Today I want to share one of my old favorite teaching ideas…
I called it the ol’ “Pass and Write”
There are SO many wonderful General Conference talks and every once in awhile I thought it was worth our time to give the kids time to read the entire talk. But, I would struggle with how to get ALL of my students to read them in class. Without fail, there were a few that thought that while everyone else was reading, that was their free pass to pull out their phone, make 4 trips to the drinking fountain, stare into oblivion… and I would struggle to figure out what to do. Should I not have them read the talk? Should I stand over those students who were not participating? Should I sing and dance to keep their attention?
So, one day I thought of this. And it worked like a charm. EVERYONE would participate AND it helped all of the students get even more out of the talk!
First I would take the talk and put it into Word and reformat it and try to fit the entire talk onto one back and front page. I found that 2 columns fits more on one page than 1 column, and that 9 point font is usually big enough.
Then I would number each paragraph. I do this for discussion sake so that we can easily find phrases that they liked when they share after they finish reading.
So here is what I would do:
1- Give each student a copy
2- Have them put their name on the top of their paper
3- Then have them sit in a circle and have them pass their paper to their person on their right. (Because I typically had 30 students, I would just have them stay in their rows but I would create a snake-like pattern that kept things flowing – far from a circle, but all they needed to know was who to pass to).
4- Then they started reading. So they are reading someone else’s talk and their instructions are to read, mark and give commentary to help their friend get the most out of the talk. Underline important phrases, circle special words, write your thoughts and testimony in the margins.
5- Then about every 3 minutes I would say “pass”, and then they would pass again and keep reading where they left off. Unless there was something that they wanted to go back and mark because it was so important to them. And here is what is so cool about this… for those students who maybe wouldn’t have read it for themselves, will usually want to read it for their peers. So cool!
6- The great thing about this, is because your fast readers are still occupied. Even if they finish the talk, they will want to keep marking the new papers they are getting.
7- Then the cool part. When you think they have read the entire talk, tell them to return the paper they currently have to the name on the top of the paper. Then watch what happens. Here is this talk they have just spent all this time reading and marking, and now they are reading it ALL OVER AGAIN! They are looking at what everyone else marked and put in the margins! They are reading all of the comments and testimonies of their peers!
Here is an example of how I may layout the talk. And this is a talk from one of the January 2013 Young Women lessons:
Here is the PDF: Your Happily Ever After