Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Choose and Review - CTR Shields

Some time ago, for a Choose and Review, I selected several of the personal experiences shared by children in the “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” feature of the Friend magazine. I typed them up and mounted these on simple green CTR shields. During singing time, I invited the children to choose a situation and read it. The rest of the children listened to discover what the child did to choose the right, then we sang an appropriate review song. This was so simple and the children enjoyed it. Many wanted to share good choices they have been making as well. I love it when such a simple idea works so well! ;o)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Choose and Review - People in the Scriptures Made Good Choices

For a Choose and Review some time ago, I used figures from the Primary Visual Aids Cutouts, to illustrate examples of people in the scriptures and church history who were examples to us in making good choices. I wrote out a simple “Who Am I” kind of clue for each of these figures, indicating what choice that person made. After the children guessed who they were, we discussed their choice and sang a review song that reinforced the principle taught by that choice. Here are the brief story clues I used.

“One day, as I was walking down the road, I saw a man who had been beaten. I felt sorry and stopped to help him. I took him to an inn and even paid for his care before countinuing my journey. Who Am I?” (Good Samaritan) -Love One Another / Kindness Begins With Me

“I was instructed to build a boat. My brothers laughed at me because I didn’t know how. I prayed and God blessed me and helped me build the boat. When it was finished my family and I sailed to the promised land. Who Am I?” (Nephi) -Nephi’s Courage

“I had been taught that I should always pray, but in my country there was a law that said you could not pray. I obeyed the Lord and prayed anyway. I was put into a den of lions, but the Lord protected me and blessed me for being valiant. Who Am I?” (Daniel) -I Will Be Valiant

“The Lord asked me to go on a mission to the Lamanites. I was put to work tending sheep. I was able to defend the sheep against robbers, and the king listened to my message about the gospel. Who Am I?” (Ammon) -I Hope They Call Me on a Mission

“When the prophet Joseph Smith needed money to print the Book of Mormon, I mortaged my farm and took the money to the prophet. It was a lot of money, and put my farm at risk, but I wanted to help build the kingdom of God. Who Am I?” (Martin Harris) -Stand for the Right

“I lived at the time of the restoration of the gospel. I loved and supported my husband as he organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also collected the first book of hymns for the church to use. Who Am I?” (Emma Smith) - I Will Follow God’s Plan for Me

“I was a faithful mother in the days of the Book of Mormon. Just like many other mothers, I taught my son the gospel and often shared my testimony with him. When he became a soldier, I assured him that if he didn’t doubt, God would care for him in danger and deliver him. Who Am I?” (Faithful Lamanite Mother) - Faith and/or We’ll Bring the World His Truth.

“I lived during the time of the New Testament. An angel appeared to me and told me that I would be the mother of a very special baby. The Holy Ghost whispered to me that this was a extraordinary responsibility. I wanted to do what God asked me to do. Who Am I?” (Mary) - Listen, Listen and/or Once Within a Lowly Stable

“I was a beautiful queen in ancient Persia. When I found out that all the Jews in my country would be killed, I knew I had to go before the king and ask him to spare my people. I fasted and prayed and then risked my life to ask this favor. Who Am I?” (Esther) - Dare to Do Right

Friday, June 22, 2012

Choose and Review - “Make a Choice” Scrambled Word Puzzle

This is just a variation on the Scrambled Word. For each song you wish to review, write a statement that begins with “I will” and is either a good choice or a bad choice. For example, “I will repent when I make a mistake” or “I will go to church only when I feel like it.” “I will obey my parents” or “I will cheat only if I need a better grade.” Write these statements on cards with one letter (on the reverse side) from the word joy for the right choices and grief for the wrong choices. You could also use glad and weep, smile and woe, or happy and sad. Choose a review song for each choice card that reinforces the principle.

Post the choice cards randomly on the chalkboard with letters facing out. Invite a child to choose a card and read the statement. Have the children decide if it is a good choice or a bad choice. As the cards are chosen, sing the song and then post the good choice cards on one side of the chalkboard and the bad choices on the other. Explain that the puzzle words describe how we will feel if we make these choices. Unscramble the words.

An alternate plan would be to write the statements on a list (make a coded list with the letters from each word, or use a different list for the different colors) and put the cut-out letters in a bag to draw from. I used two colors as a sorting aid because I have so many little ones in my combined group. But the same color for all the letters will also work quite well, especially for older children. When a child chooses a letter, read a statement from the appropriate list and then have the child place the letter in the appropriate group of letters. Then unscramble the words together.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Choose and Review - Scrambled Word Puzzle

Scrambled words make a great simple singing time. You can select letters that spell a word from the weekly or monthly theme, or just create a general word that could live in your primary bag or the closet at church to be pulled out in an emergency. Commercial “punch out” letters, designed for bulletin or other display boards, will make things especially easy, but you can do it yourself almost as quickly.

I try to use a word that has at least seven letters and not more than nine or ten, depending on the length of the review songs I’m using. I find that I can easily get through about 8 songs in the twenty minutes allotted for singing time. You’ll have to adjust the length of the word to fit your average time. If I’m using a theme word, I try to review songs that have something to do with the theme. General words will allow me to review any of the songs.

For Choose and Review this month, because we’re singing “Nephi’s Courage,” I decided to use letters from the word courage and I have assigned a review song to each letter. I’ll have the children choose a random letter from the bag and post it on the board and then we’ll sing the review song. At the end of singing time, we’ll unscramble the word and briefly discuss the courageous choices Nephi made.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Choose and Review - Scripture Fathers

So I have been looking for a nice, quiet, Father's Day singing time and naturally turned to my usual resource - The Friend magazine. I browsed through several past June issues and ran into a Funstuff quiz activity called “Scripture Fathers.” (June, 2004) The point of the activity is to identify the scripture father from the clue (and a scripture reference, if necessary.) The tie illustration gave me the idea of putting the clues on the back of paper ties for singing time on Father’s Day. I was going to cut the ties from scrapbook paper, but then I remembered seeing a pdf for these ties on Bridgette’s blog a couple of years ago. BTW, we are not going to do the "boppin" part, just because I'm not as outgoing or courageous as Bridgette. ;o}  So, I just printed out the ties, copied the clues text from the magazine, and cut and pasted the clues on the back of the ties. Now I need to choose some appropriate review songs. And maybe study just a little about how these fathers made good choices so that I can tie this activity to the monthly theme. Then I’ll be set for Sunday. I hope you all have a fun Father's Day!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wooden Spoon Puppets

These are the wooden spoon puppets I painted to go along with “Nephi’s Courage.” I think they turned out pretty well and they were certainly some of the easiest puppets I’ve made! At first, I didn’t like the way the acrylic paint looked on the wood. It seemed too fresh somehow and very unpolished. I am not that great of an artist, as you can tell, and that was another factor. Childish looking could be good, since I work with children, but the perfectionist in me was not satisfied. After some mild fussing and fretting and thinking about it, I took some fine sandpaper and sanded them. I immediately liked the result, since it softened the paint and made it look more like an old child’s toy - one that was used and loved. The effect is much better, I think.

I’m using these wooden spoon puppets this week for another review of the first and second verses. I made three of each character so that each child could hold one of the characters. Two or three more children can hold a simple picture of a boat during the second verse. (Yes, currently, our primary is that small!) I plan to review the song a few times, asking the children to hold up the puppets when we sing about their character. If there is time, I'm also planning to use the puppets as I would pictures for “Pull A Picture.” I’ll invite a child to hide with the puppets behind a small cardboard box screen. They can choose one of the puppet characters and slowly lift it up. The other children should raise their hands or stand when they recognize the phrase that puppet belongs to. Then we’ll sing the phrase together. I’ll challenge the children not to name the puppet, but to recognize and say or sing the phrase from the song. Remember that all the characters, except Laban will have more than one phrase. You may need to help the children remember additional phrases for the characters.

In a future review, I could draw the outline of a boat on one end of the chalkboard near the tray, then line the puppets up on the other end of the tray. We could sing each phrase of the song in turn and when the children can sing the phrase perfectly, a puppet could be moved into the boat. When all the puppets are in the boat, the song is ready to sail. (See “Know It By Heart.”)

We had such fun last week with our dramatization. Sharing time was VERY short, because our president went home sick. So I had most of the time for singing and that was a good thing. We reviewed both the first and second verses of "Nephi's Courage" and the kids just had a ball with the costumes and actions.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Teaching a Song - “Nephi’s Courage”

Our older kids know this song and they just need a review. But, I also have three little Sunbeams in our combined group that don’t know the song at all. I have a couple of special children as well, and they really need to be involved somehow during singing time. This can be a particular challenge and I’m always trying to think how to include everyone.

Because of the narrative nature of the song, my plan is to start with the 5 W's this week to help the older children focus their attention as we sing through the song a couple of times. Then I will use the older children in a dramatization along with actions to help me teach the song to the little ones. I happen to have some quick costumes that the children can use and these make dramatizing the song even more fun. Using even simple headbands, belts or props provokes just enough imagination to help the children get into character. The narrative aspect of “Nephi’s Courage” makes it perfect for dramatization.

I also have some puppets that would be fun to use to teach “Nephi’s Courage.” Have you ever seen simple puppets made from wooden spoons? If I can manage it, I’m planning to make wooden spoon puppets to represent Nephi, Laman and Lemuel and the wicked Laban. (Mainly because I'm reluctant to turn over my other puppets to the children!) Then we’ll have a simple singing puppet show to dramatize the second verse to the song. Because my group is sooooo small right now, taking turns with the puppets will allow me to sing the verse several times. Using this younger scripture figure and this older scripture figure puppet template at lds.org (or these puppets or these illustrations) would allow one to create several puppets for each character so that each child would have a puppet to use during the song. Switching puppets would allow further opportunities to repeat the singing.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Link - A Special Easter Egg

Eggs! Some of you might have prepared some variation of a singing time using plastic Easter eggs. Because I need something truly simple this week, I am (probably) using plastic eggs and "Titles and Tricks". But I am posting this week because I wanted to share a wonderful link to another post that touched me. Our loving Heavenly Father knows and blesses each of us, according to our need and as we are open to his ministering.

Just like most, I sometimes wonder if my own efforts are meaningful or even useful, considering the enormous need to build the Kingdom around the world. I've been feeling especially discouraged about how attendance in our own little primary has shrunk to almost nothing right at the moment. But, I was recently mining the depths of the labels of one of my favorite blogs when I read Michele's post about One Tiny Gift. I knew I wanted to share it with those that I love this Easter weekend. If you have read my philosophical posts, you know that her testimony is my testimony as well. That small efforts combine to bring about the purpose of God. That Jesus Christ loves and appreciates all who bring even one tiny gift, to make His kingdom -even the world, better and brighter. Thank you, Michele for such a lovely reminder of this truth. A Blessed Easter to all of you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Using Pictures from the Friend Magazine

Regarding the last post and using pictures from the Friend magazine, Becky said...

"I love this idea and can't wait to use it. But, every time I try to find an image on lds.org in the Friend magazines, I get only the accompanying story or activity. Can you tell me how to find these great pictures?"

I thought I would do a separate post so that more people could see the answer to this question.

In you click on the menu at lds.org and then click on magazines, you'll see a button for the Friend magazine. Once you click on the magazines button, look on the left sidebar for "other issues."  You can choose from all the magazines available on the site, including the current issue. When the page opens for the year and month you've chosen, you have text that shows the contents of the magazine. At the top of the contents list is the large month title. To the right of this title is a choice to either "listen" or to "download." You want to click on download and then choose text. This will download the whole magazine in a pdf file that you can save to your own computer. If you choose individual stories or features from the contents list, you can only download that particular feature, but if you are careful to choose the top button, you will get the whole magazine.

I hope that explanation helps you access the fabulous pdfs from the back issues of the Friend. I love the Friend magazine and truly appreciate the effort the church puts into this great resource for our children. And, I love how it helps me be a better Primary chorister!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Choose and Review - CTR Picture Study

This choose and review is a “Picture Study” about making choices. When I searched the blog to link to the post that describes picture study on my master list, I couldn't find a separate post. Maybe I've described it somewhere, but just in case I haven't, here's the scoop. Picture Study encourages the children to study a picture and come to a conclusion about what is happening, etc. In some cases, I might post just one picture, perhaps of Joseph Smith reading the scriptures, or Jesus and the children, or one of the temples. Then I'll ask the children questions about that picture. The children study the picture and we briefly discuss what they see. Then we sing songs based on what I've chosen to emphasize about that picture.

In this case, in order to review making good choices, I’ve prepared two sets of eight pictures. (The second set is for another week. It will come in handy if I need a last minute singing time or even a substitute later in the year.) I'll post the pictures on the board and ask a child to choose one picture. They may need to identify or describe the situation to the other children and we'll briefly discuss what kind of choice needs to be made in that situation. If they get it right away we'll go on to sing the song. If they don't catch on, I’ll ask the children to listen as we sing the review song to discover what choice should be made in that situation. Then we’ll go on to the next picture. I like doing picture studies. You never know what the kids will think the children in the picture are doing or what they will notice about the picture.

Lucky for me, The Friend magazine has all sorts of these "situation" kinds of illustrations. I chose several songs to review and then went looking for an appropriate picture in the digital pdf magazines. I printed the picture directly onto white cardstock, cut out around the picture and put a magnet on the back.

Here are the songs I picked to go with these pictures.

Set 1: “Fun to Do” (Saying hello is fun to do.) “Quickly I’ll Obey” “Love One Another” “Search, Ponder, and Pray” “The Family” “I Believe in Being Honest” “Family Prayer” “Kindness Begins With Me”

Set 2: “To Think About Jesus” “Fun to Do (Making a card is fun to do.) “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus” “Repentance” “Dare to Do Right” Quickly I’ll Obey” “Keep the Commandments”

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tip - Magnetic Tape

Okay, I may have to admit to living under a rock, but I am so excited to find magnetic tape! I have been using the thin magnets on the pictures I use to put up on the board, but some things don't really require even that much of a magnet. Lo, and behold - magnetic tape. Of course, I've seen the thicker magnetic tape strip, but this is so thin it comes in a tape dispenser and you rip it off a cutting bar. It is strong enough for one sheet of cardstock - and, it doesn't create bulk in my storage box! Hooray! I found this at Learning is Fun.

I know I promised my plans for teaching the hymn "Choose the Right," but those plans are on hold right now. However, I have scheduled a couple of posts to show you what I've been up to for Choose and Review. Look for them in the next couple of days.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Song Review - "As a Child of God"

For old times sake, I thought I would share with you all what I did to review “As a Child of God.”  I put the phrase pictures up on the board and asked a child to leave the room. I asked another child to choose one of the pictures to remove. We shuffled the remaining pictures around a bit to make it harder to spot, but if the guessing child is young, you may want to leave the pictures as they were. When the child came back into the room, we sang the song again to help them discover which picture was missing. Naturally, I asked the child to give the answer in the exact words of the song. If the children had a hard time, we sang the missing phrase together and then repeated the whole process.

The other review activity I had prepared was a “Pop Quiz” with questions about the song. The questions were written on orange slips of paper and placed in an Orange Crush bottle.  A child shook out a question and then had to answer it in the exact words of the song. Naturally, we had to sing a little to help them out. The pop quiz is just a fun way to help the children review and focus on the words of the song.

This year I have only five older kids and the rest are quite young. I think they need a little more time with our new song, before I ask them to learn a hymn. Since they already know "Stand for the Right," I'm going to trade months and teach "Choose the Right" in March. I'm currently planning a great "dramatization" to teach "Choose the Right," with kids holding props surrounding and singing to a child in the middle of the circle. I'm hoping that the mental images of acting out the song, together with the props, will help the little ones especially. I'll share when I get all the props ready. It will be too late for most of you, but I'll share anyway.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A New Blog - Link

You will have noticed that chorister blogs come and go. That is just the way of things, I guess. We get released, or we post all our good ideas, or we get involved in things other than blogging! Thankfully, when one chorister blog slows down, others appear to fill the need. I can tell that Nalani's new blog will be another great resource among many good blogs out there. She recently posted a fabulous explanation of the melody map that you won't want to miss, and her teaching plan for "A Child of God" is very thorough. I hope you'll visit - say hello for me.
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