Teach Students to SEARCH the scriptures

Scripture
Scripture

Scriptures

Use these techniques to encourage student participation in your gospel teaching.

These techniques will help your students learn to SEARCH the scriptures for answers.

  • 60-second Talks - Eaton and Beecher sometimes give students five minutes to prepare a 60-second talk on a verse from the day’s reading. Students then present their talks. If student become long-winded, offer a prize for the student who comes the closest to 60-seconds without going over. Nothing helps students lean a principle so well as having to explain it on their feet. Adapted from Becoming a Great Gospel Teacher, Eaton and Beecher...
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  • A Spiritual Feast – Using a multi-day scripture teaching theme - Seminary Mom used lunch sacks to emphasize the importance of the material in 3 Nephi — truly a spiritual feast. Kids in her class added notecards to their lunch sacks each day during the lesson to add to their feast. It’s a great example of how to carry a theme over multiple days for lesson continuity. Below is her description of how it worked. This theme could be adapted to...
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  • Action Words - Sometimes the way the Lord uses verbs, or action words, is very specific and powerful. Look for words that describe actions, what people are doing or to do, etc. Ponder why the Lord chose such language and not another similar but different word. Look For: Look for the words that are action words–that describes what someone or something is doing, etc. Example: John 14:15 “If you love me, keep the...
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  • Answer with a Scripture - I have a new favorite tool for getting my students to participate! I have had way too many times when I have asked a soul searching question and they just look at me with blank stares and no matter how long I wait (I am good at waiting) I get no response. I know they have the knowledge and insight required — they are Juniors and Seniors — so today...
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  • Anticipating Student Questions - When I present a lesson, I try to direct my lessons so that ANTICIPATED student questions drive the discussion. When I’m reading my lesson text or scripture block, I ask myself some of the following things: – Does this passage have any unusual words or difficult phrasing? – Do I understand the background of this passage? Who is speaking? Why? – How can the footnotes help me understand the background...
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  • AP Seminary Questions - When I am about to ask my students a difficult question, I say, “And here’s the AP Seminary question…” They know this means that I am about to stretch them a little bit. I think the little verbal cue helps the students buckle down and recognize that a serious question is coming. They up their game and are prepared to respond to these more difficult questions. EXAMPLE: While teaching the...
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  • Ask a Friend - The purpose of this activity is to help students learn that they have the skills and tools to answer other’s questions. They also learn they can turn their friends for help with gospel questions. After giving students something to read together, ask every one to write down a question about the passage. Instruct students that the question should be a question that was triggered by reading the passage. They should...
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  • Asking better questions - The following is a report I wrote after a Seminary inservice meeting where I attended a class on Asking Better Questions: I had the good fortune of being in Brother Baraclough’s class on Asking Better Questions. Watching him teach was at least as instructive as the material, if not more, and so I really enjoyed this. Improving the Set Up First Brother Baraclough demonstrated a common mistake teachers make (one...
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  • Billboard Words - These words say a lot without a lot of letters. And they are meant to draw our attention in a hurry–just like a billboard–and usually there is a message just after them that we were intended to focus on. Look for “Wo”(especially double or triple Wos), “O,” “Thus,” “And Thus we see,” “Behold,” “Nevertheless,” “Therefore,” “Yea”,” “Now,” “Likewise,” “Let us,” “Finally,” etc. Today, we use superlatives such as: “good, better,...
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  • Build a Play: How to teach Gospel Students through Drama - Here’s a great example of using drama to help gospel students learn from Seminary Mom: One of my number one desires as a seminary teacher is to have my students fall in love with the scriptures. I want them to know these individuals we read about who really lived a long time ago. I want the students to feel the truthfulness of what they are reading and to care so...
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  • Chalk for Everyone - Pose a question, and then hand several students a piece of chalk with an invitation to write their answers up on the board. Other students can line up for a turn when they are ready to respond, or students may hand off the chalk to others in the class for responses. The best questions for this exercises are broad with short answers, like “What are some of the biggest myths...
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  • Chalk Talk - This idea came from a Pinterest post by Erin Guinup.  She didn’t post a link to a website, but posted a picture of her chalkboard from doing this activity that you can see at right. You can see her pin on my Seminary Pinterest page. Basically, you start with a topic.  Each student is given a piece of chalk to write on the board their responses to the writing prompt. ...
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  • Chalkboard Outline - Using the chalkboard or an easel to show a brief lesson outline can help you cover material efficiently and effectively. You’ll find that writing verses on the board will help students follow and anticipate the direction of your lesson, resulting in better discussion. It will also help you stay on task and more easily cover material. EXAMPLE: When teaching the second coming from Isaiah 26, I had written on the...
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  • Character Study - I used these questions on a worksheet to help students evaluate and understand personalities in the scriptures: :: Character Study :: Name: Scripture: Spouse/Children: Age: Hometown: Occupation: Describe this person using only three words. Circle the word you feel is this person’s core quality: ________________ , ________________ , ________________ Briefly describe the person’s attitude toward: Him/Herself _______________________________________________ Family ____________________________________________________ God ______________________________________________________ What problem(s) has this person experienced? Describe an event...
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  • Cold-calling - Teachers can randomly assign students to read randomly by calling them by name. The key is the order of the direction and the assignment. Here’s how: “Turn in your Bible to Isaiah chapter 1. [pause] Everyone look at your scriptures. We’ll be reading verses 1-15 aloud one at a time and discussing each individually. Verse one …[pause]… John?” The important thing is to direct everyone to the verse, pause, and...
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  • Connect-The-Dots - How does connecting different parts of the story in the same or other chapters help make one scene more powerful and meaningful. Look For: Put parts of a story or teaching together (don’t forget previous and future chapters!) and “look for” connections. Examples >1 Samuel 1 –2 Hannah’s sacrifice of giving up her firstborn Samuel when you connect it with the suffering she went through (v. 6-7). It also makes...
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  • Daily Do Now and Friday Lottery - By Eric Jorgensen Eric Jorgensen: — A daily learning + get-to-know-you activity — I thought I would share a teaching practice that has been working really well for my class this year. I call it the “Daily Do Now and Friday Lottery”. It provides a social learning activity at the start of every class which provides a double incentive to come to seminary on time. (Credit: This idea is a...
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  • Daydream - This exercise requires a good imagination. After reading the verses silently (perhaps a few times), invite your class to close their eyes and take a few minutes trying to visualize the scene depicted in the scriptures in your mind. Try to imagine every detail, see how people walked, talked, and acted. What is the scenery? The elevation? The weather? (Adapted from Panning for Gold: Various Methods to Understand and Apply...
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  • Empathy - Students are asked to imagine themselves in a given situation, and are asked questions about the situation. For example Health Studies students being asked to imagine they are a child who has just been admitted to hospital. Students learning mission skills are asked what the investigator would be seeking. (See the document 25 Ways for Teaching Without Talking at http://GeoffPetty.com/ .) Variation: You might ask students to read a passage...
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  • Equal Signs - The Lord often uses “formulas” to show how to obtain certain blessings or outcomes. Mark these with an equal signs. They signal a plain truth of the gospel. Look For: Look for places where the Lord defines something or ties two or more things together. Words like “is,” “like,” or “in other words” Example: D&C 93:24 Def. of Truth 3 Nephi 11:29 Contention is of the devil. (therefore what does...
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  • Everybody Writes - I learned this extremely versatile teaching technique from Teach Like a Champion by Doug Lemov. Basically, you assign a writing prompt. Everyone writes the answer. Then, as many people as you choose are invited to share. Sometimes I have each person share their written response. Other times, when there’s a big group, I assign a group or zone leader to read the responses of the people in a group and...
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  • Exciting Ways to Read Scriptures Aloud - One of the most boring things we do in class is go around the circle or down the row — in order — with every person reading a single verse of scripture aloud. Here are some very simple ideas you can use to keep students engaged while reading scripture passages aloud. Randomized Scripture Reading The following methods are ways to engage students by making assigned passages randomized. Hey there, Delilah!...
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  • Find a Footnote - Find a powerful footnote that helps explain, empower, or give insight to a verse in the block where you were reading. Look For: Look for the little letters that precede a word that indicates a footnote. Example: “And then the Lord acleansed the man . . .” (Adapted from Panning for Gold: Various Methods to Understand and Apply the Scriptures to Ourselves by Eric Bacon, Northwest Area Seminaries) Great for: Helping...
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  • Find a pattern - Try to identify patterns in the scriptures that can help your students overcome challenges. Look for words that repeat, phrases that describe a behavior or character trait, or doctrine, principle. EXAMPLE During our discussion of Matthew 4, I had my students explain Jesus’ three temptations to the class. I listed them on the board. Then we wrote under each how Jesus rebuked Satan: “It is written….” The kids were able...
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  • Find A Reference - Ask students to find a scripture reference that answers a certain question. EXAMPLE: During a discussion on the word of wisdom in Daniel 1, I asked students to find a scripture reference to prove THAT God gives blessings to the obedient or WHY He does so, or HOW he blesses the obedient. They all found such great scripture references for this. I was shocked. Only a few came up with...
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  • Find the One-Liner - This technique is great for scriptures that have multiple great phrases of advice or wisdom, but that don’t require a whole lot of discussion to understand. Either have students go in order through a passage, or write scripture references on the board and use Hey There Delilah or Cold-calling to have random students read verses. When called on, each student should state the “one-liner,” or the words or phrases that...
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  • Five Step Mini-Lesson - Vanessa S. shared this on the Come Follow Me Facebook Group, and I asked her permission to share it here.  She said:   “[A]fter some initially rather disastrous experiments having my girls teach, I eventually came around to this handout, which the girls told me has been very helpful. It outlines the steps for preparing a “mini-lesson” from a conference talk excerpt. I have a similar one that focuses on...
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  • Foils - A literary foil is someone who highlights another character’s trait, usually by contrast. The scriptures are full of these character foils. Examples include God/Christ v Satan, Cain v Abel, or Nephi and Sam v Laman and Lemuel. Often times a chapter or story will highlight events in two different people or groups of people. This is done on purpose and oftentimes there are direct differences that were meant to be...
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  • Four Column Scripture Analysis - By Adriene Olsen Murray Adriene Olsen Murray: I used this idea from our Seminary Coordinator. It works best with a short section or block of scriptures. It was really fun. The kids found things that I had not thought of and explained what it meant to them. Divide the board into four columns: 1. Zinger — find verses in the block of scripture that are awesome, stand out to you,...
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  • Gospel Cartoonist - Give each student a pencil and piece of paper. Tell your students that they will be cartoonists and should draw a cartoon of the story you are about to read aloud. Stick figures are perfectly okay — this is not about drawing skill, but it’s about picking out the most important details they hear from the story. Let them know they will get a chance at the end of the...
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  • Group Drawing - My students love group drawing. It’s good for covering material that is easy to imagine visually. I have also used it to cover distressing topics — like the events preceding the second coming — because these events seem less frightening when sketched for some reason. I have done group drawing a couple of ways. One is to divide the class into small groups and have the whole group drawing at...
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  • Grouping for Speed - Think of ways to group your text to help you cover material effectively. Then WRITE VERSES ON THE BOARD to help students get through the material efficiently during your lesson. EXAMPLE: On the easel I wrote the following for Deuteronomy 8: Blessings of REMEMBERING v 2 v3 v4 v5 Dangers of FORGETTING v11 vv12-14 v17 v19 Here’s what I had in my notes to help us find answers: Blessings of...
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  • Handout Holder - I am teaching the 14-18 yr old youth in Sunday School.  One idea I have used seems to be working: I bought a composition notebook and pen for all the kids.  Every handout (I try to have one every week) is given to them with a piece of sticky Velcro.  They put one piece on the page and one on the back of the handout.  They also use the book...
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  • Hear and Watch - Use LDS.org’s website to help students hear and read a talk. EXAMPLE: I asked the students if they had ever heard the story about “What have you done with my name?” Some had. I told them we’d watch a movie about names, and I asked them to listen for the role that commandments play in protecting our names. I put up What Have You Done with My Name by Elder...
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  • Helping Students Learn to Use Scripture Aids and Mark Scriptures - Since this is my first year, I’m still learning and looking for ideas on how to teach students to use the Gospel Study Aids like the Bible dictionary, index, gazeteer, maps, footnotes, and other supplements during their scripture study. Here are a few of the things I’ve used with success, and I’ll add more as I find them. Please share your ideas, too, in the comments section. We’re all learning...
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  • Hey there, Delilah - This is the easiest way to engage kids in scripture reading in my opinion. You’ll need something soft like a beanbag or small stuffed animal. A wadded up piece of paper could even be used in a pinch. You may need to lay out some ground rules like : – do not aim above the shoulders – no overhand tosses – no repeats After you make your reading assignment and...
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  • I’m a Mormon - Find out what things your students are interested in. Do your students love piano music? Is it rugby season? Are they great artists? Interested in motorcycles? Like to read? Using the search tools at http://www.Mormon.org/ locate a video of someone who shares the interests of your student(s). Before you show it to the class, ask students to watch the video for ways that the person developed his or her testimony....
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  • If … Then Statements - Many scriptures make promises and conditions by putting them in a formula, usually stated as a “If [this happens], then [that will happen].” Look For: Watch for the words like “If…” and “then…” CAUTION: many times the “then” part is implied and the word “then” word is left out. Example: 1 Nephi 2:20 “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, (there is no “THEN” but it is implied!) ye shall...
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  • Improving Small Group Learning with Roles - Our SI rep has been teaching us that when you separate into groups you should assign every member of the group a role. This helps each student participate in the group learning process. No matter the size of your group, you should assign a role to each student. Assignments may be given by the teacher, by a group/zone leader, or randomly. Here are some roles you might use in your...
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  • Integrating Scripture Mastery Passages Into Your Lesson - Throughout the Seminary year — but especially as you approach the end of the year — you may wish to look for ways to introduce (for younger students) or reinforce (for graduating seniors) all 100 Seminary Scripture Mastery (SM) scriptures. Here are a few possible ideas to help you do so: Give students a list of all 100 SM scriptures for them to glue into their scriptures. Have an in-class...
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  • Jigsaw - Jigsaw was first developed in the early 1970s by Elliot Aronson and his students at the University of Texas and the University of California. To teach using the Jigsaw method, “divide a topic up into, say, four sub-topics. For example childhood diseases could be divided into mumps, measles, whooping cough and German measles. Alternatively students can be given four different key questions or ‘spectacles’ that require students to analyze the...
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  • Kids Teach Mini Lessons - By Becky Mike Edwards Becky Mike Edwards: #Teachingmethod Last night during my prayer a teaching idea came to my mind that had never used before. Today I posted a sign “pick a lesson” along with five topics. I let the kids know that THEY would be teaching five mini lessons today. One at a time, several students picked a topic and then led the discussion on that topic. I let...
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  • Link: 11 Alternatives to “Round Robin” (and “Popcorn”) Reading - By Becky Mike Edwards Becky Mike Edwards: Ideas for reading in class. 11 Alternatives to “Round Robbin” and “Popcorn” Reading. 3(1 hour ago) http://www.edutopia.org/blog/alternatives-to-round-robin-reading-todd-finley?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=blog-alternatives-to-round-robin-reading-link Read More Read more here:: Link: 11 Alternatives to “Round Robin” (and “Popcorn”) Reading Free Instant Download Thumbnail for 237729 (2 kB) 16 December 2014
  • Link: Teach To Learn: The 5 Minute Lecture - By Suzi Alkonis Suzi Alkonis : This is a great idea and a great blog: teachtolearn1.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-5-minute-lecture.html?spref=fb 2 (58 minutes ago) http://teachtolearn1.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-5-minute-lecture.html?spref=fb Not everything in a class should be or needs to be student discovery.  Sometimes I just need to tell them something but I struggled for a long time to do it effectively and in a timely manner.  Then I discovered the beauty of something I came to call The...
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  • Look for the Savior - Where do you see the Savior in the story? Is His atonement or attributes represented in the verses you read? How could these verses be an example or type for Christ? Don’t just look for direct symbols of Christ but look for things that show how Christ might act or how he may have influenced a person’s behavior. Look For: Look for verses or phrases that describe Christ’s attributes, atonement,...
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  • Look Under Your Seat - Write the assigned verses or passages on a post it note. Mix up the order you will be covering the passages in, and stick an assignment under each seat in the classroom. When it comes time to read, have everyone look under their seat for their passage and read. I usually employ this method when we have several scriptures to read from different areas of the scriptures. Great for: Reading many...
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  • Make a Movie - Assign students to make a movie about a gospel topic. You may want to have students plan their script so that a Primary child can understand it. My students happen to love anything dramatic, so this is very easy for us. I have a big box of dress up clothes and wigs that they use to make movies. They write short scripts based on gospel topics or they just read...
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  • Make a Quiz - Students are invited to write a quiz. It can be in the style of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, Jeopardy, or even just plain old question and answer style. Students will stand in front of the class and be the game show host. Sometimes my students write questions to ask the teacher, or other times they ask questions to ask each other. You can use this method to determine...
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  • Mark a list - Oftentimes the Lord makes a list of attributes or qualities that are worth noting and titling in our margins. Have students “mark a list’ of items in their scriptures. Look for items set off by commas, or lists of things to get a certain result. The items may be contained in more than one verse. EXAMPLE: While teaching Amos 4, I asked students to mark in their scriptures the ways...
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  • Mime - Invite all students to read a passage silently. Have a couple of students come to the front of the class. Tell them they will be acting out the events in the story, but with a twist — they are mimes, and must act out silently. OPTIONAL: Ask other students in the class to follow along with the action in the text. If the mimes forget something, they should call out...
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  • Motivating Words - Instruct students to look for and circle/highlight words that are especially motivating, inspiring, comforting, thought-provoking, etc. SAY “As you read, be aware of words and phrases that really stand out to you. They may seem powerful, motivating, comforting, though-provoking, etc.” Example: Hebrews 7:25 One night while reading Hebrews I came upon this verse and one word really stuck out to me and caused me to ponder its significance for the...
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  • Name 5 - By Beth Jervis Perazzo Beth Jervis Perazzo: #participation Well, I think I’ve finally found a way to get my freshman students to participate instead of just stare at me when I ask a question. I took the idea from a game called “Name 5.” I have dry erase markers and boards for them to write on (which I took out of my game “Likewise” but any white board will do) and...
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  • Names from a hat - You know how this works: each student’s name is written on a piece of paper. You draw a name out and that’s the person who reads or prays next. EXAMPLE: I use a bucket with craft sticks that have each student’s name written on it. One end of the stick is red and the other is green. Students with red facing up, have been chosen. It’s an easy way to...
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  • New Testament Doctrinal Mastery – 2 of 2 - For the complete set of New Testament Doctrinal Mastery posters click here: http://www.mormonshare.com/lds-clipart/new-testament-doctrinal-mastery-2 Free Instant Download NTDM 1 Cor 6 (2 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM 1 Cor 15 (2 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM 1 Cor 15-20-22 (3 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM 2 Thes 2 (3 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM Acts 3 (3 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM Ephes 4 (3 MB) 17 July 2016NTDM Ephesians 2 (4 MB) 19 July 2016NTDM 1...
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  • New Testament Doctrinal Mastery Posters - New Testament Doctrinal Mastery 8.5×11 posters with reference and rhyme (Example: Baptize me – John 3), and key doctrinal statement. The color on the reference corresponds to the doctrines as follows: gray-Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge, purple-Godhead, light blue-Plan of Salvation, red-Atonement of Jesus Christ, green-Restoration, brown-Prophets and Revelation, yellow-Priesthood and Priesthood Keys, orange-Ordinances and Covenants, pink-Marriage and Family, blue-Commandments. Color Key included. The posters are pdf files which can be printed on...
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  • New to You - Give students a few minutes to review a passage that is fairly familiar to them. Have them write down something that was “new” at this reading. They may have remembered a detail they forgot or noticed something new. They may have a new understanding of what certain words or phrases mean. The verses may have triggered a new question. If they can’t find something new, I let them share something...
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  • Newscaster - Students pretend to be newscasters who tell a familiar gospel story. EXAMPLE: I told my students that we were going to pretend to be newscasters describing the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Each zone received a section of Matthew 21 to give a news cast on. The parables were difficult, but the kids were able to cover them by doing those interview-style, like “You were present when Jesus...
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  • Oaths & Covenants - Anciently, making an oath or covenant was the strongest form of commitment one could use. When the Lord swears something to us, this should be very serious to us. Look for such language as “As I the Lord liveth,” “I am the Lord,” or when the Lord uses a certain Name (ie. “the Lord of Hosts is my name, or “Holy One of Israel,” etc), or when he calls someone...
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  • Objectify the Objects - What are things in the scripture block that you could actually see, touch, smell, visualize?. Picture these in your mind or better find the actually object and see what it teaches you about the way it is used in the verses you are reading. Look For: Look for objects in the scriptures–things that you could see, hold, touch, etc. Example: Isaiah 5:18 describes people that carry their sins like beasts...
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  • On the Spot - Courtesy of John Bushman: As a coordinator for S&I, it has not been my style to be very controlling.  It has been my goal to give great tips and helps, but in the end, the teachers decide what works for them or not. BUT… now I want to mandate something because it can be so VERY helpful to the teacher and the students.  With the teachers I coordinate, I want...
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  • One Word - Have students come up with a single word that best describes a verse(s) or principle/doctrine. (Adapted from Panning for Gold: Various Methods to Understand and Apply the Scriptures to Ourselves by Eric Bacon, Northwest Area Seminaries) Great for: Eliciting thoughtful responses, Helping students find meaning in the scriptures, Lesson opener Class size: Any class size Helps Students: SEARCH the scriptures or text Prep Time:  Student Age: Any age Equipment needed: 
  • Out of Ink Pen - Ask the students in your class to imagine they have a pen with only enough ink to underline one word in a verse. What would it be? Why? I wrote Mark 1:18 on the board: “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” I told the kids to imagine that their pens were running out of ink, and they only had ink enough to underline one word. Which would...
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  • Overview Not “Over You” - Sometimes we get into the habit of saying that this particular chapter has nothing to do with us and there is no way to apply it to us or find something meaningful to our situations. But sometimes we must take a step back and look at the overview and then compare similarities to our lives. Look For: Try to state the overall essence of what you read in the simplest...
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  • Paradoxes - Paradoxes are two seemingly different things that are put together in a way that teaches a lesson or truth. Look For: Look for a statement or joining of two things that teach a truth but seem to differ from each other. Example: Matt. 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.. (Sometimes the paradox is implied and...
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  • Pause It - Movie watching during class can be dull and non-interactive, and let’s be real, sleep-inducing when you’re teaching seminary early in the morning. I like this quote: Showing movies in class should not be a Friday fun day activity.  Okay, I don’t mind if you show them on Friday or even if students enjoy watching them.  However, students should not view watching a film in class as any less rigorous than...
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  • Pop Quiz - Ah, the dreaded Pop Quiz. There’s a reason that this old-style teaching method hasn’t been thrown out: it’s super effective. This evil-sounding tool can be used by the wise teacher to help cover a lot of material very quickly, review previously studied material, or to determine how well students are understanding material.  Plus, it takes very little preparation time by the teacher. Write your questions. Your questions should be of...
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  • Popcorn Reading - This is another form of student-directed randomized scripture reading. Students stand to read a verse and then call the name of someone else to stand and read the following verse. The kids are “popping” up to read. This is also a good technique when you’re doing Everybody Writes (each student writes a a brief response to something and then reports). Great for: Reading aloud, Reading a long passage, Helping shy students...
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  • Pre-assigned Questions - By Robyn Childers Robyn Childers: Tried something today that worked well: My class isn’t shy but they don’t jump out of their seat when I ask a question of them. Today I wrote down the search questions from the manual onto individual 3×4 notecards and handed them out. When the question came up in the lesson…Mary would answer the question. No waiting to call on someone, no deer in the...
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  • Quote on the board - Have a short (I mean it — SHORT), great quote written on the board when students come into class. They will read it and begin to focus on the topic of your lesson before you even say a word. I’ve done this with gospel quotes and other quotes, like “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.” It helps students get their minds on topic even before the prayer. If they already...
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  • Scripture Auction - Give the kids a sum of fake money. Students will use the fake money to “buy” a scripture. The teacher auctions off different significant verses in a block of scriptures that students can search for principles and applications. You might even attach different candy to different verses — the “better” the verse (or, the more things to describe in the verse) the better/more candy there is so it is “worth”...
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  • Scripture Mastery Devotional Preparation Activity Day - This information was originally published at http://kenalford.com/semlist/2002/02feb02.htm and sent out as part of Ken Alford’s email list to Seminary teachers. Scripture Mastery Devotional Preparation Activity Day This idea is similar to the idea above, but students are given time to prepare devotionals. If your students are like mine, devotionals are too often done “on the fly”. This activity day gives you and your students the opportunity to “fix it”. To make...
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  • Scripture Menu - Have kids read a set of scriptures or passage. Pick an Appetizer – verse(s) that tantalize your own spiritual taste buds Beverage – cross-reference that helps wash down the Main Dish Main Dish – verse(s) that give an overall understanding of the entire block or main principle Dessert – short phrase that is spiritual topping to it all This exercise could be done as individuals, as groups, or as a...
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  • Scripture Tweet - Assign students a passage or set of several verses to read. Have students imagine they are the prophet who would like to tweet the main idea of this passage or set of verses to his followers. What might he write? What will tell followers the most important information in fewer than 140 characters? After a few moments, share the tweets. Encourage them to write the best tweets in the margin...
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  • Seminary Scriptionary - You already know how to play Scriptionary — one student draws a picture of a gospel story or item and the other students try to guess it. But in Seminary Scriptionary, I tell my students that they are going to draw a list of items that have to do with a certain gospel topic, like patriarchal blessings. Then I provide students a list of words, like – Liahona – scriptures...
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  • Share Golden Nuggets - Golden Nuggets are scriptures that relate because of how the wording is used that makes a powerful connection between two separated verses. Look For: Look for other verses that may explain or give more understanding to a scripture. Look for words or phrases that you have seen in other verses or look them up in the Topical Guide. Example: D&C 14:7 & John 17:3 Eternal Life is the greatest of...
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  • Silent Time Line Sorting Game - Last week we were doing housekeeping things during class and did not get to cover the stories that students were reading in as much depth as I would prefer.  I used this method to quickly cover 4 chapters students had read before class, as an introduction to the next chapters in Acts. RULES: Each zone gets two identical sets of word strips, one for the zone leader, and a second...
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  • Splitting into Groups - This popular technique has been misused for many years. Please don’t ever use this technique in a group that is larger than 20 people. It should be used only rarely in groups over 16 persons in size. Each group should be very small, no more than 4 or 5 people. You should never have more than 4 or 5 groups. 2 to 4 groups is optimal. Take into account the...
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  • Splitting Students into Teams to Learn the Gospel - Seminary Mom likes to split her classes into groups for gospel learning. Here’s how she taught 3 Nephi 11 over the course of two days, while splitting into groups for researching the scripture topic: Today was a special day as we began our study of 3 Nephi 11, the crowning moment in the Book of Mormon. I know that the suggested teaching schedule recommends teaching 3 Nephi 11 in one...
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  • Student presents - Before class, invite a student to prepare a short talk or devotional about a topic or scripture passage. You should give the student clear instructions about what you’re looking for in the talk. For example, don’t just assign a student to read Moses 7:18 and give a talk on it. Explain to the student that you are teaching a lesson on unity. Moses 7:18 talks about unity and gives some...
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  • Styrofoam Slate - Each student has a Styrofoam plate, a wet wipe, and a regular (not permanent) marker. Ask students questions that can be answered in a few short phrases. They write their answers and flip over their plates. After a few moments, ask everybody to display their plates. I have used this as a lesson review quiz and as a Lesson opener to help me determine what students already understand about a...
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  • Teach Another Class - This technique is found in the Come Follow Me manual. It’s difficult to have several people teaching a class, and it’s also not beneficial for other students to watch just one student teach. Here’s how I would do it: Help each student prepare a brief lesson on a gospel principle, while working in pairs. The lesson will probably include thoughtful questions, scripture references or quotes from the prophets, personal experiences...
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  • Team Adds Details - Divide students into pairs and have one student tell [or write] a story from memory in as much detail as possible, with the second student adding in as much missing detail as possible. Now, the entire class looks over the story in the scriptures and adds in any additional details. The teacher and students work together to answer any questions that comes up. This activity could be done on a...
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  • That Cute Curly Thing - The pilcrow symbol can be very helpful in understanding the Bible. It marks off a new paragraph. Use it to identify main themes between “paragraphs” and new trains of thought. Just look for that cute little curly backwards ‘P’–¶! Example: In Jeremiah 21, the man who throws Jeremiah in the stocks asks a question in v. 2. There are three parts to the answer, each part marked with a ¶...
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  • Three-Step Interview - During three-step interview, sttudents, in partners, interview each other, then report what they learn to another pair. This method helps students network with each other and develop communication skills. Step 1: Student A questions Student B Step 2: Student B questions Student A Step 3: Students A and B enter a small group discussion with Students C and D Hint: Useful as an icebreaker. For example, after reading a scripture...
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  • Time Line Ordering - If you’ve got a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time, you can cover the material more efficiently when you know what students already know about the topic.  One way to quickly assess student understanding of series of events is to give them strips of paper with the main events summarized as a list.  Have the class work in groups and race to sort the events...
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  • Topic Scramble - Write the main topic of a scripture passage or quote on a piece of paper. Cut each letter out. Let students look at the scripture passage or quote while they race to unscramble the word. This can be done for each individual in the classroom, or it can be done in groups, or even on the chalkboard. EXAMPLE: I recently used this technique in my seminary class to teach Luke...
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  • Touched by the Spirit - At what point in the scripture block did the Spirit touch you and whisper to you that something you read was true? Maybe a particular part was something with which you have already had experience. Bear testimony of it during class, and invite students to do the same. Look For: Be aware of your feelings as you read. What verses touch you? Look for phrases that speak to you. Example:...
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  • Two Things - Students open their notebooks and write two things: one question they had about the reading and one thing they learned anew or that they had forgotten. We spent probably 40 minutes covering the things they wrote. Great discussion and opportunity for sharing. Great for: Reviewing a scripture story, Giving every person a turn, Eliciting thoughtful responses, Reading a serious passage, Helping students find meaning in the scriptures Class size: Any class size...
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  • Unique Set of Questions - I used a unique set of questions to teach three parables: the parable of the of the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and goats. Before class I taped a set of three questions under each person’s chair. Each set of questions included one question from each of the three parables and was unique. I made the unique sets so that as we answered each question I wouldn’t get...
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  • Using a Scripture Journal - Many teachers use a Scripture Journal to help students retain information they are being taught or to help themselves with personal study. Here are some ideas for using a scripture journal that will give you lots of ideas. Occasional Use During Class My friend DeAnn purchase a composition notebook for each student for use as a scripture journal. Into this book they paste quotes and are assigned to write FITs...
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  • Wait for it - Determine before class what the main discussion points are in the material you will cover. Instruct students before you watch or listen to your media which main points to watch for as the media plays. “Wait for it” helps prepare students to participate in discussions and make relevant comments. It also helps movies or music used in class become learning opportunities instead of mere entertainment. I was trained at Seminary...
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  • Watch for Questions - While reading a scripture block, what are the things, phrases, allusions, etc that you don’t understand? What questions do you have after reading some scripture verses? ALSO, look for actual questions in the block. Can you answer them? What if you had to answer the question aloud, especially if they were asked by the Lord or His prophets? Example: Alma 5 is full of questions! Going through them asking them...
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  • Weasel Words - When a weasel finds an egg, he punctures it and sucks the life out of the shell. In a similar way, some words in the scriptures suck the life out of a story or verse. Look For: Look for words that seem to deflate everything that was said before or after. Example: Jeremiah 6:14 “They (the priests) have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly ....
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  • What did you underline? - Write a list of passages or references on the board that have something important in them — something “worth underlining.” Explain to the class that there is something important in each verse and that you will give each student a chance to read their passage and explain to the class what they thought the most important thing was in the verse(s). Give them a few minutes to look over their...
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  • What’s the Headline? - You can do this as a group activity or as an individual activity. I generally do it as a group activity. Assign students a passage to read. Have students imagine they are newspaper reporters who are going to write a headline for this passage. What will they write? What headline will tell your readers the most important information in the fewest words? Give students a few seconds (I usually do...
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  • Who AM I? - By [email protected] (Pam Mueller) I have done this activity before to capture the attention of the students, have them involved and basically giving the lesson. On the board I put a picture of the person we will be studying under the rectangle of paper. Behind the circles are clues I pick a student to start us off, that person will choose a circle and read the description. Then choose another...
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  • WordStorm - WordStorm is kind of like brainstorming in that you take a topic word and write down the class’ thoughts on the board. Easy Lesson opener. EXAMPLE: I wrote the word “friend” on the board and asked my students to say words that describe a perfect friend. I noted their words on the board. When they slowed, I pointed out that Jesus Christ called some people his friends in the scriptures....
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  • Wordstrip Grouping - Have each student read a scripture on a gospel topic or a keyword written on a wordstrip and then place that wordstrip under the correct header. EXAMPLE: I used this method to teach the plan of salvation. I divided the board into three sections: premortal, mortal, and postmortal. I also stuck Post-it notes with words like fall, creation, resurrection, birth, war in heaven, outer darkness, death, celestial glory, paradise, spirit...
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  • Write or Think-Pair-Share - During Think-Pair-Share, group members think about a question/topic individually, then share their thoughts with a partner. Large group summarized sharing also occurs. Hints: The goal of a think/pair/share is to allow participants time to think BEFORE they discuss with a partner. Research shows that when people are given time to contemplate an answer to a question, their answers differ from those they would give if them responded immediately. When doing...
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  • Write the Chapter Header - The purpose of this activity is for kids to learn to pick out what is the most important information in a section of scripture and to summarize it.  This is a valuable skill to learn for preparing talks or lessons. Hand each student a mini post it note.  Have them place the post it note over the chapter header of a certain passage.  Give students 3-5 minutes on a timer...
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