Seminary Mom is big on hands-on activities, something I think is very important. Here are a couple of her ideas for using art to teach different messages in the scriptures:
Today our scripture block was Helaman 15-16. Using the manual I introduced several of the important discussion points for the lesson today.
To start off, we read the chapter heading for Helaman 15 and discussed again a bit of our last two days' topic, that the Lord protects His servants as they deliver His messages. Samuel's prophecies, shouted from the city wall, lasts for the equivalent of three chapters in Mormon's record! Surely this is an amazing proof of what the teacher's manual brings out - of the Lord's protection for his servants.
Samuel mentions so many warnings, and finishes by sharing so many important signs about Christ's soon coming. I employed the suggestion in the teacher's manual to have placed a star somewhere in the classroom (suggested on page 209 of the teacher's manual). Utilizing that star, we talked about how Christ is also like the star. He is present, but not noticeable to those who simply don't care or who refuse to believe.
We discussed the role of a prophet, as seen in the scripture chain mentioned in the institute manual on page 112 (Mosiah 7:27, Helaman 14:12, and Ether 3:14) - and how prophets are rarely popular when they share their message. I gave several examples of this from my personal life, in encountering individuals who want to live the gospel on their own terms.
Then, following the manual's suggestion on page 209, the kids researched four common "non-believer" arguments:
- - Helaman 16:15-16;
- - 16:18;
- - 16:19-20;
I shared how these kinds of arguments still exist today, on the radio, TV, in books, etc. The Lord allows us all to choose whether we will believe in Him or not, but His finest blessings come to those who choose to follow Him and do what He says.
His teachings come through the prophets, recorded in scriptures or heard in General Conference. So I gave an assignment to the students to divide into teams of three. And even though they were in teams, they had individual assignments within those teams.
They were to look through Helaman 15-16 to find two important principles that Samuel taught (or that they learned from these chapters). Then they each had one column on the sheet I passed out to illustrate the two principles they'd found. Thus, by the time the team was done, they would have three columns of important Principles to Live By.
I explained that in every person's life, there comes a time when they will be at a crossroads of deciding for themselves whether to believe Christ in all He taught, or to not. I read the final Points to Ponder (from Chapter 38 in the CES institute manual on p. 112) about listening to the prophets of old/ of modern-day.
It all comes down to individual choice. What will their choice be? So I asked them to find two principles that meant the most to them from these two chapters and to illustrate them in the squares provided. I suggested to them that always, always the scriptures will be there for them. That always, always, if they are confused by anything out in the world, whether from those who argue against Christ or even just try to drag them, that scriptures and prayer will always bring them peace.
The scriptures contain Principles to Live By. I wanted them to find that which spoke to them for their individual life and to record/illustrate it. By binding these teachings close to their hearts, they will be much better sustained when Satan sends his mighty shafts and whirlwinds, just as we read in Helaman 5:12 (a scripture mastery):
And now my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless we, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
At the end of class, I asked all who would care to share, to share what they had recorded. It was a beautiful moment. May the Lord bless you, me, all of us, as we so follow the Lord's principles to live by.
I started class today by having the kids read the following scriptures, as suggested in the manual on page 235:
3 Nephi 24:1
3 Nephi 26:1-2
Joseph Smith - History 1:36-39
We talked about how very important Malachi's words must have been for the Lord to have insisted on them being recorded. So then I told the students that they would have a chance to record Malachi's words, but in an ancient way - that of pictures.
There are a total of eighteen verses in chapter 24 and six verses in chapter 25. Since I have twelve students, that meant that each student was responsible for two verses. I gave each student two colorful index cards.
They were to write one verse on one index card and the other verse on the second card, with the reference. Then they were to flip over the card and draw a pictogram delineating what was happening in the verse.
Once everyone was finished, we went around the room, with the story unfolding. Each student held up their card and explained to the class the teaching Malachi was trying to get across in that particular verse.
What was terrific about this, was that the kids were really having to get into the verbiage of the scriptures. Lots of questions were asked by various students while they were grappling with some of the deeper concepts Malachi taught. Perhaps a much better experience for them than if I'd just stood up there all class period and talked about the two chapters?