Jenny's blog

Finishing up with Major Prophets

So, the last entry was about me failing to journal. On April 23. :)

It’s really not my fault tho — the website has been down even worse since Jared started tinkering with it. Dies about every 15 hours, and I don’t have the will to fight with it when we are close to moving to Drupal 7. I would like to tell you how annoyed I am by the entire process, but this is a Mormon website… This will have to do: >:((((((

Looks like I’m not really that far behind, but there’s some goodies in here worth covering. Hopefully I can remember the lessons from my notes.

Jeremiah 52

Jeremiah is proven a prophet. See Deuteronomy 18:20–22. His prophecies are fulfilled.

I can not remember what I did here. I wrote this

(Zedekiah BOM)

Students find prophecies fulfilled by Chapter 52.

And then I have a history of the entire Bible from Adam to Zedekiah. We filled this out in class as a genealogy/timeline. This may have been the first time we did this. I’ve done it a couple of times so that we can keep track of the overall Bible chronology. I hope by writing it all out a few times the kids will learn it well. We talked about the stories as we went along. It looked something like this:

Adam / Eve / Fall
Noah / Flood
12 sons + Dinah (named some we remembered)
Reign of Judges (Eglon, Samson, Ruth)
Saul / Samuel
David / Nathan
Jeroboam (Israel) / Rehoboam (Judah)

Captivity in Babylon


Lamentations 1, 5

Before class I invited a student who writes poetry to bring in one of her poems. I told her that we would be studying how poetry can be used to express strong emotions and a release in times of trial.

BD, Lamentations as an introduction.

I talked about some of the imagery and interesting points in the verses, explaining what didn’t make sense as guided by the kids. I usually use where I’ve marked my own scriptures as a guide when I do this kind of free form lesson.

Then I explained the above noted lesson objective, and told the class I had invited this student to share her poetry. She brought in two poems — one where she was really upset and in despair, and another where she had forgiven the person who wronged her. It was really moving.

This was a pretty short lesson, so after the style of Lamentations, we did an acrostic poem that was Bible themed as a group. Each person chose a letter and wrote a sentence. As a group we’d write a couplet to rhyme with it that started with the following letter of the alphabet. It was fun and served as a reminded of what we’ve learned so far.

Ezekiel 2-3

My Lesson Objective: Learn that when a watchman speaks, we must act. It is not enough to listen alone to his words.

I did an introduction to chapter 1 and we read in the Bible Dictionary about Ezekiel as an introduction.

For this lesson I got out our wooden blocks and a couple of Lego guys. I had the kids build a tower with a wall around it while we discussed the text regarding watchmen. Here are some of the discussion points I used:

  • Your adversary seeks your tower’s destruction. What should you do? Fortify. How? I guided them to not the importance of the watchman on his tower in their fortifications
  • What skills does a good watchman need?
  • What happens to watchmen who fall asleep? As it happened, I was just watching a tv show about WWI where a guard fell asleep at his post. Someone woke him up, but then reported it. The watchman had to be court-martialed. Watchmen can be executed in a time of war for failing their duties. This brought up some good discussion about watchmen and responsibilities. (Any time I can bring war into the discussion, the boys really get into it.)
  • Ezekiel was called to be a watchman (v 17). Look at Ezekiel 2:6 and 3:3, 8, 10, 14 to find characteristics that Ezekiel had.
  • Read aloud Ezekiel 2:5. Talk about the role of a watchman and the responsibility of the people.

Here I told that time-worn story about the flood in Idaho where everyone that listened to the warnings lived and those who ignored warnings or went back for their things (listened temporarily) died. Also mentioned another time worn story about the tsunami and people running for high ground when they see the shoreline move out to sea.

What warnings to we receive from watchmen today?

Why should we listen *and* act when a watchman speaks?

Who are watchmen?

Interestingly, I used almost this exact lesson when teaching a 14-15 year old Sunday School class. I wouldn’t say it was a complete bomb, but it definitely didn’t work well with that age group. I asked my 13 year old what he would have thought of a lesson like that, and he said he wouldn’t like it. Some of the 15 year-olds were in the same class and loved the lesson with the High School group and were only so-so with the Middle School group. I did several days of reading trying to figure out what the difference is between the middle and high school mindset that made the lesson work great for one age group and not work for the other. I never did find what I thought was a satisfactory answer. The bottom line is middle schoolers are hard. After Seminary I hope I get middle schoolers so that I can figure it out…..

Ezekiel 18

My Lesson Objective: Kids will learn they alone are responsible for their salvation. Their choices have consequences.

On the easel I wrote “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

What does this mean? Contrast Ezekiel 18:20.

Now see the footnote for verse 2a. How can we reconcile this? (a parent’s actions affect his or her children, but do not determine their salvation/damnation/actions. We all have agency.)

What are some examples of how a parent’s actions affect children?

We got a lot of discussion about the Word of Wisdom here. I think we probably talked about church activity and temple sealing, too. It’s been a while…..

What might you tell someone in the following situations? (see manual age 188 for case studies)

I read the Bruce R McConkie quote on page 188.

Here I have written “show movie”. I assume this is probably a GC snippet of the above quote, but I can’t remember. It’s probably under Ezekiel 18 on the OT media DVD set.

I bore my testimony about this concept and explained to the kids that I knew of nowhere else in the scriptures where the concept of individual responsibility (as opposed to original sin, etc) is so clearly explained. By this point, a couple of kids were furiously marking their scriptures. I love it when that happens.

Daniel 1

My lesson objective was to teach how Daniel decided within himself to be obedient regardless of what happened to him. How can we be more like Daniel?

Today I started having the kids fill out ways they could use the scripture mastery passages using a blank magic squares box. We are doing one row (5 passages) at a time, because this seems to take a long time. I was hoping to have this done in 5 days, but some of the lessons were too long to allow time for this. I am finishing it up this week. I am doing this as scripture mastery.

Incidentally, this exercise made me aware of the big problem with Magic Squares — the emphasis on learning the box. Instead of teaching “the box” and where everything went in the box, I could/should have been spending more time on the scriptures themselves. Next year I will alter the way I teach Magic Squares or drop it all together. Among other things, I will have the students adjust the rhymes/motions to fit their own ideas. I think that will aid in understanding as well.

I showed the first 7 minutes of the Daniel movie on the DVD.

I had the kids read verse 17 and write in their notebooks why God gave these 4 young men such special gifts. I also asked them to find a scripture reference to prove either that, how, or why God gives blessings to the obedient.

They all found such great scripture references for this. I was shocked. Only a few came up with D&C 89:18–21, which was the one I used.

(I do this kind of exercise “find a reference to back yourself up”, because I think it is a skill that will be invaluable to them later in life. Students should be able to make a statement and then back it up with a scripture. Mission, Lesson, Life. Lots of uses. It’s always good to have a scripture backup, as another witness to your words, and it proves that you aren’t making it up.)

Then we read verse 4. Why were these Israelites chose?

Verse 8 – Daniel’s strength of character is shown here when he decides within himself not to be defiles. What does that mean — to decide “within himself”?

Verse 17 – describes the spiritual gifts Daniel had as a result of his obedience.

I wrapped this up by having the kids share ways they could be more like Daniel in their lives.

Daniel 2

I played the next 7 minutes of the Daniel movie. Afterwards, I pointed out verse 18 (they prayed together for help) and vers 28 (dream interpretation given by God through His autorized servant, God woks through “heathen” leaders, too; and Daniel was a humble team player).

Now we made a version of the image in Nebuchandnezzar’s dream. I bought a couple of sheets of scrapbook paper and poster paper at Hobby Lobby. The kids split into teams of two, and using the handout I made, created their own version of this vision. On each body part they wrote the interpretation from Daniel 2:36–45 and the interpretation from modern revelation.

The kids loved this activity.

I used gold, silver, black (iron), and yellow (brass) construction paper, plus two sheets of 12×12 inch scrapbook paper that looked like dirt for the rock and clay mixed with iron.

Daniel 3

I was pretty proud of this lesson. This may be the first object lesson I’ve come up with totally from scratch.

Before class I set up some props for actors. A narrator read out vv 1-20, while actors did the parts of Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, the King, strong men, and Chaldeans. Just as it was time to put Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (SMA) in the fire, I told the kids we were going to go outside for our fire.

My husband was outside making a fire in a little disposable grill I bought at Walmart. Here’s how I described it to some friends:

You’ll need
– a small fire with flames
– 4 small paper/Dixie cups, I used bathroom size
– a pitcher of water
– fire safe tongs
– permanent marker
– fire extinguisher, just in case

Ahead of time, label the cups Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and Strong Men.

Our fire was in a $3.00 disposable metal grill with grill top from Walmart. It came with charcoal and took a little scout water to get it started. I would suggest you use cardboard or small sticks so you can get a better flame.

Ask the kids why SMA weren’t burned in the story, while you are filling those three cups with water. SMA were filled with something. What is it? Lots of answers work here — faith, courage, hope, etc.

Put all FOUR cups into the fire with tongs — right into the flames. The cups filled with water will not burn, while the Strong Man cup will burn quickly. Why? What is the strong man missing?

Discussion points:
– How can we keep our cups filled, like SMA? (you could write answers on post its and stick them to the pitcher)
– What problems might we avoid by keeping our cups filled? We can avoid both spiritual and physical harm.
– What might water represent? Filling ourselves with the living water of Christ, baptism, purity, etc
– What might fire represent? Fiery darts of the adversary, sin, temptation, trials

Also, if you only fill a cup 3/4 of the way and put it right in a big flame, the cup will burn down to the water line. What happens to us if our cups are only partially full?

Not bad, eh?

Daniel 6

On the board I wrote: “Prayer is like a ______________.” and had the kids fill in their ideas on a blank piece of scrap paper. We got all sorts of responses from good to wacky. The one that was supposed to throw me was “apple” because one a day keeps Satan away. :) I used that metaphor throughout the lesson. I had each kid describe why they chose their word. It started a good discussion on prayer.

Daniel was a prayerful man who had many prayers answered. Would you like to know more about what Daniel prayed for and what made his prayers so effective?

Read aloud and share what Daniel is doing in his prayer:
Daniel 6:10
Daniel 9: 1–4, 16, 18–19

Here’s the result of Daniel’s prayers:
Daniel 9:21-22
Daniel 6:22

If like the apple, one prayer keeps Satan away, then what does 3 daily prayers (like Daniel did) accomplish? Yeah, it’s times like this that I don’t wonder why I was called to be a Seminary teacher. Throw me something wonky, chirrens. I will toss it right back :)

What have you learned about making your prayers more effective?

By this time, the kids were really ready to share ideas on prayer and did a very good job. Lessons on prayer always seem to flow easily. Everyone has experience with them.

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.