Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Lesson - How Can I Improve My Scripture Study? - What I Did.

Kay, so I actually taught this lesson last July.  We were in the pilot program last summer for the new youth curriculum.  And, apparently, they've kind of moved topics around, so this lesson has come around sooner than I thought it would, but I was glad. This is why I put these up here - so I can refer to them the following year.  So I looked at my lesson from last July.  It's here

Last July, I felt impressed to make little temporary scripture journals for all of my students.  I wasn't feeling that for this time, just because it hasn't been that long since I did that for them.  But I really do recommend it.  Scripture journaling has really made my own scripture study so much better.

Anyways, so here is what I did this last Sunday.

*Before class, write on the board, "Immersion in the scriptures is essential for spiritual nourishment." - Quentin L. Cook

1.  Scripture Study Questions

In the lesson, it suggests that you ask your students what they've been reading in their personal scripture study, what they do when they study scriptures, and what they feel they could improve upon.  I felt like I'd probably get a crickets chirping moment if I just asked them, so I handed each of them one of these worksheets to fill out:


Some Questions about Your Scripture Study

Directions: These aren't thinking questions. They're writing questions. So get out your pens and shake 'em up!

A. Open up your scriptures to where you've been reading in your personal scripture study. Write down what you have been studying in the scriptures recently.




B. What is your daily plan for scripture study? Do you look up things by topic? Do you read one chapter after another? Do you keep a scripture journal? How many pages/verses/chapters do you like to read per day?




C. How do you feel that you could improve your scripture study?


I had a cute little picture of some eyeglasses on top of scriptures to jazz the worksheet up.  And yes, one of my students started thoroughly shaking up his pen.  Have I ever told you how much I love these kids?  I do.

So then I asked them, one by one, what they had written.  I felt the vibe that they didn't want to discuss the third question, so I just told them to let that question be rhetorical, and to remember what they wrote down about how they want to improve in their scripture study. 

2.  Scriptural Immersion

I pointed to the quote on the board.  I asked my students what they think it means to immerse themselves in the scriptures, versus figuratively dipping one toe in the waters of the scriptures.  So they talked about how you don't just read the scriptures - sometimes you look up something, sometimes you pause and think, sometimes you write something down in your scripture journal, sometimes you pray about something you read, etc.  I told them that, obviously, our goal is to immerse ourselves in the scriptures, to really involve ourselves in the process.

3.  Search, Ponder, and Pray Activity

I told our students that the scriptures actually teach us how we should read the scriptures.  The lesson has tons of good scriptures for the kids to look up on how to study the scriptures.  I wanted to have them read the scriptures, but I didn't want it to be too boring, so I had an idea.  I decided to use my daughter's money box.  It has three sections in it - one for spending, one for saving, and one for tithing.  With her very gracious permission, I emptied each section and put them in labeled ziplock bags so she could replenish her box after I was done with it.  Then I re-labeled each section like so:

You could obviously have three different jars and label them or whatever.  Then I gave each student a scripture to look up.  I had them take turns reading their scripture out loud, and then they decided whether that scripture was talking about searching, pondering, or praying about scriptures, fold up their scripture slip, and put it in the right slot.  Here are the scripture slips:

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

2 Ne. 4:15

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Josh 1:8

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

D&C 138:1

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Msh. 1:7

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

John 5:39

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Acts 17:11

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Jacob 7:23

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Alma 33:2


Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

3 Ne. 10:14

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

3 Ne. 20:11

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

D&C 1:37

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

Mni 10:4-5

Directions: Look up the following scripture. Be prepared to read it aloud. We'll take turns reading our scriptures aloud. After you've read yours aloud, you'll fold this piece of paper and put it into the appropriate slot in the Search, Ponder, and Pray box.

JSH 1:13

I actually decided I wanted to do this activity with my kids for Family Home Evening, but they are much younger than my Sunday School students.  So I changed it a bit for them.  We have two kids who can read and two who can't.  I kind of paraphrased the scripture and actually typed it on the paper for them.  Then my kids would take turn reading the paraphrased scripture, decide which slot to put their phrase, and then they would either put it in the correct slot or help one of their little brothers put it in the correct slot.  Here's my simplified, primary-aged version:

3 Ne. 10:14

“He that hath the scriptures, let him search them.”

3 Ne. 20:11

“Ye have the scriptures before you; therefore, search them.”

D&C 1:37

“Search these scriptures, for they are true and faithful.”

Moroni 10:4

“Ask God if these scriptures are true.”

2 Ne. 4:15-16

“My soul delighteth in the scriptures, and my heart pondereth them.”

D&C 138:1

“I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures.”

Mosiah 1:7

“Remember to search the scriptures diligently, that ye may profit thereby.”

John 5:39

“Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.”

Acts 17:11

“They searched the scriptures daily.”

Jacob 7:23

“They searched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of wicked men.”

Alma 33:2

“Ye ought to search the scriptures, so that ye understand them.”
 

4.  Interview with Elder Eyring

I really liked how this activity went last year, so I did the exact same thing as I did last year.  I wrote the questions that the interviewer asked him in the article on a poster:
(I actually had kept the poster from last year, so I had it on hand.  Badda-bing, badda-boom.)

Then I kind of shortened his answers a little - just including the most pertinent parts that directly answer the questions:
Here are the questions and the answers that I shortened:

How has scripture study benefited you personally?

The scriptures were one of the ways God spoke to me—even when I was a child—about my needs, my situation, and my life. They still are. Since our needs change over a lifetime, God has different things to tell us at different times... [When I go to the scriptures], invariably I find new ideas, thoughts I have never had before, and I receive inspiration and instruction and answers to my questions.

Why should we read the Book of Mormon on an ongoing basis?

The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, and we learn about Him in its pages. We know that it has great power. It has the power to change lives. It has the power to convert... Through the Book of Mormon the Lord can also teach us about being with and serving people. This book reveals the will of the Lord for family life in a way that the other scriptures don’t even approach... Another reason to study it regularly... [is that] the Holy Ghost bears personal witness to me that it is the word of God. I know the Lord is speaking.

What have you done to make your own scripture study meaningful?

I [bought] an inexpensive set of scriptures and mark the insights and revelations I gain in my calling. I asked Heavenly Father what He would have me do as an Apostle. I wrote down what I felt His answers were. I typed, color coded, and pasted those answers in the front of my scriptures. For example, the first one was “I am to be a witness that Christ is the Son of God.” Then I read my scriptures looking for ideas that taught me how to witness that Christ is the Son of God. Every time I came to something, I marked it in blue. Soon I developed my own topical guide around what I thought the Lord wanted me to do. I have learned much through this process.

How can Latter-day Saints make scripture study a priority?

The only way you can be sure that a busy schedule doesn’t crowd out scripture study is to establish a regular time to study the scriptures. I have found that the beginning of the day and the end of the day are mine. Those are times I can usually control.

What role do fasting and prayer play in scripture study?

Likewise, we need to go to the scriptures humbly and eagerly, as we do when we fast. When I go to the scriptures asking to be taught, then adding fasting helps tremendously... Fasting and prayer work together with scripture study, making it easier for the Lord to teach us.

How can parents help their children love the scriptures?

Scripture study works well only if your children know you love the scriptures and they also know as individuals that you love them... You have to be realistic. Let teens know you love them. Make sure they know you love the scriptures. However, if they want to go to their rooms and read, let them. They’ll find their own pattern and fall in love with the scriptures.

How can seminary help young people learn to love the scriptures?

Seminary teachers have tried all sorts of methods—scripture chases, assignments, and scripture mastery. Success varies from student to student, but when seminary works, you find a teacher who has a testimony and who loves the young people.

Why is it important for us as teachers in our wards and branches to teach using the approved curriculum?

Church curriculum is scripture based, so a teacher who follows the curriculum will be taking the students to the scriptures. The greatest teachers I have known introduce a scripture during class discussion that speaks to the need or the interest of the student who has just spoken. There is tremendous power in doing that. The moment a young person actually sees a teacher using the scriptures to clarify and to help in a very personal way—oh my, that is a great moment.



What is the role of the Holy Ghost in scripture study?

The Holy Ghost confirms to us the word of God when we read it. That confirmation, repeated often, strengthens our faith. And it is by faith that we overcome obstacles and resist temptation. There is a peaceful effect in a classroom when you read the word of God. The words of the scriptures themselves bring the Holy Ghost.



What can we look forward to as we consistently study the scriptures?
In time, if you truly begin to feast upon the scriptures, you will find that they become a part of you... We all can have the dream of someday having the word of God be so much a part of us that the Lord can draw upon it and we can learn to think as He does. And in the process we can come unto Him.



I printed the above for myself as an "answer key," in case I needed it.  Then I printed another and cut just the answers out and mixed them up.  Then, in class, I handed each answer to each of the kids. Some kids had two slips of paper, because I had fewer kids than questions.  They read their answer and tried to decide which question the answer went to.  If we had had more time, I would have had them take turns, and, one by one, reading their quote aloud, and then pasting it up to the question it went to.  We were running out of time at this point, so I just had them read their quote on their own and match it to the questions.  We had a couple of kids mix up their answers, so using my handy-dandy answer key, I was able to quickly put them where they belonged.

*And then we ran out of time.  If we had had more time, I had one more thing planned.  Here it is:

5.  Study Aids Activity

I liked the ideas about study aids that the lesson pointed us to in Teaching, No Greater Call.  I was going to have them work in pairs.  I was going to hand each pair these slips of paper:

Bible Dictionary: To appreciate the enrichment that the Bible Dictionary provides, look up the word grace (page 697). Study the definition carefully. Then read the scripture references provided. These verses of scripture have greater significance when you ponder the definition of grace. Pick your favorite of these scriptures and be prepared to share it with the class.

Footnotes: The most common type of footnote is a cross-reference to other scripture passages in the standard works. These additional passages often clarify or add insight to the passage you are reading. For example, look up Doctrine and Covenants 11:21. Read the verse, and then read the passages listed in footnote b. How do these passages increase your understanding of the verse? Write your answer here and be prepared to share it.

Topical Guide: Turn to the Topical Guide in your scriptures and look up the word abide. Note that the names of books of scripture appear in bold. Scripture passages from each book follow. Each scripture passage in the list contains the word abide, shown by the abbreviation a. Pick your favorite scripture and be prepared to share it with the class.

Chapter Headings: The major principles in the Word of Wisdom are described in the heading for Doctrine and Covenants 89. Read these principles in the heading and then highlight them in the scripture text. Be prepared to tell us which parts of which verses you highlighted.

If they struggled, I wanted to have some responses of my own handy. So I did each of these activities the night before and jotted down my "answers.":

Bible Dictionary:  My favorite is Philip. 4:13.  It illustrates simply what the Bible Dictionary tells us that grace can do - help us receive strength.

Footnote:  Alma 17:2 says that the sons of Mosiah had searched the scriptures diligently.  That is how you "obtain the word."  D&C 84:85 says to treasure up the words of life continually.  So obtaining them involves treasuring them.

Topical Guide:  My favorite is John 14:16.  I just like the thought that the Holy Ghost abides with me, and can, forever.  That he can be there to help me and comfort me.

Chapter Headings:  I underlined single words in the chapter by using the chapter heading as a guide.  So, for example, the chapter heading says that wine, strong drinks, tobacco, and hot drinks are in verses 1-9.  So I scanned through those verses and underlined each of those individual words.  I did the same thing with verses 10-17 - underlined the single words that were mentioned in the chapter heading.  And then I blocked verses 18-21 and wrote "blessings" by it.

And that's all I've got!  I still have one of April's lessons to put up here.  But my two-year-old is trying to climb up onto my printer, so I'm outta here for today. :)

 


11 comments:

Katie said...

Thank you! This was very helpful for me. I appreciate the time you took to post it. :)

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I am glad I stumbled upon your blog. It is interesting to read about actual experience from someone who was in the pilot program!

Jamie Cline said...

Thanks for your ideas! I'm using some of them today :)

Unknown said...

Love your blog! Thanks so much for all your help and insight. You make my calling so much easier, especially when I am filling in at the last minute!

Natalie Smith said...

Thank you for always helping me with my lessons. I love your work and love for the kids.

Natalie Smith said...

Thank you for always helping me with my lessons. I love your work and love for the kids.

Ginny Stout said...

Every time I teach I read your blog! I appreciate so much the time that you take to lay out your process so completely and all of the fun ideas that you have! You truly help to make the lessons more accessible, engaging and interactive.

Annie Gutierrez said...

I have been teaching in primary for 8 years and just got called into this Sunday School calling with the youth and have been given a day to prepare. I REALLY appreciate your efforts to help us all in our challenge as parents ( I have four little ones also running around :)) and members in the church with all the responsibilities that come with both of those callings :). Thanks!\

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing these! You help me be a much better teacher!

Miko said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miko said...

Thank you for your awesome inspiration! I look at your blog almost weekly, and have been teaching for almost two years. I love how you involve the students and appreciate your creativity. Thank you for keeping these posts available!

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