Weekly Thoughts and Tips

March 2013


Spring Symbols

By Tiffany Lewis
March 29, 2013

Springtime is a great time to teach our children about renewal, repentance, and the Atonement. As we watch the first buds emerge and the trees blossom, we can talk about forgiveness and the hope that comes through Christ. We can also go on walks and point out signs of rebirth. As we plant flowers and clear away dead overgrowth from the winter, we can point out physical reminders of spiritual truths. President Gordon B. Hinckley talks about this idea in one of my favorite articles, “Spring Cleaning” (Friend, March 2004, 2).

Preparing for Easter with Church Media

By Jessica Larsen
March 22, 2013

Double check those calendars—Easter is in March this year! The Friend has created a wonderful March issue full of ways to think about the Savior, including an Easter countdown activity.

The Church has also created beautiful videos that tell the story of Easter. My family loves the new series The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos. Each video is less than ten minutes (many of them are less than five), and they depict important moments from the Savior’s ministry.

To put the videos into perspective, look at “Easter Footsteps,” a simple Easter chronology from the April 2012 Friend. For older children, you can find a more detailed chronology in “His Final Days” from the April 2006 New Era.

Encouraging Good Behavior

By Lynn Parsons
March 15, 2013

Many children find sitting still for very long challenging. You can encourage good behavior by building a positive relationship with the children you teach. This could include visiting them at home to learn about their interests and how behavioral challenges are handled there.  

At church, prepare your room so the children don’t have to wait for you to get ready when they arrive. Greet each child individually before class. Spend a few minutes discussing personal interests like a new baby, sporting events, or hobbies.

Set the example for class behavior. Post simple and clear expectations such as “raise your hand to speak” or “remain in your seat”.

For children with disabilities who struggle to stay in their chairs, a weighted object (like a large bean bag) in their lap may help them to sit quietly. Those who fidget may need a squeeze ball or a chance to move. Allow them to help you pass out supplies, erase the board, or hold a visual aid.

Remember to give lots of praise and encouragement for even small behavior improvements.

Most importantly, look at each class member as a child of God and take the time to discover what He loves about him or her.

Prophet Portraits

By Hilary Watkins Lemon
March 8, 2013

This year, each issue of the Friend includes a Prophet Portrait: a brief, highly visual biography of a modern-day prophet. Here are a few ideas for making the most of these colorful pages.

  • Cut out or photocopy the portraits, found on the inside back cover each month, and put them in a folder or binder for a simple quiet book. 
  • Invite children who cannot read to find the items in each portrait and discuss why each item is important.
  • Try your hand at making a puzzle by gluing a portrait to cardstock, sketching interlocking pieces on the back, and cutting them out.
  • Use the portraits as visual aids in Primary and family home evening. 
  • Have children draw their own biographies using the portraits as models.

The Spirit Can Guide You As You Prepare to Teach

By Larraine Rowberry, Primary general board
March 1, 2013

Whether I'm teaching children or adults, I always start by reviewing the topic and prayerfully gathering thoughts and ideas. I carry a small notebook in my purse as I go throughout my day and keep another one next to my bed so I can write down impressions from the Spirit about my lesson. 

Page 48 of Teaching, No Greater Call reminds us that we can receive promptings from the Spirit to know what and how Heavenly Father wants us to teach. "You may be led to emphasize certain principles. You may gain an understanding of how best to present certain ideas. You may discover examples, object lessons, and inspiring stories in the simple activities of life. You may feel impressed to invite a particular person to assist with the lesson. You may be reminded of a personal experience that you can share. Write these ideas down, and prayerfully follow them.”

I know this formula works and is very powerful.  The result is that the Spirit teaches both you and your students.