Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not just a small primary, a tiny one.

While visiting my brother's ward this week, I was asked to substitute in singing time.  No problem, thought I, a piece of cake.  I knew the primary was small and because it's cold here and the kids all wanted snow to go sledding I decided to do the snowball activity.  I got white paper and some pens and I was ready to go.  I walked into the primary room and stopped short.  I had to take a picture because I really didn't believe.  There were a total of 12 chairs set up.  I was told this was a really optimistic number and that we probably wouldn't have more than 2 or 3.  As it turned out they had 3 children, plus my 3 for a total of 6. 
There is a real challenge in preparing for a primary that is large, and I have even worked in a small primary (10-15 kids) but this was really small.  Knowing that every week each child would have multiple "turns" presents itself a new challenge, making it fun every week, knowing that the anticipation of whether or not the child will get chosen is gone.  I had each child fill out two papers and make two snowballs, but it still wasn't enough songs.  We had extra time so I taught Stand for the Right to them.  It's a quick song and it was fun to do.
It's a lesson learned for me, I need to prepare some ideas for really small primaries, I have a feeling this isn't the only time I'll be substituting in their primary.

Monday, December 13, 2010

2011 Preliminary Schedule

2 Nursery Song Sunday
9 If I listen
16  review (Sing in Sacrament meeting - Love is Spoken Here)
23 review
30 review

6  I will Follow God's Plan for Me

6 Stand for Right
20 Praise to the Man (vs. 1+3)


 3 General Conference
24 (Mother Dear 206, Grandmother 200 all verses)

1 review mother's day songs
8 Faith 96 - Sing in Sacrament meeting, Mother's Day
29 I Pray in Faith pg. 4

5 My Dad 211,
19 The Lord Gave me a Temple pg. 153 - Sing in Sacrament meeting for Father's Day

3 Sing Patriotic Songs/Pioneer Songs
10 The Oxcart 219 and The Handcart Song 220
24 Sing in Sacrament meeting

7 Spirit of God 1 verse
28  Program Review

4 Program Review

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Songs

It's time for a new post.  How could it have been this long?  I missed the posting about the last few months!
I taught Stars Were Gleaming for sacrament meeting this year.  I wrote out the words nice and simple on posterboard and taught the words to the kids 3 weeks ago.  I know that seems early but we are scheduled to sing December 12 in Sacrament Meeting so we really had to get going on the Christmas songs.
We also worked on Christmas bells, and I had a set of pipes for the kids to ring as we sang the song.  That has been really fun.  Oh, this is a sad, sad, post.  I need to get back in the habit!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Singing Meter

Today we took all the time (no sharing time) and went through all the songs.  It took the whole time, but a few of the songs we sung twice.  Next week we'll do some fun ones and wiggle songs as well, but now I know which ones need a little work.

On a Golden Springtime

This was our last song for the program.  I taught it by having the kids decide on their visual aids.  I had three blank posters and as we went through the words I drew or had them draw the pictures.  The visual aids became their own!  I had a few pictures that I put in but mostly it was our drawings.  It was a lot of fun to do, and really easy!  I brought them home and darkened some of the lines up with thicker markers but other than that this was their project as much as mine. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Singing Meters for the Primary Program

Since our program is on September 12th it is time once again to make a chart to show the kids how they are doing with the program songs.  I thought I would put up a list of different ideas for this - some that I have seen or used and others that I just couldn't help dreaming up.  I would love to know what you have thought of, I ALWAYS need good ideas!!!!
  1. Fruit Pizza - using a poster board as a background make a pizza in the center.  As the kids learn and master the songs add fruit to the pizza.  One fruit per song.  At the primary activity just before the program make and serve fruit pizza as a reward.
  2. Thermometer - mark the songs along the side of a thermometer on a posterboard.  As the kids master the songs fill in the thermometer until it reaches the top.  You could vary this by using a CTR shield and filling that up instead.
  3. Marble Jar (this is what I used last year so you can find the pictures on my blog) - Add marbles to the jar as they master each song, when the jar is full they are done!
  4. Dunk the basketball - use a posterboard as a backing.  Decorate a basketball court and make a ball that is seperate from the poster.  Cut two holes in the poster and attack the ball to a string and run it through the holes around the back of the board, this way the ball slides along the track and lands in the hoop.  Move the ball to show the progress of the songs.
  5. Gone Fishing - Each fish represents a song, the idea is to get all the fish into the net.
  6. Shoot for the stars - Make a rocketship that moves toward the stars as they master the songs.
  7. Let your light so shine - Show the flames on candles (each representing a song) glowing brighter as they master songs.
  8. In the barnyard - move the animals toward the barn as songs are mastered.
  9. Putting on the armor of God - add armor to a warrior, each piece representing a song.  
  10. Prophet says to plant a garden - Make up a posterboard to look like a garden.  Make enough flowers for each song.  Attach green ribbon to each flower and cut holes in the poster where the flower grows out of the ground, and where you would like it's finished height to be.  Wrap the ribbon through the holes so that it forms a loop.  You can pull the ribbon to make the flower grow!
  11. Popcorn Popping - place large popcorns on a tree with the songs written on them.  When all the songs are perfected have popcorn at the primary party.  (Variation - put leaves on a tree, or birds in a tree)
  12. Birds (songs) into the nest.  Variation - rockets to the planets, cars to garages, boats to the dock.
  13. Gathering ideas: Help squirrels gather nuts, or pioneer children gather berries(songs)
  14. Cat in the hat - Each stripe of the hat represents a song, hat grows and gets taller as they master songs.
  15. Complete the puzzle - each piece of the puzzle represents a song.  As they master songs the puzzle is put together.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Final Schedule for the Program

July 18
To be a Pioneer
fun songs (last fun song day before program)

July 25
Sing in Sacrament meeting - To be a Pioneer
Teach - On a Golden Springtime (final optional song)

August 1
 Review in rotation so the kids don't get so burned out
The holy ghost (sung by CTR7)
Come Follow Me
On A Golden Springtime
Church of Jesus Christ

August 8
He sent his son
We'll Bring the World his truth
On A Golden Springtime
Latter Day Prophets
August 15
The holy ghost (sung by CTR7)
Come Follow Me
On A Golden Springtime
Church of Jesus Christ

August 22
He sent his son
We'll Bring the World his truth
On A Golden Springtime
Latter Day Prophets

August 29
Final singing time Program Review, sing all songs
Come Follow Me (all verses)
He sent his son
Piano solo by 10 year old boy
The holy ghost (sung by CTR7)
We'll Bring the World his truth
On A Golden Springtime
Church of Jesus Christ
Latter Day Prophets

September 5
Program Practice
Saturday practice activity on 11th

September 12
The singing time closest to my birthday I always use to review and teach new birthday songs.  This year because we need the 5th to review the program, we will be doing the birthday songs on the 12th.  I am teaching both verses of Feliz Cumpleanos.  The first verse they know moderately well, and we learn the second verse. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

3 Sundays Away

 I am visiting family and travelling during our short "summer" from school.  I prepared 3 weeks of materials even though we will only be gone two weeks.  (Two weeks = three Sundays, that's Church math).  It's not easy to put three weeks together all at once, I have to say it was a bit exhausting.  But now that it's done, I'm glad, being prepared is important and I'm grateful for my substitute for taking on 3 weeks in primary.  Thank you!

Week One 
I prepared the bag with songs inside.  That's a pretty easy review activitiy, you pull the songs out of the bag and sing them.  Most of them are program songs or wiggle songs, and two papers say "your choice".

Week Two (which is this week)
Teaching To Be A Pioneer #218
Sorry these are rotated, what a pain.
I have a great substitute, she will do an amazing job, I am having her teach the two parts separately and then we will put them together when I get back.  We are singing for the 24th of July.

Week 3, The 4th of July
How often is it really the 4th of July on Sunday?  Not often enough, it's super fun to sing patriotic songs!  This year I made new songbooks, because I foolishly gave them to the kids to keep last year.  This year I'm hanging onto them.  I have songbooks and flags for the little kids.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fathers Day - Fathers, Grandfathers, Daddy's Homecoming

This year we are doing three songs.  Daddy's Homecoming is really popular so the kids wanted to do that one.  We are also doing Fathers which we did last year.  I added new pictures since we are in a new ward. The Grandfather one was a new one though and I decided to make it look kind of old fashioned.  I talked to the kids about black and white tv, and how all dads are old, and so I made the pictures black and white so they could remember their grandpa's watched black and white tv.  I got the photos out of the conference issues of the Ensign.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wiggle Worms

I found at IKEA in Draper this week these little toys.  They are 50 cents each.  I bought ten of the snakes, to use as wiggle worms.  I have seen this idea before but with my  hands the way they are I haven't been making these things.  Each one will represent a wiggle song that the kids can pick when it's time.  I think I will even put one in the nursery song bucket.
We started Father's day songs today.  The kids remembered Fathers pretty well and Daddy's Homecoming they know well.  We will start the Grandfather song next week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Army of Helaman

For one of our optional songs we are learning Army of Helaman by Janice Kapp Perry.  I made up visuals for the chorus and taught that first.  Because my hands have been suffering lately I looked online for visual aids for the verses and I found them at:
Actually this site has tons of visual aids for many of the songs, all using pictures from the friend.  I borrowed a printer from a friend and printed these out.  The kids really took to the song, and after 3 weeks they finally have it!
We have combined our Jr. and Sr. primary now because we have so few children since the ward split.  It's really nice to have everyone together and teach just once a Sunday.  Also, this allows the nursery kids to come into the primary room for singing time.  It's a treat for them and a ten minute break for their leaders.  By the time they come into primary they will already be comfortable with the room, where they sit, the presidency and singing time.  Hooray!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


A fun way to review a song, with a plastic bowling set.  The child bowls, and depending on the number of pins knocked down that's the way they sing the song.

1. Stop/go
2. loud/soft
3. boys/girls
4. teachers only
5. change seats
6. turn around
7. hot/cold game
8. singing dice
9. characteristic dice
10. your choice

I saw this in California last week while we were visiting with family.  The kids loved it.  She used this to review the mothers day song they were learning and the kids hardly noticed they were repeating the same song, they wanted to try all the different ways to sing it.

Mothers Day

We were asked to sing 4 songs for mothers day.  We are singing A Happy Family, I often go walking, Grandmother, and Dearest Mother, I love you.  The kids knew three of them and they learned Dearest Mother very quickly.  We practiced for two weeks and had stake conference this last Sunday, so hopefully with the visual aids they will do just fine for mothers day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Teaching Come Follow Me

This week I worked with the Primary President to put together a sharing time/singing time centered around the hymn "Come Follow Me".
She introduced the first verse by doing a little "Simon Says" game.  Teaching them about following Christ.  Then we learned the first verse.  I laminated the pictures with the words laminated separately.  This way I can take the words off as they get better at the song.

She introduced the second verse by talking about how following Christ is simple, it isn't difficult.  She had two identical pictures of Jesus and cut one into just a few pieces and the other into lots of pieces.  She invited children to come up and put them together.  It didn't take long for the kids to discover that the puzzle with fewer pieces got them the same result as the other puzzle but was simpler.
We sang the second verse several times and then went on to the last verse.  We are having two girls sing the 3rd, 4th and 5th verses in the program and having the primary hum in the background.  The entire group will come in on the last verse.  We talked about the rewards that come from living the gospel and following Jesus Christ.  We sang the third verse several times and then made crowns for each child that said "Come follow me".  We also had footprints to glue onto their crowns.
The younger children had help from their teachers but the older ones made some pretty creative crowns.  It was a really fun activity for the kids.  This song is meant for August but the timing just seemed right this close to Easter.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

New Bishop, New Rules

With our ward change came a new Bishop.  He is really great!  Last week I asked the Primary President if she would please inquire if the primary would be singing in Sacrament meeting this year.  That way I can get songs and teaching of songs scheduled.  Our last Bishop only let us sing for Mother's and Father's Day, so I was trying to be prepared for anything.  She came back with Easter, Mothers, Fathers, Pioneer day and Christmas!!!!  I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today's March Madness went really well.  My husband was a little worried that the boys would get rowdy, but actually I was surprised at how reverent they can be when they REALLY want to do something.  It was a really nice singing time.  

We've now been singing I Know that My Savior Loves Me since January.  Today I finally felt comfortable with the sign language.  And, today my 4 year old daughter was singing it in the backyard.  Sometimes it takes a while, but this is why patience is a virtue. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March Madness

I borrowed a small basketball standard from a friend.  We are going to celebrate some March Madness in singing time this week.  I'll put strips of masking tape on the floor, if they shoot from the closest line we will sing a program song, if they shoot from the second line then they can sing a fun song and from the last line they can sing a wiggle song or choose a song.  It's something new, so I hope it goes well.

Bean Bags

My sister in law asked me for bean bags to use at the stake leadership meeting.  She plans to give one to every Primary President.  As I was making them I realized that this would be really fun for singing time.  I could use eight and have each one represent a song.  Or, I could use one as a "hide the object" while we sing loud and soft to find it.  Actually, I could use them for lots of different things.  It was a good idea.

Latter Day Prophets

I got the pictures from the 12 and 13 year old Sunday School Manual.  I couldn't find another picture pack, but the manual had exactly what I wanted.  I put some of the cues on the pictures and backed them with cardstock.  The kids picked this one up super quick, especially the older ones because this was a program song several years ago. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Bag

This morning I was sitting in the chapel with my bag and my plinko board.  The new RS president strolls up and say's "look what I thought of!", so I looked and she had put all of her materials in a rolling carry on suitcase.  Hmmmm, I thought to myself.  How much does my bag weigh?  43 pounds it turns out!  Between stuff for my own kids, props for singing time, my songbook, my binder with the "other" music like Scripture Power it was super heavy.  No wonder I make my husband carry it, and I didn't even weigh the plinko board.  This is why my mother used a wagon.
I have pictures to put up about Latter Day Prophets which I taught last week and reviewed this week.  Hopefully once the kids go back to school tomorrow (hooray - after a long track break) I can get things up again.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A split in the Ward, and a Choose and Review

Today's activity was using my poster with the musical staff on it.  I put songs on the back of 8 notes and put the notes on the piano.  A reverent child was chosen and they picked a note and put it on the staff.  Then we sang the song.  When we had sung all 8 songs we had the pianist play the song they had "written". 

This last week our ward split.  We have had the most enormous ward, and while it was wonderful to be with so many great people, a split was not a surprise.  Our ward and another were split from two to three wards.  Our primary now consists of a small group from my ward and a larger group from the other ward.  I got a list of songs from their singing leader and most of them were thankfully the same.  I tried to incorporate some of their favorites in with ours and it went really well.  One of my frustrations is having spent two months on the signing for IKTMSLM and now I need to spend a week at least teaching the signs to the new children.  I also want to do activities to bring the kids together and help them feel comfortable together. Change can be just as difficult for the kids as the adults.  There are now about 20 kids in Jr. and about 20 in Sr. Primary, less than half of what we had before.  This also means that the kids in Jr. Primary go all the way up to 7 year olds and that makes me want to leap in the air with joy.  We have readers in Jr. Primary!!!!!    Lots to think about this week.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our Primary Colors Game

On Sunday we had a really fun review day.  I know we should have spent more time working on He Sent His Son, but we have worked really hard since the beginning of January and it just seemed time to sing some fun songs.  I left the numbers on the board so that I could use them with other games, but on Sunday if a child spun a white background they picked the song, and if it was red, I picked the song.  
I bought the carnival spinner game from Oriental Trading (item #IN-25/5763) it's 19.99.  I had a friend do the vinyl work. It's about 22 inches high so it was plenty big enough to see even at the back of the primary.  It's nice to have a game that I can use in a lot of different ways for singing time, sharing time, and even family home evening, it's a little softer on the pocket book knowing I can use it in many different ways. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Valentine for the Bishop

I asked the Primary President for some extra time today.  I have wanted to do a big Valentine every time I have been the singing leader, but never done it.  Today I finally took the opportunity to make a big valentine for the Bishop.  I had each child write their name and their favorite song on a heart.  We glued them all to the board and then sang the songs until singing time was over.  This took all of the time in Jr. Primary because they needed help, but there was still some time for sharing time in Sr.   It's always fun to sing their favorite songs, they sing so much more enthusiastically. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February 7

Jr. Primary

We reviewed I know that my Savior Loves Me. We sang Popcorn Popping and Once there was a snowman. Then I started teaching He Sent His Son. I know that we are supposed to be talking less and singing more so now instead of saying the words and having the kids repeat them I sing the words and the kids sing back. I had Preston subdued with my light up wand so there was no crying today - hooray! and I had their complete attention. The trouble is, with so many Sunbeams and no kids over five in the Jr. Primary it really seemed like the only people who were singing were the teachers.
During Sharing Time the president called me out into the hall and asked if they could do anything to help the children sing more. I have been doing singing time - in different wards - on and off since I started college. I've even taken classes in conducting and teaching music so that I can be the best teacher that I can be. Still though, this felt like the moment of reckoning and that I had failed. I know full well that there are two factors here that contribute to why the little ones aren't singing their hearts out.

1. They are only 3. I know that by summertime they will be singing. I know that right now they are watching and listening and some are even singing the new songs at home. They will sing the songs they know from nursery, but they are careful about they new stuff. So the important thing here is patience. They sing when they are ready.

2. There are no "older" kids in Jr. Primary. When there are older kids that sing, it really helps the little ones to sing. They want to be like the older kids, and when they are singing the younger kids really sing much better. We have no room for older kids in the room and we don't have anyone in Jr. Primary older than 5. So no older kids, and no readers and it really affects the singing.

I tried to explain this to the president, but I still felt like I was defending myself. I know the answer is patience and persistence. It's a lot of new songs for those little ones all at once, not only are they learning the new songs but they are learning the regular primary songs that we sing all the time that they weren't exposed to in nursery. It's a lot for them, but they are quick learners and I know that before too long, they will be singing confidently. I guess I had a "bang my head on the piano" moment today, kind of frustrating.

Sr. Primary
As the older kids were coming in from classes my pianist was playing IKTMSLM (Sorry for the abbreviation, it's just a really long title). Some of the kids started to sing and do the signs. So without singing, I signed with them. By the time we were ready to start opening exercises we had gone through the whole song twice while the kids sang softly and I signed with them. It was really cool.

The older kids picked up He Sent His Son really quickly. We went through it several times. I noticed two boys in the back (one of them was my son) who hadn't opened their mouths at all and I handed them the words and gave them the opportunity to sing in front of the entire group. They did it, reluctantly, but they sang. After that there wasn't a boy on the back row who wasn't singing. I guess I put fear in their hearts that they might have to do a solo.
At the end they had worked so hard, I let them pick a song to sing before sharing time, they picked Love is Spoken Here. My pianist had the music playing as soon as Sam said the name of the song. She knows them so well, it is their favorite song, she already knew what they were going to pick.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

He Sent His Son

I had the 7 year old class color the pictures. It's always fun to see what you get back when you do that, and the kids are proud to see their handiwork displayed for the whole primary. I mounted the pictures on cardstock and laminated them. I'm going to put them up on the board so they are all displayed at once, but later on if they still need them I can hold them and just flip the pictures. I cut out the words for the back of the cards if I ever need them, and also to make it easier to sort them if they get mixed up. The pictures came from the Sunday Savers Singing Fun! CD.
My pianist had the idea to use instruments with the Sunbeams while we teach the song. They get to hold the instruments and help me with the music, hopefully this will help them feel needed and quiet some of the tears. I still have one that is really sad on Sundays.

Friday, February 5, 2010

More on the Janice Kapp Perry Singing Time

I was talking to my Mom on the phone last night and mentioned how in Sr. Primary we had sung only Janice Kapp Perry songs. She thought that was such a unique idea, and then she recommended that I let her know that I had done that and how much the children had enjoyed singing her songs. Well, that had never occurred to me. So, in an act of boldness, I sent her an email. She wrote me back! And she left some words for the children!

"give my love to the children and tell them to keep singing—that is the easiest way to learn gospel
principles and then later on in their lives the words of the songs can come to them when they are in
moments of temptation, decision or difficult times, and will comfort them. It’s wonderful when they have
a music leader like you who realizes the power of good music in their lives."

Okay, I was touched - and delighted. Now I have a few words for the children on Sunday from Sister Perry (although I won't read the bit about me) directly to them. How cool is that?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Case of the Musical Measles

Musical Measles are a fun way to have a choose and review day. I handed sheets of stickers to the teachers, so that they could determine who was singing well. The more they sang, the more "measles" they would get.
We sang some favorites in Jr. Primary and reviewed this month's song. The little ones really tried hard to participate this week, it was nice.
In Sr. Primary we had Janice Kapp Perry day and sang songs of hers from the songbook, plus Holding Hands Around the World. They also did a fantastic job on this months song and did the signing really well too. It was heartwarming.
I think it's fun to note that the little kids are so thrilled to get the measles, and they don't mind them anywhere on their faces. The older kids like to make beards, eyebrows etc. I enjoy their creativity and their enthusiastic singing voices so that they can get measles. I've been doing musical measles for singing time since the mid 1990's. It seems that this simple activity never loses it's popularity.