Category Archives: Primary Presidency Administration

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

Primary and new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way”

lds.org

lds.org

Like you, I thrill at the announcement of the new manual “Teaching in the Savior’s Way.” As stated on the cover, this manual is for “every gospel teacher — every parent, every formally called teacher, . . . and every follower of Christ.” That sounds like you, me and everyone!

I’m particularly delighted that now there will be a regular time for teacher training and development each month. This has been difficult to arrange in the past, but now it’s built-in. Page 3 of the manual states that these monthly meetings can happen during Sunday School or Priesthood/Relief Society, whenever best fits the needs of your Primary. It may take some creativity to figure out how to spring your teachers and leaders loose to attend these meetings (combine classes, get monthly substitutes. To see how others have made this work, see “Springing Primary workers for special presentations and teacher council meetings.”

Prayerfully consider whether Primary teachers and leaders should hold teacher council meetings together with other auxiliaries or separately, to discuss the special needs of children; page 3 of the manual leaves it up to you. The ward council (of which the Primary president is a valuable member) oversees teacher council meetings, perhaps with the Sunday School presidency or any ward council member leading the discussion.

The manual underscores this valuable guideline about the relationship between the home and Primary: “Parents are the most important gospel teachers for their children—they have both the main responsibility and the greatest power to influence their children (see Deuteronomy 6:6–7). As you teach children at church, prayerfully seek ways to support their parents in their essential role. For example, you could talk to parents about the needs and interests of their children, you could share with them what their children are learning in your class, and you could find out how you might support parents’ efforts as you teach.” “Teaching in the Savior’s Way,” page 25.

For ways to connect home and Primary, see “Bridging the Connection Between Home and Primary: a monthly newsletter” and “Bridging Home and Church Through a Child’s Simple Question.”

Also see the Ensign article from “Teaching in the Savior’s Way, titled “Behold Your Little Ones: Learning to Teach Children.”

“The goal of every gospel teacher,” says the manual’s cover, “is to teach the pure doctrine of the gospel, by the Spirit, in order to help God’s children build their faith in the Savior and become more like Him.”

God bless us all – young and old – on the journey.

-Marci

Leave a comment

Filed under Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration, Teacher Support

September Sharing Time Lesson: Preparing (emotionally) for a mission and for life!

lds.org

lds.org

2016 September theme “The Gospel Will Be Preached in All the World.” Week 3: “I can prepare now to serve a mission.”

When we think of children preparing for a mission, we often think of learning to study the scriptures, save money, keep the commandments, and invite friends to church. These are important and valuable skills.

But”The Hardest Part of Missionary Work” isn’t missionary work, reads a June 2016 New Era article by Wendy Ulrich. One missionary said, “for me the hardest part is what goes on in my head—like feeling discouraged or getting frustrated with companions or not liking talking to strangers—just dealing with all the ups and downs, the rejection, the change.” The article continues, “You should also get experience with the emotional, social, and other skills you’ll need as a missionary. You can start practicing now.”

Many young adults have stress-relief mechanisms that they developed as children. These coping mechanisms may or may not be healthy or mission-appropriate. As children try new and hard things, they can practice conflict-resolution skills with family and friends and in Primary. At home, they can build healthy habits, including mission-appropriate bedtime and wake-up routines.

If a child’s preferred stress-coping mechanism involves video games or YouTube, they could use some other mission-appropriate methods. We don’t often think of it as mission preparation, but teaching children to be resilient, positive and resourceful IS preparing them with valuable skills for serving the Lord as missionaries. One family I know took a “no technology vacation” – for TWO WHOLE WEEKS!

One skill that children can start practicing is this: “how to motivate ourselves when we’re bored and calm ourselves down when we’re overstressed. If a situation is boring or not progressing, become curious about what’s wrong and how to fix it, make a game out of it, or figure out what you can learn. Notice when you’re overstressed and learn things you could still do on a mission to calm down (talk to someone, relax, write, sing, walk). Take a step back, break the problem down, involve others, take small steps, pray, and talk back to negative thoughts.”

For a Sharing Time lesson on this idea, you might want to invite the full-time missionaries as guest speakers, and ask them questions like these:

  1. How did you prepare for a mission when you were Primary age?
  2. How did you solve problems with your siblings? How do you solve problems with your companion now?
  3. How did you deal with being discouraged when you were Primary age? How do you deal with discouragement now?
  4. How did you calm yourself down when you were upset when you were Primary age? How do you calm yourself down now?
  5. Now that you’re a missionary, what advice would you give to your Primary-aged self?

As you teach children to prepare for a mission by learning to study the scriptures, save money, keep the commandments, and invite friends to church, also teach them to try new and hard things, practice conflict-resolution skills, and healthy physical and emotional self-care.

Also see Laura’s terrific Sharing Time lesson: “When I Serve A Mission, I Serve God”

-Marci

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Lesson, Life Lessons, Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration, 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

I Know My Savior Lives–2015 Primary Program Invitations

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: this year’s Primary Sacrament Meeting Program invitation.  In years past this has been a popular resource for so many of our readers.  This year we got wiser and started seeking out some good ideas early.  Thanks go to our guest contributor Laura H. who willingly designed and created this fantastic invitation early enough for us to share it with you.

Front of Invitation, page 1

Front of Invitation, page 1

Customize the second page of the invitation by downloading the Word document below and editing the details for your ward’s date, time, and place.

Primary Program Invitation 2015 Final, Page 2 JPEG

Invitation back, page 2

Download and customize this invitation: Primary Program Invitation Word Doc

Once you print both pages simply make double sided copies, cut and distribute to friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and family members.

Here’s some more good ideas for making the most of your Primary Program: Children inviting neighbors, coaches and schoolteachers to Primary Sacrament Meeting Program and Inviting Audience Comments–Primary Sacrament Meeting Presentation

~Michelle, with guest contributor Laura H.

2 Comments

Filed under Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration, Reaching the One, Sacrament Meeting Presentation

Planning for Safety: a fire drill in Primary

MARCI: In our church service, I know we’re helping save spiritual lives. This time we might be helping save a physical life. I’ve never heard any discussions about building safety in meetinghouses. A recent alarm (false alarm, thankfully) left teachers and parents baffled — do they stay with the children in their classes? go find their own children? Michelle and Tina were also in similar false alarm situations and we decided to tackle it together.

MICHELLE: I was sitting in Relief Society one Sunday when I experienced my first fire alarm in the church.  The lesson had just begun, I was juggling my twin babies and trying to pay attention when suddenly a loud repetitive noise began.  It was so unexpected and foreign it took me a minute to register that it was a fire alarm!

No one took it seriously.  In fact, a discussion amongst the sisters ensued about whether or not we should bother evacuating or just continue with the lesson.  Finally, one sister holding a young baby said, “I’m evacuating.”  I looked into the hall and noticed a rush of people. I decided to evacuate as well.  For the first time, the thought crossed my mind that this might be a real fire alarm and I realized I had no idea what that meant for my children in Primary!

We all filed out into the congested hall. The crowd moved at a snail’s pace toward the front main entrance.  On the way I picked up my two Primary-aged kids who were standing near their classrooms with teachers who looked as perplexed as I felt.  I slowly attempted to navigate the crowds with my double stroller, twin babies, and two bigger kiddos while everyone stood around looking confused.  It wasn’t until later that I realized how ridiculous I had been.  In fact, I think I passed at least 4 exits while I was slowly plugging along toward the front door of the church building — the exit we usually use.

Not long ago one of the stake centers in the neighboring town actually burned down on a Sunday during Stake Conference!  I’m guessing that when those fire alarms first sounded, that congregation also wondered if they should bother evacuating.  I thought: Does my ward Primary have a safety plan?  Do the teachers know the nearest exit to their classroom and where to gather outside the building?  As a Primary parent I certainly didn’t know what the plan was (if there was one) so “notifying parents” definitely needed to be on that safety plan so that I didn’t panic and go rushing around trying to collect my children from various classrooms instead of just meeting them outside safely.

TINA: Though we’re still working out the details, here is the tentative safety plan in our ward.

GENERAL IDEAS:

  1. In the case of a suspected emergency, someone–anyone–needs to pull the fire alarm so everyone knows to get out! Don’t wait to investigate the cause.
  2. Stay calm, but take the fire alarm seriously. Even if you think it might be a false alarm, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY and evacuate the building.
  3. The evacuation plan should be posted in EVERY classroom and it needs to be part of the training of each new teacher.
  4. The evacuation plan should be reviewed at least once a year in ward council, with instructions that each auxiliary or quorum should review with their leaders and teachers. The evacuation plan should include identifying several individuals to be trained in how to silence (NOT reset) the fire alarm, and designated individuals to sweep the building (if safe to do so) to ensure it is empty.

LEAVING THE BUILDING

  1. Adults and youth: Get out of the building using the nearest exit (signs should be posted in each room so people know where the nearest exit is).
  2. Children: Stay with your teacher and get out of the building.  Teachers are responsible for each child in their class until they personally hand the child off to a parent.
  3. EVERYONE walks quickly to the gathering place.
  4. Parents will gather their children one by one at the outside gathering place.  Then the head count will be taken by family, not by class.
ACCOUNTABILITY:
  1. Head counts will be done by Priesthood quorum.  Families with no priesthood holder will still be accounted for based on which quorum home teaches them.
  2. Once a family has been accounted for, they should leave the parking lot (drive or walk away).  With fewer people standing around, it’s easier to see what still needs to be done and which kids still need to find parents.
 MARCI: I’d rather be safe (in a hundred false alarms) than sorry (in one I didn’t take seriously). I hope you’ll take this information to your wards and discuss a plan that will work in your building. A ward-level plan may inspire families to come up with similar evacuation plans at home. (See here for ideas from the Family Home Evening Resource Book.) Let’s work together to make sure our children are spiritually safe AND physically safe.

1 Comment

Filed under Parent Involvement, Primary Presidency Administration