Author Archives: Michelle

About Michelle

I love music, children, good food, and the beautiful outdoors!

Introduction of New Primary Leaders: Show and Tell Music Time Idea!

I just got called as the Primary chorister in our new ward!  I’ve served in ward and stake Primary presidencies, taught Sunbeams and CTR 4 and subbed in Primary in various capacities but this is the first time I’ve been the Primary chorister and I’m so excited!  I have secretly wanted to have this calling for years!

I’m new to our ward already so I don’t know a lot of the kids in Primary yet.  I am excited to get to know them.  I also thought it might be fun for them to learn a little about me.  So, for my first Singing Time I decided to bring a few different items as show and tell and use them to tell the kids something about myself and then sing a Primary song that I chose to go with each particular item.  While music was playing, I had the kids play “Hot Potato,” passing an object around until the music stopped. Whoever was holding it got to choose an item from my show and tell display.  I would tell the pianist what song it was so she had a minute to find the page number I had written down on the list I made for her  And then I would tell the kids a little something about that item.  Below are the items I chose:

primary-music-picHere’s the song list for you and the pianist:

  1. “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!)
  2. “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228)
  3. “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008)
  4. “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78)
  5. “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173)
  6. “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95)
  7. “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169)

Here’s the object and explanation to go with each song:

  1. A Book of Mormon–I showed the picture in the front of the book of Samuel the Lamanite to go with “Samuel the Lamanite” (original song, download it here for free!) When this was chosen I said, “One of my favorite scripture stories is in the Book of Mormon about Samuel the Lamanite.  I love Samuel the Lamanite because when he was scared he trusted in the Lord and the Lord helped him do hard things.  I get scared too, a lot, but I know the Lord can help me do hard things.  We are going to sing a song called Samuel the Lamanite.  It’s a new song to you because my husband and his father wrote and arranged it.  I think you’re going to love it!”
  2. A real leaf from my favorite plant to go with “Heavenly Father Loves Me”  (CS 228). I said, “I love nature.  I love camping and hiking and being outside.  How about you?  Do any of you like hiking or camping?”  (Suddenly we had something in common.) “My favorite Primary song is called ‘Heavenly Father Loves Me’ but I always call it ‘Beautiful World’ because it’s all about all the beautiful things that Heavenly Father created for us.”
  3. A picture of my family to go with “The Family is of God” (sheet music from the 2014 Primary outline or in the Friend magazine, Oct 2008). I told them about my family. Only 2 of my 4 kids are in Primary (my twins are in Nursery) so they were surprised to learn that my Senior Primary-aged son has 2-year-old twin siblings.
  4. A picture of Jesus to go with “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” (CS 78) I said, “I love Jesus.  And my most important goal in life is trying to be like Jesus.  But guess what?  I’m not always very good at it and in fact, I make a lot of mistakes and have to repent and try again. I hope you will always try to be like Jesus and know that when you make a mistake you can repent and try again.”
  5. My baby book–I showed a picture of my baptism to go with “We’ll Bring the World His Truth” (CS 173).  Of course, I might have chosen one of the songs specifically about baptism, but getting baptized is like joining God’s Army so I thought it was appropriate.
  6. My wedding album to go with “I Love to See the Temple” (CS 95). I showed them a picture of my wedding day at the temple and told them how special it was to be married there.
  7. My missionary name tag to go with “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” (CS 169) I told them that I served my mission in Spain and it was the best and hardest thing I did as a young adult.

Next week I am going to sing a few of these same songs and see if anyone can remember any of the details I told them such as where I served my mission or what my favorite plant looks like.  I’d like to also do something similar when I ask for a child helper; I’ll ask the child to share one thing about themselves so I can get to know them better.

It would also be fun and simple to do a show and tell like this to introduce a new Primary Presidency or new teachers or new pianist.  You could potentially bring in one item for each person if you wanted to do several people at once.  I think the kids would really enjoy seeing into the real lives of their leaders who they often only see in church clothes on Sunday and never out hiking or camping.

~Michelle

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Primary Presidency Administration, Teacher Support

Overheard in Primary: What brings you joy?

The Sharing Time lesson was about the Plan of Salvation. The Primary leader explained that everyone was there in the grand council when Heavenly Father announced the Plan of Salvation. She read Job 38:4,7: “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

lds.org

lds.org

 

The teacher asked the children if there was a time when they had ever “shouted for joy?”

The girl with the braids from the CTR 6 class raised her hand excitedly and  answered, “The first time I tasted swiss chard!”

And she was serious.

~Michelle

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Overheard in Primary

Music in Nursery: Teaching the Gospel

I peeked into nursery recently to make sure my twin toddlers weren’t still sobbing with separation anxiety.  And to my great surprise they weren’t sobbing.  In fact, they weren’t even whimpering.  Instead, they were mesmerized by the Primary music leaders who visit nursery each week. The music leaders had gathered the children to sit on a cozy blanket laid out on the floor and were singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam with great animation.  They had given each child a bracelet tied with ribbons (called wrist ribbons or a rhythm ring) so the kids could punctuate their “sun-BEAM” with ribbon flourishes.  The children were enthralled.  They were happy.  They were learning the gospel!

I teach music classes outside of church for young children ages 0-3 years.  I love music and know what an amazing teaching tool it is.  But in my professional classes I don’t get to teach about Jesus or the plan of salvation.  The songs I sing and the ASL (American Sign Language) I teach are about animals, colors, feelings, actions, vehicles, balls, and more.  All super fun and enriching stuff. But not the best stuff, not the gospel.

Nursery is the perfect place to teach about Jesus, the plan of salvation and other basic gospel principles through music. And toddlers are definitely not too young to understand.  If they can do actions and sign language to “Wheels on the Bus,” they can do the actions and signs for “I am Like a Star Shining Brightly (Children’s Songbook, 163).  Music is the ideal way to teach this age group!  Want something to sink in and grab their attention? Sing about it.  Take advantage of this perfect opportunity to teach the gospel to these young children through music.  It’s 1) memorable 2) fun and 3) teaches the gospel.  Boom!  That’s Triple Threat Teaching!

So what made music time so successful for my twin toddlers this particular Sunday?  Here’s a few of the ideas our Primary music leaders are implementing now with great success when they visit nursery each week:

  1. Plan a set of songs and sing them for 6-8 weeks to provide repetition and familiarity.  If the nursery kids transition to Primary knowing 10 songs that would be amazing!
  2. Create some physical structure and boundaries by laying out a blanket for the kids to sit on during music time.  That way they know where you want them.
  3. Incorporate movement and visual interest by using inexpensive props such as shakers, scarves, rhythm rings, song sticks or others.

More blog favorites about nursery music: Hands-on Singing: “Song Sticks” and Using Music Effectively in Nursery

~Michelle

1 Comment

Filed under Music, Nursery, Parent Involvement

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday music, lessons and activities–Greatest hits!

bulbs in snow

photo courtesy of Susan Porter

I love this time of year!  It’s always a celebration when you realize that you’ve survived another winter and that spring actually will indeed come again, despite your wavering faith during the endless weeks of frigid temperatures.  Easter is a beautiful way to celebrate hope, new life, re-birth, resurrection, new beginnings!

This is a perfect time of year to teach the children about what this big word RESURRECTION actually means.  Some of our blog favorites:

  1. Preparing for Easter
  2. Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday:Sharing time ideas with family activity. This is a fun hands-on activity you can download and print for Sharing Time.
  3. The Last Week: The Atonement and Resurrection–Easter sharing time idea or family activity. Do you think your Primary families would enjoy receiving a list of scriptures about the Savior’s last week?  This list of scriptures is organized by date to use for yourself or share with your Primary families.
  4. Making Music Time Fun and Interactive! Particularly check out #4 “Easter Basket” and #5 “Flannel Board Story” for great Easter-themed music time ideas.

Learning about the Savior is a great way to celebrate the true meaning of Easter and balance the focus on Easter egg hunts and baskets filled with candy. However you choose to celebrate, let’s teach our children to remember our Savior and what his life, death, and resurrection means for each of us individually. I am grateful He is risen!

~Michelle

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Easter, Lesson, Sharing Time

Bridging Home and Church Through a Child’s Simple Question

     I often ask my children what they learned in Primary and get little to no details.  I know this doesn’t mean that they didn’t learn anything.  When I am in Primary, I sometimes witness them learning amazing things, but when Daddy asks about it, he gets perfunctory or hollow responses.  I think they’re usually just interested in moving on to something else and don’t want to talk about it at the time.  I get it; I’m the same way sometimes.  But I still would love to hear details about what they’re learning in Primary.
thelanguagetortoise.com

thelanguagetortoise.com

      When I received the following email from my daughter’s Primary president recently, I was thrilled!

“Just wanted to share a little anecdote with you from Primary. We did a lesson on opening and closing prayers, to try to increase participation in that area.  Your daughter was a great participant in the lesson, and at the end, I asked if there were any questions. One Sunbeam boy asked “How does Heavenly Father hear our prayers?” and then your daughter asked “Why do we say ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen’?” I was so struck by the sincerity of both questions. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I gave a great answer to her question; I was already overtime, and kind of rushed through some type of explanation about Jesus being our advocate and taking our concerns to Heavenly Father, since He performed the Atonement for us. Anyway, I thought you might want to follow up on that question in Family Home Evening or dinner discussion with a more thorough explanation, so I thought I’d let you know.”

     Not only was it exciting to hear what they were discussing, it was so beneficial to know about my daughter’s question.  She had never asked us that question before. When we continued the discussion at home during dinner time my daughter was thrilled that both her parents and her church leaders took her question seriously. I think it helped her to see the connection between Sunday gospel learning and home gospel learning as well.
     Bridging the gap between Primary and home can be tricky sometimes.  Primary teachers and leaders: sending an email to parents is a simple and meaningful way to keep a line of communication, build relationships, and strengthen the spiritual growth of the children.  And there never seems to be enough time to cover everything you hope to in Primary, so a follow up email to continue the conversation is genius.
     I am so grateful for dedicated Primary leaders and teachers who agree to teach my kids each Sunday, to share their testimony, and to be part of the village I need to raise these beautiful children of God to know and love their Savior.  I need all the help I can get!  Thank you.
~Michelle

2 Comments

Filed under Parent Involvement, Sharing Time

Video Workshop: Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service

Primary leaders: feel free to share this post with parents, or adapt these ideas for use in Primary. 

So often we hear a lesson about service and immediately feel guilty for what we aren’t doing yet all the while feeling overwhelmed with all the things we are doing.  This post is for you!

How and when do I fit in service to others in my already busy family life?  How do I add one more thing to my already-too-long to-do list, even when I want to fulfill the Savior’s call to “do unto others as you would have done unto you?” (Matthew 7:12) How do I sit through one more lesson on service without feeling guilty?

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions?  They rolled off my mind with ease since I’ve asked them myself more times than I’d like to admit.  When Marci and I were asked to present a workshop on the topic, “Teaching Kids to Feel Empathy for All God’s Children Through Service,” at first we were stumped. The one thing we were sure of was that we would only teach something that would be attainable for your typical busy and overwhelmed woman.  I have felt too much guilt over the years because I just can’t see how to add one more good thing to my day where I already can’t get half of the things done that I need to and want to.  Rather than be another one of those good things that you wished you could accomplish, we hoped to offer realistic strategies and resources that you could implement in your family and community immediately.

Creating a culture of service in our families: that is the goal.  We think we’ve come up with some ideas, resources and strategies to do that and not add to your already-too-long to-do list.  So, after two months of prayer, brainstorming and study this is what we came up with.  We were surprised when the Lord guided us in unexpected directions and led us to go deeper.  So much of what we share in this workshop came from above.  We hope you feel inspired too.  We’d love your feedback.  We’d love to hear about your application of these principles, ideas, and strategies.  If you like what you see please share it!  This video workshop is a live presentation from May of 2015 with 150 women in attendance.

These are the documents we reference during the workshop:

Download and print and get ready to begin your plan for “Creating a Culture of Service” in your family in as few as zero minutes! (You read that right – creating a culture of service in no time at all. It IS possible!Watch and see what we mean.)

~Michelle

 

1 Comment

by | January 11, 2016 · 9:03 am

Songs and Scriptures for 2016: Memorization Challenge!

2016-primary-sharingtime-cover“I Know the Scriptures are True” is the Primary theme for 2016.  To complement the Sharing Time outline, guest author Jen has once again shared her song and scripture chart with us.  This is a great resource to help children work toward memorizing the scriptures each month and learning the songs.  You can also send this home with families for personal use.

In past years my family has used this outline to help guide our morning devotional before our kids go to school.  We dedicate a few minutes to recite together the month’s scripture and sing the song.  Repetition throughout the month helps young minds retain these powerful words in their memories. Taking the Primary themes into your home is a great way to build on the gospel learning children receive at church.  Often, with limited lesson time at church, individual questions go unanswered and discussion are cut short.  Home is a perfect environment to discuss and answer gospel questions and inquiries.

Download the Song and Scripture chart here!

~Michelle

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Opening Exercises, Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration, Scriptures, Sharing Time

Preparing for Christmas through Scripture: A fun family activity!

Where do you find Santa in the original story of Jesus’ birth?  No, I don’t have anything against Santa.  But I do like to try and balance out my kids’ excitement over Santa and the presents with the understanding of our Savior and His birth and the real reason we celebrate this Christmas season.  Here’s one fun and simple way to include more scriptures in your family routine as you zip through the month of December:

The 12 Day’s of Christmas through Scripture–in this blog post archive I’ll walk you through a fun DIY where you can create your own 12 Day’s of Christmas with cute downloadables and scriptures for each day tucked into fun little pockets for your kids’ little fingers to pull out in anticipation!  Begin your countdown on December 13th! Enjoy!

12 Days of Christmas File Folder

~Michelle

Leave a comment

Filed under Activity, Christmas, Parent Involvement

Follow the Prophet=Come Unto Christ: Sharing Time Lesson ideas and application

I absolutely believe that following the prophet will help us come unto Christ.  I feel an increased awareness of this as I try to navigate parenting four-young-children-growing-at-a-rapid-pace.

It seems like only yesterday that my 5-year-old was telling me, in response to the Prophet during General Conference, that we needed a picture of the temple in his room “RIGHT NOW!”  Do you remember the General Conference when President Monson suggested that each child have a picture of the temple in his or her room during their childhood?  You can read more about my son’s response to this conference talk here.  Now that adorable little boy has been baptized, is starting 4th grade and asks me deep questions like, “How am I going to know for sure if Heavenly Father is real?  I want to live with Him again someday but I’m confused because so many people believe different things.”  Following the prophet is a way to build a foundation of faith one brick at a time, helping our children build their path back to Heavenly Father.

Following the Prophet is a way to build a foundation of faith one brick at a time helping our children build their path back to Heavenly Father.{depositphotos.com}

Here’s a roundup of some of our greatest hits about Following the Prophet to help you get started on your planning for Sharing Time.  You may have trouble narrowing it down!

 

Follow the Prophet Tic Tac Toe: A fun activity to reinforce the main ideas is always a good bet — providing repetition and a change of pace, helping learners of all styles practice and remember the lesson.

Lessons from Our Prophet: What did the Prophet actually say in our recent General Conference?  If we’re going to follow him I guess we better know what we’re following!

Follow the Prophet–but how exactly?: How can we help our children understand and apply these principles in their lives?

Anytime is a good time to teach about following the Prophet but October is a great opportunity to reinforce this principle, help the children prepare for General Conference and then remember and reflect on what they saw and heard during General Conference.

~Michelle

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under General Conference, Sharing Time

Video: Royal Singer–a memorable activity for Singing time!

When I teach Singing Time in Primary one of my favorite activities is what I call “Royal Singer”.  All it takes is a simple robe or cape, a crown and some eager children and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable day in Primary!  In the video below I demonstrate how “Royal Singer” works with a child volunteer (and we sing I Love to See the Temple  together while I do some simple sign language).

Watch on YouTube: “Royal Singer”–Activity for Primary Music Time

For more great ideas, see “Making Music Time Fun and Interactive.”

SundayLessons_Front_RGB

Find this story and other great ideas in the book “Sunday Lessons and Activities for Kids.” Read more here.

~Michelle

Leave a comment

by | August 31, 2015 · 9:07 am