Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Teacher: Teaching "Shine On"

For Ward Conference last Sunday, the Stake Relief Society Primary Presidency came and taught our primary lesson and music lesson. I love watching them in action. It's amazing that they can teach so much in so little time. I feel like it's difficult to make time for one presidency member to teach the lesson and for me to teach the music.

They teach the way I believe is recommended by the church, but rarely implemented because it is so difficult to coordinate and plan this out every single Sunday, where you go back and forth between lessons and music. I have done this a few times in the past but it is generally easier to teach my whole section at once ...

The main song that our stake primary chorister, Megan T., taught, was a lovely song called "Shine On." She implemented several teaching techniques (including a couple I was planning for Easter Sunday!) but here's a highlight of what I remember a week later. I should have written this down the day of so there may be some slight inaccuracies but this is basically how it went.


1. First, she did an activity that encouraged them to listen to the words of the song. She did this differently in junior primary vs. senior primary.

Junior Primary: She said this song talks about a special kind of light. In fact, I think she may not have even said it was a light, but to listen carefully to something she describes three times. She then sang the first verse (without the chorus line), A cappella (without the piano). (If I did this, I would either sing it with the piano, or in my early days, pass out the music to the teachers and ask them to sign with me.)

She then asked the children to list the kinds of light. Some children raised their hand but their answers were wrong, so she said something encouraging and then asked them to listen again.

Senior Primary: She said this song talks about something important and the answer happens to this beat, and clapped out the beat of the song, which is the same for each of these lines.

She then asked the children to list the answers that came on that beat. I can't remember if the children were able to get at least one answer, but regardless, she said she'd do it for them again.

2. Second, she sang the song again and asked the children to listen carefully. This again of course encouraged the children to listen carefully.

In Junior, each child that answered the question correctly was called to the front of the room, and asked to make up an action that described the kind of light that they identified. In our class, this translated to:

"My light is but a little one" - everyone crouched down into a tiny ball

"My light of faith and prayer" - everyone folded their arms reverently

"It glows like God's great sun" - everyone held their arms up like a giant sun

In Senior, she clapped and said the words more emphatically the second time to help them catch the key points of the song.

3. The third time, we all sang the song together now that Junior and Senior primary both knew the lines after hearing them twice.

4. She then moved onto the chorus line. She said that this part would tell us to do something, and we would know what because she would say it over and over. She than sang it (again A cappella) and asked us to listen closely. Afterward, she had the children raise their hands and tell us what phrase she had said over and over. She then asked "What does it mean to 'shine on,' and talked us about that for a bit.

5. Next, she had us listen and tell us how many times she sang "Shine on." She did this twice in junior primary because they all gave different numbers.

6. Next, Megan showed the children how she wanted them to clap their hands together and then burst them outward like a sun, first one row, then the next, so that the song would grow in volume until the end. In Junior Primary, she asked, "What do you think will happen if one row sings the first time, then two rows, etc." In Senior Primary, she asked a girl that she knew could play the piano what it was called to get louder and louder, or something to that effect. Once again, asking questions helps children to pay attention and learn faster by keeping them engaged and making them think.

7. We then sang the chorus with each row adding onto the previous row.

8. We then sang the song all the way through - completely memorized by then.

1. My light is but a little one,
My light of faith and prayer;
But lo! it glows like God’s great sun,
For it was lighted there.
Shine on, shine on, shine on bright and clear;
Shine on, shine on now the day is here.
Words and music: Joseph Ballantyne, 1868–1944

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