Friday, February 26, 2010
Just look at what else I found while shopping at Party City! I think these little guys are darling. As soon as I saw them, hanging next to the clown glasses, I was reminded of a game we used to play called "Musical Statues." This game calls on a child to strike a pose and then everyone else copies it and holds it while singing a song. I think these dolls are perfect for this game. An obvious advantage is for me to be able to choose the pose instead of the children. I see this as an advantage because some of the children can be really silly. It is kind of hard to invite a child to pose and then have to modify it.
Obviously I would have to be a little choosy about the songs. I wouldn't use these with songs that have a reverent message because the kids will likely still get a little silly. I admit they are a bit bright and kind of absurd looking. But I think they would work great for cheerful, upbeat songs like "Give Said the Little Stream: (CS-236) and "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" (CS-60) or "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" (CS-169). The kids sometimes express boredom with some of these old favorites and some of these songs have developed actions and ways of singing that I don't care for. If their hands and bodies are in a pose that I choose, the children won't be bouncing up out of their seats when they sing the Sunbeam song or do a goofy dance while singing "Follow the Prophet!' I also would not have to use the whole bunch of them at once. I could just slip one into the pocket of my apron along with a song to sing or put one into my surprise sack.
I can see one more caution. In my experience, kids find it hard to stand on one leg. However tempted I might be to get creative, I have to make every position easily doable or I'll end up with kids on the floor. Believe me - my Primary presidency would not be proud.
But -I did a little informal market research this last Sunday. I asked three of the older boys and the Primary secretary what they thought. The boys thought that the "little kids" would be too irreverent to use them. The secretary agreed, but thought they would work great for an activity day. True, they really would be perfect for that. I didn't dare ask anyone else. If you read this post, would you please leave me a comment and tell me what you think? Is it because they are so bright and goofy looking? I am anxious for some feedback on this.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Primary choristers everywhere love singing motivators. I've read in a number of places about using enormous clown glasses to look for super singers. These children can then choose the next song or be a helper in some other way. If so many people use this I'm thinking that it must work pretty well. So, off I went on a shopping trip to look for clown glasses. I found them at Party City for $3.00. Matilda has a picture on the sidebar of her blog of some giant ears as well to listen for excellent singers, but I couldn't find any of those. Maybe I'll find them online or when the store restocks their costumes this fall. It's probably just as well. I developed some major inhibitions while serving as Relief Society President. ;) It may take me some time to shed these. The glasses definitely feel more conservative than the ears!
I also found a nice pair of big plastic dice. They are about three times as big as regular dice and made of a soft rubber so they are kind of bouncy. Dice are useful for many things. Just make a numbered key of about anything like songs or phrases or pictures, etc. I try to have a variety of things because the kids like it when you bring out something different. I have several different kinds of dice and these will be great for my little collection.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
I think this quick true story about fishing would be a great introduction to the old reliable "Fishing for Songs" choose and review using songs about the Holy Ghost and obedience. Or, fish for the questions that will help the children listen as you sing and teach or review the upcoming song "The Holy Ghost" (CS-105). You've probably already got a fishing pole, but if not, just make an easy one. Tie a magnet onto one end of a string and tie the other end to a dowel rod. If you want to be more authentic use a willow stick. Then, use metal paper clips on several paper fish with songs written on them.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Or, I could take it a step further and enlarge the illustration. I could make letters to match up the riddles with the illustration or, put the riddles on paper arrows to point at the proper object. I could also write riddles of objects that children use today to follow the prophet that would match these riddles in theme. For example, "John kneels by this every morning as he asks for strength and power from God." "Sarah wears this on her finger to remind her to be brave in standing up for her beliefs." "Katie uses this to sweep the floor as she willingly helps her family." I could write a riddle to match each one illustrated and set up a matching game, or just add two or three to the guessing game to help the kids discover that they can also be righteous and be used by God as were prophets of old.
The poem "The Sacrament" on page 16 is another possibility, especially if I have a little time to fill after teaching or reviewing a song. I could read the poem and show a picture of Christ and ask the children what they think about during the sacrament. Singing a song or two and thinking about the message of the song could help the children identify things they could think about. With more time, I could post the picture of the reverent girl with thought "bubbles" around her head and sing songs about Christ, gratitude or prayer songs with each bubble.
I also studied the unlikely article describing the tour of the North Visitor's Center on Temple Square. Because the theme is about prophets in March, I thought of using pictures of these prophets (and others) on the chalkboard around a picture of Christ, singing review songs that teach about Jesus or testimony and ending with "I Know That My Savior Loves Me." Or, I could use costumes and children to read these short testimonies and then sing a song. I could also put the testimonies and songs on strips of paper and then invite the children to choose them by pulling them out of the scriptures. Using pictures is maybe a little too close to the idea suggested in the outline for sharing time in March, depending on what our presidency member decides to do. Sharing time is first in our branch, so it could reinforce what the kids just learned, or I could use something other than pictures.
Remember my challenge! Look through this current issue and see what else can be found and adapted to singing time. Leave a comment and let me know what you find.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I was thinking this morning that one of the best things about this calling is that it allows me to be creative! Sometime today, after I get my kitchen cleaned, I'm planning to make two new puppets for my box. These need to look like Book of Mormon children because I want the kids to use them as we review "I Know That My Savior Loves Me." I'm planning to have an "ancient" child lead the first verse and a modern child lead the second verse as we review the song. I also want to update my costumes with some easy Book of Mormon things. I need something that will go on and off easily since I don't want to take time with dressing! I'll use these props in the same way to review the song.
There is something inside of me that just HAS to be creative. My last calling was filled with organizational issues, solving problems and working with people -- adult people. I actually like to cut things out of construction paper! Making puppets is one of my favorite things to do. I think its fun to look through back issues of The Friend and dream up ideas for singing time. Thinking up games is way more fun than attending ward council. And best of all, I get to spend time with these little people who approve of all my creative efforts. The nicest things just come together in this calling. "Thank you, thank you, my heart sings."
Thursday, February 11, 2010
How do I find ideas that are creative and fun? The Friend is my very best and favorite resource. It is approved and has enough inspiration to last a lifetime! It has pictures. It has games. It has poetry, stories, and activities. It has messages from our Prophet and Apostles. All of these features inspire and suggest ideas to me. Especially when I've been praying for help. The Church has been publishing this magazine for over thirty years! Back issues for the last nine years are freely available in digital format here at lds.org. Issues published before 2001 are available on an inexpensive CD.
When an issue comes in the mail, I immediately sit down and read it. After a day or two I will pick it up again and read it, thinking about the weekly primary themes. I will always have a thought about how I could use something or other. I will see how one of the stories or activities could be developed into a singing time with choose and review songs. There may be a picture or a poem or a quote that I can use as an attention getter to introduce a song. Sometimes I can use these ideas immediately but I may have to wait a couple of months for the right theme to come up. Sometimes I can think of how I can use the framework of what might be published and adjust the content to fit what I need to teach. Sometimes I just make a note of a good idea on a list of ideas to be developed in the future.
In this month's issue there is a beautiful centerfold article called "The Living Christ" with pictures of Jesus and testimonies of the apostles. I thought of developing a musical narrative using pictures and songs about Jesus and reading some of the testimonies as narrative between the songs. This would fit well into February's theme, or I could wait and use this idea with the theme "Prophets Testify..."
I wrote a post about the January 2010 issue of The Friend. Look under the label "Using the Friend" to read it again. I'll challenge you to see what you can find in the February issue. I hope you'll leave a comment.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
#1 - picture of Jesus as a baby - "Little Jesus" - Jesus loved us enough to leave heaven and come to the earth in humble circumstances - I'll change the word Christmas to Sabbath.
#2 - picture of Jesus being baptized - "Baptism" - Jesus gave us ordinances and the example to receive these.
#3 picture of Jesus serving others - "Love One Another" - serving others helps us become like Jesus.
#4 - picture of Jesus and the children - "Jesus is Our Loving Friend" - Jesus continues to love and look after us and help us with our problems.
#5 - picture of Crucifixion - "Reverently, Quietly" - Testify of the significance of this deed.
#6 picture of Jesus - "He Sent His Son" - Jesus is even now waiting to welcome us and bring us to our Heavenly Father. He will be our advocate and friend.
I thought of this idea as I read the first suggestion in the Sharing Time Ideas in the February 2006 issue of The Friend. You could adapt this idea to any theme with the aspect of "getting from here to there." Keeping covenants to return to our Heavenly Father, living worthy to enter the temple, steps in building a happy home, the growth of a testimony, living the gospel from morning till night, preparing for a mission and so on. I'm so glad we have The Friend. I'm constantly rereading these Sharing Time Ideas, thinking of ways that I could adapt the techniques they use to our current theme.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I'm planning to teach it using a picture study with the beautiful picture of Christ and the Children. (#216 GAK) I've always loved this picture. I love how Jesus is looking into the eyes of the child He is talking to and how His arm is around the boy. The other children are also anxious to talk with him but they wait patiently and seem to know that they will get their chance. I love how Jesus looks as if He doesn't have anything else to do but spend time with and listen to these children. So I'll post the picture and ask the children to study it for a moment to see if they can tell whether Jesus is a friend to these children and how they can tell. I'll explain that Jesus loves us as much as he loved the children who lived at that time. I'll ask them to listen to the song to discover 3 ways we can tell that he is our friend. As they respond, I'll list the keywords on the board to the left of the picture (always near, guide us, dear) under a heading "How Do We Know?" I'll help them sing the answers and then we'll sing the first verse together.
I'll briefly discuss that the nature of friendship extends in two directions and ask if one can be friends with someone who doesn't want to be friends. I'll ask how someone would know if we are their friend and extend the question to how Jesus could know if we are His friend. The second verse to the song teaches that we show this by raising our voices and reverently and sweetly singing His praise. As they discover the answers to questions, I'll list the keywords on the right side of the picture (reverently, sweetly, voices, sing, praise) under the heading "How Does He Know?" I'll help them sing the answers and then the second verse together.
When I was a young girl I always wished that I could have lived at the time Jesus lived. I wanted to be with Jesus and sit on his knee. I wished that I could have been blessed and healed by him like those other children. Heavenly Father has gradually given me a testimony that I am loved also. I'm hoping that by singing this reverent song the Spirit will testify to our children that Jesus is, even now, available to us as a loving friend.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Using a glove can help the children focus on your hand as you lead them in singing. I use the glove most often when I am reviewing a song and polishing it with dynamics and precise singing. You may want (or have already) a fancier glove, this one is really plain. I think too fancy though might just be distracting.
After the children know a song well, I use the glove to teach simple dynamics directions such as raising my hand with the palm up for increasing the volume and lowering my hand with the palm down for softer singing. I teach the children about holding a note (fermata) and to watch my hand for a cut-off cue. I also teach them about watching for a cue to stand up, and about how to begin after an upbeat. After the children have been trained in these kinds of musical cues, they are ready for a turn with the glove. If I keep the glove nearby, I can pull it out to use with any of our songs during singing time.
Sometimes I'll have the kids use the glove in a choose and review activity. Songs are assigned to pictures that are posted around the room. Begin by singing a song with the children. Invite a child to determine the gospel message and point to a picture that matches the message. This picture is keyed to the next song and so on. The songs can be random or related to each other by theme. It can also be set up as a kind of mini treasure hunt, but in one room using pictures.