Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celestial Singing 2013 Program Song Pass-Off; Head/Shoulders Adaptation

I have been trying to find the perfect song pass-off chart for ages.  I thought about a grading chart, but didn't want the kids to dread it (though I liked that it makes it easy to pass off individual verses).  I thought about using animals heading to an ark or a nest, but I wanted something that related better in SOME way.

My husband gets the credit for coming up with the idea for this CELESTIAL SINGING poster. Basically, the kids try to move the picture for each song from the telestial, to the terrestrial, to celestial kingdom.

Telestial - they are still working on learning the WORDS
Terrestrial - They know MOST words
Celestial - Know words AND sing strong/with spirit

The images each correspond to a program song. 
Feel free to comment if you would like the word version of the JPEGS; THE PDF IS NOW HERE with the sun graphic (I just put it in a word document and made it large enough to print half at a time, then taped it together) HERE.
I Am a Child of God: Child looking at picture of Jesus
My Heavenly Father Loves Me: Heart
I Want to Be a Missionary Now: Missionaries
Families Can Be Together Forever: Families
I Want to Live the Gospel: Book of Mormon
A Child's Prayer: Kids praying
When I Am Baptized: Rainbow
If the Savior Stood Beside Me: Savior/boy (thanks OCD Chorister)
I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ: Logo

To make it, I just painted a piece of foam board with darkening shades of blue (started with blue/white, then blue, then blue/purple, then purple/black). Then I printed the sun image (I put it in a word doc, made it big enough to only see half, printed, then printed the other half, and glued them together), cut the moon out of poster board and aluminum foil, and the star out of cardstock.  Add Con-tact paper and some glitter and there you go!  Each week I use it, I'll take a picture of it with my phone after Jr. Primary and Sr. Primary so that I can keep track of where they are without having to make two boards.

I plan to make this the main activity the first Sunday in August, and then I'll use it for just part of every singing time until the program.  To give us a break, each time they PASS OFF A SONG we will either pick a wiggle song or do a version of my goofy HEAD SHOULDERS KNEES AND TOES poster where you switch out body parts or actions for the usual head/shoulders/etc.  You can download the printables (I didn't prepare them, I found them on the web) HERE and HERE.

4th of July Activity - for 2014

Our 4th of July activity went okay, but I came home and saw this post on the FB group and loved it.  Taking notes for next year!!

Lindsey Hoxer Ohlin1:29pm Jun 30
I just wanted to share with you the amazing Independence Day singing time that we had today! This was definitely not my doing because until last night I wasn't sure what I was doing. I only had the props but not the plan lol.....Anyway I had been researching and talking to you guys about ideas all week long (and been looking for much longer than that) because I am very very in to patriotism and I feel like it is SUCH an important thing that our kids grow to love this country. I needed this lesson to be just right and touch the kids in their hearts and not just be a "fun" activity. Anyway, after much prayer, stressing and work I finally got my answer last night and even as the lesson went on today things kind of changed along the way.

So these were the materials I had:
-star cut outs (that were about the same size as the flag I was using).
-Oversized vinyl American Flag (any large size flag would do)
-string with clothespins
-red, white and blue colored chalk
-Uncle Sam plastic hat
-violin for live playing of the song (or a recording would work great too)
-two extra people to help you out (this is a necessity that I didn't realize until after I started the lesson!! lol)
-mini toothpick flags that i taped on each chair before class so that they stuck up from the top of the chair (it looked really cool!)

I started out with an attention-getter where I asked them what our national anthem is and if they know who wrote it. I explained to them that it is the Star Spangled Banner and that it was written by Francis Scott Key. I then asked them to close their eyes tightly, turned off the lights in the room, and told them to imagine that they were each Francis Scott Key back in 1814 on the night that he wrote the words to the song. I set the scene by describing where we were, how it was hot and muggy, and that a war was going on etc. and began reading the story describing the night that Francis Scott Key had before writing the poem. (If anyone would like me to post up the story I wrote and my actual lesson plan I can do that, just let me know).

While I was reading the story I had my helpers hang up my flag up on the wall where the kids could see it when they opened their eyes (just like in the story of Francis Scott Key) and at the end of the story it says how he wrote the following words and at that time I began to play the tune on my violin while another leader read the words to the song as I played. When the song was over I had the lights turned on and told them to open their eyes. Immediately they noticed the big flag and then we discussed what it felt like for Francis that night when he finally saw the flag and how they feel when they see the flag etc.

Anyway I told them how the words in the song are kind of difficult to understand and that we were going to learn the words and the first verse of the song today. I had written on the chalkboard the entire first line of the song but changed 11 of the difficult words to their synonyms. Those words I wrote in either red or blue rather than white and underlined them so that they were obvious (So for example "O, say can you see by the SUNRISE's early light...."). I had strung 11 stars across the bottom of the chalkboard with string and the clothespins to hold them and on the back of the stars were the CORRECT words. So they would come up and put on the Uncle Sam hat and pick one of the stars and read it out loud and then try to figure out which word to replace on the board. Then when they figured it out we would erase the incorrect word that was in colored chalk and replace it with the correct word in white. They would then take that star over to the flag and tape it up on top of one of the stars. Then I would make sure they understood that particular word and then we went over the words to the first phrase in the song and would sing that part of the song. This went on like that until all the stars were done and the entire verse was written correctly on the board. Then by that time we had gone through the whole song and I told them we would sing the entire song at that point. We discussed what we do when the song is sang (hand over heart, stand up, take off hats, face the flag etc) and we all stood up and sang the entire song with our hands over our hearts.

I then testified to them that this land was given to us by God and that it was no accident that Francis Scott Key wrote down his feelings about that night as the song was truly inspired. I told them how much I love the flag and this country and asked that they always respect the song and the flag and remember that it is a blessing from God to have them. Then i handed out the stickers that say "Proud to be an American" and they got to keep the little flags that were on their chairs.

It was really, really fun and I feel like they truly learned the song, the story of the song, and the meaning all at the same time. If you want anymore info or the lesson/story I wrote let me know!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pioneer Day Singing Time - 6/21

Want a really great idea for Pioneer Day Singing Time?  I will be out of town and am giving the sub a few options, but LOVED THIS idea from  Love that blog.

Here is a recap (copied straight from her blog):

Okay, so here's something that I've wanted to do since last year:

I would love to use blackout curtains (I got permission to purchase some, but never did) to make the room really dark.  Then, using some pieces of firewood, some white Christmas lights and some red/orange fabric, make an indoor "campfire."  You could make the fire as elaborate as possible...(I wonder if I have a little fan...?)  Put all of the chairs away and have the kids sit on the ground around the fire and have a fireside sing-along.  We have some musicians in our ward, so it would be really cool to have someone bring a guitar and/or a fiddle to play some pioneer tunes.  I would love to have one of the men in our ward sing "Come, Come Ye Saints" a capella or with a violin, just to bring in a reverent spirit.  If you don't have access to instruments, you could always download songs onto your iPod/mp3 player/smartphone/etc.

This idea could go several different ways, but I think it would be so fun to do something out of the ordinary, not just sitting in chairs and singing program songs.

The other options I gave my sub are THIS and THIS Elaine Shankly Pioneer Games idea.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Eternal Family Tool Box - "Families Can Be Together Forever, v.2" - 7/14

The second week of July, as we continue to learn/reinforce the principle of eternal families, I plan to use a lesson plan from the Crazy Chorister HERE.  I'll summarize below just in case she ever takes her site down, but want you to know this is not my idea, though I did adapt it!

- Bring a large toolbox from home.  If you don't have one, get a diaper box; cover it with colored paper and glue/tape the letters T-O-O-L-S on the front.
- Put seven or eight of the following items around the room, each with a number tied on it:
1. Leather Gloves or Protective Glasses
We must protect ourselves and our families from things that would harm us
2. A flashlight
Our parents and the gospel can light the way
3. Some rolled-up butcher paper w/picture of scriptures inside
The scriptures give us a blueprint for building a happy home
4. A kneeling pad (like those for garden)
The importance of prayer
5. Gorilla Glue
Blessings of being sealed together in the temple
6. A bandage or box of Band-Aids
We should care for our families and try to help their hurts
7. Sandpaper
Through practice and repentance, we can smooth out our rough spots
8. Ruler/Yardstick
We must do our best to follow the gospel with exactness
9. Industrial Soap
Christ can make us perfectly clean
10. A Trash Bin
As we work on our project, we throw out the things that are unneeded - similarly we need to get rid of things in our lives that don't help our family be stronger
11. Hammer/Nails/small piece of wood
We need to stick together and be strong enough to not be pulled apart by the world
Feel free to comment with any other ideas you have and I will add them to this post!
*Modification - I ended up using this just in Sr. Primary.  Since they know the month's song well, I had one kid from each class come up and pick a tool from the box, and then they discussed with their classes how the tool could symbolize something to do with building eternal families.
- Tell the kids you are going to show them how to BUILD an eternal family.  Look in your toolbox and act surprised that it's empty . . . can the kids help you find the TOOLS you need?
- Have the kids take turns wearing a hard hat and bringing up an item. Talk with them about why that item helps us build a happy home, then add the item to the tool box.
- Have each kid also pick a PERSON to put on the board (from the FAMILY PRINTABLES I mentioned in my last post) - the person they choose will dictate how we sing the song (slow, loud, lead the music, dance, tongue out, etc).
- For Jr. Primary, teach the lines of the 2nd verse of "Families Can Be Together Forever" in between tool discussions.  For Sr. Primary, have each number correspond to a song about families to sing and have only one or two of them be FCBTF.
Additional Family-Related Songs:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Families Are Our Greatest Treasure - Teaching "Families Can Be Together Forever" - 7/7

July's song is near and dear to my heart.  We've sung it as a family during multiple occasions throughout my life, including when my grandfather died.  It was one of his favorite songs.

Sometimes we don't truly appreciate our family.  We argue, we annoy each other, and generally tend to take one another for granted.  Teaching them about the importance of family is something I feel is critical.

For this reason, I chose to introduce this song with a TREASURE CHEST filled with family-related items (and a few cold coins for show).  I'll tell the kids that I'm going to share my greatest treasure with them.  I'll also put a few family/wedding pictures - both my family and perhaps others from the ward - around the room. *I'm pretty sure you can buy a pre-made treasure box at craft stores, or there are affordable paper ones like THIS one.

One by one, the kids will have the chance to pick a treasure out of my treasure chest.  Some ideas for items you could include are below.  In between picking treasures, I will teach the song line by line (flip charts HERE or HERE).

*No, this isn't me, pulled it from

Wedding Ring (imitation would be fine): Talk about the blessing of marriage in the temple, and how a ring symbolizes a never-ending commitment to that person.  I used my real ring in its jewelers box and they loved it.
Small framed picture of me with my siblings when we were little: Blessing of brothers and sisters, even though we've had our differences (I will be sensitive to those children without siblings)
A Game Piece: Families are great for playing games together
My Temple Recommend: Each child can choose to make themselves worthy to receive the blessings of the temple someday.  The temple allows us to be sealed as families forever
Fork: Family dinner is a great time to talk; parents protect us and provide for our needs
Knee pad or prayer rock: Family prayer
Vial of Olive Oil: Fathers who hold the priesthood will feel privileged to give blessings to their family
Bookmark: Family scripture study
Baby shoes: the joy/miracle of babies
Toy car/airplane: Family vacations
Heirloom, Tree or picture of decease ancestor: remembering our "family tree" and the ancestors who have gone before; gratitude that we may see them again.  I brought a patch my grandfather wore in WWII.

I will also HIDE a couple of my PRESIDENT MONSON BOOKMARKS around the room that talk about the love he feels for his FAMILY.

***Another idea you can use ALL MONTH: these FAMILY PRINTABLES from OCD Chorister where you sing like different family members!  Dad sings low, Grandpa sings loud, dog sings with his tongue out, etc.

End by bearing testimony of the divine nature of families, and encourage the kids to 'protect' and 'guard' their family treasure.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pass the Clipboard

Saw this idea on Facebook (thanks Amanda Merrill) and think it would be fun for Sr. Primary! 

While singing, pass around a clipboard like a hot potato.  When the music stops, whoever ends up with the clipboard writes down the next five words while the chorister does the same.  See if they match up and whoever is closest gets a point.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

4th of July/Independence Day - Primary Fireworks - 6/30

For our 4th of July singing time, I am excited to incorporate a 'Primary Fireworks' idea I found HERE.  Darcy got the idea from Sugardoodle, but kindly photographed the process for the rest of us. 

BASIC IDEA - 1. Get a used Push-Pop stick.  2.  Stick thumbtack into Push Pop base.  3.  Attach empty toilet paper roll and decorate.  4. Blow up a balloon (with a song inside if you want), tie a string around the base, and staple the base to the TP roll so it doesn't fall off (I plan to just hold the string with one hand - that way I only had to decorate one TP roll instead of like 12!!). As the kids sing loudly/well, slowly raise the Push Pop stick through the TP tube until the tack POPS the balloon, revealing the next song name! 

I am going to use this as a REVIEW TOOL: Many of the songs inside the balloons will be ones they need work on (such as "I Want to Live the Gospel, v 2).  THEY CANNOT MOVE ON TO THE NEXT BALLOON UNTIL THEY SING WELL ENOUGH ON THE REVIEW SONG TO HAVE ME POP IT! 

In between each song, I will pick a child to pick the next balloon from the bouquet (I will have one bouquet for Jr. Primary and one for Sr).

Some sample facts/questions:
- What day and year was the Declaration of Independence signed? July 4, 1776
- What LDS prophet ran for President of the United States? Joseph Smith
- How many people signed the declaration on July 4th? Only 1, John Hancock - the rest signed later
- Why did the American people want independence? Discussion
- Which Article of Faith teaches us that we should sustain and uphold the law? - the 12th
- Which recent Presidential Candidate was a member of the Church? - Mitt Romney
- What does the Statue of Liberty hold in her LEFT hand? -A tablet inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence.
- How did President Monson serve his country? - He served in the Navy

**Alternate idea - put paper STARS all around the room with songs written on the back.  Have a flag (stars missing) on poster.  The kids pick the star, then mount it on the flag.
I Am a Child of God v. 4
My Heavenly Father Loves Me v. 2
When I Am Baptized (with Ribbon Wands)
My Flag, My Flag (#225) (with Ribbon Wands)
Star Spangled Banner (Hymnbook)
I Am a Child of God (Spanish - Sr Primary)
I Am a Child of God v. 4
My Heavenly Father Loves Me v. 2
My Flag, My Flag (#225) (with RibbonWands)
Star Spangled Banner (Hymnbook)

Ribbon Wands - 6/9 for Jr. Primary

I hopped onto the rainbow ribbon bandwagon for teaching "When I am Baptized" with Jr. Primary.  Mine are made from Popsicle sticks and curling ribbon from The Dollar Tree (as well as a dab of hot glue).  Of course, they don't have ALL the colors of the rainbow . . . but I think they will be fun anyway.  Jr. Primary has struggled lately and I hope these help tomorrow.  Since I didn't get to last week, this will also be a great time to talk about the points Camille made re: how the staccato parts SOUND like rain, and how the melody follows the shape of a rainbow.
*Update - they LOVED this!!!  Even the bigger kids loved coming up with actions to go with the song.  For once I had just about every kid singing.  GREAT tool