Monday, December 28, 2015

From Teaching No Greater Call.... How do we use the scriptures to teach children?

Well, where do you start for the theme this year?
(image from media library)
How does one actually teach a child using the scriptures... especially if that child can't read? How do we help a child develop a love for the scriptures? How do we instill faith and diligence when it comes to scripture study?

I love Teaching, No Greater Call! Here is a great excerpt and I hope you don't mind if I added a few of my own thoughts in italics:

Suggestions for Using the Scriptures to Teach Children
You can bless the lives of children by helping them become comfortable with the language of the scriptures. When you teach children, you should use the scriptures frequently and find ways to have the children become comfortable using the scriptures. Following are examples of what you might do:
1. Help children become familiar with the names and order of the books in the scriptures. Use the songs “The Books in the Old Testament,” “The Books in the New Testament,” and “The Books in the Book of Mormon” from the Children’s Songbook, pages 114–17 and 119. (Which means that yes, you will need to learn these songs too!!)
2. Help children understand the language of the scriptures. When you read scriptures together, explain the meaning of important words. Help children pronounce difficult words and names. Have them listen for certain words, phrases, or ideas.
3. When you want children to find a certain scripture passage, give them the page number of the passage as well as the reference.
4. Share a scripture account in your own words. Help learners visualize the events and the people as you describe what happened (see “Stories,” pages 179–82). Then read key scripture passages aloud.
5. Have children read aloud from the scriptures. Be aware of each child’s abilities, and help each participate successfully. (I once taught a boy who had dyslexia. He really struggled while reading, but he was never embarrassed. I always gave him the opportunity and he smiled every time I told him what a fabulous job he did. It's good for other children to see that we are all different and perfect the way God has created us. But of course, another child with dyslexia might be terrified to read out loud. That's why I love this... be aware!!!)
6. If children are too young to read, invite them to watch as you read a scripture and point to the words. You could also have older children assist younger children in finding and reading scriptures.
(You could also help a younger child point with a ruler while you read, you can have them stand on a certain word, you can have them be the volume checker in the back of the room to make sure whoever is reading is bold and clear by giving a thumbs up)
7. Have children read scripture accounts from the illustrated books of scripture stories published by the Church, such as Book of Mormon Stories. (At home, you can work on a child's fluency - reading with a smoothness as opposed to choppy. robot. style. , by having them use a ruler to underline the whole sentence instead of pointing to each word.)

8. Help the children discuss scripture accounts. Teach them to ask questions when they read, such as, “What is happening? Why is this happening? Who is speaking? How does this apply to me?”

9. Use the methods described in part F of this book (pages 157–84). For example, in presenting a story from the scriptures, you could use a flannel board, simple chalkboard illustrations, or pictures drawn by the children. You could have children retell a scripture story or sing songs that relate to specific scriptures.

10. At the end of some Primary lessons, there is a section called “Suggested Home Reading.” Invite the children to read with their families the scriptures mentioned there. (Or for sharing time, send them home with a small index card with readings from your lesson they can do with families.)

January 2016 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Image from media library

Monthly Theme: The Scriptures Are The Word of God.
Monthly Scripture: “Feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” 2 Nephi 32:3

Week 1 The scriptures are the word of God.

* Put the names of different books in the Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, #'s from D&C, and The Pearl of Great Price on index cards. Have about 15 (2 identical sets) and make a large circle on the ground with one set and the other in a can to draw from.
     Invite about 5-6 children to walk around the cards while you sing songs having to do with scriptures. When the music stops, so do they. Have another primary child draw cards from the can. If someone is on that card have them say where that book of scripture is found and briefly share one of their favorite scripture stories. Have a gospel art book nearby to show pictures of favorite stories.

* See if our primary can earn 3000 points together!! Do we know our scriptures? Can we always learn more?? If you click on the image, you should be able to print out. You can draw it on the chalkboard to make bigger or send home for families to use for Family Home Evening.

* Set up a train, 3 sets of chairs with 2 in each row. And of course, one chair in front for the conductor who will need to wear a special hat you've brought. This year we will "Choo-Choo-Choose to read our scriptures and learn all about The Word of God!!"
     Have a few children come sit in the train and chugga-chugga (in place with their arms) until you reach a stop. First stop, Bible. Have some pictures, questions, or scriptures for the passengers to answer or read. Have a few more stops (again with pictures, questions or scriptures) for The Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, Ensign General Conference Editions.
    Here is a simple handout for them to take home and keep track of their reading this week. Again, if you mouse over the image, in the right hand corner there should be an option to pop out and print.

Week 2  We are to feast upon the words of Christ.

* Bring in some play/pretend food. Set a table up front with a table cloth and nice centerpiece. Today, we shall feast. To make our feast we will need to answer questions, read scriptures, and sing songs about the scriptures to earn the food to put on the table!! When asking questions, invite a child up front to answer and then choose the food item to put on the plates.
     "The scriptures are a veritable banquet of insights and divine counsel. Let us feast at the table often. If we do, the Holy Spirit will fill our lives, helping us to be “nourished by the good word of God” and to remain “in the right way.” From Sept. 2004 Ensign Feast Upon the Words of Christ By Elder Spencer J. Condie

* Break into small groups and give them a piece of paper (folded into 4ths), make sure someone can write well in each group!! Tell them that you are going to ask them a question, they will brainstorm and come up with ideas as a group, and then write down those ideas on their paper in each section.
      Questions: What are your favorite foods?
      Where is a place you like to eat at?
      What are your favorite scripture stories?
      Where are places you can read your scriptures?
Have a few people share some of their answers! What do food and scriptures have to do with each other?? We are to feast upon the words of Christ!! Just as physical nourishment is important for our bodies, reading the scriptures helps our spirits stay strong!
      If there is still time, come up with a menu on the blackboard all together. Write down appetizers, main course, dessert, and drinks. We can pretend when we sit down to read our scriptures that we are at a spiritual restaurant.
1. What are some of your favorite appetizers?
What would we do for an appetizer in our restaurant... before the meal starts? (Pray, think about what we read about yesterday, focus and find a good place to read)
2. For the main course, what are some books of scripture we could read?
(Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C, Pearl of Great Price, Church Magazines)
Do we rush through our meal or take our time?
3. What are some of your favorite desserts?
How can we end our scripture study? (Pray, gratitude in our hearts, pondering and writing down thoughts)
4. Do you ever have drinks with a meal, if so what?
What goes along with our scriptures to help us understand? (Topical guide, Bible Dictionary and maps, pronunciation guides, search tools, asking family questions)

* If we were on our way to an elegant feast with important people, how do you think you would act? How would your table manners be?
      Have 4 simple stations at each corner of the room. Divide the primary into 4 groups that will rotate. At each station, for 2-3 minutes, have an adult ready to teach the following physical and spiritual feasting ideas:
1. How to properly set a table and what each utensil is used for.
How do we treat our scriptures? Just like there are different utensils for eating, there are different situations in life... always, no matter what situation, our scriptures will be able to help us!! Can you think of any examples from the scriptures that help us deal with how to repent? How to be faithful? How to treat family?
2. Simple table manners- no elbows on table, don't slurp soup, how to dab with a napkin, chew with your mouth closed, sit up straight. Have the adult demonstrate the wrong way and then the children demonstrate the right way.
Are there rules for when we read the scriptures? Not too many, but there are definitely ways to have a better experience!! What are some of the things we need to do to have good experiences while reading the scriptures? (Pray, be thoughtful as you read, don't rush, take time to understand words that are hard, ask for help,)
3. How to fold a dinner napkin.
Napkins help to keep us clean. How do the scriptures help keep us clean? Share an example from your life when the scriptures inspired you to be a better person.
4. Proper table conversation.
“These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; …For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; … Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words” D&C 18:34–36
When we read our scriptures Heavenly Father is talking to us. What would be the best ways to respond? (Follow the spirit, pray and give thanks, follow the commandments, ponder and think of ways to improve, share the words of Christ.
    After all the groups have rotated, bear testimony that we need to eat to physically survive. It's not something we do just on Sundays, we do it often throughout the day. It should be the same with feasting upon the words of Christ. We should have the messages of the scriptures with us in our heart at all times. We need to read daily and with true intent to learn!
* "One of the best ways to draw near unto Him and to both learn about and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ is to consistently study the holy scriptures—to daily “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3). Please notice that I used the word study and not the word read. Studying and feasting suggest a focus and an intensity that reach far beyond casual reading or quick perusing. Studying and feasting, followed by sincere prayer and steadfast application of the truths and principles we learn, yield personal resolve, spiritual commitment, and the bright light of testimony."
Liahona April 2006 Because We Have Them before Our Eyes by Elder David A. Bednar
   Invite a few young women or young men in to share some of the things they do to study scriptures- do they have a certain way of marking? Do they have scripture journals? How do they decide what to read?
   Would it be a good idea to just take a major test without spending time to study before hand? Life is our test! In order to pass it, we need to make sure we study the scriptures everyday like Elder Bednar says!!

Week 3 The words of Christ will tell us all things we should do.

* There is a sign prominently displayed in a shopping mall in Manila, the Philippines, that reads, “Your ‘I will’ is more important than your ‘IQ.’” As I ponder the meaning of that short phrase, there comes to mind the chorus of the great Primary song based on 1 Ne. 3:7: “I will go; I will do the thing the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey” (“Nephi’s Courage,” Children’s Songbook, pp. 120–121).
      Have I WILL written on the chalkboard and IQ (tell the children what IQ means) on the other side. Have a pile of random trivia questions for children to pick from on the IQ side. Have a pile of scriptures for the I WILL pile, after the child reads the scripture have them talk about something they can do that the scripture says. See how many points you can earn as a primary. They get 1 point for IQ questions and 4 points for I WILL questions.
      It's important to study and try the best we can to improve our minds, but it's even more important to study what The Lord wants us to do from the scriptures, and then do it!

* Alma 37: 44-45, "For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land. And now I say, is there not a type in this thing? For just as surely as this director did bring our fathers, by following its course, to the promised land, shall the words of Christ, if we follow their course, carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise."
     Bring in a compass and some directions, like 5 steps west, 10 steps north, 15 steps south... etc. with the end destination a picture of Christ. Have a child hold the compass and after each set of direction, have them answer a question about the scriptures. Have as many different children take turns as you can! At the end, bear testimony that you know the scriptures will guide us to Christ and to happiness when we do what they say!

* Bring in a red piece of material, enough to wrap around your shoulders.
HERE is a talk with a story about a family who lost their son and then found him by carefully searching. Briefly tell the story to the children
   Hide the red shawl in the room while one primary child is outside the door. Sing a song about the scriptures- when they are far away from the red scarf they sing quietly, when they are closer, more bold.... not shouting though! Once they find the shawl have them start a scripture story (like Nephi getting the brass plates, Christ's resurrection, The parable of the prodigal son, Alma the younger repents, or a story of the child's choice!), then pass the shawl to someone else to add to the story, and continue on until the scripture story is finished. Each person only gets about 20 seconds! What does this story inspire us to do??
      When we search the scriptures we will find that the words of Christ tell us all things we should do!

Week 4 I can know the scriptures are true.

* HERE is a story of a brother who helped his younger sister to know the scriptures were true. It's not always going to be some huge event, sometimes its just a bunch of small moments that make our testimony strong.
      Have some glow in the dark stars all over the room. Invite a primary friend to turn off the lights and another primary friend to go choose a star, then have them turn on the lights. On the stars have letters. Have the primary brainstorm words they can think of from the scriptures that start with that letter. Thinking about those things from the scriptures, have you ever felt peaceful when reading about it or happy? Sometimes not, and that's OK too! Sometimes the scriptures make us think or can be confusing because of big words, not every scripture is going to make sense... and that's normal. But as we continually search them, we will feel powerful in life because of the knowledge we have.
     For example, letter A- Adam, apostasy, angels, Ammon, Abish, apostles.... Have you ever cried like Abish did because there was so much contention around you? Yet, how did Heavenly Father help her? Can we know that God will help us when we need it if we are doing what's right?

* Scripture chase! Invite groups of 2-3 children get out their scriptures.... make sure at least 1 child can read. Call out the name of a book in the scriptures (Like Alma, 3 Nephi, Genesis, Luke, Moses). The first group to find it and hold it in the air gets to come up front and tell the next book to look up. Make sure to go over proper care for the pages, we don't want anything ripped even though we are quick!! (If a certain group seems to be getting it each time, just tell them great job!! Since you've gotten a turn lets see who else is as quick as you and give them a turn!)
     In between each round, ask if anyone knows any stories from the book of scripture you found. How have they felt when reading or hearing about that story? We can know the scriptures are true, every single book!!!

* "God will reveal truth to those who seek for it as prescribed in the scriptures." (April 2014 General Conference If Ye Lack Wisdom by Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis)       Have a first aid kit, or doctor's type bag with a picture of the scriptures taped on it! What does prescribed mean? If you have an infection and don't take medicine, what might happen? What do the scriptures prescribe for us- truth!!!!
       Invite a child to come up front and take something medical related out of the bag (e.g. stethoscope, tongue depressor, band aid, gauze, Neosporin, etc.) On each item have a question or scripture having to do with finding truth from the scriptures.
1. Please read Moroni 7:16
2. What does it mean to be diligent?
3. How is a seed like studying the scriptures? (Alma 32)
4. Please read D&C 8:2
5. Will fasting help us know the truth of the scriptures? What are some other things we can do to help us gain a testimony?
6. Who is someone you see studying or using their scriptures a lot?
7. What did the scriptures tell Joseph Smith to do when he needed truth?
8. What does "sincerely and honestly seeking" mean? Is a person going to learn how to be a heart surgeon by watching a TV show? No! They have to go to years and years of school and really try hard. It's the same with getting and keeping a testimony of the scriptures!
9. Where are places I can go to read my scriptures?
10. Why do I need to know the scriptures are true?

* HERE is an excellent resource from The Friend. There are 6 quotes from Elder Russell M. Nelson. Cut out each quote and put in a numbered envelope. Tape them to 6 different primary friend's chairs underneath. Have about 8-12 pictures of different primary friends on the chalk board for the second part of the lesson.
    Tell the children that we can all know the scriptures are true!! Elder Russell M. Nelson shares how! Have the children check for an envelope under their chair and call each number up to read.
     After quote 6, "Each individual who prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon can receive a testimony of its divinity." ask if anyone recognizes some faces on the board?? Can all these children know the scriptures are true? YES!! And we can too!!! Anyone who, "prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon can receive a testimony of its divinity"!!!
       Invite a primary friend to choose a picture up front, on the back have questions, scriptures or songs having to do with scriptures and truth. Afterwards have them high five the person who's picture they chose!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

At Love's Bidding Book Review


I sometimes review books on this site because I like to share clean literature! There was a period of time where it seemed like every book I picked up at the library had swearing or things that I just didn't want to read.
Thanks to Bethany House Publishing, I receive free books in exchange for my opinion. The program is open to anyone who has a blog or website! And let me tell you, receiving a book in the mail sure beats out bills. I don't do it every month, just when something catches my eye.
At Love's Bidding by Regina Jennings was a sweet, easy read!! It made me smile and had a happy ending, which I thoroughly enjoy. I read while it snowed outside and felt absolutely cozy and content.
What is the book about?
"She sells priceless antiques. He sells livestock by the pound. Is he really the man to make a bid for her heart?"
"After helping her grandfather at the Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she's accidentally sold a powerful family's prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.
Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn't deal in fine antique, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don't know a thing about the business he's single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count - but no mysterious painting- Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse."
The characters were faithful people who believed in God and were willing to work hard to find happiness in life. The descriptions were simple and to the point.
There were really funny parts that made me smile, for example when the grandfather who is slowly suffering from dementia finds an "interesting" piece of artwork to auction at the sale barn... let's just say it was a bust. Yes, pun intended.
I would definitely recommend this book. It had a slow start for me, but after a few chapters I was ready to see what would happen!

Monday, December 21, 2015

"We're missing a few teachers."

Yesterday, my sweet Elijah was giving an article of faith in Primary. He rocked it. He just turned 4 and knows all his articles of faith because we sing them each morning on our way to school. I gave him the option between that or George Michael (Did you know he's Greek?) songs. Although, on some Fridays you can still hear him belting, "Should've know better than to cheat a friend, waste this chance that I've been given.... so I'm never gonna dance again, the way I've danced with yoo-oooo-ooou."

He also wants to be a "care-a-medic"/paramedic when he grows up. At first it was the actual ambulance truck he wanted to be, but then he changed his mind. I'm still hoping he'll be an artist. But I'll take a paramedic too, could save us on healthcare in the long run.

What is the point? The point is, I was sitting in Primary in THE BACK!!! Watching him and watching all the beautiful, "busy", children while I was completely relaxed and had not a worry or stress on my shoulder... because I wasn't in charge anymore!! "We're missing a few teachers." Yeah, I know man. I know. I know!!

I cannot even tell you how much I love/adore primary and primary children. However, I'm glad to not have the responsibilities of a president anymore. I'm currently playing piano in Relief Society and wandering the halls after a sass-ay toddler at times.

I'm hoping I'll get called as the Primary Chorister again or a teacher, but in the mean time I'm perfectly content and so grateful for the opportunity I had to have served and gotten to know so many wonderful souls in our ward.

Does that mean I'll stop blogging? No. I need family home ideas and love to have them in an easy access form. Plus, I hope they can help someone out there. I recently got a comment from someone in Brazil about communism... it could have been spam, but it brightened my day nonetheless. It's nice to feel a part of this world and enjoy other's testimonies out there. It gives me hope.

Sorry to ramble.