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Friday, August 17, 2018

A Child's Prayer - Handbells

If you are looking for another way to review A Child's Prayer, I created a handbell chart using the guitar chords.  It will provide a fun challenge to have the primary split into 2 groups singing the different verses all while having a bell choir play!  Make sure to check out my lesson plan for teaching this song HERE.

**A few notes about the 1st page - this is the introduction ONLY and is not to be played once the song repeats for the next verses.  In the first box (B flat) you come in on count 1 and hold for 4 counts, same with the 2nd box (E flat).  Then for the 3rd box (F) you hold for 8 counts (2 measures).

Download my chart for this song HERE.  The word prompts are in each box for the 1st / 2nd verses.  I hope it makes sense.  I always print mine on white card stock and place in sheet protectors.  If you find any mistakes, PLEASE let me know! 

If you are knew to using handbells, check out my Using Handbells in Primary post HERE.  If there's one prop I would suggest you use in primary, it would be these!!  These are so fun especially to use at Christmas time - which is right around the corner!!

I also have a post for making your own handbell chart HERE or making your own handbell charts using chords HERE (which is what I've done on this song).  I also go into detail about how to use the chord charts at this post.
Make sure to check out all of my handbell charts by scrolling through all my posts HERE.  I'm heading out to a family reunion with 25 primary age nieces and nephews - I'm planning on bringing my handbells and charts to play for a fun Sunday afternoon activity!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happy Birthday Primary!

I loved the Happy Birthday, Primary! crossword puzzle in the August 2018 Friend HERE and thought it would be fun to bring it into singing time to help celebrate the primary's birthday this upcoming week.  I'll simply be recreating the crossword puzzle on the chalkboard.  As you ask the questions and fill it in, sing songs related to each answer:

1. [Children] We Welcome You p. 256
2. [Primary] Our Primary Colors p. 258
3. [Rogers] Hello, Friends! p. 254
4. [Saturday] Saturday p. 196
5. [Fourteen] Our Door Is Always Open p. 254
6. [million] One In a Million (find out more on this song HERE)

If you or your primary is unfamiliar with the songs, make sure to post the words like I do HERE and sing along to them on CD for extra reinforcement!

I'll also hang the Happy Birthday Primary banner and pictures on the chalkboard then briefly reading the primary's history all found HERE (this is also another fun birthday party idea too!).

Monday, August 13, 2018


This is the primary program issue that comes up year after year.  Will you be using word prompts, flip charts or posters to help with singing during the program?  Or have you been successful in having your kids getting everything memorized?  Which side of the equation do you lie on?  I thought I'd take a minute and pick apart the pro's and con's of each...

MEMORIZING: If you lean toward memorizing, do you have enough time with your 20 minutes each week to have the kids learn the new song of the month and all it's verses, along with retaining what they've learned for the entire year?  Do you find yourself drilling songs each month in order to memorize that you don't have time to sing anything else?  Are you stressing out when words aren't memorized by the end of the month?  What if you have kids who aren't regular attendees and are unable to memorize the words because they aren't always at church?  But will songs be retained to be useful to these kids later in life if they aren't memorized?

Now, let's explore posting words, prompts, flip charts or pictures, etc. (because to me, these are all the same thing).

WORD PROMPTS:   Are you going to be fumbling with your papers during the entire program?  Is the whole primary dependent on them and can't sing the song without their prompts?  Isn't the whole point of singing time to teach songs to the kids and using the words kind of defeats that purpose?  Can word prompts be displayed so they aren't a huge distraction to the congregation?  But what if program time comes around and our songs aren't performance ready?  If I need the words, shouldn't the kids be able to read them as well?

I'd like to think that I personally lie somewhere in the middle.  Memorization is a wonderful goal but may not always be achievable.  We work all year on learning the program songs, but when it comes down to the actual program, I rely on a little help.  The program just seems to flow a little more smoothly and it eases my stress level about it.

If you are familiar with my blog, what I do for the program isn't any different than what I do in primary.  I post words in primary A LOT.  I sing a wide variety of primary songs, many of which we will never spend time memorizing and may not sing again for several years!  Check out more details HERE on how I post words.

Now, that said, it doesn't mean that I don't work hard all year to try to get the songs learned for the program.  I spend 2 weeks each month on the song of the month and then another week reviewing all the program songs for the year.  Then in September we review, review and review all month long up until our program in mid October.  I have a more detailed post on all this information HERE.  But once we begin practice for the actual program (1 or 2 weeks prior to the program), I post the words on my music stand just like I do in primary.  There are several benefits I've found from doing this:

1.  When we stand to sing during the program, all reading eyes are on me.  The kids are focusing on reading the words and appear to be intensely watching my every move.  It's great!  They know what song is coming up because the words are right there in front of them.

2.  We have several kids from split homes who are only occasionally able to come to church.  They haven't been able to memorize all the words with the rest of the primary.  This way, when we sing, they can participate and are not isolated.

3.  The words are small enough that they aren't a huge distraction (as opposed to a big poster board I have to hold).  If the kids can see me, they can see the words.  The congregation doesn't even know they are there.  You can see how I arrange my binder HERE so I know when to turn pages.  What the kids see is what I see - it's my music too!  So now I'm not fumbling with pages in my songbook.

4.  Come program time and we are still struggling with various verses or certain measures of songs, I don't sweat it.  If we don't eventually get it, it doesn't matter.

I know that everyone comes to this calling with different experience and ideas about how things should be run, especially come program time.  And that's the beauty of the gospel and this calling!  Do what the spirit moves you to do and what works best for you and your primary.  There is no right or wrong way.  This is simply how I've tackled the to-memorize-or-not-to-memorize dilemma!

What have you found that works best for you?  Leave a comment to help give others some ideas who may be struggling with this!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Practicing Parts - NEW!!

We'll be practicing singing the 2-part melodies together this Sunday for A Child's Prayer and I Pray in Faith using my lesson plan HERE.  Find my lesson plan for teaching these songs HERE.

It's super easy and super fun!  The kids enjoy being re-arranged into new groups and singing the various parts of each song in their different groups.  Just make sure each group sings each of the parts before moving groups!

The last time I used these, my only wish was that I had a few more.  So I created 2 NEW ones.  You can download them HERE.  Print on white card stock, laminate, punch holes in the corners and tie string to make them into necklaces.

I know that not all the ages in primary are pictured on this last card and that there are not 1 or 2 year olds in primary - I'm just sampling what an odd/even number is :).  Hopefully that doesn't throw off your primary too much.

If you have any more ideas for dividing the kids, let me know!  I'd love to make a few more!!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Primary Gift Idea!

I just wanted to share a simple gift idea I came across that I thought was WONDERFUL yet meaningful!  It's the perfect gift to give your primary if you are a chorister being released, to give to the incoming chorister (tucked inside a Songbook), give to the chorister's in your stake at a stake training, or to kids graduating from primary - there are so many other options!

The bookmark can be used in scriptures or personal hymnbooks or Children's Songbooks (wishful thinking but how fun would it be to give one to each of the primary kids or even one per family!).

I created these bookmarks entitled "All I Need to Know, I learned from a Primary Song" Bookmark:

You can download my document HERE.  Simply print on card stock, cut out and laminate.  Then punch a hole in the top and tie on a ribbon.

The clip art of the cute primary children is from Susan Fitch clip art HERE.

Another gift idea to give is a CD with the year's program songs on it.  Our primary usually hands these out at Christmas.  Find more details HERE.

What meaningful gifts have you given out as a music leader or primary in general?  Please share any ideas!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

I Pray In Faith

I thought we'd quickly learn this song this week, along with reviewing A Child's Prayer (find my lesson plan HERE).  Both songs have the similar 2-part, are familiar, and easy.  We'll spend half the time on each song.  For A Child's Prayer, I'll just have the flipchart pages out of order on the chalkboard and we'll work on putting them up correctly, then singing.

Then as an attention getter for I Pray In Faith, I'll quickly give this explanation from the January 2007 Friend HERE: "Tell the children that the first part of the song talks about praying in faith, and the second part of the song explains how to pray. While we want to pray correctly, it is more important to pray with faith. Explain that Joseph Smith did not know exactly how to pray, but he prayed with faith, and Heavenly Father answered his prayer. Bear witness of Joseph Smith and the power of prayer."

I found some simple actions over on sugardoodle HERE that were easy enough:

Kneel on the floor (I kneel to pray every day)
Reach toward heaven (I speak to Heavenly Father)
Put hands to ears (He hears)
Point to yourself (and answers me)
Fold arms (when I pray in faith)

Hold fingers up:
1.  I begin by saying dear Heavenly Father
2.  I thank Him for blessings he sends
3.  Then humbly I ask Him for things that I need
4.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

For the 2nd verse, I created these simple printables to post on the board as the children hold their fingers up (thanks AGAIN to Susan Fitch who created the clip art HERE):

Download them HERE.  Print on white card stock and laminate or place in sheet protectors.

Next week we'll work on singing the different parts together using my Practicing Parts lesson plan HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Friends Are Fun

To sing this song to visitors, bring an inflatable beach ball and have the visitor gently toss it to a primary child who tosses it back to them, then repeating with other primary children as the primary sings the song to the visitor.

Make sure to post the words until the song becomes more familiar.  See how I do that HERE.

The song talks about playing and staying with friends and this is a simple yet fun demonstration of playing kindly with a friend!

This song is also great as a wiggle song - check out my Wiggle Worm Jar HERE!