Thanks and Giving Singing Time

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November can be a strangely in-between time for planning singing times. You’re done with your program, (yay!) but it’s not quite time for Christmas songs yet. It’s a great time to teach a few new fun songs, or one of your old favorites that you haven’t gotten around to yet. But sometimes, thanksgiving can get lost in the mix. There’s not that many Thanksgiving songs playing on the radio, but there are A LOT of excellent Thanksgiving songs in the Children’s Songbook! (And in the hymnal too if you were curious!) There are 24 songs under the topic of Gratitude! A few of my favorites are Father We Thank Thee for the Night p.8, Thanks To Our Father p.20 and if you’re thinking about doing a round for Christmas, give your kids a head start by learning For Health and Strength p.21, which is only one line and will give your kids some practice with the concept! But, whether you’re learning a song about gratitude or an old standard, this activity can help you give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves!

First, you’ll want to print these leaves. There’s one for each letter in Thanksgiving.

Thanks and Giving PDF

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Junior Primary

Start by asking what holiday is coming up this month! Explain that Thanksgiving is made up of 2 words, “thanks” and “giving”. Have one child come up and pick one of the leaves out of a bag. Ask them to think of either something they are thankful for or a way that they could give (think service) during this month that starts with the letter on the leaf. If younger child is picking the leaf, really emphasize the sound that each letter makes to help them think of a word that fits, or let their teacher help them. If they get the letter anywhere in the word, I’m good with that. Put the letters up on the board as you go, to spell out “Thanksgiving”, and write the “thanks” or “giving” word coming down from it, like a crossword puzzle. I like to try to think of a song that goes with whichever word was chosen to sing once the leaf is up. For example, if someone says they are thankful for trees, we could sing Popcorn Popping, My Heavenly Father Loves Me or Autumn Day. But, if you’d rather not be on the spot like that, come up with a list of songs you’d like to sing. If you’re learning a new song with this activity, learn a new section of the song with each leaf that goes up. If you’re running out of time (because Thanksgiving has 12 letters) have 2 kids come pick leaves at one time. That will cut down on all the thinking time too! At the end, you’ll have “Thanksgiving” spelled out on the board and lots of things to be thankful for and give this season!

Senior Primary

In senior primary, start with all the letters scrambled up on the board, and see if they can guess what word they spell. Again, go over how both “thanks” and “giving” are in the word. Pick someone to go first and ask them to think of either something they are thankful for or a way that they could give that starts with the first letter, ‘T’. (They might have some trouble when it gets to ‘V’ so let them think of a word with a v in it anywhere!) Write it on the board, then give everyone 10 seconds to think of a song that goes with that word. I like to count it down silently on my fingers. If they can’t come up with one and none of the adults, including yourself, can think of one either, pick a song about being grateful or let their teacher pick their favorite one to sing! At the end, talk about all of the things that we have to be thankful for and ways that we can give in the month of November!

HAPPY SINGING!

P.S. Look out for some exciting news about the future of Sunbeam Singing coming soon! Like Sunbeam Singing on Facebook for all the latest!

Back To School Singing Time! { A Program Review }

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It’s time for another year of school! Summer is always over too quickly, isn’t it? For this review activity, you’ll need a brand new pencil for each member of your primary! (If the thought of fighting the back to school sales is too much for you, you can use the same printables below, just tape them to the bottoms of a few chairs around the room!) These cute pencil wraps will fit around about half of a standard #2 pencil!

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There’s 30 on a page, so print however many you need to cover your primary! Once you’ve got one of these papers taped around each pencil, go back and put these special papers on some of them! (If they don’t fit around the other side, you can just tape one short end to the pencil and wrap it around the bottom the long way!)

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There’s a school subject and clue to go with each song to review! Go up and down each row and let each child pick a pencil! Have them look for a special school bus clue to a song, and see if they can guess which song their pencil goes with! If their pencil doesn’t have a school bus clue, they still get to keep the pencil, and be reminded to choose the “write”!

Back to School Singing Time Pencil Wraps { PDF }

Happy Singing!

A Child’s Prayer { A Poster }

Can you believe this is the last song in the sharing time outline this year!? Time has flown by and it’s crunch time for program prep! Check back soon for some ideas of how to get your songs in tip top shape!

A Child’s Prayer Poster { PDF }

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And this is NEW in the etsy shop this week!

Teaching “When I Am Baptized” { The Chorus }

Last year I taught this song to just our 6&7 year old class since they were preparing for baptism soon. For some reason it was a struggle to get them to remember this one! It was a combination of things I think. First, I taught it to them in a group with just them during their class time and I think changing up their routine was a hindrance. Also, it seemed like the same group of kids were never there two weeks in a row, so getting everyone on the same page was very difficult. My group learned that first verse about rainbows in no time and then struggled with the chorus and the second verse. This time around, I’m taking it slow with the whole group. I’m starting with the chorus and we’ll move on to the verses once that’s firmly ingrained.

As you may know from following my blog, sometimes I like to throw a little basic music theory into the mix. And, as you have probably seen pointed out on many other websites, this song has some lovely ‘rainbow’ and ‘raindrop’ musical motifs that make this song especially suited for visual learning. The chorus is the rain because of the way the melody moves and really, the rain should come before the rainbow right? I’m just restoring the natural order of things. You’ll want to print and cut out these rain drops with the words to the chorus on them:

When I Am Baptized Chorus Raindrops {PDF}

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You’ll want to draw a staff on the chalkboard to put the raindrops on. (One of these to hold your chalk in just the right spacing makes it so much easier!)


Or you may want to consider one of these really cool roll-up dry erase staffs! They have reusable adhesive on the back that doesn’t leave residue on your chalkboard or wall, and it erases really cleanly. This would be an awesome addition to your primary music closet and since it rolls up it’s really easy to store without taking up a lot of valuable space.

Eventually, you want your board to look like this:

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With each raindrop on it’s corresponding staff line or space. How you get there will be different in Senior and Junior Primary. ***WARNING: this is a long paragraph and you may fall asleep somewhere in the middle. If you already guessed where I was going based on the images above then feel free to skip to the Junior Primary Section!

 

SENIOR PRIMARY

In Senior Primary, start with a blank staff. Have your pianist play just the melody of the chorus. Talk about how it sounds like raindrops. Put the first raindrop where it goes, at C, on the staff. {If you don’t read music, just copy the top line in the Children’s Songbook. Ask your pianist if you get confused 🙂 } Sing the first note together. (I’ll be skipping the words until later when we’re familiar with the melody, but if your kids are more familiar with this song, then sing the words as you go.) Have the pianist play the next note and sing it together. Decide if this note is higher, lower, or the same. (As you can see it’s the same.) Put that raindrop where it goes, in the same space as the last. Have the pianist play the next note, sing all 3 together and decide if this note is higher, lower or the same as the last two. Once you decide that it’s lower, decide how much lower, and have a child come up and put the raindrop where they think it should go. You may want to have your pianist play all the notes in between so they can hear how many there are. Once the raindrop has been placed, have your pianist play the line as it is written on the chalkboard and decide as a group if that’s right, comparing the sound of the correct melody to the one the child has chosen. Move the raindrop until you get it in the right place, on F. Continue until the first 8 notes are placed. At this point it should be much easier for your kids to be putting the drops in the right places. It’s a good stopping point to stop and take a look at the pattern you’re forming if they haven’t already pointed it out. It’s here that I would also introduce the words that go with these notes. Ask them where the next 2 notes should go based on the pattern and put them there. Have the pianist play the whole line. Ask them how boring it would be if it was just this same pattern over and over again, and tell them that it’s about to change. Have your pianist play the next 4 notes (that go with ‘right after rain’) and talk about how it sounds different. Have someone come up and put all 4 drops where they think they should go. Once you’ve got them in the right places, it’s on to the next line. You can go through this one much more quickly now that they’ve got the hang of it. Have your pianist play the first 4 notes, and ask them if that sounds familiar. You should be able to quickly decide to put those 4 in the very same places as you did on the first line. Tell them that the next 4 notes will be really close to the same but a little bit different and to listen closely for just ONE note that’s in a different place. Listen and decide which one it was, then have someone come up and put all 4 where they should go. You’ll see that over the word ‘can’ there is a fermata. Now’s a great time to teach or review what that symbol means and what it looks like when you conduct it. Place the raindrop with the fermata on it above the word ‘can’. Then tell them it’s time for their hardest challenge yet, and that they have 6 notes to put in the right place. Let them place all 6 and have your pianist play it to decide if they’re right or what they need to change. Once the whole chorus is placed correctly on the board, you can play any of the games that you’ll read about below in the Junior Primary Section. (If you read all of that pat yourself on the back, stretch, grab a snack and settle in for the Junior Primary portion of our program.)

JUNIOR PRIMARY

In Junior Primary, I will start with all the raindrops in their correct places on the board. First, I’ll ask everyone to think about the last time it rained. What did it sound like? Did it smell differently? How did it feel? Then ask what happens to things that get left outside in the rain. What if you got one of your toys dirty and then left it outside in the rain? Wouldn’t it be clean when you went back to get it? You can even talk about how rain can clean the air, especially if there is a forest fire nearby or a lot of dust or pollution. This song is about how the earth is very clean right after a rain storm and how we can become clean too by getting baptized. Have your pianist play while you sing the first line of the chorus to them. Sing again and point to the raindrops as you go, explaining that when you read music, you can tell whether to sing high notes or low notes by looking at how high or low the notes are on the staff. Move one of the notes in the first line to a different place and have your pianist play how it would sound if you changed the place of that note. You can even hold a raindrop and move it up and down on the staff with your pianist playing along to demonstrate how the staff works. If your piano is placed in a good spot, you may even want to let one of the children come up and move the raindrop around on the staff while the piano follows them. Move on to the next line, again pointing to where the raindrop is that you’re singing. Have a child come up and pick one word to move and sing it that way. Then move it back and sing it the right way. Continue through the rest of the chorus this way. On the last line take a moment again to talk about the fermata and what that means. Once you have learned all of the chorus, you can play a couple of different games. You can give one child a pointer (I have a sparkly star wand they love to use) and have them point to the raindrops as you sing. You can let one child come up and pick one raindrop to move to a different place on the staff and sing with the pianist playing the incorrect note. Have everyone raise their hand when they hear the ‘wrong’ note.

If you feel like your kids need a break at any point, stop and sing “Rain is Falling All Around” (#241) or teach it if it’s new to you or your primary. They’ll learn this one super fast and it’s so perfect with this lesson. Try a couple of the suggested alternate phrases, especially ones fitting the weather that day. Here’s hoping for sunshine.

HAPPY SINGING!

{ Reviewing } We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet

Sometimes I find it a lot harder to review songs with Junior Primary than with Senior, but I have learned that they like to hear you tell stories! (Well, short stories. They have the attention spans of…well, 3 year olds.) I’ve also learned that they don’t usually know the answers to questions I ask them about scripture stories which is understandable since they’ve only had maybe 18 months of their lives to learn them. Keeping that in mind, I knew we were going to need a lot of review for this song because of its length. I started with my Prophets that I use for Follow the Prophet in Nursery which you can print and read about here. I already had all the resources I needed right there in my nursery bag and my brain! Don’t you love when things work out that way?

I thought about writing out the stories to go with the prophets, but first of all, I think most of you guys know them already, and even if you don’t know them yet, your primary will be SO MUCH MORE engaged and entertained if you can keep eye contact with them and really get into the story. So instead I decided to give you the scripture reference of where they can be found just in case you need a refresher! And of course there are plenty of other equally wonderful stories about each of these prophets that you could tell!

Nephi

1 Nephi 18:11-20

Nephi’s wicked brothers Laman and Lemuel tied him up on the ship he had just built for them all to sail across the ocean. Nephi was rescued by Heavenly Father who caused a big storm to scare them and set Nephi free.

Joseph Smith

JS-H 1: 13-20

Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision.

Samuel

Helaman 16: 2-8

Samuel preaches to the Nephites on the wall of the city and cannot be hit with their arrows.

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I used President Monson’s experience as a little boy giving a train set at Christmas time. You can read his account of it here.

Noah

Genesis 7

Noah’s Ark, of course! This was one of the few that they knew, so ask them if they can tell you the story first and see how far you get!

Enoch

Moses 7:66-69

The City of Enoch is taken up into heaven.

daniel

Daniel 6:16-24

Daniel in the lion’s den.

Moses

Exodus 14:21-28

Moses parts the Red Sea.

I used 8 prophets because I thought we needed to review the song line by line. We reviewed each line and then I looked for a good singer to come up and choose a picture of a prophet that they would like to learn about. To adapt this activity for Senior Primary, I would ask one child to choose a prophet and then tell us everything they knew about him. If they couldn’t remember the story listed above I would either tell it to them or have them look it up in their scriptures depending on how much time we had.

HAPPY SINGING!

You can find subway art for this song and others at my Etsy shop!

We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet PREVIEW