Illustrated by Children
As a Primary teacher I have found storytelling to be one of the children’s favorite activities, especially when pictures go along with the story.
In my search for illustrations to use with my lessons, I looked for color pictures that were large enough for a group to see, but outside of the ward library I could find few pictures that would serve my story-time needs.
Eventually I turned to my own artistic abilities. One evening I tried to draw a crow for a story to be told in Primary the next day, but when my 10-year-old daughter asked me why I had drawn a whale, I groaned to myself and thought, “The kids could do better themselves!” Then I realized I had found a solution. I would let the children illustrate the stories.
Now when I have a story to tell, I read it through several times until I am familiar with it. Then I write numbers in the margins where I want to show an illustration. I take some plain sheets of paper and number them to correspond with the story.
Before I tell the story to the class, we have coloring time. I ask the children, “Who would like to draw a picture of a bird sitting in a tree for me?” or “Who will draw me a picture of a man building a fire?”
I hand out the papers with the corresponding numbers and some crayons or markers until all of the children are working on a picture. Sometimes I will ask two or three children to work together on one picture so that all the children are involved. I give them a time limit, then I collect the pictures and put them in order.
While I tell the story, the students give me their full attention because they want to see how their pictures fit into the story. Giving the children the opportunity to illustrate the story helps them pay closer attention, learn more, and retain more.
, Mountain View 10th Ward, West Jordan Utah Mountain View Stake
Planning for Family Unity
Over 100 years ago, my great-great-grandfather Ezra Thompson Clark organized a family association to help his descendants plan family reunions and preserve the family’s history. Today the association continues to unite our extended family, as evidenced by the 400-plus attendance at a recent reunion. Focusing on four key areas, the association’s simple outline has withstood the test of time and can serve as an effective model for organizing family associations today.
Testimony. At the first official family gathering, my great-great-grandfather bore his testimony of the gospel and had it written down so, as he put it, “my children and my children’s children may know.” His full testimony has been read at every family reunion since 1901.
Family standards. At the end of that first gathering, my great-great-grandfather encouraged family members to cultivate their own personal testimonies, be charitable and honorable, and teach the children well. This advice was also written down and has been shared at our family reunions.
Organizational structure and written instructions. Ezra carefully outlined an organizational structure—a president, an executive committee, and a secretary/registrar for keeping the family records. Specific family members were then assigned to these roles, and written instructions were provided for replacing these positions and for scheduling family reunions.
Funding. Ezra left money in his will to be used as a genealogical fund and to support the association. In recent times, the organization has also sought family contributions to cover expenses.
For generations, many family members, including my immediate family, have been involved in the association. I now serve as president, and my involvement in the association has deepened my appreciation for the blessing of eternal families. Because of the unity my family feels with extended family, we have a heightened gratitude for our forebears—a kinship we share largely because of my great-great-grandfather’s foresight over a century ago.
, Little Cottonwood First Ward, Salt Lake Little Cottonwood Stake
Ready-Made Family Home Evening
One of the reasons our family nights are successful is that we store lesson and activity materials in a handy kit. All you need is a container big enough to store your materials. A few suggestions for kit materials, available through Church distribution centers, are listed below. Or you can simply use items you already have in your home.
Scriptures. I keep an additional set in the kit so they are always handy.
Family Home Evening Resource Book (item no. 31106; U.S. $5.00). Whether you plan a lesson in advance or on the spur of the moment, this resource book is full of good ideas for all ages.
Gospel Principles (31110; U.S. $3.00). Basic explanations of gospel principles are important for the entire family to learn.
Hymns (31243; U.S. $5.00) and Children’s Songbook (35395; U.S. $10.00). Since music can bring the Spirit to any lesson, these items are essential.
Gospel Art Picture Kit (34730; U.S. $30.00). Children learn especially well when visuals are used, and the stories printed on the backs of these pictures provide instant lessons.
Church magazines. The Ensign, Liahona, New Era, and Friend magazines offer many articles that can be used in lessons.
New Era posters. These gospel messages can be easily adapted for family discussions. They are available as individual posters or in sets.
Church pamphlets and booklets. My kit contains several pamphlets. A few suggestions are For the Strength of Youth (36550; no charge), Our Family: A Practical Guide for Building a Gospel-Centered Home (33405; U.S. $.30), and How to Talk to Your Teenager (32541; U.S. $.35). To see a listing of all Church distribution center materials, log on to www.lds.org or www.ldscatalog.com.
Lesson and activity supplies. Include such items as paper, pencils, scissors, and glue to use in lessons. It’s also helpful to keep on hand Church videos, games, and other activities.
, East Mill Creek First Ward, Salt Lake East Millcreek North Stake