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?