This topic comes up A LOT amongst primary music leaders – reverence in singing time! With it being a new year with new little Sunbeams, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss ways to help maintain reverence during singing time!
You might also find my post for “HOW To Teach a Primary Song” of value! I’ve recently updated it to include a new YouTube video! Find details HERE if you are interested.
It does no good to have a stellar singing time lesson plan that you’ve prepared for all week if you don’t have control during its execution!
The best lesson plan will fail if you fail to maintain reverence.
So how do you get and maintain that reverence? You don’t have to be an experienced drill sergeant! But you do have to have a set of rules put in place that are clear and concise.
The best way to have clear rules is to practice them up front each week. Either during transition time, opening exercises or at the beginning of singing time.
Here are a few ideas I’ve come across to help maintain reverence in singing time:
When primary starts getting out of hand use this cue that you can practice each week. Say:
“Eyes on me in Three, Two, and One” and on one, the kids must have their hands on their laps and their eyes on you.
When primary children fail to follow the procedures you simply say, “Close but not quite. Let’s try that again” and repeat until it’s correct.
When teaching during your lesson, you may want to have the children listen, then repeat what they saw or heard. There’s a great technique you can use for this:
Point to yourself when it is their turn to listen. This will cue them to put on their “listening ears” (they cup their hands around the back of each ear – the idea is to make their ears grow bigger and funnel the sound to their ears better). When it’s their turn to repeat, point to them to have them copy what you just said or did.
Last is dismissal from singing time. Dismiss singing time using a “Reverence Breath.” Say:
“Our time is over it’s time to dismiss so let’s take our Reverence Breath.” Together, everyone breathes in and raises up their shoulders. Slowly let out the breath with a “sshhh…..” as shoulders slowly drop. If it doesn’t work the first time I have them do it again.
This also works during singing time to re-group.
I received these suggestions from Olivia, my talented cousin! She is an elementary school teacher and has had a lot of success using several of these methods in her school classrooms in addition to her primary.
Then in addition to these ideas, I also LOVED what was shared HERE by Anna. She references 3 rules she pulls out and reviews at the beginning of singing time each week. They come from years of trial and error by a life coach named Kirk Duncan. They are called:
- Be Reverent and Respectful
(if needed say, let’s practice, show me how to be reverent, or what does it mean to be respectful?)
- Listen and Be Present
(ask if being present is like a birthday present…they say no, it means to point your brain, at me or at our activity. This helps when you need their attention and say point your brains here please)
- Manage Your Voice
(this means you only use your voice when it’s your turn, and when we do use our voices, we speak with kindness like Jesus)
I created a simple printable with these 3 rules on them that you can hang over your binder (similar to how I post words HERE). I’d suggest to have it out during transition time and then quickly go over the rules when you begin singing time each week.
More Reverence Ideas!
Jenn shared her Reverence Rules she has for teachers! I LOVE it! Here’s what she shared:
ENGAGE—I remind them that their job as a teacher doesn’t end when they leave their classroom. I only have 20 minutes to teach a large group and if I spend it all managing behavior, we won’t get much of value done. They need to be taking care of moving kids around if talking is an issue in their class, or whatever.
SING—kids learn by example and if their teacher is enthusiastic about singing, they will be too.
GET A SUB—this one really is more to emphasize an issue the presidency deals with than singing, but I tie it in to behavior management. Our ward has a terrible issue with teachers just not showing up, assuming the presidency will just combine their class with another. What that leaves me with is lots of kids will little adult support, so I basically plead with them to get a sub when they are gone so that singing time doesn’t turn into chaos.
Honestly…the dynamic in our ward is tough, and I have to remind the teachers of their rules more often than the kids
Thank you for sharing Jenn! I may need to create a printable. One that wouldn’t be posted like the kids’ version per-say, but maybe more like a handout that would be given at a teacher training and discussed then.
I also have several other posts to help you maintain reverence HERE if you want to check them out!
Susan Fitch also has created several visual options to help you maintain reverence! You can scroll through everything she has HERE. I love her Reverence Posters available in her Etsy shop!! They are perfect reverence reminders to put around your primary room!
Check out this quick tutorial video for accessing the Resource Library:
These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Category Title > Reverence.