Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leading the Singing

We had a blast at Primary today!  I have noticed, on several occasions, many of the children attempting to duplicate my song-leading.  Last week I asked the children if they would like to learn how to lead the music.  They were really excited about it.  Surely I wasn't the first primary chorister to take on this challenge, right?  So I hit "Sugardoodle" and, sure enough, someone had handily posted a wonderful teaching plan...just what I was looking for.  Here it is, her plan written by Brooke Wakefield, word for word:

"I substituted as the Primary Pianist today and thought our Primary Music Leader did such a great job today...I asked her if I could share what she did.  She is trying to come up with ideas to get the children to watch her and understand conducting (how to do it and how to follow the conductor).

She started by tapping the music stand and raising her hands and watched everyone to see what they'd do.  They looked at her and wondered what she was doing.  She asked them, "Have you ever been to a musical performance or watched a conductor as he/she is getting ready to start?  What does it mean when they tap their baton on the music stand?
It means that they are ready to start.  When we do our Primary Program, I will do the same thing.  She showed them how a conductor instructs everyone to stand and sit down.  We practiced it a few times.

Then she gave each child a straw.  (I used unsharpened pencils.)  She told them if she saw them messing or playing around with it, instead of following her instructions, they would lose their leading stick and wouldn't get it back.  It did the trick as they were really great with them.  First she had me play, "Listen,Listen" and had them conduct "however it felt most natural" listen for the beat.  Everyone did a pretty good job.  Then she taught them how to conduct 2/4.  I played the song again and they all conducted.

We tried another song and then she had them sing AND lead.  After they got it down pretty well, she called three children forward to lead the Primary.  She sat down on the front row and asked the three children to please raise their sticks until everyone was ready and watching.  She also informed them that the pianist (me) wouldn't start until THEY told me to.  We sang through the song and they did a great job.

She sent them back to their seats and called up three new children.  She asked them, "Did you ALSO know that you are in charge of telling the pianist how fast and slow to go?  How do you think they know how fast to play?"  She then demonstrated to the three children that the faster you move your leading stick, the faster the pianist will play.  We sang the next song and all three children started conducting at lightening speed (which meant that the children had to sing at lightening speed as I did my best to play that fast.  Everyone struggled; however, she said, "Why do you think we only have one conductor and not three?"  She got some great answers on that one...

Then, for senior primary she taught them a little more about beat and key signatures.  She photocopied one of the Primary songs and passed a copy down each row and asked them to look for one of these symbols (she wrote them on the board) 2/4, 3/4, 4/4.  She taught them how to lead each one.  She also reviewed fermatas by saying, "When the conductor holds the leading stick hold that note until they move the stick again."  We practiced this a few times by singing "Listen, Listen:.

The children did SO well with their straws and following instructions.  In fact, I would venture to say that the Junior Primary did even better than the Senior Primary.  They were so excited to learn how to conduct.  It will help them to know what all of her hand signals mean and why it is so important for them to watch her."

I pretty much followed this great plan as it was laid out.  I just didn't have them practice standing and sitting because we'd already practiced that prior to the program.  I passed out a bunch of primary songbooks for the children to find songs in the key signatures we were learning, then we sang and led those. 

Afterwards our First Counselor came up to me and said she had tried many times to teach her kids how to lead music in their Family Home Evenings....without success.  Now, today, she watched as her child lead the music perfectly.  Compliments don't come any better than that! 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Over!!

Our Primary program was two weeks ago.  I just wanted to post here and let you know how it all came off...after my perceived trauma (see previous post). 

First of all, thank you-thank you to those of you who commented, gave advice, and most importantly, support.  It meant the world to me...really! 

Well...the program was absolutely wonderful.  We compromised a bit and placed a couple of the recommended songs back into the program, leaving off just one of the songs the kids hadn't sung in a while.  The two teachers DID sing, "This is My Beloved Son."  However, they were a young husband and wife team who teach one of the older classes.  They did a great job, and nobody seemed to notice that it was unusual.  I don't know if they planned it or not, but they were even color coordinated.  (smile...) 

One thing that I did (which one of the teachers told me must have been "inspired") was to sit right next to the podium on the stage.  Then when the kids sang, I held up a poster with graphics and words. I held it resting my left arm on the podium so that the poster would not be seen by the congregation.  I led the song with my right arm.  Having the words there really helped, I think, as an added assurance that they would SING! My primary is made up of ALL BOYS  (well, maybe three girls, but you get the idea...)  And typically, boys are not the most reliable singers.....

They sang their little hearts out!  I was just so proud of them all. 

Now that brings us to last week, when we had one of the most fun primary singing times all year.  It took ZERO preparation, people!  It's a "Name That Tune" kind of idea.

1.  The children were to try to think of their favorite song without disclosing it to anyone else.
2.  I passed out numerous primary songbooks to help them, if they couldn't remember the name of the
3.  I picked a reverent child to come up and whisper the name of the song to the pianist.
4.  She played a few notes for the children to guess.
5.  After the children guessed the song, the child got to lead it - or do the actions, etc.

I was A.M.A.Z.E.D. at the songs the children chose....and the fact that they could guess them!  Even the teachers got into it.  The older kids really got into it and tried to find the most obscure songs like, "The Thirteenth Article of Faith."  But even that one got guessed.  With the songbooks passed out, the kids could use them to help them sing the songs they didn't know all the words to.

A great time....   Since even I didn't  know what the songs were, I got to "play" with the kids.  I loved it. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Song Review and Mother's Day

We Reviewed "I Belong to the Church...."  I had them do an action every time they sang the word, "I" or "I'll."  such as taking a step to the right, then another step back to the left, etc.  Another way was to have them sit down and stand up each time they sang "I." 

The "meat" of the time was spent reviewing "Mother I Love You," since our primary is singing for Mother's Day in Sacrament Meeting.  To make it more fun, I brought out my beanbag game that I found at Zurcher's last fall.  I've been meaning to add some cute name for the game in colorful letters, but I haven't come up with a primary game name that I'm satisfied with...yet.   It doesn't matter to the kids, though....they always love it when I bring it. 

For today, I chose the best singers, more reverent, etc. children to try a beanbag toss.  If the beanbag landed in a hole, the child got to choose a page from the flip chart and pin it up on the board...anywhere they chose.  When all the pages were on the board, the song was pretty scrambled.  I let them try to sing it that way...which was pretty funny.  The challenge was for the kids to unscramble the pages and get them in the correct order, singing the song from the beginning, and adding the new phrases as they were added correctly.

The flip chart is found on Jolly Jen's posters....

Next month we learn "The Holy Ghost."  I'm really excited, because I'm planning on using handbells to teach it!   I'll post the handbells arrangement and my teaching ideas later in the week.  Hope you'll check back!

Monday, April 19, 2010


In my ward, this week was the first week for "I Belong To the Church......"   Just like I thought, it was a breeze to teach, and the kids picked it up really, really quickly!  Especially with this funner than fun idea I found on the "Primary Singing Ideas" blog.  Here's the URL:

Since I don't own a white board, I just pulled out some colored chalk and used that.  We have two blackboards in our primary room.  One is stationary at the front of the room, and the other is movable with a bulletin-type board on the other side.

I got there early so I could write the song on BOTH boards.  One for Senior and the other for Junior Primaries.  There wouldn't be enough time in between to re-write the song on the board again. 

This picture is just to show how to write the song - with different colors. ('course I wrote the words to "I Belong....")  The Primary Singing Ideas Website will give you step-by-step directions.....

The kids just LOVED the fizzy-white-powder-in-the-water-that-turned-color-like-magic idea!  It was just so much fun.  Even the teachers and leaders were stumped!  They all came up afterwards and asked, "How did you DO that?"  Awesome.   You've gotta try this.  Click on the URL above, and see what I'm talking about.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two Weeks Off!!!!

Because yesterday was General Conference, and next week will be Stake Conference, I won't even be introducing this month's song until the 18th.  HOWEVER, I have a feeling that "I Belong to the Church...."  will be a SNAP to teach.  It has such a catchy tune, is upbeat, and has that kind of marching rhythm that kids love. 

Here's a picture of a poster that I plan to use, which I purchased ready-made from, clear last November.  The kids in my primary really like the posters, as they're a little burned-out (so am I) on the flip charts.  I'll include a game, (as soon as I think of one) to reinforce the song, once it's learned....First, I need to prepare this month's calendar - for the whole two remaining weeks of the month.

However, this time off will give me time to prepare ahead....  yeah, right!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Choose and Review Day

This was one of those weeks that the only time I had to prepare for primary was late Saturday night. I changed my mind so many times about how I wanted to do the choose and review...while incorporating Easter into the mix, since General Conference is on Easter this year. So this is what I came up with. I covered a box with red wrapping paper (any color would do), and attached clear protective sleeves to each side. In each sleeve is a clue as to what the song to be sung would be. Then I placed the large question mark over it. To pick the helpers, I asked if anyone had pink shoes, blue tie, red hairband, etc. Just look around at the kids and pick out something exclusive and use that. It worked really well.

The "helper" would choose a side and pull out the question mark. He or she would look at the clue and try to think of the song. Most kids knew the song, but didn't know the title, so they enlisted the help of the entire primary.

Here's how it works. For most of the songs, I would take a page from the song's flip chart and stick it in there for a clue. Included in the songs to review were the extra two that they're learning for Stake Conference. It worked out sweet!

Here's the fun part. I put some slips of paper inside some Easter eggs. A "helper" picked an egg and opened it up. As you can see here, it says for the boys to sing. The other slips said, "girls sing", "blue and green eyes," "teachers sing," "pianist picks a class to sing," etc. If the group picked was small, I had them come up to the front so they would all be together, instead of spread out.

I wanted to give each child something for Easter that would remind them of our Savior. So I brought a basked of filled eggs. In thinking of what I wanted to place in these eggs, I visited Deseret Book in hopes of finding a small picture of Christ. I found some things there that were sooo CA-UUUTE!

Here's a closeup. First, I found stickers that say, "I Know My Savior Lives." So I put them on the front of the eggs. Then I found the most darling little taffy candies, that actually have I "heart" Primary in the Primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. THEN I found little stickers which are the same picture from the front of this year's primary program.

It all fit sweetly into the egg. The stickers on the front were of both boys and girls. I didn't notice that until I had almost filled all the eggs. But the kids noticed right off the bat!

So... in letting each child choose an egg, each one was very careful to take the correct gender. Hahaha! VERY fun today. Had a blast

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winging It....

I got back in town late Thursday night, worked my usual job on Friday, then helped paint my son's newly finished basement yesterday.  In between, I couldn't get hold of my substitute chorister to obtain all my "stuff."  So.... I arrived at primary today without it. Although I was mildly stressed, we had fun anyway!

SENIOR PRIMARY:  I had the kids vote on which verses they most wanted to sing  for Follow the Prophet.  They chose Adam, Daniel, Jonah, and President Monson.  I chose the "People are Confused" verse, just cuz I think it's funny and cute.  So those are the verses we worked on. 

I wrote the words to the verses on the blackboard, then when we had sung them a couple of times, erased an entire line.  I let the kids choose which line to erase.  By the time all lines were off the board, they had learned the verse.  No visuals, just me and the blackboard.  The kids really paid attention, and seemed to like it.  Sometimes the simplest things.......go figure.....

JUNIOR PRIMARY: I started out by singing a couple of wiggle songs, as the kids seemed pretty geared.  We sang "Hinges", and "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" gradually getting faster and faster each time we sang it.  The Sunbeams LOVED this!

Since many of our Jr's can't read yet, I opted for picture prompts, for our Follow the Prophet review, on the blackboard.  That is, I drew simple pictures on the board for each verse.  Now....I am NOT an artist, to be sure.  And I just had to laugh along with the kids at my "drawings."  But that just made it more fun, and the kids were paying attention, so....that's the important thing, right?  These are what I drew:
  • Adam's name with a picture of a flower and tree - to represent the Garden of Eden. (One little boy said he could draw a better flower than I did.  HaHa!  I'm absolutely SURE that he could!)
  • Daniel's name with a picture of a lion.  (The kids had several suggestions on how to make the lion "better")  :-)
  • Jonah's name, picture of a big fish whale.  (Even though it looked like Little Nemo....sigh...)
  • I drew an old-fashioned TV for the "confused" verse, complete with rabbit ears!  (Had to explain that one!)
We already had a picture of President Monson in the Primary room, so I just used that for his verse.  All in all, it was one of the more fun singing times we've had. 

Next week I'll be reviewing all three songs we've learned so far this year.  "I Know That My Savior Loves Me," "He Sent His Son," and "Follow The Prophet."  I'll post my ideas for the review in a few days.  Have a great week!  And THANK YOU for visiting my blog!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Missing Primary ...and a Calming-Down Trick

I'm in the sunny state of Arizona this week, visiting family.  I missed teaching primary....I worry about my primary children just like a mother hen.  "Are they learning the songs?"  "Were they reverent and responsive for the substitute chorister?"  I'm sure they were just great.

I DID visit the primary here in Gilbert this morning.  What's so cool about our church is it's unity.  Any primary on planet earth, that you may have attended today, was learning "Follow the Prophet."  I was excited to see how someone else would approach it.  HOLY COW!!!  This primary had over 100 children!  Mine has a total of 30.  BIIIIG difference!  The chorister was teaching the President Monson verse today, using pretty much the same idea I used last week.  I felt for her, though, in trying to keep everyone's attention.

One trick I learned today was how to get children's attention when they're all over the place. This trick was used in settling down the kids after coming in from Sacrament Meeting:

The Primary President stood behind the microphone and said, "If you can hear me, put your hands on your head."  As the kids took notice, she then said, "If you can hear me, stand up."  "If you can hear me, fold your arms."  etc.....   It worked really well.  By the time all the kids were listening, she sat them down and they were ready for primary to begin.  LOOOOVE simple little ideas like that.....

I'll be back next week!!!!   Have a good one, everybody!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Follow The Prophet - Week 1

It took me quite a while to figure out how I wanted to attempt to slay this beast. There are lots and lots of fantastic ideas out there.  I finally settled on an idea from the Primary Singing Ideas blog.  I liked the interactive maze idea....made out of footprints.

Before I go any further, let me take a sec to say THANK YOU!!!! to all you creative people out there who make my calling as primary chorister so much FUN!  People think I'm brilliant because of you.  So....if I see a great idea, I'll be sure to give the author the I've done on this post.   Now....moving forward.... 

The goal of this maze thing is to follow the"right" path, and not get sidetracked on our way to following the prophet.  Each footprint has a phrase printed on it.  Some phrases are incorrect, that is, they don't go with the song.  I placed the footprints face down on the board.  A "reverent" child comes up and picks a footprint, reads it to the children, and decides if it is correct or incorrect.  If it is incorrect, it gets set aside. At the end, a clear path shows the way to following the prophet.  The kids REALLY, REALLY liked it!  This is how to set up the footprints.  The red line is just to illustrate where to place the "correct" footprints.

This was a blast to do, and it helped the kids learn the words to the song in a fun way.  I started out by teaching them the new President Monson verse found in the February Friend.  I wanted to use this verse because all the other verses are about prophets from waaaaaay back.  This one would give the kids someone to relate to....and realize WE have a prophet today. 

That said, I found the verse to be rather tricky, taking some extra thinking and some quick pronunciations.  So if you teach this verse, start sloooooow.......  I tripped up a bunch of times.  The kids seemed to really enjoy the verse though.  It's a little more snappy with all the additional syllables.  You'll see what I mean....

Some of the incorrect phrases on the footprints are pretty hilarious.  You can download the footprints here. The kids and teachers laughed at them.   I love when we have fun like that.  Here's a sampling:

I taught the verse to the children, BEFORE playing the game, by using these visuals, found on the flipchart on the Singing Ideas blog here.

To keep all the "Follow the Prophet" stuff together, I created a three-ring-binder just for this song....with all the flipchart visuals I'm going to teach the children.  I placed the footprints for the President Monson and Adam verses in the clear protectors with both those verses.  The inside pockets make great places to keep game pieces and instructions.  This is important because I'm going to be out of town next Sunday, and I wanted to have everything available for the substitute chorister - in a way that makes sense. 

This Sunday I want them to review the Adam verse the same way, except Adam will probably be at the end of the maze. Nothin' wrong with doin' the same thing twice - if it works - right?

Sorry the lighting is a little on the yellow side.  I think the camera was set wrong....  

Monday, March 1, 2010

Goin' With the Flow...

I got an e-mail from my primary prez mid week, informing me that the senior primary kids will be singing in Stake Conference April 11.  We'll be singing "I Know That My Savior Loves Me," which they all know really well.  Then a medley of "Teach Me To Walk In The Light" (verses 1&3)  incorporated with "I Want To Live The Gospel."  (verses 1&2).

So....I scrapped my previously made plans, and began teaching the seniors "I Want To Live The Gospel."  Thing was, it was also Ward Conference yesterday....  So EVERYBODY was in there, which made me a bit more nervous than usual.  I came up with the following, but honestly, I don't feel real great about how it went over.....the kids seemed really wired yesterday for some reason...and I didn't feel like I had their attention as well as I usually do.  Plus, I went overtime....shoot!  So much for a good impression for the Stake Leaders!  Dang!  But for what it's worth, this is what I did:

To teach this song, I sang the song to them while showing the flip chart (by Jolly Jenn).  I guess they hadn't sung this in a while, because they really didn't seem to remember it.  Then I asked them to identify some action words....things we must DO.  They are:  "Live, Know, Follow, and Live."

I had helpers attach the words to the edge of the umbrella.  Each action word is a different color.  I made flags to match each color, then handed a flag to four teachers. A child came up to turn the umbrella as we sang.  The kids in each teacher's area would sing the phrase from the song with that word in it. 
If time had allowed, I would have switched the flags around so the kids could sing different phrases.  HOWEVER, the kids DID learn the song....that's the important thing, right?


I brought my "Keyword Connection Jar" for reverent kids to reach in and pick a slip of paper with a keyword on it.  Then the child would try to think of a song which either had the word in it, or was about the subject.  All the kids ended up helping each child pick a song.

To make somewhat of a game out of it, I drew a road on the blackboard (two parallel lines with a dotted line in the middle) with a car cutout on one end, and a picture of Jesus on the other.  The object was to get the car all the way to Jesus by the end of Primary.  If they sang well, or at least made a darn good effort, I moved the car. They seemed to like this a lot, and one of the Stake Leaders said, "You had them right in the palm of your hand."  Seriously!  Glad that things went a little better in Junior Primary.
To pick the reverent kids, I used my huge yellow glasses as my "Reverent Child Finder."   I showed them to you here... 

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Props for Review Week

We reviewed "He Sent His Son" this week.  I wasn't sure whether they'd remember much, because last week was spent entirely on Valentine's Day.  I was VERY happy to find that the kids remembered MUCH more than I even hoped!  I had a poster made by  It came complete with lamination.  The kids responded really well to it. 

I also had some 'blobs", which are nothing more than erratically cut poster board, then laminated.  I had "helpers" come and place the blobs anywhere they wanted on the poster.  It covered up pictures, text, or both.  It was very helpful in pointing out areas where they needed more work.

THEN...  I had put together a sort of singing meter to measure their progress.  I didn't have time to doll it all up with pictures, etc, but they loved it anyway!  In fact, the Junior Primary sang so beautifully, and with such heart, all the adults were in tears at the end of singing time.  Besides learning the song, we really felt the children KNEW what they were singing about.  It was one of the most touching singing times we've ever had.

This is just a blue foam board, covered with yellow poster board.  I cut two slits in the top and bottom with an exacto knife...big enough to allow the bulk of two ends of ribbon to get through.  Then I sewed together some white and red/white dotted ribbon.  The words were cut from my cricut machine.  I wanted to add some motivational pictures...smiley faces....but ran out of time.  Maybe later......
This is the back of the board.  You can see where I've written the location of "Needs Work," "Fair," "Good," etc. so that the person holding the board doesn't have to watch it from the front. I had the primary prez do it. She was awesome, and had a lot of fun messing with the kids, as she would lower it in places that the kids faltered in their words, etc. Honestly, it worked better than I ever expected. I love days like this. It makes up for the times when a plan flops. Gratefully, those are few.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Conference Packets

General Conference is coming up in two weeks!  Here are some adorable packets put together by Melanie, at Sugardoodle.  she is SO creative!  Just click on the link below and it will take you there.  She has two packets for  Junior and one for Senior Primary.  Check 'em out!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Singing Time

It was SUPER FUN!!  I shamelessly copied all the visuals and used all the ideas from the Beehive Blog.  (The link is in my previous post.)  It turned out really cute, and the kids just loved it.  I had the kids sit in a circle to make it easier to pass the little stuffed pillow.  I found the pillow at JoAnn's and used it instead of the suggested cupid cutout because it went along with the "conversation hearts" theme, and was less likely to get ruined.  (The older boys can be a little rough.  :-)

 Preparation, however, was actually a lot more work than I had anticipated (isn't everything?)  But it was worth it. 

The best part was the surprise song for our pianist in our Senior Primary.  (Also from last post.) When she realized the kids were singing to her, she started to cry, and could hardly keep playing.  I gave her a hand-made valentine card with a message from me, and a copy of the words to the song.  It was a lot of fun for the kids to participate in a surprise like that.

They also loved their valentines.  I even scored a hug from one of the junior primary boys!  It just doesn't get any better than that. . . .

What a fun singing time!  We didn't review "He Sent His Son", which we learned last week.  But with two more Sundays this month, I'm sure we'll be able to nail it. 

If none of this makes sense, please check out the link I posted, last week, for instructions on how to use these visuals.

Love you guys!  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines Day Sunday

This idea turned up on facebook this week, and I'm afraid it's BETTER than what I had planned.  So I am totally doing this on Sunday.  I'm sure the kids will LOVE it. Valentine Singing Time Idea -

However, I'm adding just one more item to this itinerary.  In Senior Primary, the last song we sing will be "I Love to See the Temple."  However, I'm going to pass papers out with different words to the song.  This will be a big surprise for our pianist!  After we're done singing, I'll present her with some flowers for Valentines Day.  Pianists are our unsung heros, and I can't wait to spotlight her!  The words are as follows:

Dear Sister (name), we love you
And love to hear you play
Your music brings such rev'rence
And joy to Primary.

We appreciate the gift you share
It helps us feel the spirit
We are blessed to have you here with us
And thank you for your service.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Valentines Day

Instead of using the same old tongue depressor choosing sticks to pick helpers, I threw this together last night in the spirit of Valentine's Day.  I got a Cricut Machine for my birthday, so I used it to cut hearts out of valentine scrapbook paper.  Then I hot-glued a sucker stick on it, and wrote the kids' names on the back.
I cut out some white hearts to decorate the 35-cent bucket and added ribbons for a little flair. 

It worked out great!  I drew the names from the bucket, then hung them on the tree.  That way I wouldn't choose the same kids over and over.  The names from Senior and Junior Primaries were separated by placing them in zip-lock bags. 

I figure I can change these out for all different seasons.

By the way, teaching "He Sent His Son" using the outline I posted last, was very effective.  I used a lot of kids to help me pull stuff out of the bag, and hold the objects up when we sang about them.  I like to use the kids as much as possible, as they pay more attention and seem to have more fun that way. 

One little guy raised his hand and asked if we could learn sign language for this new song, too!  CUTE!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Teaching "He Sent His Son"

Here's what I'm doing tomorrow to teach this song.  I have this gi-normous bag which I'll use as my "Show & Tell" bag.

 I'll have some helpers remove the objects, one at a time, from the bag and tell what they are.  After all the objects have been displayed, I'll talk about how Heavenly Father has "show and tell" too.  More than anything else, Heavenly Father wants to show and tell us how much he loves us.  The objects are things I have around my house, although pictures would work also.  The objects are: 
  • A Globe
  • Nativity figurine of baby Jesus in the manger
  • Path Sign
  • Shoes
  • Statue of resurrected Christ
  • Scriptures
  • Statue of Christ and Children
I'll also have some word strips to go with the objects.  They are:
  • Love and Tenderness
  • Peace and Holiness
  • Sacrifice
  • Death
  • Question Mark
  • Faith
  • Hope
If I get to primary in time, I'll get a picture from the library - #213 Christ Healing the Blind

Anyway, here is the whole she-bang in three pictures:

The picture of Christ Healing the Blind would go between these word strips and the picture with the caption: "Help Others on their..."  to portray "service" in "Live Like His Son."

Now, if you want to keep reading, I'll attempt to explain how I HOPE this will work.

After all the objects are displayed, I'll hold the globe up and sing: "How could the Father show the world"  and place the "love and tenderness" wordstrip on the board and sing, "of love and tenderness."

Hold up the baby Jesus figurine and sing: "He sent his Son, a newborn babe" then place the wordstrip on the board and sing: "with peace and holiness"

Hold up the pathway sign and sing" "How could the Father show the world, the pathway we should go?"

Hold up the shoes and sing:  "He sent his son to walk with men on earth, that we may know."

Place the wordstrip on the board and sing" How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice of death"

Hold up the statue of the Resurrected christ and sing, "He sent his son to die for us, and rise with living breath."

Place the wordstrip of the question mark and sing: "What does the Father ask of us?"

Hold up the scriptures and sing: "What do the scriptures say?"

Place the wordstrips on the board and sing: "Have faith, have hope"

Place picture of Christ healing the blind on the board and sing: "Live like his Son"

Place the next picture, with the caption, and sing, "help others on their way."

Sing: "what does He ask?"

Hold the statue of Christ with the children and sing: "Live like his son."

So that the kids won't get confused, I'll have my trusty finger pointer to point at either the object or wordstrip they should be singing.  It's just a glove that I stuffed, sewed all but the pointer fingers down, and glued it to a ruler.  A large dowel would look nicer, but I didn't have one...   I change the ribbon to match the season when I use it.

This is a long post, and I hope it makes sense.  AND I hope this all works out like I have pictured it.  I'll let you know next post!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

February's Schedule

Here's my tentative schedule. Always subject to change at the last minute. . . but it saves my, uh. . .bacon... most of the time!
Hope it helps you, too.

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Video - I Know That My Savior Loves Me

For what it's worth, here's the link to see my senior primary kids singing and performing their sign language.  We have a very small primary, as you will see, but it's still fun!  The kids were excited to think they would be on You Tube!

In Junior Primary, we reviewed the first verse, then played Primary Bowling.  They really liked that, and it was a break from learning, learning, learning songs.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I LOVE props!  They make singing so much more fun!  Here are a few things I have in my arsenal:

When we sing, "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission,"  the timing of the song makes me think of horses trotting along.  I found these horse heads at the dollar store.  I tell the kids that in the early days of the church, missionaries used to ride horses.  The junior primary love these, and love coming up front to ride the horses.

I Can't HEAR you!  Maybe if I use my GOOD ear. . . .

"Looking" for super singers. . . .reverent children. . . etc.

 They're catchy. . .the kind everyone wants to catch!  I walk in with "measles" all over my face, arms, etc.  Each teacher is given one of these sheets, and places measles on their children as they sing well.

I found these wandering through the educational section of WalMart, (I think)  Any stickers would do, though.  These say stuff like, "Bingo," "Wow," and "Super."  

So I don't choose the same kids each week, each child's name is written on a tongue depressor.  One end is painted green, the other orange.  The green tips are the kids I haven't chosen yet.  The orange ones are those I have.  I keep them like this week after week until they're all orange-colored, then start over again. I have some for senior and some for junior primaries.

You may already be using some of the same things here.  I didn't make them up, but read them in various primary resources.  But they DO WORK!  And the kids have fun!  That's what matters. . . .

Sign Language and Primary Bowling

Most of the time today was spent teaching ASL (American Sign Language) with "I Know My Savior Loves Me."  They picked it up quite well.  Next week I'm planning to take a video of the senior primary singing with the sign language, then do another one later in the spring to see their progress.  I'll try to post the video on here. 

I had planned to  do Primary Bowling if there was time left over.  (There wasn't)  But I'll use this idea at a later time.  I found a cheap bowling set at the dollar store.  You could probably find one at Oriental Trading, too.  I put the names of some fun songs on the bottom of the pins with double-sided sticky tape.  The plan was to set the pins up this way. . and have a child roll the ball.  Whichever one rolled over was the song we would sing.  Another way to play would be to divide into two groups, set the pins up the usual way, and have each team take turns sending a child to roll the ball.  Score could be kept as to how many pins were knocked over. . .and the child could CHOOSE one of the fallen pins to reveal the song to be sung.  Anyway, I didn't get to play this, so I can't tell you how it went over. I'll share my results when I actually get to do this.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reverence Song Review

In trying to prepare my outline for Opening and Reverence songs, I discovered that the kids just didn't know very many of the songs from the Children's Songbook.  Sometimes we get so involved in teaching the songs from the program that we neglect the others.  So I made this chapel with doors and windows that open to reveal a song for review.  I had helpers choose a door or window to open.

I was amazed at how well this was accepted!  They didn't want to stop!  I'll be bringing it out every third week for a review of 1-3 songs.  The songs will be rotated frequently so they won't be singing the same ones all the time.  Songs like "The Chapel Doors," "When I Go to Church,"  "This is God's House, " etc.  Then I'll keep track of what songs were reviewed, and use them in upcoming weeks. 

Here is the drawing I based my chapel on:


This week I randomly passed out pages to the flip chart, and had the kids put them in order.  They did pretty well.  I also began teaching them the sign language.  MUCH more attentive with using sign language, although they'll need practice with incorporating both singing AND the sign language.  Funny thing, the junior primary kids picked it up quicker than the older kids.  Go figure!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Teaching Activities

This week we worked on the second verse of "I Know That My Savior Loves Me."  I hung the flip-chart pictures on a clothesline held by two tall kids.  Then I removed the pictures/words one at a time, until they had learned it pretty well.

After singing the song a few times, they were ready for the dice.  These are dice I inherited from a former chorister.  They're made out of cardstock and covered with clear contact paper.  The big one designates WHO will sing, i.e. everyone, boys, girls, specific classes, etc.  The small one designates HOW the song will be sung.  It also teaches them what the musical words mean, too.  A child is picked to come roll the dice - or you could pick two children.  One for each die.  They LOVED it, and it was a lot of fun. A great way to get them to sing a song over and over without getting bored.

The sides of the Small Die:

Legato - I actually use my pink tape measure and slide out for louder, in for softer, all the way in to hum.
Staccato -  This is really fun.  The picture is of a chicken eating chicken feed.  Perfect.
Allegro - Fast!  Picture is a running rabbit.
Andante - Slow. . .  Picture is a turtle
"p" - Soft.  Picture of a finger with a butterfly on it.
"ff" - Loud.  Picture of a lion.

The Large Die:

A Boy - Boys only sing
A Girl - Girls only sing
Boy, Girl, and Teacher - Self Explanatory, right?
Adult Male and Female - Teachers and Leaders
This side has a line drawn diagonally to divide groups.- CTR 6-7 (junior);  Valiant 10-12 (senior)
In half again - Sunbeams, CTR 5 (junior);  Valiant 8-9 (senior)

Here are a couple of templates for dice that I got off the Singing Fun CD for 2010. (purchased at Deseret Book)  These look WAY fun.  I'm sure I'll be using these in the future.  As soon as I get around to making them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where Does it All Go?

The bottom drawer of my filing cabinet is the designated spot for Primary stuff.  I found that a simple alphabetical index system works best for me.  I bought large A-B-C-D inserts, as you can see.  Each song has a folder with the visuals in it such as flip charts, cut-outs, pictures glued on tongue depressors, etc.  If it's a song from another source other than the Children's Song Book, I include a copy of the music, too.
For Posters, I bought two of these carriers.  One to store them all in, and one to transport the poster(s) of the day back and forth to Primary.  We sit on the side benches in Sacrament Meeting, and this little holder fits nicely against the wall.  Love it.

New Birthday Song: Have a Very Happy Birthday

Since Birthdays are the topic the last couple of posts, I thought I'd show my visuals for the last BD song I taught.  When I was a new chorister, it soon became obvious that the kids only knew a grand total of two BD songs. . .very boring.  So after the program, I took advantage of the free time and taught this one. 

I tacked the visuals on the bulletin board and used the BD pointer to teach the song.  Then after they'd sung it a few times, we played the hot/cold game, where one child gets sent out into the hall while we hide the pointer.  The primary child comes back in, and the kids sing the song soft, and louder as he/she gets closer to the hidden pointer until it is found.  Then another child leaves the room. . .etc.  They had a ball, and learned a song at the same time!