Sunday, April 30, 2017

General Conference cards

This is not a singing time post but I'm so excited to share this project that I am going to share it here on my Singing Time blog as well as my other more general Sharing Time blog that I haven't posted on quite as intensely as I did when I was a primary chorister.

I made General Conference cards that feature each speaker and a key learning from their talk. I have learned so much in studying intently to make these cards. I'm so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for a loving Father in Heaven who has blessed us with righteous leaders that are willing to spend their lifetime dedicated to serving others.

I loved the story of Yoon Hwan Choi learning about the gospel from his fourteen-year-old brother, of Ronald A. Rasband listening to promptings to speak to the people of Ecuador and give them comfort after a devastating earthquake, of Joy D. Jones talking about how we can prepare our youth for this world, of Gary E. Stevenson's wise father preventing him from jumping on a rock with a snake on it, and so many more. I could go on and on! I'm grateful for our prophet. I love our first presidency and the love they have for us.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

General Conference - All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir - There is Sunshine in my Soul - Song Review

I loved General Conference last weekend!

I thought in particular that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk, called "Songs Sung and Unsung," about how we are all unique and all irreplaceable was so fitting for a singing time activity. I was so touched by his thoughts on that line of the song from "There is Sunshine in My Soul," about how "Jesus listening can hear the songs you cannot sing."

So, the fun part of this for Primary is using "critters" as the fun visual element of the story. I drew a little visual of what popped into my mind as I was thinking about this:


(*Note: For a version of my notes that encompasses 11 of the speakers from General Conference this year please visit my Sharing Time blog post about a General Conference sharing time.)

1. Intro activity
Put up a picture of six of our general authorities, including Jeffrey R. Holland. Ask the children if they can guess which leader gave this talk using the following the hints. You can mix up the hints by hiding them under objects that the children can select, putting them in a bag for a child to draw, hiding them under chairs, or just reading them off one by one.

Hints:
> He started out his talk by talking about one of his favorite songs, "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today."
> He is one of the twelve apostles.
> He said, "All God's critters have a place in the choir."
> He said that just like the song says in "There is Sunshine in my Soul," if sometimes we don't feel the sunshine we can remember that "Jesus listening can hear the songs [you] cannot sing." (I would stop at this point and discuss this with them and make sure that they understand what it means.)
> When we sing, sometimes we might stand next to someone that knows the song better than us, or here in Primary, we look at Brother/Sister [chorister's surname here]. This general authority reminds us that this is just like life, we were stand as close to the Savior and Redeemer of the world as possible, and we take courage from him.

2. Critter activity
So there are of course LOTS of fun things to do with "critters" as a theme.

Just a few quick and easy ideas:

Option A: Make each class a "critter." Have them take turns singing lines of a song you are working on by holding up a picture of the critter that represents the class (or even a few different stuffed animals representing different critters). At the end, have ALL of the critters join in by holding up all the critters. They can see how their combined voices add to the choir. You can have reverent children volunteer to come up and help you by holding up the critters.

Option B: Hide an image of different critters under each primary chair - the larger the Primary the more critters you can do but I'd have at least ten of each critter. A child comes up and selects an object (like a stuffed animal) that represents a song (or just a card with the name of the song on it.) The object/card will have images of one or more critters. The children that have the matching critter come up to the front and sing to the rest of the Primary.

Option C: Match the critter to the song for a fun song review. Each song has clues to what song they are singing. The clues match a critter, and the critters are under the chairs. Or, the critters are in a bag and the child comes up and chooses the clues for the critter. Once the children guess the song, they can all sing it.

I can go on and on with this so maybe I'll add more later ... :)





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mother's Day songs

Our Primary sings in sacrament every Mother's Day. Sometimes, it's difficult to find time to learn a new song in time for the program. So, I've made up some Mother's Day songs using tunes that the children already know. You'll see with "Stand for the Right" that I also deliberately stuck with similar words to the original song. These words can be swapped out for Father's Day as well. Although, I'll share some other versions in May for Father's Day.

Enjoy -
Esther


To the tune of “Stand for the Right” on page 159 of the Children’s Songbook


Verse 1
My mother is honest and faithful and true,
It seems that she always knows just what to do,
At work or at play, In darkness or light,
She teaches me always to cho-ose the right.

Verse 2
She makes me feel happy when I feel so blue,
I want to be like her when I’m grown up, too,
At work or at play, In darkness or light,
She teaches me always to cho-ose the right.


To the tune of Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam on page 60 of the Children’s Songbook

Mother is kind and so lo-ving,

She shows her love each day,
I want to be just like Mother,
In all I do and say.

Chorus:
Like Mo-ther! Like Mo-ther!
I want to be just like Mo-ther!
I’ll fol-low, her examp-le,
I’ll be like Mother today!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Singing Time tip: don't be afraid to repeat!

I attended a stake primary training when I was a fairly new chorister. At the time, the stake Primary chorister reminded us not to be afraid to repeat activities, that the children liked some degree of repetition. I love to create new things and come up with fun ideas so my version of repeating things ended up being two or three times a year at most of some of my most successful singing time activities.

We have a new chorister this year who is balancing her schedule with three children under the age of six, including a baby. She is not afraid to repeat and it has been so fun to see how well the children are learning the songs and enjoying the repetition.

In January, she mostly focused on a "right door" vs "wrong door" activity where there was a right way to sing the song and a wrong way to see the song. It was so fun to see the children get excited to pick a door week after week, as she moved from the first verse to the second verse but stayed on the same activity.

In February, she brought in finger lights and turned off the lights while we sang. The kids were so excited the second week when they realized she was bringing the lights back again.

Of course, choristers need to balance repetition with what's working with their primary but for choristers that are overwhelmed or short on time, it's a nice reminder that sometimes, the most effective way to teach a song and still give the children a memorable, fun experience is to do what you did the week before!

Fun Tip:
One of my favorite ways to "repeat" during singing time was to have the children stand in four corners of the room with their class and teachers. We would go through the song line by line, with each corner of the room singing just that line. It created a fun echo effect and was a really quick but interesting way to learn a song quickly if we were having any trouble spots. Children have such quick minds and memorize so easily!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

As a Child of God and other 2017 primary songs

This year's curriculum is the exact same one as the one from 2012. That means I have lesson plans for all of these songs that I shared in 2012! Please visit the archives on the right-hand side of the page for ideas!

As a Child of God music review

When I brought in different fun objects to represent the words of the song and brought a "right" object and a "wrong" object, it was a huge hit with the kids. I had their full attention as they giggled if a choice was wrong vs. right. For "light" I had a Curious George toy with a hat that flipped open and a light on his head. They loved that.