Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Lesson - How Does the Holy Ghost Help Me Learn? - What I Did

Dude, I'm so sorry I've been a slacker about posting the stuff I've been doing in my Sunday School class.  I've been feeling the Spirit really telling me lately to cut back a little bit on the cutesy stuff.  Well, the Spirit and some very snooty 17-year-old boys.  I don't want my students to come to my class to sit back and be entertained.  Especially since some of them will be going on missions within six months.  They need to be practicing teaching and practicing digging into those scriptures and bearing their testimonies. 

So I feel that sometimes my lessons are too boring to post here, buuuuuut I have a dear friend, Rach, who is a new Sunday School teacher and wanting to see what I've been doing, so I'll still post my lessons up here.  I'll throw in a few visual organizers here and there, but I really want my kids to be feasting on the gospel, not playing trite games, ya know??

So.  That said, here is what I did last week for the lesson, How Does the Holy Ghost Help Me Learn?

1.  Making Connections

A.  Calling The Kids Beforehand

Sometimes, when I'm a little more on the ball than usual, or when I haven't done it in awhile, I'll start texting my students.  Yes, I have used sometimes-covert means to acquire each and every one of their cell phone numbers.  (Their parents and siblings like to give that info right on over to me.)  So I'll text them on Friday or Saturday and say, "Hey, can you be prepared to talk about such-and-such in Sunday School tomorrow?"  I've never had one of them say no.  My students are cool like that.  So I like to do this for the Making Connections parts of the lesson sometimes.  So I had...

B share what she's been learning from her personal scripture study lately,
Al share what she's been learning in seminary lately,
J share what he has learned about the gospel through experiences with his friends lately,
and As share an experience within her family lately that has taught her something about God.

Then I asked them generally if anything has stood out to them in their Priesthood and Young Women's classes that they remember.  By the time each individual person above did their sharing, they were all a little more loosened up to talk about what they've been learning in their other church classes.

2.  Have a volunteer read what I'm calling Quote #1.

This was the quote about Spencer W. Kimball and sacrament meetings:

"President Spencer W. Kimball was once asked, 'What do you do when you find yourself in a boring sacrament meeting?'  His response:  'I don't know.  I've never been in one.' (Church News, Mar. 24, 1990)

I asked the kids how that was possible, and they gave me their ideas.  They mainly said that he was probably more spiritually "in-tune."  I asked what would be making him more in-tune than the average sacrament meeting attendee, and they said he probably reads his scriptures more and prays more, etc.

I asked if any of them have had an experience recently when they felt the Spirit during sacrament meeting or any other church meetings.  (I wanted to pre-call on this question, too, but I ran out of students, and some of them didn't call or text me back.)  I gave them a couple of experiences of my own to draw out their own thoughts and experiences.

The first one was a couple of weeks ago.  There was a woman who came to church who hadn't been in a really long time. She's had a lot of struggles with addiction and is probably avoided by a lot of people, but our Bishop's beautiful wife made a beeline to her right after sacrament meeting was over and gave her a huge bear hug.  I felt the Spirit when I saw that happen.

Also, a couple of weeks ago, our Stake representative taught a combined class to the Elder's Quorum and Relief Society about the joys of family history, and I felt the Spirit tugging at me to find my ancestors and to really get to know them, whether their work is done or not. 

So that kind of loosened the kids up to share when they've felt the Spirit in church recently.

3.  We feel the Spirit more when we prepare spiritually before church.

I told them that the reason President Kimball never felt bored in sacrament meeting was because the Spirit was there with him, teaching him the whole time.  And the reason the Spirit was with him was because he prepared spiritually for church.

I asked what they could do to prepare themselves spiritually before church, and I wrote their answers on the board.  They came up with praying before church that they will feel the Spirit, and they also came up with fasting on fast Sunday or any other Sunday they felt that they needed to.

I also pointed out that we can also get more out of scripture study, receiving blessings, and church activities if we spiritually prepare before those things, too.

4.  The Holy Ghost helps us learn the gospel.

A. Scripture Activity

I gave each class member one of the following strips.  I thought it was time to share via writing instead of just talking.  It helped to break up the class a bit.  Here is what each strip said (feel free to copy and paste onto your own Word document or whatevs):

Read John 16:13.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

Read 1 Cor. 2:9-14.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

Read 1 Ne. 10:19.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

Read Alma 5:45-46.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

Read Moroni 10:3-5.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

Read D&C 11:12-14.  Then write in the space below what this scripture teaches you about the Holy Ghost.

I only had four kids this week (I think a lot of them were sick.  Or sleeping in...), so I took the extra two slips and was a model for them by looking up my scriptures and writing my answers on their papers.  This seemed to make them want to follow my example more than if I just sat there staring at them while they did it.  Then each of them shared their scripture (we all looked up each scripture and made sure it was marked) and what they learned about the Holy Ghost.

B.  Question:  What happens when you try to read your scriptures without the influence of the Spirit?

Their answer - the scriptures become more of just a nice story; it's hard to concentrate on what's going on in your reading; you don't get anything out of it.

C.  Question:  Have any of you felt the influence of the Holy Ghost while you were learning the Gospel?

Again, this would have been a good one to pre-call about, but since I had run out of options, I let them think while I again modeled the kind of answer I was looking for by sharing one of my own experiences:

I felt the Holy Ghost recently while studying in Alma 48:11-13.  I jotted in my scripture journal that I wanted my sons to be like Moroni.  And the Spirit seemed to tell me that it was up to me to rear them well, so that they truly become good, spiritual men.

After I shared, a couple of them shared.

And then we ran out of time!!  In case your students are less talkative and flirtatious than my students, I'll share what I was going to do for the rest of the time.

5.  How to Receive by the Spirit

I was going to have us read the part of Elder Merrill's talk that talks about the three things you can do to receive by the Spirit. Here is a jpg of just that portion that I wanted to use.  I was going to have each kid read one paragraph.

As you can see, I was going to have them answer a couple of questions after we read the portion of Elder Merrill's talk, and then share their answers.

6.  Blessings come when we learn by the Spirit.

A.  Preach My Gospel Exerpt

Then I was going to have us read the portion from "Preach My Gospel" about learning by the Holy Ghost.  Here is the jpg of that:

I was going to pause at the end of each paragraph (after having them take turns reading one paragraph each) and find blessings that come when we learn by the Spirit.  I was going to jot them on the board.  I found the following:
1.  knowledge
2.  conviction
3.  ability to bless lives of others
4.  increased faith
5.  desire to repent
6.  desire to improve
7.  prepares us for service
8.  offers solace
9.  resolves problems
10.  gives us strength to endure

B.  My Soul Hungered

In this portion of Preach my Gospel that talks about blessings from learning by the Holy Ghost, there is a picture of Enos praying.  And I thought of that song by Kurt Bestor, "My Soul Hungered."  I loooove that song.  And I felt like it really talks about the blessings that we receive when our souls hunger and we kneel to pray.  The song talks about how we feel our doubts wash away, how the Lord speaks peace to our minds, how he feeds our souls... I just thought it was perfect.  So, on my smartphone, I went onto youtube and looked up the song.  They had a recording on there, of course.  So I left my google browser app on that page.  I was going to play the song on my little old phone while the kids read the lyrics to the song.  Here are the lyrics:

C.  How learning by the Spirit can bless your life right now.

Then, to close, I gave my students the following little worksheets.  These questions are more personal, so I wasn't going to have them share unless they wanted to. 

I was going to share with them a few of my answers, just again to serve as a model for the kinds of responses I was looking for.  My answer to number 1 - a desire to improve.  2 - When I say my nightly prayers, I want to specifically pray for the Spirit to help me learn and be inspired while I read my scriptures.  And then I want to start praying for the same thing before I go to church.  3 - I honestly have never thought of praying for the Spirit to help me learn before scripture reading, church, receiving blessings, etc.  Duh.  4 - Is kind of a repeat of number 2 for me.

There you go, Smachie!  Good luck!!  You can dooooo eeeet!


Jenny Taylor said...

Thank you so much for posting this lesson. I have been teaching Come Follow Me for the past three years and it is so lovely to find some fresh ideas and perspectives. I loved it!

Jenny Taylor said...

Thank you for posting this lesson. I really enjoyed reading it. I have been teaching Come Follow Me for three years now to the 16-17 year-olds (mostly boys), and it was so nice to find a fresh idea for this topic. Thank you again!!!

Steve and Nikki said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been teaching Come Follow Me for a while, and I just LOVE your ideas. You are making my classes SOOO much more inspired! Thanks for sharing this—I LOVE it!

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