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

Alma 37:6

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Activity: Christmas Symbols

This Sunday I'm going to discuss with the Primary children the purpose of the decorations and things at Christmas time and how they are symbols of Christ.  I'm going to use the Sharing Time lesson in a 2004 issue of LDS Living for this Singing Time.  There are also other symbols you could use in addition to these if you choose.

The lesson suggests having enough of each ornament for each class in the Primary to decorate the tree.  I'm just going to have one of each for time's sake because it is after all, Singing Time!  The lesson does not specify songs to sing but suggests to sing Christmas songs that the children are familiar with to reinforce the concepts taught.

The symbols and songs I chose are:

  • Tree
    • Away in a Manger (v3)
  • Star (and lights)
    • Stars Were Gleaming
  • Candy Canes
    • Once within a Lowly Stable (v2)
  • Angels
    • Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus (v2)
  • Red, White & Green Ornaments
    • The Shepherd's Carol
  • Gifts
    • Little Jesus

Additional symbols I thought about but didn't include were Wreath: crown of thorns, eternal love (Mary's Lullaby); and Santa: generosity and kindness (Have a Very Merry Christmas).

I made printouts of a simple tree (for two pages) and of the symbols I listed above (on one page) that can be downloaded below:

     Tree                                     Ornaments

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bells Chart - Christmas Music

Here are a few bell charts I made for some Christmas music.  I converted two of the songs into the key of C in the LDS.org music library, and the others are in the original key and have either a sharp or a flat (if you only have the 8 note bell set you can just leave out those notes you don't have).  I have the 13 note bell set.  My Primary kids are really excited to get to play the bells this week!  They love them!

For the Christmas songs that we only get to since once a year I will also post the words on the board so everyone can sing along while they play.




Bell Chart                                 Sheet Music


Bell Chart                                 Sheet Music

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Nursery - Singing Time Cards

We have 3 Nursery classes in our ward, so I've thought there was no way I could do singing time in Nursery.  Well I finally chatted with the Nursery leader because I would love to have my hands in Nursery music somehow, and we decided I would visit one class each week on a rotation.  Anyway, she told me each class has a singing time packet with cute ways to choose songs -- one is a fishing game, another is laminated cards that look like jellybeans, and I forget the other one.  From what she knows these are all wiggle songs.  So to keep with what the kids are used to I made some cards to supplement their singing time.  And I actually made 3 sets so each class can be singing these songs even when I'm not in there.  We will take turns choosing from their wiggle pile and my new pile of Gospel related songs.

In case they aren't even using the ones they have, or if they want to do all of my cards or whatever, I also made a wiggle song set.  I know there are a few songs that could go either way, but I wanted to make use of the entire sheet I would be printing on.  I hate wasting resources!  :)  I printed all of these on card stock and cut them out to about 3x4 inch cards.  After I write the song name on the back of each card I'll laminate them.

There are 12 songs in each set.  That is a lot of songs!  There are so many great ones to choose from.  We obviously won't have time each week to sing all the songs, but hopefully it will be a good and fun rotation, and the children will be getting exposure to these wonderful songs.  Also, I did not make a card for I Am a Child of God (2) because my intention is that that will always be the last song we sing together.

Here are links to both sets:

Gospel Song Cards:

Wiggle Song Cards:

Gospel Song Cards:
  • Temple: I Love to See the Temple (95)
  • Christ w/ children: I Know That My Savior Loves Me (2015 outline... I'm going to sing just the chorus with these nursery kids)
  • Family in front of temple: Families Can Be Together Forever (188)
  • Houses in the rain: The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (281)
  • Rainbow: When I Am Baptized (103)
  • Missionary tag: I Hope They Call Me on a Mission (169)
  • Star: I Am Like a Star (163)
  • Footprints: I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus (78)
  • Bird: My Heavenly Father Loves Me (228)
  • Heart: I Feel My Savior's Love (74)
  • Light: Teach Me to Walk in the Light (177... I still don't love that picture but it was the best I could come up with) 
  • President Monson: Follow the Prophet (110)

Wiggle Song Cards:
  • Happy face: If You're Happy (266)
  • Snowman: Once There was a Snowman (249)
  • Hands together: Roll Your Hands (274)
  • Wiggly hands: I Wiggle (271)
  • Book of Mormon: Book of Mormon Stories (118)
  • Child with arms bent: Hinges (277)
  • Four children: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (275)
  • Stream: Give, Said the Little Stream (236)
  • Popcorn: Popcorn Popping (242)
  • Sun: Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam (60)
  • Smile: Smiles (267)
  • Child jumping: Do As I'm Doing (276)

Picture a Christmas - Simple Sign Language

This year I'm teaching Picture a Christmas from the Children's Songbook for one of our ward Christmas party songs.  I wanted to teach it with sign language so I called upon a friend of mine in another ward to make a video of the sign language for this song (since she knows ASL and has been teaching this song in sign language in her Primary the last few years!).  She is so sweet and did it for me!  Thank you Sara.  :)  Here is the link to her YouTube channel to view the simple sign language for this song.  (She even told me that she doesn't end up doing all the signs she does in this video with her Primary.  I have found that if I do too many signs for my Primary that the kids are too focused on doing them right and not singing hardly at all.  Just something to keep in mind.)

Away in a Manger (Children's Songbook)

Here is a flip chart I created for the Primary songbook version of Away in a Manger last year.  I went over it with the children as a flip chart and also had printed just the pictures and cut them out for them to put in order on the board as a supplemental activity to review it.

Flip chart:

Just pictures:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Activity: Pin the Couple on the Temple

The Primary theme for the month of October is all about the family.  Since we have General Conference this weekend, our Primary Presidency combined the first two themes/lessons for the first week back in Primary (the second week of the month).  I wanted to do something simple and fun and sing lots of classic and beloved Primary songs about the family.  I came up with:


I've prepared a couple sheets of paper with this picture on it several times and songs and questions on another sheet for print on the back of the picture sheet.  I'll cut them out and stick them up on the board or around the room for the children to choose one at a time.  We will read the question and then sing the song and verse together to find the answer.  For Junior Primary they can all help each other answer the question.  I'll have Senior Primary answer the question themselves if they can, and ask a friend for help if they need it.  And then, once we have sung the song and answered the question correctly, the child up front (who chose the picture with the song) will be blindfolded, spun around, and will pin (stick: magnet, tape, pin... whatever) the picture of the couple onto the picture of a temple on the board.  We will do this as many times as we have time.

If you're still reviewing for your Program you could include your Program songs or do a similar activity to incorporate your Program songs.

  • Large picture of any temple
  • Cut out pictures of a couple (picture above or in a document below)
  • Questions related to chosen songs
  • Magnets or pins or tape (to stick the pictures to the temple)

  • I AM A CHILD OF GOD (2) - verse 1
    • What did God give me?
      • Answer: "an earthly home with parents kind and dear"
  • I LOVE TO SEE THE TEMPLE (95) - verse 1
    • What is my sacred duty?
      • Answer: "to prepare myself to go to the temple"
  • I LOVE TO SEE THE TEMPLE (95) - verse 2
    • Who is sealed together in the temple?
      • Answer: "families"
    • How long do I want to share my life with my family?
      • Answer: "through all eternity"
    • What will I prepare to do while in my early years?
      • Answer: "to marry in God's temple for eternity"
  • THE FAMILY IS OF GOD - verse 1
    • Who is in our Heavenly Father's family?
      • Answer: "me, you, all others too"
  • THE FAMILY IS OF GOD - verse 2
    • What is something a father does for his family?
      • Answer: "preside, provide, love, teach the gospel, leads family prayer"
  • THE FAMILY IS OF GOD - verse 3
    • What is something a mother does for her family?
      • Answer: "care, prepare, nurture and strengthen children; teaches to obey, pray, love and serve"
  • THE FAMILY IS OF GOD - verse 4
    • What will I help my family remember?
      • Answer: "God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be, this is how He shares His love, the family is of God"

Document of Pictures & Songs & Questions for download:

 Pin the Couple on the Temple

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Activity: Stretch / Workout - (13th Article of Faith)

Well we just had our Primary Program this past Sunday and I have to say, I am so impressed with the kids and how well they did all around!  I didn't think I would feel the Spirit as strongly as I did, but I got choked up during one of the songs in the middle of the program.  The Spirit testified to me about how precious each of these wonderful children really are and how special they are to our Father in Heaven, and what a great work we are doing in the Primary to teach them of these important principles.  This was my first program, and it was a wonderful, wonderful experience.  I tried in the weeks leading up to Program day to not be stressed about things being "perfect" (like I tend to do with things even in my personal life) but I tried to relax and just enjoy singing with the children.  It didn't matter to me if they sang quiet (which I knew they most likely would), but I tried to do my best in helping them know and remember the words to the songs.  And they knew them.  They did so great.  It was an awesome day.  :)

Now we get to play and sing all kinds of other songs for fun!

This week's Sharing Time lesson is about being honest, and it references the 13th Article of Faith.  So I want to teach/go over the 13th Article of Faith song with them.  But it's kind of long, and I don't want to do something with showing words because most of our JR's don't read, and I haven't found much on the internet related to teaching the song, and the ASL video I found of the Articles of Faith is great but too much work for a sign language novice like me to try to figure out all the signs by this Sunday.  Nothing was really speaking to me.  Until tonight when a great idea was impressed upon my mind!

I like to get the kids moving since they sit so much in the other hours of church, and I think it's important for them to be able to move for them to learn well.

Soooo......  I'm going to do a stretching/workout routine with this song with them!  The idea is for it to be comparable to working out our spiritual muscles.  And really you could adapt it for any song.  And I'm even thinking about making this a "warm up" song (or activity) as the children are coming in to Primary so they can move but get ready and focused for Sharing Time.  I'm super excited about it!

These are some actions I came up with (I'm sure you could probably think of more!):

  • With both arms out to sides, move side to side from waist up
  • Biceps pump in front of your body (like doing bicep curls with weights)
  • Squats (in place or side to side)
  • Forward lunges (jump to switch, or step together to switch)
  • Muscle flexing
  • Reach both hands up
  • Bend over and touch toes
  • Stretch arms up one at a time (like a sleepy stretch)
  • Stretch arms out in front of you and wiggle fingers

And I'll do those in that order for this song.  I'll try to describe it, but I'll probably end up making a video so it's easier to understand (I'm totally a visual learner).  [By the way, it's probably a good idea to plan on wearing a flowy skirt as opposed to a restricting one when you plan to do this activity. ;)]

  • "We believe in being" --- Start with both arms stretched out to your sides, feet apart
  • "Honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous" --- Keep that position and bend at waist to one side and then the other (4 times slow, aka: R, L, R, L)
  • "And in doing good to all men" --- Biceps pump (either 4 fast ones or 2 slow ones)
  • "Indeed we may say that we follow" --- Squats side to side (4 slow ones, aka: R, L, R, L)
  • "The admonition of Paul" --- Forward lunges (2 slow step change ones, or 4 quick jumping ones)
  • "We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things" --- Muscle flex freestyle! (3, one for each phrase)
  • "And hope to be able to endure all things" --- Stretch up with both hands on the word and high note of HOPE, and then slow bend over to touch toes by the end of the phrase
  • "If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy" --- Stretch arms up one at a time (6 times, aka: R, L, R, L, R, L)
  • "We seek after these things" --- Stretch arms out in front of you and wiggle fingers for a good finger workout/stretch

And there you have it!  Something engaging for the kids, super low prep for you, and can be used for probably almost any song.  Bingo!

Happy singing.  :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bell Chart - Seek the Lord Early

This is my bell chart for Seek the Lord Early - p. 108.  This is in the original key and is best played with the 13- or 20-note bell sets.  Since there are 3 flats that are played frequently in the song, the 8-note bell set won't work well with this bell version.

I'm considering using the bells in our Primary Program for this song.  I made this chart so the bells are played only on the downbeat (first note) of each measure.  I'm starting to lean more toward this kind of bell-playing in Primary.  When I've done it this way it seems to be easier for the kids and it goes faster as you don't have to slow the song way down for them to get all the notes in.

This won't be the chart I will use in the actual Program.  Still haven't exactly figured that out yet.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Seek the Lord Early - Lesson Plan (& Other Ideas)

Lesson plan for Seek the Lord Early. Some material could also be used as review.  Also some other ideas.


Sing the song to them:
  1. Listen for the phrase "seek the Lord early" and when you hear it stand up or sit down 
  2. How many times did you hear that phrase? (3) 
  3. Sing again, this time sing the phrase with me when it comes up 

HIDE AND SEEK - big glasses, magnifying glass, binoculars, flashlight, telescoping binoculars, etc
  • Choose 4 children (one from each of 4 groups) to come up to the front and choose a seeking item out of a bag with their eyes closed.  Have them keep their eyes closed and guess what the item is. Sing the song while all 4 children look around the room for items/pictures, (and, for SR if they seem to know the song already, get in order in front during any remaining time of the song).  Then sing corresponding phrases in 4 groups. Swap pictures and repeat.
Picture options: (printed OR borrowed from Church library)
  1. Lord in magnifying glass OR Jesus the Christ
  2. Scriptures & prayer OR Scriptures OR Praying 
  3. Prophet / President Monson
  4. Ten Commandments
Download B&W Pictures:
(pages meant to be cut in half, to end up with 4)


SENIOR: (I will stop here for JR but continue with the following for SR)

  • Sing the song together while children come up to the board and place word strips in the correct column. You can choose children to come up by signaling to them or tapping them on the shoulder or you can have the children choose who comes up next. This can be done as "tag" -- You choose the starting child and when they are finished they choose another child and so on.

  • Seek the Lord 
  • Search the scriptures 
  • Pray to Heavenly Father 
  • Obey the prophets
  • Keep the commandments 

  • Help me know the truth 
  • Show me his love 
  • Be found in my life
Download Word Strips:



PICTURE HIDE & SEEK (HOT 'N COLD): (From the 2014 Primary Sharing Time Outline)
  • Use pictures to teach the song a phrase at a time (sample pictures are available at sharingtime.lds.org). Display all of the pictures on the board. Invite a child to go out of the room while someone else hides one of the pictures. Have the child come back and “seek” for the picture by listening to the other children sing louder as he or she gets closer and softer as he or she gets farther away. Repeat as time allows.

  • Divide into two groups and have one group sing only the first two words of each phrase and have the other group complete the phrase. Change groups and repeat. You can divide the groups in many ways: boys/girls, by colors on clothes, color of eyes, birthdays in the first and second part of the year, etc. 

  • Put word hints on the board (in two parts: first three then second three; OR all at once).  Tell the children to listen for these key words as you sing the song.  After singing the song through, ask if anyone can come up to the board and write out one of the words.  If they can't get them all, sing through again until they do.
    • t _ _ _ _ (truth) 
    • s _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (scriptures) 
    • p _ _ _ _ _ (prayer) 
    • o _ _ _ (obey) 
    • p _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (prophets) 
    • c _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (commandments)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review Activity: Tic-Tac-Sing (Baptism)

TIC-TAC-SING is basically tic-tac-toe game show style as a review activity.  This post has help info for the song BAPTISM (p. 100) but this activity can be tailored to any song or multiple songs!

Prep using one of the following:
  • Draw a tic-tac-toe board on the board and have the children draw X’s and O’s; or 
  • Do a life-size version by setting up 9 chairs for children to sit on while holding up X and O papers; or
  • Make a poster with removable X's and O's

To play: 
  • JUNIOR: Play all as one team
  • SENIOR: Split the Primary into two teams (one side vs. the other, boys vs. girls, kids vs. teachers, kids vs. you)
  • Sing through one verse at a time. Invite one child from each team to come up and answer a question, game show style. Have two buzzers or an item (like a pen) in the middle of them for them to grab when they know the answer. The child who buzzes or grabs first gets to answer first, and if they get the answer correct they get to put an X or O up on the board for their team. If they answer wrong the other child can steal for the other team by answering the question correctly. If neither gets it right, the Primary may answer and no X’s or O’s get played. If they are all stuck you could sing the verse through one more time to help them find the answer. Play as long as time permits (until you run out of questions, or ask the questions over again!), clearing the board when someone gets 3 in a row.

BAPTISM Activity Questions:

Verse 1:

WHO did Jesus come to? (JOHN THE BAPTIST)
WHERE and WHEN did Jesus come to John the Baptist? (JUDEA LONG AGO)
WHAT did Jesus do when he came to John the Baptist in Judea long ago? (WAS BAPTIZED)
HOW was Jesus baptized by John the Baptist? (BY IMMERSION)
WHERE was Jesus baptized by John the Baptist? (RIVER JORDAN)

Verse 2:

WHY did Jesus say he needed to be baptized? (TO FULFILL THE LAW)
WHO questioned why Jesus needed to be baptized? (THE BAPTIST)
WHY else did Jesus say he needed to be baptized? (TO ENTER WITH [HIS] FATHER IN THE KINGDOM]
WHERE is Heavenly Father's kingdom? (UP ON HIGH)

Verse 3:

WHO must follow Jesus? (WE)
WHAT must we witness faith in? (JESUS' WORD)
WHY must we be baptized? (TO SHOW OBEDIENCE)
WHO was our example that we are following when we are baptized? (JESUS)

Here where I got this activity from, and her post has more ideas if you are looking for more inspiration for this activity: http://intheleafytreetopsthebirdssing.blogspot.com/2012/06/tic-tac-sing-review.html.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Family Is of God - Picture Prompts

I thought my Primary children could use some extra help as we're reviewing The Family Is of God.  Since this song is long and wordy, I felt that showing them some simple picture prompts might help jog their memories as they think about which words come next.  I also had/have the intent of using these pictures as a review activity for them to put in order up on the board as we sing each verse.  AND they are all line drawings in black and white, because I didn't want to use a ton of ink, and the Church just came out with an awesome new resource of a line drawing bank on their website.  Soooo...

The first document here is the flip chart, if you will, in PDF format.  The order of pages: verse 1, verse 2, verse 3, verse 4, chorus.  I printed 4 of the chorus for easier flipping (or non-flipping rather):

The second document is the large version of the images in a Word Doc.  They are jumbled up, not in order, so as to fit them all on the least amount of pages (10), for ease of printing:

And the third document is a one-page answer key in PDF format, if you want to use the document above:

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Love to See the Temple - Sign Language

Here is a video I made of simple sign language (ASL) for I Love to See the Temple.  This in no way is meant to be a translation to ASL, but a teaching tool to help the children in Primary remember the words to this special song.  I included signs for specific key words to go along with the timing of the words in the song.

The video is mirrored so you may lead with your right hand (if it is your dominant hand).  Lead with whichever hand is most comfortable for you.  The children will either mirror you or lead with the hand that is comfortable for them, unless you tell them otherwise.


To FEEL the Holy SPIRIT,
To LISTEN and to PRAY.
For the TEMPLE is a HOUSE of GOD,
A place of LOVE and BEAUTY.
I'll PREPARE myself while I am young(CHILD);
This is my SACRED DUTY.


I'll COV'NANT with my FATHER;
For the TEMPLE is a HOLY place

ASL Video:
LDS.org ASL video list (scroll down to find I Love to See the Temple -- there are two videos, an adult and a child)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bell Chart - The 13th Article of Faith

Here is my bell chart for The Thirteenth Article of Faith.  It is for the 13 note bell set.  Each bell note represents each note sung in the song.  If you only have the 8 note bell set, you can still use this chart just by not playing the Bb's.

Bell Chart - I Love to See the Temple

Here is my handbell chart for I Love to See the Temple.  This is for the 13 bell chart.  There is one missing note that could be played with the 20 bell set but can just be omitted if you don't have it.  If you only have the 8 note yet you can still play this but omit the Bb's.

Each bell note represents each note sung throughout the song.

I made two versions of this, one with the first verse:

And one for the second verse:

Bell Chart - I Stand All Amazed

Here is my handbell chart for I Stand All Amazed (hymn 193) in the original key, for the 13 note bell set.  Since there are more notes in the song than are in the 13 note set I have omitted a few notes (just left them blank) and tweaked a couple notes in the chorus (same notes, just an octave lower) to allow for more bells to be played.

Each bell note represents each quarter note throughout the song, so not every note that is sung is played.

If you have the 8 note set, this would not be a very good chart to use, as there are 4 flats in the song and none in your 8 note bell set.

13-note bell set ISAA bell chart

And here is the chart for the 20-note bell set:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Review Activity: I Mustache You a Question

Tomorrow I'm doing a review with mustaches!  I Mustache You a Question!

I'll do things a little differently in JR than in SR.


In Junior I'm going to have a child choose a mustache on a stick and have them answer a question to see which song we are going to sing.  I have the song order pre-determined.  Then we'll sing the song, in a fun or reinforcing way I've already chosen.  The questions I'll ask are as follows:

  • Name this song: "He Sent His...?"
  • Name this song: "I Will Follow God's...?"
  • Name this song: "I Stand All...?"
  • Name this song: "The Family Is...?"
  • Name this song: "When I Hear the...?"
  • Name this song: "Truth from...?"
  • Name this song: "I Love to See...?"


In Senior I'll have a child choose a mustache on a stick to choose the song we're going to sing.  Each mustache will have a song written on the back.  Next we'll sing the song, in a fun or reinforcing way I've already chosen.  Then I'll ask a few questions about the song to a few chosen children, where they can earn their own stick-on mustaches.  If they need help they can ask a friend, who can also earn a mustache.  Super singers can also earn mustaches.  By the end of Singing Time hopefully all the kids will have gotten a mustache.  Below are the questions I'll ask, and a Word Doc to download for ease.

·         QUESTION: How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
(Answer: “He sent His son a newborn babe with peace and holiness.”)
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: How could the Father show the world _________?
(Answer: “the pathway we should go”)
·         QUESTION: What 4 things does this song say the Father asks of us, that the scriptures say?
(Answer: “Have faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on their way”)

·         QUESTION: My choice was to, what?
(Answer: “come to this lovely home on earth… and seek for God’s light to direct me from birth”)
·         QUESTION: Name at least 3 things this song says that I can do so I can be happy on earth and in my home above.
(Answer: “follow God’s plan for me, hold fast to his word and His love, work, pray, walk in His way”)

·         FILL IN THE BLANK: I stand all amazed at the ____________?
(Answer: “love Jesus offers me”)
·         QUESTION: What are 3 things this song says that Jesus did for me, a sinner?
(Answer: “suffered, bled, died”)
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: Oh, it is wonderful that _______________?
(Answer: “He should care for me, enough to die for me”)

·         QUESTION: Why did Heavenly Father send us to earth, through birth?
(Answer: “to live and learn here in families”)
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: A father’s place is to preside, provide, to ________________?
(Answer: “love and teach the gospel to his children”)
·         QUESTION: Name at least 4 of a mother’s purposes.
(Answer: “care, prepare, nurture, strengthen, teaches to obey, pray, love, serve”
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: I’ll love and serve my family, and be ____________?
(Answer: “a good example to each family member”)
·         QUESTION: Why did God give us families?
(Answer: “to help us become what He wants us to be”)

·         FILL IN THE BLANK: When I hear the prophet’s voice ____________?
(Answer: “I feel closer to God” OR “I will gladly obey”)
·         QUESTION: When I listen to the prophet’s voice, what do I feel deep within my heart?
(Answer: “the Savior’s love”)
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: Who speaks through the prophet for our day?
(Answer: “the Savior”)

·         FILL IN THE BLANK: The hearts of the children have _________?
(Answer: “turned to their fathers… have turned, have turned, have turned”)
·         FILL IN THE BLANK: Because of the truth they have ____________?
(Answer: “learned from Elijah… have learned, have learned, have learned”)
·         QUESTION: What does this song say that we as the children can do about family history?
(Answer: “seek out our loved ones, preserving their names and their memory”)
·         QUESTION: What does this song say that we can do about temple work?
(Answer: “strive to be worthy to kneel in the temple and bind them to us for eternity”)

Bell Chart - Truth from Elijah

Here is my bell chart for Truth from Elijah (CS p. 90).

Each note is the quarter note, or beat, throughout the song, which means not every note sung will be played.  I find it easier to have the kids play that way.  I first introduce it by having them all clap the beat along with me as we sing the song or part of the song.  That way they can start to understand when the bells are supposed to be played, and I help them by pointing to each note on the board as we go along as well.



Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bell Chart - Fathers

Here is my bell chart for the song Fathers (CS p. 209).  This chart is for the 13 note bell set (but can easily be used by other sets by omitting the notes you don't have bells for).  It is the chorus only.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bell Chart - The Family Is of God

I'm thinking I would like to have bells played in the Primary program this year for The Family Is of God.  I am planning on having the bells be played on each half note, and for the chorus only.

Bell chart for the chorus only.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Singing a Variety of Songs in Singing Time

A reader asked the question,
How do you fit so many songs into Singing Time?

First of all, my Presidency is pretty good at giving me my allotted time for Singing Time.  If you are consistently getting cut short I would suggest that you please talk with your Primary President to see if you can come up with a solution that works for your Primary.  The Sharing Time Outline clearly states that Singing Time each Sunday should be 20 minutes.  If you are only getting 10 or even less than 15 minutes consistently, in my humble opinion that really is not sufficient time to be singing with the children and teaching them the many songs for the yearly Program.

But anyway!  Here's my spiel.  Now, I am no expert, and things may work differently for you and/or for your Primary.  So take what you will.


I once saw on the Facebook group someone mention about how having a sort of "warm up" can help the kids, especially Junior, get ready to learn.  The approach I've taken with this is to have one or two "warm up" songs in Junior Primary every week.  Songs they know and love, not new ones here.  Like how people say it is good for the Nursery kids to have predictability, I try to have a little bit of that for Junior in Singing Time.  So I've created a bit of a routine for Junior Singing Time.  I start with the same few songs (that I rotate each week or month) and sing them in the same way.  This only takes about 5 minutes (I give my pianist a sheet of paper with the songs, pages, and order on it with instructions that we will be going straight from one song to the next, which makes it quicker since we just start singing without much introduction, which isn't necessary since the children know the drill, and whenever the pianist is ready).  And then I break into teaching the song for the day.  Sometimes I spend the rest of the Singing Time on that song, singing it over and over with them (they need lots of repetition!), but I'm recently discovering that I probably need to limit the teaching time since apparently new things start to go over their heads after 5-10 minutes.  So for the coming Singing Times in Junior I am planning on breaking up the new stuff with more familiar songs.  [Recently we've been working on our Mother's Day and Father's Day songs, which I only spend about 3-5 minutes working on with them at the end (which over the course of multiple weeks and even months I hoped would help them learn and remember them).  My goal was to work on those for just a few minutes every week for a couple months and hopefully they'd get to catching on.]

The "warm up" songs I started doing with my Juniors were "Give, Said the Little Stream" and the way we sing it is by doing actions.  For the word "give" we use our hands to make a giving motion by holding them together, palms up, like we're holding something and then extending our arms outward when we sing the word.  For the word "little" or "small" we shrink (we stand for this song by the way).  We just do the first verse.  They love it!  Even the little Sunbeams!  The second song we would do was "I Love to See the Temple" and we would sing this one loud/soft, depending on the size of my hand motions.  I would put my hands together (like a clap) and then hold them father apart for loud and then closer together for soft (I always end the song soft, my secret!).  They liked that one too.  You can also use a slinky for this.  My goals with these two songs are to get them out of their chairs and moving for the first song, since they had been sitting still for Sharing Time already, and then to get them to be ready to sit in their seat and listen with the second song.

I've made a list of songs I'd like to bring into the rotation.  My plan is to mix up the silly/wiggle songs and other fun ones that have a gospel message in them, or just other gospel message classics.  I want to introduce one "new" song each month, which most hopefully won't really be new, to add to our rotation and to help the children become more familiar with more of these wonderful songs.  So ideally, my rotation each month will include one different song that we DIDN'T sing the previous month, and one song that we DID sing as a warm up the previous month.  I've also been including one of the Program songs we've learned in previous months to keep their memories fresh and help them keep learning those songs.  The way I've been doing this is by choosing a different Program song to sing as a warm up/review each week (on a rotation), also with a specific way to sing it.  I feel like every week for Junior is a review, which I think is really helpful for them.  On the schedule I usually have in this order: 1) a song with movement, 2) a Program song, 3) a song that we can sing in a way that they can end up sitting still and being quiet in their seats, 4) work on the song to be learned that day, 5) and sometimes maybe ending with a familiar song or just a different one than the one we're working hard on, but I usually run out of time in Junior.

One last thing about my Juniors...  They are pretty restless coming into Primary right after Sacrament meeting.  I haven't previously been singing prelude music with them but I am going to start -- this week.  I will choose a Program song I think they need to work on (one we have already learned) and we will sing it (over and over again if needed) until the Primary Presidency is ready to get started.  I'm not sure how I'll need to tweak this as I go along, but I imagine most of the children will either just stare at me or be shushed by their teacher.  I'm hoping they will sing!


As the Senior Primary is coming in (about 5 minutes before we are scheduled to get started) we sing the Articles of Faith songs as prelude.  We begin at #1 and go as far as we can until the Presidency is ready.  We just go straight from song to song (with time to breathe and the pianist to turn pages).  Sometimes the pianist will help us out by just playing the first note so we know where to start singing.  Some days we only get through 6 or 7, and there has been at least one day that we've gotten as far as 10 or 11!  I don't lead when I do prelude, just stand and sing, but I have started holding up the Articles of Faith prompt pictures while we sing each one.  I love them, and our Presidency actually gives out card versions of them for the children's birthdays in Senior.

My Seniors don't need to "warm up" quite like my Juniors do.  I would even go so far as to say that they get bored if we sing too many of the same songs too often and in the same way.  So I like to mix it up for them a little bit.  I still want to do something fun with them before we get to the nitty-gritty learning.  This month I am going to start with "If You're Happy" and you know it, FREEZE LIKE THIS!  Hopefully they'll get enough of a kick out of it.  I know the Music Leader before me had done it with them.  I'm also starting to implement a short review section of Singing Time with them at the beginning.  We'll rotate through this year's Program songs we've already learned like in Junior, but for Senior I plan on just doing the songs that need more work.  For instance, I think my Seniors know He Sent His Son and I Will Follow God's Plan pretty well, and I don't want to bore them, and I think our monthly review of those (I do a review Singing Time typically on the 4th Sunday) will be enough.

My Senior Primary Singing Time is typically more focused on learning the new song for the Program.  However, like I mentioned in the Junior section, I do think I need to break up some of the learning since I guess they can start to lose interest in a song we've been singing for 10 minutes...  At this point in time we've been practicing our Mother's Day and Father's Day songs anyway so we've been ending with either or both of those.  But with Senior I'd like to spend more time singing a greater variety of songs with them so I'm going to try to bring in familiar songs to sing for a few minutes (like Follow the Prophet in May) after we learn/review our Program song of the month.  I'm also hoping to find extra time here and there to sing/work on the Articles of Faith songs with them more often.


And there you have it!  My Singing Time plan for singing lots of songs.  Sometimes I plan too much and have to cut out some things or adjust accordingly.  But it usually works pretty well for the most part, I think!  Any other questions?  I'll do my best to answer!  :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review or Teaching Activity: Uno

I can't believe I hadn't looked into Uno sooner.  It sounds like such a great and simple and easy way to keep the kids engaged while learning or reviewing a song!

Many have different ways of playing.  Here are some ideas to get you going:


Each color (red, blue, yellow, green) represents a verse or a phrase in a song.

Take out all numbered cards except for one's and two's. (or you could leave in the three's and four's, but I would only do this if you are splitting the song by phrase)

  • One's: Sing the verse/phrase of the color one time
  • Two's: Sing the verse/phrase of the color two times
  • Skip: Sing the verse/phrase of the color as staccato (short, choppy, disconnected) OR Sing all verses/phrases except for the verse/phrase of the color drawn
  • Draw Two: Sing the verse/phrase of the color and the one immediately following it OR Sing the verse/phrase of the color and let the child who drew the card choose the second one to sing OR Let the child who drew the card choose two verse/phrases to sing
  • Reverse: Sing the verse/phrase of the color while facing the back of the room
  • Wild: Let the child who drew the card choose the verse/phrase to sing and a fun way to sing it
  • Wild Draw Four: Sing all the verses/phrases and let the child who drew the card choose a fun way to sing it (if using verses you could have someone choose a different fun way to sing for each verse) OR Sing all the verses/phrases in the way you will be singing the song for the Program (or one and then the other)

You can stack the cards so you know a good variety of things will be drawn, or you can just shuffle them and see what happens.  You can also take out cards you don't want to use at the time.

Create your stack, choose a child to choose a card and do what the card says to do.

Great!  Simple!  Easy!  I love it!  And I think the kids will too!

Here is a link to a post of mine with Fun Ways to Sing Cards
Here is a link to another post of mine with more Fun Ways to Sing Cards

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wiggle Song: If You're Happy

If you're happy and you know it, FREEZE LIKE THIS!

The Music Leader before me did this and I've been wanting to make position cards but I don't have the artistic ability to even draw cute stick figures.  Luckily, someone on the Facebook page shared photos of hers, and another person made the photos into a printable PDF!  I love the wonderful world of technology and how much we are able to share with each other!

There are a few ways to use these cards.

One is to use them with the song If You're Happy (CS p. 266) and instead of singing "clap your hands" (or whatever action you do) sing, "freeze like this" and hold up a position card for the children to hold that pose.  For one verse of this song you would use 3 different position cards, so the;y would change positions each time you sang "freeze like this."

Another way is to use it as a review activity.  It can spice things up a little bit as you go over a song multiple times.  While singing the song for review, hold up one position card and after a little while change to another one, and so forth.  Start with slow changes and make them quicker to keep things interesting.

 Click here to download