2nd & 3rd Sunday Lesson Helps Template #1

Starting in 2018 your Relief Society or ward leaders will pick out a random General Conference talk for every 2nd & 3rd Sunday lesson.  What’s your plan once you know which talk it is?

Here is the Church website, listing some short lesson descriptions: Second & Third Sunday Meetings

This post will provide some ideas to help pull any General Conference talk into a discussion-rich experience with your Relief Society or Priesthood group.  Once you’ve done it a time or two, you’ll find it is easier than you anticipated.  Some additional templates and ideas will be posted in the future.

Template #1

Any talk from the most recent General Conference will work with this template.  Here, we’ll use Sister Eubank’s talk, “Turn On Your Light” as an example. (Incredible talk!)

 

Note:  For convenience, a summary of this template with no talk inserted, is located down at the bottom of this post.

Teacher Prep

Step 1:  Print out the talk and have a paper, pen, highlighter and/or colored pencil available if possible.  Here is the link: Turn On Your Light

Note: The blue printer symbol is right underneath the main title at the top of the page when you open up any General Conference talk.

Step 2:  Watch the video.  Turn On Your Light  While watching the video, use your highlighter or colored pencils to highlight anything in the text which especially stands out for you.  Watching the talk on video will give you a solid feel for the material in the shortest time possible.

Here are some possible quotes which really stood out for me (all quotes are Sharon Eubank unless otherwise noted):

A)  “Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”

“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”  President Spencer W. Kimball ~ The Role of Righteous Women

B)  “The first is to be righteous. Being righteous doesn’t mean being perfect or never making mistakes. It means developing an inner connection with God, repenting of our sins and mistakes, and freely helping others.”

C)  The second is to be articulate. Being articulate means to clearly express how you feel about something and why.”

“Each of us needs to be better at articulating the reasons for our faith. How do you feel about Jesus Christ? Why do you stay in the Church? Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? Where do you get your peace”?

“Use your voice and your power to articulate what you know and feel—on social media, in quiet conversations with your friends, when you’re chatting with your grandchildren.”

D)  The third is to be different…”

E)  The fourth is to be distinct…

“The restored gospel is recognizably well-defined. But we have to be distinct about how we follow it. Just as Jessica practiced swimming, we need to practice living the gospel before the emergency so that, unafraid, we will be strong enough to help when others are being swept away by the current.”

F)  And finally, the fifth is to do one through four in happy ways. Being happy doesn’t mean to slap a plastic smile on your face no matter what is going on. But it does mean keeping the laws of God and building and lifting others.8When we build, when we lift the burden of others, it blesses our lives in ways our trials cannot take away. I have a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley placed where I see it every day. He said: “You don’t … build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen.”

This is more than enough material for a memorable class discussion!

Step 3:  Looking back on your highlights, pick out your SIX favorites.  Record your thoughts, impressions, ideas, etc.  Even if you just record a few keywords, that’s a great start!  It will probably help to assign numbers to your highlights on the printout, so you can reference the same numbers in your notes and match things up quickly.  These notes will be especially useful later on.

Here are some of my impressions of the quotes above.  These are examples to get you going on your own ideas (please note impression “A” below coordinates with quote “A” above from step 2) :

A)  The first thought through my mind as I read this quote was the Mormon Mommy blog craze.  Remember how this article from Salon.com went viral?  “Why I can’t stop reading Mormon housewife blogs.”

Here’s another one from Deseret News, “The reason Mormon mommy bloggers are so successful.”

Even today, Mormon Mommy blogs are considered some of the best, and most popular entertainment blogs out there.  This is an amazing phenomenon.

B)  Being righteous is so much more the small things than it is the big things.  Working on our personal connection with God, striving to improve and “freely helping others.”  A simple recipe for acquiring some real shine.

C)  We don’t need to have all the answers or even understand every doctrine.  We just need to know what we love about the gospel, what works for us, what brings us inner peace and fulfillment.  It will be a different combination for each of us.  Every one of those unique combinations of “line upon line” are valuable and will resonate with others.  So speak up!

D)  Reading her story, when describing “different,” she isn’t talking about being a gospel-living peculiar person, as much as she is talking about being creative and original.  Be who you are, find your passion, your joy, your true calling, your happy place.  Don’t ever follow the crowd.  Let it show.

E)  Be distinct is more the “peculiar people” concept, standing out because of our gospel living.  If you truly want to be free…lose the stigma over being religious in public.  More and more it’s something to be proud of and admired for.  Especially when we don’t employ any “holier than thou” attitudes.  “This is who I am and I accept you as you are.”

F)  We need to be cheerful!  Lighten up!  Smile!  Be positive and upbeat.  Conquer negativity.  This may be one of the most important, stand-out spiritual qualities of our age.

Step 4:  Pick out your first 2 main highlights & their matching notes from steps 2 & 3 above.  Let’s create some discussion points!  These will be used for “Whole Class” discussion.

Step 5:  Design discussion-promoting questions about these first two quotes which can be created from your notes and thoughts.  This part is an invaluable skill so here are a few teacher tips to help.

Teacher Tip:  Talk to your group and use natural and interesting questions in the same way you talk with a friend, like you’re engaged in a conversation. i.e very different from a professor asking narrow test questions.  Respond back to those who offer comments, showing them you understand and appreciate their points.  Being personable is a powerful teaching tool which gets results.

Now, let’s create the questions…we’re using quote A from above as an example.

A)  “Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”

“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”  President Spencer W. Kimball ~ The Role of Righteous Women

Possible Questions For Quote A:  This quote is from 28 years ago – in what ways have we seen this prophecy come true today?  What has happened to the number of sister missionaries who serve full-time missions?  What are some happy ways we are distinct and different?  How can we be distinct and different with confidence?  What types of missionary experiences have you had or what influences do you feel you have with others?

Repeat the same for the next quote!

Quote B: “The first is to be righteous. Being righteous doesn’t mean being perfect or never making mistakes. It means developing an inner connection with God, repenting of our sins and mistakes, and freely helping others.”

Possible Class Questions For Quote B:  How do you develop a connection with God?  How can you tell you’re connected with God?  When do you feel the most connected?  What are some examples of freely helping others?  How do we feel when we have been giving personable service?  Can you help others but not do it freely? (Begrudgingly or with a poor attitude?

You’re now ready to create your class plan!

Template #1 Overview:

5-10 mins. for Whole class discussion  ====>

10-15 mins. for Small group discussion ====>

10-15 mins. for group report/summaries and final comments.

Whole Class Discussion ====> 5 – 10 minutes

Part 1  Have a class member read quote “A” & use your questions to open up a short discussion on this topic.

“Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.”

“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”  President Spencer W. Kimball ~ The Role of Righteous Women 1979

Possible Questions For Quote A:  This quote is from 28 years ago – in what ways have we seen this prophecy come true today?  What has happened to the number of sister missionaries who serve full-time missions?  How we can become “a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days”?  What are some happy ways we are distinct and different?  How can we be distinct and different with confidence?  What types of missionary experiences have you had or what influences do you feel you have with others?

Next teaching tip:  Be ready with your own insights and answers to the questions you ask.  This is where your own notes from Step 3 above – about each of the highlighted quotes will come in very handy.  Two reasons!  A) In case the class doesn’t have a lot of feedback to a certain question, or B) your previous written notes will readily become a part of your natural and friendly responses to others’ comments in class.

Teacher Tip:  Don’t ever be afraid of silence.  I call it the glorious pause.  Sometimes it takes people a while to ponder the question asked.  If no one responds within 4 seconds…re-phrase the same question using different words and patiently wait until a hand goes up.  Some of the best class discussions will start with unexpected silence first.

Part 1.5 (Optional)  If the talk has a really intriguing story like this one does, have someone read it or paraphrase it yourself.  In this case, I would use her Jessica/beach rescue story.  This can also be done at the very beginning of class.

Part 2:  Have a class member read the next quote on your list: For this particular talk, I would introduce the rest of the discussion with sharing how Sister Eubank came up with five ways for us to fulfill President Kimball’s prophecy.

Quote B: “The first is to be righteous. Being righteous doesn’t mean being perfect or never making mistakes. It means developing an inner connection with God, repenting of our sins and mistakes, and freely helping others.”

Possible Class Questions For Quote B:  How do you develop a connection with God?  How can you tell you’re connected with God?  When do you feel the most connected?  What are some examples of freely helping others?  How do we feel when we have been giving personable service?  Can you help others but not do it freely? (Begrudgingly or with a poor attitude?

Whole class discussion finished!  Remember to keep it under 10 minutes if you can.  Depending on the conference talk you can utilize three quotes instead of just two for the “whole class” discussion but you’ll want to save the bulk of your class time for small group discussion and follow-up.

Small Group Discussion ====> 10-15 minutes

First, as an ocaissional introvert myself, I’m not crazy about the small group thing UNLESS you make it fairly interesting.  So that’s our clear objective here, because small group break-outs get the quieter ones talking.  It’s a great teacher tool.  You always want maximum participation.

Part 1  Divide the class into small discussion groups.  Ideal group sizes are 4-8 members per group.  I do a quick count and divide by 6 to figure out how many groups to form.  They do not need to be exactly the same number of people per group.  If you have a really small class, groups of 3 will work.  People do hesitate sometimes to move into a group, so be proactive in suggesting natural groups, i.e. extend a friendly invite to a reluctant person to move closer to group which is forming.  Make sure everyone is included in some group.

Teacher Tip:  I draw a simple circle on the board and ask the groups to move their chairs and come as close to “this shape” as possible.  Yes, I do employ a little humor with this.

Part 2  Hand out their sheet of discussion options.**  Instruct them to collectively pick ONE option from off the sheet to discuss with each other as a group.  Note:  giving them a variety of topics to choose from means they have to consult with each other.  This promotes quick engagement and buy-in to each other.  It’s a great teaching technique.  Some groups will do this step quickly, others will take more time ~ that’s okay. 

Do not worry which options they pick.  Whether all the groups pick the same options or some options don’t get chosen…they’ll gravitate to the option they should be discussing and every group will be original regardless.  Plus, just by reading over the options, they still absorb some of the material they don’t choose.

Make enough copies so every class member can have their own discussion sheet.  Using the example of Sister Eubank’s talk, there will be four options on the discussion sheet.

**Discussion Sheet:  This is where all your prior work and notes come in really handy.  I’m going to repeat steps 4 & 5 from the teacher prep section for each of the remaining four quotes to create this sheet.  You’ll get the idea.  Note, I’m using the last four quotes, C, D, E & F from the top.  Also, Sister Eubank is great at asking questions too, so I’ve used some of hers:

Discussion Sheet Handout

Option 1:  Read Sister Eubank’s quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.

The second is to be articulate. Being articulate means to clearly express how you feel about something and why.”

“Each of us needs to be better at articulating the reasons for our faith. How do you feel about Jesus Christ? Why do you stay in the Church? Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture? Where do you get your peace”?

“Use your voice and your power to articulate what you know and feel—on social media, in quiet conversations with your friends, when you’re chatting with your grandchildren.”

How do you feel about Jesus Christ?

Why do you stay in the Church?

Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is scripture?

Where do you get your peace?

Can you imagine sharing any of these answers with others?

Who do you talk to about the gospel?  What kinds of discussions have you had lately with family and friends?

Option 2:  Read Sister Eubank’s quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.

The third is to be different.  Innovation and creation are spiritual gifts. When we keep our covenants, it may make us different from others in our culture and society, but it gives us access to inspiration so we can think of different solutions, different approaches, different applications. We aren’t always going to fit in with the world, but being different in positive ways can be a lifeline to others who are struggling.

How are you creative and original?

Share with the others what are your passions, your joy, your true calling, your happy place?  What talents and gifts have you developed?  Where do you find a lot of satisfaction in spending your time?

Have you ever had an experience where you didn’t fit in because of your beliefs? What was the situation and how did you handle it?

Option 3:  Read Sister Eubank’s quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.

The fourth is to be distinct…

“The restored gospel is recognizably well-defined. But we have to be distinct about how we follow it. Just as Jessica practiced swimming, we need to practice living the gospel before the emergency so that, unafraid, we will be strong enough to help when others are being swept away by the current.”

What positive experiences have you had when someone realized you were Mormon?  What are some aspects of the gospel which brings happiness or well-being into your life?

Some people will admire us for living our religion openly, others will have a negative reaction.  Have you ever had an uncomfortable experience regarding someone’s opinion of your religion?  What are some things you can do if someone is antagonistic towards your religion or your lifestyle?

Is it possible to honor our own religion in front of others without being “holier than thou”?  How can we send positive, loving signals despite our differences in beliefs?

What are some successful ways we can show others who we are, but also communicate acceptance of who they are?

Option 4:  Read Sister Eubank’s quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.

And finally, the fifth is to do one through four in happy ways. Being happy doesn’t mean to slap a plastic smile on your face no matter what is going on. But it does mean keeping the laws of God and building and lifting others. When we build, when we lift the burden of others, it blesses our lives in ways our trials cannot take away. I have a quote by President Gordon B. Hinckley placed where I see it every day. He said: “You don’t … build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen.”

How can happiness and optimism be a light as Sister Eubank describes?

Optimism, courage and cheerfulness may be one of the most important, stand-out spiritual qualities of our age.  Why is that?  Matthew 5:16

In what ways have you found happiness in serving others?  Why does giving service sometimes cause our hearts to be light?

With so much negativity in our culture, news cycles and court systems…how can we remain positive?  What are some ways you have found to maintain a positive outlook in today’s world?  How can we regain our optimism when we have lost it?

What helps you to be light hearted?  What are some ways we can become more positive and upbeat?

*****

Part 3  Look at the clock, subtract 20 mins. from your end time.  Tell them they have until [11:40am] to finish the group discussion. (You want 10-15 mins. to finish up after small group discussion and leave time for the hymn/prayer.  If you’re short on time, make the follow-up/closing time shorter and end small group time 5 minutes later at [11:45am] instead.

Part 4:  While the groups are having their discussion, walk to each group and either sit down close or stand by close and listen to their responses for a couple of minutes each group.  Unless a group is really struggling, it is best just to be an observer.  Pay compliments where natural and appropriate.

Part 5:  Give them a warning bell when they have five minutes left and again at one minute.  Instruct them to select a spokesperson for their group to share the highlights of their discussion.

If a group finishes their one discussion option earlier than others, suggest they select a second option.

Group Reports & Final Comments =====>  10-15 minutes

People can stay in their group circles for the final part.  It’s less distracting than moving chairs.

Part 1:  Ask each group’s spokesperson to share a 1-2 minute summary of their group’s discussion highlights. Make sure to validate and follow-up on a comment or two.

Part 1.5:  If you have plenty of time (a good 20 minutes til the end of class), you can also ask each group if there is anyone else from that same group with additional comments after their spokesperson is done.  It’s likely you’ll get a comment from other parts of the room without having to ask…this works too.  Try to work in as many spontaneous comments as you can.  Repeat until all groups have been heard.

Part 2:  Thank your class for their wonderful participation and how grateful you are for all the wisdom and insight which has been shared today.  (Some variation of that and in your own words of course.)

Part 3:  End with your best insight, short summary and testimony.

How about that?!  You’re a pro.  After you’ve done this once or twice, it will feel second nature to you and be more intuitive.

Want to be an even better, more confident teacher?  9 Tips For Memorable Teaching

Re-Cap

A summary with no talk inserted

Teacher Prep

Step 1:  Print out the talk and have a paper, pen, highlighter and/or colored pencil available if possible.

Note: The blue printer symbol is right underneath the main title at the top of the page when you open up any General Conference talk.

Step 2:  Watch the video of the General Conference talk.  Here is the General Conference talk page with video links.  While watching the video, use your highlighter or colored pencils to highlight anything in the text which especially stands out for you.  Watching the talk on video will give you a solid feel for the material in the shortest time possible.

Step 3:  Looking back on your highlights, pick out your SIX favorites.  Record your thoughts, impressions, ideas, etc.  Even if you just record a few keywords, that’s a great start!  It will probably help to assign numbers to your highlights on the printout, so you can reference the same numbers in your notes and match things up quickly.  These notes will be especially useful later on.

Step 4:  Pick out your first 2 main highlights & your their matching notes from steps 2 & 3 above.  Let’s create some discussion points!  These will be used for “Whole Class” discussion.

Step 5:  Design discussion-promoting questions about these first two quotes which can be created from your notes and thoughts.  Remember to keep them conversational, natural and easy to understand.

You’re now ready to create your class plan!

Template #1 Overview:

5-10 mins. for Whole class discussion  ====>

10-15 mins. for Small group discussion ====>

10-15 mins. for group report/summaries and final comments.

Whole Class Discussion ====> 5 – 10 minutes

Part 1  Have a class member read quote “A” & use your questions to open up a short discussion on this topic.

Part 1.5 (Optional)  If the talk has a really intriguing story like this one does, have someone read it or paraphrase it yourself.  This can also be done at the very beginning of class.

Part 2:  Have a class member read the next quote on your list.  Ask your prepared questions to encourage a short discussion on this topic.

Small Group Discussion ====> 10-15 minutes

Part 1  Divide the class into small discussion groups.  Ideal group sizes are 4-8 members per group.  I do a quick count and divide by 6 to figure out how many groups to form.  They do not need to be exactly the same number of people per group.  If you have a really small class, groups of 3 will work.

Part 2  Hand out their sheet of discussion options.**  Instruct them to collectively pick ONE option from off the sheet to discuss with each other as a group.

Make enough copies so every class member can have their own discussion sheet.

**Discussion Sheet:  Repeat steps 4 & 5 from the teacher prep section for each of the remaining four favorite quotes to create this sheet.  List the four quotes with questions on the sheet.  Call them “Option 1,” “Option 2,” etc.

Instruct the groups to pick one option, read quote together and discuss some or all of the associated questions as a group.

Part 3  Look at the clock, subtract 20 mins. from your end time.  Tell them they have until [11:40am] to finish the group discussion. (You want 10-15 mins. to finish up after small group discussion and leave time for the hymn/prayer.  If you’re short on time, make the follow-up/closing time shorter and end small group time 5 minutes later at [11:45am] instead.

Part 4:  While the groups are having their discussion, walk to each group and either sit down close or stand by close and listen to their responses for a couple of minutes each group.  Unless a group is really struggling, it is best just to be an observer.  Pay compliments where natural and appropriate.

Part 5:  Give them a warning bell when they have five minutes left and again at one minute.  Instruct them to select a spokesperson for their group to share the highlights of their discussion.

Group Reports & Final Comments =====>  10-15 minutes

People can stay in their group circles for the final part.  It’s less distracting than moving chairs.

Part 1:  Ask each group’s spokesperson to share a 1-2 minute summary of their group’s discussion highlights. Make sure to validate and follow-up on a comment or two.

Part 1.5:  If you have plenty of time (a good 20 minutes til the end of class), you can also ask each group if there is anyone else from that same group with additional comments after their spokesperson is done.  It’s likely you’ll get a comment from other parts of the room without having to ask…this works too.  Try to work in as many spontaneous comments as you can.

Part 2:  Thank your class for their wonderful participation and how grateful you are for all the wisdom and insight which has been shared today.  (Some variation of this and in your own words of course.)

Part 3:  End with your best insight, short summary and testimony.

More templates coming.

Published by

Classic Mormon Mom

Blessed with one husband, six children, two grandchildren and a son-in-law. My husband and I live in awesome, vibrant Salt Lake City, Utah about eight minutes west of Temple Square. And my initials are SLC ~ the same as the city we live in.

15 thoughts on “2nd & 3rd Sunday Lesson Helps Template #1”

  1. Your blog was in a Pinterest email that came today. Oh my goodness, it is superb!! I have shared the link with our RS teachers and other presidency members (I’m a 1C) As a retired public school teacher, my interest always perks up when someone discusses teaching techniques. Yours are terrific, and you break them down into clear, doable, bite size nuggets. Hooray!

  2. I am disappointed that you have not grasped the concept of the new ‘teaching’ plan. Go back and read the announcements and think about what you have read. The ‘teacher’ prayerfully chooses the general conference talk, makes sure that they know ahead of the appointed time the talk chosen so they can be prepared to discuss the principles found in the chosen talk and then facilitates a discussion with the body of sisters attending the meeting. Teaching in the Savior’s way is very different than you expect from what I read. What you propose would help to plan a talk from a conference address. Thoughtfully put together but meant for different subject.

    1. This judgment appears hasty to me. Perhaps you might want to read both the Church site and the blog post again.

      “In most cases, the quorum presidency, group leadership, or Relief Society presidency will select a conference message to study based on the needs of the members, although the bishop or stake president may give input.”

      This is directly from the new 2nd and 3rd Sunday page

      The teacher does not select the talk. And the sisters will need a clear heads up as to what talks are locally chosen by their leadership.

      The blog post designs a discussion with the class members doing most of the talking, and the teacher doing the least of it. It is framed and modeled from the principles discussed in “Teaching the Savior’s Way.” If you read the blog post to the end, it will become really clear it is as far from a “talk” as you can get. Also, the template only selects a talk as an example as how to use the template and an empty template is at the end of the post so you may insert any Conference talk you wish.

      Best to you!

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