Hello all! My name is Bri. I am a teacher of the 14 to 18 year old age group using the new Come Follow Me youth curriculum. Most Sundays we have the 14 and 15 year old group show up. For the next two weeks I get a break on teaching due to a fifth Sunday and a Fast Sunday. I am very excited; its nice to be able to have a couple weeks to look at my lesson instead of a couple days! Looking forward, the lesson I will be teaching is “Why are Covenants Important in My Life?”
After going over the lesson, I can already see some issues that will arise. In my class, I have what I lovingly refer to as “lifers.” These are the children (or adults) who have been in church their whole lives but may not understand certain doctrine. In my case, I just plain didn’t care when I was a youth. Currently, I don’t teach any converts. My lifers often give me looks of “Did you really just say that?” or “If I stare at you long enough you will give me the answer.” To combat these (non) responses, I try to make the lesson as hands on as I can. My philosophy is the more stuff you bring with you, the better your lesson will be. I have found out, however, this can sometimes be a false statement. They still may not get it!
Weather you are a lifer yourself, or a teacher or parent to a lifer, how do you get them involved? If you’re a lifer yourself, what really piqued your interest in Sunday lessons as a youth?
Now onto the lesson and how I plan to conquer the lifer way of thinking:
- I will first ask them what a Covenant is. Knowing my girls, I will probably get some that will sit and stare at me. I will proceed to say “Girls, I need your answers.” I never let them get away with not answering me. I think the new lessons are structured in such a way that if we spoon feed them the information, we aren’t being effective teachers. After all these lessons are designed with them in mind, not us. We will talk about what a covenant is.
- To help my point get across, I will also turn to the scriptures. When you look in the lesson formats under “Prepare Yourself Spiritually”, there are helps you can use. These usually contain scripture references, talks, and videos. I really love how they group the scriptures together. I try to assign each girl a set of scriptures to search. Typically we only have three or four girls show up, although we have seven total on the rolls. With that said, since I don’t have many girls, I find it easier to assign a set of scriptures rather than a single scripture. Looking into the lesson there is one set that only has one reference. When this happens, I will assign the girl the “True to The Faith” book as well. I usually give them five minutes and if I feel like they are done, I will cut them off. I have them give the class a summary of what they read. My girls have a hard time grasping the concept of summarizing. I often have at least one girl who will read the whole set of scriptures to the class. Honestly you can’t do a lot about this, but explain in a little more detail about what you want them to do.
Because the content of this specific lesson is lacking in length I will pull out a handy trick.
- Instead of having them summarize with words, I may have them summarize with art. I will still have them read their “set” of scriptures, but then have them choose a verse they feel is important to them and have them draw and color it. The first time I did this, they could not grasp the concept of drawing a scripture and putting their feelings on paper. Once they each found out how they wanted to express their feelings, I couldn’t get them to stop. This would be a perfect lesson to use the “art” method. I would give them ten to fifteen minutes to read their set of scriptures and draw it out. Each of them would then present their drawing to us and explain why that scripture spoke to them.
This is a drawing that I quickly did, to show you what I mean by drawing a scripture. I used words here to express more of the scripture, but they can do it how they want. I allotted myself the ten minute limit that I allow my girls. I have the girl explain her picture to the class, and why she drew it this way. I sometimes have them tell me how their scripture can help them every day as well.
If I am doing my math correctly, I should still have about fifteen minutes of class time left. To round it out, I would put on a video or pull out a talk. Since there are no videos for this lesson, I will pull out a talk.
- There are two talks recommended in the lesson outline that I could use. Let’s be honest here, how many of our youth really care about the talks they are reading? I often times find my girls drifting, doodling, or even leaving the classroom because they are bored. I tend to choose talks that spark more of my interest thinking the girls might be intrigued.
- Sugardoodle.net has ten additional talks listed that you could use. Many of you are probably thinking “Great, now I have twelve talks to use. How am I ever going to pick?” For me, I read the first paragraph or two of the talks until there is one that really speaks to me. Once I have found one I like, I print it, copy it, and that’s the one we go with.
- As far as having them read the talks, there are several ways you can do it:
- My girls love reading and discussing them together. We do about two paragraphs at a time. However, I feel like I lose them more when we do this.
- My favorite way is to give them each a talk, pen, and highlighter. Then have them write their names on their talks. I include myself as well as the other leaders in the room in this activity. Next we each pass our talks to the right (or left it doesn’t matter) and start reading. I tell the girls that as they are reading, they are to write their thoughts and feelings on the paper. They can also highlight what is important to them. I give them about three minutes, then they pass the paper and start reading on the “new” talk where they left off. They are not to go back to a previous part of the talk unless they feel something is super important. You keep passing every three to four minutes until either they finish reading the talk, or you run out of time. I like this method because it gets them to read the talk more than one time, meaning they will want to look and see what other notes are on their paper. I always give them a note card so they can write any questions they have so we can address them together.
This lesson is a pretty simple one to teach and I have given you some ideas on how I will do it. I know these lessons can be tricky and hard to get through.
What are your ideas I could add to this lesson? You are not alone in this and there are many people here to help! Thanks for letting me help you out!