At the front of the room are two signs:
I ask the children to look around the room and see all of the possibilities for work or play that are on word strips around the room. “As I sing this song, I will tap you on the shoulder. I would like you to choose one of these and decide whether it is work or play.”
I start to sing. “Our prophet has some words for you….” I tap various children on the shoulder to choose a word and put it in the right category. As I am singing, I am keeping the beat by doing a patsch, clap, clap pattern with my hands. (Some of the children will then follow that pattern, but that is not the emphasis of this activity, only a management technique that allows movement.)
If you are doing this in a Younger Primary, you will need to add an additional direction. “I’m going to tap a younger child on the shoulder. Go choose an older child that can read so that he or she can help you.” (This works well in a mixed age Primary, also.)
I find that I am singing the song through about 5 times or so until all the word strips are brought up to the front and categorized.
I ask the children, “How can you be true when you are ____________?” (I point to one of the word strips and ask about that activity.)
When I receive an answer from one or two of the children, I then sing the last “Be true, be true, and stand for the right.” (clapping to emphasize Stand for the Right.) I repeat this line of questioning for about three or four of the activities, then we sing the whole song together. I add in the patsch, clap, clap pattern as we sing. On the words “Stand for the Right,” I clap and emphasize each word (4 claps).
This activity is colorful, has a lot of participation, and the children hear the song over and over again without realizing how many times they are hearing it. And it is engaging for the children!
I love this idea! Thanks for sharing. It should help my older kiddos understand the point of the song.
Dear Michelle, I hope everyone is also reading your PurposefulPrimaryMusic.com blog. You are creative and true to the feel of the song, in addition to helping the children really learn. Take care, Sharla
You are amazing and you inspire me in so many aspects for both teaching primary and my preschool class. I attended your workshop the first time I had this calling years ago, and you helped so much in how I thought of teaching the music. I still think of “keeping the essence of the song” as you taught. Now, I am back as the music leader (best calling in the church) and was struggling to get back into the groove since it has been a while. Thank you for bringing new life to this wonderful calling! So many children are blessed by your hard work, kindness, innovation and talent.
Dear Amanda, Thank you. It would be fun to see your Country Cottage Preschool. Thank you for your kind words. It isn’t me who deserves the praise, though. We both know it is Him who helps us to serve these little ones. Thank you.
Thank you! You are welcome any time!!
I have to tell you, your ideas work. When I follow your ideas, I get amazing results. The children are engaged, they learn the songs, AND the heart of the songs. When I try to do something different that I think would help ME learn a song, it is a dismal failure. I’m not a teacher, I’m not even musical, but if I follow your formulas, I don’t have to be either of those things. The results are really astounding.
You have really got this figured out. I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise with us. Children all over the world are gaining testimonies through these songs because of it.
Thank you! Thank you!!
Dear Eliz, Your words are extremely kind. I really only am an instrument and the praise is not mine, but He whom we serve. Thank you for working with the children. Thank you for reaching out. Thank you.
I really like this idea, but I’m not sure what the beat pattern is with your hands, what is patsch?
Dear Lisa, When you pat your legs with your hands, palms down, it is called a patsch. Sometimes people call it tapping on your lap, or other names. Thanks for asking!
Dear Lisa, would you have some idea of how to teach this to 10 new sunbeams. I only have one 7 year old boy who can barely read in my Jr. Primary. We meet in the chapel it is impossible to touch a shoulder of someone for the Sr. Primary part of this activity. Our Primary children only know about 12 songs out of the whole songbook and the ones that I would like to teach them, as activity songs, are not translated into German and are not even in our songbook. It is really tough singing the same songs over and over from last years Program for our activities. They are tired of them and so am I. I would like to incorperate some of these ideas during my 15 minutes of music time but they just are not learning the verses quickly enough. The translations are difficult words that don’t flow the same way as the English versions. I would love to make a CD of songs with the lyrics for them. Do you have any suggestions for those of us who do not have the luxury of the songs with the lyrics to record from to give to these sweet children? Sorry, I think that was 3 or 4 questions!!! Feeling overwhelmed!
I did this activity today and the kids loved it! It was easy, fun, and a great way to reinforce the song, get the kids, moving, and have a great time doing it! Thank you for sharing your ideas.
Dear Whitney, It makes me smile to hear that the children were engaged and loving it! Take care, Sharla
I love this. I was wondering if you had pictures rather than words that I could use. We have a small jr primary of no readers. Thanks so much! love your ideas
Dear MelAnie, Thank you so much for realizing that pictures would be a much better teaching method for your children. I don’t have the pictures gathered. I usually head to “images” and type in what activity I’m looking for, then print those off. Thank you for asking and thank you for being sensitive to your Primary. Take care, Sharla
You are a treasure trove of great ideas.
I am going to do this activity, but have the kids act out an action and the primary guesses what they are doing. I’m hoping this will help one of my more difficult senior boy who loves to act out.
Thank you for coming to Payson, it was a treat to see you in person.
-Ann (who fetched you a music stand)
Hi Ann! Having the children act out an action is a great idea! Way to go!
Thank you! You are so awesome!
I am so appreciative of these ideas. Thank you first to Sharla as well as those who have added on. I realize this is in the “younger” primary posting, but one extension that could work for the older kids perhaps would be to have two categories for the more abstract ideas of “Darkness” and “Light” — some times of darkness might be “lonely”, “death”, “sickness”, “depressed”, “hurt” and times of light might be “taking a walk”, “marriage”, “baptism”, “getting an ‘A'”, “visitors”, “vacation”.