Sunday, February 19, 2012

Choose the Right Sign Language Activity - February 2012 - Week 3

I decided for this week to teach the children "Choose the Right" in sign language. In Junior Primary, I started by just showing them the phrase "Choose the right," but they picked it up so fast and sang so well that I ended up teaching them all three verses. The children were really into this activity, so participation was high.

In Senior Primary, the kids learned the song so fast that I threw in another activity, which made them a bit more rowdy, but which they greatly enjoyed. I had them pass a stick that said "CTR" on it, and asked the pianist to randomly stop playing at certain points in the song. Whomever was holding the stick had to finish the line of the song. To take pressure of the children, I said they could ask for help from the person on either side of them. I said the teachers were also included in this activity. Children were flinging that stick fast, because they didn't want to be caught having to say the next line of the song, even though they did really well. It was a lot of fun but definitely more rowdy than the signing part of the activity. I had to remind them that they couldn't just throw the stick to get it out of their hands when the song stopped. I also told the children that if they missed the line, we would start over from the very beginning. We never started over though, because they did pretty well.

Regarding the sign language, I studied the sign language for the song from several different sources, because of course, there are many different ways to sign a word and phrase.

I ended up relying the most heavily on these sources and using a mix:

1. Debra Woods' YouTube video about teaching the children "Choose the Right."
2. The official "Choose the Right" video. The church has all the Hymns and Children's Hymns in sign language online.
3. A friend who is not deaf but has an extensive deaf community of friends.
4. My own, more limited experience. I had many friends growing up that knew sign language because of a deaf girl in my stake, with whom I was also friends at one point, but when I was much younger.  I taught myself the sign alphabet in grade school out of the back of a Helen Keller book after reading it to myself. ;) I also know numerous other signs from having memorized many songs in sign over the years. I have enjoyed recognizing signs in various songs but refrained from overdoing it with showing children too many signs and songs at once, even if I know the signs to other songs. I want to keep things fresh for them.

I highly recommend this as a singing time lesson - it made learning these verses go by fast. When children forgot a line of the song, I hinted it by showing them the sign for it, and then they remembered it fast. It was great!

I should add that I had a couple of sunbeams and the next age up lost interest occasionally. For those children, I focused on just trying to get them to at least learn the phrase, "Choose the Right" and a few other signs that they tended to enjoy, like the action for "Peace in righteous doing" (signing the swinging of the arms for "doing"), by spending more time on those areas. I also found that if I walked right up to them while signing, they noticed the attention and began singing and signing again. The Sunbeams are so new to primary right now, that compared to past weeks, I felt they were quite intrigued overall.


  1. Thank you for this idea, it was a hit today with both junior and senior primary, the primary stake presidency was there today and was very impressed. When I told the president that this was only my 4 week as the chorister, she was shocked. They all enjoyed doing the American Sign Language! Thank you for your ideas and your posts!

  2. Thank you so much for letting me know that this post was helpful. I have never had the children learn a song so quickly and so well as the week I taught it to them in sign, even though this is longer song than most primary songs.