We have two new occasional students in my class.  I say “occasional” because custody issues make their attendance necessarily periodic.

I don’t know much about David.  I’ve only seen him three times so far.  He can only come once a month.  He seems older, so I’d say maybe he’s about ten.  He’s a model student; sits quietly, raises his hand (mostly) to ask questions, and responds to questions with appropriate (thoughtful, even!) answers.

Durendal comes twice a month.  I’ve only seen him twice so far.  He seems younger, so I think he’s about eight or nine.  He’s also a helpful student so far but seems a little overwhelmed by the others when they get going.  (I don’t blame him; so am I!)


Opening Prayer.

Attention Activity: Brainstorm. Subject: Temptations

Scripture puppet show. (Made two puppets, Jesus and Satan. Also drew scenery on the blackboard.)

Discussion questions to listen for:

Why did Jesus go into the wilderness?

How do you think fasting and being with God helped prepare Jesus to resist temptation?

How did studying the scriptures help Jesus resist?


Narrator: The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be with God. He fasted for forty days and forty nights. When he was done he was hungry. Then Satan came to him.

Satan: If you are the Son of God, command these rocks to be bread.

Jesus: Mankind does not live only on food but also on the words of God.

Narrator: Then the Spirit took Jesus to the holy city and put him on the top of the temple. Satan followed them.

Satan: If you are the Son of God, throw yourself off. The scriptures say that the angels will save you.

Jesus: Do not test the Lord God.

Narrator: Next the Spirit took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain. Satan followed them there too. He showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Satan: I will give you everything you see if you will kneel and worship me.

Jesus: Get away from me; the scriptures say “Worship the Lord your God and only serve Him.”

Narrator: Then the devil left.

Answer discussion questions.

Decide, Pray, Listen to the Holy Ghost — how can doing these things help us resist temptation?

Role Play resisting a temptation from the earlier Brainstorming activity.

This lesson did not go smoothly. I was expecting 6 or more students and I only got 4. That meant three students to do the puppet show and one to watch. If I’d thought faster I’d’ve taken the role of narrator myself but I’d planned it with one particular student in mind and it didn’t occur to me to change things at the time. Alvin put up a fuss about not getting to read anything; in vain I pointed out that he’d read the last time we acted the scriptures out. Stephen was willing to trade places but Alvin just doesn’t have the reading ability the activity required. In the end Alvin refused to watch. It was not our best effort.

I had to send Stephen out to find his dad later; I’d paired the boys up for an activity and when I refused to let Stephen and Alvin pair up (because they’re out of control together), Stephen sat back in his chair and pretended to sleep. I asked him to participate; he refused. I asked if he needed to go see his dad; he didn’t respond. So I sent him to find his dad. In normal circumstances I would have sent him to the Primary President but she was out of town and we were too shorthanded that day.

This lesson ended in a bit of a muddle but the scripture reading/puppet show went pretty well. I’m pleased with that at least.

Recently (er, a couple weeks ago… *innocently whistles*) this arrived in my mailbox. At first I wasn’t sure what to do with it but then I thought that new writers need all the support they can get. So in an effort to do my part supporting LDS writers, I’m going to share this with you. 🙂


My first book, “Secrets in Zarahemla,” will be on bookstore shelves this week. In honor of my debut novel, I am offering several contests on my website, www.sariahswilson.com.

I’m contacting you in hopes of spreading the word about my book and to give you the chance to participate in one of the giveaways, the “Secrets in Zarahemla Tell A Friend Contest.” I am hoping that you will tell your blog readers about this giveaway. The direct link to this contest is:


One reader can enter to win a free copy of “Secrets in Zarahemla” and a $50 gift card of their choosing. They will need to enter the name of your blog in the “who referred” them box.

The blogger/blog site that drives the most entrants to the contest will win their own $50 gift certificate and a free copy of my book.

The contest lasts until February 28, 2007.

Thanks so much!
Sariah S. Wilson

Opening Prayer.

Attention Activity: 2 groups — who can finish the verse first?

_____ came to John the ____ in Judea ____ ago and was baptized by ______ in the river ______’s flow.

Question: What does it mean “baptized by immersion?”

Scripture reading: two students do a mini-play.

Jesus: I want to be baptized.

John: I can’t do it. I need to be baptized by you; why come to me?

Jesus: this is how it must be for now; this way we do everything right.

John: Then I’ll do it.

Discussion question and activity: Jigsaw.

Break students into two groups.  Give them two minutes to discuss and decide why we need to be baptized.  Tell them you want reasoning, not just “because God says so.”  When two minutes are up, combine them into one group.  Tell them to compare and discuss their answers and come back to you with an answer they all agree on.

Enrichment activity: categorze the following strips into the things we promise God when we are baptized and the things He promises us.

Give us eternal life.

Stand as witnesses of Heavenly Father at all times and in all places.

Give us daily guidance through the Holy Ghost.

Help others.

Give us many blessings.

Serve Heavenly Father and keep his commandments.

Forgive our sins.

Become members of Jesus’ church.

Share testimony.

Closing prayer.

Things went pretty well today, in large part thanks to the support I’m getting from the new Primary Presidency.  Nikolai and Stephen were being disruptive and rude so I sent them to see the Primary President.  I expected her to keep them for a few minutes and send them back; she just kept them.  This lessened my numbers, which made the groups more difficult to arrange, but also upped the atmosphere by quite a lot.  The kids still tended to silliness but it was at managable levels.

I actually ended up with five minutes left over at the end of class.  I improvised and asked if anyone could recite the Fourth Article of Faith.  John searched his scriptures for it (totally on his own initiative) and read it out to the rest of us.  We then wrote it on the bookmarks I made to remind them of their reading assignment.  This was a mixed success; John did well but the others either have writing difficulty or are still too new at it.  Almost no one finished and few were legible.  Oh well, we tried.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what to do with class clowns?  Stephen isn’t a bad student, just full of energy and a need to be the center of attention.  When I make him our “chalk man” (he gets to do the writing on the board) he does well with that and is more focused in class but I can’t do that every single time.

In January I went home for a week. During that week my husband decided to surprise me by cleaning out the computer room. Needless to say, most of the computer room ended up in the living room as an amorphous mass of papers, books and other miscellanea that we needed to weed through. Said amorphous mass ate the dining table and all of the floor space.

The Home Teachers came over. I straightened up, made sure there were clear seats available, then smiled and shrugged.

My Visiting Teachers are coming over tomorrow. This will be the first VT visit I’ve had in a year or so. (Not that I’m SuperVisitngTeachingWoman myself.)

I couldn’t take it. The idea of these women seeing my house in this state… Gyaaaah.

After considerable digging, the table has been re-discovered. Though earlier efforts had yielded encouraging results from the floor blob, one final push of locating and categorizing was necessary before the floor was re-claimed.

The dusting and vacuuming will be done tomorrow. The bathroom will be wiped down. The amazing pile of dishes we managed to accumulate this weekend (in large part because I have declared Sunday my No Housework Day) has been whittled down and will be vanquished tomorrow.

I ain’t touching that Great Wall of Books-to-be-Sold-or-Donated in the laundry area though. Even if it is clearly, plainly, unavoidably visible due to the open-concept aparment design. Gyaah.

This is what I did (with some help in planning from my husband who is in teacher’s college) for lesson number one from the Primary 7 manual. Lesson title is “Becoming Familiar with the New Testament.” (See here to “meet” my students.)

Opening Prayer.

Attention Activity: Book Scramble. (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.) Questions to ask: What are these? Where do we find them?

Brainstorm (5 Minutes) : How scriptures can change our lives. (Example: when I need comfort, I read the scriptures.) Assign a student to list everyone’s ideas on the chalkboard.

Scriptures: Ask for a volunteer to read 2 Timothy 3:16 &17.

Questions: What does Paul say the scriptures are good for? What does he mean?

Game: Four Corners. Hand out four pieces of paper and pens. Ask one group to write “Doctrine,” and “Correction” the other to write “Reproof” and “Instruction.” (Write the words on the board for them to copy if necessary.) (Note: these categories came from the scripture reading.)

Have the children clear the room of obstacles. Tape the papers in different corners of the room. Have the children stand in the center. Explain to the children that you are going to point to items on the list they made during the Brainstorming Section and you want them to run to the corner they think applies best. Compare and discuss eachother’s decisions.

Share your testimony of the scriptures.

Closing Prayer.

This lesson went very well; the kids really enjoyed the game and actually asked to keep playing at the end of class. They were interested, involved and interacting. Most importantly, they were thinking! Yay thinking!

Things I would do differently next time: I would ask the Scripture question BEFORE I had them read the verses so they’d know what to listen for. Isn’t it always the little, basic things that trip you up? As it was, they had to read the verses three times and still didn’t really get it, even though by the second reading I’d asked them the question. I’m thinking of doing a mini-lesson at some point on how to read Biblical English; perhaps I’ll pair it with a mini-lesson on methods for studying the scriptures.

Recently sextuplets were born to a family in Vancouver. Little is known about the family other than that they are devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Last week the state seized three of the four surviving infants to give them transfusions because it is against the tenets of the JWs and the parents had refused. The parents and their doctors were pursuing alternative methods of treatment. The responses in the editorial pages have been vile.

“Perpetuating the myths”

Michael Rai-Lewis (Imposing Religion — Feb 2) writes that parents should not be allowed to impose their religion on infants, who are not capable of choosing anything. When carried to its logical conclusion this is an idea that no religion could ever permit.

Imagine if parents were prevented from imposing religion on their children until they could make an informed choice for themselves — say, at 14 or 16 years old. The children would reject such ludicrous fairytales, the same way children outgrow Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

No, we won’t be seeing this any time soon. The mythmakers simply could not allow it. The duty of parents to brainwash their children is sacrosant in every religion for a very good reason.

My response, which I hope the paper will print:

If choice is what bothers Michael Rai-Lewis (Feb 2) and Christpoher Price (Feb 3), then I wonder how they can condone the state forcing transfusions on those infants. They could not make an informed decision; how does the state have more right than their parents to make decisions for them? These are not parents who have neglected or abused their children in any way; these are parents who have fought every step of the way for these children’s lives. “Selected terminations” and DNRs were recommended by doctors; if not for these parent’s choices, those children’s fates would not even be up for debate. What about those choices? Should the state, which forced a decision on those children in order to save their lives, have forced a decision on them to end their lives?

In the end, it is the parent’s job, even duty, to make decisions for and on behalf of their children. Mr. Price appears to advocate not teaching our children anything until they can understand and make the decisions for themselves. When taken to its logical conclusion, this is an idea that no parent and no society period can permit. Don’t teach your children how to eat healthfully? What three-year old would choose whole grains and vegetables over a cupcake and chips? This is a choice a parent must make. For that matter, what about global warming? If we were to wait to act upon it until everyone completely understood it and was able to make what those who advocate such a choice feel would be “quality” decisions, then we would be waiting a long time indeed. Say, for everyone on the planet to get a Ph.D in environmental studies.

So what Mr. Price’s comment comes down to is “don’t allow parents to teach their children anything I disagree with.” Should I then advocate that people like him should not be allowed to teach their children their brand of athiesm? Afterall, I disagree with it. And if my children are too young to be taught my values and the basis upon which I make them, then so are his.

I am disappointed with the Globe and Mail for printing the nastiness and ignorance I have seen these last few days. Canada prides itself on its openeness and tolerance but apparently that doesn’t extend very far.