Sunday, October 25, 2015

Tissue Box Dice

In some ways, I like to keep Singing Time simple. This post is about one of those ways. I could've made the dice out of something or bought some dice off the Internet. I have a ton of unused tissue boxes lying around, so why not use it, something more "Primary-proof"? :)

***I can't find the book, pin, website, etc., where I found these cards, so if you find it, PLEASE let me know so I can properly give credit to the awesome person who created them!***

I printed off and laminated the singing aids that I velcroed to each side of 2 tissue boxes. I should've shortened the pictures before I printed them or at least cut off the colored border so they fit better.

The die on the right (Junior Primary) is Sunbeams, CTR 4, 5, 6, and 7, and Teachers. The die on the left (Senior Primary) is Valiant 8, 9, 10, and 11, Boys, and Girls.

Primary loves to roll these dice on the floor, even getting to the point of trying to damage them, but they can't: it's a tissue box. YAY for primary-proof materials! :)

Do you have something similar? Let me know!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 Primary Program: Keep the Commandments

One of the songs we sang for the 2015 Primary Program was "Keep the Commandments." We are learning both verses, so I wanted to make something to help the kids learn it. I had a lot of fun with this one!

Here are the pictures:

For some reason, the first picture more accurately represents the neon color of the tablets, not the yellow look of the second picture.

I cut out "tablets" from a neon poster board and velcroed the laminated pictures onto the hand-laminated posterboard pieces. Once the kids learn the first verse, I flip each side over to reveal the second verse. Pictures can be removed to test their memory once they know the song really well.

Hope you enjoyed this post! How did you teach Keep the Commandments?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How to Teach Music - Insight from a Piano Teacher

Big primaries. Small primaries. Loud singers. Soft singers. No singers. Class clowns, Molly Mormons, Peter Priesthoods, and the kids that come because their partially-active parents make them. How do we unite these children under one Gospel, one heart, one mind...and one Primary Chorister?

I've been playing the piano for almost 20 years, and I sing alto. I LOVE to sing! I am not, by any means, an expert in teaching children or even teaching music, but I was blessed with several strong examples: a teacher for a mother; my piano teacher of four years; an elementary school music teacher who later became my 7th grade choir director and then, after I graduated from and worked for my high school, a friend; my boss, the high school choir director and district music coordinator; two junior high choir directors with very different students and teaching styles; and several classroom teachers from elementary school through college graduation. Below is what I've garnered over the many years and from piano students I've taught.

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One of the best tools to teaching Primary is grabbing their attention right off the bat, just like an attention-getter at the start of an essay or talk. If you keep them intrigued, you keep them involved. Just don't always think a chatty primary is a bad primary. :)

Another tool I use to teach the Primary is watching my hands. I want them to understand music so they can learn to follow the ward chorister during Sacrament meeting or the choir director if they choose to sing in the ward or stake choir.

Big arm movement = loud volume
Small arm movement = soft volume
Holding up an open hand = hold that same note and wait for the cutoff

Sometimes, we also work on enunciation and not carrying out any "S" sounds. We're Primary kids, not snakes. :)

"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” 

Of course, lots of choristers use flipbooks, printables, rolling dice, charts, posterboards, easels, magnets, game boards, spinners, and more, but remember that the point of Singing Time is to sing.

Don't be afraid to ask for help: teachers, presidencies, parents, even well-behaved older siblings of the younger, unruly junior primary children.

Command the attention of the children with your voice, your words, your heart, and your Spirit. <3

What would you add to this list of suggestions? Your input is always welcome!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Inspiration from General Conference: October 2015

General Conference is amazing every time it happens. During this series of talks, I think Elder Bradley D. Foster's talk, "It's Never Too Early and It's Never Too Late," was a great talk for me to hear, now that I've just been called to serve with children.

"[God] has provided counsel in the scriptures for us to know how to help our children and our grandchildren."

Teaching children can be a very difficult task to take on, whether in a small classroom or a large, open room. With 20 minutes to teach a song while getting a message across, keeping their attention long enough to focus without kicking the chair in front of them or yelling to the kid two rows away is quite the challenge. But, we have to try, and try we will.

"The message for parents is clear: there is a difference between hearing and understanding. If our children merely hear but do not understand the gospel, then the door is left open for Satan to remove these truths from their hearts."

I say "we" because it's a joint effort.  Satan works on his own, but we don't have to be or work alone. Parents, teachers, the Primary Presidency, even the pianist, we all have to work together to teach the message. Each month. Every Sunday. Take cues from one another. Lift each other up. Ask teacher to stay and sit with their classes. Have them join in the singing AND the fun. Make sure the presidency is aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and you of theirs. Ask parents to come in and sit with their children when they are especially irreverent and rude. Make a suggestion to have primary music played by CD or mp3 until the pianist arrives, if he/she needs extra time to get there and set up. Work together under the direction of the Spirit.

"'s never too late and it's never too early to lead, guide, and walk beside our children, because families are forever."

In the end, being a chorister will be hard work, but the songs teach so much more than just a melody. Help them see, learn, and apply the message. Remember to "Hum Your Favorite Hymn."