The children look up at the board and see these words in groups of three (written either on a chalkboard or a whiteboard.)
These words are also listed at the end of this post.
(What they don’t know is that they are key words from the 3rd verse of Choose the Right grouped with two words that are either synonyms or antonyms. The alike and different contrast help the children to focus in on what the real word is that they are hearing as I sing.)
Instructions for the children
Tell the children that each person only erases ONE word that is NOT in the song. No shouting out to help someone, and no one can have the eraser twice (unless you have a small Primary). They are working together to erase all the words that are not in the song before I sing the song 7 times.
Begin to sing the song and hand the eraser to one child. After they have erased a word that is NOT in the song, they hand the eraser to another child. That child then goes up to erase a word, then hands the eraser to another child. I keep a piece of chalk or a whiteboard marker handy so that I can write the words that ARE in the song back up if it is accidentally erased.
I sing the song 7 times through while the children work at erasing all the words that are not in the song.
When the children have finished, I ask them to check their work of erasing by singing the song with me as I point to the key words in the song.
As an extension, I often challenge the children to ONLY sing the words that are left on the board, but not any of the other words to the song… I will sing those. Then switch!
The challenge of working together, figuring out what is not in the song, plus going up to the board gets everyone involved, puzzling, and helping each other. They hear the song through many times, yet are engaged so their brain picks it up quickly. And it is fun!
Here are the words I chose. You can definitely choose other words or do this same activity with another verse.
Choose, force, select
peace, conflict, good feeling
righteous, good, corrupt
safety, hazard, protection
soul, spirit, person
labors, activity, work
pursuing, doing, trying
heaven, celestial kingdom, purgatory
goal, quest, purpose
wisdom, good sense, insight
mark, show, point out
light, intelligence, darkness
bless, give favor, curse
evermore, always, endlessly
I love this idea, Sharla! I am continually amazed at how the children respond to age-appropriate singing challenges. I plan to share this idea with our ward music leaders tomorrow night at stake training! Thanks so much for all you do to encourage and facilitate the joy of music in our Primaries.
Dear Shaunna, You hit the nail on the head to mention challenges and age appropriate in the same sentence. Your ward leaders are lucky to have you. Good luck in the stake training.
I just want to thank you for your ideas! I have been using them in our Primary, and they have been so great to engage all the children. I’ll be trying this one on Sunday! Thank you for sharing your talents, and helping me feel successful!
Thank you again Sharla, this will be so fun!!
Sharla this is so great and I LOVE the repetition over and over, helps the kids to really really listen. Is there a way to tweak this for JR. primary, they don’t know how to read…..I am looking for fun ways to teach JR. It is a pretty big song for them. Thanks so much, I LOVE your ideas, use them all the time!
The key for younger children is movement that emphasizes a couple of words, or visuals (like concentration game or 3 piece puzzles) about the subject that they have to puzzle over while you are singing the words over and over again. I will try and get some more younger primary ideas up about this. Thanks for asking!
What do you do if you have a few kids in Senior who don’t read that well yet? It sounds like you don’t help the kids you just keep singing, is that right? Do you ever stop and “check” the work?
I will slyly help those kids by emphasizing my words while I sing or pointing. If a child erases the wrong word (the one in the song), I quickly put it back up again and just keep singing. When almost all the not in the song words have been erased, I will stop and ask the children if we are “good” and done. They will answer. I might point to the words as I sing them so that they can see the ones that still need to be erased. Thanks for asking !
Sharla, I never know how much to try and teach the kids each Sunday. Would you focus on one verse a week? Also, do you add other songs into singing time so you’re not just doing the same song for a month? Thanks for all your help and ideas! They are wonderful!
I only teach a song for about 5 to 7 minutes a Sunday before I switch to another song and another activity. The brain research behind that says that the brain can only pay attention for about that long without needing a change of pace.
So, I teach two to three songs every Sunday! If I am teaching a verse, I don’t teach both verses the same Sunday so that the brain can separate and define them better. I teach the song for August, birthday song, reverence songs, the song for the next month, etc. along with the song of the month… each with a different activity to help our brains that crave variety, yet need repetition. Thanks for asking!
Thank you Sharla for sharing your successful ideas. They help me so much in having wonderful singing times that are fun and bring the spirit. Thank you
Dear Pamela, You’re welcome and ….Thank you for teaching the children in a way that is so fun and that does bring the Spirit. Your children are so blessed!
Carrie M Sharp
Sharla, We love you. Thank you so much for sharing!
My question: Do you have the piano play while you’re singing, or do you sing A Capella? While they’re listening to just you sing.
If I’m concerned about my voice or worried I can’t hold the tune, I’ll have the pianist play with me while I’m singing as they erase words. When we are checking it towards the end, I have the pianist play with us to work the magic of the harmony. Thanks for asking! (And Carrie, thank you.)
I have been a chorister twice now and I can see that your methods make a lot of sense and that the kids probably would do great with them but I do not want to sing a solo every Sunday. I’m pretty easily embarrassed and this is basically making me dread every Sunday (this and other things :/ ). It seems like every method involves singing the song by myself. Please don’t say I’ll get used to it. I won’t. Remember, I’ve been a chorister for several years so I know what works for me and what doesn’t. Any ideas?
Great question. Yes, I do have some ideas for that which have worked in the past.
One idea would be to have one of the children (or two or three) who sings well come up and be your singer(s). You’d have to have them work with you a week before to learn the song, but they usually love doing the singing.
Another idea…If not the children, invite someone else from your ward who likes to sing, maybe even a teacher. I’ve seen this done successfully; someone else sings as you guide the children in the learning process.
The children need to hear the song while being involved (many of the activities on this site), so that their brain can take in the whole song, then focus on the parts, then put it back into a whole again. You don’t have to be the one singing the solo.
Thank you for asking.
Thank you. I think I’ll give all the primary teachers a hymn book and ask them to sing it with me while we play the game. I appreciate the reply.
Our primary has become small and so we are trying things all combined this year for opening exercises and sharing time/singing time (we started in October as we began preparing for our program and then have continued that way for the new year). It was not hard to review songs and play some music games with all ages and do fun things like act out the Nativity with costume and song or play chimes and bells with Christmas songs etc. so I have figured out several ways to help engage all ages, but I would love to do something like this word game with my older kids while still engaging the little ones. I know I’m not the only primary out there with all ages together, so I know any advice on this topic would be appreciated. I love all your ideas and use them regularly: Rhythm sticks (mine are cut up pvc sprinkler pipes), shakers (plastic easter eggs filled with rice and modpodged with tissue paper, scarf movement (cut strips of tricot fabric I had on hand), and sign language/actions are all things that I have successfully done with all ages combined. I admit I would prefer to have the ages more separate but everyone else prefers the combined at this point. When I have played music games like hot/cold singing I have figured out how to have a younger child choose an older child to “help” them so that I give more kids a turn but I have not tried anything involving a reading activity for the older kids yet (while we have been combined), because I can’t immediately think of ways to keep the little ones engaged. I sort of feel they need an alternate game or activity that can work simultaneous with what the big kids are doing and yet I’m not sure which one would be most compatible and how to pull it off. Any ideas would be helpful.
Dear Karen, You are doing so many good things in your Primary. If you want to use eraser pass with the older children, you need to have something that is developmental appropriate for the younger children going on at the same time. An idea might be to have the younger children learn some action word actions to the song and they take turns leading the actions while you are all singing to help the older children hear the song enough to be able to erase the words that are not in the song. I’d love to have you report back if you try something like this.
Thank you for asking!
How do you decide how many times to sing the song? For this song you say 7 times and for the post about “I Wonder When He Comes Again” you say 3 times. I’m going to try Eraser Pass with “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” and I’m not sure how many times I should sing the song. Thanks!
I usually pick a random number (more if the children have not ever heard the song), then sing it again and again. If there is a group that gets all the words in order first, they become the singers (and we stop counting how many times, but just sing it until all the groups get the words in order. Thanks you for asking!