Relief Society Lessons: Preparing for the New Lesson Manuals
So…those new lessons in the Gospel Principles lesson manual.
Short and sweet, right? 🙂
We’ve had a few emails and comments from troubled Relief Society teachers who are worried about the new format. Rest assured, Kelly Ann will be leading our bloggers as we continue to do lesson outlines (starting Tuesday, January 5th) and count on our faithful readers to chime in with their excellent suggestions.
This new lesson format appears to espouse what we at the Exponent have said since we began our lesson outlines…class should be a discussion, not a lecture. While the lessons are much shorter than our old prophet manuals, there are some helpful discussion questions, which I think, are meant to encourage the students to teach the class as they share personal experiences and ideas about gospel topics at a fairly basic level.
I think these changes are good ones, but I’ll admit that it’s a bit scary to leave those prophets behind (seriously, I NEVER would have thought I’d say that when we first started these lesson outlines). Lately, it’s been pretty easy for me to whip up a lesson with the format I’ve grown so accustomed to.
To help us all in this upcoming change, here’s a list of online resources I gave to the RS teachers in a ward that I have found helpful when thinking about this upcoming change. (Incidentally, this list is borrowed heavily from Kaimi’s excellent post from this summer–he provides even more links. It’s well-worth looking into.)
UPDATE: The official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website (lds.org) also has a webpage with links to past manuals and other resources you may find helpful here.
Online Resources for Relief Society Lessons
1) Don’t worry, you’re already at the first one…The Exponent Blog: a Mormon feminist blog that posts the manual lessons on the first two Tuesdays of the month with outlines, questions for class discussion, and material from and/or about women that pertains to the lesson
2) SugarDoodle: a comprehensive site for games, lessons, activities for all auxiliaries. Under the Relief Society section, you’ll find “Lesson helps” with links to other websites (as of Nov 2009, Exponent was the only active link)
How to’s (Blog posts)
1) How to plan a relief society lesson: Amelia offers excellent ideas about how to organize and prepare lessons, teach students how to prepare for clas (thereby enhancing discussion), and getting the class to think more deeply about the subject at hand.
2) How to teach a scripture passage: Sometimes, we feel like we’ve already done our scripture study in Gospel Doctrine or Gospel Essentials. These new lessons rely more heavily on the scriptures than the prophet manuals. Julie offers excellent suggestions (and links) for how teachers can study the passages of scripture more effectively and pass those skils and knowledge onto the class.
Commentary and Talks
1) LDS.org library: the official Church website for links to all conference talks and curriculum
2) Feast Upon the Word: a website designed to look like Wikepedia that has LDS commentary on scriptures, sometimes verse by verse, often chapter by chapter http://feastupontheword.org/Home
3) BYU’s Scriptural Index to the Latter-day Saint Prophets: matches up talks with scriptures and allows you to see the scriptures and the talks at the same time.
4) BYU Speeches: talks given at BYU (not all GA’s), some need to be purchased to listen to or read
5) Encyclopedia of Mormonism: sponsored by BYU Studies, easily searchable
Deepening Scripture Study for Lessons
Because the Church prefers that we stick to primary sources, i.e. manuals, scriptures, and words of the prophets, I think these sites will be particularly handy when looking at the scriptures listed in the lessons. Though I heart the King James Version, sometimes, I find it helpful to look at other versions of the Bible and read a few commentaries to better understand what I’m reading.
1) LDS.org online scriptures: the official Church website for LDS scriptures
2) Biblos: a comprehensive website for scripture study, which includes multiple translations of the Bible and several valuable reference materials, like Strong’s Concordance, a biblical atlas, and multiple commentaries
3) Bible Gateway: allows you to look up a specific scripture with a translation of your choice (I prefer the New International Version or the International Standard Version)
1) History of the Church by BYU Studies: all seven volumes of this series, compiled in chronological order, but right now, there doesn’t seem to be a way to search this database
2) Stories of early saints, old poetry, lesson manuals, hymns, ads in Church magazines: http://www.keepapitchinin.org/topical-guide/
Do you have sites you’d add to this list?
What are you looking forward to or dreading about this manual switch?