Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Reverence Jar

You know those weeks when your sweet primary children are acting like a bunch of chattering monkeys that just won't listen to anything you say, let alone sing? Now that it is summertime, my kids are extra restless. They are having a hard time sitting still when it's so gorgeous outside. I totally get it. That doesn't mean it can't get super frustrating when you're trying to teach a new song.

Before my calling as a primary chorister, I'd never had a primary calling before. I spent a lot of time in Single's Ward. Let's blame it on that. Ha! 

But I did substitute once for a friend's primary class several years ago, and their primary chorister had one of the best ideas I'd ever seen for keeping the kids reverent and also giving them a reason to sing loud and proud!

Bribery.  

Enter the REVERENCE JAR!

How to use a reverence jar: Bring a large jar and a bag of something delicious, like mini marshmallows or chocolate chips. Explain to the kids that as they sing really well and are reverent, you will slowly add one of these ingredients to the jar. When the jar is full of marshmallows, for example, you will make rice krispy treats and bring them for everyone in primary! Or chocolate chip cookies. Or any treat you can think of, though bigger ingredients work better.

Oh, but remember to be reverent! If you get too wild, the primary chorister gets to take marshmallows (or whatever ingredient) out of the jar.

I will tell you what. There is nothing, nothing, I've used prior to this that has gotten my sweet primary children to quiet down and focus as reaching into that jar. All the kids instantly remind each other to behave and to be reverent and I don't need to say a word. 

I very rarely actually take any ingredients out of the jar. Usually, reaching my hand into the jar is enough to get them to settle down. I love to ham up adding the ingredients, though! It gets them all super excited! And I give them extra after they sing in Sacrament Meeting because we work so hard before those little performances. 

Depending on the size of the jar, it will take two or three months to fill up the jar, so you won't be making treats every other week. Unless you are very generous with your prizes, or you use a very small jar.


I used one of those GIANT Ball jars for my reverence jar. It's big enough to make a decent sized goal and for the kids to see. And best of all, it's easy to fit my hand inside. 

I printed the label on sticker paper. You could easily use hot glue or mod podge as well. I also added a little bit of cute polka dot washi tape to spice up the jar a little bit.

My primary loves this jar and I love it because it's a simple way to keep them reverent and it really encourages them to sing and sing and sing!

What have you done in your primary to encourage the children to be reverent? I would love to know about your tips and tricks! Also, if you try a reverence jar in your primary, please tell me how it goes!


If you'd like to print the label, click above!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Singing Measles

Today we played one of my favorite games during Singing Time. It's one of the kid's favorite games, too! Bonus!

I'm talking about SINGING MEASLES!


PREP WORK:
 I get a couple packages of those brightly colored label stickers that are commonly used at yard sales. You can buy these for about $.99 at pretty much every store, which is awesome! Two packages usually does it for both junior and senior primary, and we have a pretty big primary. (Junior primary usually will use just over half a package, and then senior uses the rest. I'll explain why in a minute.)


I like to have full sheets of stickers and then I also cut some up into strips of 5 of one color, or strips of 3 of all three colors depending on how many kids are in primary that day. 

I also use the cute little artwork at the top to give a hint to the kids before we even start singing time. I tape the cut out circle somewhere in the front of the room, sometimes in a tricky place! It gives the kids something to quietly search for with their eyes before we start opening exercises.

HOW TO PLAY: 
There are many ways to play this game, as I've seen across many blogs. The way we play it in our primary is very simple!

Hand out a few sheets of stickers to each of the teachers. Instruct the kids that these are SINGING MEASLES and they are very contagious! And unlike regular measles, you really want to catch these! You catch singing measles by singing extra loud, proud, and with big smiles on your face! 

Then instruct the teachers to watch their students. If they are singing well, give them a sticker! 

The goal is to get as many measles as you can before singing time is over.

Oh, but be warned! The teachers can take away your measles if you aren't being reverent!

As an extra incentive for junior primary, I tell them that when they are done, they each get a strip of stickers to put on their teacher if they have enough measles. 

As the extra incentive for senior primary, I tell them that when they are done, they each get a strip of stickers to put on ME!


 I also promise not to take the measles off until I get home from church. Some weeks I even take a lap around the church so that everyone can stare at the crazy sticker sister. These older kids can get seriously unmotivated during singing time some days. On measles day, they sing their little hearts out! That's why I typically go through more measles in senior primary.

Because I don't let them put the stickers on me until after Sharing Time, we tend to run into older siblings and parents that come and join the fun putting stickers all over Sister Flaniken. It's hilarious fun!



 Notice how none of these sweet senior primary kids have measles? That's because they tend to donate their own measles to the cause: making me look as crazy as possible!


This game is definitely one of the biggest motivators for getting them to sing their hearts out!

What I love about Singing Measles is that I can use this activity for a review activity when we're going over all of our program songs, but it's also great for learning weeks. It helps them stay focused on learning the new songs. There are so many great review games, but sometimes it's harder to find a way to make learning a song fun! This is one of our favorite ways!

Have you tried playing Singing Measles? How did it go? Did you do anything differently? I'd love to know all about your experiences in the comments!


Click above to download the Singing Measles activity hint image!