You could use pictures, sound recordings, and video recordings to help teach scripture mastery. Show a picture or play a recording that relates to a verse, let students find the verse, and then discuss it as a class. Or give students newspapers, and allow them five minutes to find as many headlines, articles, and pictures that relate to the verse as possible. You could do the same activity using sound or video recordings of news, music, and other items.
Note: Do not use visual and audio aids that are suggestive, vulgar, or inappropriate for a seminary classroom. Also be careful to avoid copyright infringement (see “Videocassettes,” CES Policy Manual: U.S. and Canada , p. 16).
Bulletin boards or posters allow you to emphasize scripture mastery passages in a daily way. Create a bulletin board on scripture mastery at the first of the year and update it with the scripture mastery passages being emphasized each week. Or create a “mystery” bulletin board and add a clue each day for the scripture being emphasized that week. Have students write down their guesses and turn them in.
Help students create a scripture chain by choosing four or five scriptures that relate to a scripture mastery scripture. Cross-reference the first scripture to the second, the second to the third, and so on to the end, and then cross-reference the last scripture to the first. Use scriptures included in the daily or weekly lesson, or find them in the footnotes or Topical Guide. Circle the scripture mastery verse in the Topical Guide to serve as a reminder of the beginning of the chain.
One way to help students appreciate the scriptures is to help them apply them in their lives. When students ask questions in class or come to you with problems, help them find the answers in the scriptures. If possible use scripture mastery scriptures. Be alert for problems or situations in which specific scriptures apply, and use them as examples in class. Set up a class question box. Divide the questions among students and have them find answers in the scriptures. Write a few scripture mastery references on the board. Have students choose the reference that answers the question and tell why.
Assign students to give talks based on scripture mastery passages. Have them prepare in class or at home. Besides the scripture mastery verses, they could use the Topical Guide and personal experiences to help them prepare. Each talk should have an introduction, the scripture mastery scripture, a story or example, and a testimony of the principle being taught.
On a corner of the board, write Scriptures Have the Answer. Beneath this each day write a new question and a scripture mastery reference that contains the answer. For example you could write What could I be doing to prepare for my mission? (see Alma 37:35). As the year progresses, you may want to have students supply the questions and answers.
Scripture of the Week
Pick a scripture and refer to it in various ways throughout the week:
Read it as a class each day.
Have a student read it in the devotional.
Display it on a bulletin board.
Have students write it each day.
Have students memorize a portion of it each day.
Role-playing means having students act out stories or scenes that illustrate a principle. Have students role-play scenes that illustrate scripture mastery verses. You could divide the class into groups, assign them scripture mastery passages, and give them five minutes to plan a role play. Have them present their role plays to the class, and invite the class to guess which scripture mastery passage they are acting out.
Worksheets that students can complete in class or as part of their personal study can be an effective way of mastering the scriptures. These might include questions, word searches, fill-in-the-blank exercises, or self-guided learning activities. Note that many of the teaching methods described in this section could be adapted as worksheets.
Encourage students to substitute their own names for the names of individuals in scripture mastery verses. This helps students personalize the scripture. (Note: Be cautious about verses that are addressed to specific individuals and might not apply generally. Do not use verses that might associate a student with a sin or otherwise prove embarrassing.)
Verse and Word Understanding
Have students summarize scripture mastery verses, being careful not to change the meaning. Or encourage students to look for words or phrases that if left out could change the meaning. Discuss which words would be most essential if the verse were limited to eight words or less.
Chapter or Section Headings
Ask questions about the chapter headings to help students understand scripture mastery verses in context.
Identifying Key Words
Have students circle or underline the words they think are most important in a scripture mastery passage. If warranted, you could state in advance how many key words they should find.
Ask students questions about ways they can apply scripture mastery verses to their lives. Choose questions that help your students identify how they feel about the teachings. Ask them about specific principles, as well as what impresses them about the verses. Invite them to write on a piece of paper what they can do to better live the principles being taught.
Have students read scripture mastery verses and write questions about concepts they do not understand.
Make a crossword puzzle or word search using key words or concepts from scripture mastery verses. You could use references or summaries as clues. If you have second-, third-, or fourth-year students, you may want to include scripture mastery verses from previous years.
Give students a statement that is either true or false. Have them prove the statement true or false using the appropriate scripture mastery passage. For example you could say, “The Holy Ghost has a body of flesh and bones.” (False; see D&C 130:22–23.)
Stump the Teacher
Have students try to stump you as a teacher. Give each student a card with a scripture mastery scripture. You could include the words to the scripture or a historical, doctrinal, missionary, or personal application. Have students read their cards, and then you name the reference. If you do so correctly, you get a point. If not, the class gets a point. You could keep a running total for the year.
Name a scripture mastery verse and see how quickly students can find it in their scriptures. Give students the reference, key phrases, or a description of the verse. You could also teach students the order of the books by naming a book and having them find it in their scriptures. Note: Not every student learns well in a competitive setting. Do not allow competition to detract from the spirit of your gospel teaching.
Divide students into groups and assign each group a different scripture mastery scripture. Have each group think of a situation that relates to their verses. After an appropriate amount of preparation time, have them act out their situations without speaking. Have the class try to guess the scripture that applies to each situation.
Read a scripture over and over out loud as a class. Have students close their scriptures when they feel they can recite it without looking. Invite individuals to recite the scripture to the class when they have it memorized.
Use tests to motivate students to memorize scripture mastery scriptures. Consider using their test scores as part of their grades or as extra credit. You could:
Have students write out the scripture from memory.
Have them recite the scripture to you or to another student.
Give them copies of the verse with words missing, and have them fill in the blanks.
Mix up the words in the verse, and have them arrange the words in the correct order.
Give them the first letter of each word and have them complete the scripture.
Give the class an oral exam. Have a student give the first word (or phrase) of the verse, and then choose another student to give the next word, and so on.
Line upon Line
Divide a scripture passage into phrases. Have the class repeat the first phrase until they can recite it. Add the second phrase, and have them repeat the phrases until they can recite them both. Add the third phrase, and so on. Have them speed up as they recite the phrases they have already learned, and slow down as they recite new phrases.
Write the scripture mastery scripture on the board. Have the class recite it several times. Erase two or three words, and have the class recite it again. Repeat the process until you have erased all the words and the class can recite the entire scripture.
Write the scripture mastery scripture on the board. Have the class recite it several times. Erase all but the first letter of each word, and have the students recite the scripture using the letters for reminders. When they have memorized it, erase all the letters and have them recite it one last time.