On the weeks that we meet 5 times, I plan in a free day. Sometimes we watch a movie. Most of the time it’s scripture mastery. This week, our activity fell on (fabulous) Friday. I usually prepare my lessons for the upcoming week on Thursday, and Thursday I had discovered that there was a really great video on Josiah that I hadn’t used in class, unfortunately. We have really hit the theme of the scriptures hard over the past few weeks, and so I decided not to beat the topic like a dead horse. There is, however, a really nice music video based on the Josiah movie. It’s called “One Small Voice”. I don’t usually do a lesson on our game days, but I decided to go ahead and do a 5-minute lesson because the song was so great. So, instead of an opening song, I instructed the kids to think about someone they knew from either their own lives or from their gospel study who was an example of a small voice that mattered. At the end of the video, they were to write about that person and how they stood up for righteousness. Played the video. Kids loved it, especially those who are musically inclined. They wrote for a surprisingly long time in their notebooks. I normally have them share what they write, but this time I told them their writing was private, and we didn’t share. This took probably 7-10 minutes.
After that, I broke out the Shock Ball I’ve been saving. A shock ball is a little ball that has some metal contact on the outside. It randomly exudes an electrical charge. It’s not a terribly powerful charge, but it IS shocking. I bought the shock ball nearly a year ago, when I first found out I was going to be teaching Seminary. I thought that we might need something exciting to help us beat the winter blahs sometime in February or January, but as it has turned out, the weather has been good and the kids have shown remarkable stamina. We haven’t really needed a jolt of craziness to keep them excited. Using it was totally easy. The kids got two minutes to try to memorize a scripture mastery passage. (Shorter ones work best). Keeping their scriptures open in front of them, each kid said one word of the passage. If they dropped the ball when shocked, they were out. They had to hand the ball to the next person in a way that it couldn’t be dropped (no throwing). They had to hold the ball until they got the next word. Looking the next word up in the scriptures was okay. This was, “like, funnest game ever, Sister Smith!” :) Kids loved it. They liked it so well we actually did two passages.
I hadn’t really spent much time planning my Esther lesson because I was so sure that the church had a movie for it. I finally watched it, and, uh-oh. It stops right when Esther goes in to see the King. He doesn’t even raise the scepter. So I had to come up with something…… My objective was “students will learn they are preparing now for a time when the Lord calls on them. How will they prepare? They may not know all they are preparing for — what preparation will be most beneficial to them?” The kids were really silly (they always are on Monday), and so it took us a little time to get to the lesson. I had a student read page 151 from the manual about Esther in captivity. Then we read verses 1, 3, 7-12, and 16-19 about Vashti (because the movie kind of skips it). I explained to them there are two ways to read Vashi: one, that she is a disobedient, stubborn woman who got what she deserved, or two, that she refused to display herself before the king and his drunken buddies. Either way, the result is that the king passes judgment and basically strips women of voice in the home (that’s my possibly harsh reading). In instructed the kids to watch for ways that Esther prepared herself. Then we watched the movie. We finished up with just a few minutes to go, but luckily, one student asked if she lived and another summarized the story. I wrapped up with a few points she missed, mainly about Mordecai, and that was it. I can’t say I’d use this movie again. It just seems to waste so much time on parts of the story that aren’t important. And where is the rest of the story? I looked and looked hoping to find a full-length version (there seems to be more footage, bc of the music video), but I couldn’t find it. The video actually turned out to be a distraction, imo.