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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reviewing a Song

I love when inspiration hits you. I definitely felt it when I came up with this idea. I'm doing it for "I Know that My Savior Loves Me" but it can be done to review any song with senior primary.

I'm going to write the lyrics of the song on the chalk board in 3 different colors like this:

A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered ’round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones
I know He feels for me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
Yet, Jesus is real to me

I know He livesI will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me.

I'll bring a dice and have a kid roll it. Here's what I thought up to do with each of the rolls:

Roll 1: one half of the room sings red, other half sings blue, all sing yellow
Roll 2: Girls sing yellow, boys sing blue, all sing red
Roll 3: Only sing blue
Roll 4: Erase one word in each color (from then on everyone sings those words). If a four is rolled we won't sing, we'll only erase.
Roll 5: I (chorister) sing red, kids sing blue and yellow
Roll 6: Staccato on red, normal on blue and yellow

There are obviously a lot of different ways you can do this, so have fun with it!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review Time: The Number Game

Here's a great review game I came up with that Senior Primary totally loves.

Set up at home:
  • Come up with review questions for each verse of a song (I had 10 questions). I ask the questions in the order of songs/verses of songs they need most help with so we can review those first.
  • Use thick paper to cut up ~2"x2" squares. Cut enough to double the amount of questions you have. IE: I had 10 questions so I cut 20 pieces of paper. The thick paper is so you can't see what number is written on the back.
  • Starting with 1, write numerical numbers on the pieces of paper, one number per paper (so I had 1 through 20)
Set up at church:
  • Put each paper face down (so you CAN'T see the numbers) on the table randomly like this (numbers should be mixed up):
To play:
  • Tell kids we are playing a game that is all of them vs. you. On the board write up Kids in one column and your name in the other. Tell them this is a game with points and whoever has the most points at the end wins.
  • Bring a child up. Ask them one of your review questions. Tell them if they don't know it they can ask one person to help them (this is to relieve pressure from those kids who are scared to be wrong).
  • Whether they get the question wrong or right tell them to pick two papers but DON'T TURN IT OVER YET! Just have them slide the papers close to them, out of the sea of papers.
  • Have them flip over 1 card, just 1, not both. Let's say it's a 7 for sake of example.
  • If they get the question right they can pick if they want to keep the 7 for their points or pick the amount of points that is under the other "mystery" card. 
  • If they get the question wrong you (the chorister) get to pick if you want to keep the 7 points or go for the other "mystery" card.
  • Once the child, or you, picks the 7 or the mystery card, flip over the mystery card and put points in the belonging column. Say the child got the question right, picked to keep the points of the mystery card, that card was a 15, then under the kid's column you write 15 points and under your column you write 7. Got it? That's it!
I hope I explained that well enough. It's pretty easy to play, it takes a little effort explaining :)

Here were the review questions I had in case you want some ideas:

The Family is of God—we are singing this with the sign language. Name the sign (each verse is a question)
1st: earth
2nd: preside
3rd: obey
4th: example

Build and Ark
2nd: Sing or say the next line: I will build my ark before it starts to rain…

2nd: Sing or say the next line: To fulfill the law said Jesus, when the Baptist questioned why…

Seek the Lord Early
How does the song tell us to seek the Lord early? (there are a few ways)

He sent His Son
Say or sing first line of the song (pianist can play intro)

I Stand all Amazed
Pianist plays line, kids guess lyrics: oh it is wonderful that he should care for me

The Hearts of the Children
Who appeared to Joseph Smith as an angel in the Kirtland temple, restoring the sealing power to earth?

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Hearts of the Children

Elder Bednar's talk is a great read for getting into the spirit and knowledge of this song.

I want the kids attention for the message of this song, because it is a deep message and an important one. I am bringing a cut up chain of people labeled: Me, Dad, Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Great-great Grandpa, Great-great-great Grandpa. I will tell the kids as they are quiet and sing well, I will start to connect the family with tape and seal them together, like when families get sealed in the temple. If all the family is together by the end I will give the kids a treat. (I bought Starburst $1.98 for a pack of 80 at Walmart--definitely worth it for an attention grabber!).
Sing a line, tell kids about it, have them sing it with you and do actions.

The hearts of the children turn to their fathers: Deep inside you will feel the need to find your ancestors and do their temple work.

So for this part of the song we will make heart shapes on our chest. While holding that pose, turn to side of room where black and white picture of an older couple is. Explain the picture represents your grandparents, and great grandparents and great, great grandparents and so on.

Malachi prophesied their hearts shall turn: Hold up a bible and tell children that Malachi was a prophet before Jesus was on the earth. He said that Elijah would come to bring the sealing power and your heart would feel love for your ancestors.

Sign the word prophesy then do the same heart on chest and turn to picture.

Elijah fulfilled the prophesy: Show children picture of Kirtland Temple and tell them Elijah came to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple and gave them the power to seal families. Here's a good article from The Friend on this story.

We read in the bible that Elijah didn't die, he was taken up to heaven in a cloud. So for this action we will raise our hands in the air (palms up) like Elijah went up into heaven. Then we'll lower our hands again because Elijah came down and appeared to Joseph Smith.

And families can be sealed for eternity: You can be with your families forever, even after you die because of this sealing power. Bear testimony about this.

Sign word for families and eternity. I will sign families so that my pinkies touch while singing sealed. I will sign eternity so that the first circle with my pointer finger goes while singing "eter-", pointer goes around the second time while singing, "-ni-", and pinky pointing out for, "-ty."

Sing song a few times with actions.
Maybe sing one time where they turn around on words starting with the letter "F": Fathers, fulfilled, families.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Singing Time: He Sent His Son

For the primary program we are doing a simple arrangement I came up with that includes piano and violin. We did it a few years ago in another ward I was in and it turned out really pretty. Check it out here.

Now, this is a way to teach He Sent His Son to senior primary:

  • Print out melody lines of the music here, they are in order. Cut papers in half (17 total, 9 papers). To make it easier for you to know order you can make a small dot with crayon on corner of paper in rainbow order making sure to use light and dark colors so you have enough. Here are the colors I used:
  • Draw the notes on the board (See below)
  • With magnets, put pieces of music on the board in 3 columns. On left I put music where the first two notes go down. On the right where first two notes go up (there will actually only be 3 of these, I set it up wrong). The middle column has the first two notes repeated. Within that middle column, the three you see on the top are exactly the same (the first line of music is the one repeated a few times in the song). You can tell the kids those are repeated. Here's a pic:

Draw a sixteenth, eighth, dotted eighth, quarter, dotted quarter, half and dotted half note on the board from top to bottom (possibly ahead of time). Explain the value of notes. I'll start with quarter note is one beat and go up and down from there. Also explain that you hold out the notes longer for some and shorter for others (this should be easy for them to see when you write it out in the order stated above.

Also explain that when we sing songs the notes go up, down or repeat. Say that we are going to figure out each line of music to the song we are learning today: He Sent His Son. Reassure you will help them if they need it.

Tell them you will sing a line and one child will come up and find which line of music matches what you sang.

Bring a child up, sing the first line and have them guess! When they get it right move that paper with music to the top left of the board and have everyone sing that line. Do this with the whole song and keep singing the lines you figure out. Put music in order and tell kids to try to follow each note.

You can do this with any song. If you want to write in your own music here is the staff I made to write the notes in.

UPDATE! Now that I've done the activity here's what I'd do different:
1. Don't worry about explaining note values, only about how notes go up, down and repeat.
2. There were way too many pieces of music to look at so this time I would take the first two or three papers (of the beginning of the song) and give the child who comes up one of those lines to guess. This makes it so they are only looking at two or three papers instead of twelve. Sing the words to the two or three lines of music. Take the next 2 or 3 papers have the child guess. This will also help to get through the whole song. It took us 15 minutes to get through half the song. But the kids loved it!
3. Sing the part but then have the piano play it too. I started doing this towards the end and it helped.
4. I'd use this as a fun activity the week after teaching all the words to the song. Luckily most of the kids knew this song already so there wasn't much to teach but now I'm wondering what to do next week. It's just nice to have a game to play after you've learned the song :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

4th of July: Teach America the Beautiful

Have pianist play song while you draw a picture on the board. Kids watch intently while you draw! My drawing came out like this (the best way I could think to do "amber waves of grain" was waves leading into the grain. Also, those are an apple and pear tree with a bush between them):
Beneath the drawing you just did, do these in order: Bring a pic of America and tape it up. For "God shed His grace on thee" you can either draw lines coming down from above the picture of America or teach them the sign language for the word grace. Draw a crown. Draw 2 stick figures with boy hair for "brotherhood". Go back to pic of America and draw waves on either side of it.
Now, sing the song while pianist plays and point to the pictures while you sing their lines. Then have kids sing it with you. For junior primary you could add some actions to the song (they are pretty easy to figure out what to do) OR if you have wands pull those out, and do actions with them like this:
O beautiful for spacious skies: arc over head
For amber waves of grain: waves
For purple mountain majesty: triangle
Above the fruited plain: circle above head
America, America: hand over heart, circle around again over heart vertically
God shed his grace on thee: back and forth quickly from high to low
And crown thy good with brotherhood: wand touched top of head
From sea to shining sea: move wand all the way from one side of body to other

If extra time, practice songs you need to work on but sing them with 4th of July themes like:
  • While singing march like you are in a parade
  • Make your hands look like exploding fireworks to the beat of the song. So for 4/4 time one hand "explodes" for the 1st and 3rd beat, the other hand 2nd and 4th. Or one hand "explodes for 1st beat, other hand "explodes" for 3rd beat (that would be a little slower, not so crazy). Get it?

Also, sing "Fun to Do" with: waving a flag, watching parades or fireworks (fireworks are fun to do...)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Singing Time: If the Savior Stood Beside Me

Week 1, verse 1: Here's the printable version of instructions and here's what to print out and use for singing time.

Have the pianist play the song while you tell a story like this one:
Brian was playing soccer with his friend in the front yard. They were passing the ball back and forth, having so much fun. Brian kicked the ball extra hard and it hit his neighbor’s car, leaving a small dent. Brian felt sick inside and wanted to run away. At first he thought it was just a small dent, no one would notice, but then he remembered something he learned in church: If the Savior was with me, what would I do? Brian went and told his neighbor, Mrs. O’Donald, what happened with the soccer ball. Mrs. O’Donald smiled and told Brian it was alright and she was happy he told her what he did. Brian felt so good inside knowing he made the right decision.
Explain that we are learning a song this month about what we would do if the Savior was standing right next to us. Would we watch the same tv shows? Would we be more kind to our brothers and sisters? Would we be more honest? It takes courage to do the right thing, just like Brian telling his neighbor about the dent in the car but we always feel better when we choose the right.
Activity: Print out the document with the words do, think, follow, and live. Have a picture of Christ displayed on the board. Have a child come hold up the first paper. Sing the first line while pointing to the picture of the Savior then sing the second line corresponding with the paper the child is holding. Have the children sing the line with you then ask what the child is doing in the picture (praying or being reverent). Ask what are other things the Savoir would like us to do.
Have a child hold up the next picture (think), sing that line, then have primary sing with you. Ask what are commandments we should follow. Ask what good things we can think about if we start thinking about bad things. Sing everything up to that point.
Have a child hold up the next picture (follow), sing that line, then have primary sing with you. Ask who are people we should follow and try to be like (parents, teachers, prophet, Jesus, bishop, etc)? Sing everything up to that point.
Have a child hold up the next picture (live), sing that line through until the end, then have primary sing with you.
Ask children to pretend like they are following someone who they know makes good choices by walking in place to the song while they sing it all the way through. Sing through a few more times in different ways while taking away the papers.
With extra time you could sing Follow the Prophet (a good example of who to follow), Book of Mormon Stories (scripture reading is something you would do if the Savior was there) etc. or even use these songs as you go especially with a wiggly junior primary.

Week 2, Verse 2: Here's the printable version of the instructions and here's what to print out, color and cut.

Preparation: Print out images. Color them, you can do the flowers different colors! Cut out pieces. Also cut strips of green construction paper for the stems and write these words each on their own strip: Say, Words, Try, and Speak. Before primary tape all the pieces on the walls, where they can all easily be seen.

Have the pianist play the song while you tell a story like this one:

Rachael sat down after saying the opening prayer in Sunday school class when Anna, a girl from school walked in with the primary president. Anna had never been to church before and was wearing pants and a nice shirt. The primary president introduced Anna then left. Anna sat quietly throughout class and looked nervous. When class was over everyone was walking to the primary room when Rachael heard some girls whispering, making fun of Anna’s clothes. Rachael felt sad inside hearing the mean words. Rachael went over to Anna and asked if she wanted to sit by her. Anna smiled and said yes. As they walked into the primary room Rachael told Anna she was so happy to see her at church. The next week Anna came to church again.

Ask: How do you think Anna would have felt if she heard someone making fun of her? Do you think she would have come to church again the next week? When our words are unkind it makes others feel sad. But when we are like Rachael, we can make other feel happy and loved. This week we are learning the second verse of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me.” In this verse we sing about how our words need to be kind and loving.

Tell the kids: One thing we can compare our words to is a seed (you can bring a seed or even a dried pinto bean to show at this point). If we plant good seeds, good plants will grow. If we say bad words or plant bad seeds, nothing good can come of it. So today while we learn the song we are going to make plants grow with the good words of this song.

Bring up 4 children. Tell them they will each find one seed. Send one child out to find a seed, when they bring it up, send out the next child, then the next until all four are found. Sing the line, “If the Savior stood beside me would I say the things I say?” over and over again while children are finding seeds. Tape seeds on the front board in the order: say, words, try, speak.
Bring up another 4 children. Do the same thing with stem and repeating the line, “Would my words be true and kind if He were never far away?” Attach stems to seeds, keeping same words together.
Bring up another 4 children. Do the same thing with leaves and repeating the line, “Would I try to share the gospel?” Attach leaves to stems.
Bring up another 4 children. Do the same thing with flowers and repeating the line, “Would I speak more reverently?” Attach flowers to stems.
It will end up taped up like this (I know seed are big but hopefully that will be the one easiest for the kids to read):
Now sing the song all the way through and point to each flower as you get to that word.

Week 3, Verse 3

Here is the printable version of this post.

What you need: Picture of Christ to tape on board, picture of “Jesus Carrying a Lost Lamb” in the Gospel Art Book page 64, picture of “Christ and Children from around the World” in the Gospel Art Book page 116. Piece of paper with the word “He” written on it. Objects for the activity you choose below.

Preparation: Tape picture of Christ on the board then place paper with “He” on it over the picture of Christ and put one piece of tape on the top so you can lift it up and put it back down. See 3 activities below and prepare for the one you choose.

Tell children: Today we are learning the last verse of If the Savior Stood Beside Me. I want you to look at a picture. Hold up picture of Christ holding lamb. Ask children to tell you what they see in the picture. After a few responses explain that one of Christ’s names is the Good Shepherd.  Christ looks after us just like a shepherd looks after his sheep. We are Christ’s sheep. When we see a picture of Christ as a shepherd,  we should think of Christ watching over us. Show picture of Christ and children. Say: In this picture, do you see Christ’s hand around the little girl? He loves her and He loves you. So, when we look at the picture of Christ and the lamb and the picture of Christ and the children, it means the same thing. He watches over us and loves us. Let’s learn the verse about Christ watching over us.

Go to your picture on the board. Sing the first line of the song. At the beginning point to the word “He” for the first word of the verse, lift  up the paper and point to Christ while singing “…is always near me.” Put the paper down and continue, “though I do not see him there”, while shaking your head no. Have children sing that line a few times while you repeat the actions with the paper.

Sing, “And because He loves me dearly I am in His watchful care,” while showing picture of Christ and children. When singing “watchful” point to your eyes. Have children sing it with you a few times.

When singing, “So I’ll be the kind of person that I know I’d like to be,” do different actions of good things we can do. I'm linking to pictures you can print out if you want to remind the children what order they are doing which actions. So, explain quickly why it is good to do the things in the pictures then sing the line over and over again without stopping while doing actions like raking leaves for a neighbor, taking care of a brother or sister (feed baby bottle, rock baby), inviting a new person at school to sit with you (wave your hand toward you as in 'come' and pat seat beside you motion).

Explain that in the 3rd verse the ending is a little different. While singing, "If I could see the Savior standing nigh watching over me," start your hands down low and put them up higher with every note until the final note you are on your tippy toes and hands are high.

When singing it all the way through do the actions you just did for each part. Ask the children which action they liked in the 3rd phrase and do that one (raking, caring for baby, etc.).

3 Ideas for reviewing the whole song:

1. Prepare a poster with a picture of a big sheep on it. Bring glue, poster, cotton balls and paint brush. Say that since we are talking about sheep we are going to make a sheep together. I brought glue and cotton balls for us to make a white wooly sheep. If you want to add a cotton ball to our sheep you have to be reverent.

You paint on the glue with a paint brush. Sing the 3rd verse over and over again while children come up, one class at a time, taking one or two cotton balls each to add to the lamb.

To make sure the cotton balls don't slide down have a thin layer of glue and you may want to break each cotton ball into two pieces. You could do this right before you hand the piece to a child so each child will have two pieces from one cotton ball.

2. Bring some stuffed animal sheep or print out pictures like this one. Explain that sometimes we make mistakes but the Savior, as the Good Shepherd, wants us to come back to him. In the scriptures it says that he will leave 99 sheep to go and find 1 that is missing. So today we are going to be like the Savior and find some lost sheep. Say that you've hidden sheep around the room and will give clues to find them.

Call up a child or two and give them a clue to where a sheep is, start very vague. The child can look while primary sings. They may or may not find one the first time. Call up another child or two and give another clue, a little more specific. When they find a sheep start giving clues for another one.

Example: Hide a sheep under steps of podium. First clue: One sheep is in the front of the primary room. Second clue: You have to look under something. Third clue (if you get this far): Look inside the podium.

Example: Hide a sheep behind chairs. First clue: One sheep is squished. Second clue: This sheep is behind something you sit in. Third clue: Look along that wall.

Example: Hide a sheep in a bag you've placed somewhere in the room. First clue: This sheep is in the back of the room. Second clue: The sheep is inside something. Third Clue: The sheep is in a bright blue bag.

3. Explain the 99 and 1 concept above. Play the classic, one child leaves the room while another hides the sheep and kids sing louder when the child who is finding gets closer to the sheep.

Bear testimony that when we are doing the things the Savior would want us to do we are the most happy. He is watching over us. He is our shepherd, we are His sheep and he will always be there for us. You can show Christ you love him by keeping the commandments.