Small & Simple Faith - teaching ideas
Have you listened to our latest release?? It's such a sweet one!
Teaching a brand-new song can be daunting! To make it easier for you, I've made some printables to help you along. I always try to teach in ways that encourage active learning instead of passive learning. I don't love flip-charts (they are what I would classify as passive learning) or games that take time away from singing; instead, I love rhythm patterns, actions, ASL, word games, and codes–things that require the brain to do more work while they are learning. The more their brains are working, the more they will remember.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Pictured: images for the first verse. There are additional images for the chorus. Can you put them in order in your mind? Here's a hint: "Our HANDS might be SMALL but we can HELP like JESUS by REACHING out with kindness and LIFTING those who need us"
These simple pictures coordinate with the words in the first verse + chorus. I like to have them displayed on the board out of order and have the children help me put them in order as we sing the song multiple times in a row. Sometimes I'll challenge them and say, "Let's see if we can get these in the right order before I finish singing the song four times!" While I'm singing, I will tap a child on the shoulder to signal them to go to the board and move one of the pictures. For younger children, I like to have another teacher at the board to assist.
Can you figure out this color code? (There's a key at the bottom of the listing *wink* *wink*)
I'm a big fan of color codes, and the children I teach are always excited to learn with them too! This one is for the second verse + chorus. Each word (not syllable) in the song is represented by a shape/color. Different shapes refer to different ideas; different colors refer to first letters.
How to use this code:
1) Ask the children what they see. What is the same? What is different?
2) Sing through the song
3) Ask the children what the shapes have to do with the song. Collect their answers. Offer praise. (If they didn't learn anything about the code, sing again, pointing to each shape as you sing.)
4) Sing through the song 2-3 more times, collecting answers and offering praise after each time.
BONUS ACTIVITY: "Alliteration" (putting words that start with the same sound close together) is one of my favorite tools in my songwriter toolbox. Can you find any examples of "alliteration" in this song? (HINT: you can use the colors to help you!)
BONUS ACTIVITY: Challenge the children to sing only the colored shapes while you sing the white shapes. Then switch. It's harder than it sounds, and it's really good for the brain to assist in learning!
This melody map is for the bridge of Small & Small Faith. A melody map is a visual representation of music. Much like sheet music that uses a staff and different notes to show duration, a melody map shows when the music goes up and down and can also visually display the rhythm by using shapes of different widths or spacing the icons further apart.
To use this map:
1) Display the map out of order on the board (don't tell them!)
2) Ask the children, "what do you see?" "what do you notice?" "what is the same?" "what is different?" Collect their answers. Offer praise.
3) Tell them that the pictures have something to do with the song, and challenge them to see what they can learn as they listen to you sing.
4) Sing through the song.
5) Collect answers from the children.
6) Sing through the song again.
7) Collect answers from the children.
8) If they haven't already found out that the maps are in the wrong order, tap the map as you sing another time.
9) Collect answers
10) Ask the children to clap the rhythm when the shapes are outlined in red. Sing through the song again. Explain that it is a repeated motif in the song, something the songwriters used to help us remember the song.
11) Challenge the children to sing the yellow and blue while you sing the grey notes, then switch
12) Bear a 1-2 sentence testimony that relates to the bridge
Yellow: words that refer to Jesus
Blue: words that refer to us
Red: a repeated motif that appears throughout the song
Taller rectangles: higher notes
Shorter rectangles: lower notes
Narrow rectangles: shorter notes
Wide rectangles: longer notes
If you have a set of handbells, this bell chart would be a great way to review the song! I don't necessarily like to use them for teaching because they can get a little loud, but they are great for review.
This chart uses the following bells: C1, D, E, F, G, A, B, Bb, C8. Bells play half notes throughout the song that harmonize with the music (they don't match the melody). Words are included underneath for easier playing. I recommend tapping/pointing the maps as you go and hanging them in columns, playing top to bottom.
There are 12 images total, each pair representing a way we can be like Jesus. I love how they work for the lyrics of this song!
I also use them for "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" and "Come Follow Me."
This one isn't a freebie, but because it my primary's all-time favorite singing-time activity, it had to make the list! A few years ago, I had 6 pairs of images (12 total) commissioned by the amazing Alyssa Harper (PrimaryIllustrations); I LOVE how they turned out! She does incredible work. These images are of great quality and have a high resolution. They are formatted to print full-page.
Two ideas for primary:
1) Play like a regular memory/matching game as you sing the song multiple times. I tap children on the shoulder to go take a turn. It is helpful to have another adult at the board helping keep things sane. In junior primary, I only use 4 pairs. The key is to keep singing! Don't take breaks. Get as many repetitions in there as possible!
2) Attach all of the pictures of Jesus to the board and spread the rest around the room. As the song is sung multiple times, have children get a picture from around the room and attach it next to its corresponding picture on the board.
How would you teach this song to children? I love hearing all of your ideas!