Lesson help for June: Come, Follow Me Youth Sunday School (“Priesthood and Priesthood Keys”)

Post-It Notes on ChalkboardThe first two weeks of June’s Sunday School topics are “How can I participate effectively in councils in the Church?” and “How do women and priesthood holders work together to build the kingdom of God?” I’ve been teaching 14 year olds for several years now, and these lessons often lead to questions about their (YM and YW) real budding concerns around gender in the church. I wanted to address this rather than avoid it, but in a way that would be me surfacing their priorities and feelings and not me projecting my concerns on them and speaking to that. I decided to use a trendy “Design Thinking” teaching technique and have them do an activity with post-it notes.

I especially wanted to really let the youth lead with ideas and contributions for this first Sunday of the month, so after our usual round of sharing “highs and lows” for the week, this activity took up the entire rest of the lesson time:

Procedure:

  1. I grouped the youth into teams of 2 or 3, and gave each a pad of post-it notes and a pen.
  2. I asked them to write down as many things as they could think of (one per post-it sheet) with this prompt: “Things that a person does that are related to church and are important.” I told them they could be things done in church building or temple, or at home; things you do or that other people do; things leaders or regular people do. No additional prompt, no introduction of the month/day theme, and no clue as to what these post-it collections were for.
  3. After quite a long time (maybe 5-10 minutes), I called time and drew two giant intersecting ovals on the chalkboard. I asked if they knew what a Venn diagram was, and only a few raised their hands so I called on one explain to the others.
  4. Then I labeled the ovals “men do it” and “women do it” (this elicited some giggles because of course it did).
  5. Next I asked the youth come up and place all their post-its in the appropriate Venn diagram location. One good thing about this–especially for afternoon church–is that it gets them up off their feet!

Results:

This is what they made (some post-it submissions just had drawings so I moved them to the top for decoration):

Post-It Notes Venn Diagram

It ended up being more apologetic than I had planned! It beautifully emphasized in striking color just how huge the intersection is. I loved how the strength of the intersection happened organically since they didn’t know how the post-its would be used when they were generating them–they were only told to write things that people do related to church that are important.

Tying it together:

I went through reading off as many as I could and praising some of my favorites (e.g., “give compassion” and “think about Jesus” in the intersection). Giving each group a different color post-it pad helped ensure that I could praise at least one from each group.

I concluded the lesson by noting that there’s more than enough in the middle to keep us busy for life, and that we would talk more about some of the details of priesthood, church councils, and leadership in coming weeks. I feel that we now have a solid and positive foundation from which to advance a discussion of any more sticky or delicate issues that might come up in coming weeks.

Notes:

  • I can’t emphasize enough how nice it was to get them talking, writing, and moving around the room! We forget that Primary kids aren’t the only ones with wiggles and boredom.
  • One of the girls cheekily put “be righteous” in the women only section, and one of the boys insisted “basketball” belonged in the men only section. We talked about that quickly as a class and came to a consensus that they both belonged in the intersection. The rest had no dispute.
  • Listening to the chatter while they worked was interesting. The youth naturally viewed it as a contest to see which group could come up with the most. Some assumed it was going to be scored like Boggle, where answers you have that another group also has don’t count. I let them speculate freely since these assumptions were useful to the goal of having them focused on generating as many post-it ideas as possible.

Best of luck to you in your lessons this month, comrades!

Comments

  1. Aussie Mormon says:

    Is that a high-heel and a bulldog in the women do it section?

  2. Haha, yes, looks like I didn’t catch all the picture ones to move them to the top!

  3. This is SUCH a great idea, on so many levels. I love that nearly everything falls in the intersection. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  4. How did you know I was subbing this week? Thanks for planning my lesson! Love it.

    p.s. NY kids are all too aware of what a Venn diagram is from second-grade on. It makes me sad for their loss of innocence.

  5. Kevin Barney says:

    Simply outstanding.

  6. Also subbing in the 14 year-old class this coming Sunday. This is so perfect! Thanks.

  7. Love, love, love this! Thank you!

  8. This is awesome, Cynthia! Thanks for sharing it.

  9. merethemum says:

    Brilliant! Thank you.

  10. In addition to the major points, I liked the way you used color to be sure you addressed something from each group, subtly that probably no one noticed it. That’s a trick that could be used in any setting, any age.

  11. Thanks Ardis!

  12. I have to confess it was something I noticed in the moment, not forethought. But I did want to mention it so that those adopting this idea would have a heads up not to buy a multicolor pack.

  13. Excellent idea, so I tried it in my class this past Sunday. Sadly, a class of 10 students evenly mixed between boys and girls came up with almost nothing for the “Women Do It” exclusively part of the diagram. They did, however, manage to list numerous ordinances performed only by men. I managed to spin it back to center but was still a little disappointed. As a proud father of three daughters, I hope the overall message they took away was still how awesome and powerful women are.

  14. merethemum says:

    Thanks again for this idea. I used it today and it worked out great. Like your class, my class could see that the purpose of the priesthood was to bless the lives of every member. Male AND female.

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