Friday, August 21, 2015

Circle Code: A Senior Primary Activity

Cracking the Circle Code

     Here's a closer look at Circle Code, the new activity I mentioned in my SingingTime post earlier this week, here.  I got the idea from Sharla over at, and then I changed it to meet my needs.  (You can read about her original Color Code activity here.)

A New Code Needed

In Sharla's Color Code, she created the code for the first verse of "Come, Follow Me" (Hymns #116).  My children already knew that verse, so I wanted to use the code for verse 4, instead.  As I sat down to apply Sharla's code to verse 4, I quickly realized it wouldn't work.  She had circles of different colors stand for words that started with a certain letter. (eg. Orange circles for words that started with "C.")  That worked well for verse 1, but in verse 4, only the letter "W" was used with any frequency higher than twice.  So I set out to develop my own code, using her basic idea of one circle per word.

Interpretation of the Circle Code

My Circle Code

Here's what I developed, after looking at the song and verse I wanted to highlight.  You can use a similar process to adapt Circle Code for any song.

Dark blue circles=baseline, one syllable word
Light blue circles=one syllable word starting with the letter "W"
Shadow=add to a circle to indicate the note is longer than a quarter note
Small white circle=add to a circle to indicate the word has more than one syllable

So, the first line of the poster corresponds to this line from the song:  "Not only shall we emulate..."

Making the Poster

The pictures make it hard to see how simple the poster really is.  It's truly just poster board with paper circles glued on.  I used a plastic cup to trace the larger circles onto construction paper, and I used a depleted roll of scotch tape for the smaller circles.  The shadows are just large black circles that I aligned a little lower.  

I lined up all the circles before gluing them down, so I could double check their placement and my coding.  My favorite glue to use is a dot glue runner, as I've found that liquid glue will pucker the paper, and a glue stick doesn't have very good staying power.  

Presenting the Activity

Place the poster on the board and ask the children what they notice.  Receive their answers.  Ask them to crack the code while you sing.  Point to each circle as you sing the corresponding word, and after the first sing-through, ask what their guesses are.  Sing through a couple more times, emphasizing different words as necessary.  

Now you're all set!  Prepare to be amazed at how quickly your children rise to this new challenge. :)

Happy singing!

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