Sunday, July 22, 2012

Primary Games

So, this post is really for me more than it is for anyone else to use as a resource.

Just warning you.

However, if you are curious, you are more than welcome to read on!

It really is useful!

I'm teaching the CTR 7 Primary class in church right now and I have discovered something very important. They have no attention span.
Their minds are EVERYWHERE!

I began teaching my class, trying to focus on getting through the lesson as quickly as I could, but then i always had 20 minutes of class time left over at the end.

There's only so much hangman you can play before you start to go a little crazy.

I tried letting them pick out their own game, but then I would have students arguing on which game to play and they would be upset when their game wasn't picked.

I knew there had to be a different way, so I started to try and figure out how I could change up my lessons.

The first thing I knew for sure was that I needed to add more games.

My kids LOVE games.

Like really love.

Like, one of my students will ask in her prayers that they will have time at the end of class to play games, kind of love.

So, I thought, "why wait until the end of class to have games"?

I consulted my sister (who is a primary teacher over the same age group and a elementary school teacher), pinterest, and google for ideas on how I could lengthen my class out and make it overall better.

I have compiled a list together of awesome activities that I feel are church appropriate that we can play during class.

I have the ideas split up into THREE categories:
Mini Games: Games that are really quick that get the kids to move and to wake them up
Time Fillers: Games and activities that are there to fill up some extra time that I may have at the end of class.
Review Games: Games that I can come up with questions regarding the lesson and play at the end of class to help the students remember what we talked about in class that day.

The important difference between mini games and time fillers is that my mini games are usually activities that can be quick and that everyone can participate. Time fillers are usually more of games that each student takes a turn being "it", therefore taking up a lot more time because each of my students begs for a chance to be "it".

Some of the games I felt could be in more than one category, so I put them in more than one category! :)

So, without further ado, here is a list of the games/ideas I have come up with:

Mini Games:

  1.  Unscramble the Word: Write a word on the board with the letters scrambled up and have the kids sort the letters out to figure out the word.
  2. Secret Message: Give the children a phrase with a lot of unnecessary letters around the words, hiding them. Give them a letter to cross out, until they have crossed out all of the unnecessary letters and are left with the secret message.
  3. Act It Out: Act out the scripture story you're talking about in the lesson.
  4. I Spy
  5. Graveyard: My kids came up with this one themselves. Have all of the kids lie on the ground with the lights turned off as still as they can be. If a student moves or talks, then they are "out". Keep going until one person wins. For me, I'm really lenient and don't tell students when they are out. Usually, one student can't handle being still anymore and will declare themselves out. Then, they will take it upon themselves to be the enforcer. When a student gets "out" I tell them that they still can not talk while the others are playing. It's an excellent game to play when you want a moment of peace and quiet.
  6. Hot Potato: When the potato lands on them, have them say something that they are thankful for or something nice someone did for them during the week. Be creative. 
  7. Puzzle: Print off a picture from the internet that has to do with your lesson. Cut it up into several puzzle pieces (I usually do somewhere around 12) and have the students work together to put the picture back together.
  8. Beanbag Answers: Ask the students a question and toss a bean bag to a student for the answer.
  9. Hidden Object: Hide an object in the room and have the students hunt around for that hidden objects. If possible, hide more than one item so that more kids have the opportunity to find something.
  10. Do The Wave
  11. Blink: Blink one eye while snapping the opposite side's fingers 10 times. Do the other side.
  12. Position Switch: Part way through the lesson, tells the students to turn their chair facing a different wall, sit on the floor with no chairs, or trade your chair with the person on your right, and continue the lesson from there. It gets them alert and they think it's silly that they're doing something different.
  13. 5-4-3-2-1: Start off with doing 5 of something, then 4 of something different, then 3 of something else, etc. An example would be tell them to hop on one foot 5 times, spin around in a circle 4 times, walk around the room 3 times, high five 2 different people, Touch your toes 1 time. Then everyone sits down.
  14. Would You Rather: Ask them would you rather questions, having them go to one side of the room or the other depending on their answer. For a quick activity, only ask them 5 questions. For a quick list of questions that I found on the internet/created myself, click here: Would You Rather? List of Questions. Don't be afraid to come up with questions on your own! Especially some lesson related questions!
  15. Find it Fast: A variation of I Spy. You call out a color, a shape, or a trait and let the students go around the room searching for something that matches that trait as quickly as they can.
  16. Plates: Each student puts a paper plates on their head and walks around with it there for as long as they can. If it falls off, they have to freeze until another students walks over and picks up their plate for them (without their own plate falling off)
  17. Line Up: Have students line up in a certain order depending on what you call out. Examples could be having them line up according to age, height, hair length, alphabetically according to middle name, etc)
  18. Train Connection: The students line up with their hands on the person's shoulders in front of them. They walk around the room, following what the leader is doing. When the turn is over, the person at the front of the line has to go to the back and the next child continues the train.
  19. Stretch & Move: Have the students stand up and stretch! Some stretches they can do are: windmills, jumping jacks, toe touch, waist bends, high knees, hop, balance, jump rope, skip, crawl, walk, etc.
Time Fillers:
  1. Hangman: I always have my students use "church words".
  2. Word Search: I created some easy word searches for my students to do. It really wasn't difficult and all the words had to do with church or the lesson.
  3. Drama or Draw: Have the kids pick out a word strip with an activity on the paper. They can either draw a picture of the action on the board or act it out while the other kids guess.
  4. I Spy
  5. Graveyard: See Mini Games #5
  6. Coloring: Have each child draw or color a picture that you print off ahead of time. Many times, the manual will have a picture, but if it doesn't just google your subject online and you'll find lots of ideas!
  7. Hot or Cold: Have one child leave the room while another hides an object. When the child walks back in, the other students tell them they are hot (when getting closer to the object) or cold (when getting farther away).
  8. Pig: Each student rolls the dice once, writing down the number that they got. They take turns rolling the dice until the first person has reached the number 50.
  9. Detectives and Robbers: Everyone in the room memorizes the room as it is. Send a couple of students out as the "detectives". The students in the room (the robbers) will change ONE things about the classroom. Call the detectives back in and have them figure out what is different about the classroom.
  10. Who Touched Me: A variation off of Heads Up, 7 Up (which my kids LOVE...unfortunately, we only have 5 students in my class). In this game, have a couple of students close their eyes while the other students go and touch one of the people. The people with their eyes closed, can open their eyes and try and guessed who the person was that touched them. 
  11. Musical Chairs: Sing a song that they're learning in primary or a song that goes along with your lesson. When a student gets out, they can join you in singing and they can pick when the music "stops".
  12. Beat That: The students roll 2 or 3 dice and finds the highest number possible. Once everyone has a turn, the person with the highest number wins the round. Example: If I rolled 2 dice, and got a 6 and a 3, my number would be 63. If I rolled three dice and got a 3, a 2, and a 4, my number would be 432.
  13. Four Corners: Blindfold a child while the others go to one of the corners in the room. The blindfolded child calls out a number (1-4). Who ever is in that corner, is out. The children switch corners and the blind folded child calls out another number. Continue until there is only one child left. With this one, you may want to give the blindfolded child two chances to guess where a person is before having everyone switch places. That will help the game to go faster.
  14. Six Spots: Number six spots around the room and have the kids go to a number they like. Roll a die. If you are at the number that was just called out, then you are out. I usually do the first roll, and then have the student that gets out have the next turn to roll the dice and call out the number. If no one is at that number, then have the child roll the dice again until you land on a number that a student is on. 
  15. Would You Rather: Ask a lot of questions or have the children take turns coming up with their own questions to ask the other students. See Mini Game #14 for more ideas.
  16. Plates: See Mini Game #16
  17. Thank-You Cards: My kids LOVED making thank you cards. I put a list of people they could write a card to on the board and game them some time to write them. They were disappointed when class was over and they didn't have a chance to write more than one. It's a good activity that gives them a chance to write to someone in the ward or someone in their family and tell them thank you. It also makes the person receiving the card feel good. Plus, YOU feel good being the one who suggested it! Win-Win-Win!
Review Games:
  1. Spinner Board with Questions: I made my own spinner board. There are three colors on it and an arrow I tacked into the middle so it can spin freely. The students spin the arrow and depending on what color it lands on, gets asked a question. If they get the questions right, they get a point. I would recommend having at least 8-12 questions, 3-4 for each color.
  2. Choose the Right Board Game: Click on the link and print off this awesome board game that the church put together as a resource for teachers: CTR Choose the Right Board. Then, write up questions from the lesson.When a child gets the question right, they move forward, if they get it wrong, they move backwards or stay in the same spot. For difficult questions (like What does it mean to repent?) they can move ahead two spaces. For easy questions (like How do you feel when you serve someone?) they move ahead one space. When they land on a CTR, they get to go up the latter. When they land on a WC, they have to slide down the slide. You could also bring dice and have them roll to discover how many spaces they move forward or create your own dice that have the numbers 1-3 on it. You'll have to come up with the most questions for this game, probably at least 15-20. You may need to reuse questions as well depending on how many times they land on the "WC" square.
  3. BINGO: At the beginning of the lesson, give each child their own bingo board. As you go throughout the lesson, each time a key word is called out, they can cross off that square on their board. You may need to emphasize the word and pause for a few moments as they try and find that square. Who ever gets 5 across first wins! You need to come up with 24 words. 
  4. Tic-Tac-Toe: Split the class into two teams. Team X has to answer a question. If they answer the questions correctly, they get to put an X on the board, if it is answered incorrectly, they lose their turn. Continue until some gets three in a row or it's a cats games. You need to come up with at least 9 questions for one game.
  5. Bean Bag Toss: Line three containers (this could be bowls, boxes, buckets, etc) in a row (or around the room, adjusting the difficulty to your class) and label them as different points (1, 2, 5). Have each child take turns for their team answering a question. If they get the question right, they can toss their bean bag into one of the point buckets, if they make it, they get the points for their team. If they don't make it, they get no points and it is the other team's turn. Which ever team reaches 20 first, wins. You'll want to think of at least 15 questions (in case they miss the bucket or get a lot of ones)
The great thing about the primary lesson manuals is each lesson has at least 10 questions it tells you to ask your students. I usually ask my students these questions, and then ask them again in the review game. They have no idea that I'm reusing questions and they get excited when they know the answer. It makes it a lot easier to plan the review games as well. It'd be miserable to have to think up all of those questions by myself!

So, there are my games ideas

There are 37 total.


Usually, my class time starts off with an attention-getter activity, has two-three mini games in the middle, and about 10 minutes at the end of class for a review game, class activity, or time filler game. There's a lot less time sitting around at the end of class, all of us asking each other "what do we do now?" and it helps to move the lesson along and keep their attention a lot better.

Now, this isn't perfect. 

There are just some weeks that a few of my kids just want to be miserable and don't want to play any of the games I present to them.

However, I remind myself to move on and be flexible.

Every week isn't going to be a perfect lesson and by the time they get home, they probably won't even remember what we talked about in class...

But, if I still have my sanity by the end of class...then I consider it to be a success!

And if not...there's always the next week! :)

Do you have any fun activities that you loved to do in your Primary Class? (Either as a student OR a teacher?)

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Ready to Baby it Up in Here!

Oh yeah. I'm pretty stoked! 

I have a baby growing inside of my body at this very moment.
How awesome is that!

And let me tell isn't always easy to get pregnant.

No, it is not!

There were so many teenage girls getting pregnant at my high school when I was younger, I thought to myself, "Oh yeah, it's EASY to get pregnant! We'll have no trouble what so ever."

That was definitely not the case.

I'm surprised at how many people for their first child have lots of difficultly getting pregnant. It's a really tough trial that is difficult to understand unless you've gone through it or you know someone who is close to you that has gone through it.

That's why I mention it.

I'm not ashamed that it took us a little while.

In fact, looking back, this pregnancy couldn't have come at a better time.

It's just a testimony to me that things will happen all in due time. And what's meant to be will be.

(And for those of you wondering...we tried for 9 months. Which really isn't that long when you put things into perspective or talk to other people who try for several years...but to me, it was FOREVER!)

Anyway, I'm having a baby! :)

My current due date is February 17, 2013 (although, I don't really like to count on that date. The baby will come when the baby is ready)

I am currently 9 weeks along (so I don't know the gender of the baby yet) and I feel FANTASTIC!

No, really. 

I feel great.

I've had ZERO days of morning sickness and it is a HUGE blessing to me and my family!

I do, of course have other symptoms, (back pain, weird aversion to smells, gagging when I brush my teeth, super mega highly emotional, and I get really tired really easily...just to name a few.)

But no throwing up. It's awesome.

I already know I'm going to be that girl that my friends call up when they're pregnant to ask me how I overcame the trial of being sick all the time and I'll just say*, "I don't know what you're talking about! Pregnancy is AWESOME!"

*ps. I would never EVER actually say this. Morning sickness is a very real thing and I feel terrible for all the women that have to go through it. 

Anyway, to help show our excitement, I told CW that I wanted to take a couple of awesome pictures:

Although my brother-in-law questioned my math, I would like to remind everyone that this does NOT read 1 + 1 = 3. That is incorrect. I now have another person inside of it is 1 + 2 = 3. I can do math!

We're high-fiving each other here because we're excited that we did it. GO TEAM BABY!

Well, there you have it! That is the most exciting thing that has happened in our life right now. There are (of course) a million other things that have happened since the last time I posted...but what does that matter now?

It's baby time! :)