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Friday, January 23, 2015

February 2015 Singing Time Schedule

You can see how to use my monthly schedule HERE.  And you can download an editable version of the information below HERE.

Singing Time Schedule
February 2015

February 1st:
Opening song:  To Think About Jesus p. 71
Scripture song:  The Fourth Article of Faith p. 124
Birthday song:   Feliz Cumpleanos 2nd verse p. 282
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  He Sent His Son p. 34
Activity:  For Junior, I'll repeat last year's lesson plan found HERE.  For Senior, Primary, I'll repeat last year's review activity HERE (I'll use it in Junior primary too if we have time)

February 8th:
Opening song:  He Died That We Might Live Again p. 65
Scripture song:  The Fourth Article of Faith p. 124
Birthday song:  Feliz Cumpleanos 2nd verse p. 282
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time: He Died That We Might Live Again p. 65
Activity:  I thought we'd get a jump start on our Easter Sacrament Meeting musical number since we know He Sent His Son and don't need to spend more than one week on it.  It also coincides well with this month's theme.  Easter falls on General Conference this year so our Easter Sacrament Meeting program will be the last week of March.  More to come!

February 15th:
Opening song: Did Jesus Really live Again? p. 64
Scripture song:  The Fourth Article of Faith p. 124
Birthday song:  Feliz Cumpleanos 2nd verse p. 282
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 (3rdverse only) 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
Activity:  Name that Primary Song about Love found HERE.

February 22nd:
Opening song:  Beautiful Savior p. 62
Scripture song:  The Fourth Article of Faith p. 124
Birthday song:  Feliz Cumpleanos 2nd verse p. 282
Welcome song:  We Welcome you p. 256
Singing Time:  I Know That My Savior Loves Me outline, He Sent His Son p. 34, He Died That We Might Live Again p. 65
Activity: Review Activity...not sure what yet. I'm contemplating incorporating what Sister Pat Graham taught at her workshop about putting the "feeling" into songs:

For Senior, I may write each of the songs on a poster board (could be on the chalk board, but this will save time) or maybe even have it written as a musical page, with the notes, etc. but it will be missing all the "feeling" items.  Then create some musical theory items (that are removable) to add to the poster to help give it feeling.  Sister Pat Graham suggested fermatas, crescendo/decrescendo, p (for piano = soft), f (for forte = loud), mp, mf, slurs, breath marks, the suggested expression, tempo (I may bring in a metronome).

For Junior, I think I'll do something similar but print all the musical theory items on a sheet of paper then tape to a paint stick so they are big.  I'll talk about each item, then we'll sing and I'll hold up various sticks and they will need to immitate what I'm holding (the fermata, the "p" or the "f", etc.).  They'd probably get a kick out of the metronome too!

You can also browse through all my review activities HERE

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Know That My Savior Loves Me - Review

I found this simple review idea called "Heartfelt Testimonies of Jesus Christ" (essentially 'Hot Potato') found HERE.  It really is perfect for providing some great repetition to this song, while also allowing the children to bear their simple testimony of Jesus Christ by playing a simple game.  It doesn't get better than that!

To play, bring some sort of item to be passed - I have some bean bags like these that I made that will work great:

Or Amazon also sells a dozen for a reasonable price:

(a small ball, paper item or an actual potato would work too!).  Post the visuals I created HERE on the chalkboard with magnets.  Have the kids sit in a circle or figure out a pattern of how to pass the item (we'll pass in an "S" formation and the child at the very back will rush it up to the front to start it over.

Have the kids sing while passing the item.  Have the pianist stop randomly and the child holding the item when the music stops gets to remove a phrase from the chalkboard and tell the primary how they know the Savior loves them.  Repeat.  They could also replace the phrase with a heart for "my HEART I give to him" that either has their name on it or that has written how they know the Savior loves them.

Here are some hearts to print on red or pink card stock to cut out:

Download the document HERE.

Perfect to go along with Valentines Day coming up here soon!

If you have a large primary, bring an item for each class or split the primary into smaller groups.  Each group can pass their own bag and when the pianist stops, the children all holding a bean bag get to come to the front, remove a phrase(s), tell how the Savior loves them, and place a heart on the chalkboard.

You could also just have the kids draw a chalk heart on the chalkboard to simplify!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Staying Organized, Part 6 - Magnets!

There was a discussion on the Facebook Chorister's group about magnets!  Kind of crazy the topics that come up, but it was a GREAT discussion on magnets!  If you missed it, do a quick search for "magnets" on the group!  Anyway, I wanted to share my two bits about my favorite magnets, how I use and store mine.

First of all, I prefer magnets over tape.  Less hassle and they can be reused, moved as much as you like, and they are much easier for the kids to maneuver.  The ones I have pictured above, I actually do NOT love.  They aren't the heavy duty kind.  They work for holding single sheets of paper but if I have something to hang that's in a plastic cover sheet or that has been laminated, they don't hold well.

What I've come to love are these:

They are strong enough to hold anything I want on the chalk board!  They are found at Officemax or Amazon here:

I store mine in my church bag as these are my own (they serve a dual purpose for me as I have a HUGE magnet board in my house - it's pictured below in case you were curious - haha).

But you may want to ask the primary if they would be interested in purchasing magnets to be used by the primary that will stay in the closet.

So there you have it...my opinion on magnets :).

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 Pat Graham Workshop - NOTES

(Thanks Barb {pictured on the left and I'm on the right} for sharing your picture of us and Sister Graham!!)

I've scanned in Sister Pat Graham's workshop handouts from Saturday's workshop.  You can find them HERE.  If you want to see a workshop she did a few years ago, find my videos HERE.  Her teaching technique is pretty similar as are her workshops so if you couldn't go this year, you can get a main idea of her teaching style from the previous year's videos.

The main reason I like to go each year is to gather lesson plan ideas for songs we are teaching the current year that are not found in The Children's Songbook Companion.  This year, there are 2 songs, I Know That My Savior Loves Me and Come Follow Me.  Both of which she had some great teaching techniques and ideas.

She also had several of her books for sale.  You can purchase some of them on Amazon if you are interested:

You can also purchase The Children's Songbook Companion Artbook!  Find that here:

Then she has a NEW book called Stories of the Children's Songbook:

This is the old version of the same book but it's titled We Shall Make Music:

These books below can be purchased from her blog HERE (I don't think they are available on Amazon - at least I couldn't find them).  They include:

Sister Graham mentioned an article in the Church News found HERE.  Here's what she read from it in case you don't want to read the entire article:

'"Sister Stevens said
 an important way to teach about the Savior is through music. “One way to ensure that music is an important part of Primary is to have singing time first.”

'Singing time will set the tone for the sharing time lessons, Sister Wixom said. Singing also helps children feel the Spirit and learn truths they can remember and share at home.

'Sister Wixom said the song, “I Know That My Savior Loves Me,” is included in the outline.

'“Wouldn’t it be great if every family could learn that song and sing it in their home,” said Sister Esplin. “As they sing, they are bearing their testimony about the Savior.”'

Sister Graham also mentioned the tools in The Children's Songbook all found HERE entitled "Using the Songbook."  Links include "How to Teach a Song to Children," "How to Add Variety to Singing," "How to Conduct a Song," and LOTS more!

Sister Graham mentioned how the years (current and past) outlines have valuable recourses in them for music.  Find 2014's "How to Use Music in Primary" HERE, find all other outlines HERE.

Then here are a few things I managed to jot down:
  • "Echo is an easy way to get a song going."  She sang a phrase of a song into a child's microphone, then pointed out to us and we echoed what she sang.  She finished the entire song that way.
  • Also using the microphone, you can teach children their singing vs. speaking vs. whisper, calling, and big voices using the echo example above.  You say "this is my singing voice." and sing that into the microphone.  Then point it to the children and have them repeat you.  Do the same for your speaking voice, your whisper voice, your calling or big voice (the terms she used for loud as not to have the kids yelling and screaming).
  • We are not "Choristers" but "Primary Music Leaders."  She said the definition of a chorister is "a member of a choir."  I did some Googling on this and she is correct but there is also a 2nd definition which states, "a person who leads the singing of a church choir or congregation" so I'd say either is correct.  I do think the church handbook refers to the calling as the Music Leader, however.
  • She talked about making a plan: a yearly, monthly and weekly plan and give a copy to the pianist (I'd also add to give a copy to the Primary Presidency).  I make a yearly plan when I do my CD's - I just plan what montly songs we will sing for the year at that time.  Then I make a monthly outline that I give to my pianist and presidency that includes all the opening, birthday, welcome and scripture songs.  And then there's always the weekly lesson plan with details for my singing time.
  • Children' can't prefer what they don't know.  We need to get them familiar with more the songs in The Children's Songbook.
  • Getting through a song vs. understanding the meaning.  Too many times we as music leaders focus on learning the words and melody as opposed to having children understand the meaning which ultimately leads them to learning the gospel.  Both are important and play a vital role in teaching music.  We shouldn't overlook either.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:15 states:  :What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."
  • Don't just sing the first verses of the birthday songs!  Sister Graham mentioned singing the 2nd verse to Feliz CumpleaƱos.  How I tackle this is we sing one verse to the song one month, then the next month, if the song has a 2nd verse, we'll sing the 2nd verse only that month.
  • Good movement for kids with wiggles is to teach them how to lead.  Show them the "sailboat" pattern for 4/4, the "banana" for 2/2, and the triangle for 3/4.  You can find more information on leading HERE under "Features of the Songbook" (just scroll down a bit).  Give them stick (glow sticks work great - turn out the lights).
  • Use a metronome as an activity - figure out the speeds of various songs.  Teach crescendo and decresendo as well as other simple musical theory. Teach the FEELING of songs, sing them with expression.  (I think I'm going to do this for He Sent His Son since we already KNOW the song - More to come!)
  •  Ask the children how they FEEL after they sing.  Ask, "Can you hear the sad?" (when there is a minor chord) and "Can you hear the happy?" (when there is a major cord).  A song with this example is Nephi's Courage.
  • Give children turns to sing the "S's."  Get rid of snakes as you put the final touches on songs.
  • When teaching Come Follow Me the kids can trace their own footprints and say how they can follow Jesus Christ.  Then step.  Have Christ at the back of the room and all footsteps will be heading toward Him.  Use the picture "Fishers of men" as an attention getter.
Barbara shared information using handbells, chimes, and drums (made from #10 cans, wallpaper and some plastic tablecloth fabric).

Then Jared shared his actions for the song Latter-Day Prophets.  I have similar actions I've posted HERE but I like his changes for Joseph Smith (hold up a book of Mormon) Brigham Young (driving his wagon west), John Taylor (point to the watch in his chest that saved his life), Joseph F. Smith (do the hula, he served a mission in Hawaii) and David O. McKay (make the O because he loved to play marbles, there's a story about the marbles HERE if you scroll down a bit).  Jared's video is below:


If you have notes, pictures or video you'd like to share, either leave them in the comments or use the "Contact Me" tab above and I can input your content.  I'd love to have everyone's information in one spot!

I Know that My Savior Loves Me Follow Up

This is my follow-up post for my I Know that My Savior Loves Me lesson plans (both the 1st and 2nd verse posts found HERE and HERE).  The purpose of these is they help others, going forward, tweak plans for their primaries, stray away from lesson plans that flopped {yes, it happens to everyone...even me!!}, and give feedback (don't be too harsh!) about how it went in general.  You can find my response below.  These posts will be linked back to the actual lesson plan so they'll be easy to reference.

So, I ask you...

If you taught my lesson plan for I Know that My Savior Loves Me 1st and 2nd verses, how did it go, what things did you change, what do you wish you would have done differently, would you do it again?  Leave a comment below!

Here's my response:

I totally forgot to do my attention getter!  Woops!  I just started right into the actions and talking about the song.  That happens to me sometimes!

Senior primary did well learning the actions and did exceptionally well using the comparison charts.  We were able to discuss how even though we don't get to physically see and touch Jesus Christ, He still blesses our lives.  Some boys in the back got a little disruptive but the primary president went and sat by them so I was grateful!

Junior primary enjoyed the actions when we did the first verse and they were a bit rowdy when we were working on the second.  But they did fine.  When we started singing time, they were really wiggly so we sang My Hands to prepare their hands for the actions - worked like a charm!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Know That My Savior Loves Me - 2nd Verse

For teaching the 2nd verse, I plan to continue on with actions like I did for the first verse (find that lesson plan HERE).  I'm also going to incorporate comparisons between the 1st and 2nd verses as we learn each phrase as is found in the 2010 Sharing Time Outline HERE.

I created each line to be in its own document and color coded it the same way:

You can download the document HERE.  Then cut them in half.

I just recreated this information below to be large enough to place on the chalkboard:

I'll post these on the chalkboard using magnets.  The 1st verse phrases will be on the left side of the chalkboard and the 2nd verse phrases will be on the right side.  I'll also post the same picture of Christ with the Nephite children in the middle.

We'll cover each phrase, comparing the 1st verse to the 2nd, learn the action and add on, repeating until the whole song has been learned.

Even though the Jr. Primary can't read, I think they will still be able to understand the concept of comparing the 1st and 2nd verses.  You reading to them can be just as effective as them being able to read it themselves.

Write the 2 verses on the chalk board using chalk and just circle the similarities as you teach the 2nd verse with handmotions

Find my lesson plan for reviewing this song HERE.

Find my follow-up to this lesson plan HERE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Know that my Savior Loves Me - Chorus & 1st Verse

I'm FINALLY ready to start on this year's program songs!  I have a VERY simple lesson plan...

As an attention getter I'll post the above picture on the chalkboard (find that HERE).  Then I really liked the idea posted on sugardoodle.net found HERE.  I'm going to have the kids close their eyes, I may turn off part of the lights, and tell them to imagine what I'm about to tell them.  I'll then read (maybe paraphrase for Junior primary) the script.

Afterward, I'll have the pianist play the chorus as I sing it* using simple actions/hand motions as is suggested in the 2015 Sharing Time Outline found HERE (under the section "Helps for the Music Leader").  This simple video was shared on the FB Chorister's group that I liked (thank you for sharing this!):

*If you are uncomfortable singing a solo, ask the teachers to help you and make sure to post the words like I do HERE to help them.  Or play the song on CD which you can find the link to download it HERE).

Then I'll start with the chorus, and line by line, we'll do the action, recite the words, then sing and do the action together, then add on.  Once the chorus is learned, we'll do the 1st verse.

Also, if you need help remembering what actions/signs go where, I like to jot down simple notes.  For instance, I'll write down "know" for "I Know he lives" then write next to it "raise bent arm" or something.  I can be forgetful when I get up in front sometimes :).


You can also ask the kids to come up with their own actions.  Divide the primary into sections and assign each section a line from the song.  Then they can come to the front of the class and teach the others their action that goes along with their assigned line.

Find my lesson plan for the 2nd verse HERE.

Find my lesson plan for reviewing this song HERE.

Find my follow-up to this lesson plan HERE.