Tomorrow night is seminary open house. We start classes on Monday morning. I have been working to get everything ready, but still am not quite finished. This year we will be studying the Book of Mormon. I'm really excited to study the Book of Mormon because regular reading of the Book of Mormon brings the spirit strongly in to our lives. I'm excited to show how it supports the Bible. Also, the different writers of the Book of Mormon each have their own passion about the Gospel.
Because last year was my first year teaching seminary, I was kind of learning the ropes. This year I have a much clearer picture of how I want to do things, and I have made some changes to the way I have done things in the past. One of the things that I'm incorporating, that is different from the way I did it last year is the reading program. This idea came about from seeing what others have done, and from my own experience. When I was a teacher at the missionary training center, the mission president asked us teachers to begin each class by sharing a scripture from the Book of Mormon. He said, "I would like you to say, 'As I was reading in the Book of Mormon....' and then share your scripture." While I was a teacher there, I found this to be a very powerful teaching aid. It set the example of regular scriopture study for the missionaries. It showed them how I as a teacher could apply what I had read. Recently I was talking with another seminary teacher and she said she gives her students a little journal titled, "As I was pondering". The Book of Mormon mentions several times the word "Ponder". I decided that I want my students not just to read, but to ponder about what they read.
I decided to give each of them a 3X5 card at the beginning of the week. There will be a small calendar for them to mark if they read their scriptures each day. Then the bottom of the card, and the back side are open for them to write any thoughts they had while pondering the scriptures. On Fridays I will collect the cards, and draw out one for a treat. If they feel comfortable, I will share one of the thoughts they wrote about their pondering. I know it's a little extra work, but my goal is to help them develop a habit of daily scripture study, and a habit of pondering as they read.
I finished making all of my scripture mastery posters. I think they turned out pretty good. If I remember I'll try to take a picture of some of them to show you. I have all of the student folders made up, and I have the closet organized. I am still in the midst of making a Liahona, and a set of "gold plates" :) I have to make one poster, but I need to wait until I have a list of my students. I think I won't have more than 12. I originally thought I would have 15. I'll find out tomorrow night.
I really appreciate the chance to delve more deeply in to the scriptures. We don't require our Church leaders to attend college to qualify to serve in the church, but those who have attended seminary really do have a great foundation. As I have had my religion blog, I have had some people make inaccurate comments telling me what we believe. What they don't understand is that I have been well educated about what we believe because I attended 4 years of seminary. Kids who don't attend seminary may not have that foundation. When people inaccurately tell them what we believe, they may not know how to respond. But the kids who have attended seminary will have a clear understanding of the Gospel. They will have spent one FULL year (50 minutes each weekday morning) studying the Old Testament. One FULL year studying the New Testament. One FULL year studying the Book of Mormon, and one FULL year studying the Doctrine and Covenants and church history. These are kids who will really understand what we believe, and will be prepared to make a good decision for themselves about whether or not this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.