Friday, March 26, 2010

Delightful Giggles

Here's an idea for any song you want to introduce and teach. Make your own slide show using Windows Movie Maker like I did, or whatever movie making program you like. Here is one I made to introduce the song I Know That My Savior Loves Me in January.

The Sunday before presenting the video, I had prepared several copies of drawing pages with phrases of the song on the page heading like these:
Since there are about 100 children in my primary, I had to make quite a few. I asked them to draw a picture of what was written on the page heading. Here's some of their drawings:

Senior child: Children were gathered 'round Jesus

Senior child: My heart I give to Him

Junior child: I feel his gentle touch

Junior child: Lighting my path everyday

Because I made separate slideshows for junior and senior primaries, I was able to use all of the drawings. Some of the drawings, especially in junior primary, were unrecognizable, LOL! But I just added them to the interludes or at the very beginning or end. Here's one that one of the teachers recovered from the garbage:

To me they were all precious, so I still scanned it and used it in a part of the song where there were no lyrics. The children wrote their names on the backs of their drawings, but I decided not to add their names to the slideshow, as I know that some of the children are shy and don't want to have any attention drawn to them. When I played the DVDs for the first time, we heard a lot of "That's mine!" and delightful giggles as they saw their own work.

If there were a lot fewer children in our primary groups I would have definitely had them draw the pictures using washable felt markers instead of crayons so they would show up better in the scans.

I took the drawings home and scanned them on to my computer and saved them as jpegs. I cropped off the borders and words written around the pictures, and then I added the jpegs into Windows Movie Maker.

I downloaded Clive Romney's version of I know That My Savior Loves Me from itunes for .99 cents. But it can also be found free for download, along with all the hymns and primary songs from this year's program here.

I added the song, titles and word overlays to the video, then made it into a DVD for easy playing on the ward library's dvd player. With other movies I have made I wanted to show them on the projector, and stop them at different point to review words or teach a concept. For those I brought my laptop and used the ward library's projector.

Another idea for a movie: I emailed all the Relief Society sisters on our ward's email list, and asked any of them with primary aged children to email me photos of their kids doing acts of service. I received wonderful photos, and put together the sweetest slideshow presentation for My Eternal Family last year. I made one presentation with the words on the screen, and one without. 

Making a movie or a slideshow to teach a primary song  is definitely time consuming, and takes a little more work and preparation than normal, but the rewards are priceless! I have made one for each years program so far (3 total), and I have to say I think its probably the children's most favorite singing time activity. They love seeing themselves and/or their artwork on the TV screen or projected on the wall.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Laughing at Myself...!

Well, again, singing time was lots of fun. I mean   "!"   It was great! The Echo game was captivating and held their attention, and the 20 minutes flew by. We didn't have enough time to play all the different ways I listed earlier, but I feel confident that both Jr. and Sr. groups have most all the verses close to memorized. We focused mostly on the new verse found in this month's Friend Magazine - lets see if I have it memorized:

Heav'nly Father loves us, wants us to return,
Blesses us with prophets who help us to learn.
President Monson humbly leads our church today,
As we heed his words we'll walk the chosen way.

Yeah! Pretty sure I have it!

BZZZZT! Wha..wha...wha...whaaaaaaaaaaa.......

Rats! Just checked the words and I am not quite there.
  • "AND" wants us to return
  • "HE" blesses us with prophets
  • leads "GOD'S" church today
How more OFF could I have been?! AGH!  LAM! *laughing at myself*  Now you know.

I had such a hard time remembering that second line yesterday. Finally, I explained to the children I was having a real struggle with it, and I told them it would help me a lot if they would, as a group, sing the lines to me, and I would echo them back. It worked! They really are learning it, even faster than I am. I was so proud of them. 

 I'll be away from my home ward this coming Sunday, the last week in March. My grandparents 70th Wedding Anniversary Party is this Saturday night, and it's a 6 hour drive from home. But I'll be posting more ideas so stay tuned!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


This Sunday I am going to focus on memorizing the words to all the verses of Follow The Prophet. It is such a fun song, and there are so many ways I could approach it, but I am going to keep it simple and play Echo again, with a few variations.

Variation #1: Call up the children who have memorized a verse at home this week and have them hold the prophet poster and/or a microphone. They get to sing out the phrases to be echoed, and the rest of the primary echos what they sing. Be sure to give lots of praise for having memorized at home!

Variation #2: Divide the primary into 2 groups, either boys vs. girls, teachers vs. children, right down the middle, or any way that suits your fancy. Have the first group sing out the phrase to be echoed, and the second group echos the phrase. Do this for one verse and then switch, and have the second group sing out the phrases, and the first group echo them back. Encourage them to out-sing each other, without keeping score.

Variation #3: This one is tough! But it will be a blast. I'll sing one predetermined verse, and then I'll challenge the primary children to echo a different predetermined verse:

Me: "Abraham the prophet"
Primary: "Enoch was a prophet"
Me" "Prayed to have a son"
Primary: "He taught what was good"

 Etc, etc....

What a challenge! But I don't underestimate the children, I think they can do it!

Have fun!

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Follow the Prophet Poster

Here's the poster I made for the new verse found in the March issue of The Friend Magazine.

Sunday Fun

What fun we had with the "Patriarch" game yesterday! The only problem I had was that I talk way to much...Haha! I love telling the stories of the prophets too much, and I got carried away with the story of Samuel. Everything else was great though. I think the kids could have played it for hours. With the Senior Primary I did not have them do the "clap-clap-snap-snap", because we were still learning the words, and the words alone would trip them up.

Only two weeks now to help them memorize all the words, and I'll be out of town the last Sunday in March. Yikes! I am confident they know the first five verses well. Next week our focus will be learning verses 6-8, and the new verse found in The Friend magazine. I'll post my plans later this week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This Sunday I will begin by calling to the front the children who accepted the challenge to memorize any verse of Follow the Prophet.  I'll ask them one by one if they would like to recite their verse for everyone. Some will be too shy, and if that's the case I'll recite the words. Then we will all sing the verse together while the child holds the prophet poster. I'll encourage him/her to bob up and down while we sing.

Next, I'll use the Follow the Prophet posters I made with a game I like to call  "Patriarch".

Items needed:
  • Hand held microphone.
  • Prophet posters, or simply use pictures from the library the children can hold.  You could even make large name signs on paper that the children could wear around their necks with yarn. 
  • Assemble a row of chairs in front of the room facing the children. One of the end chairs is the "Patriarch's" chair.
  • Plug in the microphone.

How to play: 
Tell the children that you hope they have worked hard at learning the words to Follow the Prophet, because today they will be put to the test! Pick a few reverent children, who think they can remember the words to verse 1, to come to the front and sit in the chairs. Give the "Adam" poster to a child on one end (or the other) of the row. Tell everyone that this is Adam, the "Patriarch". Explain that the word Patriarch can mean either a man who leads a family or a tribe, or it can refer to the prophets whom we all come from such as Adam, Noah, Moses and Abraham. Further explain that in the church a priesthood holder is called to be the Stake Patriarch, and he is the one who gives patriarchal blessings. Tell them that in order to get to be "Patriarch" in this singing game, Adam must forget a phrase in the song, and the child next to him will get bumped up to "Patriarch" position.

For Jr. Primary begin the game by having the pianist play the introduction music. Hold the microphone to "Adam". Have Adam sing the first phrase: "Adam was a prophet", then hold the microphone to the next child who will try to sing the phrase: "first one that we know", then the next child: "in a place called Eden"...and so on. The children will know when it is their turn to sing the phrase because you will have the microphone ready at their mouth. Any child who can't remember the words gets bumped back to their own chair with their class, and the children in the game row move toward the "Patriarch" position. If the "Patriarch" is the one who gets the words wrong, he goes back to his class, and the child who was next to him occupies the position of "Patriarch". There is now an empty seat at the end of the row. Pick a new child to sit in that chair and begin the game again. Play until the verse is completed, then have the entire primary sing that verse together with the chorus. During the chorus switch the "Patriarch's" poster to Enoch, and pick up with the child where you left off at the end of the first verse. Continue this as long as time permits or until you have completed the entire song.

For Senior Primary children, forget the microphone and have the child in the  "Patriarch" position set the poster to the side. Add rhythm to the game by having them clap their hands to their knees once, clap hands together once, and snapping in the air twice with each phrase. If they do not sing their phrase correctly AND/OR clap-clap-snap-snap on the beat, they get bumped back to their seat and everyone in the game row shifts one seat over toward the "Patriarch".

Have fun!


Sunday's singing time was a blast! With both Jr. and Sr. groups I started out with my pianist playing the song in the background and asked them to just listen. I asked them to think about how it made them feel. I then explained that with such fun music to such a happy song, I can't imagine it is supposed to be sung like this: *I stood rigidly and sang the words with a very solemn face.* I told them this is a song to be sung with a smile on their faces and a little movement in their bodies. Then I performed a little dance that is what the music made me feel like. Then it was their turn to do the same, while we all sang the chorus together a couple of times. After singing the chorus,  I showed the poster of  Adam and called a child to come up and put their face through the cut out. Then I asked the child if he could bend his knees to the beat of the music while we sang it. (LOL The little Sunbeam who played Adam said "no" and stood there like a tree...but after him everyone got the idea and bounced to the music.) While the pianist continued to play the music to the song in the background, I explained as quickly as I could what was going on in the picture, as well as explained any big words, (such as "descendants" in verse 1), and then we played Echo.

Echo is basically "I sing; you copy me". So I started with singing:

Me: Adam was a prophet
Children: (echo) Adam was a prophet
Me: First one that we know
Children: First one that we knows

You get the gist of it, I am sure. We continued until I sang something that they could not quite echo, maybe because it was too fast or lots of words crammed into a phrase. At that point I would stop, explain the phrase if needed, and then have them echo it back to me once or twice or until they were all together and got it right. Then we would sing the chorus.

We continued this way one prophet verse at a time, having a new child come to the front when we sang the chorus, to play the part of the next prophet (the former child taking their seat). We actually finished the fifth verse with Moses before there was only five minutes left. To finish quickly, instead of one child at a time using one poster, I had 4 children to come to the front at once and Echo sang (without explanations or stopping) the verses to Samuel, Jonah, Daniel, and the final verse, as well as the new verse found in The Friend Magazine (No poster yet. In retrospect I should have at least had a picture of President Monson for that last verse.)

I issued a challenge to them to memorize any verse of the song this week. Any child who will recite to me a memorized verse before music time next Sunday will get to be first hold and display their cute little faces through the prophet poster they have memorized a verse for.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Follow the Prophet

I have known for a long time if I ever had the opportunity to teach this song that I would use my mom's idea. So I asked her to send me pictures of her posters, and then I made my own, with a few slight changes. And I used foam board instead of poster. A big Thank You to my friend Dawn for helping me add vinyl lettering.


This last poster is for the new verse found in the March 2010 issue of The Friend magazine. 

Here's what my mom made several years ago: