Thursday, March 24, 2016

Celebrating Purim in my LDS Seminary Classroom

Here is a handout that you can give your students:

Journal sized handout:

Purim How-To Guide

Videos to show the students:

The Maccabeats - Purim Song

The Fountainheads


Raise Your Mask Purim

I made some easy Hamantashen cookies with pie crust and milk chocolate chips.  Here's how:

I bought some ready made pie crust  and rolled it out.

Then using a small mason jar I cut out as many circles as I could.  It made about 17 circles per pie crust.
I placed about 9 chocolate chips in the center of each circle.

I outlined each circle with water using my finger.  Then I folded up one of the sides.

Then I folded up the other two sides.  Make sure that you pinch the corners tightly or it will pull apart when it is baked.

I baked them in a 450 degree oven until brown (about 7 minutes).

They really were yummy and fun to eat!

Funfetti Cheesecake Hamantaschen

Here is a link to 36 mouthwatering Hamantashen that you can make from Buzz Feed:

Here is an explanation of Purim from the LDS Old Testament Manuel:

Esther: Queen of Persia and Advocate for Her People (Esther)

LDS Old Testament Student Manual Kings-Malachi, (1982), 329–32

 Esther 9:17–32. The Festival of Purim

The pur (plural purim), or lots, Haman used (see Esther 3:7) to determine the day of destruction for the Jews were now viewed by the Jews as a great blessing. The fact that the lot had fallen on a day some distance into the future allowed Esther and Mordecai time to save the people. In celebration of this great deliverance, the Jews initiated a new festival which is still observed among them to this day. It is called Purim for the lots cast by Haman and is a festival of great joy. A modern Jewish writer described its celebration:
Purim is the nearest thing Judaism has to a carnival. It is another full-moon celebration, falling on the fourteenth of Adar, usually in February or March. The origin of the holy day is in the Book of Esther. The occasion is, of course, the famous deliverance of the Persian Jews from their Hitler-like oppressor, Haman. …
“The day before Purim is the Fast of Esther, a sunrise-to-sundown abstention. At sundown the synagogues fill up. The marked difference between this and all other occasions of the Jewish year is the number of children on hand. Purim is Children’s Night in the house of the Lord. It always has been, and the children sense their rights and exercise them. They carry flags and noisemakers, the traditional whirling rattles called ‘groggers,’ which can make a staggering racket. After the evening prayers the reading of the Book of Esther begins, solemnly enough, with the customary blessing over a scroll and the chanting of the opening verses in a special musical mode heard only on this holiday. The children are poised, waiting. The Reader chants through the first and second chapters and comes at last to the long-awaited sentence, ‘After these things, the king raised to power Haman the Agagite’—but nobody hears the last two words. The name ‘Haman’ triggers off stamping, pounding, and a hurricane of groggers. The Reader waits patiently. The din dies. He chants on, and soon strikes another ‘Haman.’ Bedlam breaks loose again. This continues, and since Haman is now a chief figure in the story, the noisy outbursts come pretty frequently.  The children, far from getting tired or bored, warm to the work. They do it with sure mob instinct: poised silence during the reading, explosions on each ‘Haman.’ Passages occur where Haman’s name crops up several times in a very short space. The children’s assaults come like pistol shots. The Reader’s patience wears thin and finally breaks. It is impossible to read with so many interruptions. He gestures angrily at the children through the grogger storm and shoots a glance of appeal to the rabbi. This, of course, is what the children have been waiting for. The stag is down. Thereafter to the end it is a merciless battle between the Reader and the children. He tries to slur over the thick-falling ‘Hamans,’ they trip him every time with raucous salvos. He stumbles on to the final verse, exhausted, beaten, furious, and all is disordered hilarity in the synagogue. It is perhaps not quite fair to make the Reader stand in for Haman on this evening, but that is approximately what happens. …
“Beyond this gaiety, it carries four religious obligations: to hear the Megillah (the Scroll of Esther) read, to distribute largesse to the poor, to make a feast, and to exchange presents with neighbors and friends. This last institution is Shalakh Manos, the Sending of Gifts: things that can be eaten and drunk the same day.” (Herman Wouk, This Is My God, pp. 98–100.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Minute to Win it - Old Testament Bible Style Games

In Seminary this year we are studying the Old Testament.  For our Christmas party I thought that it would be fun to have a review of the year so far with Minute to Win it games.  Here is what I came up with.
I gave each team 5 apples and had them do their best to stack them.  The team who had the most apples stacked at one minute won.

You could also have a person from each team eat an apple and the person who eats most of the apple wins.

For this one you will need 2 jars and a bunch of plastic animals.   I taped a picture of Noah's Ark to the outside.  Each person puts the jar by their feet.  

While standing straight each person tries to drop an animal into the jar from their nose.  The teams that has the most animals is the jar at one minute wins.

Each team is given a stack of cups.  The team who has the tallest tower at one minute wins.

For this one you will need 2 empty tissue boxes, 2 belts and 16 ping pong balls. Put slits on the two sides of the tissue box to slip the belt through.  Fill each tissue box with 8 ping pong balls.  Each person playing ties the belt around his waist with the box in the back.  They both have one minute to dance around until all of the ping pong balls (seeds) have been bounced out of the tissue box.

For this you will need 2 straws, 40 marshmallows, and two plates. Each person will have one minutes to get 20 marshmallows (sheep) into the plate (the pen) with the straw.

For this challenge you will need 10 3"x 14" pieces of poster board and about 40 cups.  Give each player 5 pieces of poster board and a stack of cups.  Each player builds a ladder with the poster board for rungs.  The team with the tallest ladder wins.

Each team gets a copy of Joseph's coat to color.  They have one minute to color it on their head.  Each player must use at least five colors.  The team is allowed to give advice on how to color in the lines.  The team that does the best job wins.

This one I did not end up doing.  Here's how it could be done.  You will need 20 old Bibles.    Each team will have one member help another team member stack 5 Bibles in each hand.  Then they will have to walk across the room with all 10 Bibles without dropping them.  The team that gets all 10 Bibles across the room first wins.

This challenge is in reference to Deuteronomy 33:17.   Give each team a bag of Honeycomb cereal.  Each team will have one member lie down on the ground while another team member stacks the honeycomb cereal, one on top of the other, to look like a unicorn horn.  The team that has the tallest horn wins (without cheating).

For this challenge you will need to print out two pictures of the brick wall below onto cardstock. Fold the cardstock in half like a card.  Place the cards at one end of the table.  Both teams have a member blow the card across the table and then try to get the card to hang off the edge without falling off.  If the card falls off then they have to start all over.

This is all the further we have studied this year.  If we come up with more games I will be sure to post them on here. 
Good Luck!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Celebrating Hanukkah in My LDS Seminary Class

I don't know how your seminary year is going, but I am having a hard time keeping up with my lessons so that I am on track for the assessment test.  Since it is Hanukkah I really want to incorporate the holiday into my daily lessons. This week is a four day week for my class.  I thought that I would just touch on a little bit of Hanukkah every day this week.  

I will give you an overview of what we did to celebrate.

Day one: 
I introduced the holiday to the class. I decorated with some Jewish garland that I bought at Hobby Lobby for half price.  Below is a outline of the holiday with a link for more information.  Since we are studying Numbers 15 where the children of Isreal were commanded to wear the blue tassels I could tie it into the Jewish blue of the Hanukkah holiday. Here is a great explanation of the blue from the Institute manual.

The ribbon of blue also symbolically suggested concepts of deep importance. Blue signifies the heavens and so symbolizes the spiritual realm or godliness (see Fallows, Bible Encyclopedia, s.v. “colors,” 1:440).
“The zizith [tassel] on the sky-blue thread was to serve as a memorial sign to the Israelites, to remind them of the commandments of God, that they might have them constantly before their eyes and follow them, and not direct their heart and eyes to the things of this world, which turn away from the word of God, and lead astray to idolatry.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:3:104.)

Here is a link to great explanation of Hanukkah: has this amazing Hanukkah information sheet on how to celebrate Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, the festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days.

Day Two:
I brought the class some of the Hanukkah Gelt (chocolate gold coins) that are used during Hanukkah.  I gave each student a few of them.  I reviewed the scripture mastery Exodus 19:5-6:

 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:
 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
We discussed what it meant and what we need to do to be a peculiar treasure.  I explained that it is part of the Hanukkah tradition to give out this candy.  
The Jewish Outreach Institute has a great explanation for the Hanukkah Gelt:

Day Three:
I told the class about the Apocrypha.  You can read about it here in the D&C Student Manual.
“Speaking of the Apocrypha the Lord says: ‘There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly; There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men. Verily, I say unto you, that it is not needful that the Apocrypha should be translated. Therefore, whoso readeth it, let him understand, for the Spirit manifesteth truth; And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom; And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated.’ (D. & C. 91.) …
The Latka comes from the story of Judith that is in the Apocrypha. So does the story of Hanukkah.  Without going into a lot a detail, I gave them this explanation of Judith.  When the Assyrian armies were attacking  a town near Jerusalem,  a beautiful woman named Judith wanted to save her town.  Judith snuck into the invading armies camp where the general spotted her and invited her into his tent for dinner.  She fed the general salty cakes to make him thirsty for wine.  When he was drunk she chopped off his head with his own sword and took his head back into town.  When the army found their general headless, they left town. Judith saved her town from the invading army.
I cooked the class some potato Latkes. I combined a couple of different recipes that I found online.
You will need onion, salt, potatoes, eggs, flour and peanut oil. While the recipe works with any type of potato, using Yukon Gold is recommended.
Potato Latkes 
2 cups peeled and shredded potatoes
2 Tablespoons of flour
1 Tablespoon grated onion (fried if desired)
3 eggs beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup peanut oil for frying
Drain and dry the potatoes the best you can.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Heat the peanut oil in a heavy frying pan.  Using either a 1/3 or a 1/4 cup measuring cup drop the potato mixture into the oil.  Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the potato mixture into a flat pancake.  Fry 2-3 minutes.  Flip when the potatoes are golden brown.  Brown on the opposite side for 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with sour cream and green onions or apple sauce.
I also found this frozen hash brown latkes recipe on It's much easier for those of us who are teaching early morning seminary.  Just click here for the recipe.
Day Four:
We played the dreidel game at the end of class.  I used a honey cereal for the markers.  I also served donuts to the class in honor of the Jewish tradition to have donuts made in oil.  For a fun article you can read "The war is all about the oil" on
I bought some dreidels at Hobby Lobby. Luckily they were half price!  Target sales them in packs of 8 for $1, but they were sold out.  
We had a great time discovering the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Each of us in an Inn Keeper - quote by Neal A. Maxwell printout

I bought each of my seminary students a mini manger at the 99 cent store and needed a good quote to go with it.  I found this quote and thought that it was perfect.  I put together this printout to attach to the manger.  I have it in two different forms.  One you can printout onto the paper of your choice.  The other is done in the chalkboard style.  If you would like to use it for Christmas then just click on it and save it into your pictures, or copy and paste it into your printing program.

To see all of my seminary ideas just click here.

And to see all of my Christmas ideas just click here.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Let your LDS Seminary Students Teach the Book of Leviticus - Handouts of the summary of the lessons.

For the lessons in Leviticus I let my students teach it to the class. I went through the manual and made a handout for each of the Leviticus lessons.  Then I divided my class into 5 groups and gave each group a printout of the handouts below.  I let each group decided how they wanted to teach it and who would teach what.  I gave them about 15 minutes to prepare.  I then had the students give their lesson a group at a time.  It took a couple of days and they did a fantastic job.