Friday, February 24, 2006

Scripture Mastery - Scripture, Scripture, Who Has the Scripture?

Well, today pointed out to me why I don't usually use competitive team games in my classroom. I had divided the class into two teams, Team A and Team B.

There are a couple of students who find things a bit more slowly. What evolved as we played the game was individuals calling out things like, "Well, that's why WE'RE winning is because _______ is NOT on our team." Other comments in similar fashion were also said.

I stopped the game and said, "This is precisely why we will no longer be playing games like this. It is because of comments like that the spirit of contention is introduced into our classroom." I wanted something which would capture their attention and this did.

The kids quieted down. I reminded them we were simply reviewing for Scripture Mastery Day at the stake center for the end of the year, and that these kinds of games and activities were simply meant to be fun and enjoyable moments. Unkind comments, although perhaps lightly said and without any ill intent, do not have any place in a classroom meant to be full of joy and the spirit.

I honestly think that most times, students never mean any harm by comments that are unkind; instead, I think they just haven't thought things all the way through. Teens are sweet down at their core; they are kind, and excited about life, . . . AND impulsive. So I just smiled and we simply went on.

I try to keep things upbeat and lighthearted as I teach. But I also have noticed that if you don't nip things like this "in the bud," they can spiral out of control.

A teacher does not need to "drop the hammer" in a situation like this, but if the teacher does NOT address what is happening, it is as if he or she gives tacit approval to negative comments or other unpleasant things.

Truly, the teacher sets the tone in the classroom by what they allow. The teacher can (and should) turn the tide around. So I quickly varied the game so that it was no longer one team against the other. All this became a rather pointed reminder to myself why I do not usually use competitive games in my classroom!

I've changed this from how we played this today, in addition to adding new fun. Here is how I've changed it. I think this approach will do much better for my students in the future!

Announce to the class that we're playing a game called, "Scripture, Scripture, Who Has the Scripture?" Someone has hidden essential clues to eternal life and we are the detectives, finding those clues. On the chalkboard/whiteboard, prior to class, print on the board the key words to the scripture masteries that need review. Then cover the word clues with a series of cut-out black footprints.

At the end of the black footprints, there is one gold key taped to the board.

Rather than playing this in teams (as I sorely discovered), have them play as a class as a whole.

Call a student volunteer up to the front of the classroom to remove the first black footprint. They then read the keywords they have uncovered. The rest of the class scrambles to find the matching scripture in their scriptures. When everybody has found it, they've all graduated to the first level of detective sleuths, earning 100 Brigham Bucks.

Then for an extra 100 Brigham Bucks, the class recites the scripture by memory. They can't look at their scriptures while reciting, but I recite it loudly for them to follow (as the teacher I actually use the scriptures to make sure I get the scripture word-perfect...since I don't want to mess them up by relying on my memory).

That student sits down and another student comes up to remove the second footprint. They read the keywords under the footprint and the class strives to find that scripture, just as in the first round.

Once the entire class has found the scripture (the first 30 seconds they work on their own - after that, then students can help each other), they graduate to the next level of sleuthing and they've now earned another 100 Bucks!

Again, the class recites the scripture from memory while I lead them, reading the scripture from my scriptures.

And so each round goes, with them increasing in "sleuthing skills" and Brigham Bucks, until they finally arrive at the golden key (either cut out of golden paper or an actual key). Then bear your testimony as to the beauty of eternal life and that as they walk step by step, following these scriptural teachings, they, too, will receive the key to God's kingdom, inheriting all that He has!

For free PDFs of items I've created for the various lessons and to join the free newsletter list, simply visit here to join.


Seminary Mom