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 a number of lesson types, including Family Home Evening and even Sunday lessons or Mutual.
Today we began our wonderful study of 3 Nephi. After we had our opening exercises and worked a bit on our scripture mastery for the week (Ether 12:17), I passed out large colorful index cards without explanation (I find that if I display something or hold it up without explaining for a bit, it gains their attention - because they're wondering why or what or how - and they pay attention to what is going on).
I let each student pick their color from the five color choices. Then I passed out a quote sheet I'd typed up from the teacher's manual on page 211 (the numbered list in the box that gives an overview of 3 Nephi).
The students pasted that on their card, but I still hadn't explained why. Then I passed out a brown paper lunch bag to each student - again without telling why. :0)
At that point, I showed the amount of pages that we had left in the Book of Mormon to study by the end of the year. Their eyes got big when they saw how little remained.
I reminded them how earlier in the year, as we'd studied the book of Enos, the lesson manual had given a quote about the stellar nature of the book of Enos in its example of repentance and the power of the atonement. Then I told them we were about to start studying 3 Nephi, another book of stellar importance.
I read the quotes on page 210 in the teacher's manual at the beginning of the 3 Nephi section. I especially stressed this quote from the manual, spoken by President Ezra Taft Benson:
"What a blessing it would be if every family would read together 3 Nephi, discuss its sacred contents, and then determine how they can liken it unto themselves and apply its teachings in their lives.
"Third Nephi is a book that should be read and read again. Its testimony of the resurrected Christ in America is given in purity and beauty" (in Ensign, May 1987, 6).
Some of these kids in my class are seniors. I said, "Some of you will be married and starting families in just five short years. What better pattern to build a strong family than to follow this counsel. Can you imagine doing what President Benson said? Your kids eventually would have 3 Nephi memorized. Just think how this could guide them in their lives - considering where the world (in all its sin) will be!"
Life is a journey. We take sack lunches with us, if there is no eating establishment where we are going. Well, we also need to prepare spiritual feasts for our soul. Our spirits get hungry for spiritual sustenance, just as our bodies do. This is especially true today when so little in the world offers refreshing spiritual moments.
With that in mind, my class today began preparations for their spiritual feast of 3 Nephi. We will be feasting for the next month or so from the beauty contained in 3 Nephi.
So I then had one student at a time read a point from the outline on their index card. I let them know this is a global view of why 3 Nephi is so important - in essence, a microcosm of the entire Book of Mormon. And I explained that we today were going to prepare our "spiritual feast sacks" for our study of 3 Nephi (they still don't know exactly what they will be doing with the sacks, though, during the next month).
Then I passed out colored pencils and markers. Without them looking in their scriptures, I had them (on one side only - this is important) draw or write everything they knew about 3 Nephi. This was their "pre" 3 Nephi side. Once we've completed our month-long study of 3 Nephi, they will be doing the same thing for the "post" 3 Nephi side of the sack.
[I am aiming for a visual representation of comparing what they knew about 3 Nephi prior to our month long study to what they know once we finish our 3 Nephi study. That's why I did not want them looking in their scriptures while completing the assignment today.]
To finish up today's introduction, I had them read the heading for the book of 3 Nephi, as well as the chapter heading to 3 Nephi 1. I bore testimony as to the importance of what we were about to undertake as we prepare our spiritual feast for a hungry world. Next week we will begin that study of such an important book. May these students truly take in and be edified by the experience!
The next day
Last Thursday we did an overview to the entire book of 3 Nephi. Today we began the indepth study.
First, I asked a student to draw a scoreboard on the whiteboard at the front of the class. He enjoyed this, since he plays sports. His scoreboard was quite detailed, which helped later.
Then I passed out two colorful 3x5 index cards. I explained that we were beginning our study of the important book of 3 Nephi. This book reallly is a microcosm of so many things, both of The Book of Mormon as a whole, as well as life in general.
The battle for our souls is real, and could be compared in some ways to a scoreboard. You could at this point ask the students what their private "scoreboard" looks like. Let them know that an exciting turn-around happens in 3 Nephi 1, just as can happen in our lives.
I asked each student then to write somewhere on one of their new index cards how they feel about the gospel in just a sentence or so. Once they finished, I had them share that with both neighbors sitting on either side of them (sharing it with two individuals helps to ensure no one gets left out, in addition to providing an opportunity for the student to reaffirm what they wrote).
I passed out the sacks the students had drawn on last week for them to put their card in their Spritiual Feast sack.
After sharing some of the scriptures and excerpts from the teacher's manual for 3 Nephi 1-2, I asked the students to look through 3 Nephi 1 to find out "who" was in the chapter and "what" was happening. They were to write that information down on one of the index cards I gave them. Their job essentially was to find the exciting turn-around that happened.
In other words, at first things did not look like they were going well for the Believers. The kids were to find out what happened in the chapters and write that down on their cards. They were also looking for any verse which might touch them, and mark that in their scriptures.
Once they finished exploring 3 Nephi 1, we talked a bit about what they had written and then we moved on to chapter 2.
Some of the discussion points for both 3 Nephi 1 and 3 Nephi 2 were:
Compare and contrast the youth mentioned at the end of 3 Ne 1 and the youth mentioned in Alma 53:16-22; 56;44-48.
What weakened the Nephites enough that the Gadianton life became appealing?
We finished up by the students making sure both of their cards were tucked away inside their spiritual lunchsack. Then they inscribed something (a symbol or a phrase) on the reverse side of their spiritual lunch sack to represent something from today's study. At the end, I shared the quote on page 212 in the teacher's manual from President Ezra Taft Benson.
In final summation, how important it is that we keep battling, no matter what the "scoreboard" in life says. We have no idea just how close the turn around is, just like those faithful saints experienced in 3 Nephi 1!
Spiritual Fruits - Excerpts from the next day
Just as food provides nutrients to our bodies, knowledge provides strength to our soul. Today we covered the events of 3 Nephi 3-5.
I passed out a series of questions from the student's manual that I had selected from pages 159 and 160 (from the subject headings "Studying the Scriptures").
Additionally, I passed out a paper of four different kinds of fruit I had drawn and shared with the students that they got to add "fruit" to their spiritual feast sack. I had them write each response to each question on each fruit .
We finished up by talking about how the Nephites ended up in the extreme scenario described in Nephi 3:22-26 and Nephi 4. The reason the Gadianton army had swelled to such huge ranks is because so many Nephites had been seduced by their lifestyle. Why? How could a people who had prophets in their midst be attracted to the darkness lived by the Gadianton thieves?
To bring it full swing to personal application, we talked about how when we get closer and closer to the edge of what our leaders have asked us, we get closer and closer to sin.
Bread - Excerpts from The Next Day
...We finished off by reviewing the rest of 3 Nephi 9 and 10. They then took their two slices of bread for their "Spiritual Feast Sack" we're working on for the month, and wrote two of the most important verses on the "bread" that they could find in 3 Nephi 8-10 - something that would help them avoid the same fate as the wicked amongst the Nephites. ...
A few days later
...I then passed out their Spiritual Feast Snacks we'd made at the beginning of our 3 Nephi study. I had them draw a representative picture or symbol for every chapter we'd studied in 3 Nephi, along with the chapter number. I wanted them to process what they had learned thus far. ...
Later on in the month
... I had been using the theme for the book of 3 Nephi of "feasting on the word." That's why at the beginning of the study of 3rd Nephi, the students created their "Spiritual Feast Sacks."
Thus, after introducing Chapter 12 with the concepts from the teacher's manual and the heading, I passed out a white piece of paper with some colored pencils for the students to pursue this theme a bit further.
I invited the students to immerse themselves in Chapter 12 for the day, to read through the text, and to find phrases which they felt were the most potent for them personally - for either now in their life or for some time in the future.
Then with the colored pencils, they were to transcribe those phrases onto the white paper - in essence, creating a special "placemat" for the feast sacks we are working on....