November 22, 2011

Christmas Songs Flip Charts

I have been making Christmas song flip charts, too!  I LOVE Christmas music:)  I make myself wait until the day after Halloween to load up my stereo.  I actually made it to November 3rd this year!

Our Christmas Story Tree By Jan Pinborough & Michael F. Moody was published in The Friend Magazine, December 2010.  There is even an mp3 of it!  I started teaching it to the Sr. Primary just this last week.  I have a 32 inch fake Christmas tree.  I found little ornaments at Walmart for about $2 for each kind (angels, silver stars, red packages).  I already had mini candy canes that we use every year on our family Christmas tree.  To introduce the song, I sang it to them as I decorated the tree according to the words in the song.  With the parts of the song that told what the ornaments represented, I used those specific flip chart pages & placed them on the chalk board.  Once I made it through the song, we discussed what the ornaments represent.  By the end of our discussion, all of the flip chart pages were up on the board.  Then I chose someone to come up and add another set of ornaments as we sang the song together.  I had 4 sets of each ornament total.

Lullaby, Little One By Larry A. Allred was published in The Friend Magazine in December of 1999.  I have been torn between teaching the primary this song or "Our Christmas Story Tree"!  If I hadn't taken the time to teach them those Thanksgiving songs, I would be able to teach them both.  BUT, it's not very often they get to learn a new Thanksgiving song & they loved it!  So this is on my list for next year & I already have the flip chart finished:)  I'm such an over achiever!  This Lullaby, Little One song is a beautiful song & I still find myself humming it as I go about my day.

Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus pg. 38 in the Children's Songbook is always a favorite!

The Shepherd's Carol pg. 40b in the Children's Songbook is short and fun to sing.  This can be sung in a round, up to 4 groups.  I don't like how "mushy" is sounds with all 4 groups singing, so I only do 2.

The Nativity Song pg. 52 in the Children's Songbook is great!  It is a LONG one, though.  But you just can't leave out any of the verses without it feeling incomplete.  We sang this one last year. Instead of having all of the kids learn all of the verses, I split them up.

On the first flip chart page of their assigned verse, I placed a bright piece of paper that had a picture to represent their classes (Jr. was a smiling sun for the Sunbeams and a CTR shield for the older classes) or I just wrote their class name (Sr. Valiant Girls or Boys).  If ALL kids were to sing, I had an "ALL" sign that even the Jr. Primary kids understood.  This was enough for the kids to know when it was their turn to sing & they could see exactly what they were to be singing.  When we came to a class part that wasn't currently in our Singing Time (we do separate Jr. & Sr. singing/sharing times), it was the teachers' job to sing so that the kids could practice NOT singing when it wasn't their turn.  It worked great & by the time they sang in Sacrament Meeting they did a wonderful job!

So this is how I split up the song:
Verse 1:  ALL
Verse 2: Valiant Girls
Verse 3: Jr. Primary
Verse 4: Valiant Boys
Verse 5: ALL

If you have a larger primary, you can further split the verses into "a" and "b" parts.  The "a" parts would be the first 2 lines of the verse and the "b" parts would be the last 2 lines of the song.

Happy Christmas Singing! 

Thanksgiving Songs Flip Charts

The primary kids work 8-9 months out of the year to learn AND memorize the songs required for the annual Primary Program.  I am of the opinion (and I'm VERY opinionated) that every song they learn doesn't need to be memorized.  I have made flip charts for reverent songs to use as opening or closing songs throughout the year & the teachers REALLY appreciate them, too.

So for the "holiday" songs, I have been busy making A LOT of flip charts!  This way we can have fun singing the songs in different ways without the stress of memorizing them as well.  The kids really don't mind the extra help as long as they are engaged & enjoying the time spent singing the songs.  If we end up singing any of these in Sacrament meeting, the flip charts are small enough for me to handle easily and I try to keep the fonts large enough to be seen at a distance.

A Song of Thanks pg. 20a of the Children's Songbook is a sweet song.  Short & sweet!  This is one that I have been using this month as an opening or closing song.  I also simplified it for my early beginner piano students & they all enjoyed learning to play it at home.  One of my students came to lessons last week & when she pulled out this song to play for me she said, "We sang this song in Primary!"  They love to play songs for their Family Home Evenings, too.

I Thank Thee, Dear Father pg. 7 of the Children's Songbook is one that I chose to make a flip chart for use as an opening or closing song.  There are so many songs about gratitude in the songbook that the kids just don't know!  November is the perfect time to introduce them.

I'm Thankful To Be Me pg. 11 of the Children's Songbook was "new find" for me.  I have never heard it before & thought it's message was perfect for my Jr. Primary.  It is such a simple song with a lovely melody.  It's written a bit high for my taste, so I went to the LDS website & lowered it for our pianist.  Instead of finding pictures on the internet/websites, I thought it would be fun for the kids to draw their own pictures.  I took our family white board and some colorful dry erase markers to primary.  The first week we took the time to have a few kids draw a phrase of the song. We sang the song while I pointed to their pictures.  When Singing Time was over, I took the white board into the other room & took close up pictures of their drawings.  I uploaded the pictures to my iPhoto and then simply dragged & dropped them onto my document pages.  I added the words in large font & printed them all off on card stock paper.  For the last page, I have a 4x6 mirror with magnets on the back that I put on it to represent "ME".  Because who do YOU see when you look in a mirror? When I showed them their flip chart the next week, they were excited to see their drawings!  I even took the time to hand write the "artists" names on the back of their picture:)  I had a funky turkey hat that the teachers wore if their class sang the song the loudest or had the most participation, etc....We sang it 4 times so that all 4 teachers had the "privilege".  It was a great way to teach & learn this song in only 2 weeks!

My Blessings by Janice Kapp Perry, published in The Friend, November 1983.
This is a great 2 part song, similar to "A Child's Prayer".  My Sr. Primary loves 2 part songs so why not teach them a new one?  Again, this one is a bit high for my Sr. Boys, so I re-entered it into my personal computer music program & then clicked a button to transpose it.  I love my computer program:)  It also made the notes easier to read than the original copy.  I introduced this song to the Sr. Primary on the same day I introduced "I'm Thankful To Be Me" to my Jr. Primary.  So the flip chart is made from their personal drawings.  I realize that you most likely won't want to use these "white board" flip charts.  However, I wanted to show you that all flip charts don't have to be the same.  Just pray for a bit of creative inspiration that will work with your primary.  By the end of our 2nd week of singing this song, allowing the kids to mix up with others for the different parts as well as having a Sr. Boy come to the front to lead the 2nd part, they were singing with such love & volume that the bishopric could hear them clear down the hall!

I Am Glad For Many Things pg. 151 of the Children's Songbook is an oldie but a goodie!  My niece sang it in Sacrament Meeting last year, but she needed it to be a bit longer:)  So my oldest daughter & I came up with Additional Lyrics.  So there are more verses in the flip chart than what's in the songbook.  I also have used this song along with "Thanks To Our Father" to teach the kids what a Medley is.  You can read more about it here.

Thanks To Our Father pg. 20b of the Children's Songbook is a fun melody to sing.  It's not a fast song!  It's simple & you can use actions as you sing it instead of using the flip chart.  This month I started singing this song (using actions only) in Nursery Singing Time. We sing it before the closing song & it helps bring back the reverence:)

So there you have it!  Lots of Thanksgiving songs available & the kids get excited to learn them.  Even though teaching my kids these Thanksgiving songs cut into learning the Christmas songs in a timely manner, I don't regret it.  The kids had fun with them!

Goblin Guts, Bats & Rats

Better late than never, right?!  At least it'll be here for you next year:)  This is a singing time I did both last year and again this year.  This year I used it as a review tactic for the Primary Program songs.  I FORGOT my camera so that I could take pictures of the set up in the primary room.  So I had to recreate it at home & it's not nearly as cool.  But it'll give you the idea, anyway.
The idea is for the kids to spray silly string at a rat or bat.  Then sing the song assigned to the number on that creature.  Another child will dig for bugs in the goblin's guts.  The type of bug they find is what "bug" you're going to work out of the primary song to make it performance ready.
On a large cork board (back of a chalk board), I place 2 kitchen garbage bags that are taped together.  This will protect the board from the silly string.  Then I thumbtack the net/web over that.  I found this fishing net last year at the dollar store during their Luau Season.  Fishing net/spider web.....all the same, right?
I found rubber rats and plastic bats around Halloween at Walmart.  With a white paint pen, I wrote numbers underneath them.  Each number/creature is assigned one of the program songs.  I wrap them into the web in a way that they won't fall, but are easily removed once they've been "killed".
To poison & kill the creatures, we use silly string.  Kids LOVE it! 
That black bat is DEAD! 
These are the "bugs" in the goblin guts.  If a snake is picked, then we work on standing still (no wiggling) during the song.  Frogs are volume.  Spiders are watching the chorister at all times (no wandering eyes) throughout the song.  Insects are pronunciation or knowing the words of the song.
I cooked a package of spaghetti noodles.  After a cool rinse, I added green food coloring to the noodles & stirred until all noodles were green.  Then I added a tablespoon or so of Olive Oil & stirred the noodles around to get them all coated.  I did this to prevent the noodles from sticking together and to make them feel more slimy. Then I placed the green "Goblin Guts" in a large clear bowl.  I added the "bugs" to the guts, hiding them randomly among the noodles.  I provided rubber gloves for anyone that wanted to dig, but not get their hands slimed.  I also had a package of baby wipes & paper towels for clean up for those who really wanted to get into it.

One child is chosen to kill the bats/rats with the poison spray.  While they are doing that, another child comes up to dig in the Goblin Guts for a bug.  The bug they pick is used to work on the song that the poison spray shoots.  We had a BLAST getting the "Bugs" out of our Program songs!  I was amazed at the one Sunbeam girl who is quiet & shy that JUMPED at the chance to dig through the Goblin Guts.  AND without a rubber glove!  She was my hero (heroine) that day:)

Nursery Singing Time

About 6 months ago, the Primary Presidency asked if I would be willing to go into the Nursery for 10-15 minutes each week and do singing time with the babes.  Because of the weekly primary schedule, the only time I can do it is the last 20 minutes of the block time.  But the Nursery Leaders were fine with that & so it began!  I jumped online & gleaned ideas that have been put out there.  A BIG thanks to all of you who take the time to post on your blogs!!  
In the end, this is what I came up with:

I took a big sun I'd made years ago & used it as a prop for the song "Rain is Falling All Around".  Of course, I changed the words to "Sun is shining all around".  The stars on sticks are used to "I Am Like a Star".  Prophets on a stick are used for "Follow the Prophet" chorus.  The butterfly & bee on strings are for the song "It's Autumntime".  Yes, I changed the words to "it's summertime, it's summertime with bees and butterflies.  It's summertime, it's summertime, we love to see them fly!"  The kids sway the bees/butterflies to the rhthym of the song.  They love it!  Now that it IS Autumntime, I have leaves on strings for them to use.  In a couple of weeks, I'll change those out for snowflakes & make up other words to fit the song:)  The duck glove was a FANTASTIC idea I found on another website/blog.  This was so long ago that I don't remember where I found it.  Just know that I'm a great copy cat & claim no ingenuity for this idea:)  The ducks are made of foam & wiggly eyes.  The soft garden glove was a whole whoppin' dollar at Walmart and it's my favorite color.  We sing "5 Little Ducks" while I wear the glove.  It is one of the babes favorite songs!  The bell bracelets are from last Christmas that I made for Singing Time.  We use them to "Sing a Song" changing the words to "ring, ring, ring, I like to ring. I like to ring a song, ring, ring, ring!"  We then will use them for "Do As I'm Doing", too.  The kids always end up taking their shoes off as we're singing these bell songs so that they can put the bracelets on their feet.  They think that's the best!
This is the singing time list I keep in a page protector & have taped to the inside lid of my clear box I use for just Nursery Singing Time.  I always enter the nursery singing the Gathering song, naming every child in the room as we gather in a circle for singing time.  I try to alternate between action songs and prop songs so that we have time to put the props away while engaging in the action song.  We also ALWAYS end with "I Am a Child of God" and the babes all sit down & fold their arms as we sing it.
On my Nursery Singing Time list, I have many lyrics to songs that have had the words changed for the season or even lyrics to some of the less common songs that we may sing in Nursery.  I also keep a Song list in the page protector.  Every season I change SOME of the songs we sing every week.  It is very important to be consistent, singing the same songs every week so the babes can learn them.  They learn through repetition & they don't get "bored" with it, they THRIVE on it!  But the list posted here is the one I started with & continued to do throughout the summer.  It's also great to have everything in the box so that if I need to send a sub in for me (like when we're doing Primary Program Rehearsals during Primary time in October), the sub can just go right down the list & the kids will be comfortable because the songs are familiar.

Now that it's Fall, I have changed some of the songs we sing each week.  
This is what we do:

Gathering Song-  Here We are Together (of course!)
Singing Time-  If You're Happy and You Know It (actions) all 3 verses:)
                  I Am Like a Star (star sticks)
                  Rain Is Falling All Around (umbrella I hold over their heads as we sing)
                  Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam (actions)
                  5 Little Ducks (duck glove)
                  Sing a Song/Ring a Song (bell bracelets)
                  Christmas Bells, pg. 54 in CS (bell bracelets) this was a new one last week!
                  I Am Glad For Many Things (ask kids what they're glad for)
                  It's Autumntime/Leaves Are Falling All Around (string leaves)
                  Once There Was a Snowman/Pumpkin (actions)
                  Stand For the Right (crocheted Bee) just hold it up when you sing Be True
                  Follow the Prophet (prophet sticks)
Closing Song(s)-Thanks To Our Father/I Am a Child of God (sit down, fold arms)

Even though I get only 10-15 minutes with these babies, it is my FAVORITE part of Sunday!  Sometimes we don't have time to sing all of the songs, but for the most part we are consistent.  I try not to have any "silent" time between songs.  I just start to sing the next song & they join in.  It seems crazy at first, but after a couple of weeks, it will flow much easier & you keep the babes' attention the whole time.  If it's a song they're not familiar with, like "Christmas Bells" that I started with them last week, just sing it 3 or 4 times & over the next couple of weeks they'll join right in.  Just sing, sing, SING!  And sing to THEM, as if they are the only ones that matter at that moment, because it's true.  

November 7, 2011

Marshmallows & Popcorn!

The Sunday before our scheduled Primary Program, we did a rehearsal in the primary room.  As I had browsed through blogs weeks before this, I remembered an idea that another chorister had used as incentive for her kids to sing their program songs well.       For each Program song they sang extremely well, they earned a large marshmallow that was placed in a jar.  At the end of rehearsal, I placed (shoved) every marshmallow into my mouth and without swallowing or chewing them, I attempted to sing to them one of their favorite songs, "Popcorn Popping".  Impossible, you think?  Just watch how many they earned & how much fun they had!!!
A BIG thank you to Bro. M for recording this event!  

P.S.  I have yet to consume any more marshmallows.  However, I can at least think about them now without physically gagging:)