Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Singing and Sharing Time

This past Sunday my chorister was out of town, so I was planning on filling in and doing singing time. The counselor that was going to be doing sharing time was not going to be able to be there Sunday either so I turned it into a combined Thanksgiving lesson that worked out great. 

I came across THIS BLOG from Pinterest and thought it was a great idea. I printed out the turkey pages she made and colored them. I had some balloons that I started to blow up and attach the turkey pieces to but my balloons were so old that they kept POPPING. I hate balloons popping and it was stressing me out!!! To the point that at 9:30 at night, I drove to the dollar store to get fresh balloons. As I was prepping my turkeys, I had the great idea to use a nerf gun to shoot the turkeys rather than use a bean bag. I texted my bishop to see if he was ok with me letting the kids shoot a nerf gun in the building. I wasn't sure if it was considered a weapon. I didn't want his son going home and saying that I let the kids shoot guns in Primary and be released (shortest Primary Presidency ever, ha!). Luckily he was cool with the idea and even offered to bring one to church for me to use!

I had originally planned to follow her idea of writing songs on the back and then have the kids shoot the turkey and sing the song on the back of the one they hit for the singing time portion. I'd planned on doing another activity for sharing time, but Sunday morning while getting ready, I thought of another idea to combine it all. 

Junior Primary
I had 6 balloon turkeys. On the front of each turkey I wrote a way to sing a song: girls only, boys only, hum, fast, slow, and spinning in circles.
I brought my brother's nerf gun (holds 6 bullets), you could use a bean bag too
I printed out pictures to represent different things I am grateful for: family, friends, Jesus, scriptures, temple, my home, food, doctors, animals, electricity, the earth and teachers
I wrote song titles and page numbers on slips of paper. (If I had the idea early enough, I'd have made another turkey out of construction paper and wrote the songs on the feathers for the kids to pick)
I cut printer paper in half, enough so that each child could have half a sheet as well as crayons
Have a blanket, sheet or towel. (Our primary room is often freezing so we always have blankets in there already)

Singing and Sharing Time
I started by showing each picture and saying why I was grateful for each one. After I talked about each one, I put it on the board. 
Then I told them that I would have a helper (my secretary) hold up the blanket and I would take away one of the pictures. They would raise their hands and when called on, tell me what was missing. If they were right, they would get a chance to shoot a turkey.
They stood only a few feet away and I gave them 4+ chances.
I picked a song paper up (looking back I really wish I could have had the kids pick the songs off of turkey feathers but you can't win them all)
Whatever turkey that shot, we would sing the song that way.
It was a blast. Especially singing/acting out head shoulders knees and toes while spinning in circles wearing new 4 inch stilettos :)
We had lots of time and not a ton of kids so we shot turkeys until everyone had a turn.
For the last 5-10 minutes, I told that kids that I had shown them a lot of pictures of things I was grateful for but I wanted to see a picture of what they were grateful for.
We passed out the papers and crayons and each drew a picture that I will be displaying on the wall for a little while.

Senior Primary
I used the same turkeys with the same action words
I used the same nerf gun as well
I changed up some of the songs
I planned on one of my senior boys being my cohost and bringing papers, a timer and the letter dice or letter scrabble tiles to play scattegories but I forgot to text and remind his mom. So I quickly wrote and cut out letters on paper, used a cell phone as a timer and used the back of the pictures I'd printed from JR primary.

Singing and Sharing time
My SR primary is much rowdier than JR so I warned them that we would be playing a really fun game, but if things started to get out of control and they started to get too loud and crazy, we would have to stop. They were very attentive after that!
Since it wasn't a huge group, I had them break off into pairs (we had one group of three). I gave each group a piece of paper and pencil.
We played gratitude scattegories. I picked out a letter at random. They then had one minute to write as many things they could think of that they were greatful for that started with that letter.
Then we went pair by pair reading out their list. Just like in scattegories, if another group had written the same thing, they crossed it out and they wouldn't get a point for it. For everything they wrote that no other group wrote, they got a point. 
The team with the most points won that round and they would get to pick the song and shot the turkey to see how to sing it.
Since they are bigger, I had them stand a lot farther away and only gave them two shots. If they missed, we sang the song normally.
 We were able to get about 5 rounds in and the kids loved it! Some of them had some creative answers. My favorite had to be for the letter P-paradisaical glory! I would have never thought of that in a million years!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Primary President

I always say that I am going to start blogging again, but it only lasts a week or two and then months and months will go by with no posts. We'll see how long I can last this time. :)
Last month, I was called to be the Primary President of our ward. At the age of 25, I feel like I have been in Primary most of my life, 10 years as a child, 5 years as a leader. I've been a primary teacher, secretary, 1st and 2nd counselor. But being Primary President has been a bit of an adjustment.

The Sunday of our Primary Program, the bishop saw me in the hall and asked me if my husband and I could meet with him after church. I was curious what it could be about. It was rumored that the current primary president would be released soon because she had been in the calling for three years. I assumed we would be getting a joint calling after I was released from Primary because of the release of the presidency. Why else would he want to talk to both of us? Right? As we were waiting in the hall with my little brother, Paul, we were joking about what calling it would be. Paul asked what I would do if I was being called to be Primary President. I laughed and said, "I would so not a chance and walk away" Wouldn't you know that's what I was being called as? When Bishop Swan said it, Patrick and I looked at each other and just started laughing. Of course I didn't really say not a chance.

I am nervous and excited and overwhelmed and anxious and just really want to do the best that I can in this new calling. It is certainly the biggest responsibility I have had thus far in the Church, especially since our ward combined with the Atlantic City Spanish branch at the end of the summer. Our primary has almost doubled and the dynamic is very different with the new children. My goals are to 1. get to know all the kids names! 2. Get them to open up, Some of the kids are so shy that they won't say a word. I want them to comfortable and happy with us. 3 Get the kids to intermingle. They sit with their class, but they still seem so separate. The Spanish kids sit together and the English kids sit together. They all speak English so luckily that is not much of a problem. Overall, I just want everyone to feel included and loved in our Primary, including our teachers.

Please join me on this new journey. I will try to post my thoughts, ideas, lessons and activities regarding Primary as well as my personal life here on this blog weekly. Hopefully I will be able to make this a habit and it will last longer than a month :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sharing Time- Prophets Testify of Jesus Christ

I'm in charge of Sharing Time again this week. Here are my thoughts about what I am going to do.

I feel like the outline this week is very appropriate for Senior Primary but difficult for Junior Primary to pay attention and participate. This is the outline that is suggested...

Encourage understanding: 
Before sharing time, place a picture of Jesus Christ on the board and cover the picture with pictures of the following prophets: Isaiah, John the Baptist, Nephi, and Joseph Smith. Assign one of the following scriptures to each class: Isaiah 9:6; Mark 1:6–8; 2 Nephi 25:26; Doctrine and Covenants 76:20–24. Have the children read the scripture with their class and identify which prophet is testifying and what he testifies about Jesus Christ. Have one class point to the picture of the prophet they read about and share with the Primary what they learned. Take the picture of the prophet off the board. Repeat with the other three prophets. Point to the picture of Christ and tell the children that all prophets testify of Jesus Christ.
Tip: Having children read from their own scriptures reinforces the importance of the scriptures and invites the Spirit. If possible, invite the children to look up at least one of the references with you. You can help the children find the reference by giving the page number and pointing to the verse in your scriptures. Consider reading the verse together out loud.

My littles aren't able to read let alone read scriptures... So this is what I am thinking for Junior Primary
Remind them about the prophets we talked about last week and ask why we have prophets? The job of a prophet is to testify of Jesus Christ
Then I will show the Mormon Message- He Lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ
I like that they can see and hear testimonies from living apostles and prophets. And let’s be honest, who doesn't like videos!
Then we will talk about the other responsibilities of a prophet: speak for Heavenly Father to teach us what is right
We will play charades acting out something that prophets have taught us: be nice, say your prayers, read your scriptures etc. I'll let the kids take turns and tell me what they will act out before they do it so I can help give them ideas if needed (kids can say and do some funny things).

Another idea that I want to do is Don't Eat the Prophet
I had planned on doing it last week. I had created the board and everything when I realized it was fast Sunday! Bummer! The game is no fun without eating candy! So I did something different. Now that I think about it, it would probably be better for a singing time rather than sharing time.

How to play: 
Print out game board (I got the majority of the photos from this blog)

Have one child leave the room
The rest of the children agree on one prophet to be "it"
 Have a piece of candy or cereal on each square.
When the child comes back in he/she eats a piece of candy one at a time until he reaches the prophet that has been chosen to be "it" 
While the child is eating the candies, the primary can sing "Follow the Prophet"
When he/she eats that candy the rest of the primary stops singing and shouts "Don't eat the prophet!" And that child's turn is over.

Senior Primary
I will mostly follow the outline for the senior primary starting with setting up the pictures of Isaiah, John the Baptist, Nephi and Joseph Smith covering a photo of Jesus Christ.
 I'll have the children read each of the scriptures. After each scripture, we will talk about what the scripture says and who is testifying. I'll then move the picture of that prophet.
 When the picture of Christ is finally shown, we'll talk about how prophets testify of Christ, including our prophet today.
I'll show the Mormon Message- He lives: Testimonies of Jesus Christ to them like I did the Junior Primary.
If there is time left over, I'll do charades with them too but I don't think that there will be.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sharing Time- Prophets are called by God

I am going to try to get back on the blogging train here after my year long hiatus. Last month, I was released as a councilor in the Young Women and have been called as a councilor in the Primary. I was in Primary before going to Young Women, so I was familiar with the way things are, but it has changed quite a bit. 

The first time around, our Senior and Junior Primary were combined for singing and sharing time. Now in the second hour, the Senior Primary is in class while the Junior Primary is in singing and sharing time. Then they switch, the Junior Primary goes to class while Senior Primary is in singing time and sharing time. 

That has been a big adjustment. Our Junior Primary is very well behaved for their age group. They do however need a lot of activity to stay interested. They can't read and need help answering questions. I often miss having some older kids in with them to help them out. Our Senior Primary is extremely loud and active. They have difficulty staying seated, but they are smart and can answer more difficult questions and like reading scriptures. 

I was in charge of sharing time this week. Because they are so different, I prepared two different sharing times.

Junior Primary

 I put pictures of Daniel, Jonah, Moses, Lehi, Joseph Smith, Noah, Adam and Thomas S Monson on the board.
I wrote two clues for each of the prophets, one on each piece of paper with a question mark on the back.
With the help of my husband, I hid the clues around the room.
I also wrote out the words,Prophets Are Called By God, on separate pieces of paper.
I taped the words under random chairs.

Sharing Time:
I started my sharing time by having the kids look under their chairs to see if they had a paper and those who did came up to the front of the room and stood in a row. With the help of the couple littles that have started learning to read, read the words. I asked if that sentence made sense and they all yelled "NO!" I moved them around so that the words were in order and we read it again. I then talked a little about prophets and why they are important.

I then pointed out the pictures on the board of the prophets and said all of there names. I explained that I would choose someone sitting very reverent to find a clue about a prophet to match to the right picture. The kids loved searching for clues and did well matching them up.

Senior Primary 

Pictures of Moses, Lehi, Joseph Smith and Thomas S Monson.
Popsicle sticks with the bottom of the sticks colored, one for each student and three different colors.
A list of facts about President Monson

Sharing Time:
I started the sharing time the same way as with the Junior Primary having the kids look under their chairs for a paper and come to the front. I told them that the order didn't matter but they were too smart and arranged themselves in order.
I then split the kids up into groups three groups by passing out popsicles with different colored tips. Each group was given a prophet (Lehi, Moses or Joseph Smith) to keep secret from the other groups. In their groups, they came up with five clues for their prophet. When we came back together, one child read out their group's clues. Moses was the hardest for the kids to guess.
We were running out of time, so I closed by I telling them that I had a prophet for them to guess. I read out my clues. They were pretty confused until I mentioned that he could wiggle his ears.  bearing my testimony about prophets. Had I had more time, I would have had them read the scriptures from the outline: Moses- Exodus 3:4-5; Lehi- 1 Nephi 1:5-6; Joseph Smith- Joseph Smith History 1:16-17