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Parents, primary leaders and teachers

Overheard in Primary (or at home): Repentance Simplified

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Guest author Marina is a stay-at-home mom of three boys and loves it. She shares this gem from her son Simon on how to repent: “You need to fall down on the ground and sleep for two days like Alma did (Mosiah 27). Then you will wake up with a new heart.”

In case you need something a bit more specific, here are some ideas about helping kids learn about repentance:

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Conquering the Big Podium: Sacrament Gem

http://melonheadsldsillustrating.blogspot.com

melonheadsldsillustrating.blogspot.com

Carlan is a California native living in beautiful Boston and mother to three darling blondes. She’s a singer and lover of the arts who is passionate about reading and learning; Boston sports, history and culture; British period films; Mexican food; lime bars and most of all music.

In this post she is magnifying her calling as Primary president. She saw the need for the children to learn how to conquer the big podium in sacrament meeting as they get older, to prepare them for giving talks and prayers after they turn twelve. And she’s doing something about it. Carlan writes:

Recently my mother told me how sacrament meeting used to function when she was a youth. Among the many differences, one aspect she mentioned was something they called the “Sacrament Gem.” After hearing about it I was really interested in implementing it into my ward and with my Primary. Here’s how it works:
After the sacrament is passed and before we hear from any speakers, a Senior Primary child comes to the pulpit, announces the sacrament meeting theme or topic of focus, and reads a correlating scripture. Our Primary secretary schedules the children and gives the list to the bishopric. That’s it!!
It’s simple and not too scary for the kids, yet it gives them crucial experience standing and speaking in front of a group of people. Not only are these useful life skills but they are vital Mormon skills!
-Carlan

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Swing that Sword of Truth!

sword-of-truthToday’s guest author is Tina, mother of 6, a high school physics teacher who loves reading and listening to Broadway musicals.  Tina shares the following Primary lesson idea:

Today I taught my last Primary class to my wonderful 7 and 8-year-olds. I made them each (9 boys and 1 girl) a “Sword of Truth.”  The sword was made of Styrofoam wrapped with duct tape and aluminum foil. I wrote “Sword of Truth” on each one with an ordinary ballpoint pen.

For the lesson I read a scenario where a child either told a truth or a lie, each on a separate piece of paper. (Here’s the pdf: Telling a Truth or Telling a Lie) The children would tell me which it was. Then I crumpled up the strip of paper and they got to hit the crumpled paper with the sword of truth.

It’s been a wonderful year with them. They are the most energetic, enthusiastic, and delightful group of kids I’ve dealt with in a long time. I’m sure going to miss teaching these children.

It’s easy to make one or a dozen of these swords. Children of all ages would be thrilled to wield their “Sword of Truth.”

~Tina

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Filed under Activity, Lesson, Scriptures

Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 4 of 4 – Music Games!

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

We’re listing just a few each month so you have a chance to try these and don’t zone out when faced with a long list. Click here for Part 1 (ideas 1-4), including the story of Michelle’s lifesaver beanbag, how to make a bean bag, and more about guest author Marti. Click here for Part 2 (ideas 5-8) and Part 3 (ideas 9-11).

MUSIC GAMES with BEAN BAGS:

  1. HAVE A SEAT: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the music stops, the person holding the bean bag sits down. Resume the song until everyone is sitting.
  2. HOT AND COLD: While one child is out of the room with a teacher, ask another child to hide the bean bag. When the child returns, sing louder as the child gets closer to the bean bag, softer as they get farther, until they find the hidden bean bag.
  3. NEXT LINE of the SONG: While you sing, pass the bean bag. When the pianist stops playing, the person holding the bean bag says the next line. If they don’t know it, they pass the bean bag to the next person who does.

Watch next month for a single printout of all these ideas!

-Marti

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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 3 of 4

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

Watch for music bean bag ideas next month! We’re listing just a few ideas each month so you have a chance to try these and don’t zone out when faced with a long list. Click here for Part 1 (ideas 1-4), including the story of Michelle’s lifesaver beanbag, how to make a bean bag, and more about guest author Marti. Click here for Part 2 (ideas 2-8).

9. CATEGORIES: Start the bean bag moving by naming one thing in a category, then pass the bean bag. Categories could be reasons why we’re grateful for our families, stories about Jesus, books in the Book of Mormon, latter-day prophets, names of children in our Primary, etc.

10. PROGRESSIVE STORY: Start a story about good choices, then pass the bean bag to a child, who advances the story until you say “And then. . . ” The passes the bean bag to another child to continue the story.

11. REVERENCE – ONE PERSON SPEAKING AT A TIME: Tell the children that only the person holding the bean bag may talk. “Right now I am giving the lesson so I am the one holding the bean bag. If you have something to share or know the answer to a question, raise your hand. When I toss you the bean bag you may talk.”

Watch for music bean bag ideas next month!

-Marti

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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 2 of 4

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month! We’re listing just a few each month so you have a chance to try these and don’t zone out when faced with a long list. Click here for Part 1 (ideas 1-4), including the story of Michelle’s lifesaver beanbag, how to make a bean bag, and more about guest author Marti.

A simple bean bag has many uses! Here’s a few favorite ideas of how to use one to add interest and kid-involvement to your lesson, Sharing Time or family night.

5. FINISH THE SENTENCE: Start a sentence, then toss the beanbag to a child to finish the sentence.

6. CHILD TO CHILD: Ask a question, then while your back is turned, have the children pass the bean bag from one child to another. When you turn around, ask the child holding the bean bag to answer the question. Or, instead of turning your back, you can use the same technique with music playing, then stop the music and the child holding the bean bag answers.

7. GETTING ACQUAINTED: Toss the bean bag to a child. Say something you like about that child. Then that child tosses it to someone else and says something nice about them. Be sure you complement their character, effort, obedience, kindness or contribution to Primary, not just their clothes or physical appearance (every child is handsome or beautiful in their own way!).

8. GRATITUDE: Have each child say something they are thankful for when you toss them the bean bag, in preparation for thanking God for those things in prayer.

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month!

-Marti

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Bean Bag Ideas for Kid-Involvement: Part 1 of 4

clipartkid.com

clipartkid.com

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month! We’re listing just a few each month so you have a chance to try these and don’t zone out when faced with a long list.

Michelle writes: When my husband and I were newly married we moved into our first family ward.  On week two we were called to c0-teach the Sunbeams class in Primary.  Our Primary Presidency held a training for all the teachers shortly thereafter and gave each of us a homemade bean bag.  That was more than 12 years ago and I still have that bean bag that was simply made with a scrap of material and some beans and stitched up by hand.  I like to keep this bean bag in my church bag for emergencies in Primary!  Making a bean bag for each of the teachers in your ward would be a great resource for their teaching arsenal.  You could also print off this page of ideas on how they could put it to use! Watch for a single page printout at the end of this series.

Today’s guest author is Marti, mother of five and grandmother of nine.  She is a former Primary President, now in the Stake Primary Presidency.  She is retired from dental hygiene and is now working as a real estate agent. Marti has compiled this list of bean bag ideas she has collected over the years.

A simple bean bag has many uses! Here’s a few favorite ideas of how to use one to add interest and kid-involvement to your lesson, Sharing Time or family night. To make a bean bag, simply sew 3 sides of a small square of fabric, fill with dried beans, rice or popcorn, then stitch closed. 

  1. TAKE TURNS for the prayer, reading a scripture, holding a picture, etc. Tape a number on the bottom of the bag. Everyone says a number. The one closest to the number takes first turn.
  2. REVIEW.  At the end of the lesson, ask each child to think of something related to the lesson. “Today we learned about. . . ” For example, if the lesson is about the Word of Wisdom, ask each child to say something against the Word of Wisdom. Repeat and have each child say something that is healthy. Or you can ask specific review questions, throwing the bean bag to each child in turn.
  3. CHOOSE WORD STRIPS, PICTURES, or QUESTIONS: Lay out wordstrips, questions, or pictures (in page protectors!) on the floor face down. Children take turns tossing the bag. Whatever it lands on, the child reads the word strip, tells what the picture is about, or answers the question.
  4. MUFFIN TIN: Prepare a muffin tin with numbers in the bottom of each cup. Prepare a list with the same number of questions. Have the children stand back and throw the bean bag into one of the cups. The child answers the corresponding question from the list. The same technique can be used for Articles of Faith, in which the child recites corresponding Article of Faith. Younger children can repeat the Articles of Faith with you.

Watch for more bean bag ideas next month!

-Marti

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2016 Primary Sacrament Meeting Program: Invitations, program covers and more!

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

proclamationpictures.blogspot.com by Tami Ray

Back by popular demand, the 2016 Primary Program Invitation is here! Thanks to Laura H. for putting this together, and special shout out to Tami Ray and her blog for the beautiful artwork!

Primary Program Invite 2016 (customize & print back to back, 4 invites to a page)

Matching printed program cover: Primary Printed Program 2016

Try printing out enough copies of the invitation for the Primary children and missionaries to distribute. Check out  “Children inviting neighbors, coaches and schoolteachers to Primary sacrament meeting program” about the wonderful missionary tool it can be (including a baptism that started with an invitation just like this!).

One year, my ward set up a small reception of cookies and drinks after the program to celebrate the Primary children’s hard work, and so that visitors feel welcome and have a chance to chat comfortably and ask questions. This gave visitors a chance to casually stick around and congratulate the child that they came to see, and not feel like they were obligated to go to class after, or make a hasty exit. They could stay longer and talk with others in a relaxed setting. The missionaries also joined the reception so they could talk with the investigators they brought, as well as meet other visitors who attended the program. Then everyone attended third hour classes as usual, and some hardy investigators stuck around.

If you’re planning your presentation outline, see Kim’s easy-to-follow way of putting it together at “Primary Sacrament Meeting Program outline – click, print and go!” Kim assigned each class one of the monthly themes, then interviewing each child by pulling them out of singing time to get a quote to go with the theme. The outline comes together really easily in the kids’ words that way.

Also see “Inviting Audience Comments – Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation

-Laura S.

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Autism, Life Threatening Food Allergies and Primary

photo provided by author

photo provided by author

Today’s guest author is DeeDee, a wife and mother of two who loves the temple and loves to be outdoors enjoying nature with her family. See her 3 specific suggestions below about caring for her children in Primary. 

My beautiful son is four years old. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. My amazing eight-year-old daughter has life threatening (anaphylactic) allergies. Both of these conditions shape our children’s experience in Primary.

What is it like to have a child with autism at church? For me it is wonderfully challenging, but I recognize it’s an opportunity for growth and development, for both me and for my child. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a variable diagnosis. That means each child with ASD has unique strengths and challenges. Before my son was diagnosed he was struggling in nursery. A sentence kept going through my mind at that time, “The one matters.” I know that every child matters to the Lord and belongs in Primary, at church and in other church activities. Figuring out how to make that happen is the challenge.

What is it like having a child with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies at church? Life-threatening allergies are about safety. I want my daughter to be safe at church, in Primary and at church activities. It is scary for me to know that if my child eats a certain food it can result in a life-threatening allergic reaction. This makes church different for me than it was before I had a child with severe food allergies. My husband and I are diligent about constantly checking to see if food is involved at church. Sometimes snacks are given in class or as a reward for performances (like Primary programs). Other times food is used to make crafts, provide service or celebrate holidays. We have strict rules for our daughter about food & washing hands. She is very careful about what she touches and eats at church. My guard is always up to some degree at church because I want her to be safe and have a good experience.

What has helped our family:

1. We take responsibility for our children. My husband and I have learned that it is our responsibility to ensure our children are set up for success in Primary. Simply dropping them off doesn’t work. Our experience has been that things go best when we communicate our children’s unique needs with ward and Primary leadership so we can partner with them in helping our children do well in Primary. My 4-year-old son with autism doesn’t communicate verbally like many children his age. When he was diagnosed I notified our Primary presidency and spoke with his nursery leader about his unique challenges. His wonderful nursery leader did well with him, keeping the classroom calm and encouraging open play that doesn’t require 2-way verbal communication. She speaks to him as she does other children but also gives him gentle nudges to help him as needed. I also shared with her behavioral signs that may suggest he is having a difficult time, when it may be best to include me or my husband. Similarly, my daughter can’t eat nuts. Her life threatening allergic reactions can result in death or serious injury. My husband and I take responsibility for her condition by sharing applicable medical information with Primary leaders and our plan to help her if she has a reaction in Primary. We keep emergency medication near her at all times and ask to approve any food offered her in Primary. We hope that Primary leaders and teachers appreciate the steps we take to educate and include them so they aren’t left to interpret things on their own.

2. Have realistic expectations. We attempt to maintain realistic expectations at church. Church leaders, Primary leaders and teachers are imperfect people, volunteers at best. They make mistakes and can misinterpret things like we all do. A Primary leader may misinterpret my son’s behavior. A teacher may bring a snack my daughter is allergic to and forget to check with us first. These things can happen, and it helps to remind us to keep working with ward and Primary leaders.

3. Listen to the Spirit. Numerous times at church my husband or I have felt prompted to check on one of our children in Primary, sometimes urgently. We recognize these as promptings from Holy Ghost and are very grateful for them.

~DeeDee

 

For related posts, see Special Needs page and

Helping children accept others with special needs

Also see “Accepting Allergies” by Thira Christianson from a kids’ point of view in the Friend magazine, Sept 2011, 18-19.

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Filed under Reaching the One, Special Needs

Bridging Home and Church: a quick note from the teacher

timeout.com

timeout.com

Today’s guest author is Valerie, wife, mother of 7, grandmother of 13, who loves to cook, quilt, read, serve in the temple, and teach Primary!

Whether you communicate with the parents each week or just occasionally, it helps the parents reinforce the child’s learning. Here’s how Valerie does it:

Every Sunday afternoon/evening I send a group e-mail to the parents of the kids in the class.  (I know this is easy for me since I have no children at home making demands on my time!) I tell them what we talked about, maybe mention it would be a good subject for family home evening,  maybe explain the papers they brought home, tell them who said prayers and if they participated in any way in Sharing Time.  I always tell them how much my co-teacher and I love them, how reverent they are in sharing time (which is true–I think they are the most reverent class!), and if anyone said anything cute, funny, or  spiritual in class (as long as it doesn’t embarrass the parents).  Anything about individual behavior I talk to the parents separately.  The Primary presidency says that the parents really like the note.

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