When I was a brand new chorister 2 years ago I scoured the web. I hunted down every resource I could find and printed everything in sight. Then, I had a big pile and no real plan of how to put it all together and how to engage with the kids. I was completely overwhelmed with the new calling. I have zero musical talent and can just barely read music. I also was very intimidated to be up in front of a room full of kids, when it feels like I can’t even imagine my own 4 most the time!!
I stumbled across Sharla Dance’s resources, and was hooked. If you need an even more thorough help on how to engage the kids with learning styles, beyond the printable lesson plans here on this blog, check out her presentations and book! They are amazing!!
My blog is not meant to replace Sharla’s resources, but instead my main goal is to share the individual lesson plans I’m making each week for my Primary as a helpful resource for other Primary Music Leaders! One of the biggest challenges I had jumping in with learning styles is understanding what the different ones are and how to incorporate them into Singing Time. Thus, this post here to help outline the main learning styles I’ve learned about and experienced over the past 2 years.
Getting Started Using
Learning Styles in Singing Time
The best way to get started is to jump right in! Don’t be afraid to try something totally new and different in your Primary! This Primary Song Planner Worksheet will be incredibly helpful to give you starting point ideas for coming up with your own activities by song for each of these learning styles.
It will be a wonderful resource for you to quickly and easily plan a variety of activities for the whole year — really! See how I plan my entire year of singing time at the beginning of the year. There’s several other great resources in that post that can also help you stay organized and on top of things.
Another key resource that can really help you to dive in with trying a variety of learning styles is this post I shared on a typical singing time. I usually plan on 3 activities each week, with 3 different songs. Sometimes, we’ll only get through 2 of the activities, but either way I’m prepared with three and have the flexibility to easily adjust my lesson based on how the kids are responding to an activity.
Using a variety of activities each week really helps them stay engaged and also helps you direct their energy. For example, you can start with an active song with a living music or movement activity, then help them come back down from the energy with a logical problem or a spiritual activity to provide a change of pace. From there, lead right into a visual lesson plan to round out your Singing Time.
8 Learning Styles for Singing Time
1. Kinesthetic / Purposeful Movement Learning Style
Let the kids get out their wiggles with meaningful movement that can also help create a link to the lyrics in a way that will help them remember the song! Examples of purposeful movements could be sign language, body rhythms, using ribbon wands, or even marching following the leader.
There’s lots of ways to use movement to help the kids have a meaningful experience while learning and singing the song over and over! Get started with incorporating movement with these 12 Purposeful Movement Activities!
2. Representation of Words Learning Style
Help the kids better connect with the words with a variety of activities to help the words and meaning come together! Some of my favorite word activities include eraser pass, action words, and unscrambled word strips!
These ideas may seem intimidating to use with Junior primary, but they’ll work better than you think! There may be a couple that might be best for Senior only, but don’t be afraid to give them a try. See this post for 12 Word Activities for Singing Time.
3. Logical Conclusions Learning Style
Grab the attention of the reluctant few in Primary with a logic activity! Examples could include a crack the code, melody chart, rebus, or even a compare and contrast activity. These types of activities work great for getting those that don’t want to sing involved and still having very meaningful experiences with the songs! They’ll be trying to figure out how a pattern or puzzle fits the song and gets their brains whirling.
Logic-based activities might be the trickiest category to really catch onto when you’re just starting to add a variety of learning styles, but it’s one of my favorites up there with movement and living music, so don’t hesitate to jump in! These 12 Logical Conclusion activities for Singing Time can help you jump right in with ease.
4. Visual Intrigue Learning Style
You are likely very used to relying on visual cues to help teach and review the Primary songs. But hear me out, there’s a lot of different ways to add visual interest for the kiddos in Primary. For example, you could have the kids create keywords with playdoh or try to unscramble a picture representation of the song. One of my favorites is having the kids help you draw the song!
I’ve shared how each of these 12 Visual Intrigue activities work over in that post. Use it as the perfect avenue to expand your options for Singing Time with new, and fun, visual activities!
5. Spiritual Connection Learning Style
One of the most important things we can do during our time with the kids in Primary is to teach them what the Spirit feels like and give them the courage and confidence to recognize and acknowledge that they have felt the Spirit! It doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic, or out of the ordinary experience, which is what I think sometimes catches people up.
Make a point to take some quiet moments during Singing Time, amidst all of the fun and games, to just be a little still and let the Spirit do the teaching.
Some very impactful ways of doing this including Song stories, silent videos, or even just playing a special arrangement and having everyone simply listen. In this post, I’m explaining 12 different Spiritual Connection Activities for Singing Time.
6. People Interactions Learning Style
We have a great opportunity to help the kids learn how to interact and work together while building social skills during Singing Time! For those that are a “people person” and thrive off of social interactions, there’s nothing better you can do to help them engage with your singing time activity then by adding in some partner elements.
A few examples of this learning style include: small group tasks, partner arm swings, and a competition game (everyone loves those).
Find even more ways to incorporate People Interaction Activities in Singing Time in this helpful post with 12 examples.
7. Living Music Learning Style
Break out the instruments (and creative homemade instruments, too) for this fun learning style that everyone will be drawn to! We love using instruments in my Primary. Some of our very favorite instruments are paper plates, rhythm sticks, and egg shakers — but we also have a special place for hand bells, too!
It’s always fun and exciting for everyone when the instruments come out and it’s easy to add tons of repetition, too. The key to using this learning style is to have supplies ready for the teachers so they can help you pass out, and collect, to reduce the transition times. See a big variety of Living Music Activities for Singing Time over here.
8. Awareness of Nature and Senses Learning Style
Incorporating the kids’ senses and a variety of symbols from nature can be a great way to add object lessons and meaningful connection to the world around them. This learning style doesn’t always come naturally, but we can help our Primary kids blossom in this learning style with fun hands-on activities. Such as engaging their senses with a variety of scented oils or bringing in a sensory bin as you talk about touch and texture.
This post with 7 Nature and Senses Activities will give you guidance to get started creating your own meaningful lessons tailored to this learning style!
What has your experience been like using learning styles in Singing Time? Does your Primary have a “favorite” learning style?