Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Week in the New Year

Yup, I'm still here - just not posting much, obviously. My visitors have gone up considerably in the last week. No doubt you all are looking to see what I'm doing with the new song, "As a Child of God."  I intended to post about this earlier, but have been snowed in and then couldn't make it down our incredibly muddy road until today. So this post may be too late to be of help for anyone. I'm sorry about that.

For this first week, I'm actually combining two teaching methods from my master list: Exploded Flip Chart and Choosing Pictures. Since the theme for the year is about choosing, I thought it might be fun for the children to choose the pictures for the phrases. For the first week, I want the children to focus their attention on listening. I don't want them to see words too quickly. So, this first week, I'll have them listen to the song and then choose from a variety of appropriate pictures (Choosing Pictures). The first week of a new year is typically a little chaotic and this method allows me to be flexible with the time. I'm really only planning on getting one verse and the chorus, but maybe I'll be lucky. ;o) I'll use these pictures along key words for the phrases (Exploded Flip Chart) next week.  Brittney's idea for using new year's resolutions is really cute and I'm planning to use a few of these as a back up singing time, in case my time is really eaten up or if we have too many children missing because of the weather. This idea is also easy enough to explain over the telephone to a substitute, so it will surely go on my emergency list.

I'm quite excited about this year's theme, "Choose the Right," because choosing opens up a thousand possibilities for a primary chorister. The remaining songs are relatively simple and we already know them, except for the hymn. I'm looking forward to a great year. I hope you feel the same.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Program Report

This time of year is always a little hard on Primary Choristers! I just want to encourage you all and send my best wishes and hopes that the program you are working on comes off just as you hope it will. In case it doesn't, don't feel responsible - just move on and have fun with the rest of this year! ;o) I'll tell you my story and maybe it will make someone feel better.

Remember, first of all, that I direct the music in a branch, and have a small group to begin with. We lost a number of children as they turned twelve. Then we had a couple of families move out. So, our core group for the program was reduced to about 12, with the usual few you just can't count on one way or the other.

The second factor in this story is that our building has been under construction. The biggest challenge recently has been the "missing" restrooms! Anyway, we were scheduled to have just one rehearsal on the Sunday before the program on the 16th. But then we got word that we wouldn't have meetings after Sacrament meeting - so no rehearsal, at all.  AAACCCKKK! We managed to get what children came that week to stay long enough to at least view some picture prompts for the twelve songs we were singing and get oriented as to where to sit. I started to sweat this just a little! Then, this last week, we again got the mid-week word that we wouldn't have regular meetings after Sacrament meeting. I knew this would reduce the number again, but I was shocked that only 6 children were brought to church to participate in the program, plus two little Sunbeams. One of my best singers had lost her voice and could only whisper. Two others had insisted the week before that they didn't want to stick out, so they just mouthed the words. I had only three children carrying the choir. Thank goodness we had a couple of teachers singing as well. Each time we sang, one of the Sunbeams waved her arm to help me lead, and sometimes she added a dance around my feet as well. ;o)

As always, I was told the children sang beautifully and it is true, they did. I really am convinced that angels must join us. No matter what, the Spirit somehow amplifies the situation in the hearts of those who hear, and I'm thankful for that. That is my witness this year. I hope each of you end up with a special memory as well!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Get the Bugs Out - a Link

Get the Bugs Out is a cute activity posted this week on The Ordinary Adventures of a Primary Chorister. I think I'll use this for our next program review. We sang through all of our program songs on Sunday and, thankfully, we have just a few bugs to work out. This activity will make doing that fun. Be sure to check out this fun review game. Thanks, Bridges!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Melody Charts - a Link

I had a very sweet e-mail from Marcia Berkey, who wanted to share a pdf file for the melody charts she made for the song "The Lord Gave Me a Temple." What a blessing she is. She says,

"I tried to show the length of the notes, the relationships, and the repeating words. I created it in Excel but didn't know if everyone would have that program so I converted it to a pdf document. I went into printer settings and enabled poster printing to be able to print this much bigger so the children (and I) can see it - different printers would have different settings for that."

Marcia put these charts into Google Documents and here is the link for it. (edit:  another link in case the first one doesn't work.) Thank you so much Marcia for sharing this with all of us! You are a sweetheart. ;o)

Just a reminder about what a melody chart is.  A melody chart is simply a "picture" of the melody, some way to visually represent the way the melody moves. So you could draw a phrase of the song on the chalkboard, with a single line that depicts the melody moving up and down in steps. You could draw dots or stars on a paper or poster, to represent the notes, putting these on different levels, somewhat like the way the musical notes are written on the staff lines. A melody chart simply helps the children visualize, in some way, what their voices are doing with the notes.

As a review, you could print the charts for each phrase of the song and ask the children to listen and put the charts in order according to what they hear. You will want to cover the words or that would give it away. You could draw the melody lines on the chalkboard and ask the children to number them as to which "picture" comes first, then second, etc. You could use laminated die-cut numbers with magnets, or even fridge magnets. Ask a child to place a number on the correct line picture. There are just lots of ways to help the children connect with these melody "pictures."

I attended a stake primary music workshop last night and was so glad to feel the spirit and the commitment of those ladies who were there with me. Our stake music specialist, who is also a chorister, was so bright and happy. Her message of connecting with and continually engaging the children was so sincere and her ideas were so helpful. It was a blessing to me just to be together with those women. I hope you all have this kind of support from your stake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wrapping Up?

Well, the time has come to begin wrapping things up with this blog. I think I have posted all but a couple of singing time activities on my master list and I'm not sure where to take the blog now. My objective, in the beginning, was simply to post my ideas and then leave them as a resource for my daughter(s). But, now that that goal is met, I find that I'm reluctant to leave such a wonderful community as you all are. However, my life is very full, and I have other paths to pursue. I've gone back and forth with this.

I know there are some gaps here, especially with ideas for holidays and other occasions (although there are LOTS of ideas for pioneers). I'll try to continue to post occasionally, to fill in some of those blanks, but it will not be weekly. If any of you have any questions, I would be happy to explain what I do or how I might address it. Please just send me an email or leave a comment.

Meanwhile, I think I will take just a little blog break and try to figure out how to organize so that I can best leave things here as a resource. My husband tells me that what I really need is a static web page, but I don't know how to do that. If you are not a follower at this time, you might consider it now, so that you don't have to keep checking to see if I've posted something.

I've surely loved hearing your comments and even becoming acquainted with some of you. I will certainly miss that interaction. Just know that I'm sending much love and good thoughts to all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Song Presentation - "One in a Million"

Some time ago I had a very nice e-mail from Kathy Wheeler. Kathy really liked the song "One in a Million" which was published in the February 2011 issue of the Friend. She taught the song to her primary children and wanted to share her presentation with me. She gave me permission to share it with all of you too. Her presentation is a great example of using discovery questions to teach a song. Thanks so much, Kathy!

(Supplies: Take a clock that has a minute hand or that you can hear ticking. Markers for whiteboard.)

Boys and girls, I would like you to look up at the white board with me as I write some numbers down. Now as I write them, I would like to hear you say the numbers in your very soft voices. (Write the number 1, 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000, 1,000,000.)

Well I can see that you really know your numbers very well.

(Listening Activity)

Today I would like to sing a song to you that mainly deals with two of the numbers I wrote on the board. The number one and and one million.

I am going to sing a song to you now. The name of the song is ONE IN A MILLION. In this song you are going to hear the word ONE and the word MILLION several times. I would like this side of the room to listen as I sing and tell me how many times I sing the word (one) and this side of the room to listen and tell me how many times I sing the word million.

Sing the song and then ask for the answer.

• Million (3)
• One (4)

Sing the song again and invite the children to sing those words as they come up in the song. Have them stand as they sing the words.

(Listening Activity)

There is a very special word in this song that I love. This word is special because it talks about each one of YOU! In fact, I will give you a clue. This word begins with the letter “U”. Listen as I sing this song and if you think you know what the word is you may stand up when you hear me sing it. You may also join me in singing the numbers. Sing the song and ask for the answer (Unique)

(Listening Activity)

What does it mean to be unique? What does it mean to be ONE IN A MILLION? Spell the word Unique on the board. Now explain to the children that I wish that this word was spelled “Younique”, because each time I hear this word I think of each of “You” and how you are all blessed individually with qualities that no one else in the room has. As a matter of fact no one else in the worldwide primary has.

Boys and girls you are a UNIQUE member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Primary organization. This organization has over one million members. AND YOU ARE ONE IN A MILLION!!! (Mention here that if they have access to a computer at home they can log on to and meet some of the one million Primary children in the world. )

Sing song again. (Invite children to sing as much as they can with you) Use a circle motion with your arm as you sing “around the world today” . I also used my fingers to “walk” as we sang “walking” and flicked my fingers (Like popcorn popping) on the word “light”.


How many is a million. Look at this clock at the front of the room. If you are very, very, quiet you will be able to hear the second hand tick. If you started to count one number for each second, and you counted eight hours a day (never stopping) seven days a week (no weekends off) it would take you a little over one month to count to a million.

(Listening Activity)

In this great Primary organization where you are one in a million we are growing together in some very special ways. The song tells us three different ways that we are growing together. Listen as I sing this song once more for the three ways.

• Faith
• Might
• Walking in His light

(Listening Activity)

The very last line of this song teaches us that we have a specific goal in mind as we grow together in faith, might, and walking in His light. What is the goal that we all have?

• We’ll be what Heavenly Father has in mind.

By now you have gone over the song enough that the children should have most of it. Along the way as you are teaching the song, add the clap and emphasize the staccato notes.

You can easily teach the second verse with similar listening activies i.e. What are we learning to be? (kind, obedient and true) What are we trying to show the Lord? (I try to show I love the Lord in all I say and do.)

NOW HERE IS THE FUN PART….There is so much you can do with this song. It is a great song to show the children how their voice can be an instrument. Right after the fermata have them slide their voice down the scale as they sing “We’re”. Then on the staccato notes have them pretend their voice is a basketball and bounce their voice. One the next phrase….”Growing in faith and might”…it seems like their voice is skipping down the stairs.

The Church news featured an article on this song in the February 12th issue. I cut it out and showed the children the article and we talked about the website. I printed mailing labels for each child to take home with the internet access for the special page that was created just for this song. We talked about children all over the world in primary and this special place where Primary children tell their stories.

I am working up a choosing time designed around the “Map” on the website. At present I am gathering from different people how to say….”You’re One In A Million” in many different languages. As they choose countries from the map with icons (on the back of the icons will be choose and review songs) on them depicting landmarks from different countries, we will learn how to say “You’re One In A Million” in languages from their “Friends” all over the world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Choose and Review - “Jeopardy” Game

“Jeopardy,” based on the television game show, is a fun game that requires one to state a question for a given answer. The game is organized around categories with several “answers” under each category. The trick is to come up with the question. Primary choristers have been adapting this game for singing time for years! Depending on how you set it up, it takes a lot of time. The answer is given as a clue and the correct response must always include the words “what/who is...” Answers can include numbers which are used as points if you wish the game to be competetive.

Categories could include such things as “Picture That Song” where you use visual aids from songs you’ve taught for the answer clues. For instance, a picture or a simple line drawing of the golden plates should be shown. The child responds by saying “what is “The Golden Plates” and then you would sing the song. Correct responses in this category would be the title of the song. Another category could be “The Word is LISTEN” with answer clues such as “If I listen with , I’ll hear the Savior’s voice” and “He whispers ‘Love one another as Jesus loves you.” The answers would be “what is ‘my heart’” and “what is ‘the still small voice’.” A third category could be “In the Scriptures” with answer clues such as “The Lord commanded him to build a boat.” The answer would be “who is Nephi’.” The answer to “This day should always be kept holy” would be “what is ‘the Sabbath day’.”

Write category titles on small poster strips and position these along the top of the chalkboard. Write answer clues on other small posters and arrange these, face-in, under the proper categories. If you are playing for points, write the points on the front of the answer clues. Have the children take turns choosing a category and then an “answer question.” The children can choose any of the clues in the category; they don’t need to take them in order. You can divide the group into two, but I prefer to play with the whole group amassing total points. You could also play without using points for the questions, in a more “informal competition” between two groups. The junior primary could have two stuffed animals play, inviting the children to answer for “Bear” or “Rabbit.” This makes the competition less personal for these younger children.

“Jeopary” is the perfect game to play when you have lots of time, but if you don’t, you’ll have to shorten it dramatically. Try using just three categories with three questions in each. On a good day I can usually get through eight or nine songs, depending on the length of the song. You could also play the game over more than one week. It wouldn’t necessarily matter if you got through all the categories. Just write a “final Jeopardy” clue and declare an end to the game. If you are using points, add up the points at the end of your time and the game is over.

A really clear explanation of how “Jeopardy” can be used to review songs is given on page 18 of the September 2003 issue of the Friend magazine. Additional category suggestions you’ll find there are “Who is That Anyway” (using people from songs) and “It’s on the Program” (using clues from songs taught for the Sacrament Meeting Program.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Choose and Review - “Definitions”

This activity is adapted from the August 2005 (pg.23) and the March 2008 (pg. 15) issues of the Friend magazine. Think of several words that have to do with the monthly theme. Write definitions or descriptions of each word. Write each of the words on a card to post on the chalkboard and then choose an appropriate song to sing for each card. Write the definitions on slips of paper and put these into a bag or can to draw from. Or, be creative in the way that you deliver the descriptions, such as using seasonal items.

Have a child choose a definition, read it and then choose the matching word card. Sing the song.

“Definitions” is a useful activity to examine the meaning of important words; words like faith, repent, and covenant. Discussing the word, then following up with a song that illustrates the concept, is an excellent example of how the Primary Chorister teaches the gospel to children, and how we offer support to Sharing Time. Both of the above links are perfect resources for our theme in June. You can easily choose words and definitions to expand the theme.

I like activities that help define the words we commonly use in gospel teaching because our teaching is centered on morality, with many abstract ideas and questions. It is easy for children to be confused and uncertain about what we really mean. Just think about the concepts we’ve sung about in “Praise to the Man” and “If I Listen With My Heart.” Children don’t often question us or express their confusion. Activities such as “Definitions” compel us to take the necessary time to make sure the children are getting the message.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Choose and Review - “Connect Four” Game

Prepare sixteen small pictures that match the theme in some way. Choose an appropriate review song for each picture. Don’t worry -- you won’t use them all! Choose a matching scripture, question, or phrase from one of the songs. Write these on wordstrips and put them in a basket to draw from. Prepare 8-12 colored papers to use as markers.

Draw a 4x4 grid of squares on the chalkboard and randomly place the small pictures inside the squares. One at a time, draw a scripture, question or phrase from the can and make a match to a picture in the grid. Replace the picture with a colored paper marker and sing the song. When four squares are connected, end the game.

This month I could use this game to reinforce the principle that many blessings come to us as members of the church. I would choose sixteen pictures that illustrate these blessings and choose a scripture that matches. For example, the scripture in Alma 9:27 could match a picture of baptism and we could sing “When I Am Baptized.” Exodus 20:12 would go with a picture of parents and we could sing “I Am A Child of God.”

In July I might use this game to help the children review My Gospel Standards and how these standards help us be worthy to go to the temple. I would write each standard on a wordstrip and find a picture and a review song that helps to illustrate the standard.

If I wanted to use the game for a general review, I would simply choose a picture to illustrate each song I wanted to review and write a phrase or keyword from each song on the wordstrips. After drawing a strip, the children would first need to guess which song the phrase comes from and then decide which picture matches the song.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Choose and Review - Pull a Picture

Find a picture that illustrates each song that you wish to review. If I used pictures to illustrate the phrases when I taught the song, I like to choose one of these. Put the pictures in a manilla envelope. One at a time, slowly pull a picture out of the envelope. Ask the children to stand when they think they recognize which song the picture represents. Sing the song and repeat with the other pictures.

If you’ve used a flipchart to teach a song, this activity can also be used to review that song. Just put all the phrase pictures randomly into the envelope and then draw them out, one at a time. When the children recognize the phrase, begin with that phrase and sing to the end of the verse (or chorus).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Choose and Review - Primary Composer

The kids always love “Primary Composer.” The idea comes directly from the October 1984 issue of the Friend magazine, so it has been around for a long time now. Draw a large musical staff on the chalkboard. Make a variety of notes from paper, such as quarter notes, eighth notes, whole notes and half notes. Make a note for each song you wish to review and then make a list for the pianist. Post the notes underneath the staff on the chalkboard. Invite the children to choose a note and put it on a line or a space on the staff.  Sing the review song for that note. Then repeat with another note. Leave enough time at the end for the pianist to attempt to play the “composition.” Have someone keep track of the note placement on a piece of paper. This “music” can be given to the pianist to play.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Choose and Review - Name That Tune

“Name That Tune” is a classic singing time activity. Primaries all over the world have surely played the game by listening to the pianist play a portion of a review song and then guessing the name of the song. The children then sing it together.

There are so many variations to “Name That Tune.” I’ve written already about a few on my list. (see Name That Tune - by humming, Name That Tune - by rhythm, Name That Tune - numbered cubes, and Name that Word) Here are three more.

  • I sometimes just write one line from anywhere in several review songs on a strip of paper and put these in a can or basket to choose from. The children draw the strips out and read it to the other children. I accept only first lines or titles for answers and then we sing the song.

  • Similar to the number cubes, I also use a spinner with numbers from 2-6 on it. The pianist plays that many notes of a song on my review list and the children guess the name of the song. It can be more challenging when the pianist plays the notes from the anywhere in the song.

  • Finally, I sometimes have the pianist play the song backwards by playing the last measure first, then the second to last, then the third from the last. The children try to guess the song a measure at a time.

Thank you so much for your comments on the question I posted most recently. What a lovely community we have. I appreciate all of you!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What Would You Do?

I am hoping you will help me with a question. I received an e-mail describing the following situation. Would you consider leaving a comment and help this sister with your ideas? Thanks so much!

After Primary ends, all of the Sr. Primary children have to wait in the primary room for up to 15 minutes until their parents come to pick them up. We have a large primary, so there are typically 50 children waiting. For the past 6 months or so, we have been reading the Book of Mormon aloud. This was working well for a while, but it has gotten old, and the Primary presidency wants to go back to singing while we wait for parents.

In the past, the singing-after-primary did not work at all. Usually right after the prayer the children would start talking with their friends and walking around the room, and a few would sing. It was basically a free-for-all. I don't want this round of after-primary singing to be a repeat of what used to happen. So I'm trying to think about what I could do differently to make it work. I know there needs to be a discussion of what behavior is appropriate. I'm wondering what can be done to help the kids sit through another 10 minutes of singing when they have already been through 3 hours of church.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Choose and Review - “Password” Game

From each song that you wish to review, choose a keyword that will identify the song to the children. Write these words on colorful cards to post, face-in, on the chalkboard. Invite a child to choose a card. They will need to give the rest of the primary either a synonym or another word associated with the secret word as a clue. Be prepared to help with clues by using the dictionary and the thesaurus to find synonyms for the keywords you have chosen. Also use other words from the song as clues to the secret word.You can even write these on another small card, or on the bottom of the large word card. Tell the primary to think of songs that we know and then think of words in the songs that might match the clues given. If the child finds the word too difficult, they can ask for your help. When the word is guessed, sing the song from which the word originates.

Set a time limit for guessing and then give more obvious clues. The first time you play this game be prepared to help whisper clues. The older kids will catch on, but may still need lots of help.The younger kids will almost always need help.

These are examples of keywords and clues: repent=sorry, change, remorse, shame, confess (Repentance -CS-98) popcorn=white, fluffy, yummy, apricot, blossoms (Popcorn Popping -CS-242) valiant=courageous, bold, servants, determined, latter-days (I Will Be Valiant -CS-162) stand=upright, firm, fixed, immovable, true, not sit (Stand for the Right - CS-159) faith=belief, seed, knowing, grow (Faith -CS96) foolish=folly, silly, thoughtless, rock, sand, not wise (The Wise Man...CS-281) family=kindred, relations, household, forever, eternity (Families Can Be...CS-188) Jesus=Savior, Lord, perfect, died (Tell Me the Stories...CS-57) reverent=worship, quiet, awe, humble, bow (Reverently, Quietly -CS-26) covenant=promise, pledge, binding, obey, temple (I Love to See the Temple -CS-95)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Choose and Review - “Categories” Game

Write categories related to the monthly theme on word cards that can be posted on the chalkboard, or put them on slips to be drawn from a basket or can. If the theme were “service,” for instance, the categories might be Items Used in Service, People in the Scriptures Who Served, Ways That I Can Serve, How People Serve Me.

Begin by singing a song about your theme, in this case, service. Then go up and down the rows, asking the children to give one example of something in one of the categories. The children give examples until someone is unable to answer. Stop and sing another song or two about service. Using a different category, begin with the child who couldn’t answer before, and continue to give examples until they are stumped again. Sing songs about the theme between categories. If one category seems to go on for too long, don’t be afraid to cut it off by saying something like “Wow, you really know a lot about...let’s stop and sing...” Then you can move on to the next category.

This month, it might be fun to play this game with the restoration theme, always assuming that I can actually finish teaching and reviewing “Praise to the Man.” The categories could be something like People Who Appeared to Joseph Smith, Books in the Book of Mormon, Places Joseph Smith Lived, Things Lost in the Apostasy, Ways I Am Blessed by Our Church, People in the Early Church, Offices in the Priesthood.

This idea comes directly from the sharing time ideas in the August 2003 issue of the Friend magazine. Those folks were so clever! I adapted to remove the group competition and so that I could cut it off, if necessary, to be able to do more singing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Choose and Review - Sing A Story

Sing a Story is a fun activity that joins songs in a certain arrangment in order to tell a story or amplify a theme. The story is told mostly through the words of the songs. All you need to do is provide a bit of connective narration in the form of scriptures or brief interpretation. This narrative is read between each song.

I thought it might be fun to do a Sing a Story this month, with pictures and songs about Joseph Smith and the restoration of the church. We could sing songs like “The Golden Plates” or “An Angel Came to Joseph Smith,” “Stand for the Right,” “The Priesthood is Restored” and “Book of Mormon Stories.” We could end with “I Will Be Valiant.” It wouldn’t be hard to find the narrative part in the verses of Joseph Smith-History in the Pearl of Great Price.

The following pictures illustrate a Sing a Story that I made years ago in the form of a book, with pictures from the Gospel Art Kit that I could remove. You don’t need to make a book, you could just post pictures in order on the chalkboard.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Song Review - “Everyone Who”

“Everyone Who” is another way to choose who will sing as you review a song. Write the phrases on slips of paper and put them in a basket or can to draw from. Do the actions while you sing the song, yet one more time. If there are just a few children who stand to sing, have everyone else hum while you help those few sing. If you can think of another example to add to the list, please leave a comment.
  • Everyone who has a pet at home stand and pretend you are petting your pet while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to play soccer stand and swing you leg back and forth while we sing.
  • Everyone who plays a musical instrument stand and pretend to play it while we sing.
  • Everyone who wants to go on a mission stand and “knock” the rhythm on a pretend door.
  • Everyone who likes to take a walk stand and walk in place while we sing. Swing your arms.
  • Everyone who goes to bed by 8:00 come up and pretend to sleep while we sing the song to you.
  • Everyone who likes to swim stand and pretend to swim while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to read a book stand and pretend to read while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to build a snowman (or sand castle) stand up while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to ride a bike stand and pretend you are riding your bike while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to paint stand and pretend to paint the melody of the song while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to draw stand and pretend to draw the melody of the song while we sing.
  • Everyone who wants to grow to be tall stand on your tip toes while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to make mud pies stand and sing.
  • Everyone who likes to rake leaves stand and pretend to rake while we sing.
  • Everyone who has to set the table for dinner stand and sing.
  • Everyone who has to pick up their toys at home stand and sing.
  • Everyone who has to fold their own laundry stand and pretend while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to cook stand stand and pretend to stir a pot while we sing.
  • Everyone who likes to eat pizza stand and pretend to toss pizza dough while we sing.
  • Everyone who has a birthday in the summertime (winter, spring or fall) stand and help me lead.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Choose and Review - Picture Puzzle

A picture puzzle makes an easy singing time using a phrase from the theme or an appropriate scripture. A great example is found in the Funstuff feature on page 13 of the March 2009 issue of the Friend.

Choose a short phrase (or a word) that matches the theme. Choose several pictures that correspond to the phrase. If, for instance, the phrase were “Come unto Christ and be perfected in Him.” I would need eight pictures that show ways we come unto Christ, such as praying, service, baptism, scriptures, temple worship, testimony, attending church, and singing. Next choose a scripture that matches each picture and write these scriptures on slips of paper. Place them randomly in the scriptures so that the strips can be pulled out. Write each word in the phrase on a small card or paper and attach to the bottom of each picture. Choose an appropriate review song to sing with each picture. You should have as many pictures as you have time to sing songs. If the words in your phrase are more than you have time to sing, just double up on the words that you attach to each picture.

Post the pictures randomly on the chalkboard. Invite a child to choose a scripture slip and read it. Ask all the children to study the pictures to find which one matches the scripture. Place the picture on the chalkboard tray and sing the song. After all the pictures are chosen, invite the children to unscramble the phrase.

As the picture illustrates, to teach the theme on the fourth week in May, I could use the phrase “The power of the priesthood blesses our lives.” I could choose scriptures and pictures that would help the children understand this principle. Healing the sick (James 5:14 -“Faith”), passing the sacrament (3 Ne. 18:7 -“To Think About Jesus”), counseling with the bishop (D&C 107:74 -“Our Bishop”), a father’s blessing (3 Ne. 18:21 -“Fathers”), home teachers (D&C 20:53 -“I Will Be Valiant”) , missionary service (D&C 84:63 -“Called to Serve”), temple sealing (D&C 132:19 -“I Love to See the Temple”), and service projects (D&C 121:45 -“Love One Another”) are examples of pictures and songs that help illustrate the effect of priesthood in our lives.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Choose and Review - "Titles and Tricks"

I’ve gathered several “blossoms of blue” for a Mother’s Day choose and review. Some flowers have titles of review songs with the phrase “Help me lead         ." I'm wanting to review the four songs we've learned so far, plus the first part of "Praise to the Man." Attached to other flowers are tricks such as “make your funniest face!” or “name a prophet.” I’ll scatter the flowers around the primary room and invite the children to gather them into a bouquet. I've tried to include several tricks because the children love to get these. After we sing, "I Often Go Walking," we’ll sing the other songs as directed. If a trick is chosen, the child does the trick and a different child is chosen to gather another flower.

This activity is on my master list, under "Titles and Tricks." The activity is similar to and actually adapted from “Follow the Directions” which reviews just one song. You could put the titles and tricks on any seasonal die-cut shape and post them on the board. You could put together a mixed bouquet of flowers for springtime and choose them out of a vase. You could gather up items to pack a missionary’s suitcase. You could tie the instructions to firecrackers or flags for the Fourth of July, snowflakes for the winter season, blue ribbons from the county fair, or put them in a plastic pumpkin and do “trick or treat” at Halloween.

These are the tricks I'm using this week:

  • "swim" back to your seat
  • rub your belly and pat your head
  • say an article of faith
  • mime one of your chores at home
  • name a prophet
  • make your scariest face
  • tell us your favorite food
  • sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" while we sing "When We're Helping."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Choose and Review or Song Review - “Every Other” Word Guessing Game

Choose eight to ten words that are related to the monthly theme. Write the words on large cards. On the reverse of the card, write the word again, omitting every other letter, starting with the first letter. For example, the word “reverent” would be written “   e   e   e   t.”

On a word strip, write a corresponding clue or catchy definition for each word. For example, the strip for “reverent might be written “   e   e   e   t --to show worshipful respect.” Assign an appropriate review song to each large word card and post these on the chalkboard. Put the clues into a basket or can to draw from. Invite a child to draw a clue and match it to a word card. Sing the song.

Obviously, this game is fun only for those children who can read and spell. However, if your group is separated, you could post the complete words for the younger children (some of them may be readers). Read the clues and challenge all the younger ones to listen closely to the song and stand up (or do some other action) when they hear the word in the song that matches the definition that was drawn from the can. The youngest ones probably cannot follow even this adaptation, so I would give them rhythm sticks or shakers to keep the beat as we sing.

This game can also work to help define and discuss some of the important keywords in one song. To use the game as a song review, choose several of the keywords in the song and write definitions for these. Post the incomplete words on the chalkboard. As you sing the song, challenge the children to see if they can identify words in the song that match these incomplete words. You can draw more than one definition at a time and let the children identify the words, then remove these cards from the board. This way, you wouldn’t have to sing the song for each word, but you would still be able to go through the review song several times. Again, for the younger children, post the complete words, draw the definitions and challenge them to listen for and stand up when they hear a word in the song that matches this definition.

I could use this activity with older children to help discuss and define all those difficult keywords in “Praise to the Man.” If I had a separate group, I would probably just use a different game altogether to help the younger ones focus on these difficult words. Because my group is combined, I will post the incomplete word cards as I’ve described and challenge the non-readers to listen for a word that matches that definition. I’ll give the youngest children rhythm instruments to use while we sing the song.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Choose and Review - “Who’s Who”

"Who's Who" is a simple matching game for Choose and Review weeks. Choose several people from the scriptures or church history. Find a picture for each of these or make a small poster with their name. Assign a song to each picture or poster. Write a statement describing who the person was or is or what they are known for. For example, a statement describing Oliver Cowdery would read “He was a schoolteacher who felt inspired to investigate the claims of Joseph Smith. After gaining a testimony of the gospel message, he stayed to help Joseph as a scribe in the translation of the Book of Mormon.”

Assign an action or way to sing for each statement, (whisper sing, boys/girls sing, sing with actions, stand to sing, etc.) if you wish. Put these statements in a bag or basket to choose from. When it is time to sing, invite a child to draw a statement from the bag and challenge them to match it to a person. Then sing the song.

A ready example of this game is found on page 26 of the August 2005 issue of the Friend magazine. This example uses individuals from Church history and would match the upcoming theme for May. A second example is on page 26 of the May 2008 issue of the Friend. This example uses women who were mothers in the scriptures. This one might be fun to do near Mother’s Day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Choose and Review - "Answers From the Songs" Board Game

Make a list of songs you want to review. Draw a simple board game that has a space for each of the songs. It is easiest to quickly draw a simple track on the chalkboard and then just use a large seasonal magnet for a game piece. But, you can also make a reusable game board on a poster. Write questions that can be answered with specific words from the review songs. For example, you could ask the children “Why have we been saved for these latter days?” and someone would need to answer, “To build the kingdom in righteous ways.” (We’ll Bring the World His Truth, verse 2, CS-172).

Place the marker at the start. You can read the questions from a list or put them on word strips for the children to choose from a can or a basket. Give the pianist a list of the questions so she can find the page as quickly as possible. As each question is answered correctly, move the marker ahead one space and then sing the song.

If the children have trouble remembering the words from the song, especially in the beginning, as they learn how to play the game, it may help for you to sing the phrase that comes just before the answer as a kind of hint. Or, have the pianist play the phrase that includes the answer. Once the children know how to play this game, I insist that they give the exact words from the song. This helps me know whether the children know the words precisely or just “sort of.”

If you run out of time on the last couple of songs, sing just the phrases that include the answer, so that the marker can reach the finish. If you can see that you will be short of time before you even begin, you can say something like, “move ahead two spaces” on two or three of the songs and then sing fewer songs altogether.

Here is a list of questions for some random review songs.

  • What did Jesus do a long time ago in a beautiful place to the children who were gathered round him? (I Know That My Savior Loves Me)
  • I know something that the Spirit whispers to me and tells me it is true. What do I know? (I Know My Father Lives, CS-5)
  • Who can name the whole list of things that we will bring thanks to our Father for? (Thanks to Our Father, CS-20)
  • Where did the loving mother lay her baby? (Once Within a Lowly Stable, CS-41)
  • Because Jesus is our loving friend, what will he do for us? (Jesus is Our Loving Friend, CS-58)
  • Because saying “I’m sorry” is not easy, what will I try to do? (Repentance, CS-98)
  • What do I like to do whenever there is rain? (When I Am Baptized, CS-103)
  • If I listen to that still small voice, what will I do each time I make a choice? (The Holy Ghost, CS-105)
The simple board game shown in the picture could easily go with our theme this month. The following questions could be used with review songs about Jesus.

  • How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death? (He Sent His Son, CS-34)
  • When the boat was tossed in a tempest on Galilee, what the Master do? (Tell Me The Stories of Jesus, CS-57)
  • What marks are in the hands and side of the resurrected body of Jesus? (Did Jesus Really Live Again? verse 3, CS-64)
  • It shouldn’t be hard to sit very still and think which two things about Jesus? (To Think About Jesus, CS-71)
  • I feel my Savior’s love. What does he know I will do? (I Feel My Savior’s Love, CS-74)
  • Because I’m trying to be like Jesus, what will I do at times I am tempted? (I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus, CS-78)
  • What is the one thing I’m sure Jesus will do when He comes again? (When He Comes, CS-82)
  • Where was Jesus baptized, long ago? (Baptism, CS-100)
  • When Christ was on the earth, what did He promise to send? (The Holy Ghost, CS-105)
  • If I listen with my heart, what will I hear? (If I Listen With My Heart)
  • The Lord needs certain people to do something in the latter days. Who does he need to do what? (I Will Be Valiant, CS-162)
  • When we all lived in heaven and the Father said He needed someone, what did Jesus say? (I Lived in Heaven, CS-4)

I could use this game for Easter by using plastic eggs as a way to deliver the questions. This game can be as generic or as theme-oriented as you might wish.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Choose and Review - Memory Game

The Memory Game is another classic game for singing time. You've probably seen it and perhaps even played it when you were in primary years ago. This game has been around a loooong time. It is based on a very old TV game show called Concentration. One advantage to the Memory Game is that the children have to pay attention the whole time in order to remember where the pictures are.

Prepare a set of 16 pictures, with sets of two pictures that make a match. Write a number on the back side of each picture. Choose a review song for each set of matching pictures. Post the pictures, number side out, on the chalkboard.You can place the pictures into a neatly squared grid, or you can just post them randomly on the chalkboard. Invite the children to call out two numbers at a time and turn the pictures over. If the pictures match, remove them from the board and sing the song. If the pictures don’t match, turn them face in again and call on another child. As the game progresses, with more pictures being removed from the board, it becomes easier to remember where the pictures are.

To make the game even easier for the younger children, I write a number on one picture and a letter on the matching picture. On a turn, the children would call out a number and a letter. This helps them to make matches a little quicker and speeds the game so that we can get to all of the songs.

For this month, I’ve prepared eight pictures which illustrate actions that Jesus did that he wishes us to do also. These pictures are matched to eight pictures of children today who are following the example that Jesus set. I’m planning to use the poem “I Will Follow Jesus Christ,” by Elizabeth Giles (the Friend, May 1999, pg. 24) as an attention getter for this singing time activity.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Name That Tune - with a Number Cube

This number cube is used to play "Name That Tune." I have the sides marked with numbers 2-5. I write a list of songs that I want to review and give the list to the pianist. Then I ask a child to roll the cube. Whichever number is rolled, the pianist plays that number of notes from one of the review songs on the list and the children have to name the song. If the children cannot guess, the pianist keeps adding a note until the song is recognized. To increase the challenge, I have the pianist play the notes from random places in the song, rather than the beginning.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Choose and Review - “Remembering Jesus”

This singing time is adapted from the sharing time ideas in the March 2005 issue of the Friend magazine. Select several pictures from the GAK that illustrate familiar stories from the life of Jesus. Choose review songs that match these stories. When it is time to sing, post the pictures on the chalkboard. Remind the children that when we take the sacrament, we promise to “always” remember Jesus. We can do this by thinking of stories we know about Jesus. Sing “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”(CS-57).

Invite a child to choose a picture and briefly remind the rest of the children of the story. Sing the song with each picture. Finally, sing “To Think About Jesus”(CS-71). Remind the children of the promise in the sacrament prayer. “And if ye do always remember me, ye shall have my Spirit to be with you.” (3 Ne 18:7)

There is also a lovely poem called “The Sacrament,” by Leslie Neilson on page 16 of the February 2010 issue of the Friend. The poem would make a wonderful attention getter for this singing time. Ask the children to listen to the poem to discover what singing time will be about.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Choose and Review - Picture Puzzles

Picture puzzles are another classic way to have the children choose songs for singing time. Just find an appropriate picture and cut it into sections. Put the title to a review song on the back of each piece. Put the pieces into a bag and invite the children to choose them one at a time. Sing the songs on the back of the puzzle pieces and put the puzzle together one piece at a time.

In addition to the title of the song, other things could go on the puzzle piece to add variety and interest to the activity. Quiz questions, case studies, scriptures, riddles, etc. could help reinforce the principle taught in the monthly theme.

For a Choose and Review week in April, I’ve used a picture of Jesus and cut it into eight squares. I’ve written scriptures on each piece. As the pieces are chosen, we’ll read the scripture and briefly discuss that aspect of Jesus and his mission.

Abr 3:27 - Chosen as Savior - “I Lived in Heaven.”
Jacob 4:9 - Creator - “I Feel My Savior’s Love.”
John 20:31 - Son of God - “He Sent His Son.”
3 Ne 27:21 - Example - “Tell Me The Stories of Jesus.”
Alma 34:8 - Atoned for our sins - “To Think About Jesus.”
John 15:26 - Gave the Holy Ghost - “The Holy Ghost.”
D&C 110:8 - Directs the Church - “The Church of Jesus Christ.”
John 11:25 - We can be Resurrected - “When He Comes Again.”

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Song Review - Name That Word

After the children are familiar with the words of a new song, you can review it with “Name That Word.” Simply have the pianist play the melody and ask the children to sing the song in their mind. This will take some concentration for some of the children. The younger ones will have a harder time, so I stand by them and mouth the words. When the pianist stops the music, ask the children to name the word. You may find that the children name the next word! It seems to be easier to do. ;o) You can repeat the process for as long as interest continues. This activity is easily combined with another review activity if or when the children become restless.

It is most effective to emphasize the keywords in the song. If you work with the pianist ahead of time, she can mark these in the music and stop on (or just before) these words. If you use colored chalk on a Q-Tip, you can easily erase the mark later from the music.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Teaching Method - Turns With Phrases

Turns With Phrases is a teaching method that forms groups of children to sing each phrase of the song. A child is chosen from each group to help you lead that group. Teach each group one phrase of the song. Alert the children that the groups will switch phrases later, so they should listen to all the phrases as they are taught. Sing the whole song, with each group singing their phrase. Then switch phrases and groups and sing the song again.

Our song for April is “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” and I’m planning to use Turns With Phrases to teach it. I'm planning to use three groups and teach each group the phrases that answer the question in each verse. Because the song tells a story, it seems incomplete without singing all three verses. I want to teach the three verses together as if they were one verse. So, I’ll teach the phrases of each verse to each group. For each verse, I’ll sing the questions and then I’ll teach the answers to each group. I’ll sing the questions again and they can sing the answers back to me. I’ve prepared pictures to give them visual clues for the phrases. A couple of children in each group can hold these up as their group sings about them. Then we’ll switch phrases and sing the song again.

This song bears a beautiful testimony of the real events of the Savior’s resurrection. It tells how the Savior spoke to Mary in the garden and to others. These became witnesses to the reality of his resurrection as they watched him eat and felt the physical wounds in his body. The final phrase testifies that because Jesus lives again, we will also be resurrected.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Name That Tune - by Humming

Make a list of songs you want to review. Tell the children that you are going to play a musical guessing game. Explain that you will begin humming a song and when they recognize the song, they should stand and join you in humming. When a fair number of children are standing, ask one of them to name the song. Invite this child to use the music baton to lead the rest of the primary in singing the song. I have a bee “fancy” that I like to add to the baton with this activity. You could also use a bee puppet to lead. Or, use the bee and bird animal shapes to indicate when to sing and when to hum during the song.

This activity works well with songs that have not been sung for awhile. It also works great if you just want to review one of the new songs before moving into a different planned singing time activity.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Song Review - Everyone Can w/ Case Studies

Case studies and the "Everyone Can" work perfectly to review a song like "Stand For the Right.” Case studies help the kids see how to live the principles that we sing about in our primary songs. The situation, along with a question such as “What can you do to be true to the prophet’s teaching?” or, “What should you do to follow the prophet?” go into the can to draw from. After a child draws the case study, but before he gives an answer, sing “At work or at play, in darkness or light, Be true, be true and stand for the right.” If there is time, after the child answers the question, sing an additional review song to reinforce the principle taught by the case study. Depending on how long it takes to discuss the situation with the children, there may not be time to sing the additional song. So, judge the time and sing the extra songs as you can fit them in. I don't necessarily sing with each case study. In the bottom of the can, put smiley face stickers to give to each child to remind them that “everyone can” stand for the right. (Give the strips to the teachers to pass out.)

Here are examples of case studies and songs that we might sing. You should re-write and adapt them to your primary.

Your mom asked you to come straight home after school, but your friend has the neatest new computer game he wants you to see. It will only take a minute to show you. What can you do to stand for the right? “Quickly, I’ll Obey” (CS-197)

Your dad wants you to be finished with your homework before family night. You got distracted playing with the dog and now everyone else is eager for FHE. You could tell your dad that you are finished or admit that you are not ready. What can you do to be true? “Choose The Right Way” (CS-160)

Your best friend came over to play and your little sister wants to play with the two of you. She sometimes gets in your way and you would rather play with your friend alone. What should you do to stand for the right? “Kindness Begins With Me” (CS-145)

Some of the older boys at school like to call people names. This makes you feel sad and kind of angry and you feel like calling them names too, just so that they know how it feels. What can you do to stand for the right? “Smiles” (CS-267)

You are trying to do your homework and your little brother wants you to play a game with him. He keeps bugging you and you keep telling him to go away. What should you do to be true? “Love One Another” (CS-136)

Your very favorite top is becoming too small. Every time you lift your arms your stomach shows, but just a bit. You want to keep wearing it. It’s your favorite! What can you do be true? “I Will Be Valiant” (CS-162)

You stopped at the playground on your way home from school and accidentally tore your pants on the slide. You know your mom will be upset about the pants. You could just change them and put them in the laundry bin. What should you do to stand for the right? “Listen, Listen” (CS-107)

Your mom asked you and your brother to clean up the toys in the living room. You were tossing them back and forth to each other and accidentally hit the lampshade. Now there is a little tear that your mom probably won’t notice for a long time. What should you do to stand for the right? “I Want to Live the Gospel” (CS-148)

You are playing ball in the backyard and hit a home run for sure. The ball hits the window in the neighbor’s garage and now there is a small crack in the window. You resolve to be more careful. What should you do to be true? “Nephi’s Courage” (CS-120)

Your lesson in primary was all about being kind, but one of the primary kids keeps pestering you and you just want him to leave you alone. Besides, you are trying to listen. What can you do stand for the right? “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS-78)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Choose and Review - Feast of the Prophets

The cutest idea, easily adapted to singing time, is "Feast of the Prophets" found on page 24 of the August 2001 issue of the Friend magazine. Those people are ingenious! Each of these paper plates holds a teaching, an experience, or a revelation from a prophet. The plates represent a feast of counsel and direction from both ancient and modern prophets. Their teachings nourish our souls the way food nourishes our bodies.

I chose from among the many quotes and typed them into my word processor. Then I printed the quotes, cut them out and glued them to inexpensive paper plates. Fruit and veggie stickers dress up the plates just a bit. I thought about using pictures of food cut from magazines, but the stickers were easier. I have made a plate for each child, and some will have the same quote. I have ten quotes altogether with ten songs. I did not list the title on the plate. This may be too many songs to get through in twenty minutes. So, if time is short, I can use fewer quotes by removing those plates.

When it is time to sing, I'll give the plates to the children and ask them to read the quote. Teachers will need to quietly read the quote to those that cannot read and I’ve included the very short quotes to give to the youngest kids. I'll ask the children to listen carefully during singing time to find a song that matches the principle taught by the prophet on their plate. After we sing a review song, I’ll ask the children to stand up if they think the song matches the quote on their plate. We’ll read the quote and then repeat with another song. These are the quotes I’m using:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord.” (Paul - Ephesians 6:1)

“And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel...” (Jacob - 2 Nephi 9:23)

“Every member a missionary.” (David O. McKay)

Keep the commandments of God. That is my keynote speech, just those few words: Keep the commandments of God.” (Heber J. Grant)

“Treat one another aright. Have you sinned one against another? Have you spoken unkindly to your brother or sister? Then go and acknowledge your wrong and ask to be forgiven, promising to do better in the future.” (John Taylor)

“We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, ‘what would Jesus do?’ and then be more courageous to act upon the answer.” (Howard W. Hunter)

“Let us continually reread the Book of Mormon so that we might more fully come to Christ...” (Ezra Taft Benson)

“Mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” (Alma the Elder - Mosiah 18:9)

“I kneeled down before my maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer... for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him.” (Enos - Enos 1:4)

“Dwell together in love.” (Joseph Fielding Smith)

The matching review songs are:

“Quickly, I’ll Obey”
“When I Am Baptized”
“I Hope They Call Me on a Mission”
“Keep the Commandments”
“I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus”
“Book of Mormon Stories”
“Kindness Begins With Me”
“I Pray in Faith”
“Love One Another”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Choose and Review - "Follow the Prophet"

Find eight or nine pictures of children from magazines (or use the cut-outs of children from the visual aids kit) and write the titles of primary songs that teach the principles that prophets have asked us to do on each of the pictures. Try to think of the ones most likely to be named by the children in your primary.

Introduce singing time by asking the children to name some things that prophets have asked us to do (pray, serve others, have FHE, be a friend, read the scriptures, keep the Sabbath day holy, be kinder, be modest, be clean and virtuous, be honest, etc.) List these things on the chalkboard. Post the pictures of the children on the edges of the chalkboard and explain that the pictures on the board represent children, all over the church, who are also following the prophet. Ask a child to choose a cut-out and help you lead the song on the back. Discuss with the children what the song says this child is doing to follow the prophet and see if it matches any of the things they may also doing. Place the cut-out on whichever teaching it matches. If there is time, ask the children to further identify a way that they can live that principle. Repeat with the other songs.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Choose and Review - Finding "Peace"

This idea comes directly from the Sharing Time ideas on page 36 of the May 2001 issue of the Friend magazine.

I’ve prepared 5 cutout letters that spell “peace.” The letters are hidden in the primary room. Give directions to find each letter, such as “go directly to the piano bench and look under the lid.”  Choose review songs that teach a way to follow the prophet and that match the letters in the word. For instance, PRAY - “I Pray in Faith” CS-14. EAT healthy food - “For Health and Strength” CS -21. “ATTEND church - “The Church of Jesus Christ” CS -77. “CHOOSE the right “Choose the Right Way CS -160. Be an EXAMPLE - “I Will be Valiant” CS -162.

Invite a child to follow the directions to find a letter and post it on the chalkboard. Challenge the children to listen to the words of the song on the letter to discover how to follow the prophet. When we are obedient to the principles of the gospel and follow the direction of the prophet, we will find peace. Because there are only five songs, ask the children to think of other ways we can follow the prophet and sing songs that reinforce these principles. End by singing “Keep the Commandments.” (CS-146)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Choose and Review - Example of Prophets

This singing time uses stories in the scriptures of prophets who set a good example for us by the things they did. Prepare word strips with the following scriptures and put the strips in a can or basket to draw from. Prepare separate word cards with the following words to post on the chalkboard: OBEDIENCE, PRAYER, WORK, FAITH, REPENTANCE, COURAGE, TITHING, REVERENCE, TEMPTATION, SCRIPTURES. Choose an appropriate review song to sing that reinforces the principle on each card.

For singing time, invite a child to choose a scripture word strip and read it. Have the group identify the principle lived by the prophet and choose the matching word card. Sing the song on the card. Testify that we can follow the example of these prophet and live these principles in our own lives.

Genesis 7:5 “And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.”

Genesis 28:20-22 “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying if God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God...and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

Exodus 3:5 “...God called unto [Moses] out of the midst of the bush...And he said, Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes from off they feet, for the place whereon thous standest is holy ground.”

Enos 1:4 “And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reach the heavens.”

Mosiah 2:14 “And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there would nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne...”

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

Joseph Smith History 1:13 “At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.”

Mormon 6:6 “I, Mormon, began to be old..., and having been commanded of the Lord...therefore I made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Choose and Review - "Words for You"

This idea comes from the Sharing Time page in the October 2001 issue of the Friend magazine. It works perfectly with the song and the theme in March. The activity will allow me to review the song “Stand for the Right” and then reinforce the principle of following the counsel of the prophet.

The suggestion is to display a picture of the prophet and to post statements of his counsel around the picture. I can explain that “ whenever we choose to do what the prophet asks us to do, we are being true and are standing for the right.” I chose several statements from President Manson in recent General Conferences and typed them on conversation balloons. I included a picture for the benefit of the younger children and to make the visuals more appealing. I will choose an appropriate review song for each statement. I can use my apron, the grab bag or the “everyone can” and invite a child to choose the statements one at a time. We’ll discuss it briefly and post it on the board. Then we'll sing the song.

I like that the activity is flexible, depending on how much time I have. I don’t have to use every statement, but I made several extra. If I want to use more of the statements, we could read and post them without singing a song for each one. Here are the statements that I’ve prepared:

“I testify that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.” (April-2009)

“Children, let your parents know you love them. Let them know how much you appreciate all they have done and continue to do for you.” (April-2009)

“He will help us and bless us as we call upon Him in our prayers, as we study His words, and as we obey His commandments. Therein in found safety; therein is found peace.” (Oct-2010)

“Young men, I admonish you to prepare for service as a missionary. Keep yourselves clean and pure and worthy to represent the Lord. Maintain your health and strength. Study the scriptures.” (Oct-2010)

“Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.” (Oct-2010)

“May we show increased kindness toward one another.” (Oct-2010)

“Constantly nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.” (Oct-2010)

“If you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.” (April-2009)

“Prayer is the means by which we approach our Father in Heaven, who loves us. Speak to Him in prayer and then listen for the answer. Miracles are wrought through prayer.” (April-2009)

“Give your parents a hug; say ‘I love you’ more; always express your thanks.” (Oct-2008)

“May we be found among those who give our thanks to our Heavenly Father. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.” (Oct-2008)

“May we live together in peace and harmony and love. May we strive each day to follow the Savior’s example.” (Oct-2008)

“Don’t be afraid to walk out of a movie, turn off a television set, or change a radio station if what’s being presented does not meet your Heavenly Father’s standards.” (April-2010)

“The ordinances performed in our temples are vital to our salvation and to the salvation of our deceased loved ones. May we continue faithful in attending temples.” (April-2010)

“Each of us has come to the earth with all the tools necessary to make correct choices.” (Oct-2010)

“Keep the commandments of God...Happiness comes from living the way the Lord wants you to live and from service to God and others.” (April-2010)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Song Review - "Five Smooth Stones"

“Stand for the Right” is such a straightforward song to teach and most of our children know the song already. So, all this month I can have fun with review activities that focus on prophets and following their counsel and direction.

The theme of following the prophet has come up so many times over the years. I have quite a number of things in my music box that match this theme. I’ve decided to post the ones that I actually have things prepared for. So, please don’t wonder how I’m able to do all of this in a month of four Sundays. I’m not actually using all of them this month, just passing the ideas on, so that you could add them to your list, if you wish. The yearly theme for 2001 was all about prophets. So, if you check the Sharing Time pages in the back issues of the Friend magazine for the year 2001, you'll find lots of great suggestions for activities that can be adapted to singing time.

In the September 2006 issue of the Friend magazine there is a wonderful sharing time feature titled "Comfort and Courage from the Scriptures." The article is based on a message from President Monson in which he refers to the story of David and Goliath. President Monson uses David's five smooth stones as metaphors for defeating the challenges in our lives. He talks of the stones of courage, effort, humility, prayer, and duty.

So this first week, I'm putting these five stones into a bag to pass as a way to review "Stand for the Right." I'll ask the pianist to stop randomly and the child holding the bag will draw out a stone and name a way they can use the principle on the stone to meet a challenge. I'll have some challenges in mind, just in case the child needs help. For instance, I could ask the child "How can prayer help you in school?" Or, "What can you do at home to fulfill your duty?" The stone can go back in the bag and we'll keep singing for as long as there is interest in the activity.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Choose and Review - A Divine Destiny

Having taught and sung the song “I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me” this month, I want to re-emphasize to our children that they have a divine destiny. I’ll ask the children if they know what this means and discuss the words divine (from God) and destiny (a predetermined or appointed plan.) I want them to know that Heavenly Father has an important mission for each of us, including each of them.


I’ve prepared a musical guessing game to discover these divine aims for our lives. It is simply based on the “Name That Tune” idea. I’ve put each of the above principles on the back of a small colored poster. On the front of each poster is a different colored number from 2-5. These same colored numbers are written on small papers in a can or basket. I’ll invite a child to choose a paper with a colored number and show it to the pianist. She will play that many notes for the song that matches that color. If the children can’t guess, she keeps adding a note to the musical clue. After guessing the song, I’ll challenge the children to listen as we sing it to identify the principle that Heavenly Father wants us to live. Then we’ll turn over the poster for that color and reveal the principle on the back.

“Name That Tune” is such a standard for singing time. There are a number of ways to play it, all of them fun.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Choose and Review - The List Game

The List Game is a classic add-on concentration game that challenges the memory. You may have played it as an alphabet game, adding items beginning with alphabet letters to a growing list of things to take to Grandma’s house, or on vacation, etc.

To use the List Game for singing time, I create a phrase that matches the monthly theme and leave out the action. Then I think of words that complete the phrase and a review song that teaches this principle and write these on word strips. The word strips go into a can or basket to draw from. As each word strip is drawn, we say the phrase together, and add the action to the list. Then we sing the song. The point is to remember the list of actions and affirm them each time we repeat the list. I usually include two or three word strips that are blank. In this case, the children would be asked to think of a way to complete the phrase and a song that we know that teaches that action. If I had two groups, I would write only the title of the song on the word strip. The older children would be challenged to listen and discover the action taught in the song and then add it to the list.

As an example, this month I could have used the phrase, “I strengthen my family when I         .” (am kind - “Kindness Begins with Me”) The phrase could grow with actions such as smiling, praying, obeying, being thankful, helpful and saying I’m sorry. In the case of a blank word strip, the children would be asked to think of a way to strengthen their family and a song that the primary knows. It would have be fun to staple the word strips together to make a paper chain, testifying that these actions would, indeed, make the family strong.
This is also fun to play in July with pioneer songs. "I am going across the plains and I am taking          ."

I’m thinking that I’ll use this game in September with the phrase “I prepare to serve a mission when I .” (Keep commandments, gain a testimony, exercise, save money, am friendly, pray, read the Book of Mormon, pay tithing, serve others, and listen to the Holy Ghost.)

This game is an easy one to leave in the closet for emergencies or to prepare for a substitute if you know you'll be gone. Whatever the theme, the List Game is a classic activity for singing time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Choose and Review - Pantomime

Pantomime is a fun activity to use for singing time. Children enjoy acting and having others guess what they are doing. If the viewers are having a hard time guessing, you can help them by asking questions of the actor, such as “are you at home?” The actor can nod yes or no. Sometimes it helps to demonstrate what you want the children to do. Say something like “I am going to act out a way to be helpful. See if you can guess what I’m doing.” After the children guess, you can whisper what you want a child to do, or write the pantomime suggestions on wordstrips and put into a can or basket to choose from.

Although I'm using the costume idea this week, an idea from the Sharing Time ideas in the October 2006 issue of the Friend works for a choose and review activity to support this week's theme of strengthening families and helps me explain how I use pantomime as an activity in singing time.

Words from the list of principles from this part of The Family: A Proclamation to The World, “...successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities,” are written on cards to post on the chalkboard. On the back of the card, write the title of an appropriate review song. The same principles are on wordstrips in a can or basket with suggestions for pantomime. Write this part of the Proclamation on the chalkboard. “Successful families are established and maintained on principles of ...”

When it is time to sing, read that sentence from the Proclamation and explain to the children that living these principles will help strengthen our families. Have a child draw a wordstrip from the can and pantomime living that principle. The rest of the children can guess which of the principles they are acting out. After the children guess, say the sentence together naming that principle. Then remove the word card from the board and sing the song.

Here are the wordstrips:
Please pantomime ---a way to demonstrate faith. (...perhaps paying your tithing)
Please pantomime ---saying your prayers.
Please pantomime ---a way to say I’m sorry to someone in your family.
Please pantomime ---a way to forgive someone in your family. ( may need another child to help you.)
Please pantomime ---one of the chores you do at home.
Please pantomime ---a way to show respect to someone in your family (...perhaps pick up toys).
Please pantomime ---a way to show love someone in your family.
Please pantomime --- a way to show compassion to someone in your family.
Please pantomime ---a fun recreational activity you enjoy with your family.
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