Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thankful for our Primary Teachers


A week before this I handed out this survey to the teachers.

Primary Music Survey
Please fill out and return to me. Thank you for all you do!

1. What is your favorite Primary Song?

2. What is your favorite Color?

3.. How old (young) are you?

4. How many Children do you have?

5. What is your favorite Candy bar?

6. If you served a mission, where did you serve?

7. What do you like to do in your spare time?

8. Who is your favorite Book of Mormon Hero?

9. Besides being a Primary Teacher, name one other calling you’ve had.

10. What is one fun memory you have of this past year in Primary?

11. Name three things you are most thankful for.

I then got their favorite candy bar and added a Thank you note too them.

The teachers filled this out for me. I plan on copying the information onto Turkey feathers and have a child come up and pick one. I will then read (or have the child read) some of the clues to who the teacher could be. When the kids guess correctly the teacher gets their favorite candy bar and we sing their favorite primary hymn.

I think this is a great way to let the teachers know how much they are appreciated.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Heavily Adapted by The Crazy Chorister

Monday, October 27, 2008

Different is Good

I am so sorry it took me this long to actually post a real idea. We had stake conference last week...and the entire month of October was all devoted to the Primary Program...but, I'm back. Here's what I'm doing this coming week. It goes along with the suggested songs for sharing time.

Songs to be taught:
“We Are Different” (CS, 263)
“I’m Thankful to Be Me” (CS, 11)


As many different "play" musical instruments that you can bring. Such as a rattle, tambourine, bell, maracas...etc.

I am going to start by showing the children the different instruments and what they sound like. I am going to explain that each one is different, but brings a new and great sound to our primary. The song, "We are different" can really have a fun beat that goes well with a soft rattle sound or tambourine played softly. I'll teach the kids one line at a time with the piano, and then we'll slowly add a new instrument playing a fun beat to it. I don't expect the Junior Primary to really get the beats down...but they will like the idea of participating. The older kids I think will find it really neat that when combined, the instruments compliment each other and enhance the song.

After that, I'm going to tell them that like the instruments, we are all different from each other, but special. I will teach them the words to "I am thankful to be me" and allow some different children to try some different sounds for certain parts of the song. I will make sure to tell them that we are all different and unique, but that helps us to make life beautiful.

A bit cheesy, but it works.

*Originator: The Crazy Chorister

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Primary Program

Well, yesterday was the big day! It went so well. The primary kids sang their little hearts out. I don't believe that anyone could have napped during Sacrament meeting even if they wanted too.

I'm excited to share some fun activities in the next few weeks for helping teach songs the kids don't really have a chance to learn during the year due to the focus on the primary program songs. I plan on making singing time the funnest thing about their week. So, stay tuned.

In other news, I've decided that at out December in service meeting I am going to hand out music packets and Cd's to the teachers of the music for this coming year. I'm going to have some ideas of how they can incorporate more of the PPM into their classroom lessons. Also, the teachers won't have to struggle with the words so much during singing time so I'll have more adult voices to support me when I go to teach the kids the new songs.

Anyhow..I'm starting my new ideas this coming week. I'll post ASAP so you can use some too if you want to.

Don't forget to comment if something works for you or if you have new ideas.

Thanks alot!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Posts Coming...

Hey everyone,

We will be working on Practicing our primary program in the chapel for the next three weeks so I will start to post new ideas mid October or so. Hang in there! There are some really good ones coming.


Rising Higher


One Helium filled balloon

I brought a balloon into primary and taped it too the ground. I told the kids that they needed to try and sing the balloon to the top of the primary room. As the children were reverent and sang out, I would raise the balloon a little for each song. They eventually sang the balloon to the top of the room. They loved it.

*Originator: The Idea Door

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Song Hospital


Here are all the things I had, you can make it simple or more complicated than mine. Just take what works for you.

* White Lab Coat
* Tongue Depressor
* Stethoscope
* Otoscope
* 3X5 cards with the eight song titles on them
* Name tag with your name.."Sister so-in-so, M.D. (musical Director)
* I also was able to obtain some paper doctor and nurses hats for the kids to wear. I wrote Primary Medical Center on them. I wore a Dr's hat and my pianist put on a nurse hat.
* A clip board to make notes on what parts of the songs need more attention.
* Red, blue, and yellow sticker dots

Right before singing time I went out in the hall way and transformed into dr attire. I put the red, blue, and yellow sticker dots all over my arms and hands. I grabbed my clip board and put the cards in my pocket. I also put my name tag on.

When it was time, I came into the primary room dressed in my doctor attire. I told them I was sorry I was late..I was busy with a "Minor Surgery...A sour note extraction." Then I told them they were lucky because today we were at the best hospital in our stake....the song hospital. I told them that our patients were in my pocket and we were going to make each one better for our program. I explained that when I held up the tongue depressor we would open our mouths wider and open our throats so the sound would be better and we would say the words more clearly. When I held up the Otoscope, they were to open their ears and listen for directions and to others singing so they could sing better, when I held up the stethoscope they were to pay attention to the tone of the song and how it made them feel in their hearts. I had a reverent child pick on card out of my pocket and we worked on that song or parts of the song that had trouble. Then I had another child pick one out and so on. I was able to really fix parts of songs we were struggling on and the kids were happy to pay attention and be doctors for the day to fix our program songs. It worked really well.

I forgot to add this....I told the kids that the dots were the "Primary Measles". It was something that super singers caught! I then walked around and gave a dot to those kids that sang really well. (EVERYONE GOT ONE)!

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Heavily adapted by The Crazy Chorister

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Universal Remote


* Draw a Large Remote control on the chalk board. Have it inculd Stop, Play, Fast Forward, Rewind, Menu (with numbers), and a Record Button.

* Bring a blank casset tape and a casset recorder with you.

Tell the children that today you will be working on some songs to see if they can hear and find the problems they have singing the songs. Use the universal remote by allowing a child to come up and push a number from the menu (determines what song you will work on) and a function button. The button that they push will determine what they will do.

Stop: You will have them sing a song line by line and STOP at the end of each line to review if there were any problems.

Go: You will sing an entire song through to the end and ask how they felt about that and if they needed help with anything.

Rewind: You rewind the song to a place that the child wants to sing from again. You don't have to start at the beginning.

Fast Forward: You have the pianist play the song double time and have them sing it faster.

Record: You tell the children that while they are singing this song, you will record it for them. Then play it back to them so they can hear how they sound.

*Originator: The Crazy Chorister

Name that Tune


* Clues the kids can draw out of a container.

This isn't really a new idea, just one I remembered when I was a kid. So you make up clues for the songs you're going to sing (harder for the senior primary). Then you call up two children, give them the clue, and ask how many notes they can name that tune in....Have the pianist play only the notes the children say they need. When the song in named have the primary sing the whole song. Continue until time runs out.

*Originator: Who knows?
**Adapted by the Crazy Chorister

The Chorister's Baton


* I used a yard stick and tied bright colored ribbons to it, but you could use a stick or, if you're really cool, you could use a real band baton.

I used this as I was teaching "Called to Serve". I told the children that "Called to Serve" had a marching beat and that we could march to the music as if we were in a parade. As we learned the song, I allowed different children to take the baton and lead the others. It's simple but effective.

**Sandra Gave is variation idea: I used a wooden dowel to which I taped various colors of yarn. I told the kids it was the Magic Singing Stick and that it would help them to sing better. I would choose a reverent child to lead with the stick while we were singing.I did a variation of this which I called Pass the Baton. I had the kids pass the baton while they were singing and the child that was holding the stick when the music stopped was the one who got to choose what we sang next.

Thank you so much Sandra, keep them coming!

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted by The Crazy Chorister

The Measuring Vase


* Bring a tall glass vase. (I used a rectangle shaped one)
* Bring food coloring
* Use a permanent marker to mark lines on the vase. (Don't worry, it comes off with Mr. Clean magic eraser)

I filled a jug of water from the kitchen and added a few drops of food coloring to the water so it would be easy to see. Then I told the Children as they were singing I would fill the vase. The better they sing the more water you put in the vase. It sounds really simple, but the kids loved it. They sang really well for every song and they made it to the top line. It was a fun activity.

*Originator: The Crazy Chorister

Primary Olympics 2008!


* Create a torch with a flashlight covered with red and yellow crepe paper
* Depending on the activities you'll need's that for helpful?

Wow, what can I say..this is a big one to write down. I took two weeks to present this to the primary because it was a big activity. I wrote on the Chalk board "Welcome to the Primary Olympics 2008 today's events are:" and then I listed what we were doing. They're are eight primary songs in the program so I used six for the events (three each week) and one for the opening and one for the closing ceremonies. It really doesn't matter which ones you use where. I choose "Called to Serve" for our opening because the kids are so enthusiastic when they sing it...and "Home" for the closing ceremony because its pretty reverent. Anyhow, when the time was given over to me I shut off the lights and turned on the flashlight and ran down the aisle. I welcomed them to the Olympics and told them they were the best of the best singers in the world and I was so happy they had trained for these tough events today.....oddly enough all the kids broke out in applause. I quickly asked them to stand for the opening ceremonies. We sang "called to serve". Then I pointed to the board and told them that we had three events today...I will just list the all the events here that I did, but..please..don't limit yourself to my creativity...I'm sure there are better ways and better ideas...

1. Sycronized Singing (I had them sing through the song once and then they had to try to all stay together while I put up signs like "hum", "stop", "girls only", "boys only", "loud", "soft" etc.

2. 4X4 relay (I broke them up into four groups (one for each verse of the song) and had each group sing that verse and then pass the baton to the next group)

3. Marathon (I had one child (a shy one) come up and hold a picture of Christ above their head for all verses of "I am a child of God". I told the kids to sing their best so the child could "endure to the end"...the coolest thing happened on this one..half way during the song the child was visibly tired. Some of the other kids noticed and held their arms up to show support. Soon the entire primary was holding their arms up to show this child they were with them. The child was so happy and made it through the song.)

I told the children to go home and "train" for next week by practicing their songs.

4. The balance Beam (I brought in a 2X4X8 board into the room and had a class walk across it holding pictures of the savior while the kids sang the song)

5. Primary Volleyball (I brought a huge beach ball. I had the kids sing through the song first and then I had them divide into two halves. The child with the ball first would say the first line to the song, then toss it to the other side where they would say the next line..etc)

6. Olympic Basketball (I had one child try to make as many baskets into a container while the children sang a song.)

After we were all done the second week, I told them they all were Gold Medal winners. I had made gold medals with chocolate coins hot glued to yarn. Each received their medal and then we had our closing ceremony song where I slowly turned the light of our torch out.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Heavily adapted by the Crazy Chorister

It's Crazy Hat Day!


* Make or buy or find a really crazy hat...or bring a whole bunch of differnt types of hats.

This is really very simple. You tell the children its crazy hat day. While you practice your songs, whatever class can be reverent and sing their best will get to put that hat on their teacher for the rest of primary. It worked like a charm. I would really recommend the muliple hat idea because you'll have the entire primary singing so well it will be hard to pick the class that is the that way all the kids can get rewarded by making their teacher wear a crazy hat.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted by the Crazy Chorister

Solve the Music Mystery


* Trench coat and hat.
* Magnifying glass
* Papers with Musical notes tacked up around the room with clues on the other side

I dressed up like a detective and walked down the isle of the primary room looking at the children through my magnifying glass. I told them we had a mystery to solve. There was a new song in town and we needed to find out about it. I invited a few reverent children to help me find the clues that would solve the mystery. I gave my magnifying glass to the child helping me and let them look through it around the room to find a clue. (The junior primary ate this up and really got into the pretending aspect of it.) I had them bring the clue up to me and I read to them what was on the back. It said things like "have the pianist play the music", the first line of the song is..second..third..etc. After we had all the clues we put the words together and sang the song through several times. It really got them involved learning the new song and it was fun.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted by the Crazy Chorister

Walkie Talkies!


* One set of Walkie Talkies
* One pre-determined helper (my husband is my best pre-determined helper)
* Strips of paper

Okay, so I started this out by showing the children my Walkie Talkie. I told them that we were going to go on a treasure hunt, but the clues to our songs would be told to us over the walkie. I told them that for us to hear, they would have to listen really hard and be reverent. I had them give my husband a code name..I think they gave him a name like Billy Bob Joe...and he in turn gave us a code name like munchkins..anyhow..he left the room and the room was total silence ( I love shocks all the teachers that I can quite a room faster by myself then they can all together)...I called to him for our first clue and he gave us a clue that was the total opposite of the song title we would sing. For example..the song was "I love the see the temple" so the clue was "I hate to see the junkyard"...or "If the Savior stood beside me" would be "If Satan sat far away from me." etc.

The kids loved to figure it out..then we would give our answer back to him. He would confirm if it was correct or not. Then we would sing the song. If he thought it was good he would give us our next clue. We did that through all the songs and then we called him back into the room and he brought a picture of the Savior and told the kids that prayer was kind of like these walkies...we could talk to our Heavenly Father and he could help us solve the problems in our lives and bless us. But we had to listen carefully and do our best. It was a really neat music time.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted by the Crazy Chorister

Monday, September 8, 2008

Spin the Teacher


* 5-6 papers that have a line from one of the program songs on it

* A swivel chair. I borrowed mine from the clerk's office.

So, I brought the swivel chair in and put the papers around the chair like a clock. Then I told the children that the most reverent class would be able to send their teacher up to the front to sit in the spinning chair. Suddenly you here Silence! I am always amazed at what motivates kids.....anyway...the teacher comes to the front (remember its for the kiddos so don't worry if the teacher doesn't talk to you anymore after this...)you invite them to sit down. Then have the pianist play a bit of a song. Spin the teacher around (slowly so they don't loose their lunch) until the pianist stops. What ever paper the teacher is facing, you have them pick it up and show it to their class. If it is junior primary simply have the teacher read what is on the paper and have the class guess what song it goes too...for Senior have the class read it and guess either the line after the written line or before the written line. Then sing the song and repeat the process until all the teachers love you so much or time is out.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Heavily Adapted by The Crazy Chorister

The Singing Rag


* Bring an old rag from home

This idea was very last min because I had had a very busy week and hadn't prepared for my calling like I should have. Inspiration came in Sacrament meeting as I looked down and saw my daughter's burp cloth.

So, called two children up front and assigned one to be the hider and one to be the finder. The finder went out of the primary room with one of the teachers, while the other child hid the rag in the room somewhere. Then I told the children what song we would be singing. They were instructed to sing at a normal level when the finder was far away from the rag, and as the finder gets closer and closer to the rag they were to sing softer and softer.

This has proved to be a universal favorite in my career. You can use this as fill in if you have more time then you thought, as a reward after working hard on a song, or for an entire music time. I love my good 'ol singing rag. Never leave for church with out one.

*Originator: The Crazy Chorister



* Get a poster and make it look like a BINGO board (Five spaces across, five spaces down..25 spaces total). Instead of giving it the title Bingo put Singo. It needs to have the songs you are working on as well as a few others. You can also have a free space, and spaces that say things like "girls sing", "Pianist picks song", "Hum the song"...etc

*Make some sort of marker to mark the spaces that get picked. I printed out some musical notes on card stock.

*Copy what all your spaces say on strips of paper and put them into a container that kids can pick out of.

So, as you can see, this one takes some prep time, but it works really well as a review activity for an end-of-the-month Sunday. I put up my poster on the chalk board with magnets and let reverent kids come and pick out of my box. Then I let them find the matching space on the board and apply the musical note. Then we did whatever it said to do.. When they got 5 across, down, or diagonal...they got a SINGO!

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted: The Crazy Chorister

Cutting the Bishop's Tie


*Talk to the Bishop
*Two ugly neck ties (you could get them at a thrift store, or finally have an excuse to get rid of that ugly tie your husband has a difficult time throwing away)

Okay, so this threw them all for a loop. I talked with our Bishop before church and cleared things with him first. I brought two very ugly, outdated, old ties to church with me (one for junior, one for senior primary). I had the Bishop put on one of the ties and come into primary for singing time. I started out by telling the children that they had been excellent singers lately and that we just needed to practice a few more times to be ready for our Primary program. I then turned to the Bishop and asked, "Bishop, our primary kids have really been singing well. I was wondering, if they were to sing the very best they have ever sung..would it be okay if we cut your tie?" Our bishop is so cool..he let the gasps die a bit and then he said, "you know, I would be willing to do that IF they sang they're very best."

Well, I was able to go through all eight songs and I have never heard Junior or Senior primary sing that well before! After each song, I would turn to the bishop and he would give a little head nod and then I would have a child come up and I would help them cut a piece of tie off until it was just to the knot. The kids that cut the tie were able to keep a piece of bishop's tie for a souvenir.

It was really funny because even though the ties were so outdated and ugly, some of the teachers really believed it was the bishop's tie and did not look extremely happy with me. But, it turned out great. It's definitely one of those things that's a one time deal. I had their attention from start to finish.

*Originator: The Idea Door
**Adapted: The Crazy Chorister