Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Nephi's Courage" Song Review and Learning "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man"

[Update - added green poster picture for the Wise Man song, and new comments in italics ...]

I would like to continue learning/reviewing "Nephi's Courage" this Sunday, since I just introduced it/reintroduced in last Sunday. I also plan to introduce the July theme song, "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man," since I believe I will have time for both.

Nephi's Courage
I will simply use the same actions as I did last week, which I basically let the children help invent. I only made it through the first two verses for junior primary, so I will have them help me make up the motions for the third verse, too.

To keep things interesting and fresh for this song, for the "I Will Go and Do" part of the song where I have them swing their arms back and forth (a motion I picked up from SugarDoodle), I will have them actually stand up and march back and forth across their own row. I will have them practice marching to the beat to the rhythm of the song though, to get them to thing about how some notes are longer and some are shorter. I think I will have them clap out that part of the song to help them recognize how they will have to march carefully to march to the right beat.

I also plan to talk about President Monson's quote about Nephi's Courage to help the children to further think about this song and what it means to obey the commandments and trust in the Lord.

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man
I found really fun flip charts that a previous chorister had made, where she (or he?) glued cotton balls (for clouds) and other three-dimension objects to boards, and then to paint sticks, depicting the story of the wise man and the foolish man. I want to take advantage of these, even though the children love the motions for this song but there's so much I could do with this song that I will have to be careful about watching the time. Here's the plan:

1. Read the scriptures for this song. (Matthew 7:24-27). Ask the children to identify what song we are singing based on this scripture.

2. Talk about what this scripture means. Have them also read Helaman 5:12. I am considering telling my own story or finding one on that might make them relate better to the wise man and the foolish man in their own context, that goes with this scripture. I may do that instead, or in addition to, but right now, I have drawn a picture of a house with a foundation, so that I can talk about how we literally build our houses upon the a rock (and not on a sand) and then talk about the foundations in our own lives.

I ended up switching how I presented the pictures I dug up around the Internet. I talked about how the silhouette in the middle is "YOU" the child, read Helaman 5:12 a second time and asked children who the foundation (the ROCK that the wise man built on) was (answer: our Savior), and pointed out how our foundation helps us combat the storms that the devil throws our way. I then asked them to think about how we are the wise man building our house on a rock, and to sing the song again. I had several teachers comment that they appreciated helping make this song meaningful, beyond it being a fictional story about a wise man with a house.

Use visuals to help the children see the foundations in our own lives. If you comment with your email address below, I'll email you the PDF of these pictures that I gathered around the Internet.

Examples of GOOD foundation:

Examples of a bad foundation:
(The duplicate picture is because I plan to use the silhouette of the child as the "house" and the other pictures as the foundation.)

3. If time, hand out the flip chart pages of the song to children to hold up for the rest of the class, and sing the song.

4. Get the children out of order and see if they get in the right order while we sing the song again.

5. Sing the song again, this time with the standard hand motions for this song.

My Testimony
Ever since our stake primary chorister reminded me, I have been trying to bear my testimony at the end of each sing time lesson. I don't always do it, but I will try to feel the spirit of the Lord and share a heartfelt testimony. I want the children to love the music and love the gospel it teaches them, the way I love it and the way it helps my own testimony of our loving father in heaven and his plans for us.

Next Week ...
Stay tuned. I am super excited about the various singing review activities I have coming up for the next five Sundays. That's right, I already have a whole month planned out. I am trying to time around Pioneer Day, the Olympics, and a general need to review all the songs we have learned since we have not had a chance to sing some of the songs for many Sundays now.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Learning "Nephi's Courage"

I am finally teaching "Nephi's Courage" this Sunday. I did not have time until now because I wanted to prepare for singing during Sacrament on Father's Day, and then I wanted to do a specific Father's Day singing time activity where we sang other songs. We sang a song that we had not sung in several months yesterday ("Listen with My Heart"), and junior primary had clearly forgotten most of it, so it was a good reminder to try to bring back older songs. I will make a new flip chart for that song to review it too, since I don't have the original flip chart (a different chorister taught it).

I was a primary teacher several years ago when the primary chorister taught "Nephi's Courage," and I remember really loving this song. I'm honored that I get to teach it again. I can't remember what the previous chorister did to teach it, but since I know that at least the senior primary remembers this song, I will have a "What Song Am I?" game. The children should be able to guess this song, since they have sung it before. I expect Senior Primary will catch on faster since they just need a memory jolt, so in their case, I'll plan to do all three verses and add some more fun to it. :)

What Song Am I? Pop the Balloon game
I will put these clues in each balloon, which the children then get to choose and pop with a pin.
1. A scripture that describes part of the song (1 Nephi 3:7)
2. Play the first few notes of the song
3. Name the "characters" of the song and ask them if they recognize what song features these historical figures
4. Describe what principle the song teaches (following the Lord's commandments and having faith in the Lord)
5. A picture that depicts the song

To Introduce the Words of the Song
1. I will talk about the story of Nephi getting the brass plate (possibly have them read more verses), then quote from this article by President Monson.
2. I will ask anyone that knows it to go ahead and sing it with me.
3. I will sing it with the piano one time through so they can hear the story, holding up pictures that go with the song so that the children also have the visual. I will ask them to listen carefully and see if they can answer three questions. (Ask them upfront)

(I will do one verse at a time and only go to verse 2 and 3 if we finish memorizing verse 1 early. Half the song is the chorus so I'll be happy to have them memorize the first two lines and the chorus initially.)
  • What did the Lord ask Nephi to do?
  • Where did Nephi have to go to see Laban? (Inside what?)
  • Who was afraid?

4. I will sing it again and ask the children to tell me how Nephi responded to the Lord's commandments  I will remind anyone that knows the song to sing it with me.

  • Does Nephi say he will obey the Lord's commands or that he won't?
  • Why is Nephi 

4. I will sing it again and ask them to count how many different people are mentioned in the story. (By the way, if you don't want to make your own flip charts, there's a great one on SugarDoodle, here. I happen to have some that a previous chorister made - wa-hoo, flip-chart making break so I'm going to use that one this time.)

Skit the Following Sunday
I would like the children to do a skit with this song, but I think I will focus on learning the basic first. Maybe I will show them some motions and tell them that they are learning the motions for a skit that we will do next week. I think I can round up enough "Nephi" clothes from neighbors.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Song Review and Father's Day

Last week, I prepared the kids to sing for Father's Day by doing something very similar to what I did for a Mother's Day song review.

This week, I am going to do a Father's Day activity that I found online at Priming Singing Time. The blogger says, "This year I walked around the building taking pictures of Dad's hands and writing down their favorite primary song.  It's really easy and you can show the pictures on a laptop or tablet, or print them out.  The idea is to have the kids guess who's hands they are, and see if they can recognize their own Dad's hands."

Rather than choosing random fathers in the ward, I took pictures of the primary teachers who are men since I didn't want to worry about primary children being upset that their dad was included in the mix.

This way, I have some fathers, grandfathers, and those who plan to be fathers one day in the mix. I kept a notepad with me and wrote down the name of the favorite song and the name of the teacher so that I could keep all of my pictures in order. 

Since I just took pictures of one hand, in most cases, I encouraged the father to use the hand with a watch or wedding ring so that it was more distinctive. I guess I could have done what the original blogger did, and take pictures of both hands at once, but honestly, it just didn't occur to me at the time.

I asked each teacher their favorite primary song, and then made sure to create flip charts for the songs that were selected that we have not sung in a while, or that I'm not even sure if the children know. I am keeping things fun by presenting each song in different ways.

For example, I drew onto a poster board for "I Wonder When He Comes Again,":

I also cut out a flip chart I found on SugarDoodle and made it into a poster (because I have so many flip charts). This is for "I Lived in Heaven."

There are so many great flip charts online. I sometimes don't particularly love a picture so I'll make my own, or mix mine with someone else's flip chart. In this case, I liked this flip chart for a "Child's Prayer" but I wanted the words on there since I know I won't have time to teach the songs this week. So, I just made some adjustments to add the words. (Thanks to Carrie on SugarDoodle for the original flipchart.)

I already had materials for some of the other songs that fathers selected, so I was able to save time on not having to make those ones again.

For instance, I have had the children sing, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission," before using these objects:

I am super excited that one of the father selected "I Am Like a Star." This is such a short song that they will learn it fast, with some fun motions, or with sign language. I am debating which to do right now.

There are some other songs on the list as well ... looking forward to a fun Sunday!