"...by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..."

Alma 37:6

Friday, November 15, 2013

Christmas Song Nativity

~~ Credit: OCD Primary Chorister ~~

Put together a nativity scene on the blackboard as you sing Christmas songs. Print and cut out the document below. Write a song name and page number on the back of each one (my suggestions are listed). One by one, have the children choose a piece to place on the board. Sing the songs as you go.

If your kids don't know enough songs, you can bring Hymnals in for the older children. Ask younger children to sing "ooooh," like an angel if they don't know the words. Many children will know the words from home and almost all of the children will recognize the melodies enough to sing along.

(I changed a few of the song selections:)

The Shepherd's Carol - p. 41

Away in a Manger - p. 42

With Wondering Awe - hymn 210

Once within a Lowly Stable - p. 41

Stars Were Gleaming - p. 37

The First Noel - hymn 213

When Joseph Went to Bethlehem - p. 38

Picture a Christmas - p. 50

you choose

~~ Credit: OCD Primary Chorister ~~

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hello Song Twist

Hello Song - CS p. 260

  • Flags for a few different countries
  • "Hello" in those country's languages
**I've also seen others make a die with different country/languages on it that the children roll**

So basically you have the person visiting choose a flag and sing the Hello Song with "hello" in whatever language is spoken in the country's flag that is pulled!  Simple and fun.

I got 4x6 flags for under $2 each plus shipping and taxes on a website called United States Flag.  They came in this week!  I'm super excited to use them!  They are bigger than I thought they would be, and probably prefer, but these were the smallest size this website had.  And these flags will belong to the Primary so I'm not too worried about it!

I also found toothpick size flags on Amazon, but I knew that was too small for me.

I tried to choose familiar countries with easy-ish "hello's."  The song easily fits 2-syllable greetings; ones that are shorter or longer are a bit tricky to fit in but it's doable and makes it challenging and more fun for the kids I think!  Keeps them on their toes.  ;)

These are the countries/languages with their "hello's" I'm using:
  • Austrailia [English]- G'day
  • China [Chinese] - Ni hao (NEE-how)
  • France [French] - Bonjour (bohn-ZHOOR)
  • Germany [German] - Guten Tag (GOOT-en tahk)
  • India [Hindi] - Namaste (nah-mah-STAY)
  • Israel [Hebrew] - Shalom (sha-LOHM)
  • Italy [Italian] - Ciao (chow)
  • Japan [Japanese] - Konnichiwa (koh-NEE-chee-wah)
  • Mexico [Spanish] - Hola (OH-lah)
  • USA [English] - Hello

Others I might add later:
  • Brazil/Portuguese - Ola (OH-lah)
  • Philippines/Tagalog - Oy (oee)
  • Finland/Finnish - P'iv (PIE-vah)
  • Swahili - Jambo (JAM-bo)
  • Welsh - Bore da (BOH-ray DAH)
  • Fiji - Bula bula (BU-la BU la)
  • Czech - Nazdar (NAH-zdar)

Christmas Singo

~~ Credit: Camille's Primary Ideas ~~

Bingo with a Christmas singing twist!  I like the way Camille calls it "Singo."  When a Christmas song is pulled, you sing that song.

Camille found a quick and easy way to make custom bingo cards.  Seriously, SO EASY!  And it even has a calling card to print and cut up with all the squares.  So nice!

Here's the link: DLTK Cards - Bingo

I did the 5x5 option, with the title "SINGO," with the customizable "Christmas - Religious" option for the theme.  I added 14 songs in place of some irrelevant images and others I could do without.  Then when you go to print the card you can refresh it as many times as you want to generate a new card!

For Senior Primary I'll do as Camille does and have them turn around and put their cards on their chairs while they kneel on the floor and when we sing they will just stand up and face front.  And for Junior Primary I'll pass out sheets to teachers only and have the kids play together against classes.

Camille suggests a high five for getting 5 in a row??  I guess that will have to do!

Hopefully this will work out nice and it will be fun!!

~~ Credit: Camille's Primary Ideas ~~

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Movement and Music - LESSON 3 - Music Mood + Time Signature

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Lesson 3 includes: 
  • Music Moods 
  • Music Speed 
  • Time Signature
  • Conducting Pattern


Music Mood

Explain: Music can be happy, sad, angry, mad, excited or delightful. Music can affect our mood.

Ask: Have you ever been listening to a song that made you feel mad? Have you ever listened to a song that made you happy?

Explain: You can sing songs in different ways. You can make any song sound however you want to by how you sing it.

SING: We are going to sing If You're Happy and You Know It (266) with different Music Moods!
-Sing SAD, HAPPY, TIRED, EXCITED, MAD, SWEETLY, BORED, REVERENTLY (insert other emotions). Do actions for each mood; IE: yawn while singing for bored, ...if you're mad and you know it stomp your feet..., etcetera

Explain: Now we are going to sing with different Music Speeds!
- Sing Happy And You Know It really fast / really slow / just right

*After singing fast and slow, segue into the next part by explaining, "You don't want to sing a song too fast or too slow - the Time Signature is what helps us know how fast or slow to go and keep the steady beat throughout the song."

Time Signature

Explain: Songs have something called a Time Signature. Did you know there's some math involved with music? Songs are divided into measures and measures are divided into beats. There can be 2 beats, 3 beats or 4 beats (sometimes more) in a song. The Time Signature tells how many beats there are per measure in a song. For instance, the song I Am a Child of God has a four-four (4/4) time signature. That means there are 4 beats per measure:
  1. Clap and count 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4
  2. Lead and count 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4
  3. Demonstrate and teach a 4/4 pattern, then have them do it. Have the Pianist play while everyone does the pattern and counts 1-2-3-4.
  4. Do the same for 3/4. And other time signatures, if you wish.
  • 4/4 pattern (ie: I Am a Child of God - 2)
  • 3/4 pattern (ie: My Heavenly Father Loves Me - 228)
*When teaching conducting patterns I gave the children glow sticks to use as conducting batons.

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Movement and Music - LESSON 2 - Basic Beat & Rhythm

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Lesson 2 includes:
  • Beat
  • Downbeat
  • Beginning Basic Beats of Time Signature (more involved in Lesson 3)
  • Rhythm

Explain that songs have something called a beat. A beat helps us keep the time throughout the song.

Bouncing beat (bounce hand up and down or stand up and jump the beat):
  • Steady strong beat
  • Fast beat
  • Slow beat

Explain that songs are broken up into something called "measures" and the first beat of each measure is called the downbeat. Conduct/clap patterns and emphasize the downbeat as you count the beats in each measure (see next 3 things below:).

Clap a 4 beat pattern (stress the downbeat)
March a 4 beat pattern. STOMP the downbeat

Clap a 3 beat pattern (stress the downbeat)
March 3 beat pattern. STOMP the downbeat (yes, the stomped downbeat will alternate feet - it's sometimes tricky for the kids)

Clap a 2 beat pattern (stress the downbeat)
March a 2 beat pattern. STOMP the downbeat

EXPLAIN the difference between BEAT and RHYTHM:
  • Beat is the regular steady pace throughout the whole song.
  • Rhythm is the pattern of the song. It usually goes right along with the melody. 

3 - SPLIT THE KIDS - One half claps the beat, the other claps the rhythm. Try this while singing (use the song you're learning at the time)

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Movement and Music - LESSON 1 - Conductor Intro / Volume / Melody

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Lesson 1 includes:
  • Conductor Intro 
  • Cut Off 
  • Loud + Soft 
  • Up + Down 
  • Singing v Screaming 
  • Paint Brushes (music melody) 
----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- 

*Already have drawn on the board (or printouts): a forte F, a piano P, crescendo, decrescendo

Conductor Intro
EXPLAIN: The person leading is the Conductor. They tell you what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
*PLAY: Stand up / sit down / stand up / sit down
*PLAY: Split Primary Game. Divide the Primary. They have to show they are watching me - only the # I am holding up get to sing. Switch off sides during the song. Switch fast, switch slow, try to trick them - have fun.

Cut Off
EXPLAIN: How to do the cut-off motion. Why we cut off. (So we can all stop singing at the same time and sound like a unified choir. Watch the Conductor so no one is left singing a solo!)
*PLAY: Sing until I cut off.
*PLAY: “Guest Conductors” (the kids) come up and cut off.

Loud + Soft
EXPLAIN: Forte means to sing loud. *Write FORTE in caps on the board near the F.
EXPLAIN: Piano means to sing soft. *Write PIANO small on the board near the P.
EXPLAIN: Singing v Screaming
EXPLAIN: Crescendo and Decrescendo
*PLAY: Pianist plays a song while we listen for changes in Forte and Piano
*PLAY: Lead a song - hands indicate whether to get louder or softer
*PLAY: “Guest Conductors” come up and direct piano and forte.

Up + Down (melody)
EXPLAIN: Some notes are high, some notes are low.
*PLAY: Pianist plays some notes, we guess if they are high or low.
*PLAY: Grow/Shrink
EXPLAIN: During a song the notes go both high and low - that is called the melody.

Paint Brushes (music melody)
*PLAY: Get out imaginary paint brushes. Use the paintbrush to "paint" the melody. You can't do it wrong - it's all about self-expression. Dip into a new color of paint every time you stop and start singing.

~~ Credit: Primary Notes 29 blog ~~

Monday, November 11, 2013

Article of Faith Song #12

The Twelfth Article of Faith - CS p. 131


Lesson Plan
  1. Ask if anyone can recite the 12th Article of Faith
    (I read it to them if no one volunteers)
  2. Give a simplified explanation of each phrase
    (I ask if anyone knows what each phrase means before giving my simplified version)
  • "We believe in being subject to" 
    • (simplified: We believe that we follow)
  • "kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates," 
    • (simplified: Different kinds of leaders for a country)
  • "in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."
    • (simplified: Follow and obey the law)
     3.  Show AoF picture and briefly explain it and how it can help us remember
          what the 12th AoF is about
     4.  Play "Singing Simon" (basically a musical memory game):

  • (First I asked if anyone had played the game Simon, and told them we were going to play Singing Simon, and I held up my picture of the game while we did it.)  This is played like the game "Simon" where it plays a musical pattern and you have to repeat it back. It starts with one note, and continues to add to what you have already learned to see how much you can remember of the pattern.  I sang bits of the song to the kids and had them copy me and I would add a little more each time and sometimes go back and just do the first phrase or something shorter to make sure they were still listening.  I guess it's basically a simple twist on the "repeat after me" gig.  But instead of just doing one phrase each time I would keep adding to what we had already sung, if that makes sense...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Article of Faith Song #11

The Eleventh Article of Faith - CS p. 130


Lesson Plan
  1. Ask if anyone can recite the 11th Article of Faith
  2. Break it down by phrase and give a simplified explanation along with actions
    (I'm going to ask if anyone knows what each phrase means before giving my simplified version)
  • "We claim the privilege" 
    • (simplified: We believe that we are allowed)
    • [Action: hand on chest/over heart]
  • "...of worshiping Almighty God" 
    • (s: To remember and give thanks to God)
    • [A: hand up toward heaven]
  • "according to the dictates of our own conscience" 
    • (s: The way we think and believe is right)
    • [A: point to head/mind]
  • "and allow all men" 
    • (s: And we believe everyone else) 
    • [A: hand out, move from left to right]
  • "...the same privilege" 
    • (s: Can also choose their own way) 
    • [A: hand on chest/over heart]
  • "let them worship how, where or what they may." 
    • (s: To worship) 
    • [A: hand up toward heaven]

     3.  Show AoF picture and briefly explain it and how it can help us remember
          what the 11th AoF is about
     4.  Bear testimony and gratitude for living in this country that lets us choose to
          worship how we want

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus - Chorus

I decided I want our Primary to sing this song for one of our musical numbers at the beginning of December (which is why I'm getting ready to work on it now!).  I really like Camille's idea for the chorus using toilet paper and paper towel rolls:

"So for the activity, I'm going to just write out the words of the chorus on the chalkboard. We'll read and sing the words. Then I'll ask the Primary if anyone knows what "Hosanna" means (as it's the first 2 words in the chorus). We'll talk about it's definition which is: 
  • an exclamation, originally an appeal to God for deliverance, used in praise of God or Christ.
  • a cry of “hosanna.”
  • a shout of praise or adoration; an acclamation.

"I'll proceed to pass out the "bugles" (one for each child - no sharing, yuck!) and tell the kids we are going to "shout praises of adoration" using those cute little rolls. 
"I'll erase one of the "Hosanna" words and we'll "bugle" that word, while just singing the other words without the tp rolls. I'll continue to erase another word, and the Primary will get to "bugle" more words as they are gradually erased. Eventually being able to "bugle" the whole song with no words on the board.

"Since Jr. Primary mostly can't read, I'll still have the words up and we'll just read them all together. We'll review the words we've erased and they can try to remember which ones to "bugle."

She added an update to her post after she did this with her Primary and noted the success:

"I just have to share how singing time with the toilet paper rolls went today...it was a total hit. I've never had kids sing their little hearts out. Even those little 11-year old stinker boys sang! It always amazes me how the most simple things tend to be the most successful."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

2014 Primary Program Song Line-Up

Here is what our Primary's 2014 song line-up looks like:

  • He Sent His Son                          CS p. 34     (2:03)
  • I Will Follow God’s Plan             CS p. 164    (1:19)
  • I Stand All Amazed                     Hymn 193    (3:38)
    • 3 verses
  • The Family Is of God                   Outline         (3:00)
    • 4 verses
  • When I Hear the Prophet's Voice   Friend          (0:47)
  • I Love to See the Temple             CS p. 95      (2:25)
  • Baptism                                       CS p. 100    (1:53)
    • 3 verses
  • Seek the Lord Early                     CS p. 108    (1:20)
Song Time Total:                                                     (16:25)

Closing hymn: Families Can Be Together Forever - Hymn 300

Side note:  I'm pretty sure I want to sing The Family Is of God as the last song.  The way our Presidency has done the program is just doing it in the order the topics are laid out in in the year's Sharing Time outline.  But they are pretty easy going so if I feel strongly to move something around they said they would probably let me!

Follow the Prophet - Extra Verse

I'm thinking I might go with "Follow the Prophet" - CS p. 110, for our May 2014 song.  I would do the 1st (Adam), 2nd (Enoch), and 3rd (Noah) verses, and then this extra verse about President Monson written by the original composer of the song:

Thomas S. Monson: 
Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to return.
He blesses us with prophets who help us to learn.
President Monson humbly leads God’s Church today.
As we heed his words, we’ll walk a righteous way. 
Duane E. Hiatt (original composer of the song),
March 2010 FRIEND Magazine

Link to the SHEET MUSIC for this verse.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Love to See the Temple - Extra Verse

I wanted to find or write an extra verse to "I Love to See the Temple" that helps the song fit more specifically to the 2014 Primary theme topic for June.  I couldn't find one that was what I wanted so I wrote my own!

I Love to See the Temple - CS p. 95, extra verse
I love to see the temple, I'm strengthened every hour
By holy ordinances performed by priesthood power
For the temple is the place where we are bound to all our fam'ly
As we do their work we all are blessed
Now and through eternity

I may or may not tweak a few words here and there, but I am pretty happy with this after racking my brain for the last week about it!

I'm planning on teaching simplified sign language to this song.  I like when the children use sign language with music, or anyone really.  I've also heard that it helps them learn the songs better.  We shall see!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Posting Song Lyrics

One general help I like to do is to print the song lyrics and put them at the front of the room so everyone (who can read) can sing along.  I really liked this idea from Camille's blog, as I come from a non-knowing-Primary-songs background.  My husband and I had callings as Primary teachers in our first ward after getting married and I liked to sing along but didn't know a lot of the songs, or didn't know all the words.  I would have found this awesome and helpful.  This makes me think that there are probably others who find themselves in a similar boat and don't know the songs as well and could benefit from this.  And I don't want to just sing the songs they know, because maybe they don't know all the ones I do and think are common.  Also, there are different types of learners out there, and just maybe there are some who learn better by seeing the words (I know that's me!).

I use Cambria font at least size 55 but will go up to 65 or 70 if I can.  I break up the phrases and take up as much room on one sheet of paper as I can.  I try to fit at least one verse on one 8.5x11 sheet of paper.  It usually can be done.  You just have to mess with the font and margins until it all fits.  :)

Camille puts her pages in sheet protectors.  I've heard other people recommend not doing that because of potential glare (and it saves room in your binder).  I guess you could use the non shiny sheet protectors.  So far I've just punched holes in the paper and used them that way.

I don't put them in my binder anymore because the music stand we have in our Primary room is very weak and does not hold much weight at all.  Plus I found it difficult to flip through to each song in a short amount of time.  Now I post all the Opening Exercises songs for that day up on the front chalkboard with a magnet.  It seems to work well and I don't have to fuss with all that page turning!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Here We Are Together

I wanted to do a little get to know you activity my first Sunday as Primary Music Leader.  Someone told me about the idea of using the "Here We Are Together" song from the Children's Songbook (p. 261).  I cut up a bunch of 2 inch strips of paper and had the kids and teachers write their names on their paper (labels would work too, maybe better, but I didn't have any).  I told the children that when it was their turn they should show me their paper and stand up (I think they all got confused or something because they didn't stand up...).  I taped my name to myself and the pianist's to the piano, and off we went!  We sang through the song 4 or 5 times, starting with me and the pianist, and went through about one whole row of classes (about 8ish people) per round.  I only went through everyone once, but in hindsight I probably should have gone through everyone again.  My original intent was mostly to have them learn my name since I'm new, and also for me to get a start at learning their names.  That purpose was served at least.  Another idea with this was to have kids come to the front and sing the song with those names and rotate them in and out, but we have a lot of kids in our Primary.

I coupled this activity with a General Conference type activity, since I found one I liked and the previous music leader didn't do one before Conference.  I think it was a lot of set up for one day though.  It was kind of crazy.  I don't think I'll do that again!  :)

  • "Here We Are Together" CS p. 261

  • strips of paper or labels
  • crayons/markers/pencils
  • tape
  • printed song lyrics