Contrast: Teach “Follow the Prophet” with “I Know That My Savior Loves Me.”

In the last post, I talked about using the Silent Video activity to introduce “I Know That My Savior Loves Me.” Before I did that activity, though, I wanted to really engage the children physically and mentally. It helps if the other activity is a contrasting song in how it feels, the tempo, and the mood. Since “Follow the Prophet” is the focus song for March AND I want to teach at least three different verses, it seems like a great candidate for the song to pair with “I Know That My Savior Loves Me,” getting started now to teach each verse in a different way.

With the older children, I started by saying, “Here is the pattern.” I demonstrated this Body Rhythm Pattern: patsch, patsch, clap, clap, stomp, stomp, snap, snap. Here is a video of that pattern.


Once the children followed me doing the pattern once, I began to sing the verse. (I chose the Adam verse.) The children are moving with me, their eyes are sparkling, and I am singing the song as we move. They get to hear the whole verse without even really realizing they are hearing it! (Note: this activity works best with older children.  My next post will be a different activity that works well with younger children.)

Back to the older children…Of course I want the children to hear the song again, so I add extra challenges to the movement. I call those challenges extenders.

Here is the first of the two extenders.

Extender #1 – I ask the children to do the pattern with me as I sing and tell me what words I sing when I stomp. We do the pattern and I sing, then I receive the children’s answers. (Sometimes we need to sing the verse more than once to get all the words sung as we stomp.) I then ask the children to sing ONLY the words on the stomp part of our pattern and I will sing the rest.

Extender #2 –  Follow the Prophet with a PARTNER Body Rhythm Pattern.

After the children have gotten the first body rhythm pattern by themselves, I ask one of the children to come up and be my partner. We do a Partner Body Pattern: patsch, patsch, clap across 2x (my hands clapping with my partner’s hands), stomp, stomp, forearms across (My forearm matching my partner’s forearms…first matching right, then left forearms across). My partner and I demonstrate this about two times for the children, then I ask everyone to get a partner and do the pattern with us. Teachers will usually volunteer to be partners with the children who can’t find a partner. The whole group does the pattern once through, then I sing the verse again as we do the pattern over and over again with our partners. Sometimes the children join in singing, and sometimes they don’t. That’s okay. The song is slipping into their Back Door, and the children are fully engaged and excited as they hear the song. (Remember the whole to part to whole principle?)

Next posts: #1 – engaging the younger children in an activity for “Follow the Prophet,” #2 – new ideas to teach both of those songs next week.

26 Responses

  1. Jennifer

    Thank you so much for sharing your talents! will the next post with the follow the prophet idea for the younger kids be posted before sunday?

  2. Kristine Johnson

    I am stoked that you are doing a blog. I have learned so much from your video. I’m excited to learn more from you! Are you doing a workshop this year in Oregon? Hoping, hoping!!

    • Sharla Dance

      I am doing a workshop in Washington on both January 24th and March 14th, but I only come to Portland every other year so that there is a chance for a wide range of ideas. Thank you for asking! (If you want to make a trip up here, I’d love to give you the details.)

    • Sharla Dance

      Redmond Washington Stake Center, 9 to 12, Primary music on Jan. 24th. Maple Valley Stake Center, 9 to 9:30 nursery music, 9:30 to 12, Primary music on March 14th.

  3. Kristine

    Do you do nursery music at the Redmond one as well? My daughter and I would love to attend? How do we sign up?

    • Sharla Dance

      Kristine, No nursery music at the Redmond workshop, but I would be happy to share a video of nursery music workshop that I have done. You will be my personal guests, so no sign up.

      • Kim

        You mentioned that you have a video of nursery music that you would be willing to share. Can I buy it somewhere? I would really love to have it!!!

        • Sharla Dance

          Dear Kim, I just talked to the videographer and he said he would try to get it edited soon (about a 3 week time frame). Would you be willing to check back then? Thanks, Sharla

  4. Marianne Baker

    Speaking of nursery music, will you be doing any posts pertaining to just nursery age children? I’ve seen so many ideas that involve lots of things to hold, but I have such limited time there. I’d like to capitalize on the best ways to teach. I’d really like to know your feelings about music in the nursery and how to best help those little ones.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Marianne,
      Yes, I will start doing a post a week for nursery music. The child’s brain has a huge growth window that opens up for the nursery age child, then starts to close down the older they get. That age is when they are first introduced to steady beat, matching the pitch of the song, fast versus slow, how to stop and start (that’s huge for eventual self control), and what is high and what is low. There are some wonderful activities to teach all of those, and help them to come into Primary fully singing! Thanks for the suggestion to post some ideas. I’m grateful you want to know. It is SO important for the little ones!

  5. Ember Fife

    I get excited when I realize how much the seniors can really handle, but I’m afraid I taught the children too many verses at once and by doing so, taken a giant step backwards. How do you decide how much they can handle?
    Thanks so much for your shared in knowledge! I’m so excited to be trained by you through the reading of your material! What a blessing.

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Ember, Each verse needs its own activity and day, plus a review activity. If you are going to learn 5 verses, that is 10 different activities. One of the reasons I started Follow the Prophet in January is so that I can do this song at least 10 to 15 times by the end of March… and yes, that means I would use 15 different activities – most of them only lasting 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t worry about the confusion for the children. Just back up and introduce a verse with an activity, then review it with another activity. Introduce another verse with a different activity, and review it with yet another activity. At this point when you do a review activity, you can add in all the other verses you have learned BUT you will need to use some extender activities to keep the children challenged, and that challenge can’t just be if you remember the words. I will keep posting other activities for this song so you have a wide variety. Thank you so much for asking! Your question probably helps a lot of other people!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Kathy, We are having it video taped and I’m hoping to hire someone to make it into something I can send out. (I will have to charge for it in order to pay the editing and taping costs, but it should be minimal.) Thank you for your kind words. I wish you could be here so that I could meet you!

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Kathy, They had 3 video cameras going and are in the process of editing all of that now. (I guess the file is huge for the 3 hours and is taxing their tech abilities .) We hope to get it up onto the website soon. Take care, Sharla

  6. Kathy Gifford

    That’s great news! Thank you for sharing! I Look forward to learning from you as you teach.

  7. Renee

    For the partner pattern, you said ‘patsch, patsch’. What does ‘patsch’ mean?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Renee, A patsch is when you tap the palms of your hands to your thighs. Thanks for asking!

      • Renee

        Thanks! I was asked to sub as the music leader tomorrow, which I’ve never done before and want to try this with the seniors. I’ll be teaching them the Abrah verse as they know the first 3 already. When I sing and do the pattern, the words and actions line up so that sometimes it is just half a word on the second stomp with the word being finished on the snap. Am I doing it right? So when I ask them to tell me the words I sing on the stomp, they would be giving a word and a half? Also, do you pause after the stomps to hear their answers or do you sing the whole verse through and then get their answers?

  8. Jayna C Smith


    What is the process/cost of having you do a workshop? Would you consider coming to Southern Alberta? If so what kind of a time frame would we be looking at?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Jayna, Yes, I would love to come to Southern Alberta. You will need to talk to your Priesthood leaders to have a workshop like this approved. I am already booked for February and March of next year. What time frame were you thinking of?

    • Sharla Dance

      Dear Jayna,

      Yes, I would love to come. Talk to your Priesthood leaders and see if they would approve a workshop, and we’ll get started on the planning! Yea!

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