Friday, May 25, 2018

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 6 Lesson 18 The Birth and Calling of Moses



Much of this lesson is adapted from one I taught for Primary 5:

birds-eye view of our church building on Google Satellite


Write on the board: How is life like a maze?
And hand them out a piece of chalk to come up and write their answer on the board.

Post quotation by President Hinckley on the board as well.


If possible, invite your Stake Patriarch or a teen who recently received their Patriarchal Blessing visit your class to discuss their feelings about it.


Discuss their answers.
How life like a maze? (we can make many different decisions and follow different paths, but only one will lead us to eternal life)

Those dead-end paths in a maze? What does that represent in life?
How do you feel when you get to the end of a loooong dead-end that you don’t know is a dead-end, then you realize it is? (frustrated, regretful)
How do you feel when you solve the maze?

We each have our own path to follow in our life, our own maze.
This maze of ours is ours only, with things that are for us and only to us do and to experience.
This is like our mission in life, what is our mission? We’re figuring that out, right?
A mission is something important that Heavenly Father and Jesus need us to do.

Can you think of some different missions people have in their life? (parent, leader, example, teacher)
Each one of us (give them each eye contact at this point!) has a mission, maybe more than one, to perform on earth.

There’s a lot of good in this world.
Maybe your mission in life is to bring awareness on a certain topic.
Maybe it’s to do service for poor or disabled children.
Maybe it’s to invent something that helps the world.
Maybe it’s to be a parent and raise good citizens.
Maybe it’s to have a calling that allows you to serve a lot of people.
Maybe it’s to simply be kind to others and make them feel happy and loved.

Post up the quotation by Brigham Young from the manual:
“There is neither man nor woman…”

God needs our help to build his kingdom.
(Get out Lego baseplates, Legos, and marbles or some other maze-building supplies)

This baseplate is like our life, our mission, it represents the life’s journey we’re on.

This marble/ball (whatever you have that is small enough but not too small) represents….what do you think? (us)

I want you to work individually or together (depending on how many supplies you have for your class) to create a maze for yourself, for your marble. (show example photo)

(let them have up to 10 minutes to do this, to show off what they did, and time to settle down and get back to learning)
Sometimes these prophets that we’re learning about have a big mission.
What was the big mission for Joseph that we just learned about? (save the people of Egypt)

Moses is who we’re going to learn about next.
We’re going to learn about the mission that he was called to perform.


Tell the story of Moses (through the section listed in the manual) and us the discussion questions.

Also remind them of the history of Joseph and why they were in Egypt.


Use a printed-out birds-eyes view of your church building and the walkways around it.

To do this, go to Google Maps’ satellite image to recreate the one I’ve done of our building shown at the top.

You will be taking them on a “maze” to represent their life’s choices.

Have the door you’ll exit out of marked “earth life” and the door you’ll enter back into “eternal life.”

Walk reverently around the building on the walkways of the maze, following the print out.
You could turn this into a discussion, having the bushes/trees represent obstacles and discuss what they've learned about their life plan.


Knowing what your mission is in this life isn’t always easy, and it may only become clear when you’re older.
How will you know what the Lord’s mission is for you?
Staying living righteously in order to be worthy and able to serve.
You will be blessed as you do this!

Take home idea:
- a maze kit: a Ziploc bag with a paper plate, straws, and a bead and instructions in the example below from my lesson last year
- a fancy marble to remind them of the maze along with the Brigham Young quotation

Friday, May 18, 2018

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 6 Lesson 17 Joseph Forgives His Brothers



Ideas to post on the board:

1/ “Forgive, and ye shall be ______.” - Luke 6:37
(the answer is forgiven, but they might have some ideas of other words that could go there)

2/Words to the Children’s Songbook song Help Me, Dear Father (99).

3/“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” - D&C 64:10

1. Pass out a print-out of the fill in the blank section (7 situations that start with one about Debbie, etc.) from here:

Have them fill it out and then talk about the answers after.

2. Passing out this coloring page of Joseph and his brothers:

3. Post the letters FORGIVE or FORGIVENESS down like an acronym and have them work together as a class to come up with words that fit each letter about forgiveness (friends, our family, repentance, etc.)

Today we’re going to learn the rest of Joseph’s story.

Because so far his story can be summed up by saying it’s about what? (brothers, family problems, anger, resentment, faith, temptation)

We’ll learn today that it can also be summed up by saying it’s about forgiveness.

Ok so let’s recap! (review story so far including Joseph and his coat, his dreams when younger, what his brothers did, where Joseph went, how he acted with Potiphar’s wife and with the butcher and the baker, etc.)

So now it’s 10 years later, and the famine has hit.
Everyone is starving except in Egypt, because of Joseph’s warning.
Joseph’s family back home is starving!

Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy corn (corn is believed to be an umbrella term for the grains they grew at the time), but not Benjamin as he didn’t want anything to happen to him.

They see him as the high powered governor over the land - they don’t recognize him.

Why do you think they wouldn’t recognize him? (it’s 22 years later, he’s speaking another language, dressed in regal clothes, etc.)

They bow down to him, just as it said in Joseph’s dream about the wheat!
He recognizes them, though!
And he doesn’t tell them who he is and it says in verse 7 that he speaks roughly to them.

He tests them to see how they act.
He first accuses them of being spies.
Then he asks them how many sons their father had, they say 10.
They tell the governor (Joseph) that they had 10, one is at home, and one died.

Joseph sends them to prison for being spies.

Three days later, he had his brothers brought before him.

He allows them to buy the grain, but he holds one brother in prison until their youngest brother is brought to them. (Benjamin)

The brothers are like, oh man, this is punishment for what we did to Joseph!

So Simeon is the brother who has to stay behind in prison until they can return with Benjamin.

But when they get home, they see the money they paid for the grain back in their bags!
Joseph had ordered his guards to put the money there.
Another test? Yes.

They report everything to their father and he’s pretty upset - he doesn’t want to lose Benjamin!
Benjamin and Joseph shared the same mother.

So they eat what little food they have left.

Instead of sending Benjamin, Jacob sends the brothers back to Egypt with double the money and gifts to give to the Governor (remember it’s Joseph) and hope that the Governor wouldn’t hurt Benjamin.

He still lets Benjamin go anyway just in case.
So they return, and Simeon is released.

Joseph was overwhelmed with emotion when he saw Benjamin but he wanted to still act like it wasn’t him.

He tells his servants to give his brothers a lot of food and money just like he had before.
He then puts his own silver cup in the bag of grain that Benjamin was carrying.
This is another test.

So they leave and suddenly the Governor’s guards are surrounding them, accusing them of stealing the cup.

But the brothers don’t know anything about it, right?
They search the bags and it’s in Benjamin’s, so he’s taken back to the Governor.
They all return with him to try to help the situation.

Joseph says he wants Benjamin to be his slave and the rest can go home.

Judah tells the Governor that if they don’t return with Benjamin, their dad will die of grief!
Judah wants the Governor to take him instead as his slave!

What do you think this told Joseph about his brother Judah?
Had he gotten nicer? (yes)

Finally Joseph tells them it’s him! He had to see if they’d changed.
He asked if his father was still alive.
He tells them “Come near to me, I pray you.”
They’re kind of shocked and overwhelmed.

Joseph said to them to not fear, because he saw that those things happened for good - he saved the people in Egypt through warning them about the famine.

He tells them to bring Jacob there and he would provide for all of them.

They go and tell Jacob and he wants to see Joseph one more time before he dies.

The Pharaoh welcomed Joseph’s family and they got the best land and the best cattle and lived together until Jacob died.

So remember how Jacob’s sons were the 12 tribes of Israel?
They lived in Egypt for a very long time.

We’re going to be learning about Moses starting next week and if you recall, Moses’ story is about a Pharaoh that doesn’t necessarily like all the tribes of Israel getting so numerous.

(Now discuss what you've just taught, and see what they feel and what they've learned)


Forgiveness is something we all deal with, even today, right?
Did anything happen this morning before church where you got mad or someone got mad at you?
Maybe after church you can talk with that person about forgiveness?

It's almost always hard to forgive. 
Our goal is to get to the point where it's easier to forgive. 
It's very normal for forgiveness to be hard.

It's something we all have to work on.

This is a great video about two brothers who fought a lot when they were younger, the older brother picked on the younger brother, and then how their relationship changed:

(Discuss afterwards what they learned from it)
How do you feel watching it?
How can you relate the story of these brothers to the story of Joseph and his brothers?

This could also be the opening activity and the entire lesson rearranged.
Base this decision on the dynamics of your class.


Break up into groups or stay as one big group (based on your dynamics) and have them create a role-play opportunity for them to practice saying "Please forgive me." and "I forgive you." Have those two lines be mandatory in the skit.

Tell them it's important to practice saying things like I'm sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I care about you, you're my friend, I forgive you. It will be easier to say it when it's the right time.

Have each group perform their skit for the class. You could even video on your phone and share with the parents of the kids.


Forgiveness is a key part of our gospel - how do you feel when you forgive?
I’m grateful that I can follow so many good examples in the gospel and know how to forgive.
I know how good it feels to forgive someone and see them as a child of God, just like I am.

Take home idea:

Corn-related (unpopped kernels or popcorn) with a note/scripture about Joseph and forgiveness

Friday, May 11, 2018

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 6 Lesson 16 Joseph Was Sold Into Egypt



Post Psalms 24:3-5

Other quotation ideas to post:

"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong."
—Gordon B. Hinckley

"We will all face fear, experience ridicule, and meet opposition. Let us—all of us—have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully but also as the determination to live decently. As we move forward, striving to live as we should, we will surely receive help from the Lord and can find comfort in His words."
—Thomas S. Monson


1/Bring in a trap of some sort - unused ideally, clean.
Talk about the different parts of the trap, what you put in for bait, how an animal gets baited etc.
Share how this relates to us in our lives...
What are we tempted by?
What baits us?

What do we need to avoid being baited and tempted?

2/Object lesson on self control, temptations, pure hearts...many are found online.

3/Watercolor reveal - everyone gets a paper plate that you’ve previously drawn on with a white crayon a heart.

Pass out watercolor palettes and paint brushes and have a big bottle of water for them to easily dip their brushes into. They paint over the plate with a wet brush and some watercolor paint to reveal the heart.

Today we’re going to talk about what happens next with Joseph. What tempts us? How can we avoid those temptations? How can we show the Lord where our heart it and that it’s pure? How can we keep our hands clean from sin?


So last week we talked about Joseph and his brothers.
What happened? (have someone review it quickly)
And what were we supposed to learn about bitter vs sweet?

So we are going to continue learning about what happens next with Joseph.
He’s sold to Potiphar and then what?
Remember, with the story of Joseph we’re looking for ways in which he shows that he knows that God is with him!

So here’s the scripture we’ve been waiting for:
Genesis 39:2 “And the Lord was with Joseph…” (put this on the board)

Hmm….do you think Joseph believed that?
Yes, he must have understood that because he served Potiphar faithfully.

Genesis 39:4 Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him (put this on the board)
Genesis 39:5 ...the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake (put this on the board)

This was a big decision for Joseph.
What if he had decided to turn against God because he felt God had turned against him?
What if he’d felt God just simply must not exist for this horrible thing to happen?

Well that would have been the end of the story.
But there’s more.
Joseph continues to serve God faithfully where he was, with Potiphar.
Potiphar noticed this and made Joseph in charge of everything in his household.

Potiphar had a wife and she thought Joseph was just great in every way.
She comes along and wants Joseph to basically be her boyfriend.
He knows that’s wrong - she’s married!
So he rejects her, which is the right thing to do!

But there’s a consequence for him here, unfortunately.
Because when he rejected her, he ran off leaving part of his clothing behind.
She gets mad.
Remember we’ve talked about when we get mad, often it’s because we’re hurt?
And we can choose what to do with that hurt?
She deals with it by using that clothing to frame Joseph, by lying to Potiphar, and gets Joseph in trouble!

Potiphar throws Joseph into prison and we read again in Genesis that God was with him,
In Genesis 39:21. “But the Lord was with Joseph and shewed him mercy” (have this on the board)
In prison, Joseph was put in charge of the other prisoners.
He knows God is with him so he isn’t afraid.
Genesis 39:23 it says again “the Lord was with him” (have this on the board)

A few years go by and a butler and a baker get thrown in prison.
They get to know him in prison.
One day Joseph saw them in the morning and noticed they were sad.
And what do you do when you see a friend is sad? You ask them what’s wrong.
He said literally “Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?” (Genesis 40:7, have on the board)

They said to him, We have dreamed a dream and there is no interpreter of it.
They share their dreams with Joseph and he interprets them.
The butler dreamt of a vine and some branches.
He tells the butler that his dream means he’ll be out of prison within three days.
The baker sees that Joseph can interpret and he’s like, hey I had a dream too!
He tells Joseph that he dreamt of white baskets.
He tells the baker that his dream means that he will die in prison with a week.
Both come true.

The Pharaoh has a big feast for all of his servants.
He restores the butler to his job and gets him out of jail, but he has the baker killed.
The butler forgets about Joseph.
How would Joseph feel?

So two years later, the Pharaoh has a dream.
It’s a dream where the Pharaoh stands by a river and involves some animals.
He slept again and dreamed again,this time about ears of corn.
He asks everyone to interpret it -- wise men, magicians, etc.
No one could interpret the dreams!
And he wants to know what it means.

The butler remembers that in jail, Joseph could interpret dreams.
They get Joseph out of the prison, and it says in Genesis 41:14 that “he shaved himself, and changed his raiment” (put this on the board)
Wouldn’t you get yourself cleaned up before seeing someone important?

The Pharaoh tells Joseph that no one can interpret his dreams, but he heard Joseph could do it.
Joseph says in verse 16 “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh and answer of peace.” (have this on the board)
So he finds out the meaning of the dream! There were 7 years of plenty. There will be 7 years of famine!
Joseph encourages him to be prepared for the famine, store extra food!

So they do and the Pharaoh is so grateful that Joseph is promoted to a high honor in Egypt!

Joseph is over everyone, second only to the Pharaoh, even over Potiphar!


What can we learn from Joseph?
(have a little discussion about all the elements of the story that they liked, remember, and learned from)

DREAM ACTIVITY (my version of the Who? What? Where? game)

(Have 2 pieces of paper per kid and colored pencils or drawing tools of some sort)

Now it’s your turn - you guys are going to draw a dream, any sort of dream.

It could be about unicorns, it could be about cupcakes, or soccer, or a unicorn playing soccer while eating cupcakes! Just make sure it’s Sunday-appropriate.

(Give them time to do a good detailed job and make sure they put their name on the paper)

Now you’re going to pass your paper to the person on your left/right (pick one and use it each time)

On your other piece of paper (upon which you’ve previously drawn two columns and a bunch of lines), you’re going to write the person’s name in the first column and in the second column you’re going to write your interpretation of their drawing/dream.

(Continue on with everyone looking/writing/passing until everyone is done, then have everyone stand up one at a time with their drawing, and everyone says their interpretation!)


Just like Joseph, we can feel temptations all around us to move away from the Lord and towards that which will cause us to lose our testimony. 

This video shows a situation where someone is tempted to choose the wrong thing and not remain pure, and not stay close to the Lord:

(Discuss what they gathered from this video - there may be a lot of comments and thoughts they want to share)


I am grateful for this Gospel of Jesus Christ that keeps me close to Him.

The more I know these stories in the Old Testament, the more I see good examples of prophets who choose the right and who try to avoid temptation and bad situations!

I'm grateful for Joseph and what we have learned about him!

We should strive to keep our hands clean!

Take home ideas:

- Hand-washing stuff (cute hand sanitzer, bar of soap, )
- Pure heart related stuff (heart-shaped treat, stickers, craft)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Short Attention Span Sunday School: Primary 6 Lesson 15 Joseph Was Sold Into Egypt


* portions of this lesson are taken from a Primary 5 lesson I did last year, also on this blog


Set on you table a container of cocoa powder and a Hershey’s chocolate bar (or some other version of regular chocolate).

Post these three scriptures:

My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
- D&C 121:7-8

“...for if they never should have bitter they could not know the sweet.”
- D&C 29:39

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God."
- Romans 8:28


Coloring page of Joseph’s coat of many colors (many found online)

If it’s Mother’s Day, you could have them fill out a questionnaire about their moms.


Today we’re going to be talking about attitudes and adversity.

What is adversity?

Discuss how adversity can be trials, disappointments, sadness, sickness, and heartache that are all part of this life...with the help of the Lord, they can lead to spiritual growth and progress.

Do you know where pearls come from? (Display a picture of an oyster with a pearl in it.)
Pearls are made in oysters.

When a tiny grain of sand gets inside an oyster, it gets kind of irritated. It builds layers of something called calcium carbonate around the sand. Over many years it builds up many layers and those layers become a beautiful pearl.

We often have irritations -- what are some examples you can think of? (use manual examples like hurt, disappointed, mistreated, misjudged)

So when we have difficulties, how do we react? (use manual examples like complain, be sad or angry or jealous)

Do we handle it in a way that turns into something good? (positive attitude, make the best of it)

Our attitudes determine our actions.

Today we’re going to learn about great man named Joseph...not Joseph Smith but rather Joseph, son of Jacob.

(Quickly review the family tree so they are reminded of who has come before…

Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, he was Isaac’s son and Abraham’s grandson, he had four wives Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah, and they had 12 sons altogether)


(Some thoughts are adapted from an essay online on

How would your outlook on life change if you believed God was really with you - in every situation?
  • The bad grade you got
  • The friend that rejected you
  • Hardships you were born with
  • Having to move somewhere far away
How would your outlook change if you knew “God is in this, He has a plan, even though it feels out of control and it’s painful.”

You might be thinking, well I’m not sure if I believe that about everything!
What if you did?
How would your outlook on life and your attitude change if you did believe it?

In the life of Joseph, that question is presented to us.

In the book of Genesis, we learned that God had promised Abraham that he would be blessed and his posterity would be blessed, and that God would never leave him and would watch over him.

So what did that look like in the life of Joseph?

Well who was Joseph, first of all?
Joseph was the son of Jacob
Joseph was really favored by his father Jacob.

Do you feel like sometimes your parents favor one kid over another?
Joseph was a favorite of Jacob’s.
He even gave him a coat of many colors - very bright and colorful.
It showed that you had a high status.
Usually the oldest brother got to wear it, but Jacob gave it to Joseph.
He was one of the younger brothers. do you think this might make his brothers feel?
It made them so upset, even so much that “they could not speak peaceably unto him”

And then Joseph started having dreams.

In one of them, he and his family were working out in the wheat field when Joseph’s wheat suddenly grew bigger than everyone else’s and suddenly everyone’s wheat stalks began to bow down to Joseph.

So Joseph shares this dream with his family.

Hmm….didn’t go over too well. It says in verse 8 that they hated him more for his dreams.

One day his brothers were out in the mountains feeding the goats.
Where was Joseph? NOT helping. He didn’t have to, remember?
But Jacob asked Joseph to go to them and check on them.
He found them and it says in verse 18 that they were together conspiring against him to slay him!

Why would they be conspiring to kill him?

They saw him and said in verse 19 “Behold, this dreamer cometh.”
They plan to slay him, put him in a big pit and lie that an animal killed him and eat him.
But his brother Reuben heard this and said no, “Let us not kill him” (verse 21).
He said to instead throw him in a pit and let him starve, but not hurt him.
Reuben was more merciful and planned to save him later out of the pit.

So then Joseph caught up to them and they took off his colorful coat, and cast him in the pit.
It was just an empty pit, no water.
They noticed a group heading to Egypt and had an idea - Judah said, well what good will it do us to kill him?
We should sell him.
So they lifted him out of the pit and sold him for 20 pieces of silver and brought him into Egypt.

Reuben had been gone and came back and Joseph was not there!

He was sad, probably because he was going to free him. He “rent” Joseph’s coat in grief.
They had to do something to explain where Joseph had gone to their father.
So they took his coat, ripped it up, dipped it in goat’s blood and took it to their dad.

What do you think they tell their dad? “This we have found” (Joseph must be dead, we found this coat)

Their father is really sad and said “It is my son’s coat, an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.”

Jacob was sad for many days!

And what’s happening at that time to Joseph?
He’s down at the slave market being bought by an Egyptian called Potiphar.
He was a big big head guy, captain of the Egyptian army!


Okay, so there was a lot to that story.

What are your thoughts about Joseph? 
About his brothers? About Reuben? About Jacob?
Why does the Lord allow adversity in our lives?

There’s a scripture in D&C 122:7 that talks about all experience being for our good.

How can it be for our good? (We learn, we turn to God, our faith grows)

How can it help us look to our Savior? (He suffered greatly for us, He knows what we’re going through)

Does anyone want to share an experience that’s been really hard for them that’s strengthened them?

(Let the discussion go for a bit, as long as they have things to share)


What does bitter mean to you? (Sharp taste or smell, not sweet)
What does sweet mean to you? (Pleasant, not salty/bitter/sour, a sugary taste)

Refer to the cocoa powder and take out a spoon.
Drop a tiny bit in their palm for them to taste but warn them it won’t taste much like chocolate.
Perhaps have small water bottles for them!

How does this taste? (Bitter, gross, icky)
What do you think this cocoa powder is lacking?
It says “unsweetened” so what is missing? (Sugar)

(Hand them a small piece of chocolate to help get rid of the bitter taste.)

We're going to do a "bitter" and "sweet" activity.

Everyone gets a BITTER and a SWEET sign to make.
(Give them a paper plate and a marker or colored pencil or crayon.)
Have them draw a bitter face on one side and a sweet face on the other.

List “bitter” and “sweet” experiences and have them hold up the corresponding side of their sign to “vote” on what the answer is.

The experiences you list can be from daily life, from Joseph’s story (so far), from all the stories in the Old Testament so far (so like a review).

Post this quotation on the board and read it together:
Trials give us opportunities to show the Lord and ourselves that we will be faithful. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves and ask, “Why me?” or we can grow from our trials, increase our faith in the Lord, and ask, “How can I be faithful in the midst of this trial?” We can let adversity break us down and make us bitter, or we can let it refine us and make us stronger. We can allow adversity to lead us to drift away from the things that matter most, or we can use it as a stepping-stone to grow closer to things of eternal worth.

- Larry Richman, BYU Devotional, published in the Ensign

Hand out questions and a pen and tell them to read the questions through and answer after the video.

Watch as a class.

  1. Either said she could either be a bitter angry person or hit the challenge head on. What did she choose?
  2. Katie said she knew everything was going to be horrible / terrible / perfect / okay. (circle one)
  3. After serving others and giving them hope, how did Katie feel? 
  4. What is this life about? ____ of others and the ____ that it brings. (fill in the blank)
  5. What physical activities did you see Katie do after her accident? 
  6. The Lord sees the _______ picture. (fill in the blank)
  7. The Lord sees the _______ within the disability. (fill in the blank)
  8. What did President Uchtdorf say about trials at the end? They form our _______ and shape our __________. (fill in the blank)
  9. Would you say Katie focused on the bitter or on the sweet?


Share a testimony of how adversity can strengthen us!
Send home some Hershey’s/chocolate treats with this note (and attach to a Mother’s Day card or questionnaire if it’s Mother’s Day) and have the words bitter and sweet highlighted on the printout with either bold or italics etc.:

“If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day.” - President James E. Faust