Friday, May 07, 2010

Scripture Mastery Games: Memorization

I have a confession. I'm not really fond of "scripture chases". For those who don't know what that is, our seminary students learn a set of 25 key scriptures for every book of scripture. We often have "chases" where the teacher gives a clue, and the students try to see who can find the correct scripture first. The kids have those key scriptures marked in colored pencil. What I don't like about scripture chases is that it teaches the students to flip to the page that has the key word written on the side. But it doesn't necessarily teach them what the scripture says. I went to seminary as a youth, but I have no memory of the exact reference of those scripture mastery verses. But I do have a good memory for what those scriptures say, so I can always do a search of the index to try to find the one I want.

With this in mind, I decided I wanted my students to memorize as many of the verses as possible. In some areas, this is expected, and is routine. But where I live, this is almost unheard of. But I devised this activity to help my kids memorize as many as possible.
Here is the activity:
1. Search through the scripture mastery verses and find the shortest ones. (about 6 or 7)
2. Print out three copies of each verse.
3. Break the class up in to three groups.
4. Give each group a set of the printed out verses.
5. Have the groups break off and go memorize the verses together as a group. One good way to do this is to write the entire verse on the chalkboard. Then read the verse together. Then erase a couple of the words and read it again. Continue to erase a couple of words each time you read it. Eventually you will have to do it from memory, as all of the words will be erased. ;)
6. When they feel they can recite the verse together as a group, they come back to me and recite it.
7. When the group has recited the scripture together, I place a scoop of skittles in a large bowl.
8. At the end of the activity, the class gets to share the skittles they have earned.

I know it might sound like cheating to have the group recite the verse together. But I don't care so much that each person gets it word perfect. It's a powerful activity even if they lean on the memories of their classmates when reciting. They really do learn better what the scripture says. Years from now, when they have forgotten the "keyword", and where it is on the page, they will remember what the scripture actually said!

1 comment:

Nene said...

We encouraged our class to memorize all 25 scripture mastery scriptures every year. We would go to the "teachers store" (public school teachers) and buy a poster that had grids for each of the scripture mastery scriptures at the top and each of the student's names down the side. Then they would get to put a sticker in the space when they had quoted the scripture to us word-perfect, including the scripture reference. This was one of the requirements in order to get the "silver scholar" award - they had to know all 25 scriptures, all the general authorities in order of sucession, all the presidents of the church and then have 80% attendance. I think that was all. They received a certificate and a gift certificate to Cold Stone Creamery (Ice Cream shop). We had more than half the class qualify our last year, and almost every single student in the class memorized all 25 scriptures! We used Fridays for their time to study and quote them to pass them off to us. Ahh, can you see I'm missing Seminary? :0)