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.
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!