Teaching Idea: Passing and Writing- The Red Headed Hostess

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


  1. Shannon…I LOVE you…have been trying to figure out a way to do somethiing like this that is meaningful and keeps EVERYONE engaged!


  2. I absolutely love your ideas. I have used several in my class with such a great response. I can’t wait to use this one. They sure will get alot more out of the talks this way. Inspired indeed.

  3. You must be an amazing teacher! This is inspiring and the most incredible way of teaching and learning! Thank you for sharing!!!

  4. I have only 3-4 laurels in my class. Last Sunday I taught for the advisor, and thinking to keep them all focused, I gave each a copy of the talk on prayer. Thought it would motivate them to keep focused as they took turns reading outloud. I love your idea! I will have to try it when we all meet together on the 1st Sunday.

  5. Genius! I’m definitely going to try this. I’m also loving the study guide I got. Keeps me on track all month as I work through it and add ideas from lessons each week to enhance my own notes. Thanks!!

  6. Thanks for sharing this idea! I tried it today and it worked so well! I was impressed with how quiet the young women were and how seriously they took the job of highlighting the talk for their friends. Thanks for sharing so many great teaching ideas with all of us.

  7. Genius! sheer genius!! I’ve been looking for a way for our girls to be more involved and I think this method is sheer genius!

  8. Tried this this week with my family and it was totally amazing. The kids loved it and asked to do it again and got so much out of the talk. I was really happy with the results. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience

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