Well, we all survived the changes made in singing time for 2019! Now that we’re all comfortable (or at least getting there!), it’s time to start planning and thinking about music for singing time in 2020!
You find the direct link HERE at churchofjesuschrist.org.
There are 3 suggested songs for each month of the year. If you want to teach all 3, you can. If you want to focus on 1, you can! You decide what works best for you and your primary and go from there.
Here are a few of my personal thoughts in order to try and fit it all in while keeping my sanity!
After discussing it with the primary presidency, I’ve chosen one of the suggested songs for the months January – August that will be sung during the primary program (the program is suggested to be in the last quarter of the year – my preference is the last Sunday in September even though I know that’s technically not in the 4th quarter!). I made my song choices for each month based on what our primary knows LEAST, (or that I’ve never taught before) in order to bring in more variety to singing time (my choices are below). I’ve also incorporated 1 hymn (1st verse only).
For the other 2 suggested songs that we won’t be learning for the program, I will be treating them like an opening song to singing time (or what I like to call a “scripture song”) that we’ll rotate singing every other week during that month. I like to sing these songs while posting words like I do HERE then asking the children how they think this song relates to anything they’ve been studying with Come Follow Me at home. It doesn’t take long, just a few minutes.
With this set up, I’ll still be able to keep up my current rotation of 2 weeks working on that month’s program song, 1 week singing something seasonal or holiday (which a lot of times we need to prepare something to sing in sacrament meeting like on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Christmas, etc.) and 1 week to review the songs we’ve learned for the year. All while singing everything that has been suggested. It’s a win, win! You can find more information on my monthly scheduling HERE if that helps.
For our primary’s Christmas gift each year, I like to create a CD with ALL of the suggested songs. See how I do that HERE. This way I’ll be able to get all the songs to the kids, helping them to sing them at home during the upcoming year. I know that CD’s are being phased out but I still think that most cars have a CD player (at least our family’s van does!). But there are multiple ways of getting primary music home. You can create YouTube playlists, email music files, etc. If you have more suggestions, let me know!
September/October is typically program review time for most primaries so the suggested songs during those months are usually treated as opening songs to singing time each week. Then November and December I can teach as many of the suggested songs that I like while rotating in seasonal singing time lesson plans (like Thanksgiving and Christmas).
To help you stay organized throughout the year, I’ll have a 2020 Planner and Scheduler coming soon! You can check out last year’s HERE.
You can also check out my most recent monthly singing time schedule posts HERE that have detailed lesson plans for each week during the month.
Browse all my lesson plans that relate to 2020 Music for Singing Time Curriculum
I’ve linked all my lesson plans throughout my website below. I’ve bolded and marked the songs with an (*) that I’m tentatively planning to teach for the 2020 program.
- Book of Mormon Stories p. 118–19
- Keep the Commandments p. 146–47 – find my lesson plan HERE
- The Iron Rod Hymns, no. 274*
- I Will Be Valiant p. 162*
- Help Me, Dear Father p. 99
- Testimony Hymns, no. 137
- Repentance p. 98*
- The Still Small Voice p. 106–7
- Follow the Prophet p. 110–11 – find my lesson plan HERE
- Jesus Said Love Everyone p. 61
- Stand for the Right p. 159 – find my lesson plan HERE
- I Thank Thee, Dear Father p. 7
I LOVE that I get a choice as to what to teach! I really try to teach anything that I’ve never taught or that I haven’t taught in a while. I’m on a mission to sing most of the Children’s Songbook before it gets changed!! And this will help SO SO much!!
I’ll also be working on lesson plans for ALL the songs listed above this year so if you’ve picked a song that I don’t have a lesson plan yet, don’t worry! I’ll have it by the time you need to teach it :).
If you have become familiar with Come Follow Me-Primary Book of Mormon, you’ll notice that there are song suggestions with most of the weekly primary lesson plans. If you want a complete list of all the songs found in the Come Follow Me-Primary Book of Mormon curriculum, Avalon shared a document she created HERE (she shared it on the Primary Music Leaders FB group). Thank you for sharing!! I haven’t quite figured out a way to implement these extra songs in singing time (in the document, they are all the songs on the righthand column that are NOT orange)…if you have suggestions on how you implement these extra songs in singing time, I’d love to hear!
Okay, on to more suggestions found in the Instructions for Singing Time…there are activities suggested to help you teach doctrine as well as the music. I’ve gone through my blog and found a few activities where I’ve demonstrated those suggestions (or similar ones). For a complete list of my entire blog, check out my Song Index tab HERE and Review Activities tab HERE.
Using Music to Teach Doctrine
Read related scriptures: For many of the songs in the Children’s Songbook and the hymnbook, references to related scriptures are listed. Help the children read some of these passages, and talk about how the scriptures are related to the song. You could also list a few scripture references on the board and invite the children to match each reference to a song or a verse from a song.
Fill in the blank: Write a verse of the song on the board with several key words missing. Then ask the children to sing the song, listening for the words that fill in the blanks. As they fill in each blank, discuss what gospel principles you learn from the missing words.
Quotations from Church leaders: Invite the children to listen to a quotation from a Church leader that teaches the same gospel principle as the Primary song. Ask them to raise their hand when they hear something that helps them understand the truth they are singing about. Ask them to share what they heard.
Testify: Bear brief testimony to the children of gospel truths found in the Primary song. Help the children understand that singing is one way they can bear testimony and feel the Spirit.
[I try to conclude every singing time with a BRIEF testimony of what I’ve been teaching]
Stand as a witness: Invite children to take turns standing and sharing what they learn from the song they are singing or how they feel about the truths taught in the song. Ask them how they feel as they sing the song, and help them identify the influence of the Holy Ghost.
Use pictures: Ask the children to help you find or create pictures that go with important words or phrases in the song. Invite them to share how the pictures relate to the song and what the song teaches. For example, if you are teaching the song “I Will Follow God’s Plan” (Children’s Songbook, 164–65), you could put pictures throughout the room depicting important words from the song (such as gift, heaven, home, earth, and birth). Ask the children to gather the pictures and hold them up in the correct order as you sing the song together.
Share an object lesson: You could use an object to inspire discussion about a song. For example, the song “Faith” (Children’s Songbook, 96–97) mentions a little seed. You could show the children a seed and talk about how we show faith when we plant a seed; this could lead to a discussion about ways we show faith in Jesus Christ, as described in the song.
Invite sharing of personal experiences: Help the children connect the principles taught in the song with experiences they have had with those principles. For example, before singing “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95), you could ask the children to raise their hands if they have seen a temple. Invite them to think as they sing about how they feel when they see a temple.
Ask questions: Ask the children to listen for answers to questions in song lyrics. This can lead to a discussion about the truths taught in the song. There are many questions you can ask as you sing songs. For example, you can ask the children what they learn from each verse in the song. You can also ask them to think of questions that the song answers.
Listen for answers: Ask the children to listen for answers to questions such as “who?” “what?” “where?” “when?” or “why?” For example, in the song “Baptism” (Children’s Songbook, 100–101), they could listen for who baptized Jesus and where, when, how, and why He was baptized. You could also ask the children to listen for key words or to count on their fingers how many times they sing a certain word.
Helping Children Learn and Remember Primary Songs
Children learn a song by hearing and singing it over and over again. Always sing the words of a new song to the children—don’t just read or recite them. This helps the children connect the melody to the words. After a song is taught, review it in a variety of fun ways throughout the year. Below are some ideas to help children learn and review songs:
Create posters: Display posters with the words from each verse or pictures that represent the words. As the children sing, cover up some of the words or pictures until they can sing the entire verse without the poster. You can also invite the children to help you create the posters.
Demonstrate the pitch: To help children learn the melody of a song, hold your hand in a horizontal position, and as you sing the words, move your hand up to indicate higher pitches and down to indicate lower pitches.
Echo: Invite the children to be your echo by repeating what you sing. Sing to the children a short phrase or a line, and then have them sing it back to you.
Use variation: Sing songs in a variety of ways, such as whispering, humming, clapping the beat, varying the tempo, or singing while sitting or standing. You could also make a cube out of paper and, on each side of the cube, write a different way to sing. Invite a child to roll the cube to decide how the children will sing the song.
Using Handbells in Primary (my FAVORITE!!)
Sing in groups: Give each class or individual one phrase to sing while standing, and then have them exchange phrases until each class or individual has had a turn singing each phrase.
Use hand actions: Invite the children to think of simple hand actions to help them remember the words and messages of a song. For example, when you sing the second verse of “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (Children’s Songbook, 228–29), you could invite the children to point to their eyes, act like butterflies, and cup their hands behind their ears. Ask them to place their hands on their hearts as they sing “Yes, I know Heavenly Father loves me.”
Girls sing, boys sing: Draw a picture of a boy and a picture of a girl, and glue or tape the pictures onto separate sticks. While reviewing a song, hold up one of the pictures to indicate who should sing that part of the song.
Basket toss: Place numbered baskets or other containers at the front of the room—as many containers as there are verses of a particular song. Invite one of the children to toss a beanbag or crumpled piece of paper into or near a numbered container. Have the children sing the verse with the same number as the container.
Match a picture to a phrase: Write each line of a song on a different piece of paper, and find a picture that represents each line. Place the pictures on one side of the room and the papers on the other side. Sing the song, and ask the children to match the pictures to the words.