Wednesday, January 21, 2015

February 2015 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps and Ideas

Head of Christ by Franz von Stuck 1890

Monthly Theme: Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.
Monthly Scripture: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16

Week 1 Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

* HERE is an excellent flannel board resource from The Friend about Jesus as our Good Shepherd. It's a really good visual of how a shepherd will save his sheep because he loves them. (You could also have the children color this resource and tape to popsicle sticks to tell the story at home.)
     Play find the flock. Have 8-10 little paper sheep hidden throughout the room. On the paper sheep have questions, songs, and scriptures having to do with Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. A really good song to include is Little Lambs So White and Fair CS 58!

* Mark 4:36- 41 tells the beautiful story of one of Christ's greatest miracles. Line up a few chairs up front and make a pretend boat. You can bring in a sheet for water to lie beside the chairs, and a couple of paddles... you could even make a drawing of a boat out of some cardboard to lean against the chairs. (Costco has FREE cardboard between their paper towels that is big and sturdy!) Invite a few children into the boat and one child to hold (not act out, just hold) the picture of Christ calming the waves (Stilling the Storm, by Ted Henninger GAK 214). Read the scripture passage.
     Just as Jesus saved those on the boat, He has saved all of us! How does this story make you feel? Now that the sea is all calm, let's go fishing!!
Invite a primary friend to enter the boat and use a fishing line to try to hook a fish. (MAGNETS!!! Magnets on the end of the fishing pole, magnets on the back of the fish) On the fish, have questions, songs, and scriptures having to do with Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer!
Questions could include:
What does Redeemer mean?
Why was Jesus the only one who could save us? (Acts 4:12)
What did Jesus do to help us return to Heavenly Father?
How does it make you feel to think about the great love Jesus has for you that He would lay down His own life for you?
Older children could sing from the hymn book Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer (#103)
     HERE is a great coloring page that would make a good handout to take home. Have the children think of 5 things they can do this week to show their love for Jesus, their Savior and Redeemer. As they do that thing, they can color that number on the picture!

* Mark 2:1-5 tells the story of Jesus saving a man who had the palsy. In general conference, a whole talk was devoted to the importance of us helping Jesus to save and rescue others, Rescue in Unity by Elder Chi Hong Wong. I really like this visual, and think it would be great if 4 children could demonstrate with a make shift bed (perhaps a piece of cardboard with 4 strings??that you would have to make and try beforehand at home to make sure it works!) and a stuffed animal.
     "This rescue assignment needed everyone working together. At the crucial moment, it would take careful coordination to lower the man with palsy from the roof. The four people would have to work in unity and in harmony. There could not be any discord among the four. They would have to lower the man with palsy at the same pace. If someone released the rope faster than the other three, the man would fall out of his bed. He could not hold on by himself due to his weakened condition.
In order to assist the Savior, we have to work together in unity and in harmony. Everyone, every position, and every calling is important. We have to be united in our Lord Jesus Christ.... 
     Jesus Christ loves us all and has the power to save and heal, both physically and spiritually. When we assist Him in His mission of saving souls, we too will be rescued in the process."
Break into groups and have them come up with 4 ways/examples of how Jesus has helped save us and others and something we can do to help rescue others and bring them to The Savior! Give them a couple minutes to discuss. Then invite 4 from each group to come up front, demonstrate working together to lower the bed and share their answers!

Weeks 2 & 3 Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved.

* Is there a boy in Primary who sometimes needs a little extra love? Prepare in advance for that boy to bring in his merit badges from cub scouts this week. Have him show the primary all the merit badges and share a couple that were his favorite. What did he have to do to earn merit badges? Make sure to thank him for his help! What does merit mean?? The dictionary says, "The quality of being particularly good or worthy."
     Elder Richard G. Scott has said, "Jesus Christ possessed merits that no other child of Heavenly Father could possibly have. He was a God, Jehovah, before His birth in Bethlehem. His Father not only gave Him His spirit body, but Jesus was His Only Begotten Son in the flesh. Our Master lived a perfect, sinless life and therefore was free from the demands of justice. He was and is perfect in every attribute, including love, compassion, patience, obedience, forgiveness, and humility. His mercy pays our debt to justice when we repent and obey Him. Even with our best efforts to obey His teachings we will still fall short, yet because of His grace we will be saved “after all we can do.”
     Go back to your special friend. He was pretty accomplished and had a great merit badge sash! Even though he is extremely wonderful and good, could he save you? Could I save you? Could our beautiful pianist save you? Could you save yourself? Repeat the quoted phrase, "Jesus Christ possessed merits that no other child of Heavenly Father could possibly have."
     Have the children design a merit badge, it could be a simple circular piece of paper. Have crayons or colored pencils. Be as creative as you like! The merit badge is something Jesus did for us or others. Brainstorm some ideas with the children. If you need a couple more, badges could include- healing, miracles, kindness, charity and love, obedience, Atonement, humble, teaching, faithful, good friend, stilling the waters, resurrection. Have the children share.
     Bear testimony that through Jesus Christ and the atonement, all mankind may be saved. He was the only one with the merits who could do so. And He did so because He loves us!

* HERE is a really good coloring page. I really like the word definitions on the side! If you hide #s 1-6 on the bottom of 6 different chairs, you could invite the 6 different children to come up, one at a time, to read the definition (or say it in their own words) and then color the corresponding numbers on the picture. HERE is the song for the 3rd Article of Faith. After each child comes up to color, children wearing that coloring can stand while you sing the song! Yes, you'll sing it 6 times and Yes!! You'll have it memorized by the time you're done!!

* HERE is a puzzle from The Friend with a really good explanation of The Atonement.

* Mystery word! Have 2 children come up front. One will need to know how to write (if not, they can whisper the mystery word to you and you can write it) Ask one child to close their eyes and hold out their hand. Write a mystery word from the 3rd Article of Faith on their hand with your pointer finger. Then have the person who was holding out their hand guess the word.
     Play this game a few times and in between turns, have pictures from the final days of The Savior's life. Talk about each picture and what it had to do with The Atonement.

* HERE is a really amazing video. It has the actual Garden of Gethsemane! Some of the words might be a little hard for a 3 year old to understand, but the spirit is strong and they will feel it if you choose to show this!

* From our last General Conference the following words stick out to me-  
      "Qualifying for exaltation is like entering another country. We must each obtain our spiritual passport. We do not set the requirements, but, individually, we must meet all of them. The plan of salvation contains all of the doctrines, laws, commandments, and ordinances needed for all to qualify for exaltation.2 Then, “through the Atonement of [Jesus] Christ, all mankind may be saved." (The Book by Elder Allan F. Packer)
  I think it's important to note the word MAY. It doesn't state WILL. The word MAY means that it's possible but it's not a for sure. Divide into groups and have them come up with something we need to do to prepare for exaltation. Have them design a stamp (color on a piece of paper) to put into a primary passport! After everyone shares, have a picture of Jesus and put the passport by Jesus. No matter what, the only reason we even have a chance at exaltation is because of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
     Challenge the children to do something this week to add to their spiritual passport. They can draw a picture of it and share and add their stamp next week!
     Bear testimony that we can prepare now to meet God again. Jesus Christ loves us and through Him we can be saved.

Week 4 Jesus Christ was resurrected, and I will be too.

* HERE (The Empty Tomb April 1988) is an excellent talk just to read to prepare for the week's lesson. I really love President Gordon B. Hinkley! Such beautiful words.

HERE is another great talk. You'll definitely feel the spirit if you read!!

* Some questions to think about or ask the children as part of the lesson:
The resurrection unites (puts together) the spirit with what? (the body)
When we are resurrected, will the spirit and body ever be divided again? (no)
Who was the first to be resurrected? (Jesus....Others had been brought back from death, but were restored to mortality (Mark 5: 22-43; Luke 7: 11-17; John 11: 1-45), whereas a resurrection means to become immortal, without blood, yet with a body of flesh and bone. )
Who saw Jesus after He was resurrected? (Many people! Mary, other women, the apostles, the righteous in the America's, Joseph Smith)
Do we have to see Jesus to know that He has been resurrected? (NO!!!)
What did Jesus eat after He was resurrected? (Fish and Honeycomb)
When we are resurrected, will it be at the same time? (no 1 Cor. 15:23)
Where do we go after we are resurrected? (The Kingdoms of the 3 degrees of Glory)
What will our bodies be like when we are resurrected? (First, it depends on the age in which we died. Babies will come back as babies. But President Spencer W. Kimball said, “I am sure that if we can imagine ourselves at our very best, physically, mentally, spiritually, that is the way we will come back.”)
How can we gain a testimony that Jesus was resurrected?
How does it make you feel to know that Jesus lives and we can too?

From Previous Posts

* This idea is from Sister Elizabeth Ricks (April 2007 Friend) "Display three shoe boxes, and ask the children to raise their hands if they like to try on new shoes. Explain that you want them to imagine trying on some other people’s shoes, but more important you want them to imagine what it would be like to actually be that person. One by one, take out a pair of shoes from each box. (You can also display pictures or drawings of shoes.) Show a pair of boots to represent the soldiers who guarded Jesus’s tomb. Use detail to tell the story in such a way that the children can imagine being there when Jesus Christ was laid in the tomb. Next, use a pair of sandals to tell the story of Mary Magdalene. Ask the children how it might have felt to have been at the garden tomb when the resurrected Savior appeared. Last, show a pair of shoes that children in your area commonly wear. Ask how it feels to be a member of the Church and to have the knowledge that you will be resurrected because of the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
       Sing “Did Jesus Really Live Again?”‍ (p. 64), and bear testimony that the Easter story is the most glorious story in the world. Testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died and was resurrected.

* Have a picture of a sign "Dead End". What does this mean? Have a plastic toy bulldozer. How is Jesus Christ like a bulldozer? To some it may seem like when we die, there is no where else to go. But we know that there is more beyond the grave and Jesus has cleared the way because of His atonement and resurrection! Have the bulldozer run over the dead end sign!

* Have a teacher or another adult come to the front to help. Tie their hands together. What does that feel like? Can they do as many things with their hands tied? Mosiah 15:20 "But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead." Cut the string. The teacher's hand is free now. How does that feel?
How does it feel to know that we aren't tied down to sickness, pain, and sorrow that comes from this earth life? Can you feel the spirit bearing truth, it's a peaceful happy feeling, that we are free! We will live again!!

* A wonderful idea from Cheryl Esplin, Jesus Christ Is My Savior,” Friend, Apr 2009, 10–12 "Beforehand and with approval of the bishop or branch president, invite a member who has experienced the death of a loved one to bear testimony of what the Resurrection means to him or her.
     Put the following GAK pictures in a pile in the following order with 227 on top: GAK 227 (Jesus Praying in Gethsemane), GAK 228 (The Betrayal of Jesus), GAK 230 (The Crucifixion), GAK 231 (Burial of Jesus), GAK 233 (Mary and the Resurrected Lord), GAK 234 (Jesus Shows His Wounds), and GAK 316 (Jesus Teaching in the Western Hemisphere).
     While the pianist plays “Beautiful Savior” (pp. 62–63), have the children pass around a small stone. Tell them it is symbolic of the stone rolled in front of the opening of Christ’s tomb. When the music stops, have the child holding the stone take the picture from the top of the pile and tell about it or choose someone to help. Continue for each picture, pausing after GAK 234 to sing the second verse of “On a Golden Springtime” (p. 88) and to read Luke 24:39 in unison.
     Have the children feel their hands to help them understand that after Jesus was resurrected, the Apostles could feel His hands just as the children can feel their own hands. Continue with the rest of the pictures. Teach that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, everyone who has ever lived on the earth will be resurrected. Have the invited guest bear testimony. Sing “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” (p. 64). At the end of the third verse, have the children stand when singing the words “Oh yes! And so shall I!”

* Bring in a few balloons filled with helium.
Alma 11:41 "...For behold, the day cometh that all shall rise from the dead and stand before God, and be judged according to their works."
Have questions, scriptures, and songs having to do with the resurrection on the ends of the balloons that are all along the ceiling. (Do NOT do this activity unless you can still reach the balloons!!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pickle Poem Adaptation- LDS Christmas Primary Gift/ Ornament

The Christmas pickle is a Christmas tradition in the United States. A decoration in the shape of a pickle is hidden on a Christmas tree, with the finder receiving either a reward or good fortune for the following year.

There are a few poems out there, but I decided to make my own. Please do not use for commercial purposes.

A small little pickle, funny too see
Hanging so softly in our Christmas tree!

It reminds us to look really close all around
And appreciate the things that always surround!

So hang it at night on one special limb,
Among all the lights, so bright, and trim-

And each day in life as we go about
Remember the pickle and not to doubt….

We are loved and Heavenly Father is there
He is not hidden, just call Him in prayer!

Jesus Christ was born, our Savior, our friend!
Merry Christmas and joy, to you we send!!
Love, The Primary Presidency

Monday, December 15, 2014

2015 January LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps And Ideas

Christ in the Garden of Olives by Gustave Moreau
(Public Domain work of art)

Monthly Theme: We Believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Monthly Scripture: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." Articles of Faith 1:1
Week 1 God is the Father of my spirit.

* Tell the children you are going to ask a couple of questions. They can nod their head yes or no. They do not need to answer out loud. See if they can hear a common word....
Is Bishop K OUR bishop?
Is the Book of Mormon used for scripture study in OUR homes?
Is the temple a sacred place in OUR city?
Is this church building used with respect by OUR ward?
What was the common word? OUR!! Meaning you and me!! All of us!
Read Matthew 6:9, "...Our Father‍ which art in heaven, Hallowed‍ be thy name."
When Jesus told us how to pray, did He say that Heavenly Father was just HIS father? No! OUR father.
     God is the Father of our spirits. He knows each of us by name! Play a game- a name game! Invite 1 primary child from one side of the room up. Tap 4 children on the other side to also come up. See if the 1 child can name the names of the 4 children you tapped.
     Ask questions, sing songs, and share experiences about Heavenly Father in between each round of the game!
Sample Questions:
What are a few words to describe Heavenly Father?
What has Heavenly Father created that brings you joy?

How can we know Heavenly Father lives?
Who has seen Heavenly Father? What about heard?

    End with bearing testimony that God is the Father of our spirits! There are a lot of people out there with a lot of different names, but Heavenly Father knows each of OUR names and loves us!

* Bring in about 5 candy bars and a small plastic knife to cut. Please BE AWARE of any food allergies!!!
     I know that these are delicious candy bars. I've tasted them and enjoyed them many times. Would you rather know for yourself that they are delicious or just go off my words?
     What if I were to tell you that Heavenly Father lives. God is the Father of our spirits. We are His children and He loves us dearly. Would you rather know this for yourself or be dependent on my testimony?
     Read John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know‍ thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." What does this scripture promise us if we know and develop our testimony of God the Father and Jesus Christ?
     Divide into small groups. Give each group a sheet of paper to draw on and a few crayons. Give each group one of the following questions and have them draw their answer:
1.What is a spirit?
2. Who created our spirits?
3. Is everyone in the world brothers and sisters?
4. How can we know Heavenly Father loves us?
5. Why should we pray to Heavenly Father?
6. What are some things Heavenly Father has said?
7. Where is Heavenly Father?
8. How can we talk with Heavenly Father?
9. What are some feelings we have knowing that we are children of God?
10. What can we do to return to Heavenly Father?
   Have a person from each group come up front to share their answers. Truth is a beautiful thing!! And we don't just have to take another person's word for it, like the candy bars! The truth that God is the father of our spirits can be a part of our testimony today. Testimonies are for sharing, and so is the chocolate you brought in!
(*I do not advocate sugaring up children, this just happens to be an idea that popped into my head. You could easily substitute in some delicious cut up apples!)

* Have everyone look into their neighbor's eyes for 5 seconds. Now switch to your neighbor on the other side. (You might have a few giggles, but that's OK!)
What did you see when you looked into their eyes?
"As we look into the eyes of a child, we see a fellow son or daughter of God who stood with us in the premortal life." (Children by Elder Neil L. Anderson October 2011... such a GREAT talk!!!)
     We are children of God. God is the father of our spirits!! Review what happened in the premortal life by bringing in a few white sheets. Dress up a few primary friends in white. They were in the heavenly host... what happened??
     Have about 10 pictures of eyes all over the room. On the eyes have questions, scriptures, or songs having to do with Heavenly Father on them.
Children can go home and have family look into their eyes! Have them ask what family members see. Be sure to teach our family that when we look into each other's eyes we are seeing a beautiful child of God!
Week 2 Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

* Sing Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, CS 57. Bring in mini-books prepared for the children. (Plain paper, cut in half, stapled on the ends!) Invite them to write & draw a favorite story about Christ. Bring in a bunch of stuffed animals. After about 5-7 minutes to make their book, have a few volunteers come up front to a special chair to read to the animals and the rest of primary! (This idea is more geared toward Junior Primary)
    Did you know there is an art competition this year, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus" at the Church History Museum? It's for people 18 years or older and children can encourage family members to participate! HERE are more details.

* Have a few children up front to act out the following story from our last General Conference,
     "One evening Susan and I stood near a window in our home and watched two of our little boys playing outside. During the course of their adventures, the younger of the two boys was injured slightly in a small accident. We quickly recognized that he was not seriously hurt, and we decided not to provide immediate assistance. We wanted to observe and see if any of our family discussions about brotherly kindness had sunk in. What happened next was both interesting and instructive.
     The older brother consoled and carefully helped the younger brother back into the house. Susan and I had positioned ourselves near the kitchen so we could see what next took place, and we were prepared to intervene immediately if additional bodily harm seemed likely or a serious accident was imminent.
      The older brother dragged a chair to the kitchen sink. He climbed up on the chair, assisted his brother onto the chair, turned on the water, and proceeded to pour a large quantity of dishwashing soap onto the scratched arm of his little brother. He did his best to gently wash away the dirt. The reaction of the little brother to this procedure can only be described accurately using language from the holy scriptures: “And they shall have cause to howl, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth” (Mosiah 16:2). And did that little boy howl!
      After the scrubbing was finished, the arm was carefully dried with a towel. Eventually the screaming stopped. The older brother next climbed up onto the kitchen counter, opened a cabinet, and found a new tube of medicated ointment. Though the scratches on his little brother were not large or extensive, the older brother applied almost all of the ointment in the tube to the entire injured arm. The screaming did not resume, as the little brother clearly liked the soothing effect of the ointment much more than he appreciated the cleansing effect of the dishwashing soap.
       The older brother returned again to the cabinet in which he had found the ointment and located a new box of sterile bandages. He then unwrapped and put bandages all up and down his brother’s arm—from the wrist to the elbow. With the emergency resolved, and with soap bubbles, ointment, and wrappers all over the kitchen, the two little boys hopped down from the chair with bright smiles and happy faces.
       What happened next is most important. The injured brother gathered up the remaining bandages and the almost empty tube of ointment, and he went back outside. He quickly sought out his friends and began to put ointment and bandages on their arms. Susan and I both were struck by the sincerity, enthusiasm, and rapidity of his response.
       Why did that little boy do what he did? Please note that he immediately and intuitively wanted to give to his friends the very thing that had helped him when he was hurt. That little boy did not have to be urged, challenged, prompted, or goaded to act. His desire to share was the natural consequence of a most helpful and beneficial personal experience."
     After reading this story while the children act it out (make sure to have props like dish soap, ointment, and band aids- the children don't have to make a mess, just pretend!) ask, What does this story have to do with Jesus Christ? All answers are good answers! Repeat the underlined words. Will knowing Jesus help others? It will!! So just like the little boy shared his band aids, we need to be good missionaries and share our knowledge about Jesus Christ.
     Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Have a band aid box up front with 5-10 questions about Jesus. Divide into partners and have the pairs sit on the floor throughout the room. Invite one child to come up to the band aid box and pull out a question about Jesus. Take 30 seconds for pairs to talk to each other about the answer to that question.
    After children return to their seats, bear testimony that knowledge of Jesus Christ is the healing power that will help the world!
(Quoted story from Come and See by Elder David A. Bednar Oct. 2014, such a great talk!!!)
* There are a lot of beautiful videos about the life of Christ on I  like this music video, I'm Trying to be Like Jesus. It seems a little slow, but it might just be because it's night and I ate 6 sugar cookies. Woooooo!!!
* HERE is a link to teaching children the topic of Jesus Christ. I really like this poem, “I Find the Savior” (August 2013 Friend).
    After reading it to the children, have hidden pictures throughout the room from the life of Jesus. Have children find the pictures and talk about the stories. You could even have special giant glasses for them to put on to look for the pictures. Jesus Christ is the Son of God!! He lives and loves us!!

Week 3 & 4 Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me.

* Have a large bunch of index cards. Have children write down something that shows Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for them. Examples could include the earth, animals, family, flowers, etc. They can be as specific as they like!! Have a hat that you can tape the index cards to, 1 at a tme.
    Invite 3 children up front. 1 child will wear the hat and won't be able to see the index card. The other 2 children will give hints to that person to try to help them guess the something that shows Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's love for us!

* HERE is a great story from The Friend. You could easily summarize or read it with enthusiasm. Play the alphabet game after! Go from class to class and have them come up with a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. (For example, Sunbeams get A. Apples! CTR 4 gets B. Butterflies!! CTR 5 gets C. Chins!) The word will be something that shows that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me!!

* My favorite scripture is found in  1 John 4: 7-11,
     " Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
     It is really humbling to think of that great love. I can't help but read that scripture and feel the truth and spirit behind the words.

* Invite a member in to share a time when someone showed them great love. How do we know when someone loves us? They tell us and they show us.
     HERE is a list of MANY scriptures that TELL us God loves us!! Have children spend a few minutes to look up different scriptures from the topical guide. Would anyone like to share a couple? Play a game of win-win-draw to SHOW some of the different things Heavenly Father and Jesus have done or created to show their love for us. A child would come up to the chalk board and draw, other primary friends guess.

* 2 Nephi 1:15, "... I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."
Bring in a bear, to give bear hugs! Let the children give the bear a hug and pass to their neighbor. When the music stops, that person can say how they know Heavenly Father and Jesus love them. For example, He gave me my sister or One time I broke my arm, but it healed quickly.
     Go over the story of Jesus blessing the children in America. (3 Nephi 17)
HERE is a simplified version with pictures.
     How does it feel to be hugged? Safe. Warm. Happy! Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us! We are, like the scriptures say, "encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 Primary Teacher Binders

As we're trying to get set for the new year, I thought I'd post what we put in our binders for teachers. I don't want too much "stuff" in it, but I do want them to have what they need.

For binder covers, we just make a copy of the Sharing Time Outline's front cover.

1. Primary Lesson Manual with pictures

2. Theme & Purpose of Primary (From the Handbook)
" Primary is for children ages 18 months through 11 years. The Primary theme is “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (3 Nephi 22:13). The purposes of Primary are to help children:
      1. Feel Heavenly Father’s love for them.   
      2. Learn and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
      3. Feel and recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost.      
      4. Prepare to make and keep sacred covenants.      
Parents have the first responsibility for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children (see D&C 68:25–28). The bishopric, Primary leaders, and Primary teachers support but do not replace parents in this responsibility."
3. Class List
4. Lesson Schedule
5. Primary Substitute Teacher List
6. Time Schedule
7. Primary Presidency Information- Names and Numbers
8. Teacher Tips ( HERE for the PDF)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Primary Music Leader 101: The Basics, How to Teach a Child a Song

Remember, before you teach, to give the pianist the songs ahead of time. Also, pray for the spirit to be with you!
Tips on how to teach a song:

1. BE CONFIDENT. So you're not the best singer. So what? Practice. Ask for help. Or maybe you're a great singer but being in front of a bunch of children who are adorably cute makes you nervous. You are amazing. You are awesome!! You can do this!!!

2. KNOW THE SONG. Know the melody, know ALL the words. How can you expect to teach a song that you haven't practiced or do not know? It doesn't have to be perfect and you'll probably make mistakes. But it is better to have a song semi-memorized than holding a big bulky book and looking confused. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing on elevators??, sing a word on each stair you climb... teach your family, teach anyone willing, then teach at Primary! Yes. This takes some time. God will bless you. Do you have a special experience with this song? Share the story with the children before you learn it.


What does the song sound like?
- Have the pianist play through the melody. Let children hum along. They can also sing vowel sounds like oooo, aah, or eee, and switch off throughout the song.
- Have the children see if they can clap (or tap on knee) the rhythm while you sing the melody. Rhythm sticks are an excellent tool to use while learning the melody of a song... you could even use 2 pencils to tap together!
- You could have a guest come in to sing it. For younger children, have them conduct their hand while the person is singing. Remember, sitting for large amounts of time is HARD!! And not necessary.

What are the words?
- Have visuals with PICTURES. Let the children hold the visuals!! You do not need to have every word written to the song on visuals because a good chunk of your little ones can't even read yet! Plus, half the time you can't see the words printed out. It's the pictures that they will need to associate with learning. KEY WORDS along with pictures are great!
- If you don't have visuals, use hand movements!!! Have a few children up front to do hand movements with you!
- Sometimes dress up will work. Or toys. You can even have visuals that hang around the neck like a necklace. Don't limit yourself to just a flip chart!*
- I write all the words on the back of the visual for me so if I get stuck, they are there, instead of me having to run back to the book.

4. TEACH SMALL PHRASES OF WORDS AT A TIME. Sing the phrase. Have the children repeat. Listen carefully to see if the children are getting it. Do you hear everyone singing? After a few phrases, go back to the beginning and sing it through up to what you have learned. The pianist can just play the melody while you are learning.

5. BE POSITIVE!!!! Tell the children what a wonderful job they are doing. Thank them for all their help. Thank them for listening and working so hard. Use your words to build them up, not tear them down.

6. DO NOT SPEND TOO MUCH TIME ON THE SAME SONG!!! Opinions may vary, but anything over 8ish minutes seems brutal for one song. There is so much wonderful music in the Children's Songbook. Of course you want to have children learn the song, but if you spend a small amount of time each week, it will come.

7. QUIZ!
Sing a phrase and leave out a word. Sing a phrase and have them sing the next! Put in a silly word and have them sing it the right way.

Once you have learned a song, there are many ways to review it! Here are a few simple ideas.**
1. Hot/Cold - is your song about love? Have a heart for a child to hide in the room. Let another child go outside while they hide. When they come back in, the primary sings loud if the person is close to the heart, soft if they are far away.
2. Special Pointer- It could be as simple as a stick. One primary friend comes up front to point to which side of the room will sing. The primary has to watch carefully and be ready!!
3. Zipper Words- Have a pencil case with a zipper. Have a child choose a word from the song to zip our lips to! Is the word ALL? Zip it in the pouch (pretend) and don't sing on ALL!
4. Stop/Go- Have a red and green circle. Invite a primary child to hold them up. On red, no singing. On green, sing.
5. Staccato- sing it short and choppy.
6. Ribbon sticks- Sing smooth and flowing. Good to use after you sing staccato.
7. Sing the song backwards- Stand up and face the back of the room. Ha ha!!
8. Yoga Pose Singing- Balance while you sing.
9. I SPY- Have special glasses for special children who can sing and spy at the same time. If they saw someone singing the WHOLE SONG, then they can have that person come up front to wear the glasses and spy the next time we sing.
10. NO PIANO- The primary pianist comes up front with her fingers playing the air either high or low. Children play the air piano also while they sing and move their hands high or low just like the pianist.
Read THIS to really feel the spirit and gain a stronger testimony of the importance of music.

* Flip charts are not my personal favorite. Flip charts are "YOU". But singing time is about "THEM". I really like having children stand up front holding signs because it gets them moving. After singing through once, children can choose another primary friend to hold the sign. It gives them the chance to figure out the order of the words for the song again, so you're sneaking in extra word practice! Remind children the behavior expected while holding a sign- keeping the sign to themselves, steady, and singing while holding!

** Some songs are more reverent in nature. Be aware and don't use review methods that would detract from the spirit of that song... for example, stomping during I Stand All Amazed. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

December 2014 LDS Primary Sharing Time Helps & Ideas

The Madonna of the Lilies
1899 William-Adolphe Bouguereau
(Image courtesy public domain laws)

Monthly Theme: We remember and worship our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Monthly Scripture: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6

Week 1 The sacrament is a time to remember Jesus Christ.

*HERE is a lesson from the Primary 2 manual. It's sure to spark some thoughts!

* HERE is a really cool little book for the children to make from The Friend (April 2000).

* HERE is a beautiful talk by Elder Holland. You could review the story of the Passover with the children by having one dress up as Moses. Have pictures or toys to represent the different plagues. The Passover was miraculous. It was a testimony of how much God loves His children. The sacred night where Jesus feasted with his apostles, he prepared and taught about the sacrament. President Joseph Fielding Smith said the sacrament is, "the most sacred, the most holy, of all the meetings of the Church”
       Elder Holland goes on to ask, "Perhaps we do not always attach that kind of meaning to our weekly sacramental service. How “sacred” and how “holy” is it? Do we see it as our passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?"
      Play a game of "Passover" or heads-up-7-up. Children close their eyes, put their heads down, and thumbs up. 3 or 4 children will "pass over" to touch 1 person's thumb and then go to the front of the room. The people who had their thumbs touched put their thumbs down and then when you call time, they stand up. Those that stand, ask them to tell something you can do to remember Jesus during the sacrament. Then have them guess who touched their thumb. If they guess, they can switch places with the person who touched their thumb. Play a few rounds!!

*HERE are some more good ideas from The Friend. Throwback 1996, the year of the Macarena!!!!! I love the spin the bottle idea, but I don't think I'd actually use it.... ah, how times have changed. I also liked inviting a couple people in to share their favorite Sacrament Hymns... you could have the primary pianist play the tune quietly in the background as they talk.

Week 2 Remembering Jesus Christ helps me choose the right.

* Go through the Gospel Art Book and find 8-10 stories/pictures of things Jesus did that we can do too. Number the pictures. HERE are some CTR rings in a bunch of different languages.
    Number the back of the CTR rings and hide them throughout the room. Have a child find a ring, practice saying choose the right in a different language, and then show them the numbered Gospel Art Picture. Have them tell a little about the picture and how it helps us to remember to choose the right.
For example:
The picture of Jesus working with Joseph as a young child. He listened to his earthly Father and was helpful. I can do this too by helping around the house and having a good attitude.

* Sometimes, in a larger primary, children don't know each other! Start off with 3 children. Have them say their name and something interesting about themselves. We're working on our memory today by playing this game!! Remembering is important!! Have them sit down and invite a primary friend to say the 3 children that were up front and what was interesting about them.
     After each round share a story about Jesus, or read a scripture, or sing a song that they love. How does remembering The Savior help us to choose the right? For example, a child wants to sing I love to See The Temple, so sing it... then discuss, The temple is The Lord's house! We can make choices now like praying often to prepare us to go to His house.
      You can make the game harder by adding more children each round!

* I LOVE LOVE LOVE this conference talk, Choose Wisely, by Elder Cook.
    Bring in a little Peanut comic strip! Show the children and tell them that Elder Cook likes Charlie Brown! Who else here does too? Share the following quote- there will be some big words, so if you aren't sure of a word, wait until we're done and we'll discuss the meaning:
     "My beloved brethren, my desire this evening is to share some counsel about decisions and choices.
      When I was a young lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area, our firm did some legal work for the company that produced the Charlie Brown holiday TV specials. I became a fan of Charles Schulz and his creation—Peanuts, with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, and other wonderful characters.
      One of my favorite comic strips involved Lucy. As I remember it, Charlie Brown’s baseball team was in an important game—Lucy was playing right field, and a high fly ball was hit to her. The bases were loaded, and it was the last of the ninth inning. If Lucy caught the ball, her team would win. If Lucy dropped the ball, the other team would win.
       As could happen only in a comic strip, the entire team surrounded Lucy as the ball came down. Lucy was thinking, “If I catch the ball, I will be the hero; if I don’t, I will be the goat.”
       The ball came down, and as her teammates eagerly looked on, Lucy dropped the ball. Charlie Brown threw his glove to the ground in disgust. Lucy then looked at her teammates, put her hands on her hips, and said, “How do you expect me to catch the ball when I am worried about our country’s foreign policy?”
       This was one of many fly balls Lucy dropped through the years, and she had a new excuse each time. While always humorous, Lucy’s excuses were rationalizations; they were untrue reasons for her failure to catch the ball.
       During the ministry of President Thomas S. Monson, he has often taught that decisions determine destiny. In that spirit my counsel tonight is to rise above any rationalizations that prevent us from making righteous decisions, especially with respect to serving Jesus Christ. In Isaiah we are taught we must “refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
     Give the children a piece of paper and have them divide it into 4ths. Have the draw a cartoon strip where they remember a gospel principle and make a good choice! It doesn't have to be funny, it should just tell a good idea! Have them share!

Week 3 The Son of God was born on earth.

* Bring in some simple costumes and have the children act out the story of the nativity.

* Bring in a Nativity and have Christmas songs attached to the figurines. Invite a child to choose a figurine and then sing that song together.

* HERE is a fun and simple reader's theater from The Friend on a Nephite Christmas.

* Bring in some really pretty wrapped boxes. In the boxes have pictures to do with the Nativity and life of Jesus. Invite children to come unwrap a gift and then talk about what is inside.
    "I testify that Jesus Christ was the literal Son of God and the Savior of the world. He was the perfect gift from our loving Father. At this and every season, our Savior invites us to join with Him and others to offer the priceless gift of joy." Elder Henry B. Eyring, The Perfect Gift.

* HERE is a beautiful clip from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Video series. It's 5 minutes and would be great to show the children.

Week 4 Jesus Christ will come again.

HERE is a great idea from The Friend. It's especially a good activity for children who can write! Younger children would need to have help from adults. If you have a larger primary, you'd have to cut the slits for children ahead of time and the drops of oil.

* HERE is a really good coloring book for the children to color and learn the words of the primary song, When He Comes Again.

* Play stock the pantry!! Draw 3 shelves/lines on the chalkboard. Have a bunch of magnets and cut outs from magazines of food that you would put in the pantry.
    “Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (D&C 133:10). Remember, we prepare physically but most important is spiritually!!!! Try to say the scripture often, together as a primary, throughout your lesson to memorize it!
    Have children come up to put a can in the pantry. Have questions, scriptures, or songs on the backs of the cans having to do with the Second Coming of The Lord.
Another adaptation could be bringing in a bunch of CLEAN, empty food cans... see how many you can stack/stock up!!

* In our latest General Conference, Oct. 2014, there was a talk given which asked us to self evaluate!! Have we done that?? One day, Jesus will come to earth. One day, we'll stand before Him. What will come first? Only He knows. I don't think we need to ask the children these questions. They are pure! But it's good for us as leaders to reflect:
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your spiritual confidence before God?
Do you have a personal witness that your current offering as a Latter-day Saint is sufficient to inherit eternal life?
Can you say within yourself that Heavenly Father is pleased with you? What thoughts come to mind if you had a personal interview with your Savior one minute from now?
Would sins, regrets, and shortcomings dominate your self-image, or would you simply experience joyful anticipation?
Would you meet or avoid His gaze?
Would you linger by the door or confidently walk up to Him?"
Approaching the Throne of God, Elder Jörg Klebingat
     Now, this isn't to depress anyone. Hello, that's the job of the news media. Set those goals though. What can we do!!! My goal is to really work on not letting things in my home that take The Lord's name in vain.