Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fifth Sunday Fun

We got a new Primary Presidency last November, and they have some great ideas they're implementing.
On the fifth Sundays we are visited by various prophets from the scriptures.  Today we welcomed Lehi and Nephi!  They told stories, and interacted with the kids in a fun and informative way.  Here's Lehi (I wasn't aware that Lehi wore a tie, were you?)  He told about his dream, and what it meant.  The kids were right in the palm of his hand.....

Here's his son, Nephi.  He brought his bow and the actual sword he used to obtain the brass plates!

We weren't sure just how long these guests would take, so I brought my "Silly Singing Time" stuff, but added another item.  This:

I put JUST Fun Songs/Activity Songs in this bag - to use with the "Silly Singing Time" cards.   See this post here.  It was ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS and FUNFUNFUN!  Can't wait to do it again.  

*Note:  I know, I know, I wasn't aware until I got to Primary that I had actually planted a "Sponge Bob" picture on this bag....   I'll see if I can find a replacement... 

Monday, January 24, 2011

January Review Week 4

I started out having the kids sing through IILWMH with the flipchart (see previous posts).  Then I took the flipchart apart and placed the pages all over a table.  I used my brand-new "Golden Helpers" book that I found on this link here.  It really helped.  No more hands and little kids running up to me to pull on my dress.  Divine.  The little yellow tab on the page is to let me know that child has had a turn.  

As I called each name, the child was supposed to come up, pick a page from the flipchart and decide if it fit on row 1 (1st verse), row 2 (2nd verse), or row 3 (3rd verse)., on the board. They came up, but ... one teacher said it best, "I don't think they were really trying."  Yikes!   Luckily I brought my poster this week.  Because the pages were all so scrambled it would have taken quite some time to sort them out on the board.

So we sang with the poster.  Never mind my crooked phrases.  Next time I'll use a level....sigh...  I used the idea for "pitch sticks" I found on Kathryn's blog here.  The little kids loved it, the bigger kids broke them in pieces.  ...sigh #2...  Did I mention we have mostly boys in our primary?  I didn't even dare bring out the paint brushes I brought for "painting the music," also on Kathryn's blog.  I loved the ideas, but found them to be more geared toward the Jr. Primary-aged kids.

However!  For the 3rd verse I brought out Mr. "Crescendo Crocodile", an idea by Tifany that I found here.  And they all picked back up and sang beautifully!  The little guy was easy to make, and I could even draw it!  That's something.....

I was exhausted by the end of Primary.  It's tough keeping all ages interested when we're all together.  But now I have a better idea of what types of activities keeps everyone engaged.

If it weren't for all of you.....and your great ideas, I couldn't function in this capacity.  A big heartfelt thankyouthankyouthankyou to all you singing time bloggers   Consider yourselves hugged!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Iron Rod - One Awesome Flipchart

I found this little gem on "The Ordinary Adventures of a Primary Chorister" Blog.  I used it today. It's really well done, and the kids loved it.   The Iron Rod - Flipchart

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Teaching About the Holy Ghost

The last verse of "If I Listen With My Heart" is all about the Holy Ghost.  I know this has been done before, but I put a bunch of stuff in a bag that had attributes of the Holy Ghost.  Then I had helpers pull out one object at a time as "clues."  At this point I didn't tell them who we were talking about.  After all the clues were out of the bag, I had each child holding an item come up to the front.  Believe it or not, no one guessed the person the clues belonged to.

As I described what each clue meant, (omitting the name, "Holy Ghost") the child held up his/her item for all to see.  It didn't take long before hands were being raised, as they recognized who I was talking about.  These are the clues/items:

The little MOUTH is to help you remember that the Holy Ghost will SPEAK to you in a still, small voice.

The EAR in the bag will remind you to always LISTEN to the Holy Ghost so that you can always choose the right.

The Holy Ghost will COMFORT you like a warm BLANKET.  The Holy Ghost will comfort you and give you strength when you choose the right and have to stand alone.

The RULER will help you remember that the Holy Ghost is a TEACHER. The Holy Ghost will help you understand and know the truth as you study the scriptures and learn.

The Holy Ghost will LIGHT YOUR WAY like a CANDLE and help you walk along righteous paths.

The HEART shows how much Jesus loves you.  He wants you to show your LOVE for Him by obeying the commandments.  Always stay close to Him and you will be truly happy.

THEN we learned the last verse of the song.  I was so impressed with how well they learned it, and felt the spirit very strongly this week in singing time.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Silly Singing Time

What kid doesn't love to be silly sometimes?  Even some adults do....I know I do.  It's a stretch to expect primary kids to be reverent at all times....prim and proper....etc.  So, I made this "Silly Singing Time Sack." 
Inside are a number of cards, covered with clear contact paper for protection.  I will have a helper pick a card out of the bag....the card will tell us how we'll sing the song.  This is for reviewing a song over and over
without the kids zoning out.  The cards are like these:

I have the cards I could e-mail you, if you're interested.  I used to use a square dice with ways to sing the songs, but there are so many more ideas on these cards.  I can't wait to bring it next week for our song review.
If you would like the PDF file, just click HERE.  Thanks for visiting!

2011 Music Schedule

Remember how I said I was going to "cuten" up my schedule?  Well, I saw an outline that I really, really liked.  Easy to read, and fun to look at.  So I shamelessly used it as my inspiration  Here is the link:   I think the blog is called "The Ordinary Adventures of a Primary Chorister" and it's just fantastic!  Anyway, here's my version. I've made one for each month.

If you would rather not re-invent the wheel, I would be happy to e-mail you my year's schedule.  The Stake Conferences would be different, but you could plug them in the correct dates.  Send your request to me at

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January Schedule and More "Stuff"

Here is my schedule for January.  The 2nd isn't on there cuz I didn't even type this up until last week.  I used to do a much more detailed schedule, which included Jr and Sr Primary singing times.  But this year, I teach EVERYONE at the same time.  We only have 40-50 kids total in our primary, and we never see that many even on a good day.  So....  no big deal.  Sharing time is all together as well.  That means I get to go to Sunday School with my hubby.  Sweeeet! is my plan for Jan.  It's not so cute.  I want to "cuten" it up just a bit for next time.

I should be able to scan this puppy in and get a better look.  But I didn't have time to monkey with it this morning, so forgive me for the crummy photo. get the idea. 

I did teach the chorus to the "Iron Rod" last week.  I told them about a time during the week that I was trying to climb some outdoor stairs covered with thick ice....and how I had no treads on my shoes....and how I NEEDED to hold on the the railing (hence, the iron rod).  Then went on with that line of thinking.  It was really easy to teach them....even without visuals because it's so short....just two lines.

As for next week, we'll be singing some tunes we haven't sung for a while.  "Seek the Lord Early" was sung in  the 2009 program, but I don't think we sang it even once last year.  I made a poster using pictures I had on some popsicle sticks.  The pics, I believe, came from a resource called "Singing Savers" for the 2009 program.  But I'm sure you could find similar pictures online.  Here is my poster:

I use flip charts frequently too, but sometimes the ones I find online have really small words.  The kids in the back just can't see them...I'm sure.  So I downloaded the flipcharts off the Jolly Jen Flipcharts website, and made larger words to go with.  I used a #72 font.  I print them on cardstock or just regular paper, then insert them in clear plastic sheet covers, cut off the side with the holes, poke two holes at the top, and attach them to rings.  I'm sure you all do the same....I mostly speaking to brand-spankin' new chroristers here.
I put the flipcharts in a folder with the same name, and file alphabetically.

Pie Plate, Rocks, and a Sponge

Weird name for a post, but I wanted to share with you another object lesson I used in teaching "If I Listen With My Heart."  It came right out of a terrific object lesson book I picked up at Deseret Book for $12.99.
It's by Beth Lefgren and Jennifer Jackson, and it's full of great ideas for bringing home the points we're trying to make.  It's not just for kids, either.  It's for teachers in all areas of gospel teaching.  (No, I'm not getting a kickback, and I don't know the authors....It's just a great little gem!)

Anyway, I used little rocks, cuz all the big ones are outside under  8 feet of snow.  I took them from one of my  floral arrangements....   I put the rocks in one pie pan and the sponge in another.  Then asked, "Which item will soak up more water?  Then I poured half of the water over each item.  There should be no water visible with the sponge, your water is clearly seen in the pan with the rock.  Ask, "Why does one pan have more water than the other?

We are like the rock(s) when we read our scriptures without purpose or focus; the truths of the scriptures run off and cannot fully penetrate our souls.  We are like the sponge, however, when we prayerfully study the scriptures; we absorb gospel truths because the Spirit is able to teach us.

A scripture goes with this,  John 5:39;  Mosiah 1:7    I think they liked the OL.  You could hear a pin drop during the presentation.

Then I went on to teach the second verse of IILWMH.  I changed the flip chart from last week by adding some key words.  Like this:

I just thought it was sort of a stretch to expect the kids and teachers to comprehend the picture's meaning and put the right words with it.  I can take the words off later as a game after we learn it better. BTW, the CD-ROM (last post) was also $12.99 at Deseret Book.  I keep all my receipts and deduct them along with my tithing deductions at the end of the year.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

If I Listen With My Heart

Ok, this is what we did today:  I decided to begin with an object lesson to introduce the new song.  I began by bringing various devices in one by one and turning them on; a CD player, a radio, an Ipod, a cell phone, my Ipad, etc. 
Then after all these machinery were doing their thing, I had a volunteer come up and read a scripture.  (Any scripture will do, since it won't be heard anyway.  That's the point.) Then I asked whether the electronic devices made a difference in how they were able to listen to the scripture.  I likened the electronic devices to the business and complexity of the world around us, explaining that sometimes the everyday noises of the world make it difficult to hear the promptings of the Spirit in our lives.  Then I asked, "How can we resolve that problem?"
That's when I introduced the concept of "listening with our heart."  (eye contact, not being busy, etc.)

In order to introduce the 1st verse about listening to the scriptures, I asked the children to imagine...what if they had been children when Jesus lived on earth, what would they have liked to do?  (This took some imagination.)  After hearing several responses, they were gently guided to, "I would have liked to walk with him and listen to his words.)
  • Since we can't go back to that time, how we can hear his words today?  (Pull out scriptures)
  • Read Matthew 7:26 quickly.  Ask, "Was I really listening to what I read?"
  • Ask how to listen with your heart when reading (with the spirit)
  • Ask them to listen with their hearts while you read again (vs. 24)

Then I brought out my flipchart and discussed the words which go with each picture.  (1st verse only)  Then I played the song on the CD with the kids singing.  (From the church website) 
I had the words on the other side for me.....
The flipchart was from a CD-ROM I found at Deseret Book, called "Singing Fun!" which has visuals and ideas for this year's theme. 
To be honest, they didn't really LEARN the first verse today, but at least they developed a concept of what the song is about, and what it means.  AND  they even seemed to like it!