Saturday, June 22, 2013

Learning a New Song (Every Star is Different) with Stars and Singing Bricks

Whew. Crazy week. I have been a bit slow on the singing time blog this week because of my other calling, as Girl's Camp director. I returned yesterday from a week of fun, sun, and feeling close to my Heavenly Father in a place where I can get away from worldly distractions. I loved being there with the girls in my ward that are beautiful on the inside and out - some I've known since they were in primary with me!

This week, I am excited to teach "Every Star is Different" to the primary on Sunday. This is one of the optional songs that I chose for the program this year. I have a reading-based lesson for Senior Primary so I am going to teach this song in a different way for Junior Primary. Both groups, however, will start with an introduction. Whatever we don't have time to get to this Sunday will be carried over into the following Sunday.

Introduce the Song
For Junior and Senior Primary I will play a "What Song Am I?"' game. I'll put stars on the board and have a child choose one. The children may not know this song at all so the point isn't necessarily to have them correctly guess the song, so much as learn about the song.

Each star will have a different hint:

1. Play one measure of the song
2. Play another measure of the song.
3. The music for this song was written in 1939, but the words weren't written until 1951.
4. The man that wrote the music for this song, K. Newell Dayley, also wrote the music for other popular church songs, like, "Lord, I would Follow Thee," and "I Feel My Savior's Love."

I couldn't find any additional information about the writer of the music - so if anyone knows more, please let me know! I found the information about Dayley on wikipedia.

Junior Primary
I will pass out some stars I found at teaching supplies store and ask each child to take one minute and draw a face onto their star.

After the children are done drawing, I will gather all the pens, then ask all of the children to hold their stars up and look around at each other's stars.

I will ask, "Are any two stars that you children drew on exactly the same?"

I will talk about how no two stars are identical, just as no two children are the same. We are all children of our Father in Heaven, and he loves each and every one of us. He gave us different talents, and different families on earth. Some of us like to raise our hands and answer questions, and some of us are shy. Some of us are good at listening and some of us are good at talking, etc.

1. I will then sing the song and ask them to listen carefully so they can tell me what the song is about. I will ask them to hold up their "star" whenever they hear the word "star."
2. I will then ask children what the word "bright" means ("filled with light," "reflecting light") and discuss that with them.
3. I will sing the song again and ask them to count how many times they hear the word "bright." Depending on time, I may just work on the chorus line.

Senior Primary
1. I will start out with introducing the song, as mentioned above.

2. I will then have the children listen to the entire song without the words and ask them to raise their hand when they think they hear a big shift in melody of the song. I will have the pianist give an example of when the melody changes in a song, e.g., ...

3. Next, I will sing the song for them and tell them there are three words that are used a lot and ask them to listen for the three words (star, shining, brightly).

4. Next, I will put the words up on the board and have them sing the song with them. Then, we'll move into the singing bricks: I stumbled on this post and loved this idea posted in 2009 for singing bricks.
a. Write all of the words of a song on different colored "bricks."
b. A child comes up and chooses a lego from a sack. You remove all the words on papers that are the same colors as the bricks.
c. Children sing the song with those words missing.
d. Continue until the entire song is memorized!

Brilliant, simple, and fun!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Singing Time - Moving the Kids Around

I meant to post this last week (wrote it, never hit "Publish") ...

I strayed quite a bit from my original plans last week just based on time and what felt right, so I wanted to share a bit because it was a lot of fun and no prep time.

The intent last week was to review songs that they would be singing today in Sacrament. I didn't want the kids getting restless and bored so I made one simple change to give it a different feel: I had them stand up and move to the front of the room and pretend that we were in the chapel, then sing the song. I particularly wanted them to do this because we are singing "Love is Spoken Here" today so I wanted them to practice standing with all boys together, and all girls together. I think feeling like they were doing something different kept them interested and motivated.

Then, I had someone in the primary presidency walk down the hallway. The kids could see her walking down the hallway since they were now facing the back of the room. I told them that if they sang loudly enough, she might walk right out of the church building because she was going to keep walking until she couldn't hear them anymore. It was so fun, and the kids sang with SO MUCH VOLUME!

I also played my go-to echo game, except that rather than moving the kids to each corner of the room, I just sang two measures of the song, had half the room echo the same two measures of the song, and then had the second half of the room echo the same two measures of the song again. This meant one echo less, but more volume per echo. I chose this for a quick way to re-teach a song in Junior Primary and review a song they learned a year ago in Senior Primary.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Last practice before Father's Day (Re- Learning "The Dearest Names" and reviewing "Love is Spoken Here")

6/9/ a.m. update - Sorry - a little slow on updates this month. I know I have left some holes with "TBD" unfinished that I just barely filled in. Please bear with me. I am the Girl's Camp director this year, too, and Girl's Camp is coming up soon :)

While the Senior Primary knows "Love is Spoken Here," the Junior Primary does not know it quite as well. So, in Junior Primary, after ensuring the children knew the lyrics for "Love is Spoken Here," I then explained to them how to sing the song as a duet. I was surprised and pleased by how joyfully they sang - they sat with their backs straight, totally intent, and SANG their little hearts out.

The next day, a friend of mine emailed me and told me about a little moment that happened while she was talking to her daughter on Sunday. The girl is about 5. This is her third year in Junior Primary. My friend said,

"She started humming and then she burst out, 'Mom, we sang the most beautiful song today in primary!'  She was talking about 'Love is Spoken Here.'"  

The girl then explained to her mom the fun way we sang the song (which is the traditional way - girls, then boys, then everyone.)

I wanted to share that moment because it was so beautiful and perfect.

This week's lesson plan
1. Teach "The Dearest Names." The children learned it last year so they just need a brush-up.
2. Review "Love is Spoken Here."

First song - "Dearest Names"

Junior Primary
1. Tell the children there is a word I am going to say over and over again in the song. Ask them to listen closely and tell me the word. (Name) If the children don't know the answer, sing the song again and have them listen again.
2. Next, ask the children to listen carefully and tell me how many times I say the word, "Names."
3. By now, they should be able to sing with me. Ask them to stand up and sit back down every time I say the word "Name."
4. There are three words used to describe Father (Noble, Brave, and True). Show them a motion to remember them and have them act it out every time we get to that point in the song. If time, discuss what Noble, Brave, and True mean.
5. Play a volume game to see how loudly they can sing the song. Either have a teacher walk down the hallway to show how loudly they are singing, or make a little volume meter you can use to show them how loudly they sang that song. Have a primary counselor adjust the volume to show the loudness on the meter.

- OR -

If I don't have enough time, I might just play an echo game. I sing a line, then one side of the room echoes the same line, then the other side of the room echos the same line again. This repetition will help them remember the lines more quickly. To make this more interesting, I could even make up a fun action for me, and for one side of the room, and for the other side of the room. Or, I could throw in some questions from above and mix them with the echo game.

Senior Primary
1. The children know this song and just need a review from last year, so first, I'll just sing it for them and ask them to join me if they remember the lines of the song.

2. Snap, clap rhythm game. I have done this several times before but couldn't find a previous post about it. I think I may have tagged this post badly. So, to explain it again:

a. One side of the room will be the beat of the song, which they will do by representing each note in a measure with a different motion. "Dearest Names" works if I treat it as 3/4 time so that means 3 different notes/actions per measure: hands on lap, then clap, then snap: I (slap hands onto lap), Know (clap), A (snap), Name (slap hands onto lap) (clap) , a  (snap), glor- (hands on lap), io (clap), ous (snap), etc.
b. The other side of the room will be the rhythm of the song, basically clapping their hands to the melody line of the song.
c. Switch and then have the other side do the same thing.

Second song - "Love is Spoken Here"

I didn't have time to make the volume meter like I described below, so instead, I want to ask a leader to leave the church building with a ball of yarn and tell us how far away she was able to walk before she could no longer hear us. She can come back and show us how much yarn it took! The object here is to encourage the children to sing loudly.

Both Junior and Senior Primary now this song now so I think I just want to sing it a couple of times, maybe with a Volume Meter and a Mumble Meter. I have an idea of how to make one with a strip of paper you can pull up ... so I'll post it and make a note that I've updated this post when I make it. That might not be until Saturday thoguh. I started thinking I could make funny pictures, but then the more I think about it now, the more I think that I like the reminder from Henkel House in the comments section a couple of posts ago, about how she made a super simple visual that was a big hit. I think I just want to focus on a big strip of color and big, fun meters, thermometer-style. I am basing this on things I remember vaguely from when I was in elementary school - definitely not a new concept!

If I have time remaining in Senior Primary, I will work on other volume and enunciation games.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bring out the Bells! Father's Day Preparation: "Love is Spoken Here" and "The Dearest Names"

Change of plans: I moved working on "When I Am Baptized" to Father's Day ... possibly mixed in with some Father's Day activities. You can see the preparation I made for this song here

Today, I'm bringing out the Singing Time bells.

I have access to a large format printer (LFP) so I printed out a PDF of the song Love is Spoken Here and wrote all the notes above the music. I have found that it works very well if I label the name of the bell above the word of the song, then also point to the words as we sing :) I usually only do this in Senior Primary, because Junior Primary is always playing catch-up. I love that I can repeat this song several times to help cement this song into their minds, while the children wait for their turn with the bells. Everyone gets a turn.

If we have time, we'll work on Dearest Names, too. I made this last year, before I had access to a LFP. See how I introduced the song here