Movement for “I Know That My Savior Loves Me” for Younger children

The brand new Sunbeams came in from the nursery. They are darling, wiggly, bright eyed, and some are a little intimidated by the larger Primary. The seven year olds are sitting in the back of the room, and some of them are going to turn eight very soon.  What different ages and needs!  What movement can I do to a sacred song that engages both of them?

That’s the question I consider as I search for a movement that mirrors the pleading faith and the expression of love and wonder that is in the song “I Know That My Savior Loves Me.”

“Can your hands follow mine?” I ask and start to move my hands up, down, and to the sides slowly.  Sometimes I will split my hands and have one go up and one go down.  The seven year olds immediately follow.  (The three year olds often will just watch puzzled.  It makes me smile.) I lead all the children into a pose with both hands off to my right side horizontally.  IMG_0894

I pull both hands across to the left side.

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Now I make a big circle up and over my head.

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I continue that swaying motion to the beat with the added circle motion and begin to sing the song. After only two sets of that pattern, I call out “Freeze!” and I freeze my hands and motion.  I ask the children, “Are your hands exactly like mine? Is your foot exactly pointed like mine?”  The children adjust their body shapes.  (Often their hands are pointed exactly opposite of where they should be.) I begin moving and singing right where we left off on the very next phrase. Again moving through two sets of the pattern, I call out “Freeze!” and have the children check where their body is in space (a huge skill for children to learn.)

At this point, the seven year olds are not challenged anymore, so I change the pattern.  I sway back and forth several times without the circling motion, then I stick in a big circle at the end.  In a playful way I say “Gotcha!” and smile at the seven year olds, who, because of the switch in the pattern, are back engaged and trying to follow.

When we get to the chorus, I change the pattern yet again.

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I lift my hands high above my head and down again two times on the words “I know He lives!” (The children through this movement unconsciously sense the climax and most meaningful part of the song.) I then go back to the swaying motion until the words, “My heart I give to Him.”  At that words, I lift my hands above my head once again two times, then continue swaying to the end of the song.

The momentum of the song, the rhythm, and the dynamics are learned well as they move, even better than singing it alone! The plus is that they also have the words slip in the Back Door.

10 Responses

  1. Laura Bickmore

    Great ideas! Thank you very much. I was picturing doing the arm reaching slower, until your explanation at the end – raising and lowering the arms 2x for the phrase “I Know He Lives” was about double the speed I was doing ;). But I like it a little quicker – still graceful but also more challenging and fun.

    So do you do the side-side-circle/arc pattern one time or two times through in the phrase “A long time ago in a beautiful place?”

    When I practiced, it seemed that I reached all the way right on the word “long,” reached all the way left on “go” (last part of “ago”), then arced my arms up in a circle and returned them to center, kinda pausing on the word “place” – So I went through the pattern one time.

    Then again all the way to the right on “chil”-dren, and all the way to the left on “ga”-thered, then up in a circle again for “round Jesus.” – at which point, if I understand, you would call “freeze!”

    Am I doing this right? ha ha… 🙂

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write out this post! I know it is a lot of work.
    I reeeealllllly appreciate it!

  2. Laura Bickmore

    One more – are you teaching just one verse this week, or both?
    Sorry for all the questions! I’m kinda a perfectionist, can ya tell? I like to make sure I understand everything first, then I feel confident to change things up if needed. 🙂 😛 ^.^

  3. Noel Groves

    Will there be different movement activities for each verse of “I Know that my Savior Loves Me” as well as “Follow the Prophet” or just different activities each week?

    I need lots of practice myself. I totally botched the movements with the Sr. Primary children even though I’d practiced movements separately and with the song a lot! I ended up not being able to do the movements or sing the song accurately. The children learned adults too make mistakes and have to work at things–also, it helps to be able to laugh at our own mistakes. I’m not sure how much of the song got in the back door last week! We all did much better with “Follow the Prophet”.

    Thank you for taking time to share your training and understanding of the role of movement in children’s learning.

    • Sharla Dance

      Yay for being able to laugh at our own mistakes and letting the children know that it is okay. I have joined you in that “in front of the children mistake making” so many times! Yes, there will be other movement activities. I’m trying to give lots of options for the children to catch the feel of the song, the tempo of the song, the melody, the dynamics, and oh yes, the words. Thanks for asking!

  4. Sharla Dance

    The rhythm is different for the second verse (no pick up notes) and the feeling is different, so I actually teach the second verse with a different activity. Thanks for asking!

  5. Mahrika Davis

    You mentioned you teach the second verse with a different activity; do you mind sharing it?

    Thank you so much!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Marika, I use an activity called Egg Shaker Pass to get the new rhythm of the words into their bodies, and Waves of the Sea to feel the rise and fall of the words. I won’t be blogging about those until February. If your children already know the first verse quite well, I would just use any of the activities I list here on the blog and apply them to the 2nd verse. It will create a path for that verse in their heads.

  6. I am wondering how you get the kids to do this without whacking their neighbor? Do you have the kids stand or sit?

    • Sharla Dance

      I grinned as I read this. For me it helps that the children’s arms are much shorter than ours. I have set boundaries as I teach and maybe that’s why I have never run up against this problem. I don’t use this with older children were the problems could most often occur. The children are standing when they sway and freeze.

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