Thursday, April 12, 2012


In my CTR 7 class on Sunday, we assembled some Atonement Eggs for the kids to bring home and teach their families about the Atonement and Resurrection, too. The kids were super excited about the putting the sets together and I was really impressed with how efficient they were with the whole process (I prepared all the items beforehand in numbered bags and handed them out one by one). They did such a great job of paying attention and following directions that we even had enough time at the end to play the Choose The Right game that they love (see the very back of the manual: I copied, colored, and laminated it for multiple uses): they used Squinkies from the treat Easter eggs I gave them as their playing pieces. So fun.

I couldn't find one version of these eggs that I really liked: I felt like many of them were just sort of generic and/or focused too much on the gory details and not so much on Christ and his ministry. I ended up compiling a few different versions and adding some things of my own, which made it a great learning experience for me, too. Most of the items to make these Atonement eggs we either had (nails), or I found either at the Dollar Store (number stickers, gauze, bag of rocks) or at Walmart (eggs, red fabric); I asked the kids to bring their own egg cartons from home.

To prep the kids, three weeks before Easter I introduced the eggs to them and we opened 4 eggs each week until Easter. (Since we had General Conference the week right before Easter, we opened the last 4 eggs on Easter day.) This was a really good learning experience for me because it helped me figure out at what reading and comprehension level the kids in my class were. For the first four eggs I took the scriptures and put them in more of a story format, but left the actual words spoken by Jesus and others in King James Version language. I thought it would give the stories some flow but still root them in scriptural dialect. It ended up just being really confusing for the kids, so for the next four eggs I just summarized what had happened in the scriptures we read. That went better, but I felt like that was a little bit of a cop-out, so it was with the final four that I decided to add in the modern-day application aspect. I really felt like this was the best angle because it connected these stories of things that happened a long time ago with the lives of the kids today. I re-wrote the earlier slips of paper so they all had the same feel and conveyed the same types of information.

As we put the eggs together I read the slips of paper to remind them of the scriptures we had read weeks before. Some of the stories they remembered and some they didn't, but they were more able to interact with the content in this new form which I felt really good about. Some of the stories they still thought were weird, like when Mary washes Jesus' feet and dries them with her hair, but I really felt like they gained a better appreciation for the Atonement and the Resurrection, which, of course, was the end goal anyway. As I read the slips of paper to my busy little students I know that I felt the Spirit at times, and I hope they did too. I'm working hard to make my classroom a place where my students feel safe, listened to, and welcome, as well as a place where they can learn about the Gospel through the influence of the Holy Ghost. I hope it's not pompous of me to say that I think I'm doing a pretty ok job.

Here's are the paper slips for the eggs I ended up with (feel free to copy and paste these to use yourself next Easter!):

1.     Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-11 (palm leaf)

The palm branch was the symbol of Judea. It was on their coins and parts of palm trees were used to make brooms, thread, boats and even medicine. To the Jews, palm branches represented a gift from God because of their many uses in the people’s lives. Putting palm branches at Jesus’ feet was a symbol of giving up worldly goods, both things they needed and things they wanted. The people loved and honored Jesus, and they showed their love and honor by lining His path with something very important to them (“Palms for the Lord” by Dorothy D. Warner, Liahona April 1999). We can show our love and honor for Jesus Christ by giving up food on fast Sundays or making other sacrifices in our lives today.

2.     Mary Anoints Jesus: John 12:1-8 (lock of doll's hair)

Spikenard was a spice that was worth a lot of money. By using it to wash Jesus’ feet, Mary was showing that He was more important to her than material possessions. By drying His feet with her hair she was showing love and humility. We can do these things when we take the time to kneel down a say a prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for our blessings, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

3.     Judas Betrays Jesus: Matt 26:14-16 (3 dimes)

Judas valued money more than he valued spiritual salvation. When we put our priorities on physical things instead of spiritual things, we are doing the same. It is important for us to keep our focus on eternal principles and values so that our spirits can grow stronger.

4.     Jesus Washes the Apostles Feet: John 13:1-5, 12-17 (towel)

In Judea, in Jesus’ time, people wore sandals or went barefoot. This meant that their feet would get pretty dirty from walking around. Usually a servant would be the one to wash guests’ feet and it was not a pleasant chore. Jesus washed the Apostles’ feet to show them that no one is too good to serve someone else. He was the ultimate example of humility and love. We can follow His example by helping other people, even if we get a little messy in the process.

5.     First Sacrament: Luke 22:19-20 (cup)

Jesus introduces the Sacrament. He tells the disciples that the bread represents his body and the drink represents his blood. When we take the Sacrament today we remember His sacrifice for us.

6.     The Arrest: Matt 27:1-2 (knotted rope)

After Jesus finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the chief priests and elders came and arrested Him. They brought him to Pontius Pilate, the governor, to be judged. Even though people accused Him of things that weren’t true, He did not shout back at them, but instead let His actions speak louder than words. We can do this if people tease us. Instead of striking back we can show kindness, charity and love.

7.     Pilate Washes His Hands: Matt 27:15-24 (soap)

Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent and he did not want to punish Him. But the people demanded that Christ be crucified. Pilate washed his hands to show that this was not his decision. We cannot control other people’s actions or choices, but we can do our best to stand for what we know is right.

8.     Mistreatment of Christ: Matt 27:27-30 (red cloth)

The soldiers took Jesus and made fun of Him for being called the King of the Jews. They dressed Him in a red robe and put a crown of thorns on his Head. They spit on Him and hit Him. Even though these things hurt, Jesus didn’t hit back or call names. Even though the men were being mean to Him, He was not mean to them. We can follow His example by turning the other cheek and being nice to people, even if they are not always nice to us.

9.     Crucifixion: Mark 15:20 (nails)

Jesus Christ had the power to save Himself when He was on the cross. But He understood that it was an important part of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation. Because of His sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary, we can repent of our sins and return to live with our Heavenly Father, just like Jesus did. We can follow the Savior’s example today by being obedient to the commandments and following the words of the prophet.

10. Burial: Luke 23:50-56 (cloves in gauze)

Because Jesus died on a day so close to the Sabbath, there was not a lot of time for His body to be prepared to be buried. Joseph of Arimathea brought His body quickly to his own tomb and he and Nicodemus, another of Jesus’ followers, used myrrh and aloes to get the body ready to be buried according to Jewish tradition. Mary Magdalene and another Mary prepared their own spices and ointments to bring the next day to show Jesus more respect after the Sabbath was over (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim). These faithful disciples honored Jesus Christ with their actions, by showing love and respect for Him even after His death. We can show love and respect for our ancestors who have died by learning about their lives and, when we are old enough, doing baptisms and other ordinances in the temple for them.

11. Earthquakes in the Americas Cease: 3 Ne 10:9-11 (rocks)

In the Americas, the people experienced earthquakes, fires, darkness and destruction that told them of Christ’s death. After three days these things stopped and they heard the words of the Lord. These words brought them comfort. We can also feel comforted by the words of the Lord in our lives in hard times. By praying and reading the scriptures, coming to church and singing hymns we make it easier to feel the Spirit and understand the words of the Lord when we need them most.

12. He Is Risen: Luke 24:1-8 (empty)

Jesus Christ was resurrected just like we will be when He comes again. He conquered death for us so that we may have the opportunity to gain eternal life. He is our Savior and our Redeemer and that is something that we can celebrate all year long, not just on Easter.

I also wrote this note to send home with the kids to explain to the parents what the Atonement Eggs are and how they work:
Dear Parents,

We have been talking in class the last few weeks about Jesus and the week leading up to the Resurrection. In class we have read scriptures, told stories, and talked about the symbolism of Jesus’ actions during that holy week. Your child has assembled these Atonement Eggs to help them learn about the Resurrection and to help teach you and your family about them as well. Please make time sometime this week to sit down together and learn more about the Savior and His sacrifice for us.

Each egg contains a piece of paper with a line reading: Number. Theme: Scripture (object) followed by a paragraph of additional commentary. If your family has children that are old enough and focused enough, you may take the time to read the verses from the scriptures as well as discuss the object and its significance. If you have younger children or children with shorter attention spans perhaps just talk about the stories associated with these things. It might help if you review the scriptures and stories beforehand to help guide the discussion with your child. Encourage your child to take the lead on the lesson, but be sure to help them include everyone, asking people to read the scriptures or asking questions like, “What do you think this represents? Why is that important?”

These eggs are just designed to spark family discussion about Christ. They are there to help your children learn and remember more about Jesus’ life, to give the family a reason to gather together, and to encourage the focus this Easter to be Christ centered.

Thank you for your wonderful children! I am so blessed to be their Primary teacher. Thank you for loving them and bringing them to church each Sunday so that we can learn and grow spiritually together.


Sister Elton

I haven't seen the kids since class on Sunday, so I don't know how well the eggs worked at home, but I know that they enjoyed learning about the events leading up to the Resurrection in class, at least, and had a really good time putting the eggs together, as did I. I am really blessed to have such a great group of kids in my class: Braeden and I both agree that Primary is our favorite place in the church, especially right now.

Happy Easter!

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