Sunday, March 27, 2011

General Conference

This is a week off for anyone working in Primary and so it is an excellent time to make up something you can use for the rest of the year.  I loved making up song posters or flip charts for the next month so I'm not so pressed for time the night before. Some of you are not procrastinators like me but I usually always waited till I was rushed. This way you can get some quality stuff made up ahead of time.

When I first started doing chorister stuff I was also involved in a Family Home Evening Co-op in California. They were all the rage.  We would each take an area of family night and make up 10 of the same thing. Maybe it was a song, a flannel board story, puppets, games, scriptures, craft, we had a bunch of areas that we covered, I don't even remember them all. Then we would come together once a month and get 9 things back in all the areas and we would give 1 thing back to the 10 women in the co-op. I was in 3 co-ops over the years and president of one of them. I have 2 filing cabinets filled to the brim with songs, stories, puppets and flannel board stories of every gospel story in the scriptures we could ever think of. 


But in all the things I got back in the area of music the ones that were really large posters have gone by the wayside. And the reason is that there is no good place to store them. So I have a personal opinion of using giant posters to teach songs. You will not be able to keep them forever. When you move, they will go in the trash. And with all the time and effort you put into these things, my recommendation is that you do 81/2 x 11 size things. The kids can read the words just as good if you flip a chart as if you point to a poster. Plus, it is so easy now with the website called Sugar Doodle. Everybody put stuff on there in the areas of flip charts so you don't have to reinvent the wheel! It's done for you!




So take time this week to make up some song flip charts for the next few months, color them and glue them on construction paper or on poster board and put them on rings. You can get the rings from Walmart as well as poster board or colored card stock.  Then just prepare some of your games for the next few months. Get some balloons for putting songs inside, get a tic tac toe made up, Get some plastic Easter eggs, and make up some little handheld signs with "Boys Sing" and "Girls Sing". These are the things that make Primary fun. And these will keep the kids engaged the whole singing time. Good luck!

Sing a Line of Song!

One fun idea I had a while back was getting different classes to sing different lines of the songs. It is a good way to get them to learn fast because everyone will be listening to see if they get the words right. This will be so helpful as you lose so many kids that just can't stay focused unless they are very involved in what's going on.  So try this one of the weeks in April.

Each class sings a different line of the song.

After you introduce the new song and have sung it through a few times to your flipchart.  Then give each class one of the flipchart pages to practice as you sing the song for them along with the piano. When it gets to their part you can point to them and they will start to sing it along with you. Do this several times till you feel like each class is getting the song. And it is so fun to make a big deal of pointing to the class that is singing. They will crack up a little at first and then tentatively sing along.  Everybody gets into this fun activity.



My cute grandbaby playing piano...
Then have the kids classes do it by themselves while you go around and simply point to the class. They can read the words on the chart. It's a lot of fun introducing things this way.


Now a variation on this can be done next.  Have the first line people then sing along with the 2nd line people.  The best way to do this would be to have one person from each class come up in front holding the flipchart page. Then when it is their classe's turn they hold it up high and sing along. Then they sing along with the one next to them going around till everyone is singing the last line.  Here is how it would look;


    Primary music is so much fun!
  • The first group to start singing on the first line of the song.
  • The second group joins in singing on the second line of the song.
  • The third group is to join in singing on the third line of the song.
  • The fourth group is to join in singing on the fourth line of the song.
  • If the song then has a chorus everyone will be singing together for the chorus.
Have fun this week!  Hopefully you have drafted out the program songs by now and made all the decisions.  I was released a month ago, but I would try to think at this point of musical instruments you could add, maybe a sign language addition to one of the songs, duets or trios you could have for 2nd verses, that adds a lot the the program. Spice it up a little bit now, while you have the time.  Good luck!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Want to Know My Favorite Primary Song?

I remember when I had just finished Ricks College with my Associates Degree and was deciding between the U and BYU and Utah State for my undergrad. I had been accepted all 3 places and was leaning toward BYU. But I had found a good job working up at University of Utah and I was living in a singles ward just off 21st South and 9th East on Herbert Avenue in Salt Lake City. (I ended up going to BYU of course...I know you were worried).  I had 3 roommates and we were all paying around $50 dollars a month to live in a furnished basement apartment near the U. I was given the calling to be the Sunday School Chorister. But in a singles ward it is much more fun than any other type of chorister. Because you got to teach a song a week as well as direct the songs of the meeting to the whole congregation.  So, if you know me you know that I took every bit of creative license allowed me and I did something radically different each week.

After all I was a new convert and could get away with it, right?  So one very creative week I still remember what I did. I got tired of all the young adults on the back row not singing. They would just talk and poke each other and laugh and stuff. So I got up and read that scripture about "the last shall be first and the first last in the Kingdom of the Lord". And I told the whole front row to go sit on the back row's seats because the whole back row  were coming up to the very front of the chapel to "give service" to the ward and help me teach a new song. So all these big burly guys several from the football team got up amid a chorus of laughter they swaggered up to the pulpit area. And this is what I did. I still think it was a brilliant idea. And it is one you can use to teach a new song every week. Use PICTURES AND VISUALS!

I took the words of the song "Whenever I hear the Song of a Bird" that one... and I gave the first big guy a little silk songbird. He looked kind of funny holding it. Everybody cracked up. The next guy got a poster of a blue, blue sky for the line "Or look at the blue, blue sky..."


 Then next one got a picture of the rain and wind happening for "Whenever I feel the rain on my face, or the wind as it rushes by..."

Pictures are an easy way to teach songs

The 4th one got a "velvet rose" for "whenever I touch a velvet rose"  but it actually was just a silk rose.:D

Or visual aids  to depict words of the songs.
The last guy happened to be this ginormous dude, he was easily 350 pounds of height and heft. I gave him this little twig to represent the "or walk by a lilac tree". It was the most hilarious thing and so unplanned. We all just laughed at this huge guy holding this tiny twig. 



And the last big guy had to hold a picture of the world for the line "I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world, Heavenly Father created for me".  Then we sang this most beautiful of primary songs that thanks the Lord for the beauties of Spring and this beautiful world.


I think this is a perfect time to introduce some new songs about Spring that we all love. That one happens to be one of my very favorites. It's called "I Know Heavenly Father Loves Me". I get it mixed up with the new
song, but it is an oldie but goodie  from the old Children's Songbook. It was sung at my baptism and I have always loved it ever since. I hope we see a little bit of Spring peeking out of all this snow this weekend! I'm so ready to see some spring tulips, some warm sun, and to do some gardening. And yes I know Heavenly Father Loves Me!  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PRIMARY SPRING BINGO! March Week 4

I have done bingo for lots of the seasons. For Christmas I do J-E-S-U-S , and for Easter I do BIBLE and for Thanksgiving we do T-H-A-N-K-S.  Just make up some clip art pictures of 16 OR 9 OR 25 items that have to do with the season. Then I cover each of the pictures with just colored paper squares or wrapping paper squares. Then put a number on each square that covers each picture.
Christmas Bingo Game - Make your own BIG ONE!

A FREE downloadable bingo card from DTK for Kids is fun and easy to do. The link is HERE. It will give you ideas for every holiday under the sun. And if you have a color printer it will be CUTE TOO! That's always high on my list. hehe.  They have a Bible bingo that might work too. I copied the calling cards printables and the link is HERE. Just peruse their topics, decide if you want pictures or words (vocabulary option) and then PRINT! I use them a lot in my classroom for theme days too.


I have pocket charts from my classroom so that is an easy way to put the pictures up. Another is to put a little piece of magnet on them. Our primary chalkboard is magnetized. You can get small circular magnets from Roberts or Michaels for a few dollars. They will last you a long time too and are very convenient for putting posters and stuff up on the board.

Fun Spring Bingo Games - choose 9, 16 or 25 spots
 Then we choose a child to come up and I will ask a gospel question or a "finish this line" in one of our new or presentation songs.  If they guess the answer a gospel or music question they turn over that number on the bingo board.  Object is to try to get a whole class bingo 4 or 5 in a row. Or you could make it easier and just do 3 in a row and have 15 pictures or phrases covered up. They have cute holiday and seasons bingo pictures that would be cute to make up for holidays. You ask the questions.
Easter Bingo Game


Then sing a song.  Or pick 2 children and questions then sing a song.   You should be able to pick about 8 or 9 kids and hopefully get a bingo even  if you have a huge primary. Have fun with it!

Primary Super Heros & Hats

I got released from my primary calling but I will still continue doing the blog as long as I have ideas to share that I've done in the past.  So here is another idea that I've done before that might work for this week.





Silly Glasses, hats and goggles!
Since Thursday is St.Patrick's Day get a black hat of any sort or just use some black construction paper and make one. Then go around your house collecting funny things to put in the "HAT BAG" that would be funny to wear. Here are some ideas; Ski goggles, Hobo Kelly Glasses, Funny Jester hats, Boingy hairband hats,
bunny ears, etc. and place them all in a trash bag.


This hat wiggles, that would be a hit!


Pokemon and Superhero hats are good!

The idea is that when you pull a child's name from one of the sticks they get to go pick out a hat to put on somebody else's head in their class or on their teacher's head. Then we sing the song. It is funny because the kids love to do this to one of the kids in their class. 


Now what teacher wouldn't want to wear THIS!
You could make a PRINCESS HAT  with just paper and a little fabric hanging off the top!

Cat in the Hat was from the Dollar Store!

Some years Ihave also included a Superman cape and they have to wear that and run around the room while we are singing. It's kind of small though, so it is even funnier if they do this to a male teacher. It's like a size 3 for a toddler.







You can call it "Crazy Hat Day" and have a lot of fun with it.  Then I just have them sing the prescribed songs that I need them to learn for the program. Intermixed with a few old favorites or activity songs. Popcorn poppin on the apricot tree should be one coming up in the next weeks since we are almost coming into the Spring season! Have fun!
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