Thursday, June 16, 2011

Primary Pyramid

I will be out of town for the two weeks following this Sunday. So this Sunday I'll be doing a review of all the  Program songs we have learned so far, as if it was the last week of the month.

I was feeling uncomfortable about doing a lot of Father's Day stuff during my singing time this year on Father's Day, because of a little family in my ward that lost their daddy about a year ago.  I learned that the family I was concerned about is going to be out of town this weekend, so I feel more at ease asking some fathers to participate in this game. So if you do this activity, you can adapt it to fit with or without dads.

It's called ......*drum roll*...... 
Primary Pyramid

The name comes from the famous game show, $25,000 Pyramid. You can watch it on YouTube if you are not familiar with it. I have created my own simple version of the game:

First let me apologize if you had to get your reading glasses to read this disclaimer. The small font is 
simply for the dramatic effect I hoped to create. Now on to the REAL disclaimer:
My version of this game is specifically created to review songs learned from January through June of 2011. I have two songs that may be different from what you are learning, as we have been instructed to choose our own songs for the months of April and June. You should be able to easily adapt this game to any set of songs. Just get creative! Use your computer or draw your own game set. It will be fabulous!

  •  You'll need a way to keep track of time. I am going to use my 30 second sand timer.
  • Set up two chairs at the front of the room. The chairs should face each other.
  • Open and print this PDF on card-stock or plain paper. ( I think card stock would be best, but plain paper will be okay, too.) Primary Pyramid.pdf  The first page is a key to what song each symbol represents. Don't let the children see this page, it's just for you to refer to. After the first page, all the even pages have a symbol on them, representing a primary song. The odd pages are the playing cards to go along with the song symbol it follows. Cut the playing cards out along the solid lines and put each set in an envelope, making sure you know which song goes with each envelope (maybe write it lightly in pencil or use abbreviations). Save the even pages for your white/chalk board display. 
  • Using the even pages, set up the white/chalk board like this:
 The symbols are in no particular order. Scramble them if you want to. (The Pharaoh is probably the weirdest one there. I thought I'd throw the kids off a little. Pharaoh represents the "kings" in the song Praise to the Man.)

To Play:
Two contestants come to the front and sit in the chairs. (A dad and child, a teacher and child, or two children.)  Ask them to choose one of the symbols on the pyramid on the board to start the game. Explain that each symbol represents a primary song learned this year.

After they have made their choice, show them the stack of cards that goes with the symbol they selected, (without letting them see the picture clues on the cards, of course.) Explain that one of them will be the "clue giver", and describe the word on the card to their partner, "the guesser".  YOU will set the 30 second timer, and hold up the cards for the audience and the "clue giver" to see, so the "guesser" will not be able to see the cards.  If the "guesser" guesses a card correctly, they move on to the next card (you'll flip to the next card). The goal is to try to guess 7 clues in 30 seconds, for 7 points. There are 8 clues so they can have one "pass" without risking losing their 7 points. After the round is finished, give them an extra 10 points if they can name the song the clues were all about. If they can not guess, let the children in the "audience" guess what it is, as you show them all the clue cards.

Have all the children sing the song, then choose two more contestants for the next round. Continue until all 6 songs have been sung.

You might want to explain the relevance of some of the clues. For example, I have a TV as one of my clues. I'll explain that we watch a television screen to see a broadcast or dvd of the living prophet at General Conference time. I have a phone as one of my clues to illustrate the word "commune".

Have fun!

Here is a second version of the game that replaces Reverence is Love with Scripture Power:
Primary Pyramid II.pdf

Afterthoughts: Alrighty then. This was a really fun activity for the kids. But it gave me a little bit of stress, LOL. Mostly because:
  • the 30 second timer seemed like it was 5 seconds long! I ended up turning it over three or four times and then just tossing it aside.  
  • some of the clue words were just too big for the Junior Primary, so I would suggest for Jr. Primary that you cut it down to 3 easy words per song to guess (and no timer). With the 3 and four year olds, (luckily)  a presidency member helped them while I ran the flash cards.
  •  in Junior Primary I think we spent too much time guessing the words and not enough time singing. After all, it is called "singing time", hehe. So again, cut it down to 3 words for Junior Primary.
  • the Junior Primary had a hard time guessing what the song was from just the clue cards. My pianist played a little bit of the song and then they were able to get it. 
What I did like about it was:
  • for Senior Primary it was much less stressful and the kids and dads picked up the game much quicker.
  • the Dads were awesome!
  • the song/picture key was invaluable to me AND my pianist. So print and an extra one for your pianist. 
  • one of the girls in Senior Primary came up to me after church and said she hoped we could play Primary Pyramid more often. Golden words. :)
  • the kids knew all the songs well so I was not stressed about having to really hammer any of the songs over and over. 
  • it was fun!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Program Perfect!

Our song for June is The Fourth Article of Faith. The children did so well last week learning it, so I am only going to have them sing through it once or twice this week. Afterwards we will be working on our Father's Day Sacrament Meeting presentation song, Teach Me to Walk in the Light. I have decided to ask the Bishopric to sing the second verse for the Father's Day Sacrament Meeting performance. *cough-cough* I'll let you know how that goes. LOL

*Update* The Bishop said YES! YeeHaw! (I am so grateful!)

The children learned Teach Me to Walk in the Light last year, so all we need to do is polish it! We will be playing:

Program Perfect!

 You will need: 
  • Sand timer, game timer, kitchen timer, or any other kind of timer. 
  • Tape recorder or other device to make an audio recording (I am using my Smart Phone).
  • These: Program Perfect Level-Challenge Cards.pdf. Open and print on one page of white or colored card stock, printing on both sides of the card stock. Cut out each Level card.
Front and back sides of the cards:

To Play:

Display the cards, front side out, on the white board. Explain that you want them to really polish this song for Sacrament Meeting next week, but that you will take it one level at a time. Turn over level card 1 and explain the challenge.

The idea is that the children have to pass off one level before moving on to the next. If, as a group, they do not pass any level (either because it was not sung well, or because the level challenge was not done properly), they must go back to the previous level and pass it off again before moving on to the next. I plan on stopping mid-song when I can see a level will not be passed off, and immediately going back to the previous challenge.

For level one, set the timer to a predetermined amount of time, (unless it's a sand timer, just turn it over) and attempt to sing the song before the timer goes off or the sand runs out. You could even have a child try to conduct the song to see if they can help everyone pass the challenge.

For level 5, have the children sing their very best, as if they are doing it for their parents, as you record them.

Proceed through each level, and at the end of level 5, play back the recording of the children singing.  

Have fun!

This activity went very well! I was amazed at how the Jr. Primary zipped right through all the challenges without having to repeat any of them! Naturally I thought it would be too easy when it was Sr. Primary's turn. However, I had to stop Sr. Primary mid-turn when they were holding up one foot because one child began hopping all over, and then several others followed. I guess hopping on one foot has sort of a viral effect. Who knew?  Then I made the Sr. kids do verse three only on the every other word challenge. I saw some of them losing their places and it made me crack up and lose my place, resulting in all of us having to go down one level. It was incredibly fun.

Tip: One thing that really helped us all on the every other word challenge was covering our mouths with our hand when the words were silent.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Invisible Points

Here's a fun game that worked really well with teaching The Fourth Article of Faith, but could apply to almost any song.

I divided the room into four groups and I explained that everyone would sing the first phrase of the song: (We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are). Then I assigned each group one of the phrases of the song.
  • I told the first group to sing: first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And, I told this group if they would ALL hold up one finger the whole time they sang thier phrase, I would give each of them 10 points. (Remember these are invisible points and don't mean a thing, LOL.) We practiced it once or twice, and then I invited everyone to sing from the beginning, with only the first group singing their part, and ending the song there. Naturally they earned the 10 points!
  • Next I told the second group to sing: second, repentance and practiced it a couple of times. I told them that it was time to add them to the song and instructed that everyone would sing the first phrase, group one would sing their part, and then group two would add their part, and end the song there. If group two would all sing holding up two fingers the entire time, AND if they could sing better than group one (which encouraged group one to continue to sing their best) I would give them 20 points! (And from group one I heard..."Awwww! 20 points!")
  • Next I told group three to sing third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and practiced it a couple of times. I told them that it was time to add them to the song and instructed that everyone would sing the first phrase, group one would sing their part, group two would sing their part, and then  group three would add their part, and we would end the song there. If group three would all sing holding up three fingers the entire time, AND if they could sing better than group one and two,  I would give them 25 points! 
  • I did the same as above for group four, only increasing the points to an unheard amount of 45 points!
Seriously, they were wild about this.

Next, we did it all again, except I shifted the parts, so group two now sang the first part and held up one finger, group three the second holding up two fingers, etc. We sang until each group had done each part.

Somewhere about the middle of the game I began whispering the point value to each group, so the other groups would not hear. After they sang, I announced to the entire group how many points that particular (beaming!) group had just earned. This made the the children absolutely giddy!

At the very end, the last group to sing phrase four was group one. I had just given the group before them 100 points for a job well done. One of the girls from group one whispered, "Could you give us infinity points if we do it just right?" and I whispered back, "Okay, but only if it is your very, very best!"

And it was.

We finished by having everyone sing the entire song together, and I promised infinity points for everyone (just to even up the score, haha) if they would all hold up their fingers and sing their very best!

I wonder what they have done with all those points this week!

Have fun!


Take a moment to answer the poll on the top left.

I have been struggling this week with what to do for a fun activity for Father's Day Sunday, as well as what to have the children sing in Sacrament meeting on Father's Day. Almost one year ago three siblings in my primary lost their father. He was captured by swift water in a river in the wilderness of Alaska, and his body was never found. It has been so difficult for their mother to understand why. It still breaks my heart to see the pain in their faces.

After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided that for Sacrament Meeting on Father's Day, we will go with "Teach Me to Walk in the Light", instead of the traditional father's day songs. Now I just need to find a dad/teacher/parents to sing the second verse.
What do you think? Comments and insight would be appreciated. 


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Fourth Article of Faith: Week One

Click here to view and download my flip chart for The Fourth Article of Faith.

To introduce this song I am going to show the second page in my flip chart, the picture of Joseph Smith:

Then I'll begin a discussion that will go something like this:

The Articles of Faith were written by Joseph Smith, after he was asked by a man named John Wentworth, an editor of a newspaper called the Chicago Democrat,  to tell about ‘the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-Day Saints'. (Articles of Faith, L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Conference, April 1998)  Now the Articles of Faith are part of our scriptures in the Pearl of Great Price. When we want to share the Gospel with others, we can always rely on the Articles of Faith to clearly relate our beliefs. The Fourth Article of Faith teaches us about the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel.

Show the first two pages of the flip chart and sing the first phrase to the children: "We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are"

Tell the children you want to play "I Sing, You Sing". When you point to yourself, only you sing. When you point to the children, they echo what you just sang. They have to sing it exactly the pitch, tempo, and style that you did

You (normal voice): We believe
Children: We believe 
You (loudly): We believe 
Children: We believe
You (softly): We believe that the first
Children: We believe that the first
You (slowly): We believe that the first
Children: We believe that the first
You (normal): principles and ordinances 
Children: principles and ordinances
You (western): principles and ordinances 
Children: principles and ordinances
You (one octave higher): principles and ordinances of the Gospel
Children: principles and ordinances of the Gospel
You: (normal): We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are
Children: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are
You: (very fast): We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are
Children: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are
You: (normal): We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are
Children: We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are

Wonderful! Now you know the first part of the song! But what does it mean?

(Point to the word principle on the flip chart.) What is a principle? Is it the person in charge at school? Well, yes and no. That would be 'principal'. It sounds exactly the same, but it means something different. A principle is a truth that serves as the foundation of the Gospel. A foundation is the bottom or the base of something. Without a foundation, your house would fall down! The Gospel has to have a foundation too, or it would fall apart. 

What is an ordinance? It is a sacred formal act performed by the authority of the priesthood. Some ordinances are required to live with our Heavenly Father in the Celestial Kingdom. They are called saving ordinances. They include baptism, confirmation, temple endowments, and temple marriage. With each of these ordinances we make covenants with the Lord. (Reference at

So, in The Fourth Article of Faith, there are two principles, and two ordinances that are the foundation of the Gospel:

Listen as I sing about the two pricnciples, and you tell me what they are:

(Point to the correlating pages in the flip chart)
You sing: First Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, second, Repentance.

Who can tell me the first two principles? 
Does a testimony begin with faith in Jesus Christ?

I want you to notice that there is a difference between "faith" and "faith in Jesus Christ". It doesn't say, "First faith" and then stop. It says "First Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." 

Does a testimony increase through repentance?

Now listen for the two ordinances: 
You sing: Third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Who can tell me what the two ordinances are?

What comes first: Baptism? Or laying on of hands?
What is another word we use for "Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? (Confirmed)

Play "You Sing, I Sing" to reinforce the phrases of the song, then sing the entire song through once or twice before ending.

Have fun!

The Fourth Article of Faith

Our primary has chosen to do The Fourth Article of Faith for June's song, which goes along with the theme perfectly. 

Here's my flip chart for The Fourth Article of Faith:
The Fourth Article of Faith.pdf
Title Page:
 Two page spreads:

Flip Chart Instructions:

The Fourth Article of Faith.pdf
 Open the pdf and print it on 6 pieces of white card stock, printing on both sides of the card stock. Laminate* each page, put the pages in order, then bind the flip chart on the left side.

*With the permission of the primary presidency, I take my flip charts to a local print and copy store to have the lamination and binding done. My ward has an account set up there so I charge it to my ward, (otherwise I would submit a receipt to the ward clerk for reimbursement) and turn the receipt over to the primary counselor over music the following Sunday.