{ Teaching } Families Can Be Together Forever

Accra Ghana Temple

For this lesson you’ll need:

  • Pictures of Temples from Around the World (Chances are you already have some! First check your own collection of visuals, the Friend or your Building’s Library, but if you need them, go here.)
  • Pictures to go with each phrase of the song (Check your own collection, the Friend, etc. first, but if you just want to print some, this blog post has some great ones. Think a picture of the earth for “I have a family here on earth”, a parent helping a child with homework or a family working together for “They are so good to me” etc.)

Have the pictures of the temples from around the world posted in the front of the room where everyone can see them. On the back, (or posted behind if you want to be sure not to damage your temple pictures) have your phrase pictures attached.

Senior Primary

Tell them the title of the song you’ll be learning this month. Chances are they’ll even know it, or at least the chorus. Ask them a few questions to get them started. How can families be together forever? When can you be sealed to your family? How big is your family? Why should we do family history work?

Point out the first temple and see if they can guess which country it’s in. (You’ll probably want to have a few more recognizable ones!) Then turn it around and show the picture that goes with that phrase. Keep going until all of the phrases have been learned, making sure that you sing the whole song at least a couple of times. Then you can go back and turn around some of the pictures so that you can only see the temples and see how much they remember.

Junior Primary

Set up your pictures the same way as for the Senior Primary. Have them look at all the pictures for a few seconds. Ask them what kind of buildings these are. What do they have in common? What can happen inside them? Tell them that you’ll be learning Families Can Be Together Forever this month. Show them the picture for the first phrase and spend a little extra time talking about it. Sing it together several times before moving on. Depending on how familiar your junior primary is with this song, you may want to only teach the chorus the first week, and then spend a full week on each verse.

HAPPY SINGING!

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}

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at 12.05.58 PM

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:

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at 11.41.11 AM


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!

Teaching We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet

There are some really great ideas for teaching this song in the Sharing Time Outline! I liked a lot of them but I wanted to put my own twist on things, so I made my own word strips. Each line of the song is cut in half and matched with color and a little picture to make it easy to put together. I think that makes it more usable for both junior and senior primary groups!

We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet Word Strips {PDF}

Screen shot 2013-05-11 at 2.08.21 PM

You can use these to teach this song for the first time, or to review it in a lot of different ways. In Senior Primary, I started with just the first halves of each line up on the board. I had our pianist play through it once while they listened, and while a lot of them said they had heard it before, only one of them knew the name. But, once we started singing it, just having the first line up was enough for them to be able to remember it well enough to sing through it pretty completely. As I went over each line, I put up the second half until all the word strips were up. This went really fast since the song was somewhat familiar. We did talk for a minute about the meaning of the line “Bestowed by thy bounteous hand” and we also talked about why we say words like “Thee” and “Thy”. Once all the strips were up, I had a child who was singing well come up and pick two strips to hide somewhere in the room. I told them we were hiding them for Junior Primary so to think about how high and how difficult to hide them for the younger children. Once all the strips were hidden again, I picked three children to walk around the room while we sang and see if they could find just the first halves of each line. This turned out to be trickier than I thought it would be! I thought they would have figured out that the picture was always on the left side for the first part of the line but they didn’t. It was still very effective though, because they would bring up the wrong half of the line and then I would ask the rest of the primary if it was a first half or not. Then the child that had brought it up had to say what the whole line was and then go and find the actual first half and re-hide the second.

When Junior primary came in right after Senior, all the second halves of the lyrics were hidden. I told them we were learning a song called “We Thank Thee O God, for a Prophet” and we talked about who our prophet is today (we have a picture of President Monson above the chalkboard) and who some other prophets have been in the past. Then we learned the first half of the first line (“We Thank Thee”) and I held up the word strip and showed it to each row up close. I asked them what picture was on it (a person behind a podium talking into a microphone) and I had them guess what they thought could be in the second part of the line. I explained that the rest of the line would be on the exact same color and have the exact same picture on it as the first half. Then, I sent one child to find the second half. When they did, we reviewed the words and made sure that each picture and color matched. We went through each line this way. We took a break in the middle for  a couple of wiggle songs and then finished the rest of the song.

There are a lot of ways to review with these strips as well. You could start with all the strips on the board in the wrong order and have a child put them in order as you sing, or you could have all the first or second halves in the right place and then scramble the other half. You could hide all or half of the strips taped underneath chairs in the room and have the person with the right strip come up when you sing their line. You could do a call and response where one half of the room only sings the first half of the line and the other half only sings the second. You could print several copies and have a race to see which class or other group could put the words in order the fastest. There’s a lot of possibilities here! If you have other ideas on how to use these strips, post them in the comments!

HAPPY SINGING!

The Golden Plates

The Golden Plates Subway Art {PDF}

Screen shot 2013-04-14 at 2.14.06 PM

What do you think? Do you like these subway art style posters better than the others? I kind of think I do. Maybe I’ll do more of these soon!

Since this one has all the words for both verses of this song, it would be great for a reminder for the older kids! You could teach with this poster as well if you cut it up and built it like a puzzle, or you could cut blank paper in the shapes of the phrases and cover them as you learn it.

I started teaching this song today in our primary. I started by telling them the story of how Joseph Smith got the Gold Plates. I found this little illustrated story from the Friend on the Church website and sort of used it as a guide. Then we went through each line me singing and them repeating it back to me. We spent a minute talking about what “confide” means.

Then I told them that we were going to learn some Italian. We talked about dynamics and how they tell you what volume to sing in music. In Junior Primary we learned piano, forte, and mezzo piano and forte. I showed them how I could conduct to show them how loud or soft to sing by raising and lowering my left hand. I showed them were forte was first and then where each of the other levels were. Then we sang it through a couple of times and then I picked a kid to come up and lead the volume. I had them show us where the different levels were like a little quiz. We left it there in Junior Primary, and in Senior Primary we went on to talk about fortissimo and pianissimo and ended with crescendos and decrescendos. We sang through the song a lot! And they were happy to do it for the challenge of following the leader. I hope your April songs are going well!

HAPPY SINGING!

If The Savior Stood Beside Me { Verse 3 }

The third verse of this song really drives home the whole message. The Savior IS beside us all the time, He IS watching over us and he wants us to make good decisions so we can be happy and return to live with him. To introduce this verse, start by asking who is this song about? Jesus Christ. And what name do we use for him when we sing this song? The Savior. And He has some other names too! (See how many your kids can remember!) Like Redeemer, Lord, Light of the World, Messiah AND The Good Shepherd. What’s a shepherd? A guy that raises sheep. And they’re REALLY important to him. In fact if that guy had a hundred sheep and one of them got lost, he’d go looking for it. And he’d do EVERYTHING he could to find it and bring it back to join him and all the other sheep that didn’t get lost. Have you heard a story like that before? It’s a type of story called a parable. Christ used stories called parables to teach us something. In this story, Christ is the shepherd. Who do you think the sheep are? ( I love having conversations like this with my primary kids because their answers are always surprising. Either they know a lot more than I think they will or they say something that is totally off the wall and hilarious. Sometimes you get both. ) The Savior is always watching out for us even though we can’t see Him. Now you’re ready to sing the third verse! Once you’ve sung it through and talked about the message, it’s time for a review game!

OR

 

It’s time to find a lost sheep! (See what we did there.) So, you’ll need a sheep. You can use the one above or if you have a stuffed sheep that would be perfect (isn’t that one adorable?)! We’ll play a few rounds of the classic primary game hot and cold. One kid will go outside and wait in the hallway while we hide the sheep somewhere in the primary room. We’ll invite them back inside and sing softly when they’re far away from the sheep and nice and loud when they get closer. My kids love this game and we haven’t played it in months. But, any ideas for giving it a little twist? I’d love to hear them!

HAPPY SINGING!