Showing posts with label Singing Time plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Singing Time plan. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Singing Time Plan: A Christmas Sampler

This is the most wonderful time of the year! I love singing Christmas songs with the children, but I do find that most don't remember the songs from year to year.  So, I like to acquaint them with several different Christmas songs, in a way that allows them to participate without knowing the words.  Sharla Dance, over at, had some wonderful ideas that I'm excited to use!

  Junior Primary

Sharla Dance's actions for "Samuel"
"Picture a Christmas"  (p.50) 
Set up nativity.  First you set up a child-proof nativity as you sing, and then you let the children take turns doing so. Sharla gave me this idea here.  
"Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus"  (p.36) 
Actions and paper plates.  You suit actions to the words of the song, and then have the children join you. Next time through, repeat while holding paper plates. This is Sharla's idea, and you can find her full description here. :)
"The Nativity Song"  (p.52)   
Magic chalkboard.  Tell the children you brought your magic chalkboard today, and it will make pictures of your song appear as you sing. Sketch quickly while you sing, then act surprised to see the pictures there. The little kids eat this up. :) Ask for details you could add, then repeat. 

  Senior Primary

"Picture a Christmas" (p.50)   
Set up nativity. See description above.
"Samuel Tells of the Baby Jesus" (p.36) 
Act It Out.  Before Sunday, contact a few children who already know the chorus and could act as angels. Bring simple costume pieces for yourself (Samuel) and the few children (angels). Stand on a chair or box as you begin singing and gesturing. Step back to let the angels sing. Ask for volunteer replacements, then repeat. 
"The Nativity Song"  (p.52) 
Hand bells.  I like to use chords, as I find them simpler for the children to follow. I use the movable chart I created, described here.  

Happy Christmas singing!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Bravely Let Your Light Shine": A Glow Stick Singing Time

Every year, I almost forget that I have to plan a Singing Time for the day of the Primary Program!  This year, I was helped along by an idea on the LDS Choristers Facebook group. I'm going to lighten things up for the children by bringing in glow sticks and by singing some songs that they have no pressure to learn.  (I bought my glow sticks in 12-packs from the dollar bins at Target, which seems to be the cheapest place around.)  Also, because President Monson's General Conference talk last month was about being an example and a light, I decided to tie in some of the scriptures and thoughts he shared and make the whole Singing Time about light.

Both Junior and Senior Primary

Glow sticks for everyone!
"I've Got a Little Gospel Light"  
I'm from the South, and I grew up loving this song! It's similar to "This Little Light of Mine," if you're familiar with that one.  I got permission from my bishop to sing it this week, and I'll teach the children the actions that go with it. It tells about not hiding our light under a bushel, about not letting anyone blow it out, and about letting our light shine everywhere we go. 

"Amazing Grace"    
I got permission for this song, too. :)  I'll turn out the lights and tell the children that the Savior's atonement and grace were the first gospel light. I'll pull out the first glow stick (leaving the others hidden) as I sing the first verse. Then I'll say, "As wonderful as one light is, two is even better."  I'll hand my pianist a glow stick, and she'll come up and sing harmony with me.  After we finish, I'll relate sharing our light to sharing the gospel of Christ, and then I'll ask who would like a glow stick.

"Shine On"  (p. 144) 
This song is so perfect for this Singing Time theme, and the lyrics fit right in with passing out individual glow sticks from a large bundle.  I'll sing this song as I pass out the sticks, asking the children to think about how the song relates to what I'm doing.

Various songs   
Pres. Monson said, "Bravely let your light shine for all to see."  I'll ask the children, "What song is so important, that you wish you could share it like a light with everyone you know?" My intent is to have this feel like a mini testimony meeting for the children.  I'll have the child come up front to help me conduct the song, and we'll let everyone follow our correct conducting pattern. I'll repeat this activity for the rest of the time.

Happy singing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Final Program Review--With Puppets!

Invite puppets to come hear the children sing.

My favorite Sunday of the year is almost here.  I can't wait for the children's Primary program!  (Yes, it was my favorite Sunday before I had either this calling or children of my own....)  Here is my plan for the last Singing Time before our program practice in the chapel.

Goals for This Singing Time

Overall goal:  Familiarize the children with all musical aspects of the program so the practice in the chapel can focus on other areas.

Breakdown of that goal:
  1. Sing through each song once as a final review.
  2. Teach the children my cues for standing up and sitting down for each song.
  3. Rehearse the program format of each song (soloists, special accompaniment, sign language, etc.).
  4. Turn the children's attention to the words of the songs, so they can sing with feeling.
  5. Practice standing and sitting enough times so they can almost do it in unison.
  6. Don't bore the children to death. :)

  Plan for Each Goal's Fulfillment

  1. Beforehand, place your songs in order according to difficulty level (not according to their actual placement in the program), placing last the song with which your children are most comfortable.  This is insurance, in case you don't have enough time to get through all the songs.
  2. At the beginning of Singing Time, teach the children your particular version of signals to stand up and sit down.  I count a silent 1-2-3 on my fingers and then raise both my hands up, for standing.  I simply lower flat palms for sitting.  Give your cues and have the children practice a few times.
  3. For each song, pretend as though it's the day of the program, and sing straight through that song without stopping or talking.
  4. In between a few of the songs, point out how you can feel the Holy Ghost as the children sing, and ask them to sing the next song while they really think about the words.  A song can be a testimony--when you mean it!
  5. Before each song, give your signal to stand and have the children sing while standing.  After every song, signal them to be seated again.  With so much repetition, they can't possibly forget your cues on program day. :)
  6. Here is where the puppets come in.  Before we start the songs, I tell the children that I was telling one of my friends about how great their singing was, so he wanted to come hear them. I pull out a puppet and have him say hi to the kids.  I ask the children to sing their best, so my little friend will know I was telling the truth. Then, I set him on top of the piano, so the kids can see him while we sing.  After the song, the puppet comes back up and says the singing was so great that he wants to invite another friend to come hear.  Up comes a new puppet to join him.  Repeat.  By the end you have a whole line of puppets listening to the kiddos.  I try to make the puppets' remarks short, so this doesn't eat up all the time. 

This is definitely an atypical Singing Time, but singing in front of a large group is unnerving for many children.  I consider it my job to help them feel as comfortable as possible by letting them know what to expect.  Good luck with all of your programs!

Happy singing,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Singing Time Plan: October

Here is an example Singing Time plan for October.  I'm doing several simple activities to review program songs and practice with small groups.  If you teach in a small Primary where both Junior and Senior are combined for Singing Time, this is a great agenda for you, as the activities work well for both ages.  Have fun with it!

  Junior Primary

Here come the egg shakers!
"Tell Me the Stories of Jesus"  (p.57) 
Wand leading.  To practice the small groups and the whole Primary singing different verses, I'll have the groups stand in different corners of the room, and I'll turn back and forth to lead with a ribbon wand at their different turns to sing.

"The Church of Jesus Christ"   (p.77) 
Egg shakers with beat vs. rhythm.  Have the children shake the beat the first time through the song.  Then, have them shake the rhythm as you repeat.  The third time through, have an older child turn on and off the lights to signify a change between beat and rhythm.

"He Sent His Son"  (p.34) 
Take it in, take it out.  Challenge the children to stand and sing with you and then stop and sit at a signal (tambourine or the like).  The piano will continue, so they'll have to follow along inside their heads. (This is called audiation, and it's a powerful way to cement lyrics.) Switch back and forth, taking the song in and out.

"I Know That My Savior Loves Me"  
ASL review.

  Senior Primary

"Tell Me the Stories of Jesus"  (p.57) 
Wand leading.  See description for Junior, above.

"The Church of Jesus Christ"  (p.77) 
Egg shakers with beat vs. rhythm.  See description for Junior, above.

"He Sent His Son"   (p.34) 
Take it in, take it out.  See description for Junior, above.

"I Know That My Savior Loves Me"   
ASL review.  I'll challenge them to close their eyes if they know the signs, and then I'll ask a few confident children to come up front and lead the next time through

Happy singing!