Thursday, December 31, 2009

January: week 1

Okay, so I'm not starting the year off very well with my resolutions..., but I found this idea on The Crazy Chorister, and thought it was just exactly how I would want to present this song and theme for the year.
Click HERE for her idea of introducing the song. I always struggle with presenting reverent songs, as I'm always trying to get kids active and involved. So, I'm going to be weak on my first week (haha) and copy her idea. Thanks Crazy Chorister! 

As far as the story goes, I found this great summary on from Cara (click here)

I cut and taped this story to the back of various Gospel Art Kit pictures, as follows: GAK 314, 315, 316, new GAK book 84.

I've got an idea for next weeks' reinforcement of the song, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

January Flip chart: I know My Savior Loves Me

This my first time doing this, so I hope it works, but you should be able to access the word here and the PDF file here   UPDATE: Apparently there is some problem with the WORD file download, but the PDF still works fine. E-mail me at if you would like the word document. 
Here is a flipchart for January's song: I know My Savior Loves Me. 

Hopefully it will open up in a Word Document and you can alter it as much as you want. If you have problem, just leave your e-mail and I can e-mail you the file.

Most of the clipart came from (don't you just LOVE the new format for that site?!) and a few clipart items came from from MSNclipart.

Note: This song is a great one to had your primary children as part of the visuals. (I'll note the pictures that I plan on taking pictures and then inserting them in place of the current picture)
This would be a great one to have one of your primary children holding a picture of Jesus, just as the girl shown is doing. You could do a different child for the second chorus. 
Take a picture of a primary child holding a large cut-out heart.

You could take a picture of your primary here, or even just a class during their class time.
Take a picture of one of your primary teachers with one
 of their primary kids.
 Or, a parent with their child.

New year's resolution (s?)

I love New Year's because of "resolutions" I make. I know I won't end up following through with most of them (how pathetic is that to admit?), but I love how it motivates me to TRY and be a better person. :)

So, I'd like to share three of my resolutions with you:

Number 1:  Have regular posts on this blog. IDEALY, I'd like to plan out a whole month at a time. I will basically be posting my lesson plan and ideas for each Sunday. Mainly this is for a selfish purpose: to help me plan ahead so I'm not fumbling around Saturday night trying to come up with something to do in the morning. However, I do hope you find something YOU can use in your primary. This blog used to have several authors, but they have now all been released, and it is only me now. If any of you want to contribute, LET ME KNOW! :)

I will probably use a lot of the same ideas as last year, since it has been a year since the kids have seen them, and why stress out about always trying to come up with something new?

Number 2: And because I like to contradict myself (just ask hubby) I'd also like to try to come up with more original (aka, ideas from my OWN brain) ideas. I may not post many, but It's not very helpful to go from blog to blog and find the same idea reposted (okay, so I'm mainly the one found guilty of this...hence the resolution to be better....)

Number 3: Help you guys out with "flipcharts". I seem to get a lot of requests for the ones I made, so I'll try to find a more efficient way of getting them to you, instead of you having to leave an e-mail. (Although it was really fun to see how many of you wanted them!)

So, to start, I decided I needed to get organized. When I was called as chorister, I inherited a box full of "visuals". I went through every envelope to see if the contents were something I would use, and if so, I packaged them up, and labeled them with the song title.

Then I placed them in my box (wasn't trying too hard to find a nice container for them, and this box fit perfectly...) and put them in alphabetically, according to the song's title.

I don't use a lot of poster boards  (I find them a pain to store) and when I do need a "poster" I usually use my dry-eraser board.  I also put in my game and review contents, such as the keywords, puzzle pieces, hit-or-miss game pieces,  mystery word covers, etc.

Inside the song envelopes are anything I used to teach those songs. I use a lot of small visuals that the kids can hold and move around on a chalkboard, and then the 81/2 x 11 pages that I put in my "song book." (see below)

Now my "songbook" is empty and ready to go for the new year. I hope to have my plans ready for Sunday in the next day or two, so check back soon!

As always,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Music Melody Map

I remember doing this for music class when I was in Elementary School.  The teacher made this weird map of lines, symbols, squiggles, etc. that correlated to the melody of a musical piece. I remember specifically doing this for some of the Nutcracker Ballet pieces.

Anyway, I thought I would try it with my kids to teach them "Joy to the World" since it is a fairly simple song, but can be tricky due to holding out words over multiple notes. Using this method, we could sing the song over and over and hopefully keep their attention. You could do this for any song

I told them we were going to learn a new song, then showed them a poster that looked like this:

I had fun with them and asked if anyone knew the song. Of course I got lots of puzzled looks and remarks. So I had our pianist play the first few notes until they recognized it.  Then I sand them for it while I followed the "map" with my baton. (Baton's are excellent pointers...) 

Then I called on volunteers  to help me follow the map while the rest followed  with their fingers in the air. I also shrunk this down and put 4 on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of cardstock, cut them out, and passed them out to the older kids AFTER they had practiced in the air with me a few times.
 I asked for them back, but told them if they wanted one to take home and practice :) they could come by after primary to get one.

After a few repetitions, I'd ask them what words went to the blue marks, or the red marks, etc. They did really well!
How it works:
Blue marks: Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Purple: Let earth receive her King!
Green: Let every heart, Prepare him room
Red: And Saints and Angels Sing! And Saints and Angels Sing!
Orange: And saints, and saints, and Angels sing!

Just follow the marks with your fingers to fit the words.
If this doesn't make sense, I could make a video...
...but then I'd have to sing a solo...
...and reveal my identity....
...but I would do it...
 ... just for you. :)
 So, let me know if I need to.

P.S. I have the PDF of the little pass out cards if anyone is interested. I really wish there was a way to just post those on here....does anyone know a way to do this?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am Glad for Many Things

There are several songs about "Thanks" in the Children's Songbook, so we have been quickly learning a few.

One easy one to do (and one that most probably know already) is
"I am Glad for Many Things" -Children's Songbook pg.151

For this one, I started telling them what I was grateful for: my family.

Then I cued the pianist and sang the song for them.

When we finished, I had my "boing" ball and asked them
"What are you grateful for?"

I then tossed the ball to a child with a raised hand. (When they catch the ball, the ball goes "boing!" least most of the time...sometimes they had to punch the ball again....) They said something they were glad for and tossed it back. I did this for 3 or 4 children, then we sang the song again.

**I got my "boing" ball at Fred Meyer's for about $10.00

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pumpkin song pick

OOPS! I thought I had this one posted! Pumpkins are still in season though, right?! 

Our program is over! YAY! I don't normally get teary in public, but those kids definitely made it hard to keep the tears from flowing as we sang Families can be Together Forever with the congregation. They did absolutely fantastic. AND, I didn't even need the motivational chart!

For primary, after the program, we gave the kids a little break and just sang some of the fun "wiggle" songs. I wanted a fun way to choose the songs though, so I found this idea on sugardoodle posted by Amanda Fennema.

I took a pumpkin and printed our various facial features for our Mr. Pumpkin. I cut them out, and wrote a song title on the back. I chose a child to come up and pick a feature and put it on the pumpkin. I put double sided sticky tape on the back of the features and it worked ok. However, next time I will probably do it like (the pictures below came from their site.)

For the eyes, I just wrote down one song title on one, and had them put up in pairs. You could write the same title twice, or you could just have them pick one eye at at time, so each eye has a different title. The kids really had fun making their own pumpkin face, and getting to do all those action songs.

I found templates for face features here:

Christmas Devotional

Our ward includes some senior citizens at a retirement home, located across the street to our chapel. The different auxillaries take turns doing a devotional for anyone who wants to attend, in their dining hall. It's the primary's turn in December. Our primary presidency has planned a special Christmas devotional that basically tells the nativity story with scriptures and songs.

I thought this is a great idea and thought it might be a great opportunity for your primary's as well. I know my kids love to meet all the "Grandma's and Grandpa's" after the program, and having had a grandparent in a nursing home, know the residents would love it even more.

Here is our program, but you could substitute other songs and scriptures:

Read:    Luke 2:1-5
Enter:    Mary and Joseph
Song:    When Joseph went to Bethlehem (we're going to have our Valiant 11 Boys each solo a sentence in this song = 5 solos)
Read:    Luke 2:6-7
Song:    Away in a Manger (3 CTR 6 girls will sing the verses and the primary joins in for the chorus)
Read:    Luke 2:8-12
Enter:    Shepherds
Song:     The Shepherd's Carol
Read:     Luke 2:13-14
Enter:     Angels
Song:     Joy to the World
Read:     Matthew 2:1-2, 7-11
Enter:     Wise Men
Song:     Silent Night

The Angels will be all the girls, the shepherds are the Jr. boys, and the Wise Men are the Sr. boys. Mary and Joseph are the two oldest boy and girl in the primary. We debated about how to have the characters "Enter" but we decided on having a "stage" where Mary and Joseph will be and then the children are either sides of the stage, sitting down. When it comes their turn to enter, they will  stand up and remain standing.

I am excited about this and the extra opportunity to remember the importance of this Christmas Season and share it with others.

Monday, October 19, 2009

presentation motivation

catchy title? Oh well, I tried. :)

I feel like my kids know the songs. They've worked really hard all year, practiced with their CD's. and they have them down. I also know that they can be strong singers with lots of volume from different activities we've played durring singing time. However, getting them to sing out in front of all those people, is another story. I've got a relatively shy group of kids with a few who can really sing out. When they do, the others sing out more. So I've been trying to think f something to help motivate them to sing out AND that I can use for the actual program, next week.

Although anything but revolutionary, this is what I came up with.

I went to msn clipart to download the smiley's. (just did a search for "smileys"). For the board, I trimmed down a bulk cereal box (you know, the kind you get at Costco), so that it would be nice and sturdy. I had a spool of ribbon laying around, that still had the "wrapping" on it. he ribbon had one layer of a clear plastic, the same width as the ribbon, so I actually sewed the ribbon to it, threaded it through the board, and then taped the other side down.

I am happy to e-mail you the pdf, so you can just print, cut and assemble. Just leave your e-mail in the comments. You can resize the font and images to make it work for whatever board you have.

ON the back, I figured out where the ribbon would need to be for the different achievements, and made corresponding marks. This way, I don't even have to look at the front to figure out where the ribbon is.

I tried it yesterday, and it worked awesome. The kids eyes were glued on me, and it helped them forget how big the chapel least I think it helped. :) The measurements are about 16x9, so it won't be too distracting to the rest of the crowd. I'm only planning on "conducting" them when they need it.

Good luck to everyone and their programs!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teaching rhythm

Another idea by Trisha...
To learn a song that has a strong beat (like How Firm a Foundation), here's another idea.

I made rhythm sticks out of 5/8" dowels cut into 8" lengths. I found 3' and 4' dowels at our local building supply store.

I made enough sets of sticks so that at least half of the children had a set. If a child didn't get a set of sticks first, they clapped. And we switched sticks often so that all of the children had a chance to clap and use the sticks.

First, I had us all clap or tap out the beat. The beat never changes in most of the Primary songs. Each song is usually composed of three or four beats in each measure. The beat just goes on and on. You can talk quite well while you and the children are clapping/tapping the beat. I repeated "The beat goes on and on. It never changes" to the beat a couple times to emphasize the steadiness of the beat.

Second, we all practiced clapping/tapping out the rhythm. For the rhythm, you clap or tap each time there's a note in the song. It usually works out to a clap/tap for every syllable in each word. For example, How Firm A Foun-Da-Tion, Ye Sa-Ints Of The Lord with every capital letter indicating a clap/tap.

When the children had the rhythm under control, I switched it up.

One side of the room kept the beat, while the other side of the room clapped/tapped the rhythm. That way, they could hear the differences between the beat and the rhythm. And then we switched sides.

You could use a teacher or member of the Presidency to lead one side of the room while you lead the other side. I used one of our 11 year-old girls that was musically talented and who was leaving within the next week to attend Young Womens. She loved it. The kids loved it too.

We repeated both verses of How Firm a Foundation several times, but the children didn't seem to notice all the repetition while tapping/clapping the beat or the rhythm of the song.

Italian fun

This post is an idea submitted by Trisha...
Thanks for the great idea!
(If anyone else has an idea, to share, let me know!)

Because most music words are Italian, I decided to teach the children some common Italian music words while reviewing songs for the program.

I used the following pairs of words:
* Forte (loud) and Piano (soft)
* Allegro (fast) and Largo (slow)
* Staccato (crisp, detached) and Legato (smooth, connected)
* A capella (without music) and Con musica (with music)
* Regazze (girls), Ragazzi (boys), and Insegnanti (teachers)

I used an online translation site to find the translations for girls, boys, and teachers. The site also says the words for you so that you can hear the correct pronunciation ( It works for other languages too. Want to learn Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes in another langugage? This site is extremely helpful for that. There are other such sites out there, but this is one of my favorites.

I dressed in a trench coat, with a hat, and big sunglasses. I was a detective and I invited the children to play detective with me to figure out some Italian words that have to do with music and singing.

For Junior Primary, I hid the pairs of words in numbered envelopes under their chairs so that they could help me find the missing Italian words.

Then, I had the children with the number one words come up to the front and hold their words.

I had a "magic wand" (a digital drumstick with the power off). I told the children my wand could read Italian, so they had to guess what each word meant based on how my wand responsed. I'd read each word by running the tip of the wand across each word. Then, my wand would respond in a corresponding way. I'd then ask them what they thought that word meant in English.

* Forte (very large movements)
* Piano (very small)
* Allegro (very fast)
* Largo (very slow)
* Staccato (robot-like, sharp)
* Legato (flowing, almost dancing)
* A capella (sharp, cut off motion towards pianist)
* Con musica (pick up/include motion towards pianist)
* Ragazze, Ragazzi, and Insegnanti (point towards girls, boys, or teachers, or point to pictures on the board or on a poster, or walk around tapping a few gently on the head)

For Senior Primary, I also put "How?," "Who?," and "When?" wordstrips on the board. For each set of words, they helped me deduce if that pair of Italian words helped us know WHO shoudl sing, WHEN we should sing (or sing with accompaniment), or HOW we should sing.

We sang through several songs in the program with a different set of words for each song. The children had to watch the wand carefully to know how to sing the song at any given moment because the wand would switch back and forth between each word in a pair. If they needed extra practice with a song, a helper got to come up and direct the wand with the appropriate motions for the Italian words used with that song.

At the end, we sang through a couple songs using all of the Italian words together. They really had to watch me and my wand then!

I also sent home a straw with each child. The straw had a little paper flag taped to the end of it. The "flag" listed all of the Italian words we learned that day. I told them they could practice their Italian and music with their families.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Primary song hospital

This seems to be a very popular idea, as I read lots of "Versions" on it at sugardoodle and yahoogroups

I read through them all and mixed and matched ideas to fit what I thought would work for our primary.

Before hand, I asked a brother in our ward to be our Doctor. I picked this brother in particular, because he has a background in music, which is helpful for "diagnosing" our primary.

I made this board from a tri-fold display bought at target. I spent WAY too much time drawing my "floating" hospital (I think I still need some lessons in art and drawing 2 dimensional figures...) So hopefully you can think of something MUCH simpler.

The inside is pretty boring. I ran out of time to decorate it more...which may be a good thing. :)

The inside says "Primary Song Hospital."

On each of the three sections, I taped the edges of a file folder together, and taped that on to each section. The sections were labeled "waiting room", "Emergency Room" and "Discharge".

I printed out forms for each of the songs, with a separate sheet for each verse. I was worried that we would run out of time. After having done it, I would recommend having one sheet per song, despite the number of verses. We weren't able to get through all of the songs.

I placed all of the sheets in the folder labeled "Waiting Room"

I did this on the 5th Sunday, on which I have the entire singing/sharing time for just singing.

I introduced our Doctor, outfitted with a white lab coat, stethoscope around his neck, and a clipboard. Then we had a volunteer "nurse" pick out a patient to be diagnosed. The nurse gave the paper to the Doctor, and we sang the song, then had the Dr. tell us our diagnosis. Our Doctor did a fantastic job in telling them "good news" and "bad news".

If the song got below a 4 in any category (words, smiles, watching chorister, melody, etc.) then it was sent to the emergency room. For Juniors, I'd pick an "ambulance driver" to drive the paper to the emergency room, and we all made siren noises.

If the song was discharged (meaning only 4 or 5's) then the entire primary received a squirt of "Miracle Spray". This is just lemon crystal light in a spray bottle. I told the kids to say "AHHH" if they wanted some, and if they didn't to just keep their mouths closed. THIS was a HUGE hit.

I wish we had been able to go through all the songs and then had time to work on getting the Emergency Room patients discharged...but maybe next time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Little People review

Hi! I'm back! I'm sorry for the lack of posts, but we've recently moved...took forever to get the internet hooked up...went on vacation...blah blah blah...

Anyway, I've been anxious to post this idea I used a few weeks back. It worked surprisingly well!

We had learned the verses to Families are together forever the previous week. So, this week, I reminded them about the song we had learned about "families". Then I brought out a family of "little people". I had a Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister, and Baby.

I told the kids to look at them very carefully. After a few seconds, I covered them up, and we sang through one of the verses.
When we finished singing, I took away one of the figures (all still covered up), then had them guess which one I took. They had no problems figuring it out.

but then...

we added the family "pets".

For junior primary I added them two at a time. For Senior primary, I just stuck them all out at once. After adding the figures, we'd cover them up, sing a verse, then I'd call a volunteer to take one away, then they'd guess which one was missing.

We played this Over and over and over, so they didn't notice how many times we sang through the verses! At the end, I told them I was going to try to make it harder, by having the sing BOTH them more time to forget! They loved the challenge. My own kids begged to play the game when we got home from church.

Can you tell which one is missing?

When I do this again, I plan on bringing in "extended" family, i.e. aunts, uncles, cousins, etc! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Repeat Parakeet

(I think I got this idea from online somewhere--but it has been over a year ago--so if it is yours--feel free to take credit in the comments!!)

Supplies: Picture(s) of parakeets, dice (I made a large one that I use for all sorts of stuff)

Activity: I started out by showing a couple pictures of parakeets (I used my sons book, but you could get them easily off the internet) and a few fun facts about them.  I finished with the interesting tidbit that some parakeets can be taught to repeat what you say!  I then magically poof-ed them into parakeets so they would have to repeat what I said.  

A child would come up and roll the dice--what ever number they got was how many times the primary would have to repeat what I said.  I would then sing a line of the song, and we would sing it as many times as was on the dice.  Once they get lines, you could do this with two lines grouped together etc. Whatever your needs are.

Then entire time I was being goofy and really playing up the parakeet teacher part.  Have fun with it--be silly--they'll love you for it!

Basically, that was it. . . super simple and the primary LOVED it.  My sunbeam was so excited about it he insisted on wearing a green and yellow stripped polo shirt to church so he could look like a parakeet.  Funny kids!

Monday, July 20, 2009

music lesson and repeat activity

A sister from my previous ward did this once, and I was amazed at how it caught the attention of the kids, so I decided to try it this week.

We are learning Teach me to Walk in the Light this month, and since it is a fairly simple song, this was the perfect activity for it.

I was a music education major at BYU, so I had a conducting baton. I'm not sure where you can purchase one, probably at any music store...

I pulled out my baton and asked the kids what it was. Then we talked about the role of a conductor. A lot of them thought his/her job was to tell the group to play high or low notes. To give them a hint, I conducted "softly" with my left hand palm down as if to say "Shhh!" and my right hand conducted close to me with smaller movements. Then hands shot up everywhere and they realized that a conductor told the group HOW to play/sing.

We tried a few others, such as LOUD, quickly, slowly, staccato, and smoothly. I stopped there with it, but one Sunday, I plan on actually conducting them like a real choir and having them follow the way I conduct.

However, for this week, I brought out this little sign (8 1/2 x 11) on card stock. Then we had a quick lesson about the music symbols and what they meant.

okay, so I couldn't upload it, but it was basically this:


I put a mouse by the pp and a lion by the ff to help remind them which one was soft or loud.

Then I handed my baton to one of the children, and let them drag it up and down the chart to "conduct" us on HOW we should sing. I had to remind them not to move to quickly since it's hard to change your voice that quickly. We only did it a few times, but everyone wanted a try! I'll definitely be bringing this one back, and I'm glad I could get in a quick theory lesson!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

overheard at our house...and your primary?

This is a personal post, but thought my fellow choristers might get a kick out of it.

I have a 3 year old sunbeam, boy. He loves to sing around the house, and usually, it's one of the primary songs. Usually, it's just a phrase of the song that he'll sing over and over.

Today, he was singing a new variation to My Eternal Family

It went like this

"I am a builder, YES WE CAN!"

If you have ever seen "Bob the Builder" you'll get this. :)

Visuals Matching Game

Well, this may be my last post. A new stake is being formed in our area and I've been moved into a new ward. So I have officially been released as our ward Primary chorister. Very sad.

Since I was sick last week, I just got started on "I'll Seek the Lord Early" today. For the setup, I hid my visuals (all pictures: "youth" - a picture of my daughter, "truth" - gavel, "scriptures", "prayer" - child praying, "living prophets" - recent Ensign picture of First Presidency, "commandments" - tablets, "love" - heart) behind numbered construction paper in random order. On the back of one piece of construction paper, I taped a picture of the Savior.

I set everything on the chalkboard ledge. I started out singing only what corresponded to my first visual then had everyone sing that part with me. ("I'll see the Lord early while in my youth") Then I drew a name and had someone pick a numbered paper. I showed them what was behind it. If it matched what we sang, I would put the visual up and move the construction paper up so the kids would know that the visual was gone from behind that one. If the visual didn't match, I covered it back up and we sang the line again, doing this until they found the match. Then we would all sing as far as we had visuals for and I would continue to sing the line for the next visual at the end, then have them sing it all with me, then draw another name and see if they could find the match for the next visual.

Once all of my visuals had been revealed and matched, we sang the entire song and I finished off "I will seek the Lord early and He will be found." Then I told them that all of my construction paper had already been chosen, however, there was one more visual - a picture of the Savior - that they would need to find. If they chose a number that didn't have the Savior behind it, I covered up visuals in order. (I.e. - the picture of the Savior was behind #4. Someone chose #3. I showed the children the back and then covered the first visual with #3 construction paper.) I figured I would cover the visuals in the order of the song, rather than corresponding to the number chosen, as we would have sung the song multiple times with the earlier visuals and didn't want to cover the newer visuals too soon.

This went over really well. We sang the song many, many times. This took us the entire 20 minutes and kept the kids' attention so they could try to remember where they had already seen some of the visuals.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Primary Putting

Yesterday was a little stressful trying to come up with another fun idea for today, it being the 5th Sunday. I had a random thought that utilizing more sports ideas would be a fun idea for teaching during the summer and the first one that popped into my head was making a golf course. After much thought, here's what I came up with:

I covered a Huggies box (one of the jumbo packs from Costco) with old wrapping paper turned inside out and cut 8 "holes" along the base. Then I printed out PRIMARY PUTTING in cute font on colored paper and taped it to the box. (But ran out of time to further decorate so if I ever do upload a picture, please don't judge me!)

Anyway, then I numbered each hole. Then I labeled 8 strips of construction paper with the number 1-8 on one side and put the name of one of the songs we've been working on on the other side. Since it's only May, I had 3 WILD cards, as I'm very much planning on using this as review in the future as well.

I had all the kids think of their favorite Primary song while I put my strips of paper on the board. (For some reason, very few can come up with a song on the spur of the moment.) Then I put a line of masking tape on the floor and drew a name for our first golfer. We sang the song corresponding to the number of the hole the ball went through. If a golfer hit the ball through a hole and we had already sung the song, we would just sing it again - review, right?

Lots of fun! And reusable!!! Please share any other sporty ideas!

Baptism; new song/review combo idea!

(I know it was the song for May, but this idea will work on other songs as well. My apologies for lack of pictures. My daughter dropped our digital camera in the pool and it is fried. I will see if I can work some miracle with my cell phone to add later.)

I printed out all the words, cut each out individually and backed with colored paper that was cut about 1/2" larger than the white sheet. (Yes, this took some time, but it also made it much easier to prep for the following weeks!)

I left some colored pages blank and utilized the Detective Clueless idea. I wrote scriptures in very small handwriting on the colored pages and told the kids which file to look in to fill in the blank. We would start singing at the beginning of a verse and stop when we came to a blank. That way, we ended up singing through each verse multiple times. We also got to use the scriptures and learn more about Jesus' baptism.

It took us a couple of weeks to get all the way through the song and fill in the blanks. Then for review, since I had all the words on seven different colors of construction paper, we used "exploding water", as my kids call it, and sang the whole thing through 7 times. They love watching the water bubble over and get so excited trying to guess what color will come up next.


First - my apologies also for slacking in the posting department. This singing/sharing time took place about 2 months ago but things have been super busy for us.

We were having a little trouble with lack of reverence. Not just the children but teachers too! So our Primary president called and asked if I could teach the children "Reverence Is Love" during her sharing time. Which got me to thinking, "What is reverence? How can I teach this song and keep it fun and interesting while reverent at the same time?" Sign language! So I picked out the main words, looked them up on an online ASL site and memorized the song.

Our president began by assigning a "noise" to each class. For instance, the Sunbeams mooed the next class counted to 10 repeatedly, etc. Then she told them that when she raised her hand, they were all to make their assigned noises and stop when she lowered her hand. She then told of Jesus and the money changers in the temple, raising and lowering her hand at appropriate times. She also discussed the meaning of reverence and how we can show reverence and then turned the time over to me.

I told the children that I wanted to teach them a special song about reverence but that they would have to be reverent to learn it. I'm no soloist, but I did sing and sign at the same time (ask your pianist to slow down if you want to try this!). Then I invited them all to sing and sign with me anything they could remember but to particulary watch for the sign for "reverence". After 2 times through, I asked if anyone noticed what the sign was. Then we went through the first line, learning words and signs. Then added the second line, sang from the beginning. Then added the third line, sang from the beginning. Etc. To finish, I had them sing the song twice through, once with words, the second time only with signs.

The Spirit was so strong. And the kids love the song. We are going to sing it as a part of our program to help the reverence in our sacrament meeting as well.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hit or Miss Game

This Sunday is the fifth sunday, and I have the entire singing/sharing time. I wanted a game where we could sing like crazy and review songs, but also have fun.

This idea was inspired by someone with the idea of "musicship"...but I can't remember who.

****I just got a comment referring me to the correct site. The Crazy Chorister was the one I got the original idea from. Thanks to Dana who sent this information!****

I tweaked it a little to make it work for our primary and what we needed to get accomplished.

On a poster board, I made a grid: 1-6 across the top and A-G going down the sides. I cut out 3x3 squares of cardstock to fill in the blank spaces. The children will come up (for Juniors) and pick a square and the older kids can just call out coordinates (A2) for example. Behind the square will either be a symbol or blank. If it's blank, we don't do anything, and have someone else pick another square.

I have 3 different symbols on different colors of cardstock; a 4 stars, 11 ships, and 6 flowers. On each of the symbols, I penciled in a song title.

All of the cards will be faced down, as so:

The ships represent the program songs. (I divided up the verses, so one ship would represent "How Firm a Foundation (verse 1)" and another ship would have "How Firm a Foundation (verse 3)".

The flowers
represent songs we will be singing at the retirement center in two weeks. These are "non-denominational songs". We have our Father's day songs, one of our mother's day songs, I am a Child of God, Wise and Foolish Man, etc. You could just do wiggle songs for these.

The stars represent "free choice", where the child can pick any primary song he wants.

For most of the songs, I will have a little bag with papers inside, with different ways to sing the song. I thought about bringing my dice, but it's getting hard enough for me to move around without carrying a ton of stuff. These papers might say "sing staccato, stand on one leg, loud and soft (I have sticks with a lion and a mouse that they can alternate during the song), girls sing, boys sing, don't sing words that begin with "H", etc. If they have a rough time with a verse, we'll probably review a little and sing it again.

****It would be fun to have a picture or phrase or something underneath all of the squares that they slowly uncover. However, leaving it blank, you can use the poster over and over, just rearrange the cards and erase the song titles for different ones as needed****

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Teaching scramble game

I'm excited to share something that worked AWESOME for me today. This can be used with ANY song, but worked particularly well with this one, since it wasn't "wordy" and on the slow side.

(This was for SENIOR primary. I'm working much more slowly with the Jr'.s and have been doing more basic activities with simple visuals. I think Jr.'s could do this if there were pictures, rather than words)

Last week I introduced this song with this awesome idea from this blog
Some changes I did were: My pictures were on half a sheet of colored paper, I didn't use Popsicle sticks (just the picture backed on colored paper), and I changed some of the words that were colored to fit the visuals I could find...not change the words themselves of course, but which words were colored. :) For example, I didn't color the word "Obedience" as that was a visual I found hard to find, but colored "Father" instead. I tried to have the same amount of colored words per verse. I hope that wasn't too confusing! :)

Anyway, I felt this song was simple enough to introduce ALL three verses at once. Then I could work on individual verses as needed.

This week, I wanted to focus on the 2ND verse of Baptism.

I cut out 2 1/4" in. strips from a poster board (4 of them) and wrote the four phrases on them, like this:

I took the four strips to church with me. We sang through the 3 verses, using the idea from last week, where the kids stand up on the words of the picture. Then I posted the four strips on the blackboard with magnets, in a mixed up order. I called on a volunteer to put the strips in order while the rest of the primary sang with the poster.

She was able to do it, no problem. So then I challenged them to do something harder. I took a pair of scissors and chopped a few of the phrases up like this:
Then the first volunteer and I mixed up the phrases again and called on another volunteer to come up and put the phrases together and in the right order. They started rearranging the pieces the same time we started singing the verse.

If they were unable to put the pieces back together before we finished singing the "round" was not mastered. I would let them finish putting the pieces back together while we waited (usually just a few seconds), we'd mix them up and call on another person to try. If they DID succeed in putting the phrases back together before we finished singing, it was too "easy" so I chopped a paper or two to make 1 or 2 more pieces.

We have more than 20 kids in Sr. primary and everyone who wanted to have a turn (which was all but one or two) got to have a chance at unscrambling the phrases. They loved it! Sometimes I had to remind the others to keep singing as they were caught up in the volunteer's efforts. I held up the poster with all the words until I noticed that the kids were singing, but no longer looking at the words. YAY! :)

This is how the pieces looked on the board after every turn. I'd have the volunteer who just finished rearranging the pieces, help me mix them up again.

***Towards the end, when there were the most pieces, I brought out my conducting baton (I never use this...I still have it from my band directing days...) and they could just point to the scattered pieces as we sang them. I've heard of people using fly swatters and swatting the phrases...but as this is a more reverent song, I didn't feel that was appropriate.****

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I just wanted to put up a brief note about my lack of posting. My main excuse is that I don't have anything original and the ladies with links on the side of the blog have come up with lots of good things.

My second excuse is I'm due to have a baby soon (could come next week...but not due till June) and have not found the energy to do anything elaborate or even worth posting.

I'm not giving up yet, just wanted to explain the absence of posts. I hope you all are finding wonderful ideas to help your sunday's out!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mother's Day

We started learning our Mother's day songs today, and it went so amazingly well. I received a degree in music education at BYU, and have been trying to use the things they taught me in my early childhood music classes. One of the biggest things they tried to emphasize is that
1)Don't try to teach part to whole, but whole to part. In other words, try to sing the entire song 90% of the time, instead of by phrases.
2) Let each repetition have purpose and meaning

I find these things to be difficult to do while holding the children's attention. Today, I think I finally would have made my professors proud! :)

We are singing "Dearest Names" and then going right into the first verse of "Love at home". Today I taught Dearest names.

I picked this one because it is not a familiar one, but I thought the kids would grasp on to it quickly. They totally did!

The words:
I know a name, a glorious name,
dearer than any other!
Listen, I'll whisper the name to you...
It is the name of Mother!
Mother, so tender and kind and true,
I love you! I love you!
Mother, so tender and kind and true,
I love you!

I started out by bringing a duck puppet, but any puppet or no puppet would work. For Sr.'s I didn't use the pupped. I told them my friend (the duck) wanted to sing them a special song about someone, but she was really shy, and would only whisper the name to someone listening very carefully.

I sang the first half of the song. When I got to "Listen, I'll whisper the name to you..." I started walking around the primary with my puppet and bent down to a child to whisper "mother" when the song came to it. Then, I had that child come to the front and we started the song over and we each picked a child to whisper "mother" too. Then the 2 new children, plus the original child and I, went back to the front, where we started the song again. It only took a few times through the song, before each child had been whispered the word.

Next, I had them sing with me from the beginning, and really sing out the special word, to make sure we all heard it right. At this point, I took off the puppet.

For the next half of the song, I showed them the sign language for "I Love you" (you know, the one we all know) and asked them to raise their hand if they knew what it meant. I was actually surprised at how few hands went up. I told them to listen to the next part where I would tell them would the sign language meant. I did the sign language everytime I sang "I love you" then invited them to sing the second half with me, and do the sign language with me. We did this a few times.

Lastly, I asked them if they could stomp their feet, Left foot then right foot, to the word "Moth-er". We tried that a few times. Then, we stomped our feet as we sang the second half and did the sign language to "I Love you." Then I had them listen for three things "mother" is and put their fingers up 1-2-3 as we sang them, WHILE doing everything else.

The next time, we clapped on the words "tender","kind" and "true"., while stomping on mother and doing the sign language.

For Sr.'s we kept going. I had them stomp on mother, but clap on all the "and" words. That was tricky.
Then, I had them pat one leg than the other (right left) for "tender", snap on "kind" and tap their head on "true".
the last time, we did everything above, but added the claps in between the words on "and".

Then of course, we had to sing it from top to bottom a few times. They LOVED it. and you can see how many times we were able to repeat the song.

Sigh, I LOVE successful sundays. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Teach and Review with Ker-plunk!

So, it's been some time since I've had any ideas for singing time, but I finally came up with one! I've been trying to come up with an idea that would be fun, capture their attention, but also let us learn and review the song. This is my idea...

I am teaching "When He Comes Again" for the April song, but this idea would work for any song and can be used in many different ways.

Ker-plunk is a game I picked up at toys r us for about $12. If you have never seen it, the basic concept is that a bunk of sticks are placed through the middle of two cups, and then marbles are placed on top of the sticks. One by one, the sticks are removed, while trying not to let any of the marbles fall.

There are three colors of sticks. Neon Pink, Neon Orange, and Neon Green.

I have divided my song into three phrases and coordinated them with the color.

Neon Pink: "I wonder when he comes again. Will herald angels sing? Will earth be white with drifted snow, or will the world know spring?"

Neon Orange: "I wonder if one star will shine far brighter than the rest? Will daylight stay the whole night through? Will song birds leave their nest?"

Neon Green: "I'm sure he'll call his little ones, to gather round his kneee, because he said in days gone by, suffer them to come to me."

I'll call up children to remove a stick. If the stick they chose drops marbles, we will sing that color's phrase. How many marbles drop, will determine how many times we will sing the phrase...up to 4 times through. (so if 6 marbles drop, the maximum times we will sing that phrase would still be 4).

In order to keep their attention through the repeating of phrases, I have visuals for the words, about 3 per phrase. I'll pick three kids to hold them up and get them in the right order. If we need to sing it again, they will pick someone else to hold their picture and get it in the right order. Hopefully I'll be able to use all of them at least once, hopefully more.

I'm not sure if I'll do the same thing with the Sr.'s or not, since they pretty much already know the song, but I'm hoping this will help out my Jr's. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You pick Songs results

Thank you everyone for sharing your songs for the months of April and July. I was finally able to come to a conclusion. I will be doing "I wonder When He Comes Again" for April and "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" for July. It is such a relief to have these chosen!

Just in case you are still agonizing over the decision, here are the results:

Most people are doing "He Sent His son" and "I Feel My Savior's Love" for April and July, but here are the other options:


I wonder When He Comes Again
He Sent his Son
I Feel My Savior's Love
He Did that We Might Live Again
Jesus Once was a little Child
Beautiful Savior


My Family Is of God
Teach Me to Walk in the Light
He Sent His Son
I Feel My Savior's Love
Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam
Where Love Is
A Child's Prayer
Love at Home
The Lord is My Light
Did Jesus Really live Again?

Good Luck!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Reveiw the songs: Face off

The are so many great ideas out there - especially with so many fabulous sisters sharing their ideas online and sometimes I get overwhelmed and want to try so many of them. The other night as I lay in bed ponder the upcoming Sunday (today) I said a prayer asking for help to know what it was that my Primary needed - what would be a good way to review the songs learned so far. The following idea came to mind:

Have two children come to the front and give one of them an object to hold. The one holding the object begins the song, then, whenever they want, they pass the object to the other child and then it is the other child's turn to sing. They keep passing the object back and forth and only the one holding the object sings. Now, if they come to a part of the song where they are unsure of the words the primary kids that are sitting down can raise their hand and sing that part of the song.

The idea was so simple, and didn't require much from me, rather it was putting it all in the hands of the kids. It was fabulous and fun. For the object I used 4 block letters that spelled "home" and used one block at a time, so that each song got sung through 4 times. I used this game to review the three songs we've learned this year. First we sang through the song together as a primary and then I used the popsicle sticks to choose children to come up and sing. We have a combined jr and sr primary and I was nervous about calling on the little kids to come sing, but I shouldn't have worried - they did great, really, some of them knew the songs better than the older kids. When the child who was singing stumbled on some words, the other primary children would raise their hand, I would choose one, and they would "sing" that part of the song and then the child whose turn it was would resing that part and then continue on.
From this little song review I would have to surmise that my Primary likes the "Family is of God" song best. When the two children were taking their turns singing on most of the songs the other kids in the primary were quietly listening, but on the Family is of God, especially on the chorus, almost all of the primary kids were quietly singing along - it sounded really neat.

Our primary is small and almost all the kids had a turn. There were actually a few who didn't want to take their turn and a couple of them I had to encourage to come up and do the best they could, but the majority of them were dying to have another turn. One advantage for me was I was able to assess each child and see where they might need extra help. Like I said, some of the little kids really surprised me and they knew much more of the words than I supposed they did. It is the older kids that I need to figure out how to get them to open their mouths more and sing because they were the ones more unsure of some of the words.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Eternal family...revisited.

I mentioned this on my original teaching post of My Eternal Family, but it worked SO well yesterday, I just had to share again.

I didn't try it for Jr. primary, but it worked awesome for Sr. primary.

The first week of March we introduced the song. The second week was stake conference. So this week, I wanted to see how much they remembered. I had my "scattered visuals" on the board, held up with magnets. I told them we would play a game of "tag". I picked a child to start. She was to find the first picture, and then tag someone to find the next picture, etc. The rest of the primary just sang the song over and over with the flip chart until all the pictures were in order. We got through it 7 1/2 times! :)

I told them that was pretty good, since we had only one week to learn it, but I thought we could do much better. Then I called on 4 kids to come up and work as a team to put the visuals in order while the primary sang. They got it done before we finished the song even one time! we did this a few times, and the kids were edging out of their chairs to have a chance to prove how well they knew the song. We obviously couldn't let the ENTIRE primary do it, so I called up two kids to turn over one picture each. When we sang through the song and came to the picture turned over, I DID NOT SING, to see how well they knew it. We turned over 2-3 pictures each round.

They are really learning this song well. It was one of those activities where even the kid-that's-too-cool-for-singing-time was participating. YAY for successful sundays! :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Song - the 12 apostles

In preparation for General Conference next month we are helping the kids get familiar with the 12 apostles. I have 8x10 pictures of each of the 12 apostles (we are still including Elder Worthlin, even though he passed away - the song doesn't work as well with only 11). We use the music from "The Books of the Book of Mormon" in the childrens songbook and sing the apostles in order of seniority - Elder Packer down to Elder Christofferson. Each time we sing (this is our 2nd Sunday doing this) I first go through the pictures and say the apostles name and have them repeat and then we try singing slowly with the music.

I first started this with my own children who are 6 and 4 years old and when they would see a picture of an apostle in the Ensign or somewhere, or hear their names mentioned in church they would say, "hey, I know him". I wondered if becoming familiar with the apostles would help kids be a little more interested in conference if they "knew" some of the speakers, instead of them just being "some old guy" ( that was always my thoughts when I was little).
At the least, the primary kids are enjoying learning the song.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Free choice songs for April and July

So, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm having a really hard time deciding on songs for these months! I know a lot of you are NOT slackers like I am and already have them picked, and probably on CD's for your kids!

So, I thought it would help to "poll the audience" to see what songs you are doing for these months, and then I'll post the results.

For April, I think I've decided to do The Easter Hosannah (Children's Songbook (68 & 69). I guess one of my struggles is that I feel the words need to teach something and need to relate to the monthly topic. There was a song in the friend by Janice Kapp Perry, (1999?) called "I Love to Learn of Jesus Christ" that I thought about doing, but I can not find a recording of it to put on a CD for the kids (which I still plan on doing, once I figure out these months).

I would love any of your ideas, and I'm betting there are others out there in the same boat that I am!

Friday, February 27, 2009

My eternal family, verse 2

I had some requests to do verse 2, even though I am not planning on teaching it.

I've actually seen lots of great flip-charts for this verse, so if you don't like this one, I'm sure you can find one you do like. Carrie has a great one here too.

You can download my version of the flip- chart to verse 2 here. I did not include the chorus, since it was on the last visual file.

We have stake conference this week, so I get a break! But as for the following week, I don't really have any great ideas. I didn't get as far as I'd like with the song last week, so we'll just be playing games to review the phrases, like turning over pictures, or mixing them up and having the kids put them in the correct order by the time we finish singing the verse.

However, because there are 5 sundays this month, the presidency is giving me the entire singing/sharing time for music, so I'll have to come up with something really awesome. :) If your primary doesn't have something special to do on 5th Sunday's, you might ask if you can have the time, especially since it's really hard to teach these songs with just 10 minutes each week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Eternal Family: visuals and plan

UPDATE: For safety reasons (Just trying to be extra cautious and to prevent spam) If you have left your e-mail address in the comments, I'll delete the comment after I send the e-mail. If your comment is deleted and you did NOT get an e-mail of the PDF, please let me know.

TIP: Sugardoodle has an AWESOME collection of clipart and pictures to make your own flipcharts!!but you probably already knew that...

So, I'm going to be honest, and say that this song is NOT my most favorite. And luckily for me, my presidency feels the same way, so we plan on only doing the first verse. I had a hard time finding visuals that I liked for this song, but found one that came close on Sugardoodle (click here) Like Carrie, my pictures came from the sugardoodle clipart file and MSN clipart, and also the one image (the construction man) by Valerie Gardner.

I wanted more pictures than the one on Sugardoodle, because I have lots of kids in Junior primary that would learn better from lots of pictures, than words. This is my version of the 1st verse for a flip chart HERE to download the file. This is my first attempt at the shared file thing, so let me know if it doesn't work for you, or if you'd rather have the file e-mailed. Here is what they look like.
I think I got this idea from the primusic group, but I can't remember. I'll show them this picture and ask them to tell me what this man does for a job. After they tell me he is a "builder" I'll tell them that this "builder" is also my Dad! (He's so awesome and took this picture for me on Saturday night!)

I'll describe the things he has built, i.e. most of the homes I lived in as a child, other buildings, and now oversees the building of LDS churches and temples in the Texas area.

But that is not all he has built. He helped to build a righteous family. (I'll have the latest picture of all my siblings and their families from out last reunion, and tell them that by being a righteous priesthood holder, having family scripture study and prayer, and being a great example to us, he helped build a firm foundation for each of us to start building our own righteous families. Then I will tell them that we will learn a song about how we can be our own builders of a righteous family.

I will then show them the blackboard with the same visuals from the flipchart, only bigger, separated (only one picture per half sheet of paper) and without words scattered on the board. I'll tell them we need to build this song. We have all the right pieces, but we have to put them together to make our song. I'll sing it through a few times to help them hear the melody, while they look at the pictures and try to figure out the correct order.
(the scattered visuals)

Then, one at a time, I'll call up a "builder" (I'll probably bring my son's toy construction hat) let them wear it, and find the correct picture for each phrase. As we find the pictures to complete each phrase, we'll sing through that phrase a few times. If they get stuck, I'll sing the entire verse to them. If time allows (I'm very lucky to usually have 20+ minutes for singing time) we'll turn over the pictures to help them memorize the verse.

If you want the plain PDF file for my "scattered" visuals, let me know in the comments so I can e-mail it to you. This is NOT the flipchart. Just the pictures without words that my kids will listen to to the song to put them in the correct order. The flipchart is in the link above.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Give the bishop a heart attack

We did this to make a Valentine's card for the Bishop, but it could work anytime during the year.

(Sorry, no pictures! Put it together late last night)

Fold poster board in half. Cover says: Bishop: The primary gave you a heart attack!
Inside says: We sang with all of our hearts today!

I had a clear jar filled with cut out paper hearts. I told the kids that as I saw them trying their very best to sing/learn the song, I would ask them to write their name on a heart and put it on our card for the Bishop, because they were trying with all of their hearts to do their best. The kids did seem to try harder, but it was also hard for me to teach and try to call on kids to put their names on hearts at the same time. Next time, I would have a presidency member picking the kids, so I wouldn't have to worry about it.