Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Handbells

This time of year always brings out the handbell questions. I absolutely LOVE using handbells in primary! If you are looking to add them to your primary's collection, I've written everything I know about handbells HERE, including make-your-own charts and a link for purchasing chimes if bells aren't quite in the budget.  Let me know if you still have questions!



Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Primary-Christmas-Song Nativity, Part 1

Our primary is prepping for our Ward Christmas party nativity that we have been asked to present.  There are 6 songs that are part of the Nativity (all found HERE) that we are practicing over 2 weeks in singing time.  This week, we'll be reviewing the first 3 songs using various lesson plans I've used in the past.  These lesson plans also work wonderfully on their own if you aren't trying to cram 3 songs in this week like I am :).

First up is Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus, lesson plan found HERE.  For the chorus we'll just cup our hands around our mouths when we sing "hosanna."

Next will be When Joseph Went to Bethlehem, lesson plan found HERE using the scarves.  If I had to pick one lesson plan to teach,  this one would be it!  It's BEAUTIFUL!!  I also use the scarves quite a bit in primary for other lesson plans - totally worth the cost in my opinion.

Last will be Away in a Manger.  I printed a flip chart HERE.  I will simply put the flip chart on the chalkboard and we'll sing through the song.  For the chorus during the "asleep" portion, I will have the girls sing the first "asleep" then have the boys sing the echo (which is a little lower in pitch).

Kind of a lot for one singing time but I just plan to keep each segment short and simple.  We'll quickly move along.  Next week I'll be finishing up the other 3 songs in the nativity.

You can find all of my Christmas singing time lesson plans HERE as well.

Friday, November 25, 2016

December 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.

My singing time for December kind of got planned out for me...our primary was asked to be our ward's entertainment for our ward Christmas party.  So we will be performing my Christmas Sing-a-Nativity found HERE.  In order to refresh the songs, we will be reviewing the first 3 songs of the nativity the first Sunday in December, then the next 3 songs the Second Sunday in December (performing that following Friday evening).  I will be incorporating all of my previous years' lesson plans to review all of those songs - with the exception of Away in a Manger (I've never taught that song).  I'll most likely just post a flip chart with pictures and quickly go over it.  I will not be pulling out costumes until the night we perform.  All the words to the songs will be posted (see how I post words HERE).   The Primary Presidency will be backstage helping everyone get a costume on.  The YM/YW will be reading the scripture passages in between the singing.

The 3rd Sunday in December we will be focusing on learning Away in a Manger as we've been asked to sing that in Sacrament Meeting on Christmas Sunday with the 3 other primaries that meet in our building.  We are having one big sacrament meeting that Sunday so all the kids will form a little choir.  Should be fun!  I'm going to try to teach the harmony to Sr. primary.

If your schedule isn't as demanding as mine, you can check out all of my Christmas posts HERE.  The Sunday AFTER Christmas we will be doing Christmas Singo (another annual favorite and a perfect close to the holiday season!)  Find that HERE.

And after all that, here's my schedule for December:

Singing Time Schedule
December 2016

December 4th:
Opening song:  Once within a Lowly Stable p. 41
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Have a Very Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus p. 36, When Joseph Went to Bethlehem, p. 38, Away in a Manger p. 42
Activity:  We'll briefly be going over all these activities:  Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus HERE, When Joseph Went to Bethlehem HERE, Away in a Manger (a simple flip chart - coming soon!)


December 11th:
Opening song:  Who Is the Child? p. 46
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Have a Very Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  Stars Were Gleaming p. 37, The Nativity Song p. 37, Christmas Bells p. 54
Activity: We'll briefly be going over all these activities: Stars were Gleaming HERE, the Nativity Song HERE, and Christmas Bells HERE


December 16th:
Opening song:  Picture a Christmas p. 50
Scripture song:  The Books in the Old Testament p. 116
Birthday song:  Have a Very Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  Away in a Manger p. 42
Activity: flip chart - coming soon!  The Sr. primary will be learning the harmony (or alto part) to this song.  I like to pass out a copy of the music so they can visually see what they are singing.

December 25th: SING IN SACRAMENT MEETING (NO PRIMARY)
Opening song:
Scripture song:
Birthday song:  
Welcome song: 
Singing Time: 

Turkey Toss

I'm still in Thanksgiving mode so I thought this weekend would be perfect to do my Turkey Toss.  Find details HERE.  It's a great way to sing the rest of the fall/Thanksgiving songs that you haven't been able to get to before delving into Christmas!

I'll have my December singing time schedule up soon so make sure to watch for it!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanksgiving Sing-A-Story

If I'm being honest, I'm sure enjoying this month's singing time prep - pulling out all the work I've done in previous years!  This week is no different (if you haven't already done the work, don't worry - it's SUPER easy this week!) Find my Thanksgiving Sing-A-Story HERE.

You can also find all of my Thanksgiving/fall posts HERE.   If you are wanting to plunge in to Christmas prep, you can find all of my Christmas posts HERE.  I'll have my December singing time schedule posted by the end of next week - I need to get through Thanksgiving first :).


I was asked by a reader if the kids tire of the same thing every year.  My feelings are that to pull out something only once a year isn't very often.  And my annual lessons are usually super fun and engaging so why not do it every year?  The kids look forward to my annual Name that Primary Song about Love every February.  There's enough variety with my lesson plans that no one should ever get bored with an oldie-but-goodie that resurfaces annually.

Usually the only kids who remember doing it in the past is Sr. primary and some of them seem roll their eyes at almost anything anyway {am I right?}.  But it's never that they don't want to do it again.  Whenever I get sarcastic remarks about that day's singing time lesson I usually respond telling them that we can pass out hymn books and we can sing all the hymns on [said topic] instead.  I've never had to resort to that method but I wouldn't be opposed to it if it came down to it.

Are there singing time lessons that you repeat every year (or even more often!) that no one seems to mind repeating?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Susan Fitch GIVEAWAY!!

Have you signed up for Susan Fitch's "Lehi's Dream" Giveaway yet?  If not, you should!  This artwork will go nicely when we teach Nephi's Courage in 2017!  Check out details HERE.

I absolutely LOVE her work!!

Friday, November 11, 2016

2017 Primary Music CD

Every year for Christmas, our primary hands out a primary music CD as our Christmas gift.  It contains all of next year's program songs plus an extra 2 songs for each month (36 songs total - 3 songs per month).  I've gone through the 2017 outline (find my outline summary HERE) and picked songs for each month that go along with that month's theme (usually I fill the CD with the extra songs found in the outline but I ventured out this year with a lot more unknown songs that still relate to that month's theme).  I figure a CD with only 8 songs is kind of a waste so I include a few for each month which I will eventually sing in primary as all our opening songs throughout the year.

If you feel CD's are a thing of the past, I've seen other primaries create digital playlists and email them out to families.  If you've done that for your primary, please feel free to share the details on how you did it!  My preference is a CD - simply because it's a more tangible gift.  If families don't do CD players anymore, the CD's can always be downloaded onto the computer and put on digital music players.

To start, I created a Word document that contained all my songs.  You can find my editable document HERE.  I submitted it to my Primary President to get everything approved.  But for easy viewing, below is my song list (I chose When He Comes Again for April, and Every Star is Different for July as my "your choice" songs and Dare to Do Right for March's song to include in a medley with Stand for the Right since we learned that song last year):

January
1. As a Child of God 2017 outline
2. I Know My Father Lives p. 5
3. I Will Be Valiant p. 162

February
4. Choose the Right hymn #239
5. I Need My Heavenly Father p. 18
6. Hum Your Favorite Hymn p. 152

March
7. Dare to Do Right p. 158
8. Choose the Right Way p. 160
9. I Pledge Myself to Love the Right p. 161

April
10. When He Comes Again p. 82
11. Jesus Said Love Everyone p. 61
12. Help Us, O God, to Understand p. 73

May
13. When I Am Baptized p. 103
14. Faith p. 96
15. Repentance p. 98

June
16. Nephi's Courage p. 120
17. The Word of Wisdom p. 154
18. I Want to Live the Gospel p. 148 

July
19. Every Star is Different p. 142
20. The Wise Man and the Foolish Man p. 281
21. I Believe in Being Honest p. 149

August
22. I'm Trying to Be like Jesus p. 78
23. Remember the Sabbath Day p. 155
24. The Chapel Doors p. 156

September
25. Keep the Commandments p. 146
26. Kindness Begins with Me p. 145
27. Quickly I'll Obey p. 197

October
28. The Priesthood is Restored p. 89
29. Love Is Spoken Here p. 190 
30. A Young Man Prepared p. 166

November
31. The Things I Do p. 170
32. We'll Bring the World His Truth p. 172
33. Called to Serve p. 174

December
34. Jesus Once was a Little Child p. 55
35. Picture a Christmas p. 50
36. Once within a Lowly Stable p. 41

Once approved, I created a playlist using iTunes with these songs.  I own all the Primary Songs on CD which I've uploaded to iTunes.  But if you don't own the CD, you can download all the songs in the Primary Songbook HERE, Choose the Right can be found HERE and As a Child of God can be found HERE (make sure when you download, you select "Vocals and Music"). **Make sure you allow plug-ins from LDS.org as a browser settings or you won't be able to view/download the music.

I bought CD-R's and jewel cases from Amazon:


(note, these aren't the cheapest that Amazon sells but I prefer the Sony brand compared to the no-name.  For some reason, it makes for easier burning and I have less "non-usable" cd's - just my experience!)



Then I started burning {a million} CD's!   Once burned, I simply took a Sharpie marker and wrote "2017 Primary Songs" on the actual CD.  I did take a few random CD's and put them in my CD player to make sure they burned correctly.

We give one CD per primary family.  For our Primary it's about 30 so I've burned 35 to have as a few extras to keep in the cupboard just in case we have move-ins, someone loses theirs, or sometimes a few families ask if they can have another copy, etc.

For a CD cover, I created this...

You can get the document HERE or a blank one HERE without the song list (just in case your songs are different than mine).  To use the blank one, I suggest typing up a list that looks similar to mine (the font I used it just Times New Roman, font size 9), trimming your list so it will fit within the blank square space and taping it on.  When you make photo copies, you will never know that you literally copied and pasted.

I do like the black and white cover only because I can make free copies at the library.  I also tell the kids they are welcome to color their CD cover to make it more personalized.  The artwork I chose is from LDS.org found HERE.

Once I have my copies made, I cut around on the black lines with the exception of down the middle. I fold it there and simply slide it into the cd jewel case.  The size, once cut out, measures 5 inches and 5.5 centimeters both across and down, making it a perfect square.

I then tie on Christmas ribbon and attach a treat of some sort for each child (we've done ring pops, tootsie roll suckers and Now & Laters, etc.). A family with 4 nursery/primary aged kids would receive one CD tied with 4 treats.  I also attach a tag (signed by our ward's primary name in the space provided):

Find my document HERE.  I hole punch the top and slide it onto a ribbon.

I'll update with my finished product when I have it :).  Find my previous years' finished products all HERE.

We'll pass these out Christmas day (or maybe the Sunday before since Christmas lands on Sunday and we won't have primary that day) and deliver them to the kids who are not/less active.

And that's that.  Pretty simple and nothin' fancy but if you know me, you should expect that ;).

Another option instead of doing a CD is a DVD.  They would be similar to the lesson I did HERE for our 2016 Program Showcase, but using 2017 video flip charts.