Primary Music – February is Valentines Month!

Valentines Primary Music Time…

Now since Valentines Day falls on the Monday after February 13th on a Sunday, I would want to for SURE do something forValentines Day Primary Music for the holiday.  My favorite thing and the easiest thing to do for the chorister is to gather up 6 or 7 things from around your house that display the Valentine theme of LOVE, just cute decorations you have.  And I would attach a tiny piece of masking tape or a little yellow post it note to the back or bottom of each. Then I would write down the name of some songs you want to practice.  Here is the song for the month. Link HERE

The kids can come up and choose a Valentine item, and  flip it over to see what song we are singing. I might use the lighted up LOVE lamp,  this cute stuffed doggie, and the picture below with my youngest son and his new bride that recently got married in the temple. I’d use them as a springboard to talk about how much I appreciate being married in the temple, and how my family and I are sealed for eternity.

Cute pic of my son and daughter-in law, recently married in the St. Louis Temple!

 This is one of the easiest things you can do for a singing time. It doesn’t take a lot of prep, and the kids like looking at your cute stuff.  Now I ALWAYS preface an easy day like this with some story that I come up with about the theme for the day.  Notice what the sharing time is about and pray about that day’s theme. You will come up with a personal experience that taught you something about the subject. Then maybe since Valentines Day is a day to show love, you could ask the kids when they come up, to share with the group 1 way they can show love to their mom, dad, brother, sister or friend.  They will think about it, come up with wonderful things to share, and your job will be made easier by inviting the spirit into your meeting.

My newest grandbaby, Miss Josephine Erin (Josie for short) So CUTE!

 I was a temple worker in the Jordan River and later in the Draper, Utah temples for the past 3 1/2 years until we were released this past September.  So I usually had a story to tell from working there, things I had felt or seen, kids who had gotten sealed to parents, a new bride who told me how she felt about the temple, or seeing one of the 12 apostles going to a session that I was on. Sometimes it was just a spiritual experience that reminded me of a teaching from the scriptures or something I believe and can bear testimony of.

 Then we talk about the things I have brought and I always tie something in for the kids to now do, when their name is called.  You could come up with something similar, but always share something before you begin, just a minute or so where you teach the gospel in some way. Maybe a 1 minute scripture and thought to go with it,  if nothing else.

I might use a picture of my family, the potted geraniums in the heart pot…

For instance, at Thanksgiving time I brought in 7 different Thanksgiving items just from around my house; pilgrims, indians, turkeys, scarecrows, horn of plenty, etc.  I had the kids come up before choosing one and tell the group some things they are thanksful to their Heavenly Father for. Of course I started the ball rolling talking about  how one of the 10 lepers came back to thank the Lord and how I hope I will be found having gratitude and always giving thanks for things I notice the Lord has given me.

 These simple things always invite the spirit, and the kids have shared something that has an effect on their growth and testimony of the gospel.  And kids can be so darling. Many times they will surprise you by teaching you.

Pilgrims, pumpkins, cornocopia…all easy on a day you didn’t have much time to prepare….
just don’t forget to prepare something spiritual too….even if it is just short and simple…

I have LOTS of turkeys and scarecrows I used one singing Sunday…

At Christmas I would bring in a wooden Nativity set I purchased at Deseret Book when my kids were all small. We had the songs taped to the bottoms of all the different characters. As we had kids come and choose one, we had them help tell the story of the birth of our Savior and how everyone had a small part in the scriptures. 

Cute and indestructable Nativity set out of wood…Thanks Deseret Book!

This winter you can get a collection of snowmen and have fun with that.   These things are easy to put together but you can prepare spiritually to retell important scripture stories by getting the kids to help.  Everybody is edified, including you, because the spirit takes over and helps you teach by the power of that important presence. 

I’ve used a family of snowmen for a singing time idea…a song on the back of each!

Trust that when you have taken the time to prepare something spiritually, the pianist will help the kids learn the tunes, as you perform and model the words of the songs, but the spirit will embed the meanings and feelings of the words and music into their minds and hearts and assist you in doing your job.  I promise you that.

Pop the Balloon Game, Red Hot Singing Chart

Here I am Singing verses to our new January song…

Well I’m looking forward to February because it has my 2nd favorite holiday in it…..Valentines Day! It’s the holiday of love, hearts, chocolates and kisses. What could be better than that? So I will probably be doing a few fun music times around the Valentine theme.  One that I think is always fun is using balloons.  I think, since I have a bunch from my 1st grade classroom I’ll use just some 9 inch colorful balloons. But if you don’t have any a cute idea would be to go to a craft store that has Valentine heart shaped balloons and use a selection of those. I think 6 or 7 is enough. 

If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it!

I would pick out several songs from the 2011 presentation that the kids may already have been exposed to.
Like “I Love to See the Temple” and I’m going to do “Love One Another” in sign language.  So I will write those down on a little piece of paper like a 1 x 2 inch tiny sheet. Then I’ll roll it up into a thin tube and slip it into a heart balloon.  Then do that with 4 or 5 other songs, including our song of the month. Always try to include just some action songs, so they can stand up and get their wiggles out halfway through singing! I chose to do “If You’re Happy and You Know It!”

Then when I get to church I use some masking tape and tape the 6 or 7 balloons up onto the chalkboard that we have in our primary. It is on wheels.  Then when it is time for singing, I pick a name from one of our sticks and they get to come pop a ballooon!  And then we get to sing that song. 

Now I know it is Super Bowl Sunday, and that is a temptation, so if you are a sports nut, go for it. It’s another way you could use the balloons, just buy football shaped ones.  Or you could play the Superbowl game I got from another chorister. The link is HERE

On of my favorite websites to peruse Saturday night for ideas for Sunday singing is Sugar Doodle. They always have a flipchart to copy on the new song, or organization ideas. Or just the songs themselves are listed in ABC order to listen to and learn.  There was one here that I liked, and may use parts of. If you need to see a year in advance, these organized types of people are a big help! Link is HERE.  If I do use these I just scratch out and add a song here and there to make it my own.

This week I will probably use one of my fun little singing helps named LESTER.  He is a wild faced little singer who’s tongue goes up and down as the kids sing better.  It’s just something to keep them engaged, more or less. It is easy to make one of these.

The red tongue (red ribbon sewn to the white) goes up as you pull from the back….too funny!

I just used poster board and a clip art of a wide open mouth.  You could also do one with a flower that grows, a rocket that takes off, a temperature that rises, the ideas are limitless.  Just use your imagination. 

Here we are doing Love One Another to sign language

Here are a few examples of what you could make on the poster board.  For Lester I used just some red fur for his head. This would have been even cuter as a clown now that I think about it. The nose could have been a big, round red one and the clown eyes could have been, you know some big Xs. Oh, well, maybe next month for that idea. 

You just need a slit cut at the top of his mouth and at the bottom with an Xacto Knife. Then use red ribbon sewn onto white ribbon into a loop shape. Then feed it into both his bottom and top mouth and  attach the pieces together a bit loosely and sew it carefully with a slip stitch. Then decorate the head of the clown, or Lester, or a rocket or whatever, with colorful markers.

Here is another one with the spider that climbs towards the flower as you pull the string up and down from the back. It’s a little less wierd looking than Lester but the kids, for some reason, love LESTER! Hmmm….
When the kids all sing you can have the red ribbon or the spider creep slowly higher and higher as they sing to encourage strong, clear singing! It’s a lot of fun to make and to use and I probably bring one type of these out every 2 months or so just for fun.

1. Rocket with the red strip being the fire and rocket fuel pushing the rocket to blast off.  
2. A thermometer can have funny sayings on the side like: Gettin warmed up,   RED HOT SINGING!   Come on! Don’t cool DOWN! Something like that. 
3. A Clown or Frog or Face with the red tongue coming up and up and up as singing improves!  Have fun with it! (I was just thinking the balloons and the clown might go nicely hand in hand if you choose to do this another time) 
4.  Flower can have a green stem (that grows and grows and grows) as they sing better.
5. A car or train moving up a steep hill.

In some of these ideas  you would attach the rocket or flower or train to a strip of color and that would move up and down as you pulled it down or up from the back. Be creative! Use colored scrapbook paper with some cute designs or images on it if you are not an artist.  

I found a few examples of a flipchart (my favorite way to teach the songs) for the new song I Will Follow God’s Plan. You will need a color printer or else print in black and white and spend the evening coloring your pictures with markers. I glue them on poster board and then punch a hole in each page and attach a medium ring so they can flip easily forward and backward.  Here is a link for a cute one. HERE. Another one is HERE. I personally like the ones with words but you may not. Here is another flipchart Link HERE

Have fun with your chorister calling!  Pattie

Primary Chorister Ideas January 2011

Welcome to my BLOG!  I love music and am a 1st grade teacher in Utah. I’ve done the primary chorister job so many times that I thought I’d share some of the fun things I’ve done in the past, and redone presently. I will only keep a week ahead this year, so check back often (maybe even the night before!) I will try not to be such a procrastinator, but old habits die hard. 🙂 I hope I can help any newbies out there.

Me and my 3 little granddaughters!

 One thing I always have on hand is construction paper, colorful cardstock, crafts sticks, stickers, and my color printer for anything I find on the internet.  I always have musical instruments, puppets that say, WHISTLE, HUM, BOYS, GIRLS, GO STOP.

 I have several charts I’ve made that move up and down when kids are singing good and it encourages even more volume. Every month I try to make up the  visual aids for the new song and use it each week. Then I try to come up with a fun game or activity to do to sprinkle in a few extra songs or practice songs so we are always doing a variety.

 I have some standard games I like to do in a pinch if I’ve had a busy week. I will cover the most popular ones I do these first 2 months of my 2011 blog.  If you like my blog, check out my other blog called Pattiesplace at A link is HERE

It’s got a lot of my teacher crafts and art ideas that some of you may want to try with kids at home.  Have fun singing this 2011!


JANUARY 2ND, 2011                  FIRST WEEK!                 HAPPY NEW YEAR! 
We spent most of our time this week getting kids where they needed to go in their new classes. We are moving from a Jr. and Sr. separate sharing time to a combined, since we have lower numbers this year (only about 35!).I just had the kids come up and choose one of my snowmen decorations from around my house. One of them was a snowman snowglobe, many were stuffed or ceramic. Each one had a song tag on the back.

 Then for fun we played my classroom xylophones to the songs.  We had just performed in sacrament meeting the last Sunday in December. I had one of the older boys who plays piano practice the descant to “Christmas Bells are Ringing”. He practiced using my 25 bells set from Musician’s Friend.  It turned out really nice. So we bring out the bells every 5 weeks or so.  If you want a bell set like mine it is really inexpensive and really sturdy. I’ve used it for several years and all my students at school and church love it! It’s a 25 Note Bell Set (G-G) for only$ 19.99 with case  found at MUSICAN’S FRIEND.  If you want to check out the link go HERE I just tell the kids they are keeping the time, they are doing the percussion, so to keep a beat. It always sounds pretty no matter what note they ping. HONEST! It is a really pretty sounding bell set, very clear tones, check it out.  I also have other instruments.  I’ll take a picture of the bunch in a later post.

The new song is “If I Listen With My Heart”. A good flipchart (but it takes a lot of your color printer ink) is found at Sugardoodle.  If you want a link go HERE. It’s my favorite way to teach a song. I sing it through first while showing the words and pictures and having a little discussion about what the song means.  . Then we try it together. The repetitive games I play over the next few weeks helps the kids all memorize the words of the song.

To make the FLIPCHART I usually glue the color printed copies to poster board pieces. Then I punch out a hole in the corner of each and finally attach a ring to keep the song together. It is easy then to keep it in the closet at church too!  Then while I’m singing it is easy to flip the pictures with words over for each phrase in the song. I love teaching this way.  You could also write out the songs on a giant piece of poster board, but I find it hard to manage storing all these. Flip charts can all fit nicely in a box in the church primary closet, along with your musical instruments and fun puppets and charts.  Have fun!

JANUARY 9TH, 2011,  WEEK 2

Well I’m starting my 2nd year as chorister in the primary. But, the funny thing is…this is my 4th time BEING a primary chorister under 3 different bishops. This is the 2nd time in this ward. So it is too bad they didn’t have blogging way back when I first started. Boy would I have a slug of stuff to choose from right now!

For the fun part this week, after the main song, “If I Listen With My Heart”, we are doing a really fun game. It is a once a year Snowball fight called the Snowball Game. You give each child a white piece of paper (can be recycled, used on one side!) and a pencil. Have each one write down their favorite Primary song. Then they wad them up into a ball. Get ready…..yup….you are going to be PELTED!

I tell them it’s their once a year chance to get back at the chorister for all the hard work I made them do! Class by class then we said, Ready, Set, Throw your SNOWBALLS! And I get pelted by all the primary kids in that class.  In the 4 year old class there are only 2 kids, so I’ll have to cover up my face and hop all around like I”m try to keep from getting creamed. Too funny. I really love all those 3 year olds too. So Sweet.

Then I choose one from the pile, read it out, we figure out whose favorite it is and they come up and help lead, play an instrument, hold a GIRLS/BOYS little sign on a stick and switch it back and forth as we sing, or do the motions to the songs with me.  Then we moved onto another class.  That is a fun activity I got from my Sister-in-law Sister Shepherd, who, like me, has done primary chorister multiple times over the years!

Another thing I made a few months back was a SNOWMAN out of some old, white fabric. I just traced circles about 14 inches, and 12 inches for the body parts, and 10 inches for the head. I added a scarf, buttons and a big, black hat.  The kids sing the song “Once There Was a Snowman” to it and the kids make it grow from a puddle on the floor to tall, Tall, TALL!  Then we have it shrink back down slowly to the floor for Small, small, small.  It’s fun and they ask for it during the winter months a lot. So I just keep it folded in my Primary Bag. Here’s what it looks like.

JANUARY 16, 2011,   WEEK 3
For the 16th I’m going to do the FISHING GAME. I have a wooden dowel (or I have used a real fishing pole if it’s in the spring or summer) and a string attached with a heavy round magnet on the end.  Then I have 6 -8 colorful, laminated FISH with a paper clip attached to each one of them.  I put song names on the back with little sticky notes so I can change them when we do this every 4 months or so.

The kids come up and “go fishing” for a song. When they land one of the paper clips on their magnet we look to see what song it is on the back of the fish, and they get to help lead, play an instrument, hold a chart or some visual aids.  This is always a hit so I do it every few months.

To make a fishing pole you will need some kind of long stick. You can use a paint roller stick, broom handle, smaller dowel like a 1/2 inch size from Home Depot or Lowes. Or if you are stuck with nothing, use one of your mini blind hanging twisty things that open and close your blinds. Just unhook it and use if for the day. 🙂

Tie a 1 yard piece of string to the top of your dowel and tape it up with duct tape.  On the other end of the string you will need a “hook” in the form of a round magnet. They sell these in packages at craft stores like Joannes, Roberts, Michaels.  I use the other magnets in the package to hold up pictures, tick tac toe papers and other things on the chalkboard which is magnetized. I hope you have one of these in your primary because it is a great help!

You can make the fish by finding clip art you like and copying them onto colorful cardstock. Or you can just look at my picture and draw some freehand on cardstock with a Sharpie marker.  I buy a ream of colored cardstock at Walmart in the stationery department and it doesn’t get all used up for ages. That’s a good place to get the paper cheap if you have access to a copier.  Otherwise get Kinkos to copy the fish off on their colored cardstock. Cut them out. Use contact paper or laminate them so you can reuse them for years to come. I just write on them with a Vis-a-Vis pen and wipe it off after we are done, so it’s ready for next time.

 Last Spring I did the fishing with my husband’s fishing pole and the magnet was taped to the actual hook. It was a lot more fun because the kids had to actually “cast out” and then reel in the fish and the sound of the reel winding up was a lot of fun. So you can go that route too. It look a lot of time though so it might be a better fit after October when your presentation is done and you can do more fun things without the pressure on, if you know what I mean!

I’m going to start practicing “Love One Another” because I want to add it to the program to do with sign language. I want it completely memorized by October so I will sing it once or twice a month starting now and show them the signs as we sing just using the pictures in the songbook which displays the signing pretty good.
I also LOVE the song “I’ll Follow Him in Faith”. I will have  Those 2 will be my main additions but I usually do 8-10 songs so we will find others that go with our theme this year.  I haven’t decided completely yet.

My grandbaby at the piano with my son Devin

JANUARY 23RD, 2011
We will be doing our new song again  today. We will also be playing HOT AND COLD.  This is a fun game on a 3rd or 4th week when you really have to resing the new song over and over to get it engrained in their memories. It can be boring if you can’t make a game out of it, so this is a good one to do periodically if only for part of the singing time. 

I usually use our Jr. and Sr. Primary Sticks with kids’ names for calling on them….just so it is fair. I will pick a name from the sticks, then they get to choose if they want to go outside the door and be “hunter” or if they want to be the HIDER of the picture. We usually choose a picture of Jesus or some picture that goes along with the song we are singing. The  HIDER  hides the picture somewhere in the room, part of it must be in plain sight…if only a corner of it. The other child that has been sent out is the HUNTER. They are invited back in when the picture has been hidden. I almost always choose an 8 x 10 picture of the Savior.

Then the whole group sings the new song over and over and they get softer when the HUNTER is getting COLD or farther away from the hiding place.  They sing Louder when the HUNTER is getting WARM and they sing REALLY loud when he is HOT (close to the hidden picture).  It is funny to watch their faces while they sing over and over and don’t even realize they are memorizing the words to the song. And eventually the picture is found and everybody has a good chuckle.  Then we redo it with a new hunter and hider.

These are fun to do with any song. Kids hold them up sometime during a song and we switch to a hum. The other one  use to switch to a whistle. Use them only one at a time on a song or the kids  will get too wild & crazy.

JANUARY 30TH, 2011,    WEEK 5
This week I’m going to do one of my favorite games: Tic-Tac-Toe. I have always just used laminated cardstock cut into squares or rectangles and with O and X drawn on them with permanent markers. I’m happy with real simple visual aides.  

I’m stomping around doing an action song here…they are important to sprinkle in!

I have one half of the class play against the other half. We choose a child from one side and they come up and place one of my Xs onto the grid made by a 2 vertical, and 2 horizontal chalklines just drawn on the chalkboard.  Then the other side sends an O person and they choose a spot on the grid.. We do 2 rounds and then if there is not 3 in a row we sing a song anyway. It’s funny because little kids don’t get “blocking” the 3 in a row so they put the X anywhere even when a block is needed. That almost makes it sweeter and more comical. The older kids just LOVE it when that happens as you can imagine. But no matter, I make them do an X, an O, then another X and an O and then we sing.  I choose another song (preferably from the upcoming program) each time. We’ll practice the “I Love to See the Temple, Love One Another, our new song and a few free choices.  

Then we play 2 rounds again.  I can usually get about 5 songs sung this way in my 20 minutes of singing.  It is always a fun game, the kids don’t get overly crazy and they practice the songs without losing energy.

Here’s a picture of my simple Tic Tac Toe cards….laminated (I recycled something from school, junk is on the back)
! I’m just getting to be so GREEN these days!  Yay Me!   😀

I found a flipchart for the  song “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” by Sally DeFord and I always prefer teaching it as a flipchart first. I got a cute one from a gal in Arizona on the Sugardoodle website. If you want to see it go HERE. This may be my other Free Choice. I really LOVE this song, it is cute. I usually go over the words and what they mean as a discussion first.  Then I will do a few memory devices like pointing to my brain  when we sing “would I think of his commandments” and point to my eyes when we sing “if I could see” etc.  Then I sing it through once for them with the piano changing the pages of the flipchart as I go so they can see and hear the song from me.  Then we just dive in and try it! This one would be really beautiful as a solo for a child on the first verse. Then have the rest of the kids learn verse 2 and chorus. If there is time we will try to learn all the verses.  Tell me if you don’t just love this song!