Monday, January 26, 2009

How Firm a Foundation

So, our new song for Feb is "How Firm a Foundation". I decided to introduce it in the following way.


2 see through containers
1 flat rock (rather large)
1 lego house
4 cups sugar
1 pitcher of water
Printed picture helps off of the Jolly Jenn site

Tell the children that you are going to learn a new song for this month, but before you do you would like to sing "The wise man and the foolish man" At this point, draw their attention to the first container that has the rock in it. Place the lego house on the rock. While the children sing "the wise man built his house upon the rock", pour the rain on the rock. Obviously the house will stand still. At this point, talk to the children about what happened to the house when the rain fell. Then sing "The foolish man built his house upon the sand"...Place the same lego house on the "hill" of sugar in the other container. When the rain comes down..pour the water over the house....eventually,..the house will fall as the sugar dissolves beneath it. Talk about what just happened to the house and why it happened.

Then show the title to the song they will be learning. Ask them "What does Foundation Mean?" Talk about the rock being the foundation for the house and how you need something very strong to hold up through tough storms...relate that to the Savior and the Gospel being our "Firm Foundation" in our lives to save us from the storms that will come.

Teach the song showing the picture helps. Say a line and have them repeat it and then sing that line....continuing until the song is complete. Discuss any hard or difficult words that may come up. Help them get comfortable with the sound and feel of the song.

*Originator: As far as I know, Sister Bell who lived in my ward years ago.
**Adapted by The Crazy Chorister

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Master Singing Challenge

I can't believe January has flown by. This week will be the last week for teaching "I lived in Heaven" officially. Here's what I plan to do to test how well the kids know the song.


8 cards with challenges written on them (4 for Jr. Pri and 4 for Sen.)
Seal the cards in envelopes
Hide cards under four of the primary chairs..(make sure you spread them out)
A label for each child that says "I am a Master Primary Singer. Ask me to sing "I lived in Heaven"

In General:

Announce that today is a special day. It's a day to test and see if the Primary kids remember all the words to their song that they have been learning. Tell them you have special Challenges that will help to determine if they are "Singing Masters" for the month.

Tell them that you have hidden these special challenges under some of their chairs. After the envelops have been found, ask the children not to open them until asked. Remind them that only reverent children will be asked to help.

There are four levels to the challenges.


Go through the challenges one by one, asking each child that is holding the corresponding envelope to open it, read it (or have their teacher read it), and then proceed to complete the challenge.

After all challenges have been completed, and you are satisfied that they know the song, announce that they are "Master Singers" for the month. Hand out the labels that you made and encourage them to sing the song to their families.

Jr. Primary:

This is what I have listed on my cards inside the envelops

Beginner Challenge: Sing the song without picture helps OR without the piano playing

Intermediate Challenge: Have the girls sing verse 1. Have the boys sing verse 2. Everyone sings verse 3

Advanced Challenge: Come and put the picture helps in order for one of the verses

Master Challenge: Have Your voices recorded singing the song. The Chorister will play it back. Listen if you've mastered the song.

Senior Primary:

I made this a bit more complicated. I added a point system to help motivate them and keep them focused on the end goal. The points don't mean too much except I'll say they have to have at least 25 points to prove they've mastered the song. I also gave them an A/B option for the challenge.

Beginner Challenge Option #1: Sing verse 1, 2, and 3 without the piano (3pts)
Beginner Challenge Option #2: Singer verse 1, 2, and 3 without picture helps (4pts)

Intermediate Challenge Option #1: Girls sing verses 1, 2 without the chorister (5pts)
Intermediate Challenge Option #2: Boys sing verse 3 with no picture helps (6pts)

Advanced Challenge Option #1: You have 15 secs to put the picture helps in order forall three verses. (7pts)
Advanced Challenge Option #2: Pass the bean bag while you sing the song. Each person has to say one word of the song before they pass it on. (8pts)

Master Challenge: Have you voices recorded singing the song. The chorister will play it back. Listen to see if you've mastered the song.

If you have (10pts)

If not, go back and do one of the challenges you did not do to practice some more.

If the kids are doing really well, I will tell them that I have a final Challenge envelope. I'll ask one of the reverent children to come open it. It will say....

Ultimate Challenge: Go home and sing this song to a member of your family that is not in Primary. Ask them to make sure you got all the words right. Then, have them sign this card (provide some 3X5 cards) and bring it back to the chorister for a reward.

Hope that all made sense! I'm exhausted.

*Originator: The Crazy Chorister

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ideas From Friends!

Hi everyone! Cynthia posted this in the comments section, but I wanted to post it here so everyone could benifit from it.

Thanks so much, Cynthia for taking the time to post this. I hope more of you do so. I'll make sure and post the ideas as they are shared!

Here it is:

I am always looking for ways to engage the Senior Primary in Singing Time. In the last two primaries I've served in, most of the Senior Primary have felt either too cool or too self-conscious to want to sing. By the way, for reference, I am a choir director by occupation and should know how to get kids to sing! But I still find this difficult and would love to open up a thread/discussion devoted to Senior Primary Singing Time.Anyway, this month I decided to teach "The Family Is of God" and found a great way to do it. They memorized the first verse easily in one day and had fun doing it. I printed out each line of the song on a separate strip of paper (I think I ended up with 8 strips), with no punctuation and no capital letters. I mixed the strips up, then randomly labeled them each with a different letter. Next I cut apart the accompaniment, so that the music was in corresponding pieces with corresponding letters to the strips. I attached each strip of music to a separate sheet of small paper, to make it easier for my accompanist.Then I attached the letter strips to the board and asked the kids to put them in order. They had never heard the song before, but I did tell them the title. We did one strip at a time (somehow they guessed the first one correctly, though you may need to help with that!). When a strip was added to the song, my accompanist placed her music strips in the same order and she and I played/sang the kids creation (you have to know the song or read music very well to do this!). They then had the opportunity to decide whether the order was correct (sometimes the word order made sense, but when we performed it, they were able to hear that musically it did not). Sometimes it did sound right but was not, and I had to steer them in a different direction.This was a lot of fun and the kids got it right within about 15 minutes. Because I started from the beginning singing their creation every time we added a line, they heard the song repeated multiple times and were able to learn it. This also helped them to understand the lyrics, and to develop their musical ear.Of course, at the end, we all sang it together.Hope that's helpful to someone out there - I will definitely use it again.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hello Song


Strips of paper that have different languages written on them.


I am kind of sick of singing this each week. So, here is an idea to spice things up. Have the child who you are welcoming to Primary come to the front and pick a word strip. Sing the "Hello" song with the language they choose. Such as "Hola, Hola, Hola, Hola...we welcome you today..."

*Originator: I do not know where I saw this. I'm sorry.
**Adapted by The Crazy Chorister

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Primary Singing Wheel


Make a wheel out of Card board, laminated paper, or the hard board you would have used for a flannel board, but it was really late on a Saturday night and you decided to forgo a flannel board for now and sacrifice it to the Primary Singing Wheel.

A Sweetheart of a husband to cut it out for you

  • Heavy duty foam board to mount the wheel on
  • Colored paper to make it interesting
  • 2 sets of labels to put on the wheel. Ideas for these labels could be: Boys or Girls sing (allow the child to choose), Sing Staccato, Whisper, Face left, right, or back of the room, Become Primary Chorister for a verse (you go sit in the child's chair and let them lead), Go without picture helps, Choose a different song, Teachers sing, Start in the song where you want too, Choose a word to leave out of the song, etc...

I am teaching the children "I lived in Heaven". Our goal in Primary this year is to have the children be "word perfect" on the songs for our Sacrament meeting program. In order to do this, I needed to create something that would allow for the repeated singing of a song without the whole thing getting too boring.

I had a teacher pick a reverent child from their class. The child came to spin the wheel. What ever it landed on, we followed those directions to sing the song. Since the song has three verses, we sang one verse with each spin of the wheel...and continued to sing verse 1, 2, 3 until our time ran out. I held up the visuals prompts with each verse we sang to help them remember.

It was a huge hit. I made the board so I can reuse it for other activities similar to this later on. I also brought an extra set of labels to change out the ones we landed on to give more variety just in case they landed on that piece again.
*Originator: Bits and pieces from to many sources to list that I pieced together
**adapted by The Crazy Chorister

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MOTIVATION for the new year

I got this idea off of the Primusic site. I approved this with the P. Pres. before going ahead with it.

I made a poster board with the giant Ice cream cone on it. I made a scoop of ice cream for each song we will be learning for the Primary Program this year. I told the kids that as we learn each song they would be able to earn an Ice cream scoop on the cone. In order to earn it they will have to know the song word perfect. It will require them to go home and practice with their CDs so we can earn them. After we earn all the Ice cream scoops, they will get to have a Primary Ice cream Party to celebrate.

Everyone was so excited. I am too.

*Originator: The Primusic Group

Top Ten Primary Hits


I did this just before New Years I gave out surveys to my teachers a few weeks before I planned to do this. I had them ask their primary children what their favorite songs were. I got the lists back and made a top ten requested song chart with it.

Make one list of mildly difficult clues for the songs picked. (example: For the song "I'm trying to be like Jesus" my clue was..."We sang this in June for Sacrament meeting." For the song "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam" my clue was "I can be a light for him."


I let the children hear the first 5 notes of the music and try to guess what song it was. If they didn't know, they could ask for someone else to help them. If they got it just from the music they got two points, if they had to have help they got one point. It worked great. I started with number 10 and went to number 1


I made this a bit more complicated. I allowed them to either hear three notes, have a clue, or ask a friend. The fewer options they picked the more points they received (and of course they saw JR. Primary's score and wanted to beat them...) Anyhow, it worked great. The kids really had to pay attention and stay reverent to get it. Some of my clues were hard some were just depended on what they decided to choose.

It was a fun way to recap the year in music and see what songs the kids enjoyed the most.

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



1 portable player (CD, MP3)
Children's primary music CD

Have one child come up front. Have the put the headphones on. Play the song you want them to sing. Have the child HUM the song for the primary. The other children have to guess what song it is. Then you get to sing it.

*Originator: Primusic Group

O' Say what is true

I began teaching the "I Lived in Heaven" song for January this past week. I decided to start it out by really helping the kids understand the meaning of the song and to think about the great and simple truths taught in the song. I got this idea from the Primusic group and adapted it for my primary. (Remember, this idea could really be adapted to most any primary song)


1 set of question cards

3 sets of answer cards

1 flip chart with a pictures and the lines of the song (you can get this at ) print it out and then mount them on card stock.

3 willing teachers.

Okay, so you take the "I Lived in Heaven Song" and write the word for word lyrics on a set of 3X5 cards. For instance, the first line is..."I lived in Heaven a long time, ago it is true." On the next card you would put the next line "Lived there and loved there with people I know so did you."...etc until the entire song is written out (all three verses).

On the next set of cards you're going to put an answer similar to the real lyrics but slightly changed such as "Lived there and PLAYED there with people I know so did you" go through the entire song doing this...other lines could be ...instead of "There was another who sought for the honor divine" could be "There was someone better suited for the job."

On the third set of cards you're going to put complete nonsense answers such as "At Home in Disneyland where Mickey is waiting for me"...and on until the song is completed.

On the final set, write out questions that go to the songs answers. For instance, the first question would be "Where did you live before you came to Earth?", Second would be "What did you do there?"...etc

Mix up the three sets of answer cards so one teacher doesn't get all the "right" answers and becomes predictable.


Only use two card sets...the right card set and a funny set. Ask two teachers to come up. Ask the questions of each and have them read there answers. Ask the Children which they think is giving the right answer. Each time you ask and question, and the children guess the right answer, hold up the coordinating picture and word chart you made and have them sing each line. It sounds like it would take a while, but we actually went through the entire song this way in 15 min...sometimes even singing lines twice. After a verse has been completed, I have them sing the entire verse before moving on. My Jr. Primary ate this up and really learned the song.


Have three teachers come up and give them their cards. If it helps, have the kids nominate their teacher. I knew that the some of the older boys might want to vote for the funniest answer just to joke around, so before I started, I told them that the JR. Primary got all the answers right the first time and I wanted to see if they could do the same thing. IT WORKED like a charm. Everyone had a great time, and even though all the kids had learned this song in the past, it was still a good review and got them thinking about why this song is so very important. I told them it answers questions that scholars have been asking the world for centuries...and my little primary children know the answers to what some believe to be mysteries.

*Originator: Primusic group
**Adapted by the Crazy Chorister