Friday, September 26, 2014

Sharing Time - Week 4 - By Living the gospel I set a good example for others to follow

I don't think this lesson needs much elaboration beyond what it is recommended, but I wanted to share the fun visual that I made.

Just fold paper vertically, paper doll style, to cut out two symmetrical sides. Everything else is easy to cut out free-hand.

I only used glue on the blue boots and the black door to the tent. You could put magnets on the back, or velcro tape, and tell the story with visuals, then with motions.

I love this lesson because it is good for helping to encourage conversation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sharing Time - The Sabbath is a Day of Rest and Worship

This week's lesson is from Week 4 of the August 2014 Sharing Time Manual.

I love the ideas in the booklet. To supplement the ideas, I found a great article, "Doing Good on the Sabbath," by Julie Wardell, from the September 2007 Friend.

I'd like to take seven paper plates (because they are the shape of the world), and on each one, draw a picture that corresponds to the six days of labor and seventh day of rest to build our world. Children can either choose from a bag, or identify from pictures stuck to the chalkboard, images that represent what is and is not appropriate to do on the Sabbath Day, and then we'll put it next to that particular paper plate.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sharing Time - Pray in your families - August - Week 1 Lesson on Family Prayer

Lesson 1 this month is about Family Prayer. I love this topic, and all the beautiful teachings from the Savior and the Lord, taught at General Conference and in the scriptures. The tough part of this lesson is to remember to focus on the "family" aspect of prayer, and not on prayer itself. I talked about ways to incorporate this lesson into singing time but I also found a great lesson plan from Sharing Time Idea #1 in the July 2009 Friend, called "Our Family Will Be Strong." I cut out pieces of cardboard, then used a hole punch and yarn, to create a word necklace for each word of the sentence "Family prayer will strengthen my family." Unscrambling that word, and looking up 3 Nephi 18:21, will engage the children, before leading them into a group discussion where I hope and plan to encourage a lot of participation.

I also love the aspect of family prayer that this is a special opportunity to be the mouth piece for your family to Lord. The church provides a great cartoon that teaches this, that I would like to print out for the children to take home. You can find it here.

I also feel I am so much better prepared to teach this lesson because I read this Family Home Evening guide, particularly the story about Sue and Tim.

Also, do yourself a favor and read this talk from Elder John E. Groberg. I loved his books about his mission. In this talk, he talks about his mission and how his family's prayers sustained him in a distant land. I love that he points out that whether single or married, we are part o some family, somewhere, in some way, and that we can share our love for our family by having them know that we are praying for them.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thank you cards for everyone in the primary auxiliary

Our primary presidency distributed bread to our primary workers and those in other callings that fall under the primary auxiliary this afternoon (teachers, music leaders, pianists, cub leaders, activity days, etc.).

Below is a sheet of the little cards I made (using free Microsoft Publisher templates and clip art) if you'd like to do something similar. We just wrote the individuals' names on the cards, punched a hole at the top, and tied the card to each bag of bread. (Send me your email if you want a PDF version.).

Actual delivery time took about three hours, since our entire ward is in just a few blocks of a neighborhood. We shared the load with baking the bread, which helped to keep it from being too much work for one person, but do expect that to be a decent amount of your Saturday. Primary is a huge auxiliary, so to reach everyone, you're looking at around 50 loaves of bread! We felt it was worth it to be able to talk to our primary folks individually, and to let them know how much we appreciate them. (If you do this, also keep in mind that you may need to bake loaves for special diets, or provide something else for those on special diets.)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lesson Review for the Last Five Months - Fifth Sunday Activity for June?

I just posted this five-month lesson review to my Singing Time blog but it would work great if the chorister and teacher that day combined forces and taught this the full hour, for example on a fifth Sunday.

They would just need to add the jeopardy questions for June, which I think I will come back and add to this post later. This is a Jeopardy game of sorts, focusing on the lessons and songs that the children have learned each month this year.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

My family will be blessed as we follow the prophet

I found this great example from President Hinckley when I was looking for a story to help introduce and enhance this week's lesson: "Following  Prophet," from April 1993 General Conference.

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Baptismal Covenant

I just designed this for my nephew's baptism. He asked me to give a talk for the special occasion, and when I started reviewing the baptismal covenant, it made me want to find a really nice, crisp way to summarize it. 

There are so many great versions out there but I wanted one with this particular combination of image and text (and not too much ink), so I made my own :) Some of the covenant language is a little tough for eight-year-olds. I found the line image of the Savior and John the Baptist in the church media library, here.

You are welcome to save and print your own copies!

Send me your email address if you would like a higher resolution image (PDF).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Week Activities from

I just found this on

Seven Days Till Easter

It's a spiritual countdown to Easter. I can see working this into a sharing time or even a singing time lesson ...

Trek 2014!

Our stake is going on trek this year so I just wanted to share this motivation chart I made for singing time last year. You can pull on the string from the back of the cardboard to move the carts forward, to show progress on something ... e.g., to reach the goal of everyone having finished making their bonnets, etc. Or each cart can represent a group and their assignment.

Anyway, I described how to make this chart under the Option 3 description here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaching "I Can Show Love to Each Member of My Family" (April Week 4 Sharing Time Lesson)

I plan to follow the lesson plan, "I can show love to each member of my family," in the 2014 Sharing Time Outline fairly closely. However, to better catch the children's attention, I made cheap people puppets, and then put together colorful houses and attached them to giant paint sticks.

(These paint sticks have been recycled numerous times over the years. I'm not sure who originally used them but, but it's a great tool to re-use!).

I will describe family members, then let children guess, before showing them the puppet. I will let a child come to the front of the room and hold up the puppet.

Part 1 - People Paper Bag Puppets

The inside of the mouth is below each flap so when you put your hand in the paper bag, and move the flap up and down, it looks like they are talking. You can download the template here.

Part 2 - Colorful Houses

If you have all of your materials on hand, you can create all three houses in about five minutes.

- 10 sheets of colorful card stock
- Paper cutter (optional)
- Scissors
- Glue
- Stapler
- Three large paint sticks

1. WINDOWS - Take one sheet of paper, fold it in half lengthwise, then fold it in half lengthwise again. Cut out window panes the way you would cut out designs in a snowflake cutout. Each of the windows above are identical per house because they were cut at the same time, by folding the paper twice.

2. BUSHES - Take another sheet of paper, fold it in half, then cut out puffy bushes. You should be able to fit three bushes onto the folder sheet, which means that since the paper is folded over, you will have six bushes.

3. DOOR - Take another sheet of paper, fold a small portion of it, and cut that portion into thirds to make doors. ROOF - Use the remaining piece from the paper that was used to make doors to cut out a roof.

4. ROOF - Take another sheet of paper, fold it in half lengthwise, then cut a diagonal line from one side to the middle of the piece of paper on the opposite side of the fold. Do this from the other corner as well. Ta-da, two more roof tops.

5. Now glue everything onto your three sheets of paper to make three houses.

6. Staple or glue your house to another sheet of paper. Just staple in the four corners, then staple on either side of the door, near the bottom, leaving a center opening to slide the stick through. Do the same on the opposite end of the paper, making sure your staples are far away enough from each that you can slide a stick through.

7. Fold the roof over at the very top. This acts as a pocket to hold the stick to the house. You can also just tape the stick to the house and ignore step 6, but this ensures your house is not likely to slide down the stick.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Applying President Faust to this Month's Primary Lessons

I have been reading some materials about President James E. Faust and will be applying some of this to our primary lessons this month (Topic: "Jesus Christ is our Savior") and next month (Topic: "The Family is Central to God's Plan."

I was reading about President Faust's funeral in 2007 (because I was reading "A Growing Testimony" by James E. Faust and ended up reading other materials about President Faust to help supplement my own understanding for the lesson that I am preparing), and read these two quotes that I will share with the primary to apply to things we have been teaching.

Quote #1 -

“Though his body was crippled, his mind was sharp,” said Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “His wisdom was deep and profound. It came of long experience in many fields. He brought with him the mind of a lawyer, and the compassion of a church leader. His faith in the truth of the restored gospel was unflagging. ...

This is a great application about how everyone is different and special, and about how important it is to grow our testimonies in our youth so that we have a deep, unflagging faith. President Faust wasn't always crippled but he lived a long life, and by the end, his body was struggling, but he never doubted the gospel, and lead his life accordingly.

Quote #2 -

Bishop Marcus Faust, a son, spoke on behalf of the family. “Mother always came first in Dad’s life… From the way he spoke with her, to the way he tended to her needs, we always knew our mother was Dad’s one true love.”
He also recalled his father’s words prior to being sustained as a general authority in 1972. “I cannot magnify this new calling unless I first magnify my calling as husband, father and patriarch to our family. I will never be released from this calling.”
This is a great application about how important it is for parents to honor their children, and for children to obey their parents. President Faust set an example for his children, and also earned their respect because of how he treated his family.

Changing the Bell Schedule

Did you know that the Primary auxiliary is the only one that is supposed to use the bells on Sunday? Of course, we don't mind if everyone listens to the bells to figure out when to go from Gospel Doctrine class to Priesthood and Relief Society, but sometimes it messes them up because we adjust the bells as needed.

We have found that with sacrament running late at times, and the Junior Primary being such wiggly, little bodies, we often run out of time faster in Junior Primary than in Senior Primary. Therefore, we are going to try an experiment and start ringing the bells five minutes later during Junior Primary sharing time. This of course, also means that Junior Primary will have five minutes less class time with their teachers in the third hour, but I don't think the teachers will mind. I loved teaching in Junior Primary but the minutes certainly passed by more slowly than when I taught in Senior Primary.

We announced the change for several weeks before so that the Senior Primary teachers wouldn't let their classes out too early. We tried the new bell schedule for the first time last week. So far, so good!

Of course, if you want to try something similar in you ward, run it past your bishopric counselor ...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Missionary Month

Our ward traditionally has a special focus in February, on "Missionary Month." We had two missionaries return home and speak in church today, so it was fun that they happened to come back during our missionary month.

While the young men and young women participate in the bulk of the activities, we try to have the primary children participate as well. We don't always do the exact same things but I want to share what we did this year (which has been done before) because I have loved these primary lessons so much.

Even if we did not have an official "missionary month," I would still want to find ways to incorporate some of these ideas throughout the year.

1. First, our primary children have been encouraged to write letters to missionaries in various activities. When the missionaries write back, we read their letters aloud in primary. We let them have fun guessing who has written back based on all the different places in which they are serving. The missionaries have a habit of bearing their testimonies when they write back, and it is such an honor and privilege to be able to read these testimonies to the children.

2. Last week, we invited some converts to the church that are in our ward and/or stake primary presidency to come speak to the children and share their stories. My parents are converts to the church and I love and appreciate the members and missionaries that taught them the gospel so that I would be blessed to have that sure foundation my whole life. So, I am very appreciative of theses stories.

3. This week, we invited the sister missionaries that are serving in our stake to teach today's lesson, which happens to be on Agency - the agency we have to make good choices (be kind to others, for example) or bad choices (steal from others, for example). They did a great job.

4. This year's theme in primary is Families, so we have assigned a child each week (in junior and senior) to share a story about one of their ancestors. This has been an amazing, fun experience, and this month in particular, the children have shared stories about their great-great-great-grandparent who served a mission or was baptized into the church. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I can return to Heavenly Father - January 2014 Week 2 Lesson

Last week, I was thinking about how I absolutely loved how our primary counselor taught the December 2013 lesson,  "I will prepare to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again" when I read the January 2014 week 2 lesson.

That lesson (January 2014 week 2)  (and future lessons on this subject in years to come, as this is a wonderful topic) would be a perfect application for this visual lesson. Each of the squares shown below were originally turned around so that the titles of the songs were not showing. Most of these songs are from the Children's Songbook.

Our counselor moved the child (shown in the yellow circle below) through the "map" as we sang and briefly discussed each of the primary songs that teach us how we can return to Heavenly Father again.

Obviously, I am not going to re-teach a lesson that was just taught a few weeks ago, but I will refer back to the concept to help the children bridge what they are learning in this lesson with what they have learned in the past.

I will put up the same or part of the same visuals:

The Week 2 lesson from the manual states:

Encourage understanding (discussing the
Atonement): Draw a straight path on the chalkboard
ending at a place labeled “Eternal Life with
Our Father in Heaven.” Put a picture of a person at
the beginning of the path. Explain that the picture
represents all of us and that we need to follow the
path to get back to Heavenly Father. Tell the children
that we cannot return to Heavenly Father by
ourselves. Erase part of the path, and ask, “What
could help us continue on the path?” Ask a child
to read or recite the third article of faith. Show
a picture of Christ in Gethsemane, and briefly
explain the Atonement. Tell the children that
Christ’s Atonement is like a bridge that will help
us return to Heavenly Father; if we repent and
obey the commandments, we will be able to live
with Him again. Draw a bridge on the board, and
move the picture of the person to the end of the
path. Invite a few children to share their feelings
about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. If

I will use the visuals above, or something similar, but add the bridge discussed above (from the lesson manual), and the picture of Christ in Gethsemane. 

To discuss the atonement, time pending, I would like to possibly use this story from March 1989 Friend, or something along a similar vein. Either way, I gave myself a little refresher from the Primary 3 Lesson Manual. Our bishop actually has a similar story in some ways, that he has told the primary, so it might even be nice to go back to that story. I think it does a great job of illustrating what the atonement means to children. When I was a child I thought it sounded too hard to be perfect and return to live with my Father in Heaven again, but that was before I understood the atonement, and how Jesus Christ came down to earth to atone for us so that it's okay that we aren't perfect; that we just need to be faithful and try to be like him, and He will help us.

I also always want to go back to scripture:

D&C 49:5 - For I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world (D&C 49:5).