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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Teaching Younger Children in Singing Time

The church recently released an article about teaching Come Follow Me to younger children.  I thought the material correlated so well to singing time that I wanted to share it!  I see questions all the time about how to teach younger children, especially those who cannot read.

"Little children are ready and eager to learn the gospel if it is presented in a way they can understand. If you teach younger children, consider these activities that can help them to learn..."

Read the full article HERE.

You can find resources for ALL the Come, Follow Me-For Primary HERE. I've also compiled a list of more music and teaching resources from lds.org HERE.

If you have more suggestions, I'd love to hear!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Jesus Once Was a Little Child

I chose to teach Jesus Once Was a Little Child for January.  Mostly because I've never taught it and I've taught Come Follow Me (find my lesson plan HERE) and A Child's Prayer (find my lesson plan HERE) several times in past years.

To introduce the song, I want to read a VERY short story I found in this month's friend HERE

It's so quick, fast and simple, that I thought it made for the perfect introduction!  You can simply read it from the Friend, or I created larger printables HERE so each picture is its own page.  As you read each page, post it on the chalkboard using a magnet or tape. 

Or if you prefer, there are also 2 pictures in the Gospel Art Book HERE of Jesus as a child that you could post on the chalkboard while you read the story.

After reading the story, tell the children that we're going to learn a song that talks more about Jesus as a little child. You and the teachers sing the song but before you sing, ask the children to listen for how the song talks about how Jesus was once like you and me.

Post the words like I do HERE and if the kids want to sing along with you and the teachers, they can.

Write the children's answers on the chalkboard.

Sing the song again this time with you demonstrating actions using a scarf.

Pass out scarves.  I have these ones here:

I purchased mine from Amazon here:

Or you can make your own out of scraps of fabric (old sheets work well!), or cut tulle into squares, use handkerchiefs,  etc. or have the kids simply use some other simple object.

Then I've come up with some simple actions to use with the scarves as you teach and memorize the words:

  • So little children: crouch and swing scarves back and forth
  • let you and I: stand up and point outward with the scarf then inward
  • try to be like him, try, try, try: every time you sing the word "try," have the kids throw their scarf up in the air and try to catch it!
Ask the children what we should try to do? [to be like him] and write it on the chalkboard.

  • Jesus once was a: begin swaying and swinging scarves back and forth
  • little child: crouch and swing scarves back and forth near the floor 
  • a little child: continue to crouch and swing scarves 
  • like me: stand and turn around in place
  • and he was pure* and meek* and mild*: return to swaying but assign certain colors a word to raise up their scarf when their word is sung 
  • red/orange/yellow=pure
  • pink/purple/white=meek
  • green/blue/brown=mild
  • as a little child: crouch and swing scarves 
  • should be: stand and sway, swinging scarves back and forth


  • He played as little children play the pleasant games of youth:  Have the kids find a partner and swap the scarves with each other to the beat without dropping the scarf (like they are playing a game!).
  • But he never got vexed* if the game went wrong: slowly draw a large "X"
  • And he always spoke the truth: make a large circle in the air

    *When you come to the words "pure" "meek" and "mild" and "vexed," in the verses write them on the chalkboard and define them:

    • Pure: true and fair
    • Meek: humble and modest
    • Mild: gentle and patient
    • Vexed: angry

    At the very end, bear testimony that we should always try to be like Jesus!

    If it helps, download my Lesson Plan To-Go HERE!  I need to make a video of my actions...hopefully coming soon!

    To review this song the following week, I'm considering using Sharla Dance's "Mirror Image" activity that she posted on YouTube HERE since we are all trying to mirror the Savior's example! I'll be using the same actions we learned this week.  Or we might use these cards found HERE.  More to come!

    Make sure to checkout all of my lesson plans for January HERE.

    Thursday, January 10, 2019

    2019 Sing-Along Videos

    Every month I like to take one week to review all the songs we've learned so far for the program.  In January it's obvious that we have none to review.  So instead I like to do a PREVIEW of all the songs we'll be learning for the year.  And to do this, I present Sing-Along videos and the kids LOVE them!

    I've got several variations below for implementing this lesson plan so hopefully there's an option that will work for your primary...

    In year's past, I've spent HOURS creating sing-along videos.  And in more recent years, others have pitched in and helped me create them (scroll through all the videos we've collectively done in past years HERE).

    This year, I was introduced to the LDS Sing-Along app that I downloaded to my iPhone for free HERE.  It's SO SLICK!  Especially considering all the work I've put in past years to create my own sing-along videos that aren't nearly as cool as these.  Unfortunately it's not available for Android users - bummer!  I would find someone with an iPhone and ask to borrow it or see my other options below.

    I just downloaded the app, created a playlist (I entitled my playlist 2019 Sing-Along Videos), and searched for the primary songs and hymns to add, making sure they were in the order I want.  Every song I needed was there!!  Then I hit play and oh my...it played the entire playlist!!  Which is 19 total minutes - PERFECT!!  This took less than 5 minutes to put together.  Can you tell I'm freaking out a bit??

    Then to view these on the TV, you need a cable:

    I'd recommend the Apple brand:
    (affiliate link)

    It's a little pricey, so if you don't have one, maybe ask around your neighborhood.  If you're lucky, the TV at church will already have the cord (but honestly, I wouldn't rely on that option).

    These cords will work on iPhone's 5's and newer (I think - please correct me if I'm wrong).  I'm not sure what the equivalent cords would be needed for Androids (if you have different methods of digitally sharing or cords that you use, will you please share what they are?).

    My second variation while still remaining digital (good for Android users!!) is to use this YouTube playlist HERE that Sarah created and shared on FB.  It contains all the songs found in the Come Follow Me-for Primary manual.  I'd suggest downloading the videos to your device.  If you need help downloading videos from YouTube, checkout this tutorial HERE that Rachel shared on FB!! (Read through the comments there for help with Android settings).  A HUGE thank you for both of these!!

    Another option...there are several sing-along videos on lds.org HERE.  Just be aware that not all the songs are included.  Download what you need on to your device.

    Then continue to hook up your device to the TV the same way as I have suggested above.

    Now, not techy? No problem!  You can download and print flip charts for each of these songs from jollyjenn.com and simply bring the songs on CD (if you made a 2019 Primary Program Songs CD, your life will be that much easier! Find details on my CD HERE).  I'd suggest placing each flip chart in plastic sheet protectors and putting them in a binder for easy flipping.  It may be a lot of flip charts but if you plan on using them later in the year, you'll be saving yourself work later on, right?  

    And my last option is to ask various ward members to come in and do a musical performance of the songs!

    Now, to break up each song, I created this simple worksheet for the kids to fill out as they are watching:

    Download my worksheet HERE.  If your song choices are different than mine, there are 2 different blank versions (pages 2 and 3) - one with 9 song spaces and one with the traditional 8.  Print what you need. Sorry, I don't have one that you can edit on the computer.  You can simply hand write the songs before you photo copy (the font I used is Cambria, size 24 if you want to try to edit this digitally).

    I know that the little Jr. kiddos won't understand most of the worksheet but if you still want to use it, they will have something to color while you watch the videos ;).  Or if you want, simply omit the worksheet for the little kids as the videos alone will be enough on their own!

    So, dim the lights, dismiss the pianist ;), pass out a coloring utensil to all the kids, along with a worksheet and push "play."  I'm going to encourage the kids to sing along as much as they can and if there are songs they don't know, they can go home and listen to their CD's that were given at Christmas.  Check out details on my CD HERE.

    It should be a fun and simple way to introduce all the program songs for 2019 (as long as we don't have any technical difficulties)!

    Make sure to also check out my January monthly schedule HERE for more lesson plan ideas this month!

    Monday, January 7, 2019

    Susan Fitch BOOK! - What If You Ate A Taco

    I just HAVE to give a little shout out to Susan Fitch's new book she illustrated, What If You Ate A Taco (even if it isn't singing time related and I am not receiving anything for posting ;).  I just LOVE Susan Fitch's work)!  She does so much for us over here in singing time land that I wanted to spotlight her latest project:

    Check out her book details HERE.  I just ordered 2 for myself!

    If you have no idea who Susan Fitch is, she's a talented artist especially where singing time is concerned (but I'm totally biased).  You can check out all of my posts HERE where I've used her fabulous artwork for singing time.

    She gives a lot of it away for free on her blog but she's also got TONS more on her Etsy shop HERE.  Apparently she's got some projects up her sleeve for the new Come Follow Me curriculum and I can't wait!!

    Friday, January 4, 2019

    First Singing Time of the Year

    From my experience, the first Sunday of a new year in primary is typically a little hectic!  Primary kids aren't quite sure what class they belong in, teachers aren't sure who their primary kids are, the new Sunbeams are...well...new Sunbeams, I could go on!  And with this Sunday including all the changes to the block hour, I'm going to assume it will be even a little more chaotic than usual.  So, with that in mind, I won't be introducing this month's new song.  Instead I'll be introducing all the changes I'm implementing in primary and then we'll be introducing everyone to, well, everyone!

    If you want more details on how I'm scheduling singing time and what I plan on teaching this month, checkout my January Singing Time Schedule HERE.

    As kids come to primary, we'll be greeting them with a welcome song (this month we'll be singing the Hello Song).  

    Then during the last 5 minutes of transition time (before opening exercises), We'll sing The Books in the New Testament using my interactive bookshelf.  You can find details HERE.  Every week this will be our opening song that will be sung during the last few minutes of our transition time.  I'll remove a cluster of books at the end of each month.  If we are ever short on time, it will be no big deal if this gets skipped.  This will also double as our primary bulletin board this year.

    I've always begun my singing time with a scripture song (in years past it was the Articles of Faith) and I plan to continue to do that using the 2 monthly suggested songs we won't be learning for our program (and rotating them throughout the month).  I'll simply post the words like I do HERE and we'll sing it.

    If you're unfamiliar with the Music in Singing Time 2019 curriculum, you can find more details HERE.

    This week my scripture song is Come Follow Me (1st verse).  With that I might QUICKLY introduce that we are studying the Come Follow Me curriculum that is all about the life of Jesus Christ.  I won't be bothered if the little kids just sit and stare at me while the teachers and I sing it to them.  I like to think that their little brains are big sponges just soaking everything up ;).

    Then I'll delve into my lesson plan to welcome everyone by singing the song Here We Are Together using my lesson plan found HERE.  If you find you can't introduce everyone due to time restraints, only spotlight everyone new in primary - Sunbeams, new Sr. kids who just left Jr primary, any new teachers, etc.

    Then time permitting, I'll pull out my Wiggle Worm Jar found HERE (mostly to introduce it to the Sunbeams but don't be fooled - Sr. primary loves this just as much!).

    Phew!  Sounds like a lot but once we get into our schedule, it will be easy!  Welcome to a new year!

    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Pat Graham 2019 Workshop!!

    Make sure you don't miss this!!

    (this is from a few years ago - pictured from left to right: fellow music leader Barbara, Sister Graham and me)

    I was browsing Day Murray Music's website HERE and noticed that Pat Graham's workshop in January has been posted!  She has 2 sessions this year and if it's like last year, they offer a Facebook Live event as well!  If you live close (or not) I'd HIGHLY suggest attending!  Below are a few more details:

    Pat Graham Workshop
    Teaching Primary Music Workshop

    Friday, January 18th 2019
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


    Saturday, January 19th, 2018
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm

    Day Murray Music
    4914 South State Street, Murray

    Price: $10.00

    Come for ideas on how to present music to your primary singers as well as navigating the new meeting schedule.  Join us for either of these presentations and learn from a master teacher! **Please bring your Primary Songbook.

    Again, I'm pretty sure you attend through their Facebook Live event. To attend either way (live or Facebook Live), you must pay the $10.00 fee.

    Reserve your spot as soon as possible as seats fill up quickly!  And I recommend arriving early as parking is limited.

    If you are unfamiliar with Sister Pat Graham, she is a "retired" General Board member who helped put together The Children's Songbook.  She, and along with a few other board members, also created A Children's Songbook Companion (find details about the book HERE) which is a very valuable tool.  She has a great teaching technique and always has some fun ideas of how to teach the current year's primary program songs.

    A few years ago I received special permission to record her workshop.   If you are interested in viewing it, you can find details HERE (which was 2013 but she's always got new ideas every year).  I won't be recording it this year, or posting notes as it's now available online.

    Friday, December 28, 2018

    January 2019 Singing Time Schedule

    See how I use my singing time schedule HERE!  Then download an editable and printable version of the below information HERE or use my January 2019 Singing Time Planner found HERE.


    Beginning January, the last 5 minutes of our transition time will incorporate singing.  It won't take 10 minutes for all the kids to get to primary and if it does, they can miss it if need be.  If your primary won't be doing this, simply omit the welcome song and opening song.

    Transition Time (last 5 minutes of transition period)

    • Welcome Song - to be rotated monthly.  Check out my list of welcome songs HERE.  Each child will be greeted as they enter primary and birthday children will receive their Golden Birthday Ticket (see details HERE).
    • Opening Song - we'll be singing The Books in the New Testament all year using my interactive post HERE.  If I find that we KNOW it by the middle of the year and need something new, we may go back to doing Article of Faith songs like I've been doing HERE.

    After the 2 transition songs we'll go right into the opening prayer and an Article of Faith or scripture, then on to singing time.  If we are limited on time due other factors, the transition songs will simply be omitted and we'll begin with an opening prayer and scripture/Article of Faith and move right into singing time.

    Singing Time (20 minutes)

    • Scripture Song - these will consist of the suggested songs for each month (found HERE) that we WON'T be learning for the primary program.  I'll rotate them every other week during the month.  A quick discussion could even be brought up by simply asking the kids how the song relates to what they've been learning with Come, Follow Me.
    • Wiggle Song(s):  See my Wiggle Worm Jar HEREThese will be used as needed.
    • Lesson Song(s): these will consist of one of the suggested song for each month that we've chosen for the program, reviewing the ones we've learned for the entire year or something relating to the season or holiday.

    I've chosen to teach Jesus Once Was a Little Child and will be working on a lesson plan for this month.  It it helps, I've got a lesson plan for Come Follow Me HERE.

    And a lesson plan for A Child's Prayer HERE if that helps.

    You can also check out HERE what I've chosen to teach for the year.

    So here's my schedule for January...

    Singing Time Schedule
    January 2019

    January 6th:
    Welcome Song: Hello Song p. 260 I might use my props HERE with this song
    Opening Song: The Books in the New Testament p. 116 Using my Interactive Bookshelf HERE
    Scripture Song: Come, Follow Me Hymn #116 (1st verse)
    Lesson Song: Here We Are Together p. 261

    Lesson Song Activity Details:  We'll be welcoming everyone who's new to primary including all the primary kids to their new teachers.  Find details HERE.  And introducing the Wiggle Worm Jar (mostly for the new Sunbeams!)

    January 13th:
    Welcome Song: Hello Song p. 260
    Opening Song: The Books in the New Testament p. 116
    Scripture Song: A Child’s Prayer p. 12
    Lesson Song: Jesus Once Was a Little Child p. 55, Baptism p. 100, Tell Me the Stories of Jesus p. 57, I Feel My Savior’s Love p. 74, Keep the Commandments p. 146, Did Jesus Really Live Again? p. 64, I’ll Walk With You p. 140, The Lord Gave Me a Temple p. 153, I Know That My Redeemer Lives p. 136

    Lesson Song Activity Details:  We'll be introducing all our 2019 program songs using Sing-Along Videos like I've done in years past.  2019 details coming soon!  Check out details HERE.

    January 20th:
    Welcome Song: Hello Song p. 260
    Opening Song: The Books in the New Testament p. 116
    Scripture Song:  Come, Follow Me Hymn #116 (1st verse)
    Lesson Song: Jesus Once Was a Little Child p. 55

    Lesson Song Activity Details:   Lesson plan for teaching Jesus Once Was a Little Child.  Find my lesson plan HERE.

    January 27th:
    Welcome Song: Hello Song p. 260
    Opening Song: The Books in the New Testament p. 116
    Scripture Song: A Child’s Prayer p. 12
    Lesson Song:  Jesus Once Was a Little Child p. 55

    Lesson Song Activity Details:  Continuing on with the lesson plan for teaching Jesus Once Was a Little Child - more to come!!