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!

Alternate Idea for Birthday Kids

If you have lots of kids in your ward, purchasing birthday hats is an expensive venture.  These cupcakes are cute, and the kids LOVE them!  Just cut out of poster board, decorate with wrapping paper and markers.  Cut a hole for the face, and VOILA!  These kids' heads were a little large for the hole, so they didn't need to hold the cupcakes.  The smaller kids hold the cupcakes in front of their faces.  Either way, it's a fun way to celebrate the day. . .

Monday, January 4, 2010


I found this darling birthday hat at Zurchers, and bought three of them. Starting this year, the birthday kids get to wear the hat when the kids sing to them. I lead the birthday song with the giant birthday candle. It's made out of an empty wrapping paper roll, covered with red wrapping paper. For the flame, I just freehand - drew on yellow construction paper, cut out, stuffed with tissue paper, and stapled shut. Since the candle looked so much like a Christmas candle by then, I cut out strips of white paper and glued them on with a glue stick. You could also find printed contact paper to cover it with - which would probably be quicker. The whole thing was covered with clear contact paper for protection. The thing can also be used as a pointer when teaching a new birthday song!

Teaching I Know That My Savior Loves Me

After we sang the song a few times, I tacked these question sheets to the board one at a time. These were to see if the kids really understood what they were singing about, and the reason for the message. The senior primary kids really caught on quick. The juniors needed help, but they still liked the activity, and were eager to try. Here are some examples of the questions and possible answers:

Who? The Savior
When? A Long Time Ago
Where? In a Beautiful Place
What? Love
Whose? Christ's Love
Testimony: "I Know He Lives!" "I know that my Savior loves me."

My Stake Music Leader provided a flip chart of this new song. I sat on a chair in front of the kids and read it to them like a story. Surprisingly, they were quiet as church mice!!! Afterwards we took the song a page at a time (1st verse only, and chorus). They picked it up pretty well.

January Schedule

My first couple of months as chorister, I didn't have a plan. I was confused, and spent the late hours of Saturday and the wee hours of Sunday trying to come up with what in the world would take place in music time at 9 am Sunday morning. I was miserable. So. . .I developed this monthly schedule so I would know where I was going, and where I'd been. It was a life saver in December, which would have been more chaotic than it already was. At least I didn't have to worry about Primary!

After putting the schedule together, I create the month's worth of visual aids. That way, I hardly need prep time all month.

First Blog Post for 2010!

I was called to be the Primary Chorister the first week we moved into our new home. It has been the most fun, most challenging, and the most rewarding position I have ever been in. I am able to implement so many creative gifts, which have been lying dormant for a while.

There are many, many internet sites and blogs which I have pulled ideas from, and added my own twist. Many of my ideas may be familiar, but everyone does them a little differently. I hope this blog will provide help for struggling choristers - just as the sites I've visted have helped me. My goal is to not only post what I have implemented, but to honestly post how it was received by the kids.