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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Calling All 2015 Planning Calendars



Have you created a great planning calendar for singing time for 2015?  Would you be willing to share it with others?  I've seen several flying around the LDS Choristers Facebook group (find out more about that group HERE) but it would be nice to have them all in one place so everyone can pick one that works best for them.  If you'd like to share yours, please contact me using the "Contact Me" tab above and I'll try to get them all linked here on this post!

I'll share how I do mine:  I personally like to plan out one month at a time.  The last Sunday of the current month, I pass out the next month's calendar to my pianist and presidency.  I like planning only a month out because then I know schedules better (Stake Conference, if I'm going on vacation, etc.) but others like to plan out the whole year and get it all complete.  Find more information on my VERY simple schedule HERE.

OCD Primary Chorister has a post up, "2015 Organizational Tools" with some GREAT information!  Find it HERE.

Laura over at Would you Like to Sing a Song has her's HERE.  Thanks Laura!

Thanks for sharing!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Sing-A-Story

I LOVE pulling out previous year's work!  I'm like to do my Thanksgiving Sing-A-Story the week before Thanksgiving!


Find details HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Next week...CHRISTMAS!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Make-Your-Own-Handbell Chart

I get several requests for handbell charts.  I WISH I could make everyone personal charts!  But instead, I've come up with a way to hopefully help you get a handbell chart for any song you need.

Now, be advised that these charts will only work with the Kidsplay brand!  If you have another brand, these note charts MOST LIKELY will not work, unless the colors and notes are the same.

To make a chart, simply print off any of the pages of notes you need, cut out the SQUARES (way eaiser than the circles!) and paste your needed notes onto either a poster board or print off my blank bell sheet on card stock.  Write in your words if you want, any muscial counting you need, pages numbers and voila!

I'd even suggest using a laminated poster board or laminated blank note sheets, that way you can just reuse them!  For storage, take off the note, and number them on the backside so when you want to reuse them, they are easy to put back on.

Find below the document HERE.

Blank Note Sheet:

Full page notes:












4 notes to a page:


If you want to see how I use the handbells in Primary, I have a post with details HERE.  I have several charts already made on some songs.  Scroll through all my "Bells" posts under the Labels section to the right.  Also found there is some information on chimes if that interests you as well.

What else would help you make your own chart?  Leave comments with suggestions.

P.S. Handbell Heaven has LOTS of charts if you haven't looked there already.  Find that website HERE.  

Thursday, November 13, 2014

I Am Glad For Many Things

I'll be teaching "I Am Glad for Many Things" this week as a "fill in the blank."  We'll learn it like this:

I am glad for 
1. (fill in the blank)
2. (fill in the blank)
3. (fill in the blank)
I am glad for 
4. (fill in the blank)
that are mine today.


You can download and print the turkey and feathers HERE.  I printed the turkey on white card stock and laminated it.  The feathers I printed on red, orange, yellow and brown construction paper.  I printed enough feathers for each primary child to have one.  Erin, over at OCDPrimaryChorister.blogspot.com modified her Thanksgiving Turkey found HERE for me (thank you, thank you!!!).

Before Primary, hang the turkey on the chalkboard with a magnet or tape. 

At the beginning of singing time, pass out a feather and a pencil/pen to all the kids and have them write down something they are thankful or "glad" for (teachers & presidency can help the little kids).  Ideas can include family, primary, homes, Wii (I know my twins will pick that FOR SURE!) food, healthy bodies, Jesus Christ, etc.

Then call up 4 kids at a time and have them tell the primary what they wrote down.  Fit what they are thankful for into the blank spots of the song.  It will be fun to try to get whatever they are thankful for to "jive" with the tune!  Once finished, they can put their feather on the turkey (with masking tape) and sit down.  Get 4 more kids and repeat until the whole primary has had a turn.

For large primaries, do this by class, partners, or small groups.  For small primaries, give each child several feathers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2015 Primary Music CD

A SIDE NOTE:  I am contemplating making DVD's this year instead of CD's.  Not sure it's going to happen.  If I do, it would be similar to the lesson I did HERE for our 2014 Program Showcase.  I'll post details IF it happens :).  I'd love some feedback on this idea!

Every year for Christmas, our primary hands out a 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 2015 outline and picked songs for each month that go along with that month's theme (a majority of the extra songs are found in that month's sharing time as suggestions).  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 use as all my opening songs throughout the year.

To start, I created a Word document that contained all my songs.  You can find that document HERE.  I submitted it to my Primary President to get everything approved.  But for easy viewing, below is my song list (for May I chose Faith, and August Tell Me the Stories of Jesus):

January
1. I Know That My Savior Loves Me, outline
2. I am a Child of God p. 2
3. Thanks To Our Father p. 20

February
4. He Sent His Son p. 34
5. To Think About Jesus p. 71
6. Beautiful Savior p. 62

March
7. Follow the Prophet p. 110
8. The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden p. 237
9.  Book of Mormon Stories p. 118

April
10. The Church of Jesus Christ p. 77
11. The Golden Plates p. 86
12. The Sacred Grove p. 87

May
13. Faith p. 96
14. Keep the Commandments p. 146
15. Repentance p. 98 

June
16. The Holy Ghost p. 105 
17. The Still Small Voice p. 106
18. Search, Ponder and Pray p. 109

July
19. Come, Follow Me hymn 116
20. Baptism p. 100
21. Love One Another p. 136

August
22. Tell Me the Stories of Jesus p. 57 
23. I’ll Walk with You p. 140
24. I Feel My Savior’s Love p. 74

September
25. A Child’s Prayer p. 12
26. We Bow Our Heads p. 25
27. Seek the Lord Early p. 108

October
28. I Hope They Call Me on a Mission p. 169
29. I Love to See the Temple p. 95 
30. We’ll Bring the World His Truth p. 172

November
31. When We’re Helping p. 198
32. I Have Two Little Hands p. 272 
33. Called to Serve p. 174

December
34. My Heavenly Father Loves Me p. 228 
35. When He Comes Again p. 82
36. I Will Follow God’s Plan p. 164

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, Come, Follow Me can be found HERE and I Know That My  Savior Loves Me can be found HERE (make sure when you download, you select "Vocals and Music").  

I bought CD-R's from Costco (the huge stack will last for several Christmas gifts!) and the jewel cases from Wal-Mart which come in packs of 30 for less than $10.00.  I keep the extra blank ones in the Primary closet to be used for future years.

Then I started burning a million CD's!   Once burned, I just took a Sharpie marker and wrote "2015 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.  If you want a blank one without the song list, it is HERE.  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), cutting it so it will fit within the square 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 make copies at the library and they are free.  I also tell the kids they are welcome to color their CD cover to make it more personalized.  The artwork I chose is from LDSClipart.com 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.

I then tie on Christmas ribbon around them and attach a treat of some sort for each child (we've done ring pops and tootsie roll suckers in the past). A family with 4 nursery/primary kids would receive one CD tied with 4 treats.  I also attach a tag (signed by our ward's name on the 2nd line):


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

We'll pass these out the Sunday before Christmas 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 ;).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2015 Outline for Sharing Time


My Primary President handed me the 2015 outline today!  Hooray!  If you don't have yours yet, you can get it a few different ways:
  • Ask your Primary Presidency if they have received their copies from the Bishopric (or ask the Bishopric directly!)
  • Head to your local Distribution Center (if available)
  • Download the outline HERE

I've been thumbing through it to get my 2015 CD song list ready go to (our primary hands out CD's as a Christmas present from the Primary each year.  See what I did last year HERE.  Although, I'm considering making a 2015 DVD this year instead - more to come!)

Here's a quick summary of next year's songs:

January: I Know that My Savior Loves Me, 2015 outline p. 28
February: He Sent His Son p. 34
March: Follow the Prophet p. 110
April: The Church of Jesus Christ p. 77
May: Faith p. 96*
June:  The Holy Ghost p. 105
July:  Come, Follow Me hymn #116
August:  Tell Me the Stories of Jesus p. 57*

*These are my "song of your choice from the Children's Songbook" choices.

When we sing in Sacrament Meeting for Easter, I think we'll perform January's program song, I Know that My Savior Loves Me, as it's totally appropriate.  For Father's Day I think we'll sing February's song He Sent His Son, as it fits well too.  I'm all about killing two birds with one stone!!  And come program time, the congregation will never remember that we sang two songs earlier in the year ;).

As I've been looking through the outline, there are some great tips and teaching advice:

Page 1 has a "Singing Time" section which gives simple instruction on how singing time should run, how much time you get, etc.  Also are guidelines for the Sacrament Meeting Presentation.

Page 3 has "Helps for the Music Leader" for teaching I Know That My Savior Loves Me.

Page 5 has "Helps for the Music Leader" for teaching He Sent His Son.

Page 9 has "Helps for the Music Leader" for teaching The Church of Jesus Christ.  It also has a "Tip" that says, "Include Primary songs in your teaching. This will help the children remember what they've been taught.  'We are able to feel and learn very quickly through music...some spiritual things that we would otherwise learn very slowly.' (Boyd K. Packer, in TNGC, 46)"  Isn't this the entire reason we have singing time in Primary?  Love it!

Page 15 has "Helps for the Music Leader" for teaching Come, Follow Me.

Page 26 - 27 is entitled "How to Use Music in Primary" and has some great information on using prelude as teaching time, using music to teach gospel principals, how to teach a song, reviewing songs and engaging children through appropriate movement.

I'd say a really valuable tip is on pg. 27...PRACTICE AT HOME: To teach a song effectively, you must know the song yourself.  Practice at home so when you teach the children you can look at them, not at your book.

Page 28 is a copy of this year's theme song (to be taught in January), I Know That My Savior Loves Me.

Anyway, there you have it, a brief outline of 2015's outline.  If you haven't looked through it yet, you should!

"HOW" To Teach A Song


I had a reader contact me with the following question and wanted to share my response just in case it may help others out...

Here's the question:  "How do you actually teach a new song?...Do you print words on paper, have the kids repeat what you say, use pictures to represent words? This is where I am stumped. The 'how'. Jr Primary doesn't have a lot of readers so posting words wouldn't work well for them. Any advice you can give would be great...

Here was my response:  "I believe there are 2 key components in teaching singing time:

The 1st one is YOU!  You are the most important tool in teaching the kids - not the props you bring, not your lesson plan, not even your musical capabilities, but YOU and your attitude you bring to primary!  If you don't know the words to every song you are teaching, GUARANTEED neither will they.  If you don't sing confidently (and note, I didn't say "well"), neither will they.  If you aren't enjoying yourself, they most likely aren't enjoying you either.  If you aren't able to feel the spirit with the music, neither will they.  They are all little sponges and will immitate and mimic how you act, sing and behave in singing time.  Your attitude will be reflected by their actions.  They can sense when someone interacting with them doesn't want to be there with them.  If you go in with a great attitude, sing with love and are full of happy energy, they will copy you!

The 2nd component is repetition.  The only way non-readers [I'd even say readers as well] will learn a song is to hear it over and over again.  I like to get creative and repeat as differently as I can so neither they (nor I) get bored.  I've found the best way to keep the little guys' attention as we repeat is to keep their hands busy.  Give them props to hold, actions to complete, or things to point to.  It can be something as easy as giving them some sort of stick/wand and they follow your movements as you repeat, repeat, repeat.  Simple sign language is great too - you can even have them help you make some up.  Or point to pictures that you've placed around the room as you sing a phrase of a song that relates to it, then do it all OVER and OVER and OVER again.  The repition is the only way they will come to be familiar enough with the songs that they will be comfortable to eventually sing it.

I would maybe suggest looking through some of my lesson plans of particular songs if you want more specific ideas of how I teach.  I don't have a set method as I feel the variety is best.  You can find the link HERE and click on any of the songs.

And I suppose there is a 3rd component that is probably the most important - the Lord.  If you are struggling, turn to Him.  You were called for a reason, and if you hang in the calling long enough (I suggest at least 3 months), you may find out why.  I was called in a previous ward and there was a little 11 year old boy who was the dreaded Primary child.  He detested primary and I'll be honest, most of the leaders felt kind of the same way about him.  I was called as the Music Leader and for whatever reason, he and I connected.  By the time he graduated, he was my best helper and singer in Primary.  He'd come up to me when I was setting up and ask if he could help.  I unofficially made him my assistant and he'd do anything I asked.  Sometimes I had him "officiate" our review games.  As he was "officiating" he'd be in the front of the primary singing his little heart out.  I loved him and he knew it - therefore, he loved me and ended up loving primary.  I truly feel like I was placed in Primary to help this little boy who was struggling.

If you follow my schedule, I try to make it easy for other choristers to keep things simple, yet engaging through a variety of learning techniques for the kids.  Your style may be different from mine but you'll eventually figure out your own style."

So I ask you..."HOW" do you teach a song??  Leave a comment with any ideas you'd like to share!