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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?

 

PSA:
April Fools’ Day is TOMORROW
I know many of you are coming off Spring Break, to lighten the load and add a little laughter to the classroom I quickly put together a fun and FREE activity/ joke to play on your class 💛 This impossible word search is in disguise as a #nationalpoetrymonth activity. Students will try and find words like stanza, verse, and rhyme... but won’t come up with a dime! 😉 They may however come up with words like tomfoolery, bogus, shenanigan, joke, buffoonery...etc 😂😂😂 Hope you and your class enjoy it, and this brightens your day! Tag me if you decide to use it, tags completely make my day! Comment below and I’ll DM you the link💛
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Are you using my FREE Pi Day Activity like• @sunnyinclass

This fun FREEBIE works with ANY circular treat and is such a fun activity for students to explore and calculate Pi on Pi Day!

Comment below if you want me to DM you the opt in link 💛
Thank so much for the tag @sunnyinclass 💛 I can’t wait to hear what your 5th graders think! #l

#piday #pidayactivities #pidayatschool #pidayintheclassroom #mathteacher #math #mathactivities #mathactivity #mathactivitiesforkids #5thgrademath #5thgrade #5thgradecollaborate #ediblemath #edibleactivities #foodintheclassroom #havefunteaching #havefunlearning
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Guys.... I’m not usually one to toot my own horn.... but 🎺 🎺. You HAVE to try this in your classroom. I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. When plastic bags came to mind I couldn’t find anything that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory it should work.... IT. DOES. Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious. This is SURE to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! 💛 be sure to tag me, I can’t wait to hear all about it!.

Link can be found in my story, or comment below for the link! Link includes the email opt-in for my March Freebie Bundle, that includes TWO no-prep Pi Day activities.
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Comment below if you plan to try this activity with your class tomorrow or comment if you’d like me to DM you the link to the Pi Day FREEBIE opt in 👊
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When an idea for an activity turns out EVEN better than you imagined?!
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Add a little spice to your Stuck in a Snow Glove activity! Your Upper-Grade students will LOVE this activity!
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If you already own this product head to your TPT account and re-download to access ALL the updates I made to this pretty little thing. Just when I thought I couldn’t love this one any more…
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❄️In short it’s MAGICAL❄️
Head to my story or link in bio for more info…
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How many days do you have left until winter break? Comment ⬇️
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I love the idea that the best way we can remember September 11 and #neverforget is to remember the love, and unity that was felt September 12th, and to strive to live that way each day.
On September 12th we were one nation under God.
Indivisible.
Seeking justice for all.
Love this beautiful depiction by @paigepayne_creations see her thoughts on September 12th below.
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“ And on September 12th, we all came together. We were one. My family was living in Scotland when 9/11 happened. It was everywhere, all over the news. In school the day after, we had a long moment of silence in remembrance of those who were lost. We continued to have an annual moment of silence every year after that. It was incredible that even thousands and thousands of miles apart, we were mourning with those that mourned. We were one. At that time, we all displayed what we are capable of. Even in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, humans are capable of immense love. Capable of setting aside differences and coming together as one. As we remember and pay tribute to the thousands of lives the were lost that day, let us also strive to be more like how we were on September 12, 2001. Full of love, understanding, and compassion for each other. “

This painting is inspired by a beautiful photo taken by @masseya ❤️

#911 #911memorial #9eleven #911remembrance #thetwintowers #neverforget #neverforgotten #unity #love
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💡🚨PSA:🚨💡
ATTENTION ALL TEACHER FRIENDS
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Tag your #teachertribe and every #firstyearteacher below for this important reminder:
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As you set up your classroom for the new school year, and start divvying out materials… Do no forget to set aside 2-4 new student kits.
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Just like @adifferentiatedclass (shown in picture) I made sets using Gallon ziplocks.
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If you are in a developing community with new housing I recommend a minimum of 4 bags 🙀
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What to include:
🍋Name-tag/Desk-plate
🍋If you adhere the plates to the desk, have a segment of what you use in the pack.
🍋Welcome Treat (same one you’ve given to each student at the open house/back to school...etc.
🍋Whatever else you’ve set aside for students that begin on the first day of school.
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📣📣📣There will likely come a day when without warning you will be notified you have a new student, and the student will start THAT DAY. Save yourself and your poor new student the stress of frantically trying to get everything set up, by preparing NOW.
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Veteran teachers what else do you include in your new student kits?? Share in the comments below⬇️⬇️⬇️
📸: @adifferentiatedclass
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How satisfying/ beautiful 😻 is this #classroomorganization tip by @the_organized_classroom
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Use paint swatches as a visual to help students sort supplies! Keep this is mind as you set up your classroom for the school year!
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HELP ME BRAINSTORM:
What’s a brilliant #teacherhack you’ve tried or seen done with paint swatches??? Comment below 👇
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I’ll leave mine in the comments!
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Guys… I had a baby 🥰 Almost 10 months ago 😳 I STRUGGLE to consistently show up on this platform, but know how happy I am that you are here!
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There are a lot of new faces around here so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other!
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PLEASE comment below with what we have in common, or something we will never see eye to eye with 😜
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A few things to know about me😬
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🍋 My name is Tara, I’m the creator behind @teachingonlemonlane
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🍋 Lemon was my maiden name and my love for all things lemon runs deep.
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🍋 I’m a fresh lemonade connoisseur, and will not touch store bought/ from the tap.
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🍋 My patronus is a wolf 🐺 #potterhead
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🍋 A piece of my heart will always be in #5thgrade and New Orleans
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🍋 I’m a novice flower gardener and LOVE to experiment with different blooms.
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🍋 Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year this year and have 3 kiddos under 5 💀
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🍋 Go Red Sox ⚾️
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🍋#bucketlist item: New Zealand, Hobbiton, ride the #nevisswing 😳
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🍋 Teaching item(s) I can’t live without…Binder clips😎 You should see what I can #macgyver with a couple clips… also, flair pens. #cliché 🤓
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YOUR TURN: Tell me something about you in the comments!
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To my dear teacher friends still in school, I've got a FREE Father’s Day project I think you will love! Those of you are home with kiddos of your own, consider this fun activity for your Father’s Day Celebration! This is a great #endofyearproject that doubles as a #fathersdaygift 💛🍋💛
This product is available in both a printable and digital version that’s completely editable through Google. If you have a student or child interested in Digital Design, this is a fun way to introduce and experiment with different design tools. Because there are so many different types of situations and circumstances when it comes to a father the words father or dad are never actually used. Which makes this the perfect card to give to any figure that has taken on that important role. Whomever that is, they should be celebrated!
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Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
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Make sure to check out the Lucky Because Bulletin Board BUNDLE get ALL this for only $3.99☘️☘️☘️☘️ The Clover craft is the PERFECT craft for tomorrow!
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If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
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My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
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I just added this CELTIC KNOT inspired Lucky Clover Craft and it turned out so fun! Use either the DIGITAL version and insert pictures into the leaves that represent why you’re lucky, or pick from one of the 18 different top layer options to create a beautiful clover like the one shown above! If you do go this route make sure to check out the EDITABLE bulletin board kit to really put these beauties on display!
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Do you love March? Why or why not? Drop a comment below 💛💛
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Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
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Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
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Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!
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