I took the time this week to sit down and plan out all my lesson plans for January through September.
I also have down a rough outline for the last quarter of the year, as well, but decided to leave the last part of the year a little open in case inspiration strikes and I need to change or add songs to my end of the year plan.
In this post, I’m going to share how I quickly, and easily, planned out a year of singing time lessons! I didn’t just say, for example, “egg shakers”, and call my lesson done. I even went as far as planning out the basic outline and flow of each of my ideas.
Now, each week of the year I can refer to my outlined plan and make any fine tuning needed and prepare for the week with ease! Even on the busiest weeks of the upcoming year, I’ll be able to confidently show up each Sunday with an idea and a plan, even with only a few minutes prep on Sunday morning.
How to Plan a Year of
Primary Singing Time Lessons
1. Pick Out Your Songs for the Year.
The Come, Follow Me Primary songs for the year gives choristers the flexibility and freedom to select the songs that best fit your Primary’s individual needs.
To pick out my songs for the year I looked over the three suggested songs for each week. I considered the following things, when selecting my songs for the year:
- What the weekly lesson topics talked about
- Songs my Primary already knows (to give more variety)
- How the songs flow and fit together
- Inspiration and Guidance from the Spirit
I’ve created 2 helpful guides to make it super easy to pick your songs for the year! First, use this Come, Follow Me: 4-Year Song Lists Comparison Chart to see which songs are taught in multiple years or in each of the Come, Follow Me years to avoid duplication!
The second resource is my Suggested 4-Year Rotation of Come, Follow Me Songs. I poured over the lists and tried my very best to come up with a combination that fit the Come, Follow Me themes, didn’t repeat any of the songs, and added a variety of songs (reverent, slow and pretty, upbeat, etc) to each year. This is a really great starting point to use, then adjust and make your own list!!
After looking through the week’s lessons and ultimately deciding on the month’s song, I’d add the song to my list and move onto the next week.
You can add songs outside of the suggested list as long as they are from the Children’s Songbook or in the Friend Magazine. Other songs may be approved by your Bishop or Branch President.
When I had taken the time to pour over the list and plan for my songs, I then went to the Primary Presidency and made sure my list was in line with what they were thinking. I have a very trusting and loving presidency who quickly said the list looked great and was grateful for all my planning.
The instructions to teach that we should plan the songs together, so be sure to consultant with your presidency when planning your song list or take it to be approved, if you have a hands-off presidency.
2. Plan Focus Songs for the Month.
After you have picked out your main songs for the Primary Program Presentation, you’ll then want to pick a couple of main songs to work on for the month. I personally plan to sing 2-3 songs each week during Singing Time. See my Example Singing Time for how I structure my lessons!
I also plan a short wiggle songs for Junior Primary for when they get to the Primary room before the start of Primary. I plan out all of those songs for the year to create a song list for my Pianist and for me to work off of, as well.
This year, I’ll be including 2 songs from the monthly outline that are used in the home and classroom setting to add a little extra variety to my singing time.
I will also teach and work on 3 of the Primary Program songs throughout the month. This lets me keep teaching the songs throughout the year and keeps interest and variety in each singing time lesson!
3. Create Lesson Ideas with our Song Planner Worksheet.
The Song Planner Worksheet outlines 80 different basic singing time ideas with a variety of learning styles that make it a cinch to pick out 8 different lessons for each song you need to plan throughout the year.
The worksheet is a huge resource to help you quickly and easily pick out a variety of singing time ideas in literally minutes per song!
That post will show you how to fill in and use the Song Planner, so head over there, then come right back!
4. Fill in Your Month and Year Plan.
By now, you know all your songs for the year, including any additional songs you want to include. You have all your ideas outlined for the main songs you want to teach. It’s as easy, now as picking and choosing and filling in your year!
Looking at my list of songs for the month, I’ll grab my song planner worksheets for those songs I’ll focus on during the month.
I’ll then pick and choose activities for each week (here’s an example) that will give variety to learning styles and keep things interesting. I also try to limit it to one instrument/manipulative next week and try to include one movement activity each week.
You can see my January 2019’s monthly plan list here — if it helps give you ideas!
For example, you could do a Logical activity to start, then move onto a Living Music activity to get the kids moving, and then close with a Spiritual Connection to wind the kids back down. This resource on teaching by Learning Styles in Primary will be SOO helpful!
I try to plan one of the activities to be short (2-5 minutes) to give more time to engage with some of the naturally longer activities like using instruments. Cut down on your transition times by having everything each class will need ready and with the teacher to pass out when needed.
How the Yearly Singing Time
Lesson Plan Looks in Action
You may want to refer to this post on what one of my typical singing time weeks look like, to see how I structure everything to see the bigger picture.
When my planning is all done, I have a couple of resources to fall back on throughout the year:
- Monthly Song Lists for the Entire Year
- 8 Singing Time Ideas for Each Song
- Weekly/Monthly/Yearly Plan for Singing Time
This gives me the flexibility to move lesson plans around, should something come up, or add in another activity for a song the children might be struggling to learn during the year.
Head over to my shop to grab my Primary Music Leader Singing Time Binder Planner to give you EVERYTHING you need to quickly and easily plan out your Singing Time lessons!
I print out a full year’s copy of the song list for my pianist in January. I also put a copy in my Singing Time Binder, as well. I also store my Song Planner Worksheets in my binder and my year’s breakdown of lesson plans.
You can see how I organize and setup my Singing Time Binder in this helpful post on my other blog!
I use pen and paper for the Song Planner Worksheet, but then transfer all the ideas into a Word doc on my computer so I can easily copy/paste or drag/drop the ideas and move them around as I go throughout the year. With my Singing Time Binder Planner worksheets, you can easily fill in everything digitally!!
How far in advance did you used to plan out your singing time lessons?