Here’s my lesson plan for teaching The Iron Rod in singing time (when I teach hymns, I only teach the first verse and chorus). This song has such a strong and steady beat that I wanted to utilize that strength by having the kids tap out the rhythm with their own “rods.” Along with learning more about Lehi’s Tree of Life vision.
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I really love the visual HERE that was set up in the primary room with the tree of life at the front of the room and the great and spacious building at the back. I will be setting up something similar (and a little simpler) just without the rod down the middle. My plan for the rod is different.
For the artwork, I suggest downloading and printing Susan Fitch’s Tree of life artwork HERE. It’s beautiful!
You’ll need the Tree of Life image.
And her great and spacious building image as well.
On the board in the front of the room, place the picture of the tree of life. Place the great and spacious building on the back wall.
Summarize Lehi’s Dream using verbiage from the link above (Or even better, ask if any primary children paraphrase tell the story!). Use the images of the Tree of Life and the great and spacious building as you summarize.
I also suggest showing the Gospel Art Book photo of Lehi’s Dream as you summarize:
You can download it from the church’s website HERE.
I’ve typed up a summary and put it in my Resource Library for reference. Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are at the bottom of this post.
Have the children listen for how many times the word “rod” is repeated in this song. Then you and the teachers sing the first verse and chorus or have them listen to it on your phone/cd. Take answers .
Sing or listen to it again then ask what does holding to the rod mean? Where is the rod we are supposed to hold on to? Take answers, briefly discuss, then pass out 2 “rods” to each child (i.e. rhythm sticks, wooden dowels or even easier…unsharpened pencils!).
Singing Time Activity:
Does anyone else have a plethora of new pencils that make their way home with your school-aged kids? We get TONS! I love using them in singing time as rhythm sticks!
You’ll need enough unsharpened pencils for each of your primary children to have 2, like these from Amazon (these are affiliate links below where I make a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase. But know that I only suggest what I love!:
A set of rhythm sticks is great too:
Have the kids tap their pencils together to the beat as you and the teachers sing the song. Post words as necessary like I do HERE.
Next, demonstrate some simple actions to use while you are tapping the pencils/sticks to the beat:
- To Nephi seer of olden time: tap the sticks heading up (as if growing old!)
- a vision came from God: tap the sticks in a big circle (creating a cloud or vision)
- wherein the holy word sublime: create a big rainbow as if turning pages in a big book
- was shown an iron rod: tap the sticks out in front
- Hold to the rod: tap right hand on top to the left then tap left hand on top to the right
- the iron rod: tap straight out in front
- ’tis strong: cross arms and tap biceps (for strong)
- and bright: tap top of head
- and true: tap over heart
- The iron rod: tap straight out in front
- is the word of God: create a big rainbow as if turning pages in a big book
- ’twill safely guide us through: tap above head with elbows bent, then tap forward (like air traffic control guides)
I also have these actions available to print in my Resource Library (I always need a cheat sheet in primary!!). I have a YouTube video demonstrating these actions as well that might help (I’d love it if you’d like and subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE!):
**Make sure to check out my comment to Danielle about the time signature changing…that might be fun to mention to the kids as well as you are learning the actions!
That might be enough for the entire singing time! If not continue on to review (otherwise, save this for the following week!):
With the picture of the Tree of life on the board, Write the question:
what can I do to hold to the rod?
Sing the song then 2-4 children what they can do to hold to the rod (in other words, keep the commandments). Write their answers on the board around the tree of life.
Repeat with rhythm actions until all the children have had a turn to give answers as to how they can hold to the rod.
Bear testimony that we need to hold to the iron rod (or learn from the scriptures and latter-day prophets) so we can taste of the delicious fruit (or grow our desire to live with Heavenly Father again).
All my printables are free and filed on my Resource Library. Filing instructions for accessing each printable on my Resource Library are below the button.
These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Song Title > The Iron Rod.