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 (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.

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