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Thursday, March 26, 2015

April 2015 Singing Time Schedule


You can download an editable version of the below schedule HERE if you like.  See how I use my schedule HERE.

Singing Time Schedule
April 2015

April 5th:  GENERAL CONFERENCE

April 12th:
Opening song:  I Know That My Savior Loves Me outline
Scripture song:  The Sixth Article of Faith p. 126
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time: I’ll Walk With You p. 140, To Think About Jesus p. 71, Stand for the Right p. 159, Help Me, Dear Father p. 99, Quickly I’ll Obey p. 197, I Pray In Faith p. 14, He Died That We Might Live Again p. 65, Hosanna p. 66
Activity: Find my Easter singing time activity HERE**.  We are singing I Know That My Savior Loves Me (which is why I've chosen it as our opening song) and Hosanna using the handbells (find that lesson plan HERE) in Sacrament this Sunday for Easter.  I'll do the Hosanna with the bells after we finish the Easter activity, which I may move along quickly and not sing all the suggested songs.

**If you've already celebrated Easter, I'd consider starting on The Church of Jesus Christ with my activity I have below.  Included in that post are 2 variations of the lesson plan that could be used for 2 weeks.

April 19th:
Opening song:  The Golden Plates p. 86
Scripture song:  The Sixth Article of Faith p. 126
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  The Church of Jesus Christ p. 77
Activity: Find my lesson plan HERE.

April 26th:
Opening song:  The Sacred Grove p. 87
Scripture song:  The Sixth Article of Faith p. 126
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  I Know That My Savior Loves Me outline, He Sent His Son p. 34, Follow the Prophet p. 110, The Church of Jesus Christ p. 77
Activity: Review activity. Considering using Susan Fitch's spinning wheel found HERE (you can get to her Etsy shop by using her link over on the right side of her website. You can get 20% off the kit if you purchase it before the end March.  See more information HERE.).  Maybe with a twist - use an office chair that spins...we'll see so stay tuned!  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

General Conference and/or Easter Themed Singing Time

It's that time of year for General Conference!  Wahoo!  A week off of teaching and church in my jammies!  This Sunday I'll be doing my General Conference themed singing time.  It's the same lesson plan that I did last year!  Find it HERE.


In case you would rather do an Easter themed singing time this week, I have mine posted HERE.  I'll be using this the week after General Conference/Easter weekend as it jives better with our primary as we'll be singing in Sacrament Meeting for our Easter program that day.


I'll have my April Singing Time Schedule posted this weekend so watch for that!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Follow the Prophet - Memory or Charades

We'll be playing Memory this week to review Follow the Prophet (if you are interested in playing Charades - scroll way down to the bottom of this post for those details!).  I used Susan Fitch's artwork found on her Etsy shop HERE to make these:


Usually I would add a "download HERE" tab but I don't want to infringe on Susan's work so here's how I made them:

Using Word, change the layout to landscape and insert a prophet image and his scenery on one page.  Adjust the images so they are about the same size.  If you want to get these as big as possible, adjust your margins.  Then I typed each prophet's name and then a description below each picture just to help with clarification when we play (the font I used is "Harrington" and if you look closely at my picture above, you'll notice my mistake - woops!).

Print (I'd suggest white card stock) and trim around each image.  I then mounted them on yellow card stock that I printed this:

Download that document HERE if you like.  Cut them down the middle line and glue to the backside of the pictures.  I then placed these in half-sized sheet protectors but laminating will work great too.

Use them like you would Memory, giving each child an opportunity to find a match.  I will probably only be putting 3 prophets and their matches up at a time (6 total cards - just like in my example pictured above) to speed up the matching.  We'll sing each verse when that match is made.

If you have a large primary, I'd suggest playing by classes and letting each class have a turn (they can decide together which cards to have you flip over).

If you don't want to purchase the pictures (and I totally get that), there were several versions shared on the Chorister's FB group HERE (you may have to be a member to view it).

Then I had the thought to print all of the prophet cutouts to be held up when a match is made, but I think my printer needs a rest for a bit :) and it may be overkill.  I've linked those HERE if you are interested.  Find Sister Graham's originals HERE.


Too much printing?  Play Charades with each prophet.  Call up a few kids to come act out a prophet and have the rest of the primary guess.  Once guessed, sing the verse!

Next Sunday will be a General Conference review that I do every year found HERE.  I've also posted my Easter lesson plan that I'll be using the Sunday after Easter - find it HERE.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Review

This week I decided to review all our January - March songs using a St. Patrick's Day theme.  I have a really fun Treasure Hunt I did 2 years ago found HERE.  I updated the "Treasure Hunt Envelope" tags HERE to reflect the 2015 songs.  And because I needed 4 songs, I just added I am a Child of God at the end.



I would do it again, but I am going to do a similar activity to teach The Church of Jesus Christ next month, found HERE.  I don't want too much roaming the halls so I'm going to keep the St. Patrick's Day activity in the primary room.  I am using the same singing activities as previously posted, just omitting the "hunting."  If we have extra time, we'll play hot 'n cold with Lucky and some favorite primary songs.

Download the below documents HERE.  I cut around each page and glued to green card stock (optional).

The first page is for the "Hot 'n Cold" portion.  I'll be putting this one in a sheet protector.  You can see how I play this game HERE.  I'll only be doing this time permitting.  But if you decided to stop here, this would be a very simple way to review all this year's songs with a little St. Patrick's Day theme!

The second through fourth pages are simple instructions for each song. Just post one page on the chalkboard at a time.

Have all the kids kneel on the floor while singing this song.  We learned I Know that My Savior Loves Me with simple actions so we'll do the actions too.

I have green stickers to pass out for everyone to wear.  Again, we'll do the actions we learned on the chorus.

I have rainbow wands I purchased from haloheaven.com several years ago.  I've been in touch with this company and apparently they are not currently selling wands, but will in the future.  If I hear any updates, I'll let you know.  I'd suggest making some simple wands from popsicle sticks and various colored ribbon.  Or, just have the kids make rainbows using their hands.

The last page is only needed if you have songs that are different than what I have listed.  This way you can write in whatever you like.

Then make sure you have a pot of gold candy at the end!  I'm not opposed to the occasional treat as long as it fits well with the lesson :).  I've seen coins at WinCo and Macey's (both grocery stores here in Utah), and at Zurcher's Party Store.  If you find some somewhere else, let us know!  For my pot, I'm just going to dust off my dutch oven!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Staying Organized - Part 8, Limited Resources and/or Time


This calling can appear to use a lot of resources and even more of your precious time - which can be very daunting if either or both of those are limited for you!  If you do a little online searching, you may find yourself feeling like you are falling short in comparison to what others have posted, shared, created and taught their primaries.  Heck, I have a whole website dedicated to teaching singing time and my lesson plans can be occasionally complex.  But the key word there was OCCASIONALLY! If I was week after week, trying to outdo my last week's singing time performance, I'd be completely overwhelmed.  I wouldn't be able to last in this calling as long as I have.

What you'll fail to notice, especially if you are a novice at this, is that most people don't share that singing time lesson plan that they whipped up while sitting in sacrament meeting (we all know this happens now and then, right?).  The one with a few songs hand-written on the backside of the sacrameeting program, torn into strips and squished into your child's snack cup for a make-shift "choosing time."  It worked fine and you made it through the 20 minutes but obviously this lesson plan won't make it to your latest and greatest Facebook post with the most "likes."

You don't need to feel pressure from other resources to spend lots and lots of time and money with this calling.  I read a post once on the Chorister's Facebook page from a sister who stated that she was a young college student, newly called as primary music leader with absolutely no equipment (like a printer), very little time and even less money.  She was struggling coming up with lesson plans every week with her VERY limited resources.

My advice to those who find themselves in a similar situation is to arm yourself with just a few simple supplies that could ultimately be used for teaching almost ANY song (and this is assuming you have access to The Children's Songbook):

1.  Gospel Art Book.  This VALUABLE resource is not only church-approved, but very versatile.  It's simple to use and children love looking at pictures.  A picture tells great stories, easily enhances the appearance of a simple lesson, and it's relatively cheap!  Find it HERE at the Distribution Center.  See if your primary would be willing to buy a book to keep with the calling if that would help.

2.  The Children's Songbook Compaion.  This is also a VALUABLE resource.  The lesson plans are, for the most part, simple to implement (lots of Q&A type things) and there is a lesson plan for every single song in the songbook.  Again, if purchasing one isn't in your budget, find out if your primary would be willing to buy a book to keep with the calling.  The book can be purchased from Amazon below:


3.  The chalkboard/white board.  I'm going to assume that most primaries have something for you to write on - no matter where you are teaching in the world.  The versatility of the chalkboard is amazing!  You can create simple games, the kids LOVE to come draw pictures of their own as part of learning, and it's a great way to portray a visual to the kids!

President Boyd K. Packer stated, “I think that no teaching aid surpasses, and few equal, the chalkboard: first, because it is simple to use, and next, because it is universally available—everywhere in the world you can get a chalkboard. You can use it to focus the eyes of your students while the main lesson is presented audibly. As you talk, you can put just enough on the board to focus their attention and give them the idea, but never so much that the visual aid itself distracts them.”  Find his entire talk entitled, Chalk It Up to Learning, a talk given on using the chalkboard HERE (it's a really good one!).

So to sum it up, if you are feeling over burdened financially and with your limited time, I can attest that if you stick to using these 3 essential items to form your lesson plans, you won't feel overwhelmed.  For me personally, I try to go back and forth from mostly simple to a little over-the-top.  It keeps it interesting (and that's mostly just for me!).  But then, I may have a few more resources at my disposal than others so going "all out" isn't burdening to me.

And don't forget, YOU are your best resource.  Your attitude and how you present yourself to the children will speak more loudly than your top-notch props.  Learn simple actions together, feel the spirit together and have fun together!  The more you are enjoying yourself, the more the kids will too.

I'd love to hear your input on this on this subject.  How do you try to keep things simple with your lesson plans, while engaging your young learners week after week.  Leave a comment below with more ideas!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Getting Ready for Easter

I won't be using this activity until the Sunday AFTER Easter (that's when our ward is "celebrating" per se in Sacrament meeting).  I think it's because our fast Sunday is the week before conference.   I posted this early for those who want to do an Easter themed singing time the week before conference.

The week before Easter I'll be doing a General Conference activity that I do every year found HERE.  I'm using the week to take a break from program songs for the month!

Okay, back to the Easter lesson...sorry for the tangents!

I took the "Getting Ready for Easter" activity in this month's Friend and turned it into a singing time activity!  You can find the original source HERE from the Friend. (Below, I also have a similar version using the Gospel Art Book pictures as well!!)


If you'll notice, I just added a Primary song to each picture circle that relates to each number.  Just do as the instructions say in the upper lefthand corner but include singing the song in between each one.

Now for printing options (or I have a GAB version below too!)...

I decided to send this to Costco as a picture which was $8.99.  If you decide to go the same route, use this JPEG image HERE.  I also have one without the songs HERE if you want to choose different songs or not sing at all (maybe you want to do this for sharing time instead).  To pick my songs I simply looked up coorelating topics in the back of the songbook - pretty easy.  Make sure you download from these links and not right click on the image above for better resolution quality.

To Print at Costco, first upload your document to Costco, then:

1.  Pick "Photo Gifts" tab
2.  Select "collage prints"
3.  Pick the 20 x 30 size for $8.99
4.  Horizontal
5.  No title
6.  Select your title and continue
7.  Choose the thin border and add to cart.  I like the lustre but that's just a personal preference.

If you'd rather print this at home, I've "tiled" this poster as well.  I'd recommend printing on cardstock for durabilty.  Find the one with songs on it HERE and the blank one HERE.

What's great about this, is it can be used EVERY Easter, so well worth the effort!!  You can also find more of my Easter singing time lesson plan posts HERE (one of them is a similar activity using the Friend from a few years ago).

Here's my Gospel Art Book version:

Another thought, would be to use similar Gospel Art Book (GAB) pictures found HERE that are similar to the ones used in this activity:

1.  Jesus Washing the Apostles Feet HERE
2.  The Last Supper HERE
3. Jesus Praying in Gethsemane HERE
4.  Roman Soldiers Gambling HERE (not in the GAB - couldn't find anything that worked well there)
5.  Jesus Praying with His Mother HERE (kind of a stretch but it works)
6. The Crucifixion HERE
7. Jesus Shows His Wounds HERE

Match up the pictures with the same verbage in the activity...I even typed it up - find it HERE.  You could do a matching game...place everything out of order on the chalkboard and the kids get to match it all up by drawing a line with chalk.  Easy!

If you HAPPEN to need an Easter lesson plan to fill the full 5th Sunday hour, I'd recommend this activity, then pulling out the handbells and finishing up with the song Hosanna.  Find my lesson plan, complete with bell charts HERE.  Never used the bells in primary?  See my post HERE!

Happy Easter!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Follow the Prophet - Continuing On

This week I'll be continuing on with the lesson plan I started last week.  I have about 5 verses/prophets to finish.  Find it HERE if you missed it and find my follow-up HERE with a few things I tweaked last minute as I was teaching.



And if you are still in need of more ideas, I have another one!

My pianist leaned over to me and said it would be fun to learn this song as a "Time Machine" and have various male ward members come in dressed as each prophet and talk about their assigned prophet then sing the verse.  I also saw the same idea on the Chorister's Facebook Group...this picture (along with a few others) was awesome!  I don't know if I'd have the resources to do this but amazing nonetheless!!


Really a fun idea - thank you for sharing!  I'm wishing I had 2 months to work on this song!! 

For the 3rd Sunday I'm thinking of using my St. Patrick's Day review activity found HERE to review our January - March program songs.  I may be tweaking more than just the songs for this activity so stay tuned until next week.

For the 4th Sunday this month, I'll be using Susan Fitch's artwork as a Memory game along with the prophet faces from Sister Pat Graham.  More to come on this one as well!!  I finally ended up printing all her artwork at home and adding the prophet names and a description to their "scenery" so it's less confusing when we play.  Unfortunately, I won't be posting these for download (I try not to infringe on copyright material) so if you decide to do this activity, I'll try to have step-by-step instructions on how to make your own if you decide to purchase Susan's artwork from her Etsy shop (find the artwork in my Follow the Prophet lesson plan linked above).

THEN for the last Sunday this month, I will be doing my General Conference singing time activity that I do every year at this time.  It's found HERE.


Our ward will be having our Easter sacrament meeting the Sunday after General Conference (our primary is also singing then) so I thought I'd keep singing time in line with that (ya know - cuz we have Sacrament Meeting last!).  I will be pulling out the annual Hosanna with the handbells HERE in conjunction with an Easter singing time I'm creating using the March 2015 Friend article entitled "Getting Ready for Easter" found HERE.  I plan on enlarging this image and each "bubble" will be a song where the kids need to figure out where each of them go, and we'll end with Hosanna on the bells.  I'll try to get this up in time for the 5th Sunday in case you need to do your Easter singing time that week.  This would probably be an activity that could fill an entire hour if you are lucky (unlike me!) and get to do that on 5th Sundays!


Wow, lots to do! Have I lost you yet? Stay tuned for more fun!!