Category Archives: Teacher Support

Working Together: Strength in Unity

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Like a one-legged stool, working alone in Primary is not as strong or steady as working together. “No one of us is as smart as many of us together. Each of us brings a unique perspective and set of experiences and insights.” (Jakob R. Jones, Ensign, 9/16, 46). In a landmark address, Elder Joe J. Christensen, former president of Ricks College and member of the presidency of the Seventy, said, “Fewer mistakes are made when a leader counsels effectively.” Ensign, 3/01, 18

Notice he doesn’t say “no mistakes” but “fewer mistakes.” Even when one seeks the Spirit and counsels together, each of us is still imperfect and in need of constant improvement. Elder Christensen then quotes an unnamed counselor in a presidency who said, ““If this were not the Church, I would resign. We do not function as a presidency. The president makes all of the decisions. We don’t meet and counsel together regularly. As counselors, we are more like errand boys and are just expected to do as we are told.” Clearly this is a presidency that has room for growth in their effectiveness as a council.

Elder Christensen adds, “The concept of lay leadership, which involves all of us as active members, provides us with many opportunities to serve and develop.” He makes these suggestions, among others:

  • Counsel together.
  • Avoid interminable meetings through better time management.
  • Develop a feeling of fellowship. “Occasional informal gatherings . . .  can contribute much to building a unity and team spirit.”

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

ACTION STEP: Did the Spirit bring anything specific to your mind as you read this? What challenge are you struggling with right now that may benefit from counsel? Might you gain insight or support by counseling with a member of the Primary presidency, a teacher, bishopric member or parents?

MORE RESOURCES: Read more about Teacher Councils in Primary and new manual: Teaching in the Savior’s Way

Also see Support and Unity: Primary Appreciation Dessert Night

Read the classic book Counseling With Our Councils: Learning to Minister Together in the Church and in the Family by M. Russell Ballard

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Happy Birthday! from Primary to Relief Society

Women PR lesson 3On March 17, the world’s oldest continuing organization for women, the Relief Society, turns 175 years old! Children who are turning 4 or 7 or 11 may have a hard time imagining a birthday cake with 175 candles.

What could we give our women’s organization to wish them a happy birthday? What would Relief Society like for it’s birthday? I think Relief Society would like children to understand what Relief Society is about.

The March Sharing Time theme is about living prophets. It was the Prophet Joseph Smith who organized the first Relief Society 175 years ago. The First Presidency, in the preface to Daughters In My Kingdom, said “We testify that the Lord has restored the fullness of the gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that Relief Society is an important part of that restoration” (page ix).

Here are some ideas for a quick birthday message, for children to understand a little about Relief Society:

  • Have the children repeat with you the Relief Society purpose: “Faith, Family, Relief” (from the headline of the Visiting Teaching message in the ENSIGN each month).
  • Teach the Relief Society motto: “Charity Never Faileth” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Explain what “charity” and “faileth” mean.

If you have more time,

  • Have the children make and deliver birthday cards to Relief Society, drawing a picture of what any of the words above mean to them (faith, family, relief, charity) or how those Relief Society words help them choose the right. Each child could give a card to one of the women in Relief Society. You may want to do this at the very end of the Relief Society/Primary hour. The Relief Society secretary could pre-label blank cards before the children decorate them, to make sure the sisters who need them most receive a card. Or you could let each child give the card to any sister in Relief Society (except their mom? including their mom? your choice).
  •  Consider teaching this marvelous lesson about the history and purpose of Relief Society and its powerful women leaders, past and present, complete with visuals and games for younger and older children: Women and Service in the Kingdom: a Sharing Time or family night lesson for girls AND boys

By the way, when is Primary’s birthday? It’s August 25, 1878 (see History of Primary at lds.org). President Monson’s birthday is on August 21, 1927. You may want to start planning ahead to celebrate! Here are some ideas: August: Celebrate Birthdays of Primary, Pres. Monson

Happy birthday, Relief Society! from your pint-sized fans in Primary.

-Marci

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Introduction of New Primary Leaders: Show and Tell Music Time Idea!

I just got called as the Primary chorister in our new ward!  I’ve served in ward and stake Primary presidencies, taught Sunbeams and CTR 4 and subbed in Primary in various capacities but this is the first time I’ve been the Primary chorister and I’m so excited!  I have secretly wanted to have this calling for years!

I’m new to our ward already so I don’t know a lot of the kids in Primary yet.  I am excited to get to know them.  I also thought it might be fun for them to learn a little about me.  So, for my first Singing Time I decided to bring a few different items as show and tell and use them to tell the kids something about myself and then sing a Primary song that I chose to go with each particular item.  While music was playing, I had the kids play “Hot Potato,” passing an object around until the music stopped. Whoever was holding it got to choose an item from my show and tell display.  I would tell the pianist what song it was so she had a minute to find the page number I had written down on the list I made for her  And then I would tell the kids a little something about that item.  Below are the items I chose:

primary-music-picHere’s the song list for you and the pianist:

  1. “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!)
  2. “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228)
  3. “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008)
  4. “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78)
  5. “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173)
  6. “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95)
  7. “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169)

Here’s the object and explanation to go with each song:

  1. A Book of Mormon–I showed the picture in the front of the book of Samuel the Lamanite to go with “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!) When this was chosen I said, “One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon about Samuel the Lamanite.  I love Samuel the Lamanite because when he was scared he trusted in the Lord and the Lord helped him do hard things.  I get scared too, a lot, but I know the Lord can help me do hard things.  We are going to sing a song called Samuel the Lamanite.  It’s a new song to you because my husband and his father wrote and arranged it.  I think you’re going to love it!”
  2. A real leaf from my favorite plant to go with “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228). I said, “I love nature.  I love camping and hiking and being outside.  How about you?  Do any of you like hiking or camping?”  (Suddenly we had something in common.) “My favorite Primary song is called ‘Heavenly Father Loves Me’ but I always call it ‘Beautiful World’ because it’s all about all the beautiful things that Heavenly Father created for us.”
  3. A picture of my family to go with “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008). I told them about my family. Only 2 of my 4 kids are in Primary (my twins are in Nursery) so they were surprised to learn that my Senior Primary-aged son has 2-year-old twin siblings.
  4. A picture of Jesus to go with “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78) I said, “I love Jesus.  And my most important goal in life is trying to be like Jesus.  But guess what?  I’m not always very good at it and in fact, I make a lot of mistakes and have to repent and try again. I hope you will always try to be like Jesus and know that when you make a mistake you can repent and try again.”
  5. My baby book–I showed a picture of my baptism to go with “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173).  Of course, I might have chosen one of the songs specifically about baptism, but getting baptized is like joining God’s Army so I thought it was appropriate.
  6. My wedding album to go with “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95). I showed them a picture of my wedding day at the temple and told them how special it was to be married there.
  7. My missionary name tag to go with “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169) I told them that I served my mission in Spain and it was the best and hardest thing I did as a young adult.

Next week I am going to sing a few of these same songs and see if anyone can remember any of the details I told them such as where I served my mission or what my favorite plant looks like.  I’d like to also do something similar when I ask for a child helper; I’ll ask the child to share one thing about themselves so I can get to know them better.

It would also be fun and simple to do a show and tell like this to introduce a new Primary Presidency or new teachers or new pianist.  You could potentially bring in one item for each person if you wanted to do several people at once.  I think the kids would really enjoy seeing into the real lives of their leaders who they often only see in church clothes on Sunday and never out hiking or camping.

~Michelle

 

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Christmas news: Winners of giveaway of the book that was born on Primary in Zion!

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Merry CHRIST-mas to you, our beloved blog readers! We hope it was full of joy and love.

And now this news: What do Serbia, Illinois and Kansas have in common? Those are the homes of the winners of our Goodreads Giveaway! We’re thrilled that there is interest in the book from all over the world. Read here to see how this book was born on this blog: Primary in Zion becomes a book! You can take some of the best of these blog ideas and other good suggestions for parents and Primary leaders along with you in book form. Thanks to you, our readers from 160 countries (see What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?) Watch for more Goodreads Giveaways in 2017!

And if you’re not already, don’t forget to follow this blog (click on the right sidebar here) and LIKE our page on Facebook!

#giveaway #free #win #book #goodreads

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Planning ahead: Your Dec/Jan Transition Survival Kit!

todayifoundout.com

todayifoundout.com

It’s that time of year again – wrapping up an old year and beginning a new one! And that means lots of changes in Primary, which can be confusing for children. Here’s our readers’ favorite posts for doing it smoothly and with love:

Happy New Year – a little early!

-Marci

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Free giveaway of our book that was born on Primary in Zion!

SundayLessons_Front_RGBAnd now this Public Service Announcement: Walnut Springs Press is giving away 3 copies of our book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids!” Enter by Nov 30 for a chance to win: Click here to enter!!

All countries are eligible worldwide for this giveaway, just for you — our readers from 160 countries (see What’s Primary like in Nepal or Bahrain?) The book is also available on Amazon.comDeseretBook.com and wherever LDS books are sold. A portion of the proceeds from books sold benefit Waltham Family School, but of course this giveaway is FREE!

Read here to see how this book was born on this blog: Primary in Zion becomes a book!

And if you’re not already, don’t forget to follow the blog (click on the right sidebar here) or “like” our page on Facebook!

#giveaway #free #win #book #goodreads

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Primary and new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way”

lds.org

lds.org

Like you, I thrill at the announcement of the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.” As stated on the cover, this manual is for “every gospel teacher — every parent, every formally called teacher, . . . and every follower of Christ.” That sounds like you, me and everyone!

I’m particularly delighted that now there will be a regular time for teacher training and development each month. This has been difficult to arrange in the past, but now it’s built-in. Page 3 of the manual states that these monthly meetings can happen during Sunday School or Priesthood/Relief Society, whenever best fits the needs of your Primary. It may take some creativity to figure out how to spring your teachers and leaders loose to attend these meetings (combine classes, get monthly substitutes. To see how others have made this work, see “Springing Primary workers for special presentations and teacher council meetings.”

Prayerfully consider whether Primary teachers and leaders should hold teacher council meetings together with other auxiliaries or separately, to discuss the special needs of children; page 3 of the manual leaves it up to you. The ward council (of which the Primary president is a valuable member) oversees teacher council meetings, perhaps with the Sunday School presidency or any ward council member leading the discussion.

The manual underscores this valuable guideline about the relationship between the home and Primary: “Parents are the most important gospel teachers for their children—they have both the main responsibility and the greatest power to influence their children (see Deuteronomy 6:6–7). As you teach children at church, prayerfully seek ways to support their parents in their essential role. For example, you could talk to parents about the needs and interests of their children, you could share with them what their children are learning in your class, and you could find out how you might support parents’ efforts as you teach.” “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” page 25.

For ways to connect home and Primary, see “Bridging the Connection Between Home and Primary: a monthly newsletter” and “Bridging Home and Church Through a Child’s Simple Question.”

Also see the Ensign article from “Teaching in the Savior’s Way, titled “Behold Your Little Ones: Learning to Teach Children.”

“The goal of every gospel teacher,” says the manual’s cover, “is to teach the pure doctrine of the gospel, by the Spirit, in order to help God’s children build their faith in the Savior and become more like Him.”

God bless us all – young and old – on the journey.

-Marci

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A Golden Opportunity to Review!

 

lds.org, colored by Cara Lu, age 7

from lds.org, colored by Cora Lu, age 7

You’ve put up your visual aids one by one, and conveyed to little minds a memorable gospel truth. Now it’s time to take down those visual aids and either set up for the next wave of Primary children coming in the next hour, or pack them away in your Sunday bag.

Take this time as a valuable opportunity to review your lesson as you take down the visual aids! Talk through each visual aid and remind them of its meaning. It’s a basic educational principle that reviewing helps cement the message. You’ll have the children’s attention with the action at the front of the room, and you won’t have to be in a rush to break down after your lesson is over. Better for them, better for you!

-Marci

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Kids Answering Each Other’s Questions

This intriguing idea comes from the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” page 24: “Invite learners to help answer questions. When prompted by the Spirit, you may decide to do this even if you feel that you know the answer. When you ask learners to search the scriptures and other Church resources for answers to gospel questions, you provide them with excellent learning opportunities.”

There are at least three advantages I can think of to having children answer each others’ questions:

  1. The best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.
  2. Children might hear a message more clearly when it comes from a peer, in kid-friendly words, than when it comes from an adult. Videos like the above, of children explaining gospel principles in their own words, can speak to a child in ways that grownup words can’t. It always astonishes me what children will do when invited by a peer that they would never do when invited by an adult. (See more Bible videos for kids by kids at https://www.mormonchannel.org/watch/collection/childrens-bible-videos/)

However, the teacher must take care to not let a few children dominate and answer every question. Open-ended questions like “What do you think about ____?” or “How have you seen this work in your life?” are questions that any child can answer, since there is no right or wrong. You may need to be more blunt to balance airtime for all: “Let’s hear from someone we haven’t heard from yet.” Or “Who hasn’t had a chance to share their thoughts yet?” You can say “Take a minute to think about this, then let’s hear your ideas” to give more time to everyone to ponder the question before someone pops up with an answer.

Besides, when you let children answer each other’s questions you just might learn something “out of the mouths of babes”! (3 Nephi 26:16 and Psalm 8:2).

-Marci

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Recipe for Success: Dealing with Distractions and Helping Kids Focus

lds.org

lds.org

You’ve probably been there: kids spinning in different directions, sometimes all talking at once. They’ll chatter about what they had for breakfast, or their birthday coming up (in only 11 months!), or whatever. Trying to get them all to focus on your lesson can be challenging.  

Today’s Guest Author Kyoko was born and grew up in Japan, moved to California when she married, and now has a sweet college-aged daughter. She has served in Primary for many years and loves everything about Primary (the hard work and the joy)! Kyoko shares the following terrific ideas to get kids focused.

Keeping children’s interest requires preparation. Arriving in the room before the children is the first step. Setting up the room with pictures or music playing also sends the signal that something interesting is going to happen. Using variety in teaching is key; no one likes to listen to a monologue week after week.

Recipe for Success=Preparation.

  1. Arrive before the children
  2. Set up the room
  3. Use variety in teaching

But after you’ve laid the foundation with good preparation, when you need an instant focusing activity, try these ideas:

  • “Tell me that story when we’re walking to Sharing Time, OK?” This shows interest in the child and his/her life without letting them take over your lesson. Be sure to remember to ask them later, so they know you’re genuinely interested.
  • Freeze/unfreeze: Ask the children to freeze in place, whatever they’re doing. Then give the most important part of the lesson — the main point — in 1-2 minutes while they’re frozen.
  • Set the timer. “For 15 minutes, we’re doing this. Then we’ll move onto another activity.” The timer gives the children the idea that this part of the lesson will come to an end! And children often enjoy watching the countdown.
  • Ask them to take notes. Older children can take notes or draw the main points of the lesson, then share their ideas at the end. You can give them a clipboard with a sheet of paper so they can take their notes home, or a small notebook that you keep with you. Notetaking is a skill, so don’t give up if it takes a few weeks for them to figure out what you’re asking them to do. It doesn’t hurt to let them doodle for a few minutes, especially at first. Doing something often helps kids listen better, even if it’s not always apparent.
  • Substitute a child’s name. Lesson manuals often have stories about ordinary children that illustrate the points of the lesson. Instead of Bobby or Susie, insert the name of children in your class. This doesn’t work for stories about actual people — scriptural characters or modern-day prophets — but it works beautifully for the case studies or examples often found in lesson manuals. Make sure you keep track so every child’s name will eventually be used.
  • lds.org

    lds.org

    Pick a helper. I put a chair right next to me and ask a certain child if he/she wants to be my helper today. Every kids love to be spotlighted. I pick somebody who is not that happy to be there, or a child who is looking straight at me (that means ready he/she is ready)! You have to see the big smile of the child when you pick them. They look so proud of themselves!

  • Draw. I draw pictures on the chalkboard instead of showing printed pictures sometimes when I start feeling like I’m losing them. Kids laugh at my drawing sometimes but I laugh too! Then I challenge them to draw while I tell stories from scriptures. They love to participate.
  • Vary your voice. When I read scriptures, I read like a story book by changing tones, speed etc. They seem to pay more attention.

LDS.org has many resources to liven up your lessons, including related music, videos, and gospel art. To download from YouTube to your computer, so you’re not relying on the chapel’s wireless connection, put the letters “ss” before the link.

~Kyoko

More Blog Favorites: For more ideas, see the “Lovable Rascals” skit and “Your Preparation Leads to a Child’s Reverence: Two Guided Meditations.” Hold onto your funny bone while you see lessons go haywire! Drawing and note-taking particularly appeal to kinesthetic learners: see “Teaching to a Child’s Whole Body.”   Also see “Potatoes every night: Variety in Teaching.”

 

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