Jenny's blog

Deuteronomy 8, 18, 29, 30, 32, 34

I’m posting this out of order, but I taught Deuteronomy last week. Just catching up.

On the easel I wrote the following for Deuteronomy 8:

Blessings of REMEMBERING
v 2


Here’s what I had in my notes:

Blessings of REMEMBERING
v 2 – God led thee, proved thee
v3 – God humbled thee, fed thee, taught thee
v4 – clothes lasted
v5 – chastened thee

v11 – not keeping the commandment
vv12-14 – when you’re satisfied, you be become prideful and forget miracles God has wrought for you
v17 – you’ll think you did it yourself
v19 – forget God and perish

Did our Delilah toss around to handle who took each section of verses. This turned out to be a fast, good discussion.

I explained to the kids that in the verse we were about to read that the Gentiles are us. Then we read 2 Nephi 29:5 and I asked the kids what must we remember? and what does it mean to “recover” the Jews? I told the kids I was going to show them a video about a kid who remembered his responsibility to “recover them” and then we watched this I am a Mormon video:

My kids love rugby and so this video was a good fit for them. I told the kids to read the headlines in the newspaper articles to get a sense of what Elder Hopoate gave up to serve a mission. Will has already left on his mission to Australia, in case you’re interested.

We did the above sections of Deuteronomy around the TV, and then I moved the kids to the table. We broke out our Old Testament Prophets in similitude of Jesus Christ handout to talk about how Moses was a type of Christ. I had thought that Deut 8 would go faster than it did and that we would spend a lot of time in this, but as it was, we had time to read the points and I gave the kids some extra chapters and such to add to the document from what was in the lesson. We read about 4-5 scriptures here. I think that any time we can testify about Christ during a lesson, the lesson always goes better.

For Deuteronomy 26, I pointed out that tithing was an ancient law. One of the kids said a kid at school had been making fun of him for paying tithing. This is one of the new kids from Utah, so I suppose that probably was a bit of a shock. Anyway, I think it made him feel better to talk about it for a second.

Wrapped up. It’s still COLD!

Deuteronomy 30, 32, 34

My notes were messed up somehow for this lesson. I had the kids open their scriptures to D 30, and start looking for If then statements. The notes I had were not fitting with the text, so I faked it for a few minutes and moved on to Deuteronomy 32.

This sort of thing happens more often than not when I use the manual (as I did here). I think now that I wrote D 30 instead of D 32, so it was my fault this time. I am trying to use the manual more to test my theory that it affects my level of preparation and that’s why things go wrong when I use it. But mostly I am just so annoyed that things go wrong that I can’t really analyze the failure objectively….

Anyway, turned to Deuteronomy 32. I just let the kids tell me what they liked from the chapter. This song reminds me of the songs from the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, so I pretty much hated it myself (but I didn’t tell them that). I am just not of a poetical bent.

After they slowed down, I had them turn to Duteronomy 34. We read verse 5-12. Also read Deuteronomy 4: 20–22. I asked the kids if they thought it was fair that Moses couldn’t enter the Promised Land.

—-Now this was a bad question. I was trying to get them to say no, it wasn’t fair, so that I could discuss how we can read the scriptures and see something that doesn’t make sense, and then look up information, and find out that we have modern revelation on the topic. But I didn’t do enough question set up and instead …..

The kids thought that yes, it was okay, because he had completed his mission, they knew he was translated (because we had talked about it earlier even though we didn’t read the scripture yet), and were okay with it. So, not the answer I was looking for, but they responded so well, even I had to capitulate that him staying outside the Promised Land was okay.

So I had them turn to D&C 84:23–27 and read. Moses was removed, along with the priesthood. This was news to my kids and it almost took their breath away. We talked about the effects of having the higher priesthood taken from the people, when one of the students asked a random question: “Did Moses’ dispensation end with his death since the Priesthood was taken?”

Yeah, a sophomore asked that. My kids are *that* awesome.

So I told him I thought that no, Moses dispensation lasted until Christ because we didn’t have any other major stuff happen until Christ came. And then I remembered that there is a section on Dispensation in the Bible Dictionary. So I said, you know what, let’s look in our handy dandy bible dictionary and see if the answer is there. He read the first paragraph aloud. In short, we don’t have a record of another dispensation between Moses and Jesus Christ among the Jews. There could have been others during that time period among other people. I’m not sure if he fully grasped what a dispensation is, but the big thing that the kids learned is, hey, I have a question — try the BIBLE DICTIONARY! This was the best thing that happened during the entire lesson as far as I’m concerned.

I told the kids that we were finishing up the Books of Moses and were entering the History portion of the Bible. I will be treating this next section as portraits of Bible Heroes more than a history of the Jews. I don’t want to get bogged down in the history so much as I want to give these kids people they can look up to.

This was the kind of lesson that could have had me weeping at what a disaster it was. Several things went wrong — many my own fault (I’m going to harp on the method of assigning text for each class again). But things worked out fine because the *kids* were prepared enough to pick up and fix my mistakes. They were able to fill in the holes. Now I don’t think that most of them were really aware of how badly things were going from a purely analytical point of view, but because they had read the scriptures and come prepared, they had something to share. So when I was floundering, all I had to do was prompt them, and they could pick up the slack.

At inservice meeting, there were a small portion of teachers who assigned weekly reading like I do. All of the ones I talked to or overheard said it was a great method. A majority of those who used the Church’s “read whatever you want from this chart” method were trying to find ways to motivate kids to read. I do have 1-2 slackers, but even they read more than half of the time. My overall reading percentage is in the upper 90s percentage-wise if you take those kids out. in the mid 80% if you don’t. They’ll tell you that they like this reading method, and I can see that they do because they actually do read.

I did loose some flexibility by creating a chart for the whole year. Some teachers prefer to have the option of not planning a lesson if they choose or teaching whatever they want. I can tell you my kids prefer reading the same material and discussing it. As for me, I like it because it makes my lesson prep time so short. I can knock out a typical lesson in 30-45 minutes, not counting the time reading the scripture block. I prepare my lessons a week ahead, which gives me some flexibility in my daily life, too. And I’m finding that having the kids all read the same material helps me when things go wrong, so that even when I’m dropping the ball, my “team” can pick it up and help. Same goes for when a student is struggling with material or has a question – the other students can help. That’s something they would not be able to do as effectively if they weren’t reading the same material.

If you don’t have time or inclination to work a whole year ahead, you could work a week or two out, or may be a quarter or a time to keep it more manageable. I may do that next year, but this year thing has worked out so well, I think I’ll keep it.

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.