New and refurbished ideas for LDS Primary Music Leaders (a.k.a. Primary Choristers)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Welcome to the first installment of the
Super Singing Secrets!
No, this isn’t about how to sing better.  I’m definitely not the one to teach that.  It is about those technical secrets that help make singing time flow more smoothly.  Okay, it really is just a fancy, smancy way to say the tips and tricks of the calling that I have learned.  I just like alliterations and the way they flow off the tongue in a fun way so I’m calling it “Super Singing Secrets” So There!

There are many ways that people put their flip charts together.  I thought I would share with you the way I do it and why. You could print your flip chart on both sides of the card stock, laminate each page and then have them hole punched and bound with those coil thingies.  This is a very nice way to do it and it does make it easy to grab the individual flip chart booklets you need for the day.  However, I prefer not to use this method because it can become quite costly to laminate and bind each flip chart, but mainly it is because I prefer to use my visual aids in more than one way so I can get a variety of uses out of them as well as I think the variety helps to keep things fresh for the children.
Page Protectors

I prefer only printing one-sided on the card stock and the versatility of using page protectors.  Often when I am first teaching a song with a flip chart I will not use it in the traditional way; page protectors in a binder.  I will use page protectors that I have cut off the 3-hole strip section on the side so I have a pocket sleeve for the page and that I’ve added magnets to the back of the sheet protector. If you use the thicker, stronger magnetic roll strip, you usually only need a piece at the top, but I would suggest at least a couple of pieces at the top in each corner to help it lay flat against the board, but if you use the magnetic tape that is not as strong, I would suggest to use a piece in all four corners. I have used both types of magnetic strip/tape and they both have their pros and cons, but I think I may lean a little more towards the magnetic tape since it is not so thick and just a tad easier to apply since I don't have to remove any adhesive backing. I buy the magnetic strip or tape from craft stores and always use my 40-50% off coupon. I make these magnetic page protectors so I can mount them on the magnetic chalkboard in the Primary room as we go through the song.  This allows me to be more mobile as well as it keeps my hands free for other things. You don't have to mount permanent magnets on the back. You could just post them on the board with loose magnets holding them from the front, but I have found it is much easier to switch between songs if I don't have to handle the loose magnets. I just keep the stash of these magnetic page protectors in a file folder and pull out how many I need for a given song as needed. I have enough so I can keep 3-5 flip charts in these at a time for the newer songs being worked on. Another reason I do it this way is so I have the versatility to play games such as:
  • Have a child leave the room and remove one or two pages, then have the child come back in and as the children sing, the child guesses which phrase(s) is missing.  For the SR kids you could mix the pages up after removing one to make it harder for them to figure out which one is missing.
  • Mix the pages up and have a child or two put them in the correct order as everyone sings.
  • Remove 1 or 2 pages at a time as the children are learning the song to help them memorize the song.
  • Match the phrases up.  One way to do this is by passing out the second half of a phrase to each class then you sing the first part of the phrase and the class that has the matching phrase sings the matching part back to you continuing through the song as each class sings their part.
  • Pass out in random order 1 or 2 pages to each class and you sing through the song with the children singing only their group's parts from the flip chart sheets they were given.  Rotate the pages and sing again.
  • You can do what I call "Singing in the Round" by posting the phrases around the room and having each class or group of children stand by one of the phrases and then each class/group in turn sings their phrase they are standing by in order and then you repeat the process after you have them rotate to the next phrase.  Keep it moving by beating a drum or using a rhythm instrument or by having the pianist play the intro or some marching music right AFTER they sing the song as they quietly and quickly move to the next phrase before the short musical interlude is finished and then immediately go into the song again or you could have them rotate as they all sing the chorus part.
  • You can do the 4-Corners game using the phrases instead of numbers and posting a phrase in each corner.  You have a blindfolded child select a phrase of the song after the singers (the children sitting down) sing the song while the movers (a class or group of children) move quietly around the room stopping at any one of the phrases by the time the song is finished being sung.  The movers standing at the phrase that the blindfolded child selected after the song was sung must than sit down and join the singers.  Repeat until only a few or 1 is left. When there are only 4 children left, I will tell them that they must each be in their own corner or sometimes I will declare the last few movers in that group the winners and let another class or group have a turn.  Sometimes I may have the blindfolded child pick two phrases to help speed things up so there can be more turns.  This is a musical chair kind-of-concept.
  • And of course the most basic reason is that I can have children come up and hold the pages up as I am teaching them.  You could also have them holding the FC in a mixed order and then putting themselves in the correct order as you sing.  I would suggest, however, to only do one or two phrases at a time instead of the whole song so you only have two to four children up front, otherwise, it could become quite a mess when there are too many kiddos scrambling for position. (Learned that the hard way.)
Portrait & Landscape Mode
Sample of flip chart pages in magnetized sheet protectors on the board

Flip Chart Binders
It is usually not until after we have gone through learning the song do I then put the flip chart into regular page protectors with two pages back-to-back per sheet protector and then into a ½” ring notebook binder so that it can be easily used for review singing.  As more program songs are learned, I keep adding the flip charts to the binder.  I will end up with two, ½” ring notebooks by the time we have gone through all the program songs.  I do have a 1” ring binder but I have found that I prefer the lighter weight of the ½” ringed binders.  The program songs stay in the binders throughout the year, but I will also add to the front of the binder any other songs I will need flip charts for that we will be singing that day, such as the opening song or extra singing time songs, and then I remove those flip charts so I can add the next Sunday’s songs.  Yes, that does mean I have to remove any weekly flip charts from the sheet protectors to insert the next flip charts, but it only takes a few minutes to switch them out.  I just need enough page protectors for any of the program songs I made a flip chart for and extra sheet protectors for the weekly songs to be sung.  I just store the flip charts that are not in use in my song files.

Mixed Sized Pages Taped Together
Large Sized Pages Taped Together
I have some visuals that are printed on several sheets that need to be bound together such as my melody maps or I have used larger sized paper for a visual or using two different sized papers that obviously won’t fit into a binder, so I have used packaging tape to bind the sheets together making it more "poster" like but yet can fold up smaller at the taped "hinges".  I don't usually laminate these.  If you would still like to laminate and bind your flip charts into a booklet, here is a great idea I recently found that uses a similar idea for binding regular sized flip charts together using packaging tape instead of those coil thingies.  With this taped binding you could also add an extended page that hangs out for a descant or chorus.
So, as you can see, there are many different ways you can use a flip chart
for other than just as a flip chart when you don’t lock it into just being a flip chart.


  1. Thanks for sharing the many ways you use flip charts. I've always printed/made them the same way you do so I'd have more versatility in teaching and now you've given me even more ideas on how to use these handy visual aids! I'm looking forward to your next "Super Singing Secrets" post.


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  2. Thank You!! I feel like I get in a rutt sometimes. This gives me so many more ideas to go over and over the same song! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm so glad I found your blog!!! You have the cutest ideas and THANK YOU SO MUCH for providing us the downloads of your work. I know it takes a lot of time to put these together and I appreciate your willingness to share.

  4. I just want to give you a HUGE thank you! I absolutely LOVE your site and am so grateful for all of your hard work to help the rest of us out. What a huge blessing- thank you!

  5. All fabulous ideas...THANK YOU for sharing!

  6. I have just been called as music director for Primary. I have done 2 weeks thus far. I am exhaused ! It has been 30 years since I have been in Primary. - I am 62 years young but OH my goodness, doing 3 things at once is difficult.
    I don't do well with flip charts so I love love love the page protector magnet idea!!! You have solved a huge problem for me. Thank you so much!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Do you have a preference to the strips of magnets that you use? There seems to be a million varieties out there on amazon with not good reviews. I would like the stronger magnetic tape that would just use the magnets on the top corners. I too have a difficult time holding flip charts and animating the song and looking at the kids and singing all the correct works and...and...and....

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