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Teaching Relief Society from a Conference Talk

If you are here, you have likely been called to teach Relief Society on a 2nd or 3rd Sunday. This has only been my calling for a few months, so in no ways do I consider myself an expert. I have however come up with a system that works for me, and have created multiple graphic organizers for specific talks I have been assigned. Each of these organizers can be found in the exclusive digital resource Living on Lemon Lane Library. All you need to do is subscribe for access

The majority of my adult life in the church has been ironically spent in Young Women’s. YW will forever hold a special place in my heart, as will the new Come Follow Me curriculum. With a degree in teaching I see so much overlap, and inspiration with how the lessons are organized and instructed to be given. Teaching in the Savior’s Way

Though sad to leave my post in Young Women’s I was excited for my calling to be in Relief Society. This was a new feeling. Relief Society and Visiting Teaching had always felt disconnected with an added sense of guilt an even a bit of dread. Much of this created in my own head, stemming from my own insecurities. The idea of Visiting Teaching terrified me. I was willing, just clueless. I remember pleading to a Relief Society President when I was first married to partner me with someone that could take me under their wings and show me the ropes.

When they made the announcement that there would no longer be visiting teaching and instead Ministering…. and that Young Women would be stepping into the role… tears streamed down my face. Every bit of me pulsed with conviction that our Savior Jesus Christ is at the helm. When the call was extended to teach in Relief Society I was excited.

As my first week approached to teach, I quickly realized that teaching  from someone else’s talk posed a few difficulties that I didn’t foresee. In the Youth’s Come Follow Me curriculum you are given a topic or question to teach and supported with multiple addresses, questions, and suggestions for how to deliver the message and lead the discussion. If you are reading this now, you have likely discovered that you are given the specific talk, and a small paragraph of direction and suggestions. I hope the following will help you as you prepare.

Tips for Teaching Second and Third Sundays. 

  1. If you haven’t already, take the time to read and ponder Teaching in the Savior’s Way, as well as reading through the introduction of the Come Follow Me curriculum given to Elder’s Quorum and Relief Society. You can access both through the links above.
  2. Study and listen to your assigned Conference Talk. You can find your assigned talk through the church’s website, the Mormon Channel, and even Youtube. I try to listen to the assigned talk multiple times before actually sitting down to prepare the lesson. Listen while you drive, go for a walk, exercise, clean the house…etc. While you listen think of questions that could be used in a discussion. The more familiar you become with the address the better.
  3. As you go about your week pray for guidance and direction, as well as to have your attention brought to experiences or scriptures that relate. You may even find that you have had an experience that feels specific to what you will be teaching on.
  4. Prior to your lesson find a way to encourage members of the class to read the talk you will be discussing. “Leaders and teachers should find ways to encourage members to read the selected message in advance and come prepared to share gospel truths and ideas about how to act on them.” This invitation can be given through e-mail, text, facebook groups, or at the end of a Sunday Lesson.
  5. It is helpful to print off the talk. I wait until I am familiar with the order and main idea of the talk before printing. This time as I read through the printed pages I like to separate the talk into natural breaks, topics, stories, ideas. Writing the topic or a title for each section in the margin. As I read I also highlight key takeaways, questions posed, any call to action, “an answer to a question, an inspiring passage, or an example of a principle.” I also write down any questions I think of in the margin next to the text it relates to. This can also be done digitally through google docs or Word documents.  If you choose to do this digitally, I suggest you copy and paste the entire talk into a google document. Once copied, highlight the talk again>right click>remove formatting. This will allow you to format the text to your liking without ending up with 25+ pages of material!
  6. Hidden Gems: The next thing I like to do is go through the references listed at the end of the talk. ***This is best done online. Pull up the talk through the church’s website, scroll to the bottom, and then expand the references section.Here you can find the inspiration to much of the address.
    1. Let me give an example of a hidden gem I came across recently. As I was preparing to teach “Young Women in the Work” by Bonnie Oscarson I noticed a random reference note attached to the beautiful phrase as shown in the picture. Notice that tiny little reference 5… When I clicked on it I was lead to this scripture that isn’t even mentioned in Sister Oscarson’s talk. (Matthew 10: 39) 39 aHe that findeth his life shall blose it: and he that closeth his dlife for my sake shall find it.       In Teaching in the Savior’s Way we are encouraged to use the scriptures and use them often. “at every opportunity, inspire those you teach to turn to the word of God for guidance, answers to questions, and support.”  The reference list is the perfect place to start your search for scriptures and latter day scripture to guide your discussion.
  7. Ponder and pray for inspired questions. Inspired questions lead to inspired discussion. Hopefully at this point you have already thought of a few questions that can be posed. Remember in that small paragraph you are given from the Come Follow Me there should be at least 2 questions, and that’s a start 😉. Also I have found it helpful when thinking of questions to search for teaching helps or suggestions. Chicken Scratch and Sniff is a site I look to often! Below are some of the basic questions I use. Many have lead to meaningful discussions:
    1. How does this relate to you or your life
    2. How do we apply this princible
    3. What changes are you prompted to make in your own life after reading/discussing this?
    4. Do you have a scripture or scripture story that comes to mind?
    5. Have you had an experience in your own life that illustrates this?
    6. Why is this relevant to the topic/gospel?
    7. Going forward what changes will you strive to make?
    8. What can we learn from this?
  8. Decide how you are going to deliver the material. I always try to have at least one additional method besides the teacher reading and the class responding.
    1. My go to is video clips. After sectioning the talk off in to topics, I watch the video and assign the segment of time on the video to each topic. That way I can share and pause the pieces easily without having to search. Less that 3 minute video segments are ideal but I have gone upwards to 5 if it stays focused. If you are wanting to use a video segment that is 5 minutes or longer, consider pausing it to discuss what has been said or asking a question to be discussed. The simplest way I have used video clips is ON MY PHONE through the TV. All you need is an HDMI cord that connects your phone to the TV from the library. The TV then displays whatever is shown or playing on your phone. You can purchase one through Amazon, or encourage your ward to purchase one that can be kept in the library! ****When using video clips consider prefacing each clip with something the class should be listening for. This allows students to be more focused and attentive with purpose.
    2. Other options to consider would be breaking the class into small groups 3-5 people per group in my experience is about right. Assign a topic, section, question, or scriptures to each group as well as an objective. When everyone is finished they will be teaching the class, summarizing, answering a question… You will want to plan your time for this appropriately and may need to support some of the groups. This is a great way to get everyone involved and talking, while taking the pressure away of participating in front of the entire class.
    3. Are there materials you could bring, display, or play that would add to the lesson. Besides video clips, consider a piece of music, graphic organizer, a poem, a picture… In my Small and Simple things lesson, at the end of the class I passed around an i-pad with examples of Pointillism Art and asked the members to come up with a correlation between the two. What was said was far more beautiful and inspired than what I would have come up with on my own. In another lesson I displayed a painting of the Vision of The Tree of Life, (I was able to do this DIGITALLY, through my phone, using the HDMI cord. Using my phone allowed me to zoom in on details being discussed!) The majority of the lesson ended up in a beautiful discussion about details the sisters noticed and how it related to our lives, this all stemmed from a simple question, and a simple, yet beautiful picture.
    4. The following two come from my experience as a school teacher.
      1. Socratic method: Each member of the class is given a slip or slips of paper and asked to participate in a discussion. When they participate they can put a slip of paper on the floor or in a community pile. The hope is that at the end of the lesson no one will have a slip left.
      2. Gallery Walk: This is extremely flexible. Basically you post things around the room, and ask member to walk around to each one and respond or reflect. This can be done with quotes, pictures, questions, a combination of all of these… You can place posters with a quote and a question and each member will write their response on the poster. You can either give them a total amount of time to pace themselves, or you can give an allotted amount of time at each poster and have them rotate after each interval. At the end of the respond and reflect you could then assign a poster to a small group and give them the assignment of reading through, and then summarizing the thoughts for the rest of the group.
      3. Technology: I haven’t yet but I am hoping to find a way to incorporate a few of my favorite teaching tools like plickers or, kahoot
  9. Consider the order you will deliver the message. Do not feel bound to chronological. Remember you organized the talk into sections. Decide what is the overall message you want members to walk away with and prioritize your lesson based off of that. As you organize consider stories, experiences, questions, and methods of delivery.
  10. Testify and Call to Action… The most important part of the lesson. What truths will you testify of to close your lesson, what will the members be inspired to do? Invite them to change, give them something to work on, to do, to take away from the lesson that they can apply and immediately start working on in the coming week. This can be an invitation to act as an individual that they decide upon personally or an invitation to act as a group. Either way this is where conversion takes place, this is the purpose of the lesson. ***Pay attention to the talk you have been assigned most of the time there is if not one, but many calls to action, or an invitation to act.
    1. Remember we have been asked to come back and reflect each week on the previous lesson. Here is where we would discuss the invitations to act, what they brought about, feelings experienced, here again we testify. “Share experiences with acting on impressions and invitations received in previous priesthood or Relief Society meetings (led by a presidency member).

I hope these thoughts were helpful as you plan and prepare your next lesson. Make sure to check out the Exclusive Digital Library where you can download Graphic Organizers that I create specific to the talk assigned.

A Few Teaching Tips from a School Teacher

  • Expectations are Everything. If you wish a class would participate more…. tell them. If you wish people would stop distracting from your lesson by visiting or looking at a device….tell them. At the beginning of each lesson I make sure to stress how much their contribution is needed. There is a responsibility on the teacher to prepare, invite, and guide. Often we forget about the responsibility of the student to participate, think, and to ponder. Remember you can not hold someone to an expectation if they don’t know what the expectation is. List your expectations to the entire class at the beginning, then facilitate an atmosphere conducive to your expectations.
  • Guide on the Side not a Sage on the Stage: 

    “Don’t try to dazzle everyone with how brilliant you are. Dazzle them with how brilliant the gospel is. Don’t worry about the location of the lost tribes or the Three Nephites. Worry a little more about the location of your student, what’s going on in his heart, what’s going on in her soul, the hunger, sometimes the near-desperate spiritual needs of our people. Teach them. And, above all, testify to them. Love them. Bear your witness from the depths of your soul. It will be the most important thing you say to them in the entire hour, and it may save someone’s spiritual life.”

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

  • Inspired Questions lead to Inspired Discussion: Steer clear of questions that can be answered by a simple yes, or no, or very important….. Exp: How important is _________ in our lives? Answer: Very important🤦‍♀️
  • Don’t be afraid of silence: It’s ok to have an uncomfortable silence, even if you are dying on the inside… Stand confident. Give it some time. Ask the question again, rephrase it if you can. Some of the best responses will come from a good awkward silence. Worst case scenario, assign the question to someone and say we will come back to it and discuss. Have everyone turn to a neighbor and discuss it with them, next asking a partnership to share what as discussed. You can even ask a partnership to share their thoughts before the discussion so they know they have a responsibility to fulfill.
  • Stay on Track: Sometimes you might have a member of the class that dominates the discussion, or loves to share stories that aren’t pertinent to the discussion (especially with the youth) 
    • A teaching tactic you can try with a student dominating or distracting from the discussion is a neighbor turn and talk. Have everyone turn to their neighbor and share their thoughts, if time allows ask if anyones neighbor had a thought worth sharing. This typically encourages other members of the class to participate, while still validating the person’s need to be heard.
    • If you have a student that distracts from the lesson with remarks that are off the wall, intended for laughs, or meant to discuss the location of the 3 Nephites, it might be helpful to remind or revisit what you are listing as your expectations at the beginning of the class. What is the purpose of everyone’s attendance. List the purpose, and ask for participation focused on that purpose.

If you are searching for a little reading material about teaching, you might be interested in reading Teaching and Learning in the Church by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. This was given in 2007 prior to the new Teaching in the Savior’s way and you can see much correlation between the two.

I would love to hear any tips, or ideas that you have used in your own lesson or plan to use! What has worked well for you?

 

#generalconference is just around the corner! Snag the link to this FREE paper chain countdown in this week’s post💛 Each chain link includes a QR Code video to watch and complete each day to help your family spiritually prepare 🍋
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Tag a friend in the comments below!
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“There is a better way to prepare, because great faith has a short shelf life. We could decide to persist in studying the words of Christ in the scriptures and the teachings of living prophets. This is what I will do. I will go back to the Book of Mormon and drink deeply and often. And then I will be grateful for what the prophet’s challenge and promise did to teach me how to gain greater faith and maintain it.”
-Eyring
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What insights did you have while studying #comefollowme this week? Comment below!
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Great, FREE coloring page for this week’s #comefollowme lesson by @ldsbookstore Head to this week’s post for the link! Yo access this free download you will need to add the coloring page to your cart and “checkout” Tag a friend in the comments below 💛 ...

LOVED this post by @tendermercieseverywhere
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Samuel risked it all.⁣

After being kicked out of Zarahemla, he returned to the hard-hearted Nephites, climbed that outer city wall, dodged arrows and stones, and put his life on the line to preach repentance and salvation through Christ.⁣

He prophesied that the Son of God would come to redeem “all those who shall believe on his name.” (Helaman 14:2)⁣
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Believe on His name.⁣

To “believe on His name” is really to believe on His 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴—and there are over 200 of them throughout the scriptures. Christ’s myriad titles perfectly capture who He is and who He can be in our lives if we’ll only believe. ⁣

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When we need an ally and a friend, He is our ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER.⁣

When we yearn for a constant in an ever-changing world, He is ALPHA AND OMEGA.⁣

When we are spiritually famished and emotionally fatigued, He is the BREAD OF LIFE.⁣

When we are encompassed by darkness and yearn for the light, He is our BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR.⁣

When we just can’t shake the chains of addiction and sin, He is our DELIVERER.⁣

When our faith is not enough, yet we desire to believe, He is the FINISHER OF OUR FAITH.⁣

When we have wandered and can’t find our way back, He is our GOOD SHEPHERD.⁣

When we need hope for a future that only seems bleak, He is the HIGH PRIEST OF GOOD THINGS TO COME.⁣

When we’re consumed by the mists of darkness, He is the LIGHT OF THE WORLD.⁣

When we grieve, anguish, and cry out, He is the PRINCE OF PEACE.⁣

When we are wounded and seek divine healing, He is our PHYSICIAN.⁣

When we’re ready to be molded into something more, He is the POTTER.⁣

When our souls need reclaiming, He is our REDEEMER.⁣

When the winds of doubt blow us off course—when the waves of trial beat against us—He is our REFUGE FROM THE STORM.⁣

When our world is crumbling, He is our ROCK.⁣

When we need saving, He is our SAVIOR.⁣

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What’s in a name?⁣
What’s in 𝘏𝘪𝘴 name?⁣
Everything you and I will ever need.⁣
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What is your favorite title for Jesus Christ?
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*A beautiful, talented student at the school where I formerly taught created this artwork 👏🏼 Checkout @emma.st
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“As a prophet reveals the truth it divides the people. The honest in heart heed his words, but the unrighteous either ignore the prophet or fight him. When the prophet points out the sins of the world, the worldly either want to close the mouth of the prophet or else act as if the prophet didn’t exist, rather than repent of their sins. Popularity is never a test of truth. Many a prophet has been killed or cast out. As we come closer to the Lord’s second coming, you can expect that as the people of the world become more wicked, the prophet will be less popular with them”

– President Ezra Taft Benson
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Excited to share these two FREE activities with you this week! So a chronological sort of the events as you read the account of #samualthelamanite or cut out the symbols that represent the signs Samuel mentioned, hide them, and then ”LOOK” for the signs! This is a great activity that lends well to a follow up discussion on looking for the signs of our Savior’s second coming 💛
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So very much of pure prayer seems to be the process of first discovering, rather than requesting, the will of our Father in heaven and then aligning ourselves therewith. […] When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us, as was the case with Nephi, the son of Helaman” (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [1979], 93–94). Elder Neal A. Maxwell ...

The Lord loves effort. Even when our effort feels like it is next to nothing, or all we have left, it is something. I think I’m learning that the Lord not only loves effort, but through the enabling power of our Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement… that effort can be consecrated and become more than what we ever had to give in the first place. Not only that but the Lord blesses us in our efforts. “When we do conform to His will, God will pour forth special blessings from heaven upon us…” I have felt this. In the tiniest ways, I have felt this.
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Read about my tender mercy on this week’s post.
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Have you ever felt that way?
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Did you download this FREE Printable for your Young Women? This is the perfect little drop off for your girls as they get ready to head back to school💛 Link in Profile, tag a friend with a calling in Young Womens Below 🍋🍋🍋 ...

Loved this excerpt from the #comefollowme manual this week:
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Think about evidences that the Lord has given you. For example, maybe you haven’t literally heard the Lord’s voice, but have you felt “a whisper” from the Holy Ghost that “did pierce even to the very soul”? (Helaman 5:30; see also Doctrine and Covenants 88:66). Perhaps you’ve been in darkness, cried unto God for greater faith, and been “filled with that joy which is unspeakable” (Helaman 5:40–47).
What other experiences have strengthened your faith in Christ and His gospel?
Helaman 5:29–33: What experiences have we had with recognizing the voice of God in our lives?
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The language in Heleman 5:12 has always really intrigued me. Scriptures like this one can become really relevant by simply noticing a single word. In the case of this scripture that powerful word for me is When.

Do you see it? Did the verse become that much more powerful to you by simply paying attention to that single word?

Notice that the verse doesn’t read, “If the devil shall send forth his mighty winds,” or “If all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you…”. The language instead is when.

Hardships, trials, pain, discomfort, and all-out storms WILL come, no amount of righteous living can prevent them… However, if our foundations are firm, and built upon our Savior Jesus Christ… We will not fall. There is peace in that. There is promise in that. There is POWER in that.
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Weekly Round-Up of FREE resources to help with your study of #comefollowme is on the website! Link in profile🍋🍋 ...

Guys. I don’t even know where to begin.... Except be on the lookout for this fun little DIGITAL project to be added today!
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🍋Students come up with a One Word Goal for the school year/ first term...
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“It is not by chance that you have been reserved to come to earth in this last dispensation of the fulness of times. Your birth at this particular time was foreordained in the eternities. You are to be the royal army of the Lord in the last days. You are “youth of the noble birthright.” (Hymns, 1985, no. 255.) In the spiritual battles you are waging, I see you as today’s sons of Helaman. Remember well the Book of Mormon account of Helaman’s two thousand stripling warriors and how the teachings of their mothers gave them strength and faith. These marvelous mothers taught them to put on the whole armor of God, to place their trust in the Lord, and to doubt not. By so doing, not one of these young men was lost. (See Alma 53:10–23; Alma 56:41–56.)”. -President Ezra Taft Benson ...

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Need a fun drop off for your Young Women? With back to school just around the corner, it’s always nice to send your girls off with a sweet reminder to remember who they are, that you are thinking of them, and of course that you love them.
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YOU GUYS. I am COMPLETELY swooning over this #teachingfromhome classroom setup! All the little details are speaking my love language💛 You’ve outdone yourself @how_i_teach_high_school
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Comment below! Don’t forget to check out my latest posts for Digital Back to School activities for your UPPER GRADE Students!
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