YOUR Ideas

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From Linda:
Last week, we wanted to work on "Nephi's Courage."  So I told the children, "Did you know we are actually singing a story?" We are going to have actors act out the story, while the rest of us sing. 
 (I asked for volunteers. 4 children for Verse 1, 3 children for Verse 2, and whoever else wanted to for Verse 3.)  We have costumes provided by our stake - You could make some, or use materials you have on hand-Robes with belts, material for a shawl, material for a head cover and a headband-like in the Sharing Time Outline.)
I had large names printed on cardstock for: Nephi, Laban, Laman, Lemuel.  You can punch 2 holes, attach yarn, and they can put it over their head, so everyone can see who they are pretending to be. Which reminds me, I asked the children, "Do you know what acting is? Its pretending!"  When anyone made a comment like, "Hey, Nephi's not a girl!" I would say, "We're pretending. It doesn't matter."
Then I would tell the story. (In Senior Primary, I called it ACT I.) I would use the words exactly like the song.  I would tell them, "Let's see what this story is about." Or, "Listen to the story."  First time through, I would SAY THE LINES, INSTRUCT THE ACTORS, AND THEN WE WOULD SING
"The Lord commanded Nephi to go and get the plates." (Nephi would walk across the front of the room.)
"From the wicked Laban inside the city gates."   (Nephi would then reach Laban who was behind a row of 4 chairs with a small walking space in the middle-gates)
I would make a big deal of this. Saying something like, "Laban, show us a wicked look."
"Laman and Lemuel were both afraid to try."     (Instruct Laman and Lemuel to look afraid.)
"Nephi was courageous."  (Nephi strikes a courageous pose.)
"This was his reply."
The kids are familiar with the chorus. So then I would make sure to focus my attention on the rest of the group.
Everyone was watching as we "learned our lines." Then we would act it out a few times. I would encourage all the non-actors to sing the story.
 On to Verse 2 (ACT II)
New actors are selected.
"The Lord commanded Nephi to go and build a boat."    (Nephi goes across the front of the room to an open area and pretends to build a boat.)
"Nephi's older brothers believed it would not float."    (Instruct the brothers on appropriate gestures, and expressions)
HERE I make sure that the children understand that this is a family, and how they fit together.
"Laughing and mocking, they said he should not try."  (The brothers laughed- with no sound- and pointed at Nephi.) The children said things like, "Oh, sad." OR "That's mean."  I would say, "Yeah, they were being mean to their little brother, weren't they?"
"Nephi was courageous, This was his reply."   (Another courageous pose.)
CHORUS, Repeat the verse a few times, like we did for verse 1. Oh yeah, in Senior Primary, I let the actors take a bow, before switching to new actors.
Verse 3 (ACT III)
The only thing dofferent here is- all the rest of those wanting to act came up, they did not put on the costumes, or name tags. I told the children, "This verse is about us
They -motioning toward the new group of actors- are already in their costumes. The other verses were back in Nephi's time." I referred to this group as the ensemble. The singers were the back-up singers, or the chorus.  Whatever you choose to call them so they feel included.
"The Lord gives us commandments and asks us to obey."  (I had the actors fold their arms, and look obedient.)
"Sometimes I am tempted to choose another way."  (You could have the actors all take 2 steps, with each of them going different directions. OR hold up one hand, then the other, weighing out, as if to say-should I do this?, or should I do that?)
"When I'm discouraged, and think I cannot try,"   ("Show me your discouraged look."  OR "Show me what giving up looks like.")
 "I will be courageous, and I will reply."  (Strike the now familiar courageous pose.  I would say, "We are being like Nephi."
Repeat Verse 3 two or three times.
I think maybe some in the ENSEMBLE felt a little disappointed about not being cast for a leading part, but I told everyone, "That was fun. We will have to do some more acting another day."
I felt the whole thing went well.
Good luck!!


Oh how this makes me miss being in Primary! Brilliant! Thanks Linda!

 From Hollie Allen:
One thing that I love to do to get ready for the program is bring in American Idol judges. I usually have the presidency or some of the teachers come up to the front of the room to be the judges. I give each judge a whiteboard, marker, and an eraser (laminated paper will work well of you don't have whiteboards). Then I tell the kids that we have 3 surprise judges today and they have come to judge their singing. I also inform them that one of the judges is a big stickler and that they have to sing really well to get a good score from that judge. Then I tell them that they have to get all 9's or above to pass off the song. (sometimes the tough judge will give them an 8.9 but they still have to sing it again) :) Then when they pass off the song, they get a new song to sing to the judges and so forth. My kids love it and it really keeps their attention. I hope this is helpful!
Thanks Hollie! I love this idea so much, I think I am going to use it soon myself!

From A. Snow:
I did this activity in singing time last week for 'back to school'. Thought I would pass it on! I packed a backpack for 'back to school' with a few things and let the kids grab an item then read them the clue to see if they could guess which song we would sing. Easy and a fun way to review a few songs and just have fun. Some of the songs are in our program in a few weeks! You can never have too much practice! - A. Snow

Back to School Sing-a-Long
  • Ruler: Measures if you’ve grown a foot or two (I hope they call me on a mission pg.169)
  • Pencil: Helps you do your homework that no other can do (Dare to do Right pg.158)
  • Bag Tag (or name tag): So you know who the bag ‘belongs’ to… what do you belong to? (I belong to the church p.77)
  • Apple: For your teacher who tells you stories (Book of Mormon Stories pg.118)
  • Snack: To keep you strong and give you power all day long (Scripture Power)
  • Glue: This will help things ‘holding fast’ to your paper (I will follow God’s Plan pg. 164)
  • Calculator (senior): You can add things like 1+2+3+4 on this (4th Article of Faith pg.124)
  • Paints: You can use these paints at home, at school or at play! (Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam p. 60)
Thanks A. Snow! Super clever ~ and perfect for this time of year!

From Peggy Olson: 

I made body parts for a little girl (which included a head, torso, 2 arms, 2 legs) and another set for a little boy. My drawings were dressed in their Sunday clothes, colored and laminated for durability. I taped a different Primary song on the back of each body part. I then asked the children a question about one of the songs we have learned this year (ex: "What does it mean to listen with your heart?" or "In the song, 'I Can Follow God's Plan For Me' where did my life begin?") The first one to raise their hand got to answer the question. If they got the correct answer they were able to choose a body part for their team and place it on the chalkboard. We then sang the song that was on the back of the body part. We repeated the questions, answers, and singing the songs until the bodies were built. The first team to build their healthy body was the winning team!
Thanks Peggy~You are fabulous!

From Teresa H.:
This week in primary I wanted to focus on making our temples brighter. We discussed how thinking, saying and doing good and uplifting things helps to keep our temples bright. I had them read Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 "For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart..." I then had the kids choose their favorite primary songs that help them think do and say good and uplifting things. I then asked them why they would want to make their bodies brighter. We read Matthew 5: 14-16 and discussed how by singing we can share our light with men and glorify our Father in heaven. I brought a battery operated camping lantern and a basket. We sang "The Lord Gave Me a Temple" and if they didn't know the words well, weren't singing loudly or weren't being reverent then the bushel (basket) hid the light. Our goal was to be able to let our light shine the entire song. The kids loved it and it was so simple.
Great!!! Thanks Teresa!

From Stephanie Thomson of  Spreckles, CA (submitted by her sister, Jennifer Fulton):
I wanted to share a fun game my sister came up with to practice songs. We did it last week and loved it. We used the crocodile dentist game

If you aren't familiar with it, you push down on the teeth one at a time, and it randomly closes when you hit the right tooth. I had the kids pass this around (and showed the jr class that it doesn't hurt and isn't scary). We sang "The Lord Gave Me a Temple" while the kids passed the crocodile around, each taking a turn pushing one tooth down. When the mouth closed, the pianist would stop playing and the child had to say the next word in the song. If they couldn't think of it then their class could help them. Both Jr. and Sr loved this game, and it helped them really learn the words. Just wanted to share.
Thanks Stephanie and Jennifer! Love it!