Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Chorister Planner

I love planning, planners, organizers, apps, calendars, lists, checkmarks, bulletized items, and erasable pens, so it's natural that I would come to love this Primary Chorister Planner that I found on Etsy. Let me tell you this: the creator of this planner is a genius.

Carefully crafted by My Computer Is My Canvas, this Primary Chorister Planner is awesome!!! It's only $5.00, and I chose to spend a little more by getting it printed off and bound at the local FedEx, complete with sleek, transparent cover. The best part is that I can make a copy of the upcoming Sunday's Singing Time plans to text or email to my accompanists so they can practice ahead of time and know exactly what I'm doing each Sunday!

Here are some pictures of my own filled-out planner:


 Front with open cover

 Yearly calendar

 Monthly calendar

Weekly planner

Have I mentioned just how much I love this planner? There are other pages in the booklet, too, like "Notes" and "Additional Thoughts." I'm not being paid for this product endorsement - it's my own choice - but I had to share because it's been such a huge help to me! Visit my Pinterest site to see other planners that could work, but this is the one for me, and maybe you, too!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2015 Christmas Songs


CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! Now, what shall we sing?

I wanted to do a medley of Christmas songs for Sacrament meeting. I did only a little bit of research when I came upon "Christmas Medley". It combines "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem," "Away in a Manger" (Children's Songbook version), and "Silent Night."

But, wait for it...


Oooooohhhhhhh, yeahhhhhhh. And it was awesome. Let me explain.

I used the flipbook method to teach "When Joseph Went to Bethlehem." I printed these pictures (thank you to OCD Primary Chorister) and inserted them into plastic sleeves in a soft 3-ring binder. I wrote the words of the verses on the backs of the pictures so I wouldn't get the words wrong. I discussed each picture with the Primary kids, and sometimes offered hand motions for easier memory recall.

It's almost an immediate transition to "Away in a Manger," so I put the flipbook down, and we prepare for the chorus. The kids pretty much already knew the words to the first verse, so we didn't have to go over it a lot. I had girls sing the upper melody and the boys sing the lower melody for the "asleep" parts, but we switched to junior primary singing the soprano line and senior primary singing the alto line for "asleep the Savior in a stall" and "asleep the Lord of all." It was pretty easy for me to teach the alto part because, well, I'm already an alto. And it turned out beautifully.

Then, as the piano plays the introduction to "Silent Night," I hold my finger up to my lips as if to shush the children. Instead, I used it to remind them of this last song in the medley. The only change in this version of the song is at the end when the children repeat "Sleep in heavenly peace" with a higher ending. I taught the primary to follow my hands, and I used hand motions as a rough music scale in the air. It helped them to visually see the next note as higher or lower than the note they were singing, and also how much of a jump higher or lower it went.

I'm so glad we sang this medley, but I'm super grateful to the arranger of this medley: Judy Checketts Hatch. THANK YOU!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Tree & gifts laminated printable

Pinterest link: How Many Presents Fit Under the Tree?

Website link: Sunbeam Singing

The unnamed author of the site offers the printable clipart needed for this activity. As he/she suggests, there are several different ways to incorporate the tree and presents into an activity. Here are some suggestions:

1. Primary children can "earn" presents to put under the tree. (explained on the site)

2. Each present can have a song attached to it. (explained on the site)

3. I chose a super singer each time we sang a different song to place a present under the tree.

4. Primary children can play the hot/cold game as the presents are hidden throughout the room (the pianist plays either (a) the song attached to the present or (b) the song that they're currently learning).

5. Hide the presents under certain chairs, and each person who had a present under his/her chair gets to pick the song that is sung. You can provide a list of songs from which to choose (good idea for reviewing prior to the Primary Program Presentation), or they can choose any song from the Children's Songbook.

6. Each present is attached to a scripture verse that correlates to the Primary lesson, and a song that relates to the scripture is sung.

7...What other ideas can you come up with? :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Word by Word Singing

This may not be an activity that will work well with very small primaries, if most of the children are in junior primary, or if they are super silent singers, unless they really know the words well. However, it could open them up to singing. :)

It requires no material making, no planning, no shopping, and no printing or laminating. The children definitely need to pay attention. Make sure you keep their attention during this game. It's important that the room stay somewhat quiet, especially if the children are quiet or silent singers.

Inform the children of which song they are practicing. Depending on the difficulty of the song, start with either the Sunbeams or CTR 7. Using a chorister wand or other decorated stick, point to the first child. He/she should give the first word of the song, and each child afterward gives a subsequent word of the song. You should not be singing, only speaking the words. When you come to a child that cannot name the next word, everyone sings the song up to that point. See if the child can then name the word. If the child is still stuck, he/she can ask a fellow friend for help. Once the right answer is given, make sure the primary child that was stuck on the word repeats the word 2-3 times, and then continue on until the end of the song. Finally, everyone sings the song together.

I hope to upload a video soon which would give a better explanation of this game.

Try it out, and let me know what you think!