After the results of the Basic Doctrines Assessment, I’ve been looking for opportunities to help my students understand some gospel terms better. The opportunity for covering salvation, justification, and grace has come up in the first part of Romans. I’ve spent two days covering the first five chapters, and we will spread into a third day to finish talking about these important doctrinal concepts.
I am using a handout called Understanding Justification, Sanctification, and Grace to help my students understand these topics. The handout includes a lengthy quote from Elder Christofferson and a shorter one from Bruce R McConkie to help students understand the topics. I am using Jigsaw to reinforce. In this case, I am having students read the handout individually. Each student was given a sticker that had one of the three words on it (grace, justification, or sanctification) on it and a number (1-6). After reading the material, students separate in to three groups. All of the grace students meet together to become experts on grace and ensure each student fully understands the topic with the intent of being able to teach it to others. Justifcation and Sanctification groups do the same. After this discussion is complete, each student goes to a small with members that have the same number on their sticker. In that group they will be the only student in their group who has their topic (possibly one of two if there’s an odd number or someone is absent). Each group has one grace, one justification, and one sanctification expert. Each topic expert is responsible for teaching the topic they were assigned to the other groups.
I had 15 students present and a visitor showed up, so one group ended up with an extra expert. No problem.
During the first part when all were reading silently, I noticed that one boy who has difficulty with reading was just sitting there and another just skimmed through his document underlining the word he was assigned. While the others continued to read quietly, I had those boys come aside with me, and thre three of us verbally went over the main points in the handout. They both happened to be justification, so that’s what we talked about. I know one of them appreciated being pulled aside to hear verbally the doctrine, because of his struggle with silent reading. He is a super smart kid, but he actually has no short term memory. Everything has to go in long term memory for him to recall it, and so he can get bogged down in long reading. He just can’t remember the beginning of the paragraph when he gets to the end, so it’s best for him to hear key points and extrapolate from there. He makes pretty fantastic comments.
This activity took longer than one class period, but it could have been done in a single class if my reading hadn’t been so long.