Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith, week 2

I attended our annual stake primary conference earlier this week and left feeling renewed and inspired. It makes me sad that so few choristers attend. They are really missing out on a great opportunity to exchange ideas. There is always room to improve and grow.

I exchanged ideas with the only other woman that attended and with our stake primary leader. I loved seeing how we had different versions of the same basic concept, and I want to try every version.

I also had a nice reminder of some wonderful things to remember when you are teaching music in primary:

1. Pray always
2. You are the best visual aid, not your props
3. Get down on their level, especially in Junior Primary
4. Don't try to do sharing time. Do singing time!

So some of my idea exchanges that I am thinking about for Sunday:

To practice the lyrics in Junior Primary, one chorister will let children raise their hands to have a ball thrown to them, and then say the next line of the song. She says they love it, although it's funny how many of them will raise their hand because they want the ball, even if they don't remember the next line. I might try that in primary Sunday to review the first two verses that we learned last week.

This reminded me of how I like to play pass the [insert object here] and have the pianist stop playing. Whomever is holding the object has to tell the next line of the song, or get help from the person on either side of them.

Mainly, though, since I enjoy making creative visuals, it was nice to be reminded that WE are our best visual - moving our bodies, interacting with the children, etc. So, with that in mind, this Sunday, I am going to go back to an old standby that I have done with two other songs (last year). I am going to have the children help me make up motions to remember each verse of the song.

Make Your Own Song Motions
Last year, I had people show motions from their chairs and just picked someone's motion and showed it to everyone. Another time, I had children raised hands and selected them. This time, I think I'll ask some questions, and if they answer correctly, have them show us a motion related to the song. Sometimes the motions are too random though, so I'll be prepared to influence them if necessary.

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith - maybe point upward or hold my arms out
And from the ground he took - lean forward and scoop something off the ground
A sacred record hidden there - pretend to hold a book, closed
A precious, holy book - pretend to open a book
It tells of people long ago - Look far away and move your hands karate boy style "wax on, wax off"
Led by the Lord's own hand - hold one hand in the other
Who left their homes and crossed the sea - form waves, like in "book of mormon stories song"
To reach a favored land - Hold one arm out like showing a land ...

I have done this in Junior and Senior, but it is hard to keep track of two different sets of motions for each class, so this time, I think I'll have Junior make up the motions for verses 1 and 2. Then, I'll show those motions to Senior. Then, I'll have Senior add 3 and 4. Then, I'll show those motions to Junior. I'll just go with the flow but I like back-up plans to help me flow better :)

One other thought I had - was simply assigning each class to discuss the motion they wanted to do for each line. Then I could have them come up and demonstrate their line of the song. Then, while they are up, I will ask them a question about their line of the song, to help everyone remember and learn what they are singing about.

So, if I go that route, the questions I would ask are:

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith - What was the name of the Angel (Moroni)
And from the ground he took - What did he take from the ground (the Gold Plates)
A sacred record hidden there - What do we know the sacred record as (The Book of Mormon)
A precious, holy book - Where is the book now? (Hidden away.)
It tells of people long ago - What people did it tell of?
Led by the Lord's own hand - Name an object that the Lord used to lead people, that was like a compass (Liahona)
Who left their homes and crossed the sea - Where did Lehi's family go (The promised land)
To reach a favored land - What is the name of the land today?

Had peace when they obeyed the Lord - What does this picture represent? (The Anti-Nephite-Lehis, a name given to the Lamanites who were converted by the sons of Mosiah, as they buried their weapons. Learn more here.)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Introducing "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith"

This has been a crazy, busy week, so I have not had much time to prepare introducing "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith."

I saved this song to start teaching this week because this is the week that the presidency member starts teaching the Joseph Smith lesson as well!

I thought about simply teaching from the wonderful images I found in the LDS Gospel Art Kit and put into a flip chart. I could have the children help me to tell the stories. However, I have done similar things recently, and I always want to give the children a lot of variety so they look forward to singing time.

My inspiration came from the 2007 Friend, from a talk by Elder Mark E. Petersen that was quoted in the 2007 Friend, From the Pearl of Great Price, and from the Book of Mormon. I've put all the specific source credit at the bottom of this post but first, what I have planned:

1. I'll place the "Gold Plates" in a box under a blanket so it is partially buried. I made my own gold plates that are fairly true to size using cardboard and gold spray paint but if I didn't have this, I would have just used one of the books on my shelf that was about the same in dimensions (7 inches x 8 inches, and about 6 inches tall).


Gold Plates - I just used spray gold spray paint ($3.50) to spray paint some cardboard.

2. I'll display the picture of Joseph Smith being visited by two personages (which is in my flipchart that I made last week) and talk about how this is one of the most recognized pictures of Joseph Smith, and just touch on this part of the story lightly and quickly. While I did re-read Joseph Smith's history to teach this lesson, there is a great summary that can help you touch on this lightly in a more concise manner, in the 2001 Friend. I might just ask children to raise their hands and help summarize the story, depending on what feels right at the time. We did not have much time to teach this during the regular lesson time because of General Conference and the following week's testimony meeting going long, which is why I want to be sure to touch on this now.

I'll tell them we're going to learn a new song today that is about some important work that Joseph Smith did, and how that work blessed us.

I'll tell them that this song is unique in that the rhythm changes several times throughout the song, and ask them to listen very closely. I will have the pianist play the entire song. I will then ask them to listen again and try to clap and follow the unique rhythm. I will do it one more time if they aren't following very well and clapping together very well.

This is where Senior and Junior go in two directions.

a. In Junior Primary I'll tell them:

After Joseph Smith was first visited by Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son, life went back to normal in some ways. He went on with helping his family farm, and he told people about the visit, but most people either didn't believe him or were angry with him, or both. Then, one night, an angel visited him.

Q: Does anyone know the name of the angel that visited him?
A: Moroni

Q: Can anyone tell me what the angel told him?
A: The angel told Joseph Smith that there was a book hidden in the ground that told about people that had lived here on earth before him. He told Joseph Smith about the book, and that they could not be shown to anyone.

The angel Moroni came and told Joseph this three times that night. The next day, Joseph visited the place where Moroni had shown in a vision that the plates were located but  Joseph had to wait for four years until the angel would let him take the plates out of the ground. He was about 21 when Moroni told him he could take the gold plates out of the ground.

I'll then have a boy come up to the class "dig" the box out of a blanket, open the box, and take the plates out. I'll explain that these "plates" are about true to size, and show them how the pages were thin, like tinfoil, which I will hold up as an example:

I"ll read to them this quote from Elder Mark E. Petersen:

The book was of metal having the appearance of gold. It consisted of metallic pages as thin as common tin. Each page measured about seven by eight inches [18 by 20 cm], and all were bound together at the back with metal rings which allowed the pages to be turned over easily. The book was about six inches [15 cm] thick. Each page was covered on both sides with ancient writing in small but beautifully engraved characters. The book lay in a stone box which had protected it from the elements for centuries. …

I will show them a stone box as an example and explain that in ancient times, they were not uncommon:

I'll then show them page 1 of the flip chart and sing that line of the song for them once, reminding them to listen carefully to the unique rhythm of the song. Then, I'll have them sing it with me twice.

I will then introduce to them the second verse of the song and have them sing that with me as well. If there is time, I'll talk about that verse as well.

b. In Senior Primary, I'll ask them if they can identify the song by the tune.

I will let them guess and identify it if they can.

Then, I will put up some word in random order: Moroni, Hill Cumorah, Nephites, and Book of Mormon.

The next part of this lesson is word per word from the 2007 Friend:

Tell the children that this song is about these four things, but none of these words is mentioned in the
song. Ask them to help you put the wordstrips in the same order that the song is in. Sing the song for them and then ask which wordstrip comes first. Because the first phrase is “an angel came to Joseph Smith,” the correct wordstrip is “Moroni.” Have the children sing that phrase with you. Sing the song three more times, putting one wordstrip in place each time. Explain that Joseph Smith took the gold plates from Hill Cumorah, that the plates are a record of the Nephites, and that the precious, holy book is the Book of Mormon. Because the song is short, sing the entire song each time that you ask a question.

Once we have gone through all the word strips, I'll put the flip chart up for them to see.

Then, time pending, I'll go back and review some specific details of the song with them, regarding the Book of Mormon.

From Joseph Smith History, I'll have them look up 1:30, 34. I'll also have someone help read the quote from Elder Petersen that I mentioned in the Junior Primary lesson.

If there is more time, I'll look up other scriptures that describe other lines of the song with them, and that go with the flip chart:

  • 1 Nephi 18: 22-23 - about going to the promised land (vs. 2 of the song)
  • 4 Nephi 1: 15-17 - about how there was no contention in the land (vs.3 of the song)
We will end by singing the song again.

I will bear my testimony. I know that Joseph Smith was lead to the Gold Plates, and that the Gold Plates tell the stories in the Book of Mormon, that it is a second witness of our Savior. 

Additional Source Information/instruction:

From the 2007 Friend:
"1. ... Using questions and answers as well as pictures from the Gospel Art Picture
Kit, present the story of the Restoration of the gospel. Use Elder Mark E.
Petersen’s talk “More than a Farm Boy” (New Era, Dec. 2004, 33) to add
details to the story. For example, ask the children how big they think
the gold plates were. To illustrate the size of the gold plates, simulate
them by using paper that has the same dimensions. (Approximately 7 x
8 inches [18 x 20 cm] and 6 inches [15 cm] thick.) Ask what kind of box
would protect the plates from the weather for hundreds of years (a stone
box). Ask what we call the record that Moroni gave to Joseph Smith (the
Book of Mormon). Consider teaching “An Angel Came to Joseph Smith” (p. 86). You can
use the song to either present the story of the Restoration or to review
the story."

"5. Song presentation: “An Angel Came to Joseph Smith” (p. 86).
Before teaching this song, practice conducting the unique rhythm. Post
the following wordstrips in random order—“Moroni,” “Hill Cumorah,”
“Nephites,” and “Book of Mormon.” Tell the children that this song is
about these four things, but none of these words is mentioned in the
song. Ask them to help you put the wordstrips in the same order that
the song is in. Sing the song for them and then ask which wordstrip
comes first. Because the first phrase is “an angel came to Joseph Smith,”
the correct wordstrip is “Moroni.” Have the children sing that phrase with
you. Sing the song three more times, putting one wordstrip in place each
time. Explain that Joseph Smith took the gold plates from Hill Cumorah,
that the plates are a record of the Nephites, and that the precious, holy
book is the Book of Mormon. Because the song is short, sing the entire
song each time that you ask a question. Bear testimony that the story
told in the song is true."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

An Angel Came to Joseph Smith flip chart

I am teaching Mother's Day songs this week but next Sunday I will start teaching "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith."

In preparation I made this flip chart, which took me a very long time to make, I should add ... they don't always take me this long but I had very specific images in mind for each line, and some of them were tough to find.

I love all the stories behind each image, and plan to discuss some of them with the children as appropriate. For example, I love the image of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies burying their weapons to honor peace and how I can talk about the cycle that we see in the scriptures of how the people were blessed when they sought peace and listened to the Lord's commandments.

Let me know if you have difficulty downloading the flip chart. If you do, and send me your contact info, I can email it to you.

Download the flip chart.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Preparing for Mother's Day (I'll teach it now, then only need to lightly touch on it for upcoming weeks.)

I will spend this Sunday working on Mother's Day song, before moving back into my regular monthly song plans for the remainder of the month.

As I mentioned before, I chose:

  • I Think the World is Glorious - This song is not only appropriate to honor our Fathers and Mothers but it fits in very well with the message from "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," and Spring in general.

  • Mother Dear  - I wanted to sing one blatantly obvious Mother's Day song, and this is among my top three favorites.

We already started learning the first song the last few weeks, and the second song is more of a review. So, this Sunday's focus is:

1. Review verse 1 of "I Think the World is Glorious."
2. Learn verse 2 of "I Think the World is Glorious."
3. Review "Mother Dear."

I Think the World is Glorious

1. Put up my poster from last week and sing the song one time through - no fancy tricks. Just sing it one time through. It's a short verse. Review any problem areas briefly.

2. Introduce second verse. I'll play "What's different with this poster?" and have added the additional items that represent the new line in the second verse. There is only ONE new line in the second verse so that will be the very simple addition to learn verse 2. Once the children identify the pictures, I'll tell them the line - or I'll sing the line and then have them identify the pictures.

3. To review the entire song a few times I will put objects in a bag that represent objects in the song. Whatever a child draws out of the bag is how we have to sing the song:

Blossoms - sing like a blossom blowing in the wind. Discuss how that would sound - smooth. Have them move their bodies like bodies in the wind.

Bees - sing in a silly buzzing voice

Birds - have them sing back and forth like birds chattering to one another

Teachers - sing with their arms folded, very reverently

Parents - pat each other on the back as you sing

Mother Dear
I will review Mother Day with the big, colorful cut-outs I made for a previous Mother's Day and attached to magnets. I usually go for something more elaborate but the kids loved the big, bright colors, especially junior primary of course.

I will take advantage of the magnets on the back and just put these all over the room and maybe even underneath chairs. The children will be asked to look for the parts of the song and put them up as we sing them a few times.

Up next: I just finished a flip chart for "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith" and will be posting it in the next few days.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Singing Time - "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet"

I just wanted to remind everyone that the Primary Lesson Manual for 2013 gives suggestions on how to teach a song that you may want to use for one of the "your choice" songs. These hints do not have to apply only to the song they use, "We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet," (Hymns, no. 19). If I were teaching this song, I would adapt this for junior primary by putting an image next to each word strip.

Personally, after much thought, prayer, and conversation with my primary president, I chose:
Page 86 - "An Angel Came to Joseph Smith" (Related well to April and May themes; will teach this one in April)
Page 142 - "Every Star is Different" (Related well to overall theme; will teach this one in May, with June as a back-up, since the children know the June song very well, having sung it in the primary program last year.)
I will be posting about teaching these two songs soon of course, but I may focus only on teaching Mother's Day songs this coming Sunday ... post to come by the end of the week.

View the below instructions online: make sure to go to page 11 or click on the below image to see a larger view. This comes from the LDS 2013 primary sharing time manual: