svithe: Work_Service_Priesthood_Love (an experiment)


I teach Elders Quorum once every four months, and today was my turn. And I decided to do something different. This is a choice I often make. Sometimes it works.

You know how sometimes in class, the teacher will hand out a few little slips of paper and then, at the appropriate moment, call for them to be read? That was the template. The difference was that, this time, I made somewhere around 150 slips of paper (yes, for a half-hour lesson).

Here's a pdf of the slips: http://thmazing.com/templates/theric/pdfs/Work_Service_Priesthood_Love.pdf. (I may not leave this up forever, so if you decided it's useful for you, download it now.)

Most of the slips are taken from Teachings of Presidents of the Church, although there were other things as well including Robert Frost, Lao Tzu, Mother Teresa, Kurt Vonneget, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Charles Schulz, etc etc etc (oh: and the scriptures).

The idea was to create a wide variety of voices to pick and choose from; anyone could read any slip at any time as it seemed appropriate to them. And it worked out all right, but it was a little difficult, I think, for anyone to feel fully sure of that the heck was going on at any given moment.

(I was talking metalesson with Miguel Sanchez and he had a clever idea I'll have to try sometime, viz. take the randomization to a pure lever. Give each slip of paper a number and bring a couple ten-sided dice and completely through my lesson into the maw of chaos. This is awesome. I will also be thinking about how I will bring this into the classroom. I'm really regretting not buying a scoop of dice at Comic Con now....)

a previous EQ lesson
previous svithe

And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.


  1. 'Phile (aka Miguel Sanchez)8/02/2009 4:23 PM

    I've got you covered in the dice department, Th. Choose from the standard ones (with 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 20 sides), or you can experiment with the more exotic 24- or 30-siders.

    [Now of course none of you will believe me when I deny--in all honesty--that I've ever played real RPGs.]

  2. .

    At Comic Con I saw eety-beety dice, metal dice, alleged to be the world's smallest dice.

    But though I choose to believe you, I still am not the least surprised that you have cool dice.

  3. .

    (ps: so you're 'phile!)

  4. The reason I suggested a more complete randomization is that since each of us had many quotations in hand, it was up to us to select which quote to share with the rest of the class. The process of selection allowed the class members to filter the source material so as to keep the overarching theme more cohesive. (That is, each successive quote didn't stray too far from the one before.) Unfortunately, this seemed to thwart Th.'s vision, at least to a degree.

    I imagine that the organic cohesion arose because such lessons are typically highly cohesive and also--I suspect--because class members didn't want to step on others' toes by completely changing the subject (in effect ignoring the contribution of the previous participant). At least, that was one of the reasons I didn't share the quotation I wanted to discuss (time being the other major factor).

    I think there is great potential--pedagogical and otherwise--in what you attempted, Th., and I very much look forward to future implementations.

  5. .

    Another problem dice would solve would be that if the numbers do the talking, responsibility for choosing a "wrong" quote to share is removed.

    As it was, once we started, our direction was set. Like leaping out of a spaceship.

  6. Oh, man. I would love to see RPG-type decision making in church. (For what it's worth, we have a lot of chance-based games in primary, albeit not with dice in the shape of the higher Platonic solids.)

  7. I think your lesson was brilliant, and I plan to shamelessly steal the idea and use it for many years to come.

    Thanks for making Sunday fun.