Sunday, July 30, 2017

I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus--Unscramble the "I" phrases

Unscramble the "I" phrases
The song for August (see the Church's Sharing Time Outline here) is "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus."  To teach it, I decided to adapt an earlier idea I got from Sharla Dance. (Check out her amazing music blog here!) This activity would only be appropriate for senior Primary, as it focuses on written words.

To start, think about how many "I" phrases are in this song. I went through and counted. There are 6 in just the first verse! This song really helps the children think about themselves and what they can do to be like the Savior, and I want to focus on that.


I made word strips of the first couple words of each "I" phrase in the first verse and mounted them on construction paper.  (Here is my word strip file, if you'd like to save yourself five minutes.) You could easily extend this activity to include the second verse, as well.


Start with the phrases scrambled.
At the beginning of the activity, place the word strips on one side of the board in random order. (Or, for more fun, have the word strips around the room in various places.)

Tell the children that while you sing, you'd like them to unscramble the phrases from the song by putting the word strips in the correct order on the other side of the board. If they know which phrase comes next, they can silently raise their hand, and then you will come around and tap them on the shoulder for a turn. As you continue to sing the song over and over, they can retrieve their word strips and put them into place.

After the word strips are all in order, ask the children what they similarity they notice about the phrases on red paper. They all are about trying. Ask the children to sing the song one last time while they think about why the word "try" is important in the song. After you take their answers, it would be a beautiful time to share your feelings about how our Father in Heaven feels about us when we try our best. The children's thoughtful singing is a wonderful preparation for them to hear your testimony.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?  
The first time I used this idea from Sharla is here. Most of these music activities can be used with multiple songs, thankfully! ;) 

Friday, June 30, 2017

"The Wise Man & the Foolish Man"--Teaching more than just the hand actions

Pictures can add meaning to this action song.
The song of the month is "The Wise Man & the Foolish Man." We all love it, but isn't it kind of simplistic? And, it doesn't really take a month to teach, does it? This song is great because with the repetition and hand actions, children learn it really quickly. It would be easy to leave it at that. If, however, you take the opportunity to explain a few eternal truths, you can help this simple song really strengthen the faith of your children.

All I really do to teach eternal principles with this song is 1) bring a picture or two and 2) pause and explain. You can do variations for age with junior, senior, and even nursery. Actually, I love bringing this explanation and song into nursery the same month the older siblings learn it, as it's a great way to encourage gospel learning as a family.

Bring in a picture or two

Kids love stories. (And so do I!) You can tell the children that today, you'll be telling them a story, but you aren't the one who told it first. Who did? Show them a picture of the Savior teaching, and let them fill in that blank. (In the picture above, I used The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, found in the Gospel Art Book on p. 39.) For nursery, you may want one picture for each child to hold.

After you sing the song through, you could show a picture of crashing waves and rocks, or a rainstorm by a house. (In the picture above, I used a photo from the inside cover of the July 2015 Ensign magazine, but you could find or draw your own.) Some children learn best through visually connecting with what they're hearing.

Pause and explain

Then you could ask, "Why does Jesus care where we build our houses?" Keeping in mind the age group you're teaching, you can help them understand that the song is a symbol for what Jesus really wants for us. He wants us to be strong when there are hard times, just like the house can be strong when there are hard storms. 

Sing the song again, and then older children may enjoy thinking of what the storms, sand, and rock represent spiritually. In this way, they can connect at their level with a song we usually categorize as being for younger children.

Happy singing!

Looking for more?  For an explanation of these symbols:        , visit my page on the 8 learning styles.