Jenny's blog

Joshua 1

My kids are always silly on Mondays. I don’t know what does it to them, but most of the time Mondays are just a little sillier than usual. I’ve learned to just accept this and embrace the silly. It helps that I do find them genuinely funny, and so I don’t have to stretch too hard to enjoy their silliness, but I do try to keep them close enough to earth to get a good lesson in.

Today we’re starting Joshua 1. I learned at the inservice training Saturday that very few people in our region are finishing Deuteronomy. I’m pretty much the only one. I’m slightly ahead because I did Numbers in just 3 days and Deuteronomy in 4, so even though I started September 12, I’m still ahead of most. The majority are in Numbers. A few were still in Leviticus. I’m ahead a little because I’m sticking closely with the pacing guide, and because I worked in a couple of extra days to cover the poetry books later in the year. Some time after spring break I’ll be more closely aligned with everyone else.

So, lucky you. I’m ahead which means you can actually benefit from some of these ideas this year!

I didn’t go downstairs until 5 to 6 this morning, and so I didn’t have time to vaccuum, set up the tables, and put the post it notes under the chairs for my lesson. Jared came down vacuumed while I wrote the scriptures on the Post it Notes. The kids came while we were both working, so I had them set up the tables and chairs and put the post its under the seats while I got the music ready and my books all put out. We were only a minute or two late, but because it was Monday, the kids were silly. Opening exercises drug on, but I didn’t worry too much about it. I thought my lesson would end early and we’d have time for scripture mastery anyway.

So (barely) before class I wrote the scriptures from the manual about the benefits of scripture study on page 108. I only wrote 9 of them, and on 3 other sticky notes I wrote the word “voice”. My opening exercise went like this:

I have a kid named Joshua, so I had him read the letter from Joshua on the manual page 107. The kids had 4 minutes to write down their advice to Joshua, especially as relates to last night’s reading in Joshua 1. The kids passed their papers to the kid in each zone who got “voice”. While voice compiled and read the advice, the other students looked up the scriptures that related to scripture study.

Now, the way I did it was to have the kids put their hands flat on the table. I gave them the instructions (while keeping their hands on the tables — to keep them from looking at the notes and not listening to instructions), and after I was finished, let them all look at their post it notes. A better way would have been to give them the instructions and have them look *after* they wrote the instructions to Joshua. All of the kids who got “voice” didn’t write advice, even though I intended them to. So anyway, if I ever do something similar where I’m cramming two activities in to one to keep everyone occupied, I will remember that. It wasn’t bad the way I did it, it just could have been better.

Anyway, after the 3 minutes were up, the “voice”s reported on the advice they had for Joshua. Patience was listed by each group, so we talked about the importance of having patience with others and ourselves as a leadership quality. One kid mentioned something that related to our earlier lesson on leadership with Moses and Jethro. He was proud I had recognized it and pointed it out. After the 3 reports were finished, I had a student read the quotes in the gray boxes on page 107 of the manual. Here’s another spot where the lesson went slightly awry in a good way. I had intended for the girl to read the GBH quote at the bottom of the page (I told her where and pointed at it, but somehow…. I guess it is early….). Anyway, that quote proved to be a better segue into the next bit. So I worked with it, and also had her read the GBH quote, too. Summarized them briefly. Next time, I’d probably just use the first quote.

So now we’re going to talk about the importance of scripture study. Going around the room, each student told the class what they learned from their scriptures about the benefits of scripture study. They came up with a really fantastic list. I filled up a sheet on the easel, plus wrote sideways to add the last few ideas in. I have been assigned to speak at the end of the month on the Power of the Scriptures and will probably use their list in that talk.

We talked about some of the items, especially regarding how scriptures keep help us avoid the “fiery darts” of the adversary. Talked about how if you go see the Bishop, his first question will be “are you reading your scriptures?” Scriptures give us power to resist temptation because they help us feel the Holy Ghost more regularly.

Summed up by telling them that Today We Learned an important leadership skill: how to comfort someone who feels inadequate. They will serve with people who feel inadequate or they may feel inadequate themselves, and they can use the stories of Joshua and Moses to help them help others. I don’t think that I said so, but this is a good business leadership skill as well. Also told them how much I love the scriptures because when I read them, I can feel myself becoming better just as they described in their list.

Saturday was inservice training for our whole region. I will do an entire blog entry on it later, but among other things, I am trying to own the room a little more. I do move around a good bit — more than most — when I teach, but I could use my eyes to get more from these kids, too, I think. I’m also trying to be better about summing up our lessons, so that the kids have a quick reminder about what we did during class and why. Last week I “chilled” the lesson a bit by scolding a kid out of turn. I made sure to greet him this week and asked for his advice on the appropriateness of letting my son play Skyrim since he’s a big gamer. Jared and I went to breakfast today and I told him I’ve been wanting to teach another Seminary class to test out some of these methods I’m using. I’m not sure if they just work or if it’s just because I have a really easy class this year. And over the summer I’d like to sub in some classes for more practice. I think it’s easy when you have the same group all the time to kind of get into a routine. I want to have a little bit of a challenge to keep me on my feet.

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.