Sunday, April 30, 2017

General Conference Cards

I have been working on making General Conference cards for all of the children in our Primary. Each card is laminated, and has the title, speaker, a quote that represents a key learning from their talk, and an illustration.

I had such a hard time leaving out the beautiful words of the talks that this is more geared to Senior Primary and those who have learned to read. So, I'm debating on how and who to share them with because they were a fairly incredible amount of work - but well worth it. I have learned so much from these sessions of General Conference by studying each talk intensely. I'm so grateful for the leaders in our church that dedicate their time to serving others, drawing closer to God, and helping us learn how to do the same.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jesus Christ is the perfect example for me

This was such a fun sharing time! Our first counselor put different pictures of the Savior on magnets and made sure there was one picture for every child in both Junior and Senior primary. Children looked up scriptures describing four ways that Jesus Christ is a perfect example, then matched those examples to the scriptures on the board. Then, each child was given an opportunity to come to the front of the room to match their picture with one of the four examples.

I love that we were able to:
1. Encourage the children to learn directly from the scriptures
2. Use a lot of visuals
3. Have every child participate
4. Focus our lesson on the Savior

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sharing Time: Lessons from General Conference

For Sharing Time today our presidency each picked some of our favorite conference talks. We made sure to have a picture that represented the talk for each general authority. We then had the children match symbols with pictures, then tell us what they remembered/learned from the talk. Where necessary, we filled in a little bit of extra detail. For instance, with President Monson's talk, Sister Bowden reminded the Primary that he did not speak for very long, so it's important to think about what he felt was worth talking about in the short amount of time in which he spoke.

Here's a picture of the completed board, after the children matched all of the pictures to a general authority.

I also passed out a hand-out I made for Senior Primary that shares something we learned from each of the general authorities that were featured in today's lesson. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sharing Time: I am blessed when I choose to follow the prophet

This Sunday's lesson is, I am blessed when I choose to follow the prophet.

One of the lesson ideas is to share three suggested stories from the scriptures about people who were blessed when they followed the prophet.

1. The story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath - 1 Kings 17:8–16
2. The story of Moses and the serpents - Numbers 21:5–9
3. The story of Nephi and the brass plates - 1 Nephi 3–45:21–22

The lesson manual suggested telling story #1 interactively so that children can follow along with the motions. I love that, and could easily do that for all three. For me, we won't have time to get through all three stories so I'm just going to have fun with the first two, which the children are less likely to know than the third story.

For story #2, I wanted some serpents. I looked online and could purchase a dozen for maybe $5, but then I thought about drawing them on paper and cutting them out. That would be great too. Or, the most amusing idea for me was to make sock puppets that some of the children could wear to participate. This took me about ten minutes and a bit rifling through my sewing supplies and my sock drawer. Quicker and cheaper than a trip to the store! (For the top snake that looks like real eyes, I sewed a black bead on top of the button.)

We'll end by talking about who our prophet is today and how we can follow the prophet today but I love this opportunity to help the children learn that the Lord has sent us prophets throughout history, and that we can learn from them.

Here's a great article about following the prophet from William R. Walker from April 2014.

Having the Primary children participate in Missionary Month

We have a tradition in our ward of having a "missionary month" every other year (used to be every year), where we help the youth to think about missionary opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others. Although this special missionary month is built around our Young Men/ Young Women program, we try to participate in Primary as well. The church is built around family, and we want the Primary children to be aware of and feel part of what their big brothers and sisters are doing.

This is a special month for me because both of my parents were introduced to the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Jesus Christ there through missionaries that had traveled from the United States to Taiwan. They were both teenagers at the time, and met when they began attending church in the same building. Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn't have these beautiful words of comfort:

From the section called Doctrine and Covenants, Chapter 121, verses 7-9:

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.
I love these scriptures that remind us that we are not alone on this earth, that our trials here are making us stronger, better people, and that at the end of the day, we have friends who have left this earth before us that are rooting us - maybe unseen angels all around us that our friends and our ancestors.

I have a favorite quote from a prophet of the Lord who came here in modern days. He says:
  • "God loves us. He is watching us. He wants us to succeed. We will know some day that He has not left one thing undone for the eternal welfare of each of us. If we only knew it, heavenly hosts are pulling for us – friends in heaven we cannot remember now who yearn for our victory. This is our day to show what we can do – what life and sacrifice we can daily, hourly, instantly make for God. If we give our all, we will get His all from the greatest of all." - Ezra Taft Benson, "Jesus Christ – Gifts and Expectations," Ensign, Dec. 1988, 6

For missionary month, here are some ways we have involved the Primary children on Sunday:
1. Invite converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to visit with the Primary and share their story.
2. Invite missionaries who are serving in the area to teach the Primary lesson.
3. Invite children to write letters to missionaries from our ward family (local members of the church).

Saturday, January 14, 2017

In the premortal life, I chose to follow God's plan.

I made a chart to help me teach this lesson tomorrow about the beautiful Plan of Happiness or Plan of Salvation. I love this topic! Using advice from the sharing time manual, week 3, I put together the list of songs that takes children through God's plan and how we can chose to follow it. I then matched it with scriptures and pictures. I found some of the scriptures by searching the scriptures, some by looking at different articles on the Primary resources page under Plan of Happiness, and by looking at the references for each of the songs I am highlighting. You can go to Children's Songbook online to easily find the references. I highlighted them in the red box below for you to see:

Here's my reference table. I'll use this differently in Senior vs. Junior Primary. Explanation below the table.

(I pulled pictures by googling "LDS GAK" to go to the LDS image library, and also by using pictures found in some of the articles about this topic in the Primary resources page I referenced above.)

Before I came to earth, I lived in heaven.
D&C 138:55-56
55 I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God.
56 Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men.
Spirit World (picture of people dressed in white in a pretty place)
I Lived in Heaven - CS 4
I chose to come to earth to receive a body.
Heavenly Father presented a plan for us to become like him. Let’s learn about the plan here:

Moses 1:39
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Picture of family on earth (to show earthly bodies + families + earth)
I Am a Child of God - CS 2
I will be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost
Acts 2:38
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Genesis 9:11-15
11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
Child getting baptized
When I Am Baptized - 103
I can prepare to go to the temple.
D&C 138: 47-48
47 The Prophet Elijah was to plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers,
48 Foreshadowing the great work to be done in the temples of the Lord in the dispensation of the fulness of times, for the redemption of the dead, and the sealing of the children to their parents, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse and utterly wasted at his coming.
Temple picture
Families Can Be Together Forever - 188
I will be resurrected.
John 3:16
16 ¶For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 13:15
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Jesus Christ resurrection picture
He Sent His Son - 34

For Junior Primary:
1. I'm going to have these pictures all over the room. Then I'm going to talk about it, and have the children look all around the room and point to the topic I'm talking about. Then, I'll have the pianist play the first few notes of the song and have children raise their hand if they recognize it and want to guess the song.  Then, time pending, we'll sing the song to reinforce the lesson and the message.

For Senior Primary:
1. I'll have different children hold the pictures and see if the class can unscramble the order of the pictures, then put them on the chalkboard.
2. Then, I'll have the children draw from a bowl. Each item they draw will have a song # on one side and a scripture on the other side. Depending on which one they draw we'll either read the scripture or guess and then sing the song. Then we'll discuss. Time pending, we'll go back and sing more songs.


One last note. I'm going to start sending occasional lesson plan emails to families as I plan my lessons, and my presidency is welcome to do the same on the weeks that they teach. I had this inspiration last night as I was outlining my lesson and started writing this email:

Dear Primary Parents,

We're so excited to kick off another year with your wonderful children. I wanted to share some information with you as we start off the new year. The overall Primary theme for 2017 (as directed by the First Presidency) is "Choose the Right." The theme for January is "Agency is the Gift to Choose for Ourselves."

This Sunday's Primary Sharing time lesson will be about the Plan of Happiness/Plan of Salvation. 

We often find a lot of great material that we don't end up using as we prepare our lessons. We will sometimes send you material that might inspire your Monday Family Home Evening lesson. There will of course be relevant material in this month's Friend magazine. For FHE on Monday, you may want to consider some of these materials that will reinforce the Primary Sharing time lesson for Sunday:

The July 2013 Friend has a recommendation to create a family banner in a manner similar to Captain Moroni, since families are part of Heavenly Father's plan. This may be a fun Family Home Evening activity! You can read about it here:

There is also a great craft activity in the January 2014 Friend here:

For older kids, there is a a bit of board game that you can play with them:

Esther Sumner

Friday, December 16, 2016

Primary Christmas Sharing Time

Sunday is our last Primary Sharing Time together before the new year, because we will only meet for Sacrament on Christmas Sunday. That means we had only three weeks this month to teach the four lessons in the Sharing Time lesson manual. On top of that, we felt inspired to focus on the #lighttheworld initiative to "Follow our Savior Jesus Christ. In 25 Ways. Over 25 Days" in our Primary sharing time lessons for the last couple of weeks. This initiative goes very well with the lessons for December so it is not a complete departure, but I want to make sure to wrap up this Sunday by bringing all of the lessons for December together.

December Lessons:

Week 1: Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Week 2: Jesus Christ was born.
Week 3: Jesus Christ will someday return to the earth.
Week 4: To prepare for the Second Coming, I will follow Jesus Christ.

To help prepare me spiritually for planning, I watched the 2016 First Presidency Christmas Devotional, which I had not watched yet. As I prepare this lesson, it has been quite inspiring to be reminded from watching the devotional that the lessons we are teaching our children, which seem so basic, are the exact lessons that were being taught in this devotional to adult men and women, teenagers, and children, around the world. We learn about the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, the miracles and prophecies that told of his coming, and how Jesus Christ taught while he was on this earth to prepare us to return to Him someday, and to give us peace and hope in our times of trial.

My lesson will go something like this:

I'll start with the "Encourage understanding" idea on Week 3 of the lesson manual, and have four children come to the front of the room to hold up four pictures that I've laminated (just to mix it up for the kids). We'll talk about each of the four pictures for a bit, then I'll have the class help me to put these pictures into the right order.

I'll then put them up on the chalkboard under the following signs and then give the children an opportunity to talk about each section for a little bit.

1. Prophets prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ
What did Samuel tell in prophecy? (Hint: "Samuel Tells the Story of Baby Jesus" song.)

2. The Savior was born.

3. Jesus taught the people.

4. Jesus will someday return to the earth.
Matthew 16:27 - "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."

From the lesson manual for Week 3, as well:

1. What are some wonders that will take place when Christ comes again?
Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:33, 36-37
A: sun shall be darkened, moon shall not give light, stars shall fall from heaven, a sign will appear of the Son of Man in heaven, Son of Man will come and send angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet

2. When will the Savior come again?
Joseph Smith - Matthew 1:38-40
A: only the angels of God in heaven know

3. Why should we prepare for the Second Coming?
D&C 38:30
A: If ye are prepared ye shall not fear

4. How long will the Savior dwell on the earth?
D&C 29:11
A: A thousand years.

Talk about Light the World.

We can prepare for the second coming by following Jesus Christ and by doing good things each day. We have been encouraging you children to participate in the Light the World initiative this entire month. All of those things you have done to Light the World, such as serving others and praying, help us prepare for the second coming. These are things that you can't have others do for you, that you need to do yourself.

Encourage children to raise their hands and share things they have done to Light the World. Or if they brought their strips of paper, because we've been building a paper chain for Light the World in our Primary, then we'll keep doing that. We've done this twice now though so I'm tempted, at least with Senior Primary, to ask them questions about specific Light the World topics.

I thought about even attaching the topics to a nativity so that the child would choose a nativity item and then it would have a specific day from Light the World that we would talk about. I don't think I have time for that in the format I am doing so I might need to try a condensed version. I'm thinking of focusing on, time pending:

1. Dec 12 - Jesus Taught Others and So Can You
a. Give an example - I talked to someone about the Book of Mormon last who, who is not a member of the church and did not know many of the stories.
b. Ask if anyone invited a friend to FHE, or taught someone how to do something, maybe someone that was struggling in class or a younger brother or sister.

2. Dec 13 - Jesus Showed Humility and So Can You
a. Give an example - Jesus showed humility when he washed the feet of his Apostles.
b. Ask if anyone asked their parents for help with something this week, or asked for advice for a person problem they are facing, are were willing to admit they were wrong about something.

3. Dec 14 - Jesus Taught Us to Clothe the Naked and You Can Help
a. I donated a bunch of clothes this week. My friend that used to live in this ward would crochet baby hats and donate them to the hospital.
b. Has anyone been able to donate clothes, help knit a hat, or anything else?

4. Dec 15 - Jesus Worshipped through Son and So Can You
a. Ask - how many participated in the stake Carol to Our King last Sunday? (We have a stake sing-along where every choir in the stake sings one song.)
b. Did anyone invite a friend to hear the choir sing today?

5. Dec 16 - Jesus Showed Compassion and So Can You
a. Jesus felt for others. What have you done this week to show and feel love and concern for those who are suffering?
b. Have you prayed for anyone? Said something positive to someone? Opened the door for someone that had their hands full?

6. Dec 17 - Jesus Cared for His Mother and So Can You
a. Did you write your mom a letter telling her all the things that you love about her?
b. Did you maybe do something nice for another person in your life who is like a mother to you?
c. Did you ask your mom questions about her life history?

7. Dec 18 - Jesus Honored the Sabbath and So Can You
a. You can visit a family member
b. Memorize a favorite scripture or a religious quote
c. Do some family history work
d. Write in your journal. Maybe write about special things you can do to draw closer to God.

Also, if time: The Parable of the Ten Virgins - Matthew 25:1-13. Also a great discussion on this parable here: