I’ve received a few comments and felt a little bit called out in the Primary Music Leaders Facebook Group that maybe my lesson plans and ideas shared here were more “teaching” and less “singing.”
I also saw confusion about how I could included so many different activities all in one singing time. I’ve been pondering on these questions and comments and felt it would be best to share what a typical singing time looks, for me.
Example of a Typical Singing Time
A Little Background Information:
- We are a split Primary with about 15 kids in Junior Primary and 20 kids in Senior Primary.
- Junior Primary is first, and my Primary kids always RACE to the Primary room, so our transition time is next to nothing after Sacrament meeting.
- My Primary Presidency has decided to combine several classes and have the teachers teach twice (back-to-back) so only the Primary Presidency is in the Primary room with me, plus the Sunbeam teachers.
- I generally come prepared with 3 activities, to keep the kids engaged, but will skip activities if we run out of time or the kids are really engaged in a particular activity I’ll keep with that one longer instead of switching.
- Don’t stress about TEACHING the song. Like the actual lyrics and words. I literally just sing the songs over and over with a fun and meaningful activity that makes it so the repetition does not feel boring. In fact, we’re usually all eager to sing the song again and again to continue the fun activity!
- You can hold a flip chart up, or pin it to the board or have a child help you hold one. This can help the teachers and the readers sing with you, so it’s not just a solo. I also often use hand actions to represent the different words so they can follow along even if they are not readers.
:00 – :10 – Transition Time and Wiggle Songs / Junior Primary:
I have a short list of 3 songs from the monthly teacher and home Come, Follow Me lesson manuals that I have decided to sing with the kids if and when there is available transition time.
I usually have between 3-7 minutes and we will sing through the wiggle songs with any time we have available. If I make it through the 3 prepared songs, we’ll go ahead and start Primary early — more time for actual singing time!
But overall this helps the kids settle into Primary and helps with the flow of the meeting as they can get out some energy and then be ready for a talk/scripture/prayer.
:10 – :15 – Opening Exercises:
My Primary Presidency takes the lead and starts with an opening prayer and Article of Faith. They’ll have the same child do both of these two items.
The decided to focus on the Articles of Faith as the scriptures seemed to change every week and were a little confusing to try to pinpoint a specific scripture.
We posted the Articles of Faith (with the first 2 for January) right on the podium so they’re really easy for the kids to read!
Next, there will be a talk, if any was prepared during the week. Otherwise, they’ll ask if someone wants to share a testimony or experience they had this past week.
My Presidency is amazing at being short and sweet with their opening exercises with no extra fluff!
:15 – :35 – Junior Singing Time:
I have picked out 3 out of our 10 total Primary Program songs to sing this month, all the songs will be rotated throughout the year. Additionally, I have picked 2 songs from the teachers lesson manuals to specifically included one week only in relation to the lesson manual.
This week was one of those weeks – so we had activities for 2 program songs and 1 activity for a lesson manual song.
I’ll share exactly what I did last Sunday, to help you get an idea of the structure, flow, and time frame for each of my activities. You can see my entire January lesson plan here, and notice I’m flexible and change things as needed!
1st Activity — Come, Follow Me: Oops I dropped the pictures. (About 4-5 minutes)
We started by singing through the song, first. I brought in 6 different pictures from Christ’s life in sheet protectors. I took them out of my singing time binder and dropped them all, “oops!”.
I asked the kids if they could help me pick them up! I had eager volunteers that rushed up.
Each helper then held onto one of the pictures, and we sang through the song. We rotated with new helpers to hold the pictures and sang through the song 2 more times until everyone got a turn.
We sang Come, Follow Me four times with a simple activity.
2nd Activity — Choose the Right Way: Missing Word Activity. (About 7-8 minutes)
We started by singing through the song first. I will almost always have us sing through the song once, before we start any activity. It’s just a nice and easy way to transition to the next song and activity and without any other “distractions.”
Then, I posted up the missing words printable and ask them to notice what the symbols and missing words might be. We sang through the song again while they looked at the posters to notice patterns.
In Junior, I pointed along the poster as we sang along to help them link the words with the symbols.
I then asked if anyone knew what one of the symbols represented. Several children raised their hands and I called on one of them.
They identified “happy” and I taught them a simple action to do in place of the word (or in addition to the word if they choose to).
We sang through the song again with the new action. “There’s a right way to live and be ____ (Clap-Clap)…”
I continued having the kids identify one of the missing words and introducing a new action. In Junior you can do just the new action ONLY each time you sing through or do them all, it’s up to you!
Finally, I asked if anyone could do all 4 actions and show us how it’s done. Anyone who wanted to participate could come up front (and even look at the posters) and we all sang together one last time.
We sang through Choose the Right Way with this really fun and easy activity 7 times.
3rd Activity — A Child’s Prayer- Team Band. (About 7-8 minutes)
Again, we sang through A Child’s Prayer 1st and 2nd verse (no combined verse) before introducing an activity.
I then quickly showed the children the two instruments we would be using and how each would be used and correspond with the verse. The bells for only the 1st verse and the rhythm sticks would only be used on the 2nd verse.
I then had the teachers pass out the instruments with some children in each class holding bells and others holding rhythm sticks. They had a small tote bag each so they could quickly and easily pass out the instruments (and collect them at the end).
We sang through A Child’s Prayer again this time with instruments. Then I asked the children to hold their instruments very still. I asked if anyone knew the story of Elizabeth and Zachariah. One child came up to recap the story.
I then told them how they prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed a really long time for a child. I told them that Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, too. He doesn’t always answer right away and not always with the answer we want, but he will answer us.
I said to them that this is why we are learning this song this week to remember that we can pray for the things we are seeking or that we might have questions about.
I then asked the children to switch instruments and we sang through A Child’s Prayer one last time.
We sang A Child’s Prayer 3 times through with activity and a gentle teaching moment.
:35 – :55 Senior Singing Time:
We are still working out the kinks in transitioning the Senior Primary into the Primary room. This week, the kids were not even out of their classrooms and waiting by the Primary door at 10:35, so we lost a few minutes there.
I’ll be working with the secretary to make sure the classes are dismissed at :30 after so they have time for drinks and bathroom breaks and be ready for Primary!
With losing a few minutes, we skipped Come, Follow Me this week and went straight to Choose the Right Way.
I followed the same structure as above, but we added each action so that by the end we were doing all 4 actions at once! I also did not point through the song and symbols chart in Senior, as they are all able to read and didn’t need any extra assistance.
For A Child’s Prayer we did the exact same format. These two activities took about 16 minutes combined and it was time for closing exercises.
:55 – :60 Closing Exercises:
We have decided to have our closing exercises at the very end to make it easier for parents to come in if they want to listen to the talk and it helps streamline the timeline with everything lumped together including the Article of Faith, Talk, and Prayer all at the end.
We ended Primary with about a minute to spare and the kids were asked to tidy up the chairs into nice rows again for the next ward and wait for their parents before leaving the Primary room.
This Singing Time Clock Cover really, really helps me to stay on schedule and know at a quick glance exactly how much time I have left.
And that’s it! If I have any activities I didn’t get to during the week, it’s helpful as a backup for future weeks or to swap something I maybe had planned on doing, but didn’t get to planning during a busy week I can resort back to a different activity I didn’t get to use!
If you have questions about this structure or how to implement it, leave me a comment or poke around this website! There’s lots of resources that can help!