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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Inspirational Isle - Treasure Hunt Program Review

This Sunday is week 4 into my Treasure Hunt Program Review (find more details HERE) and we're heading to Inspirational isle!  I'm not planning many props (okay, none) - unless someone has a great idea for bringing in something tangible to represent feeling the spirit with our singing.  My goal here will be to help the kids simply feel the spirit with each song as we sing.  I love to challenge the kids to see if they can give me goose bumps (I get goose bumps when I feel the spirit and they all know it!).

If you simply need more review ideas that don't relate to the Treasure Hunt, make sure to check out my list of Review Activities HERE.

We'll practice standing and sitting before and after each song following my lead. Along with eyes on me.  We'll also go over what it means when I cup my hand to my ear [to increase volume].  I don't like to say, "sing louder" as that suggests yelling.

After each song is sung, we'll move the corresponding ship to this stop!  Easy and effective!

Next week will be our final stop at Treasure Island where I'm going to bring in ring pops wrapped like this:
(this is from years ago)

More to come!!

I've also got lots of tips for reviewing programs in the chapel HERE.

If you have completed your program, check out my After-the-Program Helps HERE.  I think I'm going to do Primary Battleship once we're finished to keep with my ships theme :).

Monday, September 17, 2018


Several years ago I inherited this Sing-O-Meter that's been super fun to use in primary:

I've been wanting to digitize it for YEARS and I finally did it!  It's great to review any song - or to even help motivate good singing during your program practices!

Download all the pieces to my sing-o-meter HERE.  Print on white card stock, cut out all the pieces and adhere everything (except the arrow) to a poster board (cut it lengthwise - making it 12x22 inches).  Laminate the poster board (optional).  Then laminate the arrow separately from the board. Using a brad, poke a hole through the arrow and through the poster board.

To use in primary, simply have the kids sing and you be the judge on their quality of singing.  Maybe for fun, have them sing sleepy or poorly for part of a sing, then have them move up to "super singing."

If you want more ideas on Sing-O-Meters, check out this fun post on FB HERE.

Check out my list HERE with more review ideas.

If you use the sing-o-meter in primary during a program practice, it's fun to pull out the giant balloon when practicing in the chapel.  Find details HERE.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Desert Dynamics - Treasure Hunt Program Review

This Sunday is week 3 into my Treasure Hunt Program Review (find more details HERE) and we're heading to Desert Dynamics!  My goal with this stop will be to work on the dynamics of our songs.  And again, whether you are doing the Treasure Hunt Review or not, you can easily use this lesson plan to review!

This week brings in a little bit of music theory - now, please don't let the word "theory" scare you.  There are markings on the songs that help us get more of a "feel" for how the songs should be sung rather than just singing them like a robot.  For instance, each song has a describing word for how we are to sing them.  For I Am a Child of God we are instructed to sing it "Fervently" (that's written in the songbook just above the 1st measure).  For My Heavenly Father Loves Me, we are to sing it "Expressively" and so on.  When we sing each song, we'll discuss what each of these words means with the kids and we'll try to sing each song that way.

Then we'll also work on our breathing (follow the punctuation by breathing where there are comas and periods - you'll have to watch the conductor closely!). Then getting louder and softer as we sing each phrase.  To help with the breathing and getting louder and softer, I'm going to bring in a slinky like this one here:

I'm sure Wal-mart carries them or check if your neighbor has one you can borrow ;).

Then to tie in my ship theme, I'm going to attach these little waves to the end of my slinky.

Download my document HERE.  Print on card stock and cut out.  I just used a twist tie and put a small hole into the image then tied it right on to both ends of the slinky. I don't have my slinky yet but I'll update as soon as I get it!  Or just leave this off as it's completely optional.

The slinky is going to help me create "swells."  When the slinky is held widely, the swell is deep and kids are to increase the volume of the song (I always like to reiterate, never louder than lovely!).  When the swells come together, the swells are small and volume is to decrease.  Volume tends to increase then decrease in each phrase.  For instance, in the song When I Am Baptized, as you sing, "I like to look for rainbows"...the volume/dynamics should be increasing.  Then they start to decrease when you sing "whenever there is rain." repeating that pattern throughout the entire song.  And you can breathe after the small swells.  Clear as mud?  :)

I've gone into a little more detail for dealing with dynamics in this post HERE if it helps.  I'll be bringing a lot of these aspects into this week as well.  Like I said in that post, the dynamics often times get overlooked as we are too concerned with the kids memorizing the words and being familiar with the melodies.  If we really want to bring the spirit into the meeting (and have the kids recognize this spirit), the dynamics are a HUGE part of that!

If you are looking for other ways to review program songs, check out more of my program review ideas HERE.

Or if you just want generic review activities, check out more ideas HERE.

If you are lucky enough to have your program finished, make sure to check out my after-the-program posts HERE!  This is my FAVORITE time in singing time!!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Reverence Is Love

I found this great booklet for the song Reverence is Love in the July 2017 Friend HERE (click on the image in the link to get the PDF to download).

If your primary is struggling with reverence or needs a good reminder, this is a wonderful and simple song to teach!  This is also a great song to throw into singing time if your program is finished when you can sing whatever you like for a a few months!

The original document from The Friend is meant to be folded into a little booklet and colored but I wanted to make each image to be a full size sheet - more like a flip chart to be posted on the chalkboard.

You can find my re-sized document HERE.  Print on white card stock, color by hand (if you like!) and laminate (optional).

Simple actions can also be taught in conjunction with each flip chart.  Just post each picture on the chalkboard as you teach each action:

Reverence is more than just quietly sitting: fold arms
It's thinking of Father above: point to temples
A feeling I get when I think of His blessings: rub upper arms with opposite hand
I'm reverent for reverence is love: place hands over heart
When I'm reverent it shows in my words: cup hands around mouth  
And my deeds: face palms out
The pathway to follow is clear: create a pathway with arms
And when I am reverent I know in my heart: place hands over heart
Heavenly Father and Jesus are near: give yourself a "hug"

Download and print my to-go sheet with the actions HERE.

If you are trying to increase reverence in primary, make sure to scroll through all my other posts on reverence HERE.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Lyrical Lava Rock - Treasure Hunt Program Review

This Sunday is week 2 into my Treasure Hunt Program Review (find more details HERE) and we're heading to Lyrical Lava Rock!  My goal with this stop will be to work on memorizing the words.  Now, whether you are doing the Treasure Hunt Review or not, you can easily use this lesson plan to review!

To tie in my "Lava Rock" theme, I thought we could sing in the dark (since volcanos cause darkness) and turn on lights since lava rock glows.  I'll be using finger lights that I purchased previously (find where I got mine HERE) but any sort of light will work - glow sticks, flashlights, battery-powered candles, etc.

I found this great post HERE that has TONS of ideas of what to do with finger lights along with a printable...

For Variation 1 (placing flip charts/pictures around the room), Susan Fitch has a darling set HERE in her Etsy shop that would be fun (it's meant to be played as a memory game but would be perfect for this activity!)

To keep this simple, I'll probably just rotate through Variations 2 - 6 with each song.  We learned sign language for If the Savior Stood Before Me so I'll be sure to do Variation 5 on that song.

Make sure to check out all of my program review ideas HERE.

Monday, September 3, 2018

We Are Different

I absolutely LOVE this song!  It ranks high on my favorite-primary-songs list - something about the rhythm and singing on the off-beat.  It can be a little tricky but don't let that deter you from teaching it to your primary!  It's also a great one to sing with visitors!

Sing the verses by having the primary pair up with a neighbor and face each other to do simple actions with each other.  You as the leader can pair with the visitor.  If there are multiple visitors, have them pair up with each other after the song has been demonstrated to them by the primary.

1st Verse:
I know you: point to partner using both hands
and you know me: point to themselves using thumbs
We are as different as the sun and the sea: grasp hands
I know you: point to partner using both hands
you know me: point to themselves using thumbs
And that's the way it is supposed to be: have children shake hands on the beat

2nd Verse:
I help you: hold left hands and sink to the ground together
and you help me: switch to right hands and rise up together
We learn from problems, and we’re starting to see: foreheads gently come together (be careful!)
I help you: hold left hands and sink to the ground together
and you help me: switch to right hands and rise up together
And that's the way it is supposed to be: have children shake hands on the beat

3rd Verse:
I love you: backs of hands touch neighbors palms
and you love me: both palms touch neighbors palms
We reach together for the best we can be: touching palms raise above heads and come down
I love you: backs of hands touch neighbors palms
and you love me: both palms touch neighbors palms
And that's the way it is supposed to be: have children shake hands on the beat

Sing 1 verse or all 3 then repeat with new neighbors!

Make sure to check out all of my welcome songs HERE.  I beginning to rotate through a new welcome song monthly!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Primary Songs Are a Treasure - Treasure Hunt Program Review

It's program review time!  I like to spend all month of September reviewing songs for our program in October.  It's a great time to polish up those songs that still need a little work!  To review, I like to come up with a fun review theme that I use the entire month - it hopefully makes the monotony of reviewing the same songs over and over a little more exciting!  This year I decided to do a Treasure Map review entitled  Primary Songs Are a Treasure:

Make sure to scroll to the bottom of my post for a link with more review ideas!!

Download my JPEG (photo) document HERE.  This document prints as a 20x30 poster.  You can print this at Costco as a lustre photo (I'd recommend this over glossy) for $9.99.  If you want to take this to another printer, you probably will need the PDF version HERE.  I also have a print-at-home tiled version HERE that has a white background (you're welcome!).  It prints on 9 sheets of regular-sized paper.  I'd recommend printing on white card stock, laminating then taping it together with packaging tape.  If you really want to keep it simple and have an artistic talent, draw the map on the chalkboard with chalk each week.

I had a request for Canadian sizing so here is a 16x20 JPEG document HERE and a 24x36 JPEG document HERE.  I hope that helps!

The Treasure Map uses these ships with each of the 2018 program songs songs:

You can download them HERE.  Print on white card stock, cut out and laminate.  If you have a Jr. and Sr. primary, you can either print each ship twice and write Jr/Sr on the ships or take a picture of your map after each singing time so you can just set them back to where they were for each primary.

In case you have different songs, I have 12 blank ones HERE.

To move the ships along the various stops, you'll need masking tape or magnets.  There are 4 stops along the poster.  Since there are 5 weeks in September, I will be using the first week to place our ships on the actual poster (along the dotted line in the lower left corner) before we get to the first island.

Each week I have small activities that will help get our ships to each stop, eventually landing at Treasure Island.  I had big plans to incorporate primary battleship (find details HERE) but I think that will take too long to implement so I'm probably going to bump it until the day of our program - maybe use it to sing random primary songs that incorporate water - still thinking on that one!

UPDATE:  Below was my original idea for this week but Stacy shared her plan for this Sunday for searching and I'm totally going to use it!  Find Stacy's post HERE.   Download the document HERE.  Simply hide a ship at each location found in the riddles.  Read a riddle and find the ship.  Once found, sing the song on the ship then repeat until all ships have been found and sung!  Thanks Stacy!!

So this week, before primary, hide each ship around the primary room and hang the poster on the board.  Our activity will be called Ahoy Matey! and the kids will be using a telescope to hunt for the ships.  When one is found, the kids can call out "ahoy matey!" Place the located ship on the map and sing it.  Then repeat with each song.  This is a great starting point as you will be able to know right away what songs need work!

For telescopes, there are 2 options...

Paper towel and/or toilet paper rolls (tell me I'm not the only person who saves junk!):

I've sent out a mass text to my neighbors before and was able to collect enough rolls a few days before Sunday ;).

Or Amazon sells these:

I'm sure any party store would have them as well.  Or feel free to omit the props all together as it's totally optional.  The paper towel rolls are kind of fun to have the kids sing through as you sing each song!

Check out my Lyrical Lava Rock lesson plan details HERE as we work on the lyrics (words) using finger lights!

Then check out my Deseret Dynamics lesson plan details HERE as we work on dynamics using a big slinky to create swells to get louder, softer, breath, etc.

Check out details for Inspiration Isle HERE as we help bring in the spirit from our singing!  Simple, yet effective.

Then the last stop will be getting all the songs to Treasure Island.  I'm thinking of wrapping up a "treasure box" (which is just a shoe box covered in brown paper) and the kids will get to cut off a ribbon for each song like I did HERE.  Once all the ribbons are cut, we can open the treasure which will be full of Ring Pops with a tag incorporating the theme Primary Songs Are a Treasure.  More to come!

That gets us through the entire month of September.  The first week of October is General Conference, then our primary spends the next 2 weeks going over our program with parts and all.  One week is spent in the primary room, the next week we spend in the chapel.  I don't bring in my poster for any of that as it gets a little crazy.  I like to review in the chapel with this guy:

Check out more details HERE.

And speaking of programs, make sure to check out my Primary Program Invitation and Physical Programs to pass out to the congregation HERE.

You can also check out all my past program review activities HERE.