I have had several requests for my detailed plans for teaching the music in Primary this month. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to share with you exactly what I have planned each week, with a brief explanation. As I looked over my plan notes for this month, I received an e-mail from someone whom I quickly discovered is my Primary Music “Twin”, Jenny in Washington, as she does things very similar to the way I do. The credit for the idea for January 4, goes to her as I made an adjustment to my plans to try her idea out, as I loved it so much.
I have a full 20 minutes to teach music in our Primary. For me, it is a challenge, because I teach both Jr. and Sr. Primary at the same time. It is challenging to add in enough wiggle time for the little ones and still keep the interest of the older ones. I use lots of games while I teach! I always start out with a game that I call “Getting our Singing Voices.” This is simply where I have everyone stand up and stretch their arms to the ceiling and take a big breath. Then we let the breath out and turn around, jump up and down, shake our arms, touch our toes, take another big breath while stretching our arms to the ceiling and let it out. Then we are ready to sing and our voices are ready. I started this one week in my first stint as Primary Chorister and the kids loved it. I am not sure why it works exactly, but I have used it ever since and it has always worked in every ward. The kids just sing better after we do it and it instantly engages them. This only takes 1-2 minutes. Sometimes if they are extra wiggly, we sing one wiggle song to warm up.
After we “get our singing voices”, I then move to our music plans for the day. I spend about 15 minutes doing what I have planned, whether it is learning a new song or playing the game I have planned. Then we spend around 2-3 minutes on a wiggle song to quiet them down for sharing time. I always end with them folding their arms and zipping their lips and being oh so very quiet.
Here are the plans I have for this month’s singing time. As you already know, I have decided to teach “The Family is of God” in our Primary. The basic ideas could still be used if you chose to learn “I Lived in Heaven” instead.
I am teaching the chorus of “The Family is of God” using the pictures from the Jolly Jenn website. (I have included the link again for you at the bottom of this article.) My kids are very visual learners, but I always employ a variety of techniques when we are learning a song. It just seems to work best that way. Once we have gone over the words a couple of times, we are going to use the technique that I learned from Jenny in Washington. We will repeat singing it with SUNNY. Sunny is a tennis ball with a slit cut in him with googly eyes. Whenever Sunny “sings”, the kids will sing. Whenever he “hums”, the kids will hum. It follows the same principle of lights on/off, but in a way that I hope is even more fun and engaging. If this works, then SUNNY will make appearance throughout the year.
I am going to teach the first verse of the song using the pictures from the Jolly Jenn website. Once they have learned the words, we will practice it by using “How to Sing” posters: like an opera singer, in a whisper, like a cowboy, standing up, hum, oo, staccato, legato, laughing, boy/girls every other word, fishy face (puckered lips), stuffy nose (hold your nose), like a big mouth bass, facing backwards, like the wind (fast), after running a mile (out of breath), stomping, clapping, granny/gramps, like sheep, buzzing bee, robot (monotone), zombie (no blinking),primary choir, reverent child, like a ghost, drill sergeant, etc.
This week we will learn the 4th verse of the song using the pictures from the Jolly Jenn website. I will modify them to take the words off of the pictures so that the game I have chosen to play this day will actually work. (I am having the 2nd and 3rd verses sung by soloists, so we won’t learn them as a whole primary.)
This time, I will have written all of the words on the chalkboard and we will roll a large dice to see how many words we will erase each time. We will sing the song again after we erase 1-6 words. I will still have the pictures for the little ones, but the older kids really enjoy this game.
I have chosen to play a singing game at least one time per month with my kids. This gives us a break from learning the songs and it actually helps the kids learn them better when we are focusing on that. However, we will review the song quickly so before we start the game.
This month, we are going to continue a game that we began in December. I call it “Whaddya Know?” Since I have only been doing this calling in my new ward for about 5 months, I decided I needed to get a good list of songs the kids already know. I made question mark cards and then placed a song on the back of each one. The kids take turns choosing a card and then we decide if they know the song or not. The songs are then separated into piles and I make notes. They love it, and I get a good list. It’s a win-win situation!
As you can tell, I try to teach one verse a week and use one week at
the end for a review/game. That way they can really learn the words well.
And if you play games with them, it makes the learning fun! It takes a lot of energy, but the rewards and results are so worth it.