Sunday, April 26, 2009

How do you sing the same song over and over without driving the adults crazy, and making the kids bored?

We're singing Mothers day songs right now. We have two songs that I really want them to have down, so we have to sing them over and over - for the repetition part of learning. Well, that's boring, and if i'm bored, I know the kids are bored. So I borrowed from Sister Webb's idea which is: do things while you sing so they don't notice. A few weeks ago she put activities to do in Easter eggs, and while they sang I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ they would also be doing the activity chosen from the egg. Easter is over, and I have this huge box sitting in my house so I printed out options and layered them three deep inside the page protectors so that as we did one I could pull it out and there would be a fresh choice underneath. Then the kids could gently roll the box down the aisle and we would do that activity while singing.
So here they are:
Hop on one foot, turn around slowly, sway side to side, close eyes, pat head/rub belly, flap arms, march in place, raise eyebrows, stand on tip toes, stacatto, legato, piano, forte, stand up/sit down, clap in rhythm, and wiggle thumbs.
They never complained about singing the same two songs over and over, and they asked if we could do this again with some new activities.
What do you do when you sing the same song over and over to keep the kids engaged?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fathers #209 for Singing on Fathers Day (I know it's early!)

In getting ready to teach a song for Fathers day, I had my husband take two pictures of the Bishop today. When I make visual aids for the song, I can put his picture in as the "father of our ward". I know it's early but when I go to put this together, I don't want to call the Bishop at 10pm the night before. I need ideas for "the father of our home". Do I take a picture of some of the dad's, or pick one family and take a photo with their dad? I'm just not sure, still plenty of time........

Grandmother Song #200

I made five pictures representing the five parts of the song and taped them to a paint stick. My printer only prints black and white, so these visual aids are just as they are.

  1. You give me a kiss.
  2. You give me a hug.
  3. You smile when you see me, too.
  4. I wish every child in the whole wide world.
  5. Had a grandmother just like you.

I had my pianist play this in a cycle so that we sang it several times without stopping. A great idea here is to have them try to not say one of the words as they sing it. Leave out hug, or in and see how they do, it's kind of fun.

The primary must have sung this one before because they sang it really well after I sang it to them once. This is a great song, really catchy and with a wonderful message and spirit.

Today we sang two mother's day songs and the Spanish and English "I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ". We also sang Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam, the Snowman song, and this week's gospel review was Called to Serve. Next week we're doing "Mother Dear" #206 so that we are doing a total of 3 songs in Sacrament meeting.

I Often Go Walking

We are doing three mothers day songs, this is probably my favorite. I've loved this song since I was a child - maybe because it's about flowers and mothers. I haven't sung it with this primary before and I wasn't sure how many would know it, so I printed some pictures with the words. This way, if all else fails, they can read the words during Sacrament meeting. The Jr. primary struggled a little but I do have a LOT of Sunbeams. The Sr. primary did just fine. Once I feel they have it i'll work this song into the rotation so that we sing it at least once a quarter.
These are letter size cardstock with the words printed on them. I found the photographs on flickr, I was hunting for a photo of "clover" since I am certain I won't find any in the desert outside. It turned out pretty well, I liked the visualizations of the "clover", "blue blossoms", "meadow" and "flowers". To save time I slipped them into page protectors and they are ready to go.

La Iglesia de Jesucristo

I am teaching I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ (#77) in English and Spanish for our primary program. I chose it as one of our optional songs. Once we have the Spanish down, we will be learning it in German as well. We have about half of our primary in Spanish immersion and so the Spanish was difficult for me but they picked it right up. I practiced all week, the music has some added notes to accomodate the longer/additional words. We spent about ten minutes on this and then moved on to reviewing some mother's day songs. I'm going to put each song in it's own post because they are easier for me to track, so forgive the several posts i'm making today.
Just for information purposes, you can purchase the Children's Songbook in many languages available from the distribution center. The Spanish Songbook as well as the English are available on the Church's music website at,17932,4586-1,00.html
(French and Portugese are also available). On the site you can print out words and music for the songs in any of these langugaes, listen to the music, or music with voice. This is really helpful when getting ready to teach a song, I can sit here at my computer listening to the music so that I learn the proper timing and practice singing so that I really know the song.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Singing on Easter Sunday

I usually visit my parents for Easter. This year was no exception. So Sunday morning we went to Sacrament Meeting and my kids who had been sick all week seemed to be doing okay but were super quiet and sat very well (a small miracle). The first counsellor stood up to announce that the primary would be singing first on the program, at which point my mom turned to me with a look of panic on her face. She's the pianist, she had forgotten to bring her songbook. I asked her where I could find one, she said there might be one in the primary room so I stood up and walked briskly out of the chapel, broke into a run as soon as I was out the door and headed for the primary room. I found one on the piano and ran back to the chapel, I arrived just as the children were getting to the front of the chapel, I handed over the book to one of the boys still headed up and he gave it to mom. She opened the book sat down and the kids started to sing. It was beautiful, it always is when the children sing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting a Substitute for Singing Time

Whenever I go out of town, I like to ask a man to substitute for me in Primary. I want the boys especially to know that it's okay to sing, and that men do sing. I went up to Salt Lake for Easter this year and my husband had to work so as I have never asked him to substitute, this time I did. He didn't seem too excited about it, but he mostly indicated he was nervous. I made everything super easy. I put songs on the back of pictures of eggs that had sticky magnet tape on them, that way he could put them on the board and the kids could pick the songs. I printed out all the songs off the Church's music website, from the opening song through the closing song so that everything was right in front of him.
He said it was kind of fun, and he commented on how easy it was to do. I'm not sure he will ever do it again, but there is another unsuspecting brother in the ward who will be asked next time. I love to hear men sing, and I think it's a great chance for the primary kids to hear them. What do you do when you get a substitute?

My Eternal Family

My mom periodically sends photos of what's going on in her primary. When their singing leader taught My Eternal Family she had the words on a poster and had the children use a hammer on certain "building" words. So as they sang the song, he had to hit certain words at just the right time. The kids really liked hitting the poster, and it reinforced the "building" concept.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Box of Music Ideas

There was a box of primary music ideas in the stake music closet. Sunday I was asked if I would like to look at them, and make copies of the things I could use. I was surprised to find the sister who put this together, when she was singing leader, organized just like I do. I have a file cabinet with manilla folders just like this, one for each song.
Inside each of the folders were instructions on how to teach the songs plus laminated visual aids that she had used. I think they are a bit small, but our primary is huge and I like all the kids to be able to see, so I do tend to make my visual aids large.

There was another folder full of ideas like the Nephi's quiver, that could be copied, colored and reproduced for use as helps during choose and review, and motivators. I was told that these ideas were outdated, but really any good idea is timeless and there were lots of good ideas in the box - including Nephi's quiver. I'm going up to Salt Lake next week and at Ikea they have these trash cans that look just like the picture of the quiver, I can pick up one of those, make a label, drill some holes so I can attach some cord and sling it over my back and pick up some blunt tip arrows at the craft store and i've got myself a "Nephi's Quiver". I guess if there's a moral to my story today it's: anything old can be new again, and - you never know what's in the stake music closet.