Jenny's blog

Israelites in the Wilderness

I realized I was behind but wow….. 2 weeks! It’s been so long now that I can barely remember what I did for Exodus 14-15. My lesson outline literally has 2 sentences and two scripture references written down. That’s it. I know we started with having the kids write down something that was new or that stuck out to them in the passage. I focused my remarks on “Fear ye not, stand still ….. The Lord shall fight for you.” We also read Mosiah 24:15.

It’s coming back to me now………

I was so ill-prepared for this lesson that the kids commented on it :) I knew that Exodus 15 mentioned ingratitude and I was going to have the kids write down some things they are grateful for, but instead, I sent DD upstairs to grab one of the foam tree crafts we do each year for FHE. The kids wrote down things they are most grateful for on the leaves. I hot glued them on after class, and we displayed them. It was just right for right before Thanksgiving.

Exodus 16-17

This lesson was on manna. Now, as it happened, Brother S (one of my student’s fathers) stood up during priesthood opening exercises and offered a monologue about how rice krispie treats were the closest thing we were going to get to manna in this life. Apparently you had to be there. Anyway, my husband mentioned it to me and since he’s a friend of mine and a good sport (and loves to cook, incidentally), I called him up and asked him if he would be willing to make rice krispie treats for our class. He was happy to — and made these AWESOME treats in the shape of little men “MANna”. :)

I didn’t tell the kids that we had treats — he had delivered them the evening before.

I started off by writing the words “whatsit, thingamajig, thingie, doohickey.” on the board with 5 little blanks under it. I asked the kids which word from last night’s reading meant the same as those words. The answer is manna (see the footnote). Then I showed them a little bowl of coriander seeds I have from my garden. The scripture says that manna looked like coriander seeds (v 31). We talked a little bit about what manna may have been like.

I wrote up on the board the words manna / quail / water, and told the the kids again that these things are a symbol of the Savior. How?
– sustains us daily
– sweet
– bread of life
– requires effort to use the blessing

Then we spent a few minutes talking about sustaining church leaders. We read Exodus 16:8, and we discussed how Aaron and Hur sustained Moses, and how we could sustain our Bishop. I showed the kids a small 4oz water cup (the bathroom size). I asked a volunteer to come up and stand on the cup. It crushed, of course. One cup alone couldn’t hold her up. Then I had the students write their names on a cup. That made only 10 cups, and when I tested this, 10 wouldn’t hold me up. Then I also had them take a second cup and write one thing on the cup they would do to sustain the Bishop.

We set all the cups on the coffee table, and I set a pizza platter on top of that. This time, the girl was easily able to stand on top of it. I have heard some whining about both Bishops from others in the ward, so I talked a little about that and asked them not to engage in it. If they hear it, put a stop to it. I also shared the experience I had when the ward split. The old bishop knew me pretty well, having served with me as both RS president and his Activities Committee chair. He gave me a blessing when I was set apart with some pretty specific advice. A few months later, the ward split, and the new bishop — who didn’t know me at all — gave me the same advice, word for word, in another blessing for being set apart. How did it happen? They’re both inspired from the same source. This was clearly hitting home to them.

Wrapped up with a testimony, and then I broke out the MANna. :) The boys in our ward all laughed at the joke, and everyone enjoyed the treats.

Exodus 18

This week I am having the kids repeat the entire Exodus 20 scripture mastery each day. I still have my three laggards who need to get this memorized. We’ll keep saying it until those three pass it off. I had some other things of business to go over. One of which was that the Primary asked the Seminary students to sing a song during the Christmas activity, and that our opening song for the next three weeks will be Far Far Away on Judea’s plains. We started out by learning just the boy’s tenor part.

To begin the lesson part, I held up one of the little cups and asked the kids to explain last week’s object lesson. I told them to explain from the reading how Moses was like the one cup. Jethro saw the problem and suggested a solution. I wrote a diagram on the board that was pretty bad with Moses on one side and Jethro on the other. I explained that we were going to talk about how each demonstrated leadership skills that are essential to church and secular problems.

Without belaboring this, we talked about how Moses was a humble leader : he accepted the constructive criticism, used the solution, and was better for it. We also talked about how Jethro was a supportive follower : he saw a solution, went to his leader to explain the problem, PROPOSED A SOLUTION, and then participated in carrying out the solution. To me that’s key. I can’t tell you how many meetings I’ve been in with whiners who point out problems and don’t suggest solutions or won’t help in carrying out the solution. I tried very hard to emphasize to the kids how important it is to be a part of the solution by coming up with helpful ideas rather than just whining. And then, even if your solution isn’t chosen, or if it is, you can’t be above participating in it’s implementation.

Then I gave the kids a piece of paper to write the name of a leader. After they did that, I had them list leadership qualities they admired in that person and how they could develop those leadership skills. This was an interesting exercise. Some of the responses were thoughtful. The boys tried to test me a bit. One of them picked Hitler. :) But I owned there. And since it’s a Mormon class, someone started in on the President. I owned there, too, pointing out that they weren’t showing Jethro-like leadership skills. Whining in Seminary class doesn’t help. They can be involved in the solution by becoming more active politically themselves. They can try to be supportive of leaders who have flaws, or leaders they disagree with in positive ways, just like Jethro did. One girl chose an old YW leader from several years ago. Many of the kids know her, and it became a Jen F love fest. It was really nice, and I called her later to let her know what the kids said about her.

I can’t remember how this ended. I’m sure I brought it back to leadership skills, but I can’t really remember now.

Exodus 19

I was going to combine Exodus 19 and 20, but I changed the lesson. It turned out to be a good thing. I barely got Ex 20 finished. Ex 19 was a super short lesson — like 15 minutes — but I couldn’t have done both.

I displayed the tree I mentioned earlier. I read off some of our most special possessions.

Then we read Exodus 19:3–6. What of all He posesses does Heavenly Father want as a peculiar treasure?

Read the quote on p 78 of the manual.

Mentioned Moses 1:39

Had the kids draw a box around the words ‘if’ and ‘then’ in verse 5.

Talked about the miracles the lord blessed the Israelites with. What things are people in bondage to today? What miracles has He provided us today to deliver us from bondage?

I had several minutes of class left, and so I pulled out the Name Game. They are getting much better at that. I hope that soon they will be able to do it without the cards.

I have to say, this was an inferior lesson. I find when I rely too much on the manual, as I did with this lesson, my lessons really suffer. I find this to be true with all the lessons I teach out of the Church manuals. If I treat the manual more like a grouping of ideas rather than an actual full blown *lesson* the result is much better.

It’s hard sometimes to reconcile the stick-with-the-manual edict with the incredibly poor lessons that result from leaning on the manuals. I am very cautious about the material we use. I try very hard to stick right with the scriptures and avoid speculation. But the lessons are so often dry when I stick with the manual. I used the manual too much this week, and the lessons suffered. Maybe it’s because when the material is easy, I can come up with a decent lesson with interesting attention getters in seconds, and I barely even look at the manual. I only use the manual when the material isn’t coming together or I’m running low on time. Whatever the reason, the manual doesn’t get great results for me — just okay results. I’ve been thinking a lot about this during the week. I will try to figure out what the difference is. I’m not 100% sure it’s my level of preparation, but that could be.

Anyway, will catch up on the other lessons in a later post. I’m so tired today. Just couldn’t get any rest. I wanted to go back to bed before noon, but I’ve been fighting until now. I’m not sure that I’m going to be awake for FHE.

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.