Saturday, November 17, 2012

Missionaries 'Round the Table!

This Sunday is the first "real" Singing Time for the month for me! 
Last Sunday was our Program and the Sunday before was a big practice!

So it's a missionary-theme this month for Sharing Time.
In thinking of how to incorporate missionary work AND singing Thanksgiving songs (so many fun ones), I've come up with a "MISSIONARIES 'ROUND THE TABLE" idea.

There are so many great rounds in the Songbook.

I brought in things to set the table (we used one of the smaller tables in our Primary room): A tablecloth, cloth napkins, cups, plates and forks!

Because the rounds in the Songbook are split into four, we need four missionaries! 
I called up a pair of boy elders and girl sisters, with fake nametags to tape on. 

After we quickly learned our round, the Primary kids were split up into four groups. 
The missionaries each had an index card labeled 1-4, each with an assignment for when their group sings their line: 
Unfold everyone's napkins and tuck them into the neck of their shirt, stack all the plates, stack all the cups, and put a fork in everyone's cup. This was all pretty much done at the same time since the groups start singing so soon after one another. Made for chaotic table activity and was so funny!

The Primary kids then had to guess which missionary was their group's assigned missionary and what their action was. They guessed pretty well!

Songs for the Rounds:
For Health and Strength, pg. 21a Songbook (an official round)

For Thy Bounteous Blessings, pg. 21b Songbook (an official round)
A Song of Thanks, pg. 20 (can easily be made into a round, I think)
Beauty Everywhere, pg. 232 (can be made into a round probably!)
A Prayer of Thanksgiving, pg. 93 hymnbook (will make into a round for the older kids)

List of all rounds in the Songbook, click here

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Charlie the Reverent!

Today was our Primary Program! It went pretty well and I'm SO GLAD it's over! I kept having nightmares that I'd have a wardrobe malfunction in front of the ward as I led the kids.

After, in Singing Time, I brought in this guy since he was fully armored up! Let me explain below!

Soon after I was called as Music Leader in late January, and saw the theme for the year was "Choose the Right," I thought it might be fun to have a visual that the kids can work towards as they learn the songs for the Program.

I saw a cute idea on another blog and adapted it for our Primary.

I made a construction-paper guy on a large posterboard and brought him in for Singing Time in March.
I told them he needs to put on the whole armor of God this year and let them come up with a name (I took both Junior and Senior's suggestions into account) and he came back the next week with three pieces of armor already (they'd learned January's, February's, and March's songs pretty well already).

I made sure to read them the scripture in Ephesians 6:11-17 that corresponds with each component of armor.
Each month as they learned the song well enough, he got another part of his armor.

Armor = Foil cut out and glued, and a black sharpie! Easy!

And this can be adapted for next year's theme, I Am a Child of God. Maybe the poster can have many children...heading towards the temple. Maybe each song is a stepping stone or something! It can be based on the month's themes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Container of Props for Nursery!

When I was first called, Nursery was part of my job. It was logistically really tough for me, to juggle 10 minutes there across the building and two 20-minute Junior and Senior Singing Times. After talking with our Primary President, she was more than willing to have the Nursery do music themselves. I've seen Music Leaders do Nursery and I've seen them not do Nursery. If it works, it's great. But if it doesn't, I think it's always a good idea to talk with your Primary President and ask to simplify simplify!

When I was in there, though, I decided to make it easier on myself and put together a big container of props. I put in a small Children's Songbook so I didn't have to lug my big Songbook with me....and I had the following list printed up and in the box too.
That way I could show up, get out the box, and start!
A lot of the props below can be found in dollar stores, Target's dollar section, craft stores, etc. It doesn't have to cost a lot and many props you can make yourself with things around the house. 

The kids really loved it!

1st Article of Faith, 122
Bell bracelet
If You’re Happy and You Know It, 266
In the Leafy Treetops, 240
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Stories, 118
Cotton Balls
Popcorn Popping, 242
Roll Your Hands, 274 / My Hands, 273
Jesus Said Love Everyone, 61
The Wise Man and the Foolish Man, 281
President Monson pic
Follow the Prophet, 110
Rattle eggs
Do As I’m Doing, 276
Ribbon sticks
Give Said the Little Stream, 236
Sacrament Cup
The Chapel Doors, 156
Seattle Temple
I Love to See the Temple, 95
Smiley Flower
Smiles, 267
I Am Like a Star, 163
Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam, 60
Rain Is Falling, 241

Sing or Dare

This was a pretty fun Singing Time and a fun way to review!

I saw this on another chorister blog: Sing or Dare!
Took two 12"x18" sheets of yellow paper and created a "road sign" look to them.

The kids had the choice of SING or DARE. 
SING had different ways to sing the songs we were reviewing.
DARE had a fun quick question or silly activity.
For my ease, I had the SING and DARE cues/clues/directions taped to the back of their respective signs.

It was a nice way to keep the kids engaged and participatory!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Inexpensive Visuals Idea!

As a new Primary Music Leader, I wondered how on earth I could do all the signs and visuals I'd seen other choristers do without breaking the bank (mine or our Primary budget's!).

While I do still use posterboard, especially when I find good deals....and I do use BOTH sides of the posterboard (something I didn't clue into until MONTHS after I was called...d'oh!), one of the greatest ideas I found was good ol' white printer paper!

Super cheap! Paper and tape are my favorite tools.

So I take regular paper, tape it together either lengthwise or the regular vertical orientation, and when I need a bigger "poster board" then I tape them into a grid of four. If I do a careful job with all the seams, it's easy to fold up and open and use. If I am hasty then the seams get kind of wonky and it doesn't fold as easily. 

But in general it's GREAT! 
Here's my paper visuals for Mother's Day and Father's Day songs this year.

Going to the Dentist!

So hard to think of different fun ways to do reviews, right? 
I borrowed my Mom's lab coat and stethoscope and modified an idea I found on another blog. Getting the "cavities" out of the songs!

I drew a person with a big smile and LOTS of teeth on a big poster board.
On each tooth I wrote one song name...the songs we have been reviewing for our Program!

I told the kids we were going to take our songs to the dentist!

Called a kid up, let them put on the doctor coat, and gave them a stethoscope to "listen" for holes in the songs as the kids sang. I asked them to look for 4 things (which would mean four potential cavities!
1. Do they know the words?
2. Do they know the melody?
3. Are they watching me lead them?
4. Are they smiling? 
If they did really well on all four categories of the song, the kid dentist put a "star" on that tooth (with a pencil, since we have Junior and Senior Singing Time!) to show it's sparkling clean!

If they didn't, they drew a black dot on the tooth to indicate a cavity! 
So then we had to work on that cavity!
The dentist chose one of the toothpaste flavors - I had these tacked up to the board next to the smiling guy poster.
On the back of each toothpaste there was written a way to sing the song (since they get so tired of just singing normally!):
1. Stand up and sing
2. Sing to the Primary Presidency (they stood up front)
3. Open the door and sing loud enough for someone down the hallway to hear.
4. Sing softly but with every word clear
5. Sing with your arms around your neighbors
6. Sing while copying hand motions

If they did well and needed to get rid of those cavities, the dentist used the "Singing Time Toothbrush" to erase all of those out! (there was a carefully placed eraser taped to the back of the toothbrush)

It was fun, and especially fun to see how the different kid dentists responded to their peers. One older Senior Primary boy didn't think his friends did well at all and gave them all 4 cavities! Ruthless! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sundae School

It's so fun to make a simple visual for the kids and I find it helps me stay focused on my lesson plan!

The theme for Sharing Time was about doing things on the Sabbath that helps us stay close to Heavenly Father (this was in August). So I thought doing a play on words with "Sunday School" --> "Sundae School" would be funny.

Simple simple!
Black tagboard oriented long-ways, with a cut-out/drawn cone at the bottom.
Then all sorts of construction paper crazy food, along with ice cream scoops of course!
I had these paper clipped to the side of the tagboard.
We did a little quiz between songs about the songs with relation to the Sabbath. The kid who answered the question right got to come up and pick: ice cream scoop or crazy food!

At the end of the Senior Singing Time we had a funny tall ice cream cone. The Junior kids actually only picked ice cream! Above is a photo of the visual after the last group, the Seniors. Some of the scoops got taped up all crazy. The visual was about 3' tall. 

My quiz:

1. Visiting your neighbors is a great thing to do on the Sabbath.
Which verse of “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” does it mention “trying to love my neighbor”? (2nd)
JUNIOR KIDS Stand up and face your neighbor and clap hands together while singing the second verse
SENIOR KIDS link arms and skip around the room while singing the second verse

2. Prophet Ezra Taft Benson said something we should definitely NOT do on the Sabbath and that is “wasting time.” What’s an example of how we could waste time on a Sunday!
A word that is the opposite of wasting time or being lazy is TRY.
Let’s stand up every time we sing “try” in “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus!”
Sing the whole song

3. How many times do we sing the word “love” or a form of the word “love” (like “loving”) in our song of the month, “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus”?  Take some guesses!
The closest person gets to pick silly food or ice cream scoop! ANSWER = THIRTEEN including both chorus’
Everyone sing the whole song and count how many versions of love we sing!

4. In the song it says “At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice, but I try to listen as the still small voice whispers….” What are ways we can make sure we can HEAR the Holy Ghost whispering to us on a Sunday, by not….? We should pray, listen to only quiet peaceful music to invite the Spirit in, speak in quiet tones in our house, etc.
Whisper that verse

5. “I try to remember the lessons he taught” is in “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus”
What do we do on Sundays at church where we hear the words “…always remember him…” and “…eat in remembrance of the body of the thy Son…” (sacrament prayer)
Extra challenge: In what section of the doctrine & covenants do we find the Sacrament prayer? 20!
Make your remembering face (stroke chin, tape side of head, funny etc.) and sing!!

6. “I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again”
What is the name of that day – that great event when Jesus will come again? (the Second Coming)
Everyone turn and watch the watch up on the wall while singing that part

Hula Hoop

Aren't we all pretty amused at the crazy props we bring to church? The Sunday we did the hula hoop review, I couldn't get over the fact that I needed a hula hoop for my calling!

This was an EASY Singing Time!
I brought a big hula hoop (tested it on all of my kids to make sure all ages could use that size of a hoop) and our dress-up fake flower lei.
I told the kids we were going to HAWAII for our review!
Called up a kid to hula hoop and started singing the second they started hula hooping.
If they dropped it, we stopped singing until they had it going again but I had the piano keep playing so the kids had to sing along in their heads to know where we were in the song when we sang again. A good way to keep their brains working and keep reviewing!
Some kids were able to hula hoop the entire song! 
The only difficulty is SO many kids wanted to go, that some songs I split up one kid per verse. And even then we couldn't get to all of them. So, I told them they could come over to my house one day and hula hoop all they wanted!

What's the Secret Word?

Found this idea on a chorister blog and it was SUCH a huge hit! Kids and teachers were talking about it days and weeks after. And what's great is it's simple to prepare and execute, the teachers are the main ones "on display" so it gives you a little break, and the kids have to SING in order for the game to work!

The sign I made to tape up onto the podium (I like signs!):

I had five teachers to come up front and sit in chairs facing the kids.
They were each given a piece of paper that I'd put together, each paper different. 
Here's an example: 

So we had five teachers sitting in chairs facing the kids.
We'd start singing one of the songs and the teachers would quickly look at their paper to know which word they were supposed to do an action for. This also tested if the teachers knew the songs! 
As you can see there are blank spots on the above example. Not every teacher had a word assigned to them for every single song because frankly it was hard to think of actions for them to do!! But it worked out; the kids couldn't necessarily remember more than a few actions/word combinations per song anyway! 

The kids did great at paying attention to what the teachers were doing, even while singing! It was a blast!

EDITED TO ADD FOUR PAGES FROM A SINGING TIME I JUST DID. You can see how each one is different, one page was given to a teacher. Four teachers total, different words and different actions. A few didn't have a word for that song since there weren't enough repeating words.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Who What How

One of the best ideas I found online was a "Who What How" type of a game. I changed it a little to work for our Primary, and it was a big hit. I've done it a few times and it's always fun! In fact sometimes reverence goes out the window, which is always a little bit of an "oops" moment for me!

And what's great for a music leader is it's super simple to put together and simple to execute...and it works for Junior and Senior Primary!

You have three containers, a WHO a WHAT and a HOW.
The "WHO" is what group of kids sing.
The "WHAT" is what verse they sing. This is great for reviewing!
The "HOW" is how they'll sing - this is where things get crazy!

Examples of Who:
Boys with brown eyes, girls with blue eyes, teachers, wearing anything red (or other colors), has ridden a horse, likes to swim, likes any green vegetable, left-handed, visited the SLC temple, likes to chew gum

Examples of What:
Various verses of the songs you want or need to sing.

Examples of How:
Hum the melody, like a robot (and dance too), like a cowboy, one big breath, with no blinking, like a cat (meow the melody), like an opera star, plug your nose

So you print out all the who, what, and how options, cut them up into strips, fold them up and put them carefully into the right container (might want to color code on different colors of paper for each container because this can get tricky!) and then you call up three kids for each round....each kid picks a container and takes one strip out, you put all three together (a who/what/how) and have fun!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Road Trip Signs

Because road signs are such a great visual, for one Singing Time we went on a "road trip" and I made up some fake road signs for the kids to try to figure out (and then we'd sign the corresponding song).

The theme for Primary that Sunday was how the prophets help us to choose the right, so the theme for the signs were different prophets! I was impressed that even the Junior Primary kids could get most of them right.

First I passed out paper plates for steering wheels to steer, then when it came time to STOP we looked at the first sign, guessed it and sang the song, and then went back to steering!

See if you can guess them! (answers at the very bottom)

Truth From Elijah, An Angel Came to Joseph Smith, Fifth Article of Faith, Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus, Prophet Said to Plant a Garden

Friday, October 26, 2012

Keep the Commandments

It's fun to do atypical songs for opening songs -- just gotta find one short enough! 

For a fun visual aid, because we were learning about the commandments in Sharing Time, I had some leftover cardboard (cardboard is the best -- am I right!??!) and thought about simply taping them together to look like the tablets....and putting some of the phrases to the song on (mostly for Senior Primary and the Junior Primary kids who can read!!!) and putting on some Hebrew too! 

And just because I knew my little smarties in Primary would ask "what does the Hebrew say!?!?" I put the translation on. It was easy to find the Ten Commandments in Hebrew online, and since I have some Jewish ancestry it was doubly fun for me.

Our Door is Always Open!

I love finding treasures in the Children's Songbook! Songs I don't know and, when I play them for others, they don't know either!

One of the cutest ones is "Our Door is Always Open," which is number 254. It's simple and sweet.

I made this visual, on the back of a 9"x12" piece of cardboard. Covered with black paper, etc. Simple and inexpensive! What I like is that the kids see it and immediately know "oh it's the door song" so it helps me not have to fit all the words on! Especially for those Junior Primary kids who can't read (some of them at least).

Link to the words of the song

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stand for the Right!

When I read that "Stand for the Right" was to be one of the songs this year, I was pretty excited. As a new chorister, seeing such a SHORT song on the list made my job feel a little easier!

I saw something similar to this on another blog, but adapted and made it my own. I wanted something fun and interactive since it was so short.

Took some brads and made some spinners.
One spinner made to be hidden with "Be True! Be True!" coming out of the prophet's mouth.

Another spinner with a Pac-Man type of a chunk cut out, to show "at work, or at play, in darkness or light."

Showing what the back looks like:

It was fun to make, but a little tough to spin those spinners fast enough to keep up with the kids! 

Get The Bugs Out! Program Review

Aren't we all thinking about the Primary Program morning noon and night! I know I am! And soon enough the nightmares (literally) will come. This is my first program as a Music Leader, but not my first in general (I served in a Primary Presidency for a few years).

I saw a cute idea to "get the bugs out" and needed to simplify it to save time. 

Simple poster board with a grid for each song we're singing.
Printed out bug pictures.
The first week we sang as many program songs as we could, identified the "bugs" (singing too fast or too slow, not loud enough, mixing up a few words), and stuck a bug or two in each song section.
The second week, we worked on getting rid of those bugs! I had an empty spray bottle with a sign taped on that said "bug spray." After we eradicated the bugs in a song, one kid got to come up and "spray" that bug!

At the end, I passed out gummy worms!