July 1 Patriotic Plan

Last night was the performance of the Musical Theater camp I put on for kids 6-12. It was awesome and amazing, but it didn’t help me get my primary plan for July done on schedule.

So, here’s my last minute plan for a patriotic 1st of July.



We’re going to learn the first verse of “America the Beautiful” and after the kids have got it down pretty good I’ll give them a section of patriotic streamer to wave while we sing it again! I’m also going to introduce our pioneer day songs: the handcart song, and little pioneer children. I’m going to wear my daughter’s sun bonnet. Then, we’ll read the scripture references and tie in to Nephi’s Courage for the closing song to review.

For senior primary we’ll do the rest of the verses (with the kids reading out of the hymnbook) and “My Country, Tis of Thee.” We may also practice the harmony part of CTR (it sounds so cool!)


You’ve got to watch the Church’s ASL video for this Hymn, it is breathtaking.

Hymns, America the Beautiful, no. 338

1. Oh, beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain, (yellow, golden)
For purple mountain majesties (“mountain” starts very similar to the sign for “rock“)
Above the fruited plain! (“plains” ends with the sign for “land”)
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee, (I’m going to do the sign for blessing that we already know)
And crown thy good with brotherhood (brotherhood is the same as “one another”)
From sea to shining sea.

2. Oh, beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

3. Oh, beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine.

4. Oh, beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Text: Katherine Lee Bates, 1859–1929

Music: Samuel A. Ward, 1848–1903

2 Nephi 1:5–7

1 Nephi 13:12–16


Hymns, My Country, ’Tis of Thee, no. 339

1. My country, ’tis of thee, (America)
Sweet land of liberty, (“Liberty” is the same as “freedom” but with “L” hands)
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrimspride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring! (for “ring” I’m going to use “sound“)

2. My native country, thee,
Land of the noble free,
Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and rills,
Thy woods and templed hills.
My heart with rapture thrills
Like that above.

3. Let music swell the breeze
And ring from all the trees
Sweet freedom’s song;
Let mortal tongues awake;
Let all that breathe partake;
Let rocks their silence break,
The sound prolong.

4. Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light.
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King!

Text: Samuel F. Smith, 1808–1895

Music: From Thesaurus Musicus, London, 1744

2 Nephi 1:7

Ether 2:12


Afraid or laughing?

For Sr Primary this week I had a plan to talk about tithing, but while I was sitting there listening to the lesson I felt that I really needed to keep teaching “Nephi’s Courage” to them.

So I pulled out my Book of Mormon and looked up the scripture references for the song and found the verses where Laman and Lemuel express the fear and mocking talked about in the song.

Fear: 1 Nephi 3:31
Mocking: 1 Nephi 17:17

I had the kids look them up and read the first one. I reminded them that this was when they were getting the plates from Laban. Then I asked them how Laman and Lemuel were feeling during this scripture. Someone said “angry” and I should have said that sometimes people become angry because they are feeling afraid, but I didn’t, and the next kid answered “afraid”. Then we sang verse 1.

Then I asked the kids, “what happens in the second verse?” they answered, Nephi builds a boat! Then we read 17:17 and I asked again, what were Laman and Lemuel feeling? We talked about making fun, laughing, mocking, etc. and then I asked, “how do you feel when you are being laughed at?” and “Do you think Nephi felt that way?” “But what did he do? He chose to do what the Lord wanted! He built a boat!”

It’s hard to convey the discussion we had in print, but I hope you get the general idea… Then we sang the whole song through.

New plan for June!

I was reminded today, when all the kids sang all the verses so confidently, that we did this song in our program last October! (When I had just been called as the Chorister) I even had it written down in my master list of songs the kids know! (which I looked at during primary today!)

So now the question is: what am I going to do with all my extra time??

June 10 When I pay my tithing, Heavenly Father will bless me.

Review both Father’s Day songs and remind the kids to be mindful singers next week–to think about what they are singing and who to, and how they feel about that person (dad or other person like a teacher, absentee father).
Jr primary: act out vs 2 of “Nephi’s Courage” to ensure they understand the story. Practice vs 1 and 2 together, working on the 2nd line especially (both afraid to try vs. laughing and mocking is frequently mixed up)
If time, teach pioneer song “little pioneer children” have the kids make up actions and talk about how the pioneers often paid tithing in goods not money. Practice picking 10 berries and giving one for tithing.

Sr primary: Review Father’s Day and
Teach Pioneer Songs: “little pioneer children” and “the handcart song”. talk about how the pioneers often paid tithing in goods not $. Use “Nephi’s Courage” as the reverence song, mention first the laughing vs afraid mix up and ask the kids to pay attention to me doing the signs for a hint.

June 17 I obey the Word of Wisdom by eating and drinking that which is good and avoiding that which is bad.

Congratulate the kids on how much love they showed their fathers (or other) today.
Teach/review 3rd verse of “Nephi’s Courage”.
Jr. Play a game (maybe drawing toy food out of a bag and sorting it into groups of good, bad, and sometimes/treat foods) sing 3rd verse and other songs about making good choices.
Sr. Finally teach the tenor line for CTR using handbells!! I’ve got two pages of sheet music I hand-wrote and color-coded to match my handbells with just the tenor line from the hymnbook. I’ll post more details in my weekly plan.
Bear testimony of treating our bodies well by feeding it good food, exercising, sleeping, etc. because Heavenly Father gave it to us to take care of.

June24 When I dress modestly, I respect my body as a gift from God.

Sing some Body Part songs like: HSKT, Two Little Eyes, Roll Your Hands, and My hands upon my Head I’ll Place.
Review/ catch-up on “Nephi’s Courage” bring out the costumes one more time and tie it in to modest clothing. Did Nephi choose to dress modestly?
Bear testimony that our bodies are a gift from God and they we must dress our bodies to show how much we value them.


Our bodies:
Likewise, we would keep the outside of our bodily temples looking clean and beautiful to reflect the sacred and holy nature of what is inside, just as the Church does with its temples. We should dress and act in ways that reflect the sacred spirit inside us.
2005 October General Conference, The Sanctity of the Body, Sat. Morning Session – Susan W. Tanner

Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ.
For the Strength of Youth: Fulfilling Our Duty to God, Dress and Appearance

In earlier times, tithing was paid in kind—a tenth of the herdsman’s increase, a tenth of the farmer’s produce. I am sorry that our modern cash economy deprives parents of the wonderful teaching opportunities presented by the payment of tithing in kind. In a recent book, Tongan Saints: Legacy of Faith, the author quotes a Tongan bishop’s memories of one such example:
“Grandpa Vanisi’s spirituality inspired an awe in me as a child. I remember following him daily to his plantation. He would always point out to me the very best of his taro, bananas, or yams and say: ‘These will be for our tithing.’ His greatest care was given to these ‘chosen’ ones. During the harvest, I was often the one assigned to take our load of tithing to the branch president. I remember sitting on the family horse. Grandfather would lift onto its back a sack of fine taro which I balanced in front of me. Then with a very serious look in his eyes, he said to me, ‘Simi, be very careful because this is our tithing.’ From my grandfather I learned early in life that you give only your best to the Lord” (Eric B. Shumway, trans. and ed., Tongan Saints: Legacy of Faith, Laie, Hawaii: The Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1991, pp. 79–80).
I had a similar experience as a young boy on my grandparents’ farm. They taught me about tithing with examples of one egg or one bushel of peaches out of ten. Years later I used those same kinds of examples to try to teach the principles of tithing to our own children.
Parents are always looking for better ways to teach, and the results of their efforts are sometimes unexpected. Attempting to teach tithing to our young son, I explained the principle of a tenth and how it would apply to the eggs gathered in a chicken farm and the young calves or horses born in a breeding herd. When I finished what I was sure was a clear explanation, I wanted to test whether our seven-year-old had understood. I asked him to imagine that he was a farmer with a harvest of eggs and young animals. I supplied the figures and then asked our little boy what he would give to the bishop as tithing. He thought deeply for a moment and then said, “I would give him a very old horse.”
We obviously had some further conversations on the principle of tithing, and I am proud of the way he and his brother and sisters learned and practiced that principle. But I have often thought of that little boy’s words as I have observed how some adult Church members relate to the law of tithing. I think we still have some whose attitude and performance consist of giving the bishop something like “a very old horse.”
1994 April General Conference, Tithing, Sat. Afternoon Session – Dallin H. Oaks