Friday, January 13, 2006

Scripture Mastery - The Ping Pong

Today we started off with each student sharing one of their priceless scripture "fruits" they'd found in yesterday's tree of life activity. When the CES supervisor came to observe me a few months back, one suggestion he had was to encourage the kids to share more about their feelings regarding the gospel, the scriptures, etc.

This can be a challenge for teens, certainly. So I've been seeking ways to encourage this. Thus, today each student held their tree of life. They selected one of the branches' "fruits" and read the reference they'd written on it. They then read the actual verse and shared why they had selected that verse to include on their personal "tree of life." In other words, why that scripture mattered to them. They then closed with their testimony.

The spirit was so strong! We commented on the power of the spirit and how you can recognize when it is present. We also talked about how spirituality has a "short shelf life" (coined by Elder Maxwell). Thus, when we are feeling discouraged, we can go to the living waters of the scriptures and replenish our souls.

After this, we put our trees away and pulled out a game for Scripture Mastery day (always on Fridays for us). I had heard of seminary teachers using a muffin tin and ping pong balls in a variety of ways. This is the way I used it.

1. I cut out circles of paper using the base of a small glass for tracing a well-rounded circle (not that a perfect circle really matters ).

2. I wrote the historical setting on each individual circle for twelve of the scripture masteries I wanted to focus on for the day. (I found the historical setting on the front of the scripture mastery cards given the students. On another day, I might write the doctrinal teaching or missionary application, etc.)

3. I placed the circles in the muffin tin with the writing all "face up". (As we played the game, we turned over the papers "face down" once that scripture had been done.)

(Probably obvious, but I prepared all this before class :0)

Here's how we played the game today.

1. THE FIRST STUDENT TOSSES THE PING PONG BALL, TRYING TO GET IT TO LAND IN THE TIN. (In the future, I won't use the ping pong ball. I will have the slips of paper upside down as mystery selections. The kids will each take turns flipping over the paper for the mystery scripture. It just took too long for the kids to be able to stop the ping pong ball from bouncing all over the place; we lost precious time.)


3. THE STUDENTS CHASE TO OPEN THEIR SCRIPTURES TO THE PROPER REFERENCE. Once they find it, they start calling out clues to help the rest of the class find it. The only hold-back is that they CANNOT call out the actual reference; instead they can call out key words, historical settings, etc.

a. Entire class found the reference *before* 15 seconds are up - 500 Brigham Bucks for each kid!
b. Entire class found the reference *after* 15 seconds have passed - 400 Brigham Bucks!
c. Entire class found the reference after 30 seconds have passed - 300 Brigham Bucks!
d. Entire class found the reference after 45 seconds have passed- 200 Brigham Bucks!
e. IF the class hasn't found the reference after 60 seconds, anyone who has found it can call out the page number. If the entire class then finds the reference, each individual has racked up 100 Brigham Bucks for the end of the year auction!

5. I READ AGAIN THE HISTORICAL SETTING AND EVERYONE SHOUTS THE CORRECT REFERENCE. I call out a key word and everyone shouts the reference. I do this back and forth several times to drill the reference home. Then everyone recites the scripture (hopefully from memory).

The games continues with the next student tossing the ball (or flipping over the mystery scripture).

The entire class needs to help everyone find the scripture to be able to gain their individual money. I really don't like scripture chase games that pit one student against another. Invariably, some kids are really good at these kind of things and others are not. The last thing I want would be a student walking away from a seminary class feeling like they are "no good."

Whatever the class "earned" in the round is *not* split up. In other words, each individual gains the whole amount, along with everyone else. For example, if the class during the round earned 300 Brigham Bucks, each person gets 300 bucks (rather than splitting $300 amongst 12 people). I'm trying to subtly build in team-concern for each other, especially in spiritual matters.

I closed by bearing my testimony that God lives and that the gospel he has given us works, for I have seen its affects in my life and in the lives of others. If we just give the gospel time, truly the fruits will be glorious.

If you would like more details on some of the activities we do in class, simply visit the SeminaryClassNotes newsletter group by going here to join. I will be sending out a monthly newsletter with more specific details on many of the activities and crafts I've shared. And the best part, it's all for free. :0) I've long thought that since I'm serving in this capacity for free, as so many are, that I want to share what I do freely and with love.

Until next week,

just another early-morning-seminary-teacher mom! :0)