Friday, July 27, 2012

The Singing Time Olympics, Part II

This is the first week of the Singing Time Olympics, but the second post about it since I wanted to give folks that were interested in doing this a heads up. So, go to my previous post for my initial thoughts on this. I love this activity because I really think the kids will love it, you can tie it into the Olympics that are actually happening right now (I love watching the Olympics!), and you basically will have your next three Sundays planned out. Wa-hoo!

(I also did some pre-Olympic "training" activities on a previous Sunday, which you could work into one of your three Sundays.)

And now ... the Summer Singing Time Olympics 2012 begins!

(I took this pic after primary today ... the rest of this post was from before the Singing Time activity actually happened, but I can tell you that it went well, was a lot of fun, and gave me great ideas about what to work on with the children to improve how well they sing each of these songs.)

I will put up a poster board with the Olympic Rings, which I shared a few week ago (made by tracing lids with colored markers). I will also print up copies of the Olympic Rings to place around the room or on the judges' table for decor (found here:

I will act as both commentator and coach for the primary kids. (Maybe I will alternate between wearing an announcer tie and a coach whistle?) As the announcer, I will say something like,

"Thank you participants for your timely arrival at the 2012 Summer Singing Time Olympic Games. We appreciate your reverence as the judges for the Olympic games file in."

The judges will come in (holding clipboards?) and sit at a table that has been decorated with a table cloth, flowers(?), - whatever I can think of to make it look very official and "Olympics-ish." I made little name plates for them that say "Judge Smith," etc. I found a name plate template to save myself time in making these. Seriously, this part took me about three minutes - just long enough to Google a name plate, change the names in the template, print it out, and fold the paper.

I will then say something like, "And now, it is time for the Opening Ceremony, the passing of the Olympic Torch. Everyone, please stand as we sing [pick a song] and pass the torch across the room until we reach [choose the child nearest to the end on the front row]." (I will have time for this since I get the whole hour for primary this Sunday. If you don't, use one of your songs that you feel confident about, rather than using it for the judging portion of the activity.)

I will then have opening ceremonies - the passing of the torch. I will have everyone stand and we will pass the torch around the room until it gets placed in its honorary spot at the front of the room. While we are passing the torch, we will sing a song that is not on our program list.

Here's my torch. It took me less than a minute to make (once I had all the pieces in front of me ... so okay, two minutes)! So easy ...

How to make the torch
You'll need:
A paper towel roll, or if you don't have that, strong paper that you can roll into a funnel (e.g. roll up your junk mail!)
Red and orange issue paper or cellophane

I scrounged around the house to find these supplies so there's a lot you can substitute depending on what you have on hand. I took a paper towel roll, cut it straight down one side, then re-rolled it into more of a funnel shape. I then wrapped it in foil, placing the roll at an angle to the foil so that it took less foil to cover the material. I then stuffed one piece of tissue paper into a red cellophane bag. I then stuffed that cellphane bag into the foil-covered roll. That's it! So easy. I had planned to dig up orange tissue paper and wrap it in red tissue paper, but a red cellophane bag and gold tissue paper gave the same flame-like effective that I was seeking. The idea is to have a good visual but not spend a lot of money on materials. You can find stuff around your house.

How judging will work
I want to keep this pretty simple. I will have the children sing each of the songs that we are working on for the primary program, then have the judges hold up their scores after each song. I want to add a little anticipation here, with a bit of a drum roll, giving each judge time to hold up their cards individually so the children are not seeing all of the scores at once. The judges will then each have an opportunity to discuss why they awarded them with certain points, and to talk about where the children need to improve. I have seen all three of these judges give great feedback in ward choir so they will not need any coaching here on what type of feedback they can give to the children.

The judges' score cards
I will explain the score card to the children so that they will know how they are being judged. The judges will have a smaller copy of this on their own score cards, which I made for them in advance. Feel free to print my version out (you'll need two copies for each judge = six copies). You can just right click to save it to your computer, then print it. Or, post your email and I'll send you a file that you can easily print.

I have thought about having my score card add up to a total of 12 points but with the judges only awarding as much as 10 points. This way, the judges can mark the children down and discuss the areas they are being marked down for, but still give them a decent overall score. Right now though, I think I might just make the total 10 points. I will let judges know they can award 1/2 points and 1/4 points on their score card, but then ultimately round up when they choose what final score to hold up.

Scoring will be based on the following criteria. I found a nice scorecard on SugarDoodle, too, but it wasn't what I was looking for so I made my own version. I do want to
share that version though, as it has some fun ideas that I did not use but feel it's a shame not to know about for future reference. 
  • Memorization. How well do you know the song?  2 possible points.
  • Volume. How well can we hear you singing the song? 2 possible points.
  • Diction. How clearly can we hear the words of the song? 1 possible point.
  • Blending. How well are you blending your voice with the person next to you? 1 possible point.
  • Reverence. How reverent is the primary room as a whole? (e.g., standing still, not talking to neighbors, enjoying the music) 2 possible points.
  • Other. The judges will use their discretion to judge for other qualities in a good choir, e.g., standing still, smiling, overall sounding great - whatever they want to throw in. 2 possible points.
I thought about having each judge score on different things but I think it will be more fun to anticipate how each judges score compared to each other. They can talk beforehand and agree to keep it within a certain range if they are worried about being way off from each other.

I also wanted to leave plenty of room on the page for judges to jot down notes.

Guide for the judges
I am also going to print out a little mini-instruction sheet for the judges. Something to the effect of:
1. You can award 1/2 points and 1/4 points, but for your final score, be sure to round up. Note that each item (like "memory") has a total amount of points that you can award per song.
2. Please jot any notes along the sides of the paper or in the score boxes to help me know what to work on with the children next week.
3. Wait for me to ask you to hold up your score cards.
4. I will ask each judge to explain their scores to the children and give them advice on how they can improve as they sing that song.

Holding up their Olympic scores
I think it would be cheaper to use a hollow font or just write out the numbers with a permanent marker but I wanted things to look very official for effect so I created numbers in PowerPoint. Obviously, you can do this in Word as well. I was planning to put a border around the numbers. I happened to forget until after I printed the pages. Oh well.

The Olympic Games Continue ... (Weeks 2 and 3)

For Week 2 of the Olympic games:
We will review where children need to improve their songs, but I will tie this into some fun Olympic games of some sort, like "Pass the Torch." (I just made that up so I don't know the rules yet.)

For Week 3 of the Olympic games:
I will have the judges return, judge them again, and this time, award them with higher scores. They will then receive gold medals for their improvements. (See my previous post. I did a lot of comparison shopping and ultimately bought 72 medals for only about $23. Cheaper than making them unless I went ultra, ultra, ultra cheap and had medals made out of paper, I guess.)

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