This year I decided to change my strategy a little on teaching. Our song list this year is:
As a Child of God
Choose the Right (Hymn, 239)
Stand for the Right (CS, 159)
Tell me the Stories of Jesus ( CS, 57)
When I am Baptized (CS, 103)
Nephi's Courage (CS, 120)
The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (CS, 281)
I'm trying to be like Jesus (CS, 78-79)
I usually teach a song a month, which involves singing it multiple times over and over again, in many different fun ways, which I believe works great. But this year most of the songs are already kinda known, at least by the older kids. So I have heard about a way of teaching music where you just get them use to singing some of it or hearing it with you, then they will learn all the other words eventually. I started with the the first Sunday of the year singing at least half the songs every Sunday, using fun little tools to get them started and familiar with the song before we fully introduce it later on.
For example, with Choose the Right I had the kids jump out of there sits every time it was time to sing “Choose the Right” in the song. So I would sing it(Lol, this takes courage, but it's working) when it came time to sing “Choose the Right” I would point to the kids and they would jump out of their sits and sing the line, then sit back down and wait till the next time they could jump up. I found that the kids were listening very closely to the words waiting for their turn to jump up. Some of the kids were even able to predict that the line was coming. Now at the end of this month, I have noticed the kids are singing with or/and were trying to sing the words they didn't know with me. This activity has been so fun for the kids. They look forward to singing it every Sunday and have learned so much of it without even breaking a sweat for me
HINT: the 3rd verse says “choose the right,” a lot, making this game a lot of fun.
The kids already know Stand for the Right, but Sunbeams don't know it. Every time we have sung it I have had the Sunbeams come up a help me “conduct” the song. They look forward to it, but secretly it is getting them watching all the other kids sing it and keeps them focused to listen and learn the words. And its working!
Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, was a new one to most of the kids. This is a great one to make Signs for. We made several fun signs for this song that I will post. But the kids are learning the words as well, which is great, because it is only January! They love this song because it's a “no pressure” style of learning. Just keeping it fun, until we really have to learn it!
Nephi's Courage is another on that most kids already know. But we like to march in place to this song to "help make our voices sound strong and confident." And of course we throw our fists in the air at “I will go, I will do”. Just keeping it fun!
With I'm trying to be like Jesus, which is a song the older kids already know, I have the younger kids use there “Magic Conducting Wands”(painted Popsicle sticks) to help me keep beat while I sing. Which is at least getting the kids familiar with the song, and some can already sing the chorus.
It is really amazing the this new idea I'm trying for this year seems to already be working. I also am hoping that it takes some stress off the months where we work on mostly "that months" song. Remember this isn't to teach them, but just to have fun with it, get familiar with it, and love it before we spend time on it. So keep it fun!