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Monday, February 17, 2014

Autism Fireside Review

What an amazing night! I wanted to share some of my favorite things from last night for those who missed.  There were three amazing speakers.

Sister Christoffersen
She is a speech pathologist and told some amazing stories of children she had worked with in order to give us a better understanding of Autism.  One thing she talked about is how Autism effects speech. She would work with children who literally could not communicate with words.  My favorite story was about her dream.  When she wakes she can remember exactly what she dreamed about! (cool right!?) One night she dreamed that the children she was working with were talking with her.  Using their words like she had always hoped.  This of course made her sad to realize that was not their reality but gave her so much joy to think of the potential in the next life when they can say all they have been waiting to say.

Sister Grasteit
She used a really beautiful analogy about rainbows and Autism. She talked about the spectrum of different rainbows. Some are bright. long, dim, double,  dark, light.  This spectrum applies to children with autism.  There are a variety of ways that it can present itself.  Some you may not even realize have autism where there are others that it can't be denied. But just like rainbows each is beautiful in its own way.  One of my favorite tips was to state the what and why for every expectation.  So if a child is in your primary you may need to explain what you expect from that child during singing time, what the consequence will be if the do or do not do what is expected and why you expect them to do it.  They need to understand what you want them to do, and then follow through.

Brother Jacobs
He talked about his struggles with a disease he was born with that is in the realm of Muscular Dystrophy.  His father's approach was to call him a "freak" and tease him.  While his mother on the other hand loved him and pushed him to accomplish his goals.  She knew the delicate balance of how far he could be pushed, which was always more than he thought possible, but not too far. Obviously his Mother's influence gave the wanted results.

There was also a violin musical number by Sister Badal
She is a mother of a Son with Autism.  She told a story about singing I am a Child of God in sacrament meeting.  It was shortly after her son had been diagnosed.  She sang I am a child of God and so my needs are great.  She realized that her son's needs were in fact great, greater than she had ever planned on.  But in the chorus it taught her how to deal with his needs.  It wasn't to yell, be ashamed, hate, it was to lead him, guide him, walk beside him.  Then in the following verse it said I am a child of God rich blessing are in store. This gave her so much comfort.  She knew there were so many amazing blessings in store for him, whether it is in this life or the life to come.

The spirit was so strong at this meeting.  I felt so inspired to be a better person, mom, teacher, friend.  It reminded me that these children are really Heavenly Father's children on loan to us, and that he expects us to love them as he does.  There may be difficult children in our primaries but they are children of God.  They have something to contribute and learn.  We just need to remember to be patient and loving. I bare you my testimony that I know Heavenly Father loves all of us, not despite our imperfections but because of our imperfections.  This is the true gospel, and I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

If you were at the fireside I encourage you to share your experience.
Monday, February 10, 2014

March Helps

Hey so I realized you may not be a procrastinator like me so you may have already started to think about March.  So March's song is I Stand All Amazed.  So cool!!! I love this hymn and I know it was inspired to have all the children around the world learn the words to this amazing song!

What I think makes this song special is that can have strong personal meaning to each of us individually. This is a great opportunity for us to share our testimony of the savior and specifically the atonement. Here are some ideas of how I would do that.

-Pray before in your heart.
-If your kids are rowdy take time to calm them by being reverent, speaking quietly and waiting for the spirit.
-Sing through the 1st verse and chorus explain that this is a very special song and you hope they can feel the spirit as you sing to them.
-You can read through the words of each line and explain what it means.
-Tell a story about a time when you used the atonement and how it made you feel
  • You can use mine if you can't think of one. When I was in high school. I made a bad choice.  It was something I felt very guilty about. I didn't want to feel that way so for the first time in my life I wanted to truly repent.  I had said sorry before but I had never felt the sorrow I was feeling.  I began to pray and to study.  Soon the guilt disappeared and I began to feel love. I knew that Heavenly Father loved me a was happy to forgive me. This is the atonement. Jesus died for us so that when we make mistakes when can repent and be forgiven.
-Explain that it here for all of us, even the children.
-Sing the chorus once again
  • Ask the primary what the song makes them feel?
  • What word is repeated in the chorus? Why is it Wonderful?
    • Don't rush this, let the kids bear testimony to you, take time to discuss.
-Sing the chorus again
  • Have the children join you on the chorus.

-At this point you can teach the 1st verse but don't make this the focus.  I think the focus of the introduction of this song should be what the atonement is, invite the spirit, and testify of Christ.

Tell your ward chorister that the primary is singing this song this year.  Ask if they can incorporate it often through the year so the children can hear it in sacrament meeting.  It is so fun to hear the kids singing a hymn louder than the adults.

Here is what the sharing time outline says to help teach the song:
Divide the children into four groups. Give group
1 GAB 116, and sing the first phrase of the song to

them. Discuss it briefly, and then have them sing

it a few times with you. Continue with each group

and each additional phrase (use the following
pictures: group 2, GAB 108; group 3, GAB 57;

group 4, GAB 56). Sing the whole first verse with

each group standing, holding their picture, and

singing their phrase. Invite the groups to switch

pictures, and sing the song again. Repeat until

each group has sung each phrase. Sing the chorus,

and ask the children to listen for how many times

you sing the word “wonderful.” Repeat the chorus

a few times with them, and invite them to place

their hands over their hearts each time they sing

the word “wonderful.”

I encourage you to teach all 3 verses.  Use pictures or movement to teach the words. Hope this is helpful.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

February Helps!

Hey Just wanted to share some things I thought might help for this month, and in general.

Here is a video from the 2013 primary training video its only about 20 min. Training Video

Also here is the 2014 Sharing Time Outline 2014 Sharing Time Outline (if you need a hard copy let me know)

This year's outline is amazing! A long time ago we used to get lots of help for preparing out monthly songs.  They used to give ideas each month on how to teach the song in the Friend Magazine. When they stopped it was kind of a bummer because it was nice to get some ideas. Well they are back! In the back of this year's outline is a little blurb on ideas of how to teach the song.  Great right!? What I usually do is use it as a guide, look it over and change it to make it work for me. Here is this month's blurb:

Tell the children that God has given us a very special gift. Ask them to listen for what it is as you sing the first line of the song (a plan). Show a map, and compare using a map to find a destination to following God’s plan to return to Him. Explain that this song teaches us about the plan and tells is how we can return to live with Heavenly Father. Display pictures depicting important words (such
as gift, heaven, home, earth, and birth) and some written words (such as plan, purpose, choice, and direct ) from the song throughout the room. Have the children gather them and hold them up in the correct order as you sing the song to them. Invite them to sing along with you as they look at the pictures and words.

So this was a song in the primary program a few years ago.  It was one of those experiences where I planned really hard and prepared and it was a mega flop.  The kids weren't seeming to get it.  The words were not sticking.  So I had each class make an action for each line of the song.  They loved it! So you are welcome to try that as well.

Also Chelsea shared this blog.  It is really great too ocd primary chorister. Please let me know if you have any other resources you feel would be helpful to the other choristers in the stake.

There is also a facebook page that is great (thanks again Chelsea) Primary Chorister's Facebook Page

Please share you comments, what worked for you this month? What are you struggling with?




Hi all! We are a much smaller group now!

I just wanted to let you guys know I am still the Stake Primary Music Specialists. I wanted to let you know that I am really excited about the new stake! Change is new and really exciting. It doesn't really change your calling, but what it does do is open doors.  With a smaller stake we have more opportunities to do some fun things, that I will keep you posted  on. The other thing is that it means I am more available to you! I am not stretched as thin and am here to help you, so if you have any concerns or need help with anything I am happy to do so, yay!

Also it is ward conference time. If you are unsure about when your ward conference is, let me know I will let you know. There have already been a couple with more to come.  I will be attending as many as I can.  I will be there not to judge you, just to support you and see if you have any concerns. Although you don't ever have to wait for a visit to express any concerns.

Also I hope you can attend the stake's Autism Fireside! Everyone will benefit.  It is going to be an amazing night and only 1 hour.  Here is the flyer. You are welcome to invite neighbors or friends.  It will help us all be better in our calling and as parents.
Please let me know if you need anything!