I want to do something different this year, so here's this year's version for learning this song. First, you need a flipchart for this song. If you send me your email address, I'll send you my flip chart, but there are several really great ones online already (this song lends itself to great flip charts). Just do a search for "He Sent His Son flipchart" and you will find a good flipchart within your first five search results.
1. First, play "guess that song." To minimize on prep work this time, I will just have the pianist play the first few notes of the song and ask hands to go up as they recognize the song, until every hand in the room is up. Then, I will ask children to raise both their hands if they want me to call on them to name the song. (Update: I added more "guess that song" clues in a 2013 blog post.)
2. Next, tell the children we are going to play a little game with the pictures for this song, so they need to pay careful attention to how each line of the song is shown in pictures. Put up the song again, but this time show the words for the teachers. Sing it one time through.
3. Before primary, cut out several copies of each picture that correspond to the lines of the song. The quickest way to do this is by opening your flipchart, and then in printer settings selecting to print 4 pages per sheet so that you can print multiple versions at a consistent miniature size.
4. Tape each picture under a chair so that different children in each class receive different pictures. This makes it fun for them because they get to look for a little surprise.
5. Ask children to listen carefully so they know when to hold up the picture that corresponds to the line of the song.
The idea here is that children will listen closely and participate because they want to hear their part of the song and hold up their papers. I tried this with holding up the CTR shield when we learned "Choose the Right," and the kids really paid attention, so I am expecting this to work, from past experience.
6. If there is time, have the children trade pictures with someone nearby them, so that they are now listening for a different line of the song to hold up.
Another, easier alternative to the same activity is to give each class the same picture, and teach them their line. This way, the rest of the class hears the line and is "accidentally" learning it, and we'll learn the whole song! I learned the trick about teaching each class one line at a time from my neighbor, Melanie, who has been a primary music teacher.
In the following weeks, I will detail this out more, but I plan to continue to include this song in the music/lesson plan and implement:
- The standard, cover up a picture as you go game, which I have not done in a long time, and works great.
- Discussing the lyrics of the song, including looking up scriptures that go with each line. I want to find stories about our Savior that have pictures that I can talk to, to help the children remember the significance of the words they are singing. I will tie that into being thankful for Thanksgiving.