Children need to move to learn best. How do you figure out movement that challenges older children, yet matches with the feel of the song? Here’s one suggestion for “I Know That My Savior Loves Me.”
Down Up Down, Down Pop Down. (Switch sides) Down Up Down, Down Pop Down.
The “down” is actually hitting your thigh or lap with your hand (patsch). The “up” is clapping the bottom hand (palm) to the top hand (also palm). The “pop” is closing your bottom hand to an open fist and bringing it up to tap the top hand.
I write on the board “Down Up Down, Down Pop Down,” then ask the children to follow my hands. I go very slowly at first and talk the children through the movement as we do it together. I then ask for a child or two who thinks they can demonstrate this pattern a couple of times while I sing. A couple of children come up to the front of the room. I sing the first word “a” and indicate that they start on the pattern on the next word “long.” (I usually do the pattern right alongside those two children as I sing. It is a whole new level of complexity to sing while you do the pattern! I actually have to practice this at home for a while to get it.)
About half way through the verse, I stop singing and ask if there are two or three more children that can come up and join the two in front to do the pattern. When they come up, we start that pattern again and I sing the last half of the verse as they do the pattern. The rest of the children have now seen the pattern and heard the verse all the way through. I turn and challenge all the children to do the pattern as I sing the whole verse. Occasionally a couple of them sing a few words with me, but often they don’t sing because they are concentrating so hard on the pattern. I don’t mind this at all, knowing it is giving them an opportunity to hear the whole verse as they are moving to the beat. (Did you notice how they are crossing the midline as they do the pattern? Great for their brains!)
I change the movement on the chorus. Swish Pop Pop, Patsch Patsch Patsch. I call out “Freeze!” to the children and show them the new pattern for the chorus. (This pattern is much easier for them.) They follow me as I sing the chorus.
“Can you do both patterns to the song while I sing?” I ask. We do the patterns again as I sing the song. The children are engaged, challenged, and moving. When we finish the song, I immediately launch into the next activity with the contrasting song. I’ll save that for the next post, as well as a movement for the younger children to “I Know That My Savior Loves Me.”