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Staying Organized, Part 2 – Singing Time Binder

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Camille's Primary Ideas: Stay organized during singing time by putting together a singing time binder
As promised (and I know everyone’s totally excited, right?), here’s how I keep myself together for singing time in Primary….my Singing Time Binder.
 
I’d be lost without it. It’s funny though because it’s not very full and it’s not huge (it’s the 1/2 inch size). It contains only the essentials. The rest stays home in my files (maybe I’ll do a staying organized part 3 with my filing/storage system…it would be good motivation to get it more presentable. Anyone interested?).
 
So here’s a look into my infamous binder…
 
As I said in part one, the front cover contains my “Singing Time Schedule.” You can find that HERE if you missed it.
 
On to the inside:

The first pocket is where I keep my lesson plan notes (if I feel that I need it jotted down because it’s a little complex). I also keep anything I need give to others like my monthly schedules, copies of music for the pianist, my tithing envelope ;), etc. My goal for this pocket is for it to come home empty each week!!
 
Next up is what I keep in the rings…

I’ve mentioned before, I post the words to almost EVERY song we sing in Primary. This includes our reverence song, birthday song, welcome song and scripture song. I also post words to the song I’m teaching for singing time (these words, however, are not always displayed depending on our activity).
 
I try to put one verse and the chorus per page. The easiest way to do this is to use the words from the Church’s Music Website found HERE and then copy and paste them into a Word document, make it landscape, center it, enlarge it as big as you can, decrease the margins and print using your low-ink printer settings. On the back, write with a pencil the name of the song, what verse and its page number. Throw it in a plastic cover sheet and into the binder.


UPDATE:  Since posting this, I’ve created a tab up near the top of the page called “Posting Words” where I’m continually adding all the songs I’ve typed into this format.
 
To use it, I simply place it over the back of my music stand and raise the stand up so the whole primary can see it. If the kids complain that they can’t see it, I just tell them to move closer to the front. I’ve had SO many teachers thank me for posting the words to the songs! They said they like to sing but are often just unfamiliar with the words. The same goes for the older kids who can read (they’ve just never verbally come and thanked me – maybe one day!).
 
When I’ve finished for the week, I file the pages in order in a file folder alphabetically by song title so I can use them the next time I sing that song. I’ve done this for 4 years now and by only printing about 4 songs per month, I’ve probably printed about half the songs in the songbook.  You can find that post HERE.
 
So behind my plastic cover sheets containing words to songs, I keep copies of the songs from current and past years’ outlines:

(Scripture Power, I’ll Follow Him in Faith, If the Savior Stood Beside Me, The Family is of God, My Eternal Family, I Know That My Savior Loves Me, If I Listen with My Heart, As a Child of God). I can’t tell you how many times these have come in handy. Like the pianist needing a copy for prelude, the person doing sharing time wants to sing one, etc. You can find all of these HERE if you need.
 
Then I also have other items I like to have handy:
 
A list of all the songs in my Wiggle Worm jar including page numbers (find my jar HERE):

A list of all the songs on the CD that I made (see how I make CD’s HERE):

This comes in handy when I’m putting together my monthly Singing Time Schedule. I can quickly glance and see what songs correspond with this month’s theme and put them in as our reverence songs.
 

Then the back pocket:

Here’s where I keep my “Hot ‘N Cold” note. I can rely on this little guy in times of need (like the Bishopric member who did sharing time only took 5 minutes, my singing time activity is falling apart, I have extra time, etc). You can see how I use it HERE.
 

Then the back cover:

This is where I store the current Outline for Sharing Time. It’s just always handy to have.
 

And that’s that! I would strongly suggest choristers arm themselves with a handy, dandy binder. I even put one together for my pianist…her front and back covers are the same as mine and the inside contains any music we sing/have sung that’s not in the Children’s Songbook.

Find all my posts in my “Staying Organized” series HERE.

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Make singing time easy!

Follow my monthly schedule!

It is simple, but it works! Keep yourself, your pianist, any substitutes and those conducting primary on the same page.

Camille's Primary Ideas: Monthly Singing Time Schedule

16 thoughts on “Staying Organized, Part 2 – Singing Time Binder”

  1. Avatar

    Love your blog…I'm a new chorister and need lots of helpful hints like this. How you print the words to each song is great and I'm giving this a try this week.

  2. Avatar

    I like your organizational tips. I am organizationally challenged and it makes all those who have to work with me suffer. I like your ideas and think they will help. Will you post your template for Singing Time Schedule? I am computer challenged also 🙁 (I looked on primusic but didn't see it there either)

  3. Avatar

    Mary, if you go to my Staying Organized Part 1, I posted my template. Just high light the template portion, right click on it, copy it, then open up a Word Document and paste it there. Or you can just re-type everything in a Word document as it's VERY simple.

    I hope that helps!

    ~Camille

  4. Avatar

    I'm finding more and more stuff on your blog that I would love to use. You have such great ideas and I'm glad I have a spot to turn to for new activities!

  5. Avatar

    Thank you so much for this Camille! I just called as the Primary Chorister TODAY and I'm . . . nervous. BUT I do feel better after visiting Pinterest (which is where I found you!) and watching the Church's training videos. Now I feel inspired and hopeful.

    Thank you for giving me a place to start!

  6. Avatar

    Oh, I'm so excited I found this!! Primary Chorister is my dream job, but I have felt unorganized…this is going to save me!!:) Thank you!!

    1. Avatar

      I do it the same for both Jr. and Sr. Some of the Jr. primary can read, or are learning so they feel old when they can read it.

      But yes, it's maily for the teachers and myself! When I step in front of the music stand, it comes in handy because the type is much bigger than my book and I can be all over the front teaching and still have the words available.

      ~Camille

  7. Avatar

    Thanks for the help! I need to be better about just keeping with me what I need. I am going to break my shoulder lugging my bag in. One question though? I looked through your wiggle worm songs and I was wondering if you post words to some of those songs? If so do you keep them at church? I know there were several of your wiggle worm songs that my primary does not know but it would be nice for them to learn. I guess my bag is so heavy because I am not organized enough to have planned out exactly which songs I need each week and want to keep everything on hand.

  8. Avatar

    Hi LIse!

    There ARE several Wiggle Worm songs that my primary doesn't know. That said, when I pull them out, I usually skip them (slyly of course!). If I had it completely together, I'd keep a binder in the closet that had every single song available to post words in order by page number (written on the back). Then each Sunday, I could post the words to any song in the songbook at any given moment! Wouldn't that be ideal?

    Maybe to simplify that idea, I'd suggest starting with just the Wiggle Worm songs – keep them in a binder near the jar so when you pull out the jar, you can pull out the words as well. I hope maybe that would help!

    ~Camille

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It is simple and it works! Keep yourself, your pianist, any substitutes and those conducting primary on the same page.