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 Lds.org. 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.