D&C 113-120

So this was the easiest lesson I’ve prepared all year.  I used to have easy ones like this all the time when I was teaching Seminary, but this is the first time that it’s come so easily for one of these multi-chapter weekly lessons. I have been recording the Joseph Smith Papers documentary videos off of BYUTV for a while now, and several of them have given me good information and insights. Joseph Smith and the Law Part Two works PERFECTLY for this lesson. The video starts out with a good explanation that briefly explains the apostasy in Kirtland and what caused the move to Missouri. The last half of the video talks about many of the revelations received at…

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D&C 60-64

Well, that went well.  I felt the spirit more strongly during this Relief Society gospel study lesson than in our previous lessons.  I started out by debunking that Mormon myth about the devil having control of the waters in D&C 61.  Easy.  Hopefully it’s clear to everyone that the destroyer is not the devil, but s/he is an angel of God’s whose job it is to tear things up when instructed.  That thing about missionaries not being able to swim because the devil has control of the waters is junk, too. Anyway, I went into the lesson using my old favorite What Did You Underline? This started a good discussion.  The verses we used were D&C 60:2, 3, 5, 7, 8–9,…

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D&C 30-35

I felt good about this lesson when it was over.  My attempt to accommodate my visually impaired student was successful, and the discussion was pretty great. The student in class who was a former seminary teacher texted me afterward to thank me for it.  It’s nice to have a good lesson every now and again. I started out with my “look over what you read and share something you liked” bit again.  It works well with this group, and since some of the ladies are slackers who don’t read, it gives them a chance to look at and preview the material before I dive in.  I’m not a good “from scratch” teacher.  I really rely on students having some background…

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D&C 24-29

This lesson felt a lot better to me for some reason.  I didn’t spend as much time on Emma as I expected to, given the audience, but it worked out fine. My outline is pretty sparse, but I’ll try to fill in the deets. Started out by asking students to look over these sections and share what they liked.  This always opens a good discussion.  Once they came back to Emma, I started in with the lesson proper. D&C 25 – Elect Tossed in some biographical information as it came up about Emma.  Some was from Mormon Engima and other bits from Rough Stone Rolling and some from Mormon Polygamy. What does elect mean?  Cf to D&C 29:7 D&C 27…

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D&C 20-23

Okay — this lesson bombed for me.  Even I was bored teaching this junk.  The ladies seemed fine with it, but I was bored to death. My lesson objectives were Students will learn about the organization of the church Students will review the duties of church offices/priesthood with an eye toward the duties of the members With this group, I try to give a little background history information at the beginning of each lesson.  Since it’s a week between lessons, I summarize last week’s lesson to remind them what they learned, and then continue the story.  In this regard, the new D&C manual is horrible.  If you plan on giving your lessons any contiuity, plan on reading on your own. …

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D&C 8-9, 11-16

After last week, I thought that the class might be dwindling to an unsustainable level. Even though people keep expressing “interest” many were not showing up or were scheduling other appointments during class time. I was thinking that we might be approaching a time that we would have reassess the need for the class. But yesterday’s class was surprisingly big! We had 9 sisters show up, most of whom were new, and a couple of old timers were absent. I had planned activities enough to go to about an hour and fifteen minutes, but with the unexpected number of students, we got more comments than I had made time for, and the class actually ended up going about 10 minutes…

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Sleeping Student

My Lesson is Boring!

AC expressed a common concern on the LDS Seminary Teacher Facebook Group: “I’m a new teacher this year, not creative at all and need desperate help. I have my two boys in my class and they both tell me I’m boring.” Here’s what I said: Please know that everything I’m about to say is intended to be helpful. Please read it in that context.1) Consider the source. Your own children may be harder on you than others. They may be uncomfortable being taught in a formal setting by their own mother. They may have already seen all your tricks and heard all your stories. They may even be saying something to get a rise out of you, which unfortunately teenaged…

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Increasing Student Particpation

Increasing Student Participation during Gospel Lessons

Most gospel teachers struggle with classroom participation. Sometimes you’ll get a classroom of students who are very active and loud, and other times you may have a classroom of very quiet students. We want students to enjoy each other, but “between the prayers” we want them to talk about the gospel — not Friday night’s game. Following are some ideas to help you increase appropriate discussion in your classroom: Talk Less Ask and Pause Make your Classroom a Safe Place to Ask Questions and Share Ideas Encourage Sincere Participation Attempts Talk Less When a teacher takes the spotlight, becomes the star of the show, does all the talking, and otherwise takes over all of the activity, it is almost certain…

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Evaluating A Gospel Lesson – 10 Questions to Ask

After a lesson is complete, you may feel elated or even discouraged.  Evaluating your teaching is an important, often neglected, step that can help you improve as a teacher.  Evaluating your lessons is the “report” part of the Return and Report pattern taught in the temple.  Reporting, by asking questions of yourself, prayerfully consulting the Lord, speaking with another teacher or leader, or blogging experiences, can help you develop Here are some tips that can help you evaluate lessons and develop a plan to improve poor experiences or reproduce great teaching experiences. 10 Themes to consider after a lesson Was my level of preparation adequate?  Did I read each scripture reference?  Did I check LDS.org for music, videos, or general conference talks?…

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3 Nephi 1-10

3 Nephi 1 This morning I didn’t prepare a lesson.  A family in our ward’s house burned to the ground the afternoon before this lesson, and not everyone survived the fire.  I expected to have to answer some pretty serious questions from students related to the fire, and so I prepared by reading a couple of articles on grief and tragedy; however, it didn’t seem to be as much of an issue.  Frankly, the kids seemed to not want to talk much about it.  I did handle a few questions and we did have a brief discussion, but it was not was I was expecting.  Maybe our family was just hit harder because we know the family well and because…

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CSI Zarahemla Dead Body

Helaman 1-16

 Helaman 1-5 Had to combine this day due to snow. We continued with March Madness.  Kids shared “what did you learn”s with the class from the reading. On the board I wrote the following words: trolling, bullying, picking, teasing, joshing, joking, criticizing, gossiping, ridiculing, make fun of, judging I opened with a short discussion about what God sounds like (Helaman 5:28–31) and what that teaches us about God.  One point I made was that in this passage God speaks to those who need to repent in a kind tone of voice.  He could be shouting “repent”, but he isn’t.  He speaks in a way that pierces souls. After that we read Helaman 3:25, 25.  Things are going well, but then…

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Jenny's blog

Alma 32-58

Believe it or not, I can totally sum up the rest of Alma in one blog post.  Since last I posted we’ve had Seminary less than 10 times.  Last week we met only once due to another snowstorm and another freezing rain event. At this point I can’t even remember which days we met and which we didn’t without looking at our attendance sheets, which I have ignored entering in the computer because it’s so depressing. School was canceled so late twice last week that kids showed up for Seminary and let themselves into my house or were locked out. It’s been ridiculous.  And we were supposed to have another two day ice storm this weekend, but it looks like…

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