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

Alma 37:6

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

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bell Chart - When I Hear the Prophet's Voice

Click here to download the bell chart for this song.

This bell chart has notes for each quarter note of the song, so not every note sung will be played.  I think the kids have an easier time with it.  In any event, it's what I decided to do for this one!

The song is in a C-D^ range, which means you would need the 20-note bell set to play all the notes.  If you only have the 13-note bell set (like I do) you can just omit the D^ at the end.  If you have the 8-note bell set you can omit the D^ at the end and also the few Bb (A#) notes that are in there.  It really shouldn't make much of a difference.  The kids will love it either way!  :)

When I Hear the Prophet's Voice

I've decided to do this song for the May choice song.  It's simple, short, and the message is perfect.

  Click here to listen to the song on LDS.org (scroll down to find the song)

Here are a few different teaching ideas:

Leave Out a Word (Listening Activity)
Sing the song to them and choose a word to leave out and ask them if they can think of or remember what word should go there.  I'm going to do this three (3) times: 1. "prophet" 2. "Savior" 3. "I" -- If they need help I'll give them hints like, 1. We listen to him at General Conference, He is the Lord's mouthpiece on Earth today; 2. Who does the prophet speak for?

When You Hear This, Do This (Listening Activity with Movement)
When you hear: hear or listen, voice or speaks, feel, know; Do the sign language or action (one at a time or all together).

Questions (Listening Activity)

  • (When you hear the prophet's voice,) What do you feel?  (closer to God, the Savior's love)
  • (When you hear the prophet's voice,) What will you do?  (gladly obey)
  • What do you know?  (that the Savior speaks through him [the prophet] for our day)

Four Corners (Teaching or Review)
One picture for each phrase of the song: 1. President Monson; 2. Jesus with children; 3. The Liahona; 4. Jesus the Christ.  This activity can be done a few different ways. 
One is to split the Primary into 4 groups and give each one a picture.  You can count them off or section the Primary by where they are sitting.  The children will stand or just hold up their picture and sing their line of the song when the time comes.  Rotate the pictures through all the groups so everyone gets an opportunity to sing each phrase.

Follow this link to my bell chart for this song.

Review Activity: Going Fishing

This week for review our Primary is going fishing!  This was very simple and easy to make.  I just cut out construction paper in the shape of fish and put paper clips on them.  Voila!  I used a real fishing pole but any stick or dowel will do.  I fashioned a holder for the magnet by wrapping a small fabric piece around it and tying it off with yarn.  I added paper slips to the fish with song names on them, which are changeable and removable because of the paper clips, so I can use this again and again for any songs!  There is beauty in simplicity.

Once a child chooses a fish, another child will choose from my Ways to Sing Cards which will be turned over and hanging on the board.  So we will sing the song chosen in the way chosen.  Easy!  And if we whip through all the songs we can just throw the fish back into the pond and choose again.  Love it.

For this week's activity I have 9 fish with these songs:

  • He Sent His Son
  • I Will Follow God's Plan
  • I Stand All Amazed
  • The Family Is of God
    • (I omitted the verses so we can just sing them order so as to not confuse the kids)
  • The Family Is of God
  • The Family Is of God
  • The Family Is of God
  • Choice
  • Baptism
    • (SR only - we learned one verse of this song at the beginning of the year because we sing a baptism song each month when someone gets baptized)
  • I Love to See the Temple
    • (JR only - we've sang this song a bunch already and I'm planning on singing it for the Program as well so it's perfect to review!)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review Activity: Ways to Sing Cards (More!)

I've created a few more fun ways to sing cards.  Some I borrowed from others, but made it my own size and style.

Click here for the PDF document of more of the cards.

Here is my first post with the first set of fun ways to sing cards.

  • Whisper Sing
  • Opera Style
  • Plug Your Nose
  • No Blinking
  • Slow / Fast - can be used separate or together (as in: switch between holding up one or the other and the children sing according to the card shown) although I probably wouldn't do Slow on it's own!
  • "Oo" Like a Monkey - sing the song and occasionally hold this card up to signal everyone to sing "oo-oo-oo" until you put the card down (can also be used with the Sing card in the first post)
  • Sing Backwards - everyone turn around and sing to the back of the room
  • Shiver
  • Clap - clap the song while you sing

Links to other blogs with Fun Ways to Sing ideas:

Sing Play Eat
AF Primary Singing Time
Primary Singing Time with Matilda
Teach LDS Children
Sofia's Primary Ideas

Mother, I Love You - Picture Prompts

We are singing Mother, I Love You (p. 207) for Mother's Day in a few weeks.  We've been singing it together for a few weeks now but we are ALL having a hard time remembering which words come when!  And I do not want to set the kids up for failure, since I will not be singing along with them they won't be able to follow me.  So I decided I needed something to help them (and me) remember what comes next.  So here is my picture prompt for this song.

Click here for the picture prompt PDF 

Note: I added the picture of the mother in there for you, but for those instances I will be holding up our "crying mother" (which is the same picture). We did the "crying mother" activity this last week and the kids loved it so I'm hoping when they see it in Sacrament Meeting they will smile and sing out and proud.

Monday, April 21, 2014

2014 Month & Year Planning Outline

Using the inspiration from someone on the LDS Chorister Facebook page I created the outline that I finally love.  It is not intended to be printed out, though I did squeeze it to fit legal sized paper.  I use THIS CHART for printing and emailing to my pianist and Primary Presidency each month.  I just love how easy it is for me to see everything and to also be able to include my general plans for each week (and not have to worry about space constraints).  All the 2014 dates and themes and monthly songs and songs listed in the Sharing Time sections are included.  It also has a lot of things filled in that are my own personal notes, and you can just delete them or overwrite them with your notes.  (Sorry, I guess I'm feeling lazy, I don't want to do it!)  And feel free to change this however works for you and your Primary.  :)

Click here to download this editable XLSX document

Year View Outline

Here is a simple one page Year View planning chart I created to chart my plan to be able to teach each song and verse needed for the Program and other songs the Primary needs to know for musical numbers such as Mother's Day and Father's Day

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Family Is of God - Sign Language

This is a video I made for simple sign language (ASL) for the song The Family Is of God.

I am not proficient in ASL, though I have used many resources in trying to find the correct signs to portray the true meaning of the song.  I have chosen select, key words in the song to sign.  This is not intended to be a translation of the song to ASL.  It is simply a teaching tool to help the children learn and remember the words of the song by getting them to move their bodies in specific and meaningful ways.

Below are two videos, the first with the whole song and sign language, and the second with the spoken lyrics and corresponding signs.  Also below is a write up of the song with links to ASL dictionaries online for each individual sign.

The videos are mirrored so you can follow with your right-dominant hand.
If you want the children to learn with their right-dominant hand, reverse your signs.
If you are left-handed, you may reverse the signs also.




Our FATHER has a FAMILY, It's ME! It's YOU, ALL-others too: we are HIS CHILDREN.
HE SENT each one of US to EARTH, through BIRTH, To LIVE and LEARN here in FAM'LIES.


This is how HE SHARES his LOVE, for the FAM'LY is of GOD.






I'll LOVE and SERVE my FAMILY and be a good EXAMPLE to each FAM'LY MEMBER.
And when I am a MOM or DAD, so GLAD, I'll HELP my FAM'LY REMEMBER:

If you have questions about how to teach sign language in Primary, CLICK HERE to view my post about the topic.

Personal note:
I really enjoy sign language and I think it is a great way to keep children interested as they learn and review songs.  I wasn't planning on using sign language to teach this song because I'm trying to be a well-rounded teacher and use lots of different tools and techniques.  However, I'm glad I did the research and practice and video for this song because it helped me remember the words and the order they go in, and really solidify each verse for me (which can be tricky, even for a musically inclined person!).  I plan on teaching the signs for each of the responsibilities listed in verses 2, 3 & 4 in at least JR Primary.  I hope it will be a good way to keep them engaged and help them remember those tricky lines!  I just feel like they need something to see or do, and most of them can't read, but they all can move their bodies and do and see sign language.  :)

Happy signing!  :)