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. :)