Thursday, February 11, 2016

Name that Primary Song About Love

Another repeat this week...


Find my activity HERE.

This is how I like to squeeze in other songs into singing time that are not part of this year's program!  I take a week each month to sing songs that correlate with the current season, upcoming event (such as General Conference) or holidays (like this month for Valentine's Day!).

If you made the little heart sticks for January's singing time (found HERE), this would be another fun way to incorporate them into your lesson instead of using the handbells for Jr. primary.

I've done this activity going on 9 years now and I've never had a child complain!

LOVE it {pun intended}!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I Will Follow God's Plan

My primary (definitely Senior primary!) pretty much knows this song as I taught it several years ago HERE so it will be more of a review this month.  Which I am totally okay with after teaching last month's lengthy new song.


As an attention getter, I'm going to use what is suggested in A Children's Songbook Companion (get more information on this book HERE).
  • Show a wrapped gift (I have a decorative box with a lid).
  • Inside this box is a most precious gift.  All the money in the world can't buy it, yet we each have one.  Listen as I sing (or you and the teachers sing - which is what I usually do - or listen on CD), and discover what this precious gift is. [My life]
  • Open the box and show a paper that reads "my life" found HERE (I taped the document to the bottom of the box so I can show the box to the primary).  Point out that our lives are precious gifts from Heavenly Father.
For this activity, you will need pictures that represent phrases/words found in the song.  I'd recommend using the images that were created and shared by Emily on the Chorister's FB group HERE.  I put them all into a PDF document for easy printing HERE.  I printed each of mine on white card stock and placed in sheet protectors.  UPDATE: I just stumbled across a post at The Primary Pad HERE that has some AMAZING images to use for this activity as well!  I noticed she incorporated a few of Emily's artwork!

**Those of you with different languages, I deleted the word "COME" from this document HERE so you can write in your own language (or leave it blank).**

Pass out each of the pictures to a child.  While you and the teachers sing (or play the song on CD), have the children with the pictures try to put the pictures in order.  The kids can either place the pictures at the front of the primary room on a chalkboard with a magnet, or they can come to the front and hold their picture as they try to get in order, or you can make a circle with the children and they can move around as they try to stand in order in the circle or you can touch children's heads and they can go pick the next picture and place it on the chalkboard.  Decide what method will work best for your primary.  If every child won't get a turn to hold a picture this time, they will have a chance to as you proceed with the lesson.

Once the pictures are in order (or close to being in order), review their order by singing the song and pointing to each of the pictures.  Stop where there are mistakes, put the right pictures and/or children in order and repeat until all the pictures/children are in order.

Children can then sit down and trade their picture with (or give to) a neighbor.

You will then be categorizing the images as Sharla Dance has suggested HERE.  I will simply write on the top of the chalkboard the 3 categories that the pictures fall under:  "My Life" "My Choice" and "I Will."  Sing through the song and have the kids decide which category their picture falls under.   Have the kids place the correct picture, in order, under each category using a magnet or tape.  Quickly discuss each picture and it's category as the pictures are placed on the chalkboard using these discussion questions:

  • Where did my life begin? [in heaven]
  • What was my choice? [to come to this lovely home on earth]
  • For what will I seek? [For God's light to direct me from birth]
  • What can I follow? [God's Plan for me]
  • What two things will I hold fast? [His word and his love]  Explain that to hold fast means to hold on tightly
  • I will work and I will pray, and where will I always walk? [In his way]
  • Then how will I feel on earth and in my  home above? [Happy]
Sing through the song one more time with pictures on the chalkboard.  You can also play "What's Missing" with this lesson plan.  Have all the pictures on the chalkboard or spread out on the floor with the children circling them.  Choose a child to go out into the hall and remove a picture.  The child comes back and tries to figure out what picture is missing.  The other children can also not sing that word/phrase to help.  Once discovered, repeat with a new child and a new picture.

Bear testimony that our lives are a gift from Heavenly Father and each one has a plan and a purpose.  By following that plan, we will be happy here on earth and in heaven.

Download my To-Go Lesson plan HERE.

To review this song later this month, I will also be pulling out my game board.  Find details on that HERE.

Next week will be my annual "Name that Primary Song about Love" to celebrate Valentine's Day!  Find that activity HERE.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

If I Listen With My Heart - Review

We've been learning this song for the past 2 weeks (find my lesson plans HERE and HERE).  This week we'll be reviewing with two separate lesson plans for Senior and Junior primary.  If you don't have separate primaries, below I have an idea for incorporating both lesson plans into one.

Senior primary:
I'll be pulling on the word scramble that I used before found HERE.  If you've never used a word scramble for Senior primary, you should!  This is one of the most engaging activities for them (especially those boys)!  Print out all 3 phrases of the 3 verses (omitting the chorus which is page 4 in the document found HERE).

(don't notice my typo in this picture - 2 "child's" - it's not in the document you download)

There will be a total of 9 pages with 3 pages for each verse (3 phrases per verse).  Each page will need to have each of the words cut out like I've demonstrated in the picture and placed in envelopes.  Label the 9 envelopes with it's corresponding verse (vs. 1, vs. 2 and vs. 3).  The phrases can get all mixed up as that will be the activity.

Before primary, place 3 GAB pictures on the chalkboard that represent each verse:
(vs. 1)

(vs. 2)

(vs. 3)

Divide the primary into 3 groups.   If you have a larger primary, I'd suggest printing out more copies of the envelopes (no more than 5 to 10 kids per group).  Pass out 3 envelopes of the first verse randomly, giving one envelope to each group, and don't tell them which phrase they have (you won't know that anyway ;).

Have the children group together on the floor and put together their word scramble.  As the piano plays, you and the teachers sing the first verse as the kids put their phrase in order.

Once the phrases of each group are in order, have the primary stand and sing the verse together having each group watch for what phrase they have (the 1st, 2nd or 3rd).  Once determined, have each group sing only their phrase as you sing the whole song and have everyone sing the chorus together.

Repeat this process for the 2nd and 3rd verses, gathering up each envelope of phrases in between so the groups always only have one envelope at a time.

Junior primary:
This week will be a continuation on my lesson plan from last week (found HERE).  Pull out the heart sticks and the props again.  We didn't get to the "What's Missing" section I have posted (conveniently!) so that's what we'll be doing...


Hand out everyone a heart stick and place the props on a table up front.  Select a child to go out in to the hall and the rest of the primary picks an item to remove from the table.  The child is called back in and as the primary sings the verse that corresponds to the missing item (using the sticks to make the rainbow movement they learned previously), the child must determine what is missing from the table.  As a hint, the primary can sing the word/phrase a little louder that represents the missing item or even raise their heart sticks up as high as they can when that word/phrase is sung!

For instance, one of the items I have suggested to bring is a blanket for the "comforter" in the 3rd verse.  Select a child to go into the hall.  Remove the blanket from the table.  Call the child back in and have them try to figure out that the blanket is missing.  Have the primary sing the 3rd verse and when the word "comforter" is sung, they can sing that word a little louder and raise up their heart sticks to help the guessing child.

Replace the missing prop then repeat with a new child and a new missing prop until all the children have had a turn and all the props have been removed.

Combined Junior and Senior:
If your primary is combined, I'd suggest putting these 2 lesson plans together, although the older kids would enjoy the "what's missing" game too.

You will mostly be doing the word scramble (my motto with combined is to cater to the older kids and the younger will grasp what they can).  But as each group puts the word scramble together, they will need to determine what prop goes with their phrase.  The younger children can try to determine their group's prop as the word scramble is put in order.

When you make your groups, have older and younger children together.  The older children will put the word scramble together and the younger children will go fetch/hold the item that matches their group's phrase.  The younger children can also hold up the prop as their phrase is sung.

Time permitting, play what's missing as indicated above in the "Junior primary" section.

You can also review using handbells.  Find my post HERE for more details!

If I Listen With My Heart - Bells

I came across a handbell arrangement for If I Listen With My Heart.  It's an obbligato arrangement, so not the melody.  Download it HERE if you are interested.


You can download my bell chart HERE.






But if you are looking for a simple way to review this song, try it with the handbells.   See more information on how I use handbells in primary HERE.

2016 Pat Graham Workshop - NOTES


I was able to attend Sister Pat Graham's workshop a few weeks ago.  As always, she put on a very informative workshop.  It was also fun to visit with several of you and put faces to a few readers!    If anyone has any other notes, pictures or videos they took of the workshop, please contact me and I'll collaborate it all here so we can help those who couldn't attend!


I've attached her handout HERE.  a simple outline for teaching any song, sign language idea for teaching Search, Ponder and Pray and an outline for teaching If I Listen With My Heart which I have incorporated into my lesson plans for teaching that song this year (find it HERE if you missed it) along with a few other items.  If her handout doesn't make sense without the workshop, don't worry!  I plan on implementing LOTS more this year!

She also had sheet music with a simple arrangement for a flute/violin of If I Listen With My Heart that you can find HERE along with some finger plays she suggested for nursery and a few other items.

I video recorded her entire workshop a few years ago.  The information she presents each year is fairly similar so if you want to get a feel for how she teaches, find the videos all HERE.

Sister Graham also talked about a few of the books she has written.  I outlined all of those last year in my 2015 notes so if you want to find all her books, check out my post HERE.   If there's outside resource you buy (or your ward buys for your calling - which is what I would STRONGLY suggest) for this calling, it's Sister Graham's Songbook Companion:


Then below are a few notes I scribbled down:

"The only calling in the church that does not have a manual."

"When teaching children to conduct, help them feel the down beat."  As long as they move their arm downward on the first downbeat, they can just bounce their arm until the next one.

Have wiggly children conduct

Make sure the children have "music manners" when using handbells.

"The minute you are not involved, you are talking!"  She was referencing us as a group but said primary children behave the same way.

"Children learn best through movement."

Have the older children put melody charts together.

"Don't call them 'kids' or 'you guys' but instead call them 'children' or 'boys and girls.'  Show them the respect they deserve."

Use the preface and p. 300 of The Children's Songbook to help you with your calling.  Lots of valuable information for teaching music to children.

This was on the wall:

These are pictures of a lot of her slides:














Sister Graham stated that some children have a difficulty finding their "singing voices" so when they try to sing, they walk or shout.  This exercise above and below is to help them differentiate between their different types of voices.  When she said "This is my singing voice" she sang it using the notes below c aa c c a.  When she would speak, whisper, call or sing, she'd talk into her toy microphone.  When she wanted the children to echo, she held the microphone out toward the audience and we repeated what she did.

Practice the information on the slide above using this song:












Ensign Article - Pray About It

I was browsing through this month's Ensign and read the article entitled Pray About It by Taryn Taylor found HERE.  It's a good read for any Primary Music Leader :).


"I had been asking the Lord to show me how to be a better mother, and He gave me a calling that would teach me how."

February 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
February 2016

February 7th:
Opening song:  I Am a Child of God p. 2
Scripture song:  The Books in the Book of Mormon p. 119
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  I Will Follow God’s Plan p. 164
Activity: found HERE

February 14th:
Opening song: My Heavenly Father Loves Me p. 228
Scripture song:  The Books in the Book of Mormon p. 119
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time: Jesus Said Love Everyone p. 61, Reverence is Love p. 31, Love One Another p. 136, I'll Walk With You (3rd verse only) p. 140, I Love To See The Temple p. 95, We Are Different p. 263, Love is Spoken Here p. 190, Where Love Is p. 138, I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus p. 78, Teacher, Do You Love Me? p. 178, Mother, I Love You p. 207, I Feel My Savior's Love p. 74
Activity: "Name that Primary Song about Love" activity found HERE

February 21st 
Opening song:  Families Can Be Together Forever p. 188
Scripture song:  The Books in the Book of Mormon p. 119
Birthday song:  Happy, Happy Birthday p. 284
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  I Will Follow God’s Plan p. 164
Activity: Review activity HERE

February 28th:
Opening song: I Will Be Valiant p. 162
Scripture song:  The Books in the Book of Mormon p. 119
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
Activity: Review activity -  considering a new idea I've pinned called "Roll-A-Snowman" found HERE or I also have TONS of other ideas posted HERE.