Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pioneer Day!

Every year around Pioneer Day I like to theme singing time around Pioneer Day (never heard of it Pioneer Day?  It's Utah's state holiday on July 24th commemorating when the first pioneers arrived).   Now, I know LOTS of choristers are not from Utah so why would you celebrate it?  In my opinion, it never hurts to learn about our church's history no matter where you live.  The early saints made personal sacrifices for the church.  Their sacrifices not only helped the church grow, but helped them gain stronger testimonies.  Just like the pioneers, if we make sacrifices for the gospel, our testimonies will in turn grow.

I have several Pioneer Day lesson plans I've done over the years all found HERE.  This year, I dusted off my joint singing & sharing time activity found HERE.  It's a little more labor-intensive (but I thought it would be appropriate since Pioneer Day lands on Sunday this year) and requires coordinating with the presidency member teaching sharing time so if you are just starting to plan for singing time this Sunday, I'd probably opt to choose something else from my list ;).

So Happy Pioneer Day - whether you live in Utah or not!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

2016 Primary Flashcards

I'm pulling out the same {yet different!} activity I did last year AND the year before found HERE and HERE.  I've just updated all the information to be 2016!  It's been a lot of fun both Senior and (a simplified version) for Junior.  This activity will take at least 2 weeks (which is what I'm planning on doing) OR would be a fabulous 5th Sunday if you happen to have the whole time.

Download the 2016 documents HERE (these documents include August which I personally didn't print but thought it might help others to review for the program later on this year).  I printed mine on a fun neon pink colored paper just for kicks.  If you happen to have a different song for April and June, I found most of the "mumbles" songs from the Chorister's Facebook post HERE and just slightly altered a few.  There's a document posted under the files section called "Music Mumble Game 2" which has most of the songs in the songbook.  That document is HERE if it helps.  At the end of my document to download/print I have 2 blank April and June sheets for you to be able to fill in (don't print them if you don't need them, however!).

Here's how to use them in primary:

For Senior, divide the primary into 2 teams.  If you have a large primary, divide into more.  Give each team a bell (I just use 2 of my handbells but any bells will do).  Draw the first card and face it to the team.  The first team to ring their bell with the correct answer wins that card.  If the answer is incorrect, the next team to ring the bell gets to answer and possibly win, etc.  Repeat with each card.

For Junior, there will be no teams and no bells.  I'll give as many hints as possible and we'll try to solve the card together.  I may even simply call on good singers to come speak the cards into the microphone (with help if need be).

Here's the activity you do with each card:

Monthly Theme Cards:  Fill in the correct missing words (I plan on keeping my 2016 outline handy as all the answers are easily found there!).  No singing with these cards.

Monthly Song Cards:  They are the Mad Gab/Mumbles cards. The kids will have to figure out which song it is.  When it's been guessed, sing the song.

Monthly Scripture Cards:  For Senior Primary, it is a scripture hunt.  The kids have to find the scripture passage in the scriptures and read it (you may need to get a few sets of scriptures from the library).  Again, the 2016 outline will come in handy for the little kids.  No singing with these cards, with the exception of the 2 Articles of Faith songs that are included with this year's theme.  A side note, July's scripture card is from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  It isn't included in most scriptures so I will just be bringing in a copy and we'll read it, omitting the scripture chasing with that particular card.

If you are short on time, I'd omit all the Monthly Scripture Cards.  If you are even shorter on time, omit the Monthly Theme Cards as well.  The mumbles make a great activity on their own too!

Here's a quick view of all the cards if you are interested:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Pin Moroni on the Temple

I'll be pulling out an oldie-but-goodie to review  I Love to See the Temple (does anyone really need to teach this entire song? We maybe need to brush up on the 2nd verse).  You can find my fun, yet outdated lesson plan HERE with terribly outdated links that don't work anymore so I'd recommend all the information below instead!

To help me update this lesson plan, I enlisted Susan Fitch.  I absolutely love her work and here's what she created for this activity:

Find details over on her blog HERE which includes a free version.  Her Etsy version is HERE (use coupon code CAMILLE for 20%).  Isn't she great?  To Print at Costco, first upload your document to a Costco photo album, then:

1.  Pick "Photo Gifts" tab
2.  Select "collage prints"
3.  Pick the 16x20 or the 20x30 (I picked the 20 x 30 and zoomed in just a tad so it cut off the border on the sides, no big deal)
4.  Vertical
5.  Continue to check out

Looks like you can also just upload it and print as a 16x20 or 20x30 lustre photo too.  The instructions above are the hard way ;).

Then I just printed the Angel Moroni on white card stock on my printer, cut it out and laminated.  I kept with one Moroni so there will be no competition (except against themselves to see if they can get it in the right spot) but play it how you like!

If you are limited on time or resources to have this printed, you have several options: freehand your picture on a poster board like I did on my old post above, or even draw the temple on the chalkboard with chalk.  Any picture of the temple hung on the chalkboard would suffice as well.  Make it as simple as you like!  The kids could even draw and cut out their own Moroni to pin on!  Wouldn't they love that?!

I plan on implementing the activity a bit differently than I've done in the past:

Before a child gets to pin on Moroni, they will need to answer a question.  The answers will all be found in the song.  Here are my questions:

Verse 1:
  • What do I love to see? [the temple]
  • When will I go to the temple? [someday]
  • When will I prepare to go to the temple? [while I am young]
  • Why is it so important that we prepare ourselves? [this is my sacred duty]
  • What two things will I do there? [listen and pray]
  • When I go to the temple someday, what will I feel? [the Holy Spirit]
  • Who's house is the temple? [God's house]
  • What is the temple a place of? [love and beauty]
Verse 2:
  • Because I love to see the temple, where will I go someday? [inside]
  • What two things will I do there? [covenant with my Father, promise to obey]
  • What is a covenant? [sacred promises you make with Heavenly Father]
  • In the first verse the temple is called a "house of God."  What does it call it in this verse? [a holy place]
  • What special blessing will we receive when we go there? [sealed together]
  • As a child of god, I've learned an important truth.  What is it? [a family is forever]
  • What can I do now to prepare to go to the temple? [answers vary]

You can download all these questions HERE.

As the child is pinning on Moroni (feel free to blindfold and gently spin beforehand), the primary will sing the song.  The primary will sing louder as the child is going in the right direction, and softer if they are going in the wrong direction (if I find this doesn't work, I will just omit it).  I'll also make sure to tell the kids that they need to listen to the words as they sing so they can answer the questions correctly to get a turn ;).  And only great singers will get a chance to answer a question.  I'll obviously be less stringent with Junior primary than I will be with Senior primary.

UPDATE:  the loudly/softly didn't work very well for me so I ended up omitting it.  Also, for Jr. I simply picked the best singers (eventually everyone got a turn :), to walk from the back of the room to the temple with Moroni in their hands and pin him on as the primary sang.  They LOVED it, were so reverent and sang their hearts out for a turn!  In between turns, we'd go over some of the questions together as a group.

Hopefully you will be able to review the song over and over again as each child gets a turn to pin Moroni on the temple!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Camille Designs MORE Than Just For Primary!

If you haven't noticed, I design quite a bit of materials for singing time (hopefully a few things that you've come to love!):

Partially due to this calling, I've developed quite a love of designing which has grown beyond items needed for primary!  For some time now, I've designed various items for close friends and family just for fun (baptisms, birthday party invitations, bridal shower invitations, etc):

I've also done LOTS for my ward and stake like RS party invitations, bookmarks for our stake institute class, ward party posters, etc:

Recently, I've been designing on a more professional level...scary and fun all at the same time!  It's driven me to create a complete portfolio in order to put all of my designs in one place:

If you've trusted me enough to bring my designs into your primary, I would absolutely LOVE to design something personally for you too!  My prices are very affordable (I can design wedding invitations for a really reasonable price - printing and all!).  You can contact me using the form on the right or my direct contact information is on both of the links on this post.

I've got an ad running on if you want to check that out as well!

Thanks for all the support I've received from this little website!  You are some of the most loyal readers (and friends!) with the kindest comments, and have helped give me the confidence I've needed to start this endeavor!

And don't worry, I have no plans for anything to change on, so you can continue to come here every week to plan your singing time lesson plans!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Flag, My Flag

With the 4th of July happening this weekend, I thought I would teach My Flag, My Flag.  I've always wanted to do a 4th of July themed singing time but I never had enough time to teach both a 4th of July AND Pioneer Day themed singing time.  But this year things panned out well with a simple monthly song that I will only spend 1 week reviewing (I Love to See the Temple) and 5 Sundays in July!

So I thumbed through The Children's Songbook and thought My Flag, My Flag looked simple enough.  My Country would also work fact, any patriotic song will work well too!

I'm heading out tonight to find mini flags (hopefully from Target in their dollar section, 3 for $1.00 I've heard) but I'm going to guess that you can get them at any dollar store.  I'll keep you posted when I find some!  You'll need at least 12 and if you use my Junior activity, you'll need one for each child.

If I had planned this out earlier, I would have just bought these from Amazon:

You could also make your own or scarves would work well too.

Before primary, write out the words to the song on the chalkboard.

For an attention getter, we'll simply sing the song through and quickly discuss the meaning of the song, why we have flags, what they represent, etc.

For Senior, we will be playing a variation of Capture the Flag that I found HERE.  I've simplified it quite a bit so let me explain:

Place the flags in a container (I have a small red bucket - also from Target's dollar section :) at the very front of the primary room on the floor.  Divide the primary in half.  The goal of the activity will be to retrieve a flag by walking (stepping so heel touches toe) from the back of the room to the bucket.  The number of steps you get to take depends on the score the 2 judges (teachers and/or presidency members) give the team for how well they sang.  Scoring is based off of this criteria:

  • 1 point for everyone singing the correct words
  • 1 point for everyone participating
  • 1 point for reverence
  • 1 point for no distractions (papers, neighbors, etc.)
  • 1 point for feeling the spirit

For a total of 10 points (from 2 judges) which equals 10 steps.

So, the first team sings the song and is judged on a scale of 0 - 10.  A child goes to the back of the room and steps the same number of steps as their team's score (their heel must touch their toes when they step).  Where they end, put down a marker (I'll be using a piece of masking tape) so the next time it's that team's turn, they will know where they left off.  Then the next team goes and repeats.  Each team will take turns until a team's toe touches the bucket of flags.  Once touched, that team takes a flag back to their team.  The team with the most flags at the end wins.

To make the challenge gradually harder, erase various words from the chalkboard between turns.

For Junior, I am contemplating using the same activity, but without teams and simply letting the "best singers" come up and step from the back of the room to the bucket as the rest of the primary sings.   The only problem with this is the rest of the primary gets bored really fast as they have to just sit there while one kid gets to do the activity.   My other thought is to simply hand a flag to each child and we will do various activities with the flags:

  • Raise the flags when we sing the word "flag," "wave," rhyming words, etc.
  • The kids will "bounce" the flags to the rhythm, then to the beat
  • Create large "rainbows" with the flags as we sing each phrase
  • Pitch lead (mover the flag up as the notes go up and down as the notes go down)
  • Teach them how to lead 4/4 using a simple chalk drawing on the board
This Junior primary activity would also work well with Senior primary too!  The Senior primary could also sing several of the patriotic hymns found in the Hymn book.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

July 2016 Singing Time Schedule

See how I use my singing time schedule HERE!  Then download an editable and printable version of the below information HERE.

Singing Time Schedule
July 2016

July 3rd:
Opening song:  The Hearts of the Children p. 92
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  My Flag p. 225
Activity: Learn a patriotic song from the songbook - probably using little flags to wave as we sing.   Ideas welcome! More to come!

July 10th:
Opening song:  Families Can Be Together Forever p. 188
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  The Love to See the Temple p. 95
Activity: Pin Moroni on the temple activity found HERE (this will be more of a review because our primary knows this song inside and outside, including both verses).  I'll be adding a printable soon so be sure to watch for that!

July 17th:
Opening song:  Truth from Elijah p. 90
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  If I Listen With My Heart 2016 Outline, I Will Follow God’s Plan p. 164, Stand for the Right p. 159, Beautiful Savior p. 62
Activity: Primary Flashcards (find last year's cards found HERE).  More to come!  This is a lengthy activity so I am planning on it taking 2 Sundays.  It also makes for a FABULOUS 5th Sunday singing time if you have the entire time!

July 24th:
Opening song:  Covered Wagons p. 221
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time: Little Pioneer Children p. 216 To Be a Pioneer p. 218
Activity:  Combined sharing/singing time activity found HERE.  Find all of my Pioneer Day lesson plans HERE.

July 31st:
Opening song:  Family History-I Am Doing It p. 94
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time: Praise to the Man Hymn #27, Search, Ponder and Pray p. 109, I Love to See the Temple p. 95
Activity: Finish the Primary Flashcards continued from the previous week.  Primary Fireworks review activity found HERE is also a great way to celebrate the month of July in singing time!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Chalkboard Review

I'm returning from a 2-week vacation with my, needless to say, this Sunday is going to be VERY low-key!  But don't get me wrong, low-key doesn't mean low-fun or low-level of learning!  I'm just going to be utilizing the good ol' chalkboard and play Pictionary!  Find details for it HERE.  We will be reviewing all our January - June program songs.  You can also check out all of my review activities HERE for more ideas!

I had intentionally planned to do my Primary Flashcards (see how I did it last year HERE) but I am going to postpone this activity until the end of July as there are 5 Sundays next month and it makes for a FABULOUS 5th Sunday review!  And I'll be able to incorporate another month with it too!

Since I'm utilizing the chalkboard this week, I wanted to briefly discuss using it.  I've noticed several comments on FB Saturday night from various music leaders around the world asking for help as they have no idea what to do last minute for singing time the next day.  I usually comment with an activity that involves the chalkboard .  This valuable tool is way under-utilized in my opinion (guilty as charged right here!).  It's seriously your best resource that is always ready and completely FREE!  The church has even taken care of making sure you have ample chalk and erasers too (to clarify, I'm using the term "chalkboard" in conjunction with "whiteboard" if that's what your meeting house has instead).

There is valuable information HERE from the Curriculum Department entitled Chalk it Up to Learning that I would recommend every primary chorister should read.  There were some great quotes:

"If you’re looking for something new to help others learn the gospel, you might start by taking a fresh look at something old—The chalkboard!"

"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."

I also liked the introduction where he discussed how a teacher used the chalkboard to teach, even before class started.  An idea to implement the mentioned scenario into singing time could be to write a list of songs your pianist would potentially play and have the kids see if they can figure out which songs were actually played.  This would enforce reverence and listening skills, therefore increasing understanding in the gospel...all while saying nothing!

If you are low on resources and time (or not!), the chalkboard is your BEST FRIEND!  A lot of the activities that I post can be tweaked to incorporate the chalkboard in some way, simplifying the lesson plan further.  I searched "chalkboard" on my website page and found all of these lesson plans HERE where I somehow incorporated the chalkboard (some more than others).

I wanted to create a simple list of review activities or lesson plans that only involve the chalkboard.  Can you help me add to it?  How do you incorporate the chalkboard into your lesson plans to help simplify prep time and cut down on visual aid costs?  Leave a comment with your ideas!!
  • Pictionary
  • Erase a word
  • Draw pictures of keywords
  • Don't sing the particular word written on the board and a child who doesn't see the board gets to figure out what word is written there.  Similar to Word Nerd HERE or Word Quing HERE.