Latter Day Prophets

Our program is over! I can’t tell you the feeling of relief I had when I left on Sunday. The kids remembered almost all the words to their songs, and I was incredibly impressed. Junior Primary learned 9 songs and Senior Primary Learned 10! That’s a lot for kids to handle, but they were up to the challenge.

So…now that I don’t have the program to prepare them for, we’re on to singing whatever songs I feel like teaching them! (Within reason of course.) Next week we’re doing a fun rhythm activity based on the Blue Jello system and learning Keep the Commandments, since that’s September’s theme. More on that later, but right after that is October. You know what that means! General Conference!

I thought it would be great to learn the song “Latter Day Prophets.” This one’s gotten me out of many a jam in LDS trivia games and it helps with my very limited mental timeline of church history. I was completely inspired by this amazing blog post on In the Leafy Treetops which you can read here:

All of the pictures, ideas and the action sheet are available on her website as links at the bottom of the post. They go to scribd which is a totally safe file hosting site.

Here’s how I plan to teach it. I will teach them the first line, “Latter Day prophets are number one” and then in Sr. Primary I’ll probably ask them how many they can name. In Junior, I’ll probably just give them a few facts about Joseph Smith and see if they can guess who is first. Once we get Joseph Smith, I’ll teach them how his name is sung and post his picture up on the board. Then I’ll read the “fun fact” that goes with him, teach the hand action and post the little picture reminder. I’ll repeat this with each prophet. So, the name of the prophet, how we sing it (remember to include the whole phrase that the prophet’s name is in), fun fact, action, picture reminder, and then we will sing the whole song up until that point. It will take awhile, and I’m not sure we’ll get through all of the prophets in one Sunday, but I think this song is important enough to take the time to learn. And what a fun way to keep the kids engaged!

*Note: at the above-mentioned blog there is also a link to the updated version of the song which includes Thomas S. Monson. However, I don’t sing it quite this way because I feel like the last line they tacked on doesn’t really flow. So, I keep it to the original “We hear and follow his words today” and end “Monson” on the fermata and use the old rhythm.

Happy Singing!


When I Am Baptized – An Emergency Flipchart

Have I mentioned that our primary is really transient? At the beginning of the year I decided that this would be a great song to have just one primary class sing. Naturally, I chose the 6-7 year old class because they are preparing to get baptized. So, about 6 weeks ago, I went into their class during Sunday School time and taught the 5 of them this song. We drew a rainbow on the board and talked about how the verses sounded like a rainbow; it goes up in the middle and back down at the end. And the chorus sounds kind of like rain. The kids got it, and it sounded great. Especially the chorus (my kids always learn the choruses really well) and the first verse was almost there too, in just one Sunday. So, I was feeling pretty good and their teacher promised to practice with them in class in the coming weeks.

The next week, only one of the kids there the week before was back and 3 new kids had joined them. The next week, I had 3 of my original 5 there, and 4 totally new kids. Last week, TWO WEEKS before our program, I had 3 of the original 5, 2 of which haven’t been there in at least 2 weeks, 3 who had been there once in the last 6 weeks and 2 totally brand new kids. Who are all supposed to be able to sing this song NEXT WEEK in our Sacrament Meeting Program!

Today, I brought this flip chart with pictures (cause that age can read, but they’re still beginners) for them to sing with when we went through our program. It went alright, but I’m still pretty concerned. Hopefully, we’ll get them all (or at least most of them) back this Saturday for our practice in the chapel. I’m hoping we can pull them aside into one of the empty rooms with a piano and drill it a few times. I’d rather not have to use this during the program, but I will if I have to.

So, in case you’re in a similar situation, or just want an extra aid to teach or review this song, here’s the flip chart:

When I Am Baptized Flip Chart Word DOC   When I Am Baptized Flip Chart PDF


Motivation Board { WITH } Requirements

This year I’m using a motivation board based on this one which I found on Sugar Doodle. All the music notes start at the bottom and good singin’ is what moves ’em up. When they get to the top, they earn an ice cream topping, which they get at our Saturday Program Practice followed by a pizza and ice cream party (this was all cleared with the Presidency first of course!)

But, I expect a lot from my primary, and they have to work hard to move that note up. Half-hearted singing won’t do it, and I expect them to learn the gospel lesson in each song too. So, I created this mini-poster to remind them of what they have to do with each song. I first introduced it at the beginning of the year so they would know what was expected.

Motivation Board Rubric PDF

Before I decide to move the music note up, I show them this poster and see if we’ve done all three things. After a few weeks of learning and review, right before it gets to the top and they earn the topping, I go over it again and then they sing the song with no teachers or leaders (me included) and if they know the words, have the right tone (not silly during reverent songs, loud and excited during songs like The Church of Jesus Christ) and they can tell me a couple of things that they learn from the words to the song, THEN they earn the topping. You’ve really gotta stick to your guns on this though, don’t give them toppings if they don’t earn them by doing all of these things. Even if it takes 6 or 8 weeks. Often we start learning a new song before the last one earns its topping, and sometimes we even pass the new one off first. For example, at the beginning of this year, we learned Choose the Right. The kids really loved this song, but it’s a long one and its got a lot of big words. After 4 weeks of learning and review, they just weren’t up to the topping level yet. So, we began to learn Stand for the Right the next month which only took them 2 weeks to get topping-approved. Choose the Right took 1-2 more weeks after that.

The General Primary Presidency is so smart when they choose songs for us to learn. They understand that some songs will be easier for children to learn than others, and they build our monthly themes in an order that makes sense for teaching. So don’t think that you have to do it all at one time. It always works out in the end!


Follow the Prophet { for Nursery }

These are the signs I use in Nursery when we sing Follow the Prophet. I mounted them on a piece of cardboard and covered it with a few pieces of clear packing tape (kinda like laminating but less expensive and it holds up better). I pass them out to each child and say the name of the prophet they get. We just sing the chorus of this song and we all hold the signs and march around the room, with me in the front. There are 15 different ones (I seriously hope your nursery isn’t any bigger than that for sanity sake!) and they include old testament prophets, book of mormon prophets and latter-day prophets. The link’s below!

Prophets for Nursery


Songbird Tree { for Nursery }

Our nursery is very transient, so it’s hard to keep things consistent and under control. This is a poster I use to encourage participation and to get everyone to get on the mat for singing time (it’s staying on the mat the whole time that can be a problem). The goal is to get each songbird from the ground up into the tree. I use removable sticky tack because the kids can put the birds wherever they like in the tree, but I may have to replace it at some point. You could also use velcro and have permanent spots where birds go. I wrote each song title on one of the songbirds because we keep them pretty consistent. Consistency is really important with kids this age. But I left a couple of the birds blank so I can write on them with my trusty transparency marker when we learn new songs. I pick a song to sing and hold the bird that goes with that song while we sing it. I choose one child who is behaving appropriately for singing time and trying to participate (even if that just means listening quietly or only doing the actions) to come and put the bird in the tree. Sometimes I give out stickers to each child that gets to move a bird and then at the end I give one to everyone else.

Here’s what you need to make a poster for yourself:

Tree Trunk and Leaves Nursery Poster    Tree Trunk and Leaves Nursery Poster PDF

Songbirds Nursery Poster   Songbirds Nursery Poster PDF

I used an outline for the trunk which I cut out of brown construction paper. I freehand cut the leaves  because they’re so simple, but I included an outline for them as well in case you’re not feeling artistic. I cut green leaves to use for spring and summer, red and orange to use in the fall and I will probably just leave the tree bare in the winter, but I included a snowflake template to use instead of leaves for all of you that don’t live in beautiful Florida.