December 3, 2012

Could I Hold the Baby? Flip Chart

I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by someone who had read an earlier post about the Christmas song "Could I Hold the Baby?".  She inquired about a flip chart for it.  I didn't have one, as the primary chorister at that time had made her own poster board to teach it to our primary.  So I decided to make a flip chart for her.  I have made a slide show of it and posted it below.

If you are interested in the pdf flip chart, please just shoot me an email:  with a request & I'll send it to you!  It'll will be sent to you in 2 separate emails as the file is quite large.

You can purchase the sheet music and mp3 recordings of this song by clicking on the following links:

Could I Hold the Baby? pdf sheet music for $1.50:

Could I Hold the Baby? MP3 recordings for $1.60-$2.00:

**As a quick side note, please know that this song has NOT been published in any of the church magazines and therefore is required to have the approval of your Primary President AND a final approval by your bishop in order for you to teach/sing it in primary or any other church meeting setting.

Beautiful song!!!!!   Still a favorite with my primary and leaders:)  The Spirit that comes as it is being sung is indescribable.  Absolutely awesome.

November 12, 2012

"The Voice" The Primary Way

I saw a primary chorister's blog post about the way her primary was working on their program songs. She came up with a Superstar Singers chart where the kids worked on specific things to earn stars for each program song.  I thought it was perfect for my primary!

About 6 weeks before our scheduled program date, I asked 3 people to come to singing time to be "The Voice" judges.  If you've watched the actual reality show (which is a huge hit at our house!) you'll understand where I'm going with this.  My husband snagged 3 swivel chairs from the clerks office for the judges to sit on.  The judges turned their backs to the kids before they began to sing.  The judges would then listen for the good and bad things about how the kids were singing the song.  The judges would only turn in their chairs to face the kids if they were singing well.  At the end of the song, each judge would give their advice to the kids about how they sang while I went to the chalk board & wrote it all down.  I took a picture with my iPad so that I could then come up with the categories needed to put on the Superstar Singers chart for the upcoming weeks before our program. 

When I first approached the judges to ask them for their help, I explained that I wanted both positive AND negative critiquing. I wanted to save time by working only on what was absolutely needed for each song in order to be ready for the program.  I also sprang this on my primary the week after stake conference.  They didn't get any warning or reviewing before being judged.  That way it was a more realistic result for each song.  I also only chose 6 songs to work on.
This is Junior Primary's results.

This is Sr. Primary's results.
I had explained to the kids what we were doing and why. I really drove home the need to know what exactly we needed to work on to be ready for the program, that in order to improve, we needed to know just WHAT we needed to fix. The judges were awesome with relaying their advice to the kids without any negativity, especially when it came to the negative critiques. By the end of singing time, the kids were so glad to have the visual list and see exactly where they stood. I then went home and over the week put together our own Superstar Singers chart.  

There were 4 categories that both the Jr. & Sr. primary needed to work on. I found pictures online (free clip art) and I laminated them.
We had a couple of kids that would try to out sing their neighbor. 
Not pretty! We want to blend as a choir.

EYES on the chorister at all times.

Wondering eyes!  The kids' heads turn to wherever they are looking.  So as their eyes wondered, their voices projected in that direction instead of concentrated toward the audience.  Not to mention how silly they look when they're not watching me:)

Over enunciating the sounds: T, D, S, & K
at the end of specific words. 
This one is a bit more tricky.  When singing Choose the Right, they didn't put any emphasis on the "t". So the judges would hear: "Choose the righ, when a choice is placed before you".  Same thing with Build an Ark.  They would hear: "I will bill an arrr before it starts to rain".  So we had A LOT of words in MANY songs to work on in this category. LOTS of tongue work!  I will do a separate post tomorrow on what I came up with to help with that.

Singing your TESTIMONY of the song.
It is important to convey to your audience that you believe in what you are singing about.  Music is such a powerful tool! In order for your audience to feel your testimony, YOU need to know all of the lyrics and have a testimony about the words and their meaning.  In a nutshell: Need to cause goosebumps!

This process has been absolutely amazing!  A bit more work on my part, but it has paid off for the kids, I think.  I can use the Superstar Singers chart again and again as I feel is needed by just switching out the songs and categories.  The kids never tired of earning stars, either!

Next week is our program & I am so excited for them to show our ward their love of the gospel!

Our Savior's Door Is Always Open

I just LOVE 5th Sunday's!!!  I get the entire 35 minutes with each primary.  As I pondered what He wanted me to do for these children, I felt that I needed to help the children understand that our Savior is always waiting for us to open our heart and feel His love.  To prepare for this, I made a poster with 5 different pictures that could depict different scenarios.  I got the pictures from the Friend Magazine.  I then made up stories to go with the pictures.  Two out of the 5 scenarios are open for the children to respond to (only because my brain was fried with trying to come up with anymore & I was running out of time).  I also put 7 pictures of music notes on the poster (4 black & white, 3 in fun colors for the fun songs).  I assigned a song to go with each one.  I glued the 12 different pictures on the poster and cut out hearts to place over them.  I only taped one side of the heart onto the poster board so that it could just be lifted open, like a door, to see what was inside.
Tilt your head to the left while looking:)
I woke up Saturday morning with the song "Our Door Is Always Open" from the Children's Songbook on page 254 in my head.  Weird?  Not for me:)  I wake up with various songs running through my brain more often than not.  And then I always try to figure out WHY they are in my head.  Sometimes I can come up with an answer, sometimes not.  But as I got moving for the morning, words started going through my mind.  THIS is NOT normal!  I'm not a poet by any means.  So I immediately started writing down everything that popped into my head for the next 10 minutes.  Within another 5 minutes, I had new lyrics for the song "Our Door Is Always Open".  Inspired? ABSOLUTELY!!

For our Singing/Sharing Time, I began the lesson by teaching them this "Scenario Song" with the new lyrics.  I made 2 changes with the melody so I re-wrote the music with the new lyrics for my pianist.  Once the kids knew the song, I explained to them that someone would come up to open a heart on the poster.  If the opened heart showed a music note, we would sing the assigned song before choosing another heart to open.  If the opened heart showed a scenario picture, I would then read the scenario to them.  We would then talk about how hearts were opened to feel the Savior's love and then sing the "Scenario Song" before choosing the next heart.

My primary kids LOVED this lesson.  They were sad that we ran out of time before getting to open all of the hearts.  But it is an activity I can pull out again, especially for an emergency:)  

If you'd like a copy of "Our Savior's Door Is Always Open", please email me a request & I'll get it to you in pdf form.  Feel free to copy and paste the scenarios below for your own use.  I wrote them on my iPad during Sacrament Meeting and then emailed them to myself to post on the blog:) 

Scenario Song- Our Savior's Door Is Always Open For me to feel His love. If I but humbly open my heart to Him, He will bless me to feel His love.

Song 1- Build an Ark
Song 2- Choose The Right
Song 3- Stand For the Right
Song 4- I Feel My Savior's Love
Fun Song 1- Popcorn Popping
Fun Song 2- Fun To Do
Fun Song 3- Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Scenario Phone Girls- Amy went to school with a girl named Emily. They weren't particularly close friends, but they were in the same class. Amy noticed that Emily hadn't been to school all week. She had heard that Emily was sick, but she didn't know the details. Friday after school, Amy felt that she should give Emily a call to see how she was doing. But Amy questioned herself about this because she had never really talked with Emily before. But she was again impressed to call her. So Amy made a couple of phone calls to others in her class to find Emily's phone number. She then made the call. She introduced herself to Emily's mom on the phone. She then got to talk worth Emily. She was nervous, but she asked Emily if she was o.k. Emily explained that she wasn't yet, but her doctors and her parents told her that she would soon be able to return to school. Emily had just gotten home from the hospital the day before. She had just learned that she had diabetes. Emily was still upset and confused about her body's struggle to work right. So she was surprised when she told Amy about it. But Amy told her about her own cousin that had diabetes and how he lived with it. How he was able to play sports and be with his friends and do anything he wanted. This news made Emily feel so much better! She and Amy became good friends and were a great strength to one another.

Scenario Hugging Boy/Father- Jason breaks his father's lawn mower by hitting a large rock. He knows his family doesn't have the money to take the mower to a repair shop. Jason prays to H.F. For help on how he can repair the mower himself. He then went to the garage to search for the tools he might need. He felt the guidance of the H.G. In which tools to choose. Once he had the lawn mower taken apart and could see the damage, he wondered how he could fix it. He again prayed for guidance. A name of a neighbor popped into his head. He immediately went to this neighbor and explained his problem. The neighbor knew what Jason needed to fix the mower and offered to help him. The neighbor had an old lawn mower that he no longer used and was able to use a part from it to replace the damaged one of Jason's mower. Later that night, Jason told his father about this experience. His father was touched by his son's testimony in prayer. He told Jason how proud he was to have such a strong son and how privileged he felt to be his father.

Scenario School playground- Sarah started 5th grade in a new school. Her family had moved from California to Colorado for her dad's work. She was scared to start a new school. She was shy and didn't make friends easily. A group of girls in 6th grade were not known as being very friendly. They scared Sarah and she tried to be invisible so that they wouldn't notice her. But by the 3rd day, they noticed her! Sarah ate lunch by herself and these girls new it. They began to pester her. They'd walk by and just laugh at her. Then it progressed to saying mean things to her.  After a few weeks, they gathered around her at lunch and started talking mean. One girl took Sarah's lunchbox and threw it on the ground. She was being bullied by these girls. She hadn't told her parents about it because she didn't want them to know how miserable she was in her new school. What can she do to open her heart to feel her Savior's love?

Scenario Gossiping Girls- Brianna and M'chaela talking about a girl who doesn't dress as well as they think she should, smells, doesn't have any friends..... How can these two girls make their closed hearts open to feel their Savior's love?

Scenario Coffee- Alison goes to visit her grandmother, who is not a member of the church. Her grandmother fixes her breakfast and serves her a cup of coffee. How can Alison open her heart to her Savior's love & not be offensive to her grandmother?

Mother's Day

Yes, I know.  It's nowhere close to the holiday!  I found this post in my DRAFT folder and I figured that if I didn't post it now, it may never get posted:)

I found this song on Sally DeFord's website and thought it was perfect for Mother's Day.  We needed a new song to learn anyway:)  This song is called An Angel To Watch Over Me. We learned verses 1 & 3.

"She watched by my cradle through long sleepless nights."

Because this is a seasonal song, I wanted a flip chart with all the lyrics.  I also thought the kids would learn it faster/better if I got some of their mom's involved in it.  So I had several mom's get their pictures taken for various phrases throughout the song.  Then I used them to make the flip chart.  For the final phrase of each verse, I had a group picture taken at our ward Easter Brunch of all the moms & kids who were there.
"God sent an angel to watch over me."

The 2nd verse is beautiful, but I thought it more appropriate for teenagers to sing.  But our YW weren't willing to do it, so I just dropped it. The song sounds just fine going from verse 1 to verse 3.  I used the flip chart in Sacrament Meeting while they sang to their moms.  It was small enough, & yet they were familiar with the pictures and so the lyrics weren't critical to see.  Just enough to prompt:)

We sang just 2 songs:  Mother Dear (which I also made a flip chart for) and then An Angel To Watch Over Me.  The kids did a beautiful job and many of the mom's had tears in their eyes by the time the last song was finished.

Having the different families involved in the making of the flip chart REALLY helped the children learn the song.  They LOVED seeing their moms and anticipated when their picture would be shown.  Fun fun!!!

If you'd like me to send you a pdf flip chart for Mother Dear, please send me an email request.

Thomas E. Normous Returns

I cannot believe that it has been 7 months since I last posted.  SEVEN MONTHS!!!  Life got really busy and stayed busy all through the summer.  It's the life of a stay at home mom of 3 teenage girls too young to yet drive.  Now my oldest has her drivers license and her own vehicle.  My running around has dropped by 90%, at least!  So my goal is to do better at posting more often.  Shouldn't be too hard, should it?  I guess we'll find out soon enough!
Our program is this coming Sunday.  So for Singing Time, I am pulling out Thomas E. Normous.  It's been 2 years since I last used him and I remember one of the young boys complaining last year because I never brought him to primary.

I don't know if I'll be using songs to create Thomas's tail with the Jr. Primary or if I'll do a Choose the Right type of activity to earn those feathers.  I could even assign certain songs or questions to a color and put the feathers in a sack for the kids to pull out.  But, as long as the little ones get to make his tail and the Sr. Primary gets to do the "plucking", everyone will be satisfied, right?

April 5, 2012

Choose the Right

If you are teaching the songs in the order of the outline,you have already taught this song to your primary. In February, I we learned "Build An Ark". March's song is "Stand For the Right", which we already know. So we learned "Choose the Right" while reviewing "Stand For the Right".

For the program, only the Jr. Primary will sing "Stand For the Right". Only the Sr. Primary will be singing "Choose the Right", but the Jr. will join in for just the chorus. I think it will work fine.

The Sr. Primary learned verses 1 & 3 plus the chorus while the Jr. Primary learned the chorus only & enjoyed reviewing "Stand For the Right" with the String Bees (Picture of the String Bees is at the bottom of the post). I made a poster (on green, of course!) for the verses. It all fit on a piece I had left over from a piano practicing project. It was about 3/4 of a full size poster board. Perfect!
 For the chorus, I made 4 different pictures for the kids to hold up as we sang (CTR shield for obvious reasons, BOM for wisdom, a sun for its light, and Jesus blessing the children for bless you ever more). These pictures started on popsicle sticks and didn't last 2 minutes!  So we just held the pictures in our hands. As we sang the verse and then the chorus, everyone would hold up their picture at the appropriate time in the chorus. Then they would trade someone else for a different picture and we'd do it all again, making it 4 times of repetitive singing. Jr. Primary struggled a bit with all the switching pictures, but we managed in the end:)

String Bees the Nursery & Jr. Primary use to sing "Stand For the Right". 
We do actions with the song as well.  Actions are posted here.

I Feel My Savior's Love

This is what our primary president & I strongly felt our primary should learn. Strongly. As in we-both-get-goose-bumps-every-time-we-listen-to-it strongly. A couple of weeks ago I searched for a different arrangement than the one in the Children's Songbook and found it here. I purchased it on the chance it would be what I was looking for. JACKPOT!! It is written lower than the original which is ALWAYS a plus. It has all 4 verses. It has one key change and a simple additional ending. And to top it off, verses 2 & 4 have slightly different rhythm patterns than verses 1 & 3. Same thing with the choruses. Verses 1 & 3 along with the chorus are just like the Children's Songbook. The accompaniment is easy, too.  You can listen to the first bit when you go to the link I provided.  You can also look at the first page to check out the accompaniment level.

I have made a flip chart with key words and have uploaded on scrbd. There are 4 pages per verse plus 4 for the chorus. I will be using the Raindrops & Rainbows to teach the rhythm differences of verses 1 & 2. I will be having a small group sing the 1st & 3rd verses for the program and the entire primary will sing all the choruses and the 2nd & 4th verses.  So I will focus mainly on those & leave the small groups to memorize their parts on their own.

If you have any problems getting the flip chart, email me & I'll send it to you.

I'm excited to learn this song with my primary kiddos!

March 2, 2012

Ideas for Stand For the Right

Did you notice the changes I made on the blog?  I'm anticipating Spring and jelly beans remind me that it's coming soon!  Tuesday, March 20th in fact:)  Which means I have less than 3 weeks to get my girls' Spring Baskets ready.  No Easter Baskets from the bunny at our house.  We totally separate the worldly celebration of Easter from the spiritual and TRUE meaning of the special occasion.  Off my soap box and back to the anticipation of SPRING!  

With March's Primary song, "Stand For the Right" I thought it would be perfect to incorporate Spring in teaching it. Last year I made this visual aid for a singing time.  Click here to read how to make one yourself & the way I used it in primary. 
As I thought about ways to teach "Stand For the Right" (aka BEE True!), this zippin' bee board came to mind.  By placing pictures or symbols underneath each flower, BEE can hover over each flower as your primary sings the song.  

BLUE- picture of Pres. Monson: Our prophet has some words for you. 
ORANGE- the words "Be True!": And these are the words: "Be true! Be true!"
RED- pictures of a hammer a sports ball: At work or at play,
YELLOW-  pictures of moon and sun : In darkness or light.
WHITE- picture of CTR symbol: Stand for the right.

Notice that I didn't give the 2nd "Be true, be true!" to another flower.  I figure BEE can zip back 2 flowers to the orange one for it and then zip back to the end flower (white) for "stand for the right".  

This bee board might be a bit difficult for the Jr. Primary kids to manipulate.  Sr. Primary would do great with it, though.  And to continue repeating the song, you could always have them sing different ways (ie. staccato, soft, loud).

Now for something the Jr. Primary will enjoy!  
I thought about the bees & butterflies on strings I made last summer for the Nursery.  By just using the BEE's, we could hold the strings in one hand while we do actions for the song lyrics.  These bees are used for the same purpose I made the leaves on strings. I just changed the lyrics to a summer time song:)  

For "Stand For the Right", each child will stand up & sway their bee string back and forth to the feel of the music.  
  1. Teach "Our prophet has some words for you and these are the words" as you "fly" the bee back & forth.  
  2. When you sing "Be true! Be true!", raise your string hand above your head in a fist.  Then pump it 4 times as you sing "Be true! Be true!". Keep your string hand in a fist for the rest of the song.
  3. For the phrase "At work or at play", act out shoveling dirt and then throwing a ball. 
  4. "In darkness or light", put both fists over your eyes to make it "dark" and then pop your eyes open for light and move your fists to the sides away from your eyes.  
  5. As you move your fists away, prepare the string fist to pump to "Be true, be true"
  6. As you sing "And stand", place the string fist firmly on your chest over your heart.
  7. As you sing "for", stomp one foot firmly on the ground.
  8. As you sing "the", stomp the other foot firmly on the ground right next to the first foot.   
  9. As you sing "right", you can either do a firm nod of your head OR you could raise those string fists firmly in the air & hold them there until Chorister cuts off the singing. I'm liking the picture in my head of them holding up their string fists until the cut off.  I can imagine battle swords in those little fists representing their choice in standing for truth & righteousness in this world:)
Slow the song down at the end so that you have enough time to do the actions to emphasize the lyrics.

This last idea is what I actually did to teach the Jr. Primary this song LAST year.  
These are just some ideas I had and I wanted to share.  If you're looking for some inspiration, maybe these with spark a little something for you!

February 29, 2012

Banana Split, YUM!

While I had Sr. Primary Singing Time ready for this last Sunday, I was struggling with what to do for Jr. Primary.  I came across an envelope in my Primary Box at home that was full of items I used a couple of months after I was first called as a chorister a year and a half ago.  I had made pieces of different food items out of construction paper and poster board.  I had a different food for each verse of a song the kids had yet to memorize for the program.  This was prior to me starting this blog, so there's not a post to refer you to.  But I distinctly remember taking pictures:) 

I decided to use the Banana Split for the 2nd verse of "Build An Ark".  Each part of the song (remember there are 4 distinct parts) was assigned to a portion of the Banana Split. As they learned & SANG convincingly each part, they would get to add specific items to the ice cream dish to build the Banana Split.  I used 1-2 pictures per part from a flip chart to help them along.  But other than that, they had to memorize each word!

We started with the red poster board with a VERY fancy ice cream dish drawn on it by me, obviously:)  I placed it as low as I could on the chalk board.  I had the balls of colorful ice cream and all the yummy toppings poster puttied to a wax paper covered piece of cardboard on the side.  This made it simple and quick to just pull them off & immediately have the kids place them on the dish.  I allowed 1 child per scoop, cherry, etc..  LOTS of little helpers! 
This is how I divided up the song and assigned the ice cream parts
Ice Cream Scoops: The first 2 lines of Part A- "I can be like Noah, YES! I can be prepared.  I can build my ark and I'll find safe shelter there."
Hot Fudge: Part B- "I can do the things I know are right.  I can learn and pray with all my might."
Banana: 3rd line of Part A- "And then when storm clouds come I'll be safe within my ark."
Whip Cream: Part C- "I will build my ark before it starts to rain. I will follow the prophet, for he speaks in God's name."
Cherries: Part D- "I'll prepare ev'ry needful thing. I will walk in righteous ways. When the rain starts to fall on me, I'll be ready for that day."

The Jr. Primary kids were so excited to build the Banana Split!  Several little girl Sunbeams "called" the pink ice cream:)  They earned those scoops really quick!  The Hot Fudge called for a bit more work & imagination before I let them add it.  We finally ended up ASL signing the words "do, right, learn, pray, might" before they passed.  The rest of the song went well and there were only a few kids that didn't get a chance to come up and add a piece to the Banana Split.  But it was a beautifully created Split with dripping hot fudge & melting whip cream.  Some of the Sunbeams claimed it looked good enough to eat!  I whole heartedly agreed:)  

Here are pictures of the other 2 food items I had made way back when.  Same idea: a phrase or part of the song assigned to each "topping".  Build your pizza & cheeseburgers (and Banana Split for dessert) while memorizing a program song!  Or maybe just a fun way to review a song later on down the road....
 Pizza with pepperoni, sausage, black olives, and green peppers.

Mini Cheeseburgers with bottom bun, 
meat, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, top bun.

I think I'll go find something to eat now.  
This post has made me HUNGRY:)

Mix N' Match

For our last week of learning the 2nd verse of "Build An Ark", I came up with another way to use the Raindrops & Rainbows.  I wanted the Sr. Primary to match each word/syllable to the proper raindrop or rainbow for each part of the song (A, B, C, & D).  I had 4 separate manilla envelopes (one for each part) with the correct amount of raindrops & rainbows and the lyrics/syllables for that part.  I placed an envelope on each of the four tables I set up at the end of the room.  Each group of kids/teachers had 3 minutes to dump their pieces onto their table & match them up.  Thus Mix N' Match.  From the pictures below, I supplied a "Teacher's Guide" in each envelope to correspond with that part for the teacher to be able to see & help the kids as needed. Once everyone had finished their part, they then had to sing that part as we went through the song.  When we finished singing, they would gently mix back up the pieces on their table & then we'd shift over one table (which had all the pieces of another part of the song) and do it all again! We were able to sing the song through 4 times, allowing every group to put together & sing every part of the song one time.  Then we sang the entire 2nd verse together for the closing song.  They did a fantastic job & didn't need any pictures to prompt them through it!

This is a great activity for any song.  It really helps the kids to be able to process the words along with the melody & rhythm in their own minds.  After the first round where they all figured out what they were doing, we were able to rotate every 3 minutes (first round took about 5).  So out of the 20 minutes allotted for Singing Time, about 15 minutes of it was simply matching up the pieces to be ready to sing.  Then it takes just over a minute to sing the verse before re-mixing & rotating.  Doesn't leave much time for "singing"!  BUT even though we were only able to get through each part once, they had it totally memorized within that 20 minutes!  That is quality learning people!

Sing the first 2 lines of lyrics for the beginning of the song.  
Then go to the next part (B).

 Part B: 
Sing both lines, then return to Part A & sing line 3.  
Then go to Part C.

 PART C: Sing both lines, then go to Part D.

Sing the top lyrics of both lines and 
then repeat to sing the bottom lyric lines

I hope that makes sense.  There's more room on the tables in our primary room than I had using my portable white board:)

To get ready for this activity, I did the following: 

On strips of different colors of card stock, I randomly wrote the lyrics/syllables of the 2nd verse.  Why all the different colors?  Because I like COLOR, that's why!  :)  For the words that are more than one syllable, I tried to write each syllable on a different color.  Then I cut out each word/syllable.  Then by starting with Part A, I placed the raindrops & rainbows in the correct order.  I then matched up the words/syllables underneath the corresponding 'drop or 'bow.  Remember that all parts except C, repeats at least once and part A twice.  It took a bit of time to cut out the paper, but really when it was all said & done along with pictures for the Teacher's Guides included, it took about 45 minutes.  

Happy Teaching!

February 24, 2012

Build An Ark Helps

The first week, we were only able to learn the first half of the first verse. With the complexity of this song, it was to be expected. The kids all enjoyed learning about the raindrops and rainbows as they learned the melody. They especially liked the frozen raindrops!

On week 2 we reviewed what we had learned the previous week and learned the rest of verse 1. To make things a bit more visual for them, I printed out pictures to go with the song. I cut them out in the shape of a cloud, outlining them with a black marker. I placed the main picture cloud at the beginning of the line of each part (A, B, C, D). I also wrote in some key lyrics with chalk above or below the raindrops/rainbows as needed. And since we were past the "short-long" chanting, we were able to have kids come up to be the "pointer" of the 'drops & 'bows as we sang repetitively. The Sr. Primary kids were competitive! Each child wanted to point EXACTLY perfect to each raindrop & rainbow. They definitely understand the concept much better than the Jr. Primary. But each level did a great job and more importantly, they learned the whole 1st verse!

This is the only picture I have from week 2. I forgot my camera again! Luckily, our secretary has a cool phone AND the know how to use it. Thanks, Tina!

For week 3, our goal was to learn the 1st half of verse 2 for Jr. and the entire verse 2 for Sr. But I wanted to change it up a bit. So instead of placing the 'drops & 'bows on the board as I'd done previously, I wanted the kids to do it. In order to do this, I wanted more visuals (pictures) for them. I decided to make my own "flip chart". I know that I posted a link on my last post of a beautiful chart that Mary put together last year, but I needed MORE pictures. I'm such a literal thinker that I NEEDED more pictures for the abundant lyrics involved in this song. I'm also a visual learner. As I visualized each part of the song, I quickly realized that I would end up with A LOT of pictures to flip. There's no way I could flip them fast enough. That's when I thought about the TOTALLY AWESOME birthday present my hubby gave me the week before. My iPad 2! I am a MAC lover. I will never go back to a PC. NEVER. EVER. I can sync all my iPhotos from my MAC to my iPad. Then I have the "Doodle Buddy" app where I can create my own iPad flip chart. 

By sliding my finger across the screen, I can easily keep up my "flipping" with the pace of the song. SO COOL! The kids thought it was fabulous:) And now I can upload these pics onto my MAC, convert them to PDF form and have them available for anyone who wants them! 

For Sr. Primary, we went through each part, learning the lyrics. As we were singing, I had 2 kids come up to the board to work together on figuring out the pattern of the raindrops & rainbows. We would sing that part over and over again, checking if the pattern was correct. If it was, we went on to the next part, choosing 2 different kids to put up the next pattern. If the pattern wasn't quite right, we sang it again as needed until the correct changes were made. They would then add repeat signs and fermatas where needed. The kids would need to look at the pics I was sliding across my screen and learn them quickly & well enough that they could transfer that knowledge to the raindrop & rainbow method they had learned. They did great and learned the entire 2nd verse!

The Jr. Primary was a bit different:) Starting with part A, I pulled out those raindrops & rainbows. I called up enough kids to the front to each hold a raindrop or rainbow for the lyrics. I placed them in the correct order. As we sang, I would put my hand over the child, according to the rhythm. In other words, instead of the 'drops & 'bows being on the board and me pointing to them as we sang, the kids held their piece and I placed my hand over their heads as we sang. Whew! When we learned that part, I just let the kids put their pieces on the chalkboard wherever they wanted, as they went back to their seats. We did get the first half of the 2nd verse learned. We also sang the parts after the pieces were randomly on the board by watching my cool flip chart:)

I have 3 separate flip charts. They are all the same pictures, but they have varying amounts of the lyrics on each picture. One flip chart has every lyric on the pictures.

Another flip chart has only key words on the pictures.

The last one is pictures only, no lyrics at all.

Each flip chart has 29 pictures. I told you I NEEDED a lot of pictures! But you can eliminate any pictures you feel you don't need, OR you can cut them out and make a poster with them instead.

If you could use any of the pictures/flip charts, email me to make your request.

February 4, 2012

Raindrops & Rainbows

February is the month most of you are teaching "Choose the Right".  I'm saving that for March & focusing on the prophet Noah for February.  We are going to learn "Build An Ark".  And as I've pondered for WEEKS on just how to teach this song, I finally received the inspiration.  Granted, it was by "here a little, there a little"; but it is inspiration indeed!

I love the concept of melody maps.  They're not the quickest thing to produce, but the visual concept of them is remarkable.  Click on the link to find an utterly awesome blog (In the Leafy Tree Tops the "Birds Sing") that has 2 examples for January's & February's songs!  I just couldn't figure out how to make my own for "Build An Ark", so I'm doing it slightly different.

In the world of teaching music, you may be familiar with the method of teaching young children about the duration of short & long notes by using raindrops and rainbows.  For example, Beethoven's 5th Symphony's first four notes are: quarter, quarter, quarter, whole.  To put it into raindrops and rainbows would be: drop, drop, drop, rainbow.  In the story of Noah, there was plenty of raindrops & the promised blessing of rainbows!  I decided to turn this into a way to teach the primary kids the song, "Build An Ark".

Before I begin to explain, I need to tell you that I've divided up this song into 4 parts: part A, part B, part C, & part D.

I will begin with part A by asking the pianist to play middle C in 4 quarter notes & 1 whole note rhythm.  I'll explain to the kids that we just heard 5 notes being played: short, short, short, short, long.  I'll have the kids chant with me as the pianist plays the notes again.  Then I'll place 4 raindrops and 1 rainbow in a straight, horizontal line on the chalkboard.  I will then explain that each raindrop represents a short note and the rainbow represents a long note.  I'll again have the pianist play the note in this rhythm while I point to each raindrop & rainbow and we all chant along. Next I'll add another 6 raindrops & a rainbow to the same line.  We'll repeat the piano/point/chant exercise for the entire line: short, short, short, short, long, short, short, short, short, short, short, long.

The next step is to change the melody (plain middle C) to something more fun:)  The pianist will play the melody of the first phrase of the song, "Build An Ark".  We'll whisper-chant along with her as we learn the melody.  This will be repeated a few times until everyone is secure with the tune & we chant it loudly.

This is when I'll explain to the kids that this song is about a prophet who was an expert on raindrops & rainbows.  I'm sure they'll guess Noah.  So we are going to now add words to the raindrops & rainbows to tell the story of Noah.

This song has many portions of the melody that repeat throughout the song.  We'll use repeat signs as needed to shorten the amount of raindrops & rainbows.

So this is what part A looks like.  Notice the repeat sign I chalked in.  The lyrics for this are: Noah was a prophet, a man who did not fear. (Repeat sign) When he taught repentance the people would not hear.
How's that for clarity!  It all sounds so clear when it's in my head:)

Once the kids are comfy with the words in part A, I'll put up part B & repeat the process beginning with the "short-long" method.  This is where a couple of faster notes are added into the song.  It's the very first 2.  So what is like rain, but falls from the sky at a faster rate?  HAIL!  Hail is freezing raindrops.  So I add a winter hat & mittens to the first 2 raindrops.  The rhythm for these is "quick-ly", one syllable per freezing raindrop.
The chant for part B: quick-ly, short, short, short, short, short, short, short, (Repeat sign), quick-ly, short, short, short, short, short, short, short (2nd time only, they need to hold out that note).  Once the melody is learned by chanting, add the lyrics.  Then you add one raindrop after the repeat sign that leads right back into part A. Teach them the lyrics for the part A (3rd time singing it).  This time, ignore the repeat sign at the end of part A.  When you get to it, you'll immediately jump down to part C.  

Part C is longer, taking two lines of raindrops & rainbows. By now you should know the method drill: chant, whisper-chant with melody, add lyrics.

Part D has a repeat sign.  On the 2nd time through part D, hold out the note right before the 2nd set of freezing raindrops.  

You can also move the raindrops & rainbows to read as a melody map:
My attempt looks a bit squishy on parts C & D.  I would space it out better next time:)  Also notice on part D the last notes just before the last rainbow are at different levels.  That's because when we repeat to sing it through for a 2nd time, that note is written at a lower pitch than when we sang it the first time through.  

You can use this method with ANY song.  Can you think of other ways to use the Raindrops & Rainbows?  Please share!

February 2, 2012

Ping Pong Fun

Ping Pong Fun with "As a Child of God"
We memorized all 3 verses playing this game.  A child would bounce the ping pong ball once onto the table to get it to land in the container within the box.  However many balls made it into (and stayed in!) the container represented the verse we were to sing.  For example:
1 ball= Verse 1
2 balls= Verse 2
3 balls= Verse 3
3 balls IN A ROW= Child Chooses Song
4 balls (not in a row)= One of the following songs: BOM Stories, Nephi's Courage, I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, ...........

Before we start to sing the designated verse, another child would roll the dice to determine how many times the verse was to be sung BEFORE singing the chorus.  This dice was cut out by my husband.  I used a sharpie marker to write numbers 1, 2, & 3 TWICE on it.  (I also needed this kind of dice for the Choose the Right game we were going to play on the 5th Sunday.)

By the end of Singing Time, both Jr. & Sr. had all 3 verses & chorus totally memorized!  We no longer need to even use the flip chart.  WAHOO!!!

The ping pong container is just the lid to the apricots I bought at Costco months ago.  The box is merely to help contain the missed ping pong balls so that we didn't have to shag them from all over the Primary Room.  It help keep the chaos level to a minimum.  When I first explained what we were going to do, nearly all the kids exclaimed, "That's going to be SO EASY!"   Ha!  They quickly learned that those ping pong balls weren't as cooperative as they assumed they'd be:)  

It was a fun way to memorize the song!  AND this activity can be used for ANY song, which is even better:)

Wintertime Nursery Song List

If you go into Nursery to do Singing Time with them, a list of songs by your side is helpful.  If you DON'T go into Nursery, please consider it.  It is so worth it!  The new Sunbeams this year have had a great transition.  They know me and know what to expect with Singing Time.  Now I continue to build that relationship with next years kids in Nursery every week for 15 minutes. For the most part, I keep the Nursery Songs consistent.  However, I like to sing about the different seasons as they come.  I have learned that by rotating "action" songs with "props" songs is helpful, too.  That way we can be putting the props away at the beginning of the action song.  It runs smoother that way.  I can then dig out the props for the next song at the end of the action song we're singing.  It's all in the planning:)

This is my current (winter time) list of songs we sing every week:

Gathering Song:  Here We Are Together (in our nursery, sing kids' names).  I begin singing this song the second my foot enters the room.  That the signal for them to gather around me to begin Singing Time.

Singing Time 
If You're Happy - actions
It's Wintertime/Snow Is Falling all Around - sway the snowflake strings (see picture above) in time with the feel of the song
Once There Was a Snowman - actions
Sing a Song/Ring a Song - Bell bracelets
Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam - actions
5 Little Ducks - duck glove
I Am Like a Star - star sticks
Hinges - actions
Stand For the Right - "Bee" true crocheted bee
Follow the Prophet chorus - latter day prophet sticks & march in place
I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus - Jesus hearts to hug

Closing Song:  I Am a Child of God - continue to hug Jesus hearts

We always sing a'cappella. That's why I don't have page numbers on my list.  We move along quickly, so it's nice not to mess with a CD player.   The 2nd songs on the Singing Time list is the melody to "It's Autumntime" in the CS page 246 and "Rain Is Falling All Around" in the CS page 241.

I made up the lyrics for "It's Wintertime" to the tune of "It's Autumntime":
It's wintertime, it's wintertime, with snowflakes falling down.
It's wintertime, it's wintertime, with snow upon the ground.
It's wintertime, it's wintertime, enjoy the chilly air.
It's wintertime, it's wintertime, white snow is ev'rywhere!

We like to sway the snowflake strings while singing both songs.  We even let them tap our noses, hands & toes for the 2nd song.

Happy Winter Singing!

Jesus Hearts

Over the last couple of weeks, I've started singing "I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus" as one of the songs in Nursery Singing Time.  I have a consistent list of songs we do every week.  I wanted to add this song to sing just before the closing song, "I Am a Child of God".  But by then end of Singing Time, the little ones have a hard time sitting back down to fold their arms & become more reverent.  So to help with this, I was inspired to make little foamy hearts with a picture of Jesus in the center.  I felt that they needed to show their love for Jesus by giving Him a hug as they sing the 2 closing songs.  As I passed them out to the little ones, I showed them the picture, explaining that Jesus loves us so much!  We love Him too, and can show Him by giving His "heart" a beautiful hug while we sing about Him.  It was amazing to see how many of the little ones understood the concept & studiously hugged Him to the very end.  One girl wanted Jesus even closer to her that she opened the neck of her shirt & dropped him next to her heart!  Gotta love kids:)

At Joann's, I found a package of 18 valentine foamy hearts.  9 were glittered, 9 plain.  I removed the inner hearts to make the large ones into "frames".  I traced the frame heart onto another piece of foam to create a back.  I then cut a smaller heart to trace onto the picture of Jesus.  I laminated the pictures before gluing them to the front section of the foamy heart.  Some of the babes in Nursery put the song props in their mouths.  Ew, I know.  More than one prophet has bite marks:)  Need to make them slobber proof!  Once the glue was dry, I held the front & back pieces together & "sewed" them together with a craft needle & yarn.  This is to prevent the hearts from being pulled apart.  However, one little turkey pulled the stitches & ripped them out of the heart.  But, you still gotta love kids:)  I tied the two strings in a knot at the end.  I also tied a knot in each string left to prevent the yarn from splitting/unravelling.

I've used these for the last 3 weeks.  The kids love them (and Jesus, too)!

January 22, 2012

Build An Ark & When I Am Baptized

In my last post, I mentioned that I'm teaching my primary the song "Build An Ark" for the month of February.  I was contacted via email by Mary Judy who taught this song to her primary last year.  She has graciously offered all of her visuals to share with you on my blog.

I have copied and pasted the following email from Mary that explains what she did for both "Build An Ark" and "When I Am Baptized" (which is a program song this year):

We sang "Build an Ark" in our program last year and it was one of my kids favorites. I made a flip chart that I would love to share with anyone interested. I also downloaded both versions of the music files (singing/accompaniment). I am attaching the sheet music, too. We also, sang "When I am Baptized."

For one of our reviews I brought a yellow umbrella and put laminated raindrops on it that matched the flip chart phrases. When I taught "When I am Baptized" I made rainbow ribbon wands for our primary. I did not give them as gifts but kept them so we could use them many times. I would choose a child to lead the music with me and all the other children followed our patterns. We would make large rainbows over our head or figure eights and then when we came to the fermata  on the word "Can" we would point our wands to the floor and twirl it in a spiral like a large whirlpool. We talked about how reverent the song is and that our wands should be reverent (no loud snapping noises). I bought dowels at Lowes or Home Depot and they chopped them for me. I bought fishing swivels at Walmart that I inserted into the dowel then tied the ribbon through. We will use them again this year. We did not use them in the Sacrament Program. I also brought a large rainstick that my friend gave me. I would let a child turn it over very slowly to make the rain sound. Chimes are also nice.

I have uploaded these visuals to my scribd account.  This will make them easy for you to access.  However, if you have any problems or questions, email me & I can send the pdf documents to you via email.

I can't say it enough:  THANKS MARY!

January 20, 2012

2012 Primary Program Songs

I love how we are given a bit of freedom with 2 of the 8 months!  After much pondering & prayer, this is the final list of our program songs:

January- As a Child of God, 2012 Outline (3 verses)

February- Build An Ark, Sept. 2010 "Friend" (2 verses)

March- *Stand For the Right, CS 159 (1 Verse) [Jr. Primary Only]
           Choose the Right, Hymn 239 (Verses 1 & 3 Only)
            [Sr. Primary Only, with Jr. Primary joining for the chorus only]
              EASTER SONGS: 
                         *Jesus Has Risen, CS 70
                         *Hosanna!, CS 66

April- I Feel My Savior's Love, CS 74 (4 verses)
               [All kids sing vss. 1 & 4, small group or solo sing 
                           vss 2 & 3, All kids sing chorus]
                   Mother Dear I Love You So, CS 206a (3 verses)
                   An Angel To Watch Over Me, by Sally DeFord (3 Verses)
                             [All primary vss. 1 & 3, YW vss. 2 & 3]

May- "Give", Said the Little Stream, CS 236 (3+ verses)
            [other lyrics will be added & the song will be arranged by myself]
            FATHER'S DAY SONGS:
                  *Daddy's Homecoming, CS 210
                  *The Family is Of God, (Verse 2 only)
                  *When I Hear My Father Pray, Mar. Ensign '83

June- Nephi's Courage, CS 120 (3 verses) *[They know verse 1!]
              PATRIOTIC SONGS: TBD

July- *When I Am Baptized, CS 103 (2 verses)
              PIONEER SONGS:  TBD

August- *I'm Trying To Be Like Jesus, CS 78 (verse 1 only)
                          [Jr. Primary Only]
           *Scripture Medley (Scripture Power/Hand In Hand)
                         [Small Group Only]

*NOTE: Songs our primary kids already know!

I am not teaching the songs in the same order as in the Outline.  I try to teach the more difficult songs the first 6 months of the year.  So many families are gone for the entire summer that learning songs those months is pointless.  Why work twice as hard when you can plan ahead & make your life a bit easier:)  My motto:  "Planning allows you to be lazy".  We have always held our program at the end of October.  So by September, I'm already working on brushing up the program songs during Singing Times.  There's no time to LEARN a new song by then.

Also, don't forget that you always need to add holiday songs for Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, & Pioneer Day.  I included those holiday songs with the monthly song list.  That way I can plan my Singing Times accordingly.

What songs are your Primary kids doing this year?  Please share!

January 15, 2012

Plan Your Own Journey

Plan Your Own Journey by Jodi at Primary Music Notes is a great way to learn or review a song.  I did this last week with both Jr. & Sr. Primary.  For the Jr., we learned the 2nd verse of "As a Child of God" as well as reviewing the 1st verse.  They loved it!  For the Sr. Primary, we played this to MEMORIZE all 3 verses.  It worked!  They did so well that they got to play it 3 times.

Thanks for the idea & sharing it, Jodi!

Snow Day!

Living in the Northwest Puget Sound area, we rarely experience snow.  So when it happens, it's quite an exciting thing!  This morning was no exception.  Although I had Singing Time planned & ready to go for today, I just felt that we should celebrate the unusual weather.

Last year, I found this "Emergency" Singing Time Plan on Kathleen's blog.  As a person who LOVES to plan ahead, I thought it a great idea to be prepared for a Singing Time Emergency.  So I made the snowflakes, riddle lists, song lists and informed the Primary presidency about it.  Well you know what they say:  "Plan for an emergency and chances are you'll never have one".  So true!   So I decided that the Sunday snowfall qualified for an Emergency Singing Time today.

The kids were all hyped up because of the fun weather & this Singing Time kept them plenty busy!  Next week we'll just do what I'd already had planned for today.  No harm done, no time lost!

If you choose to use my riddle & song list, just make this change to #5:
Riddle-When you were born, your were given a special light.  This gift helps you choose the right.  What song am I?  (As a Child of God-2012 Outline)