Jenny's blog

Quarter One is DONE

The quarter is over — report cards passed out, new reading charts distributed. I can’t believe it’s gone by so fast! I was talking about how much we’ve done so far, when Jared pointed out that I have only 3 quarters left. :-/

This week has been a short week because of Veteran’s day and Election Day. Both of those are school hoidays here, and so we only teach 3 days this week. It made the week seem a little choppy, but it wasn’t bad.

Genesis 46-47

Again — I was struggling with the lesson for a Monday. I hate it when that happens. The material in these chapters was no good for teaching. It was just a history lesson, really. Even the manual didn’t have any ideas for stretching the story into something applicable to daily life, so I decided to do a summary and let the kids do scripture mastery for the rest of the time. I had 6 students who had not yet memorized Exodus 20. 3 of them passed off Monday. Those who had already passed it off played foosball. My DD passed out candy to those who had memorized the scripture. She was trying to help me pass off the scriptures, but mostly she was just aggravating to me, so I made her play foosball.

It seems that my kids come in really silly on Mondays. Maybe they get a lot of rest on Sundays or something, but they seem to be very energetic on Mondays. I had considered doing a sharing activity this day, but doing the scripture mastery fit better for the collective energy level.

Genesis 48-49

One of our students has recently had a death in her family. She has been struggling a little emotionally. I spoke with her Sunday and told her that Monday I would ask her to do something in our class. Monday I talked a little with her and invited her to share some of the things that have helped her to get through this difficult time with our class, IF she felt comfortable doing so. She said she thought she could do that, and I told her that if she came on the day of and felt like she didn’t want to talk about it that would be fine.

She did come on Wednesday and was able to talk about what things have helped her and her family. She mentioned the support of family and friends as being most important. She had been asked to play at the funeral and talked about how difficult that was for her. We had a brief discussion about what will happen when we pass and I mentioned another sister who passed away a few years ago that many of us knew well. She was the grandmother of one of our students and lived with the grandmother of another. She served with me in the Relief Society, and we all miss her very much. It was a little bit serious, but I wanted the kids to know that this is something they will all face and that they can turn to their friends for support in difficult times.

After that I almost felt bad turning the time over to game, but I think that it was a good change of pace. Our discussion had not been overly somber, but I think 10 minutes of that kind of serious talk is about all kids that age can handle before needing a reprieve.

I put up the dry erase board and split it into 3 sections, 1 per zone. One the back of the board I had written a few words that related to Patriarchal Blessings:

  • liahona
  • scriptures
  • holy ghost
  • road signs
  • prophet
  • eyeglasses
  • string tied on finger
  • happy face
  • frowny face
  • missionary
  • family tree
  • temple/married couple

The kids came up 3 at a time and drew a picture from the lists on the back of the board for their zone to guess. I did them 3 at a time both to drive up the energy level and to keep this game from going over long.

After all 3 pictures were guessed, we talked about how each related to patriarchal blessings. The discussion went better than I could have hoped. Very few of my students have received a patriarchal blessing, so this was a good introduction to some of the information that may be in a blessing.

After the game, we talked about the Ephraim and Manasseh patriarchal blessing story from the reading. We also read the JST Appendix for Genesis 48 and 2 Nephi 3: 4–5,6–8,12,13–14 and talked about what blessings Joseph received in his patriarchal blessing and how these prophecies and blessings apply to them.

I had prepared to read a long quote from the Institute Manual on page 100, but I decided there wasn’t time. Instead I talked a little about my patriarchal blessing and some of my experiences, especially how parts of it weren’t what I was expecting. I could tell one student was especially tuned in — he should be getting his blessing soon, and I think this was a good reminded for him. I suspect he’ll be in to talk to the Bishop or his parents soon.

Good lesson overall.

Genesis 50

This was the day I passed out report cards and the reading chart for next quarter. One student got a high D, but all the others were B and above, which means they did more than 80% of the reading each day. I have one who has been tardy 13 times, which means he has to do a day of makeup work. He is very busy with school and so I will come up with some extra work he can do during class. I suppose that’s not what they want us to do, but this kid is trying to graduate early and has a lot on his plate, including Saturday classes. I don’t want to add to his external workload with something that really isn’t that important.

Had the kids fill out their conduct self-assessment and told them they could make up a disappointing letter grade by catching up on some of the reading they missed.

We reviewed Genesis 50 and mentioned again how Joseph is a type of Christ, forviging those who have sinned against him. Didn’t read the JST Appendix as I planned, but it was okay.

I asked two of the kids to come to the front of the class and write on our scroll as the other kids talked about their favorite stories from our first Quarter. Each student mentioned the scripture passage, why it was important to them, and how it applied to them. Some of them required a little prompting, but overall, it was a good discussion. The two on scroll duty drew some nice pictures with the scripture references, and I think it turned out nicely.

I took a few minutes to talk to the kids about how they felt about this year and the new way I’m requiring the reading. Again, the response was unanimously positive. They have all seen what a difference it makes to our class study to have everyone on the same reading. I told them they have a rookie teacher, and they are seeing the result of their efforts to come to class ready to participate and thanked them for what they’re doing.

So to everyone who told me the kids woudn’t do the assigned reading, I say: ha! They did it, and they love it. I am so relieved that THEY see that completing the reading affects their ability to participate and that the reading enhances our lessons. I was prepared to change course if the consensus was that this method was a failure, but clearly, it’s working for this group.

Next week we begin the Exodus. I have written the Seder for our class, but I will have to shorten it down a bit to make time for us to do it in 40 minutes. I will post both versions when I get the shorter one completed. We may have to try it out for FHE on Monday to see how long it goes.

This week’s material was much better than last, and plus, the shortened week has made this seem like a sort of vacation. Jared is home from India, ASL is no longer in the hospital, and I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend with the family.

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.