mind and we turned it into a wonderful CTR lesson and then family home evening for our 4 and 2 year old.

Song: I'm trying to Be Like Jesus (CS 78-79)
Attention Activity: Pull the girls away from a picture of Christ, on a chair. (Or a pillow would work!) Push them closer to Christ. Ask them what is happening?
Activity: Using the GAK pictures, choose 10 pictures and ask questions as to whether this choice brings us closer or farther away from Jesus. For example, GAK 114 is a picture of Daniel refusing the King's meat and wine. Does drinking alcohol push us to or pull us away from Christ? Ask the children to use their hands to show the action of pulling or pushing. Or have daddy push or pull the girls to also show whether the choice brings us closer or farther away from Jesus.
Scripture: D&C 66: 11 "Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads." Explain the word Zion and emphasize PUSH.
Bear Testimony

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009 February Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

GAK (Gospel Art Kit Picture) 119

I came to earth as part of a family. “The family is ordained of God” (“Proclamation,” paragraph 7).

Week 1 Adam and Eve were the first family.

* Have a simple family tree to show the children. Explain that the trunk of the whole human family would be Adam and Eve, we are all branches from them. Make a large tree visual with lots of leaves. On the back of the leaves write questions, scriptures and songs for the children to come up and choose.

* Take a little vote. Ask the children to raise their hand if they have ever been sick, sad, ashamed, scared... Hold up an apple. How did a piece of fruit make it so that we would feel these things? Before they answer, ask the children if they have ever been healthy, happy, proud, brave.... Hold up the apple again. How did a piece of fruit make it so we could feel so many opposites? Have cut up apples to share with the children.... Food is only allowed in Primary when it has to do with the lesson, so be prayerful about this!

* From Mariam Joyce Grisham, “Garden of Eden,” Friend, Sept. 2006, 32–33
Finger puppet time!!! Make these great little puppets (scroll down a little on this link!!) and then have the children wiggle their fingers as you tell them the story of Adam and Eve.

* "Leaf" it to Adam and Eve! Divide the primary into groups and a teacher over each group. Give them large green paper leaves. Ask them to come up with as many ideas and facts that they know about Adam and Eve. They can also write down scriptures or songs that have to do with them. Then share what the children have come up with!

Week 2 Heavenly Father blesses righteous families in the scriptures.

* Wrap up nicely a piece of garbage or an empty cereal box with a half eaten banana inside. Someone did something nice for you, so this is what you are going to give in return. YUCK!!!
When we follow the commandments, what does Heavenly Father do?
Matt. 7: 11 "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"

Have one more present wrapped, a picture of Christ.
James 1: 17 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above" Bear testimony that the greatest gift given to all families on earth was the life and atonement of Jesus Christ.

* Have a stuffed dog on a leash. Have a child come up and walk the dog. Take the leash off. What happens to the dog?
D&C 82: 10 "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise."
Righteous families in the scriptures were led and blessed by the Lord because they did what He said.

*Proverbs 11:6 "The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness." Have 4 words written on the board: righteous, naughty, blessings, consequences. Talk about different scriptural families and fill in the blanks. For example Jacob's Family: Joseph and Jacob were very righteous, Joseph's 11 brothers were a little naughty when they threw him in the pit, Joseph was a ruler in Egypt, Joseph's 11 brothers felt guilty and sad. Make sure to find pictures of the families if you can.

* Have a mystery phrase/scripture for the kids to figure out by the end of the lesson. Write on the black board John 14: 15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (I would take out the words love and commandments and substitute big question marks) Did all the righteous scripture families love God? Did they keep His commandments? Then what do we need to do....

* Count Their Many Blessings - Have 3 or 4 different scripture families and a really large piece of butcher paper. See how many blessings you can come up with for all the families and if you can fill up the entire paper.

Week 3 The priesthood blesses my family.

* Invite some worthy priesthood holders into sharing time. Have the children ask them any questions they would like to about the priesthood. Ask the men to bear testimony about the priesthood and how it blesses their families or ward family.

* A few days before Sunday, call up a few children to share an experience of when priesthood has blessed their family. Have them bring in a picture if they can of the person who righteously held the priesthood.

* Bring in a cell phone and a ward phone list. Stress the italicized words.
Alma 13:8 "Now they were ordained after this manner—being called with a holy calling, and ordained with a holy ordinance, and taking upon them the high priesthood of the holy order, which calling, and ordinance, and high priesthood, is without beginning or end"
The priesthood is only a call away!!! There are many worthy priesthood holders who can come to your home and extend the blessings of heaven to you. Hold up the cell phone and ward phone list.

* Have a picture of a baby, or have a mother come in with her baby. How would we treat this baby? What makes this baby special? What are some words to describe this baby? There are things in this life that are precious beyond description. A baby is precious. Today we will talk about something that is just as precious and special.

"What is the priesthood? It is nothing more nor less than the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family..." Joseph F. Smith Gospel Doctrine, 139-140

* Have the 5th article of faith divided up into segments. Invite a child up to put the segments in order. The pianist can play the song The Fifth Article of Faith (Children's Songbook pg.125) and when it's over, their turn is over. Read what they put together. Do this a few times, sunbeams can guess too! Talk about the laying on of hands and why this is important to the priesthood. Glue a bunch of paper hands to popcicle sticks. Let the children come up and choose hands. On the back of the hands have questions, scriptures and songs pertaining to how the priesthood blesses our families and ward family.

Week 4 God’s creations bless us.

* Have a a bunch of blessing boxes. Put in the boxes pictures or mementos of Heavenly Father's creations. For example, one box can have a flower, a ziploc bag of sand, water bottle, bird feathers, piece of leather.... Divide the primary into groups and have them talk about the things in the boxes. Have they had a special experience at a beach? What do they feel when they look at a beautiful flower? Can the spirit be felt in water? Have them rotate boxes between groups and then share their ideas in closing.

* Nature art. Either gather things from nature they can make a collage out of or go outside and let them draw what they see or feel.

* Have 2 rows of chairs facing each other so the children can partner chat. Give each child a picture or memento of God's creation. Give them about 1 minute each to share what they like about it, how it's blessed their life or a special experience they've had with that thing. Have 1 row move down a seat. Have one row pass their picture to the left and the other row pass their picture to the right.

Conclude with "The whole object of the creation of this world is to exalt the intelligences that are placed upon it, that they may live, endure, and increase for ever and ever" Brigham Young Discourses of Brigham Young, 57
or "As they completed this magnificent creation, they looked it over and pronounced it 'good, very good'.... and that's the way the Lord organized it. This wasn't an experiment. he knew what he was doing." Spencer W. Kimball "The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood", Ensign Mar. 1976, 71

Friday, January 16, 2009

Song Helps for How Firm A Foundation Hymns pg. 85

Image courtesy creative commons license by telstar logistics march 2008
What telstar has to say about this picture, " A Strong Foundation is not a Metaphor : This is a semi-regular thing to see in San Francisco... an old house getting a new foundation. Many old foundations were built with brick masonry, which is bad in earthquakes. Or, even worse, they were built with concrete that used sand from Ocean Beach. All the impurities in the beach sand eventually cause the foundation to crumble. (That's what happened at our house.)Anyway, this is how it's done: You don't actually raise the house... you just shore it in place, remove the old foundation, then rebuild.South Van Ness at 20th Street, San Francisco"

* Sister Webb recently commented and I loved the idea. It comes from Sister Tripp (They are part of a military branch from Seoul, South Korea). It is as follows, "Something interesting that our singing time lady did was she brought a cup of jello and turned it upside down on a plate so that the jello stayed in the shape of the cup. Then she tried to build a house on it using little building blocks. When that didn't work she took out something square and firm wrapped in brown paper, then built a house on it. Of course that worked. So she had one of the kids come up and unwrap the firm foundation and it was a hardback copy of the Book of Mormon." This would also make a great family home evening and I look forward to doing so! Thanks ladies for sharing!!

* Have a large box and wrap it neatly in brown paper. This is our foundation. Add black paper cracks all over. As the children learn the song, they can take away cracks.

* JENGA Time. If you have the wooden JENGA block game at home, bring it in. Ask a child to come up and take all the bottom blocks out. What happens? A foundation needs to be firm, solid and immovable. Just like Jesus!

* Bring in a little doll house. (I would use our fisher price little people doll house) Tape a picture of Christ to the home and say Christ is the foundation of this home. As they sing, watch for children who are making an effort to sing. Then invite them up to use a blow dryer to try to blow the house down.

Reference the scripture Helaman 5:12, "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

* Have a pebble and rocks of different sizes. Again, reference Helaman 5:12 but stress "rock". As they learn the song, invite children up to choose a rock based on their singing. The best singing gets the biggest rock. Once the song is learned, give them each a rock to remember what a wonderful job they did learning the song. Also to remember, when we learn the hymns we strengthen our personal testimonies and build stronger foundations based on Christ.

* Hide 6 bricks throughout the room. As the children make an effort to sing and learn the words, invite them to find bricks and bring up to make a foundation.

* A great idea from the friend by Laurel Rohlfing:
“Sharing Time: Build upon My Rock,” Friend, Feb 1991, 44
"Demonstrate how a house on a rock remains standing. Make two simple houses out of lightweight cardboard. In a large dishpan, put one house on a pile of sand and securely tape the other house to a rock. Pour a “flood” of water into the pan and show that the water will wash away the sand but that the house on the rock will be safe."
Reference 3 Nephi 14:24-27 and stress Jesus as our rock and foundation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January Week 4 Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Week 4 The family is ordained of God and is central to His plan.
First, let's define ordained : to invest officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority2 a: to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law : enact , from Late Latin ordinare, from Latin, to put in order, appoint, from ordin-, ordo order (Thank you

See here for more direction on how to have a successful reader's theatre during sharing time.

Really... if you've never done this before, read the tips! If you don't have strong readers in your Junior Primary read the narrator parts and President Hinckley yourself. Nephi has a simple part and the words between Narrator 2 and Little brother are also easier to read. Have littler children come up as you need them to act out different parts.

A Family First Loved
By Sofia Lykes

Narrator 1
Narrator 2
Narrator 3
President Hinckley
Little Brother
Helpers to act things out as the narrators speak

Think Simple
GAK picture of Nephi and President Hinckley for children to hold

Narrator 1: There are many families in the scriptures. There are many families on earth today. There will be many families in the years to come.

Narrator 2: Why are families so important?

Narrator 3: How will families help me come closer to Christ?

Nephi: "I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..." 1 Nephi 1:1

Narrator 1: Yeah, Nephi had great parents, even a great brother named Sam....

Narrator 2: But that Laman and Lemuel were T-R-O-U-B-L-E, trouble!!

Narrator 3: And don't forget Jacob and Joseph who were born in the wilderness!

Nephi: "I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell." 2 Nephi 33:6

Narrator 1: How could Nephi stay so happy and true to God, when he suffered so much because of his brothers?

Narrator 2: Yeah, didn't they beat him with a rod and refuse to help him build the ship that would take them to the promised land?

Narrator 3: You guys, don't you see! Families aren't always perfect, but we can learn from our experiences within the home how to be closer to Christ.

President Hinckley: "It is within families that truth is best learned, integrity is cultivated, self-discipline is instilled, and love is nurtured. It is at home that we learn the values and the standards to which we guide our lives. It is at home that we come to determine what we will stand for." (Standing for Something p.195)

Narrator 2: Wow. President Hinckley is so awesome.

Narrator 3: We have families here on earth, but our ward is also a family. Actually, the whole world is my family.

Narrator 1: You mean my teacher at school is my brother or my sister?

Narrator 2: Sure! After all, don't we only have one father who created our spirits?

Narrator 3: Heavenly Father! Psalms 82:6 says, "All of you are children of the most High."

President Hinckley: "Faith... is a fact of life. Faith can become the very wellspring of purposeful living...We are children of God, that God expects us to do something with our lives, and that He will give us help when help is sought." (Standing for Something p. 128)

Narrator 3: All families are different.

Narrator 2: Perhaps your family is far from perfect. When there are mistakes made, there is the chance of forgiveness and love.

Narrator 1: When Laman and Lemuel had tied up Nephi with chords, Nephi prayed and the bands were loosed. Laman and Lemuel were really mad and wanted to kill Nephi! But then they realized they were wrong and bowed down before Nephi, pleading for forgiveness.

Narrator 2: Boy, that sure makes me grateful for my little brother! He grabs my toys sometimes, but that is way better than wanting to take away my life!

Nephi: "And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness." (1 Nephi 7:21)

Narrator 3: What does frankly mean?

Narrator 1: Frankly means being free and sincere... according to the dictionary.

Little Brother: Frankly, I'm sorry for grabbing your toys.

Narrator 2: I love you!! No worries!! I'm not perfect and make mistakes too, so I hope you'll forgive me.

Little Brother: I'm sure lucky to have you in my family.

Narrator 1: This is what it's all about. I bet you guys are making Nephi and President Hinckley really happy!

(Nephi and President Hinckley shake heads yes)

Narrator 3: And I bet our Father in Heaven is pleased also. After all the family is central to God's plan. (hold up proclamation) It has been since before we were born.

Narrator 2: "We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

*And please forgive me, on weeks that I do reader's theatre I don't post other ideas.

**But... I did have one thought. You could tape a circle on the floor and have the word family inside. Then tape 2 larger circles around it. Have a bean bag and let children come up and try to toss on the central circle that says family. (Remember to define... "central" is center or of utmost importance!) If it lands on the family you can sing a song or read a scripture. If it lands within the other 2 circles they can answer questions on how to strengthen the family. The same can be done with a dart board... but please, be careful because blood is never fun. You could earn points for where the beanbag/dart is thrown, but I would never make it into a competition. I would always see how many points they can earn together as a primary! Encourage unity!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009 LDS Primary Themed Activity Day Ideas

Image courtest creative commons license by the justified sinner 8/2008
Our Primary colors are one, two, three-
Red, yellow, and blue.
Each one has a message for you and me.
Each is a symbol true!
Red is for courage to do what is right,
Yellow for service from morning till night.
Blue is for truth in our thought and our deed.
We will be happy when this is our creed.
Our Primary Colors Children's Songbook pg. 258

The following are basic ideas for Primary Activity Days based on the monthly outline themes.
Not to be confused with Activity Day Girls- this is for everyone! If you have any questions about a specific idea and need a little more, feel free to email me.

February - I came to earth as part of a family.

* Families all over the world luncheon. Have about 7 different (more or less on depending on how many are in your primary of course) stations, each focusing on a different area of the world featuring that cuisine. Some sit at tables, some sit on the floor. Some families use forks, others chopsticks. We came to earth to be part of a family and the earth is filled with many different families. This activity takes the time to focus on unity of families throughout the world... and the importance of eating together!

* Our Getting to Know You Ward Family Ice Cream Social. Not everyone has a happy home and family to live with. But we do have another family who would do anything to help us, the ward family! Have representatives from the Bishopric, Relief Society, Young Mens, Young Womens (and primary!), High Priests, Elders Quorum... etc. Am I forgetting anyone?? come! Let them share some of their responsibilities and things they do to help primary children. Have anyone come actually. I love it when the elderly get to interact with the children. Make sure all the adults answer one important question- why do you love our ward family?
March- Family Members have important responsibilities.

* Family Job Fair. Have booths set up for fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, pets, aunts.... you get the point? Everyone that's part of a family!!! Have fliers for all the booths with informed adult (or young women/young men) attendants who can answer questions and give a little presentation on what they do as that member of the family. You could have clipboards (I'm thinking cardboard with a clothespin glue-gunned on) for the children as they walk around to take notes and add their fliers to.

* Family Responsibility Olympics. Separate into groups. Have games based on family responsibilities and healthy snacks. Such games could include daddy's lawnmower and weeding race- run up and down the grass area wheel barrow style then dig through a trash bag of shredded yellow paper for tiny paper flowers. Or Mommy's dish washing triumph- set up a bunch of water tubs, see how many dishes can be washed and dried. Etc. Try to make it not so much a competition, but hand out medals to everyone for cooperation and working together.

April- Jesus Christ made it possible for me to live with my Heavenly Father again.
* I am the Resurrection and the Life. Have different role play stations where children can dress up and act out scenes from the life of Christ. Corresponding songs can be sung at stations also! You could video tape the children at different stations and come together to watch their marvelous acting skills and enjoy popcorn after. BUT PLEASE!! I AM NOT SURE IF THERE IS CHURCH POLICY SAYING WE CAN'T VIDEO TAPE CHILDREN!!! SO CHECK ON THAT!!!

* The Real Meaning of Easter. Click here for an activity we did last year based on Christ.

May- Baptism and confirmation are ordinances that bless my family.

* Water Activity Day. Based on good weather, have slip and slides, sprinklers, etc. Discuss the importance of water and it's significance pertaining to baptism. I know. It's a stretch.

* Baptism Books. Have the children put together books to help them remember their baptism day.

June- Faith, prayer, repentance and forgiveness strengthen me and my family.

* Physical Fitness Activities. Divide rooms into fitness stations. One room could include Repentacize- step aerobics. Another room Reach for Forgiveness- chin ups, small weights, arm exercises. Constant Prayer Room... jump roping for 10 minutes. See the correlation between these things strengthening us and also the physical activities strengthening us. Invite families to come too! Make sweat headbands for everyone. Have a room on nutrition and what we put into our bodies, include the idea of nourishing the soul through faith, prayer, etc.

July- I will strengthen my family.

* Dr. Feel TV Show. And no, I don't watch Dr.Phil, but from what I hear he's OK. Set up with cardboard cameras, lighting, a stage... etc. Have the children participate as Dr. Feel and guests on the show. Have the host ask questions on strengthening the family. Perhaps the guests could include scripture families. Feel free to open up questions from the audience. Have commercial breaks and children come up to do so... picture a little girl sad, then a brother comes up and gives her a band aid- they hold up a box of band aids, smile and say Love band aids heal our family!

August- Temple blessings unite families.

* Temple trip time!!!

* Family History Workshop. Do family tree crafts, journal entries, invite the ward family history specialist, etc.

September - Prophets teach me how to strengthen my family.

* General Conference Mania. Have a variety of TV game show games based off the teachings of the prophets. E.G. Jeopardy - categories: name that apostle, families are for..., love is spoken here, Tabernacle Trivia. Another game could be prophet pyramid. Or Family Feud Not So Feuding.

* Latter Day Prophets are Number One! Have people from the ward come dressed up as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Pres. Hinckley... etc. Have them share, as the prophet, quotes on importance of family and stories of their own lives and families.

October- "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" teaches me about families.

* A Family Carnival. We know from the proclamation that a family is CENTRAL to Heavenly Father's plan. Have carnival style games where the family is the center of the game. Like darts- family is the bulls eye, pin happiness on the family, family picture booth, find the forever family in the haystack, bobbing for apples- if it weren't for the partaking of forbidden fruit we wouldn't have families!! Etc.

November- My family and I can serve others.

* Go out and serve!!! Invite families to participate in a service activity!!
* Veteran's Day is November 11. What a wonderful opportunity to invite some of your local veterans to a lunch and primary program of sorts. The children could serve the food to them, sing, dance, do a skit....

December- My family is blessed when we remember Jesus Christ.

* Make family home evening kits based off the devotionals from here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

If you teach Primary, you might want to invest in this...

This is an institute of religion manual that you can buy or read online here. This is one of the most helpful and wonderful books ever written!!! Yes!!! Three exclamation marks my friends!!!

Doctrines of the Gospel Religion 430 and 431 published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City, Utah.

I am teaching the second week, this upcoming beautiful Sunday, and will highly quote and base questions off of the teachings found in chapter 6 of this diamond here!!!

Sticks and Stones

Image courtesy creative commons license by Chad Fust March 2007

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Another dear sister (Laura) of mine has raised an important question:
"Do you have any suggestions on what to do when children are completely disrespectful or mean to other children? As a presidency we want to maintain a positive environment as we address this issue but feel that it needs to be addressed as there has been problems both in and outside primary. We have about 120 children between junior and senior primary."

I am going to outline pages 84-87 of Teaching No Greater Call in response. Every single word was written from the source quoted.

"As President Hinckley observed, little problems will inevitably occur. Whether you are teaching in the home or at church, your lessons may at times be disrupted by the behavior of those you teach. In your efforts to help those who become disruptive, remember that you should not simply try to correct inappropriate behavior or make sure everyone is quiet; you should help learners become better disciples of the Savior. The following information will help you handle disruptions in a Christlike way.

1. Remember the worth of souls.
2. Seek to understand those you teach.
*consider all possible reasons for their behavior
3. Evaluate your own efforts.
* When those you teach behave disruptively, it is easy to focus on their conduct and fail to review your own.
* In your efforts to solve problems with disruptions, first consider whether the real source of the problem is something you are doing.
4. Evaluate your motives.
* Only those who are motivated by love will have a positive, powerful influence on those they teach. Pray to be filled with Christlike love toward every person you teach, especially those who sometimes behave inappropriately.
5. Help all class members contribute to a learning atmosphere.
* In a learning atmosphere, we (1) edify each other through our participation, (2) love and help each other, and (3) desire to search for truth together. Quote page 77.
*Elder Henry B. Eyering relates to the love we should feel when we meet to learn the gospel: " Our Heavenly Father wants our hearts to be knit together. That union in love is not simply an ideal, It is a necessity." Quote page 77.
* To teach family members or class members to contribute to a learning atmosphere, consider conducting a discussion using the following suggestions:
- Express your feelings about the gospel, and explain that you want to help others learn gospel truths.
-Discuss the responsibility we have to help one another learn the gospel.
- Talk about the importance of participating in lessons.
- Ask those present to suggest things they can do to help create a learning atmosphere. Quote page 78.
6. Respond in simple ways to occasional disturbances.
7. Make special efforts to help those who persistently cause disruptions.
*If someone is seriously disrupting the learning of others, you should neither ignore the problem nor act in an unkind way.
* D&C 121:41-44 In applying this counsel, it is helpful to understand the words betimes and sharpness. Betimes means promptly or in good time. In this passage, sharpness refers to the need to give clear, well-defined instructions.
*You should be gentle and meek when giving correction. note that reproving should be done only "when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" and should be followed by an increase of love.
* The following suggestions may help you if someone you teach becomes persistently disruptive.
- Speak privately with the person. You should do so tactfully and with love.
Describe the conduct that is disruptive while at the
same time making clear that you love and respect the person.
Ask for the person's support, and try to find solutions together.
Then do all you can to show increased love.
- Seek help from others. Your leaders want to help you with your teaching challenges. You can benefit from their ideas and assistance.
For example, they might ask someone to help with certain activities or sit
next to a child who is misbehaving.
If a child or youth has a pattern of disruptive behavior, seek the help of his or her parents.
If the person causing the disruptions has special needs, learn
what you can do to help him or her learn more effectively and behave more
-Be patient. Remember change takes time. Be consistently positive in your approach to the person. Do not be discouraged in he or she has a negative attitude in class."

Being mean and using unkind words is disruptive. Very much so and should not EVER be tolerated in your safe and loving primary environment. I feel strongly prompted not to share anything else except for what I have outlined from Teaching No Greater Call. Each primary is different and Heavenly Father will help you to know what to do for His little ones in your care.

On that same, but completely different note, I wish to just state why I do not do full outlines of sharing times. I did when I first started this blog, but now I don't. I feel strongly prompted that I shouldn't have detailed lesson plans on this site. When Elder Packer gave the challenge to use blogs in a Christlike manner to share the gospel, I prayed and prayed. I decided I'd do my very best to help little ones come closer to Christ. It's my only desire. I have a harder time having a pure love for adults and freely admit my grievous fault. But with children, there has never been a single one that I haven't adored. Primary fills my heart and soul.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Loving The Scriptures

GAK 326

Janarah is a sister of mine. I don't know her but she left me a comment (in bold) and if we were having a conversation, the italicized words would be my response. She had a good question that I'd thought I'd share.

Hi, I just found your blog. Hooray! You are just amazing. You're amazing Janarah! I love your exotic name. You have been blessed with a great talent. Thank you for sharing it with everyone. You are kind. All these thoughts are from our Father above. There have been countless times that I consider miracles where I've been lead to certain scriptures or an analogy pops up that just makes really good sense. I believe there are walls of water around us, not necessarily like those of the ancient children of Israel, but the miraculous power of God is very close. I do have a question for you. Sorry Janarah, am I rambling? I tend to do that. I am in the primary presidency. We have the hardest time getting our Sr. Primary to open their scriptures and look something up. Most of the time they complain that they have to get them out and then a lot of them have a really hard time finding the scripture. We have tried to make it into a chase, but the younger ones don't have any chance at all to get it. Do you have any great motivating ideas?

I don't know about great... but here are some thoughts. And it's not directed specifically at you my sister Janarah, but in general to all of us serving in Primary.

1. Are you reading your scriptures daily? We as teachers need to be in top spiritual condition because we are teaching His precious ones. When we have the spirit with us, Primary will go smoother and the fastest way to invite the spirit in your life is to consistently read the scriptures. Plus how can we encourage them to be excited about the scriptures if we aren't.

2. Bring up the Savior. Ask the question, with a little sigh, I wonder how Jesus feels right now when we complain about our scriptures? (If there is a picture of Christ, stand close to it and look at it. Then look at the children.) We don't need to spend 10 minutes lecturing the children and turning primary into a you're-not-being-reverent fest. If you say that question out loud it should take you a whole 10 seconds. Little reminders go a long way and can make a big difference! Another one could include, Our primary is a place where we come to feel the spirit. When we don't show love for our scriptures or murmur about them do you think the spirit wants to be with us? Again, if you say it out loud it should take maybe 12 seconds. You don't need to give them the evil eye or single them out and embarrass them. Little reminders go a long way.

3. How are you asking them to take out their scriptures? If there is a problem may I suggest rewording your questions. Instead of, "Please turn to Hebrews 12:12. What does this scripture mean?" try "Christina, please take Jacob's hand and raise it in the air. Ok! Hold it there! Have I got a scripture for you, let's go to Hebrews... where's that at? Right! The New Testament in the Bible, which is bigger than the Book of Mormon. Chapter 12, Verse 12. Who feels comfortable reading that? Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down.... hmmmm. Does this mean we need to always have our hands lifted in the air? Thanks Christina and Jacob for your help and Hannah for reading." It's a little bit more enthusiastic. You've got a visual and movement to go along with it. And it's different from the norm. So... try rewording. Also are you asking for a 10 verse scriputre? Think about length. Just think about it.

4. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. You can never get too much of a good thing. Ask where the book of Matthew is found? Hold up the Bible and the Book of Mormon to show the difference of size. We look at the top of the page to find the books and chapters. There is an index at the beginning! Then have the children repeat ways back to you on how to find scriptures? Do this often! Repetition! Some children aren't going to learn this at home, don't assume anything. Learn together the songs in the primary children's songbook p.114, p.116, and p.119.

5. Write the scripture on the board and spell it out loud as you do so. E-C-C-L-E-S-E-A-S-T-E-S, wow! That's a mouthful and a lot of letters! Most 8-11 year olds have a hard time pronouncing let alone knowing how to spell something which would in turn make it harder to look up.

6. Encourage the children to HELP EACH OTHER. Once you've found it, how many others can you help? Teachers aren't glued to their chairs either. Getting up improves circulation. Even the pianist can help! Let's find the scripture! And then of course, let them know how proud you are to see them helping each other. Ask, Do you think our Savior is smiling right now because of your kindness? I fear our children don't hear enough how truly wonderful they are.

7. Is your environment safe? Is primary a time where children can be honest and themselves? Is it OK for the children to make reading mistakes in your primary... or is there snickering from other children? Are teachers constantly correcting them as they read? Because that is a total killjoy. You need to make sure Primary is a place where children feel safe. A place where they can read and be happy. Some children really don't feel comfortable reading.

Don't force them.
Let them read without interrupting them.
If they look to you for help, help them.
If they make a mistake, is it really that big of a deal?
If it's a short scripture they could all read it together! This is called choral reading.
Give them 1 minute to read it to themselves... it doesn't always have to be read out loud!
And of course thank them and tell them great job when they are finished! Don't forget!!
Create that place where the spirit can thrive. Where children are comfortable reading.

8. Have visuals... yes, even for senior sharing time. We're going to take a deeper look at the journey of Lehi's family in the wilderness. Hold up a Gospel Art Kit 301. Picture yourself riding a camel! It might sound like fun, but let's go to the first book of Nephi... right in the front of what? the bible? Right! Almost! First book in the Book of Mormon. Chapter 17. Verse 4. Frank, thanks for reading it for us! 8 years!!!! On a camel!! Let's take a vote, raise your hand if you think you could travel for 8 years on a camel!! Visuals can help the scriptures be more real.(Hold up the picture again... close where they can actually see)

9. Don't ask for volunteers. Call on people politely. Choose your readers carefully... which means you have to know your children, so get to know them! I'm not saying always choose the good readers, but help build the confidence of those who aren't as strong with smaller scriptures. And thank them with words and plenty of smiles.

10. When starting your lesson express how happy you are everyone brought their scriptures. And be genuine about it. The best lesson I've ever facilitated was when I felt prompted to completely drop the lesson and ask them to take out their scriptures and inform them they would be teaching each other and myself. I asked them one thing. Prove to me and to each other that God is real. You can use your scriptures or hymn books. I gave them a good 5 minutes to look whatever they wanted up. Some didn't know where to start. We looked at the topical guides. I called on children I knew would be ready, some still needed more time. They quickly caught on to the idea that hymns have scriptures that go along with them. It really was beyond words. After the lesson, I was bearing testimony and every single child still had their heads buried in the scriptures searching for more. That was one of the happiest moments in my life. I felt so very close to the Savior.

Let us never underestimate the power of the scriptures. Please know these are just personal opinions. I'm not an expert. If you pray to Heavenly Father He will answer... much much much times infinity better than I ever could. Still it is my hope that these words can be food for thought.
Much love to you Sister Janarah and all you wonderful Primary workers out there striving to make the world a better place, one child at a time!

There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?

Image courtesy creative commons license by Milton CJ, Norway 9/2007

There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?

I hope this isn't blasphemous to relate the franchise McDonald's to the church. Please, bare with me.
We know that the key to a franchise is everything the same. Ray Kroc, one of the founders of McDonald's has said, "We have found out... that we cannot trust some people who are nonconformists. We will make conformists out of them in a hurry... The organization cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organization." From Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser p.5

Point Sofia? Really? Are you getting there? Yes! I love our church! We trust explicitly in our church, because it is Christ's church. But He in return trusts us. A church of laymen. How very exceptional. Which brings me to my question...
There are 56 children staring at me. What do I do?
~ I guess I should mention that it's sharing time. They've already been sitting for an hour. And 1 kid is picking his nose and wiping it under his chair. ~
1. Don't panic. Really. Don't panic. They feed off fear. Besides, you've prayed at least 3 times about the lesson you prepared on Tuesday... God is with you!! Thank you Alma 26:12. (Did you notice how I ever so subtlety weaved in the importance of you praying over the lesson multiple times and preparing it in a timely manner - not the night before. Cough. Cough.)

2. Be enthusiastic. I'm not saying bounce off the wall and shake a tambourine... they feed off hyperactivity. But the gospel is exciting! Find a balance between enthusiasm and peacefulness where the spirit can be felt.

3. Let the children know YOU EXPECT THEM TO PLEASE RAISE THEIR HANDS. If you are in a primary with 5 or more children, then they need to raise their hand. They feed off chaos. State: I only call on those raising their hand. Or. God's house is a house of order, we raise our hands to be respectful of others, Heavenly Father and His house. Or. Thank you so much for remembering to raise your hand! Or. I will call on Lila because she is raising her hand so reverently. Yes, kids get excited and you don't want to kill their happiness... but you need to create an environment where the spirit can be felt. (Again, I might be too suave... but did you notice how I weaved in lots of pleases and thank you's... if you want manners, you've got to give manners!)

4. ~ Teach. Don't talk at them. Teach. Let the children SHARE their ideas. Teach. Have you lost them... are there now 4 nose pickers wiping on the chairs? Regroup. Change. Sing a song. Stretch. Back down to 1 picker? Continue and Teach. ~ They feed off boredom. Long thought I couldn't figure out how to condense. My apologies. I have found some people get up there and kind of just stand, look at their paper, shuffle their feet, clear their throat, say "I lost my place. Hold on" 3 minutes later.... more standing. Be bold. Be brave. Teach the lesson. Confidence. God has called you and He loves you.

5. Evaluate the lesson afterwards. What worked? What didn't work? And most importantly, did you feel the spirit and were the children given the opportunity to come closer to Christ? In the primary outline they provide a sharing time planning sheet... at the end is... drum roll please.... a spot for "Evaluation: Did we accomplish what we wanted to have happen? How could we improve?" We are our own worst critics, so make sure you give yourself at least 4 positive thoughts on what went right.. before calling the Young Men's President for a service project: scraping off green crusties for those primary room chairs.Really. You are fantastic. The lesson probably went spectacular!!

I hope that answers the question. It can all be so overwhelming. But Jesus Christ lives. We aren't all wearing polos, ghastly visors (Sorry. I really have a problem with visors. They are discriminatory towards bald people.) and flipping burgers... Cookie cutter models of an organization that is cautiously eyeing us from the corner. We are individuals whom the Lord has suffered so greatly for. Individuals whom He trusts. I'll end with truth. Glorious and hopeful truth. D&C 6: 32-37

" 32 Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you.
33 Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
37 Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. Amen. "

Friday, January 2, 2009

More Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas January 2009

Image courtesy creative commons license by artmakesmesmile July 2008

Week 2 I lived with heavenly Father before I came to earth.

* What did heaven look like before we came to earth? Give the children 5-7 minutes to quickly draw what they think the pre existence was like. Invite some children up to share their ideas.

"In a premortal council at which we were all present, [the Savior] led the forces of good against those of Satan and his followers in a battle for the souls of men that began before this world was formed. That conflict continues today. We were all on the side of Jesus then. We are on the side of Jesus today." Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Christians in Belief and Action," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 71

* Gather together some of the primary children's baby pictures. Read D&C 138:55-56. These are pictures of God's noble and great ones. Can you remember the premortal existence? Can you remember being a baby? Just because we can't remember doesn't mean it didn't happen. Invite children to come up and choose pictures. Have questions prepared on the pre exsitence for them to answer as they come up, then they can guess who the baby picture is of! End with Jeremiah 1:5. Bear testimony that we did indeed live with Heavenly Father before we came to earth. We were great then and we need to do our best to be great now!!

* Number off the children in your primary 1-2-3. Ask all the 1's to go in the corner. Is that a pretty big chunk of the primary? How would you feel if you never got to see these primary friends again? Please be careful who YOU ask this question to. We want to keep it positive. Satan himself was our brother, yet he chose to rebel against Father. How do you feel about that? We know that all the people in primary chose to follow Jesus Christ's plan, but how do we know this? Ask all the 1's, 2's and 3's to raise their hand... we all have hands! We all have bodies!

* Have different words written on the chalkboard having to do with our premortal existence (e.g. Christ, Lucifer, Plan, War, Spirits, Heavenly Father, choice, angels - include pictures for younger children to visualize by the words) Ask the children to come up with sentences including these words from the board and share with the primary. You could even divide into groups and divvy out the words.

Week 3 I am created in the image of God. My body is a temple.

If I was teaching week 3 I'd stick straight to the outline idea! It's really fantastic!

*Have a picture of a hamster. Has anyone ever had a class pet before? Who does the pet belong to? How do you take care of it? Would you ever feed the hamster something rotten that would make him sick? Would you ever take a pen and draw on it? Why? Have a coat. This is your best friends coat and they are going to let you borrow it. How would you treat it? Now hold up a mirror. We have something even more precious that Heavenly Father has created and given us. How do we take care of what we see in the mirror?

David Bednar has said, "Interestingly, I have heard many people, both outside and inside the Church, declare, “It’s my body and I can do to it what I want.” The correct doctrinal response to such a statement is quite simple. No, your body is not your own; it is on loan from God. As we read in 1 Corinthians 3:16–17 [1 Cor. 3:16–17]:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
The choices we make about the use of our personal temples will affect us throughout all eternity." “ 'Ye Are the Temple of God’,” Ensign, Sep 2001, 14

* Have a picture of a temple and a boy and girl displayed at the top of the board. On the left hand side a little lower have the following words written "What We Take into Our Temple", "What We Put on Our Temple", "What We Do to Our Temple" and " What We Do with Our Temple". These quotes are from Eldar Bednar's talk 'Ye Are the Temple of God’,” Ensign, Sep 2001, 14. Have the children fill in the blanks under the pictures (kind of like you're making a chart). (E.G. We take into the temple white clothes, temple recommend, reverence, a humble spirit ready to learn. We take into our body temples good food, clean music and ideas from books, sunshine, vitamins, exercise, happy movies. We put the finest materials on our temples, beautiful plants and trees...etc. Review the talk to get more specifics!!) I would also have a picture of Elder Bednar to show the children where the material for the lesson came from.

* For this idea, think the game "concentration". Have a large poster board of an outline of a body cut into different pieces. Underneath a picture of the temple and the words I was created in the image of God. My body is a temple. Children can come up and choose a piece of the body and answer a question, read a scripture or sing a song all pertaining to the theme. As the pieces come off they can guess what is underneath.

Week 4 The family is ordained of God and is central to His plan.
Reader's Theatre HERE