The church now recommends we combine our Primary sharing and music. When I first learned of this, I thought it was a great idea, but too hard to do. However, my new ward has been doing this for some time now, and Iíve seen how easily it can be done, and how effective it is.
The music in Primary is not the break or the entertainment. Itís a powerful gospel and testimony teaching tool. It can only serve this purpose, though, if the children understand what theyíre singing. The combined lesson allows the lesson to explain the song, and the song to explain the lesson.
Itís important to be sure each portion has an equal amount of time, so both leaders should work together to decide which verses of the new song are being taught or worked on. Then divide the time so the presidency member can introduce the topic and the music leader can teach one verse of the song. Then the sharing time teacher teaches the concept of the second verse or chorus, followed by the song instruction. You might finish with the presidency member doing a learning activity and the song leader then doing review songs. It can all be scripted in advance if youíre more comfortable, and the first few times you may want to do that.
Another way to prepare, when you donít have time to meet, is to simply discuss quickly the themes involved. If the music leader is teaching Reverence is Love, for example, the sharing time teacher can plan her own lesson based on the message of each verse being taught. As long as you email your basic plan to each other, you wonít inadvertently use the exact same teaching method.
Following is a simplified version of how to teach the song, An Angel Came to Joseph Smith:
1. Sharing time leader tells the story of Joseph receiving the plates from Moroni, using flannel board or packet pictures.
2. Music Leader teaches the first verse using the same packet pictures, so the children understand they are singing the story they just learned. She explains the words in the song, and helps the children remember how it relates to the sharing time lesson they just had.
3. Sharing Time leader helps the children learn the story of Lehi by first telling it, using packet pictures, and then putting the pictures out of order and letting the children put them back in order as they help her retell it.
4. Music leader teaches the remaining two verses.
5. Sharing Time leader plays a game in which she holds up pictures of Book of Mormon stories and lets children guess what story it is. The children also get to briefly tell what the story is about.
6. Music leader takes the remaining time.