"...by small and simple things are great things brought to pass..."

Alma 37:6

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Activity: Melody Map - The Church of Jesus Christ

I'm planning out my year and figuring out the variety of ways I want to introduce and teach songs and also reinforce them the couple weeks after first learning it.  I'm trying to keep things different and do a variety.  But I'm also a fan of simplicity and not much baggage.  (Sometimes those things can be fun but they certainly aren't necessary, and the most important thing in any lesson is that the children can feel the Spirit and God's love for them.)

For the song, The Church of Jesus Christ I decided that I will use a Melody Map to reinforce it after I teach it.  This activity can also be used to introduce a song.  I made this simple one in Excel that I printed on 4 sheets of paper.  A Melody Map shows the ups and downs of the melody, sometimes length of the notes, sometimes similar ideas, and other things if you wish.  You can create a Melody Map with Excel and other computer programs or on poster board.

This is an activity that is appropriate for both Junior and Senior Primary.

When I introduce this activity to the children I will put the 4 pages on the board and I will ask them what they think it is.  I'll ask them how it relates to the song.  We'll sing the song, maybe a few times, and see if they can figure it out.  If they are having trouble I may point to each block as we sing through the song.  Then they will need to figure out what the colors mean.  When they figure it out we'll split up the singing -- some people will sing the colors while the rest sing the non-colors.  Varieties of this include me/them, children/teachers, boys/girls, sides of the room, etc.  A variation I will do with Senior Primary is to put the pages on the board in random order, and tell them they will have to figure out what order they go in.

Here is mine for this song.  The yellow is "I" and the blue are words relating to God and Jesus.

The Church of Jesus Christ - Melody Map

Some websites that may be helpful explaining more about Melody Maps:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Follow the Prophet - Monson Verse Sheet Music

I love the Follow the Prophet verse about President Monson the original writer wrote for this song, which was published in the March 2010 Friend (so it doesn't need to be approved!).  What I also love about this verse (and I assume the writer had this intention) is that we will be able to swap out "Monson" with the name of the current prophet for many years to come.  So we learn one verse that will last us many prophets.  Awesome!  And it's a great verse.

Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to return.
He blesses us with prophets who help us to learn.
President Monson humbly leads God’s Church today.
As we heed his words, we’ll walk a righteous way.

It can be a little tricky to get the words to fit in with the music, so I roughly edited the sheet music with these words.

Follow the Prophet Sheet Music w/ Monson Verse

Sunday, January 25, 2015

No/Low Prep Activities for Singing Time (Sub Music Binders)

Occasionally we have a sub pianist in Primary, and so I wanted to put together a SUB BINDER for the PIANIST in case they didn't have all the music they needed on hand.

I include in my sub pianist binder:
  • The current month's music outline
  • List of current and past Program songs, with songs included in the binder bolded and asterisked
  • Sheet music for songs in the current and past Programs that are not in the Children's Songbook or Hymnal, and other songs the children know or that I know I want to sing with them on occasion

Since I became pregnant toward the end of last year and had more nausea than I was used to, I decided it would be a good idea to also make a SUB MUSIC LEADER BINDER, in case I ever found myself not able to do Singing Time with little notice.  This could also be a starting point for someone subbing for the music leader at any time.

I include in my sub music leader binder:
  • The current month's music outline
  • List of current and past Program songs, with songs included in the binder bolded and asterisked
  • Sheet music for songs in the current and past Programs that are not in the Children's Songbook or Hymnal, and other songs the children know or that I know I want to sing with them on occasion
  • List and descriptions of no/low prep activities
  • Any helpful props that fit in the binder to go with some of the described activities

We keep both of these binders in our Primary box that gets locked up in the closet and stays with us in the Primary room during Primary.  It has come in handy many times already!

No/Low Prep Activities for Singing Time - Word Doc
(for you to edit as you need/want)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Coloring Pages - 2015 Program Songs

I wanted to create simple coloring sheets for each of our Program songs for this year.  My plan is to possibly use them for a Singing Time after we've learned all our Program songs and I'll play them all on a CD while the children color these pages.  There is one page per song, with a line image from LDS.org and the title of the song.  I will probably print two to a page to make small booklets of some sort for the kids.

My two choice songs are included here (4th Article of Faith & The Miracle) but you could create a simple page or two for the ones you have chosen if they are different by looking through the line images and coloring pages on LDS.org in the Image Media section.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015 Planning Outlines

I like using an Excel spread sheet the best to plan out all the songs and activities I want to do in Primary, including the Opening Exercises songs and the monthly and weekly themes.  It helps me be able to look at the year at a whole just by scrolling through the document and it's easy for me to see and plan how many weeks I have to teach what, and so forth.  It's a great tool that has worked for me.

Excel Spread Sheet

Then I actually have a separate Word document with one page per month that is the outline of songs that I (save as a PDF [I print PDF one page so it's just one page per month for them and not the whole document] and) email to the Primary Presidency and the pianist each month.

Word Document (Jan-Jun)

Then when it comes to writing out my thoughts and ideas and specifics of plans, I actually write it out (and save and bookmark lots of the ideas I find) in a program called OneNote that I can access from my computer or phone.  Then each Sunday I write out the plans for that specific day in a plain Word doc that I print just for me and bring to Primary.

Maybe that's a lot, but that's what works for me.  There are lots of planning and organization tools and ways out there, the trick is fiddling around and figuring out what works best for you!  Good luck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Activity: Christmas Symbols

This Sunday I'm going to discuss with the Primary children the purpose of the decorations and things at Christmas time and how they are symbols of Christ.  I'm going to use the Sharing Time lesson in a 2004 issue of LDS Living for this Singing Time.  There are also other symbols you could use in addition to these if you choose.

The lesson suggests having enough of each ornament for each class in the Primary to decorate the tree.  I'm just going to have one of each for time's sake because it is after all, Singing Time!  The lesson does not specify songs to sing but suggests to sing Christmas songs that the children are familiar with to reinforce the concepts taught.

The symbols and songs I chose are:

  • Tree
    • Away in a Manger (v3)
  • Star (and lights)
    • Stars Were Gleaming
  • Candy Canes
    • Once within a Lowly Stable (v2)
  • Angels
    • Samuel Tells of Baby Jesus (v2)
  • Red, White & Green Ornaments
    • The Shepherd's Carol
  • Gifts
    • Little Jesus

Additional symbols I thought about but didn't include were Wreath: crown of thorns, eternal love (Mary's Lullaby); and Santa: generosity and kindness (Have a Very Merry Christmas).

I made printouts of a simple tree (for two pages) and of the symbols I listed above (on one page) that can be downloaded below:

     Tree                                     Ornaments

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bells Chart - Christmas Music

Here are a few bell charts I made for some Christmas music.  I converted two of the songs into the key of C in the LDS.org music library, and the others are in the original key and have either a sharp or a flat (if you only have the 8 note bell set you can just leave out those notes you don't have).  I have the 13 note bell set.  My Primary kids are really excited to get to play the bells this week!  They love them!

For the Christmas songs that we only get to since once a year I will also post the words on the board so everyone can sing along while they play.




Bell Chart                                 Sheet Music


Bell Chart                                 Sheet Music