Monday, May 20, 2024


I've been the primary chorister for about two months now and feel like I'm starting to settle in. At any rate, I know the kids a little better and they know me a little better and we're all willing to have a good time together. The first week I left feeling a little bit like they'd eaten me alive...but things are going better now. 

We've had some fun and successful lessons/activities. And we've had a few activities fall flat. 

That's the way things go, right?

I can tell when an activity goes over well because then Zoë or Alexander will offer to teach Family Home Evening...using my music lesson from the day before. I think that's totally okay, though, because mimicking a lesson is an excellent way to learn how to teach. 

That's how I initially trained as a swimming instructor. 

When I started teaching swimming lessons I was actually too young to have gone through the Red Cross Water Safety Instructor (WSI) certification course that our recreation center required to teach. But I had said in my lifeguarding interview that I was absolutely interested in teaching swimming lessons. For some reason they didn't realize how old I was, so they just banked on me teaching swimming lessons that summer. 

Because I wasn't technically certified, I couldn't sign any of my own report cards or anything. But they still had me teach as I would shadow a certified teacher for the first swimming session of the morning and then would simply...repeat that same lesson the rest of the day with my own classes...over and over again...until my shift was over. 

And then I'd get up and do it all again the next day. 

Honestly, I think I learned more that summer of shadowing my good friend Sam than I did when I finally went through the process to get my WSI certification. I'm really good at teaching "level three" swimming skills!

Anyway, my point is that mimicking a lesson is an excellent way to learn how to execute a good lesson plan. Of course as the summer progressed I was able to incorporate some of my own ideas into my swimming classes and when I was an actual certified teacher I was able to teach more levels and figure out my own stuff. But I think it was easier because I had that baseline apprenticeship. 

So copy away kids! 

Alexander is excited for tomorrow's lesson because...he didn't get a turn during primary. 

Having your own children in a class is a tricky balance because on the one hand I don't want it to seem like I am favouring them. But on the other hand I fear that in order to avoid favouritism I neglect calling on them altogether. I'm sure I'll figure out a balance at some point and my kids are pretty good at being good sports (partly because they know they can always play the very same game with our family the next day and get loads of turns, I'm sure). 

So, I get both a lovely singing time and a Family Night Lesson out of any given lesson I plan and I'm all for killing two birds with one stone. 

(I may not have inherited my grandpa's sharp shooting, but I'm sure he'd be proud nonetheless.)

For today's lesson, we mostly sang Book of Mormon Stories since we learned about Abinadi (and we can't forget about him)! I printed out some "lost plates" with a barcode on each of them and taped them up around the primary room. I brought along a barcode scanner (which my kids call a "dooter," thanks to Bluey) and picked a child to find a lost plate and scan the barcode to help us figure out what Book of Mormon story was written on that plate (I just made sure my cursor was in the search bar of the little website I made for this lesson) and then we'd sing whichever verse came up. 

The kids went nuts over this activity. 

They sang so well. One boy, determined to be chosen to find a lost plate, stood up and belted out the song at the top of his lungs, his arms spread wide. This child—let me tell you—has an incredible voice. I've tried to convince him to join the ward choir (his mom is the director) but he keeps telling me he's not ready. He is, though. He's an amazing singer...when he's motivated...which he was today. 

He definitely got a turn with the dooter.

Another little girl, equally determined to be chosen to find a lost plate, but only three or four years old and unable to read (I had the lyrics to each verse up since there are so many that are unfamiliar to the kids and teachers alike), enthusiastically, passionately, and with great gusto sang the tune of the song...with complete nonsense syllables coming out of her mouth. 

She also definitely got a turn with the dooter.

Zoë got a turn with the dooter. And a handful of other kids did, too...which left a handful that didn't get turns, including Alexander. 

At the very end of the hour we had two "lost plates" left to find and we still hadn't gotten to Abinadi! Rather than chance it, I just had us sing about Abinadi without bothering to find his lost plate.

I promised the children that we'd play another "dooting" game in the future. 

"Who knew kids would be so motivated by something as simple as a scanner..." one of the teachers remarked as we were cleaning up.

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