Saturday, April 25, 2015

Turning "Simple" Into a Fun Challenge

Sand blocks. I showed you how to make them. I told you I'd be using them. I even hinted that you could keep them simple for junior primary and then step it up for senior primary.  My weekly outline posts can only have brief descriptions of each activity, though, so here's a more in-depth look at how to make the magic happen.

Starting with Simple

First, let's take a look at how the activity goes for junior primary.  This week, I'm using the President Monson verse of "Follow the Prophet," found in The Friend magazine here.

Tapping the far edges
Tapping the near edges
We start with light tapping, where I touch the farthest edges of the blocks together and then quickly switch to the nearest edges touching. I make these quick (so the children don't get bored), giving two taps per beat.  I use 8 beats ( or 16 taps), for the phrase, "Heav'nly Father loves us and wants us to return. He...."

Scraping on the sandpaper side
Then I switch to 8 counts of scraping the sand blocks against each other, along the sandpaper side, on each beat. This uses the phrase "...blesses us with prophets who help us to learn."

For the rest of the song, I alternate tapping and scraping, in 8 count intervals.  About half-way through the song, when the children are following me well, I change things up slightly.  For the taps, I hold the blocks right in front of my body, but I move the scrapes to different locations.  The first time, I hold the blocks out to my right.  Taps are back in the middle, then scrapes to the left this time.  Taps in the middle, then scrapes up high, etc.  The song ended at some point during all that, but since we're now changing the movement some, the children aren't tired of the activity yet, and we just repeat the song and continue on.

Extender Activity for Junior

If I have lots of time and want to extend the activity further, I switch to only scrapes, and I change the location every 4 beats. I try to trick the children or be silly in some way (holding the blocks next to my belly button or nose, for example),  as kids love it when a lesson feels like play.

*Note: These instruments make a lot of noise.  You will have to sing a LOT more loudly than you normally sing in order to be heard. Not that I learned that the hard way or anything...

Presenting a Challenge

Symbols to match the actions
Now think about senior primary.  Your older children will groan if you present sand blocks in the way I describe above. Instead, consider how they will respond if you place papers like the ones pictured up on the board. Before I pass out the sand blocks, I demonstrate my chosen actions without any explanation.  Then I ask the children to match my actions to the coordinating symbols on the papers.  When my senior primary was new to this type of activity, I put the papers in order. Now, I place them on the board out of order, and the children have to unscramble them before they get any instruments. It normally only takes one time through the song. My kids catch on fast!

However, since you don't have the benefit of watching my actions, here's the interpretation.  One piece of paper shows the actions for 4 beats. The diagonal slash marks are for scrapes; the eighth and sixteenth note flags are for taps at the designated speed; the long flat line is a clap-and-hold; and the apple-ish shape shows them to hold their sand blocks together and circle them around their heads.  If my code doesn't float your boat, then make your own! The important thing is just to have some visual identifier for each action. 

Extender Activity for Senior

Again, if I have more time for this activity, I extend it by changing it up slightly.  I invite a child to reorder the papers any way he likes, and then we all do the pattern again. The children love the movement and mental challenge so much that they don't notice we've sung the song something like 10 times. :)

Happy Singing!

No comments:

Post a Comment