When We Seek Him - teaching ideas
I have had a couple of emails about the teaching helps for "When We Seek Him" (co-written with Shawna Edwards) that I offer (for free) on my website. To preface, I only teach one section of the song at a time, spread out over several weeks. Ideally, I would create 3-4 experiences with each section before moving on. Even though I include multiple portions of the song in each download, I would only use them with one section of the song to create distinct memories for each portion.
The emoji activity is more straightforward: The children put the images in order as the song is sung several times in a row. I usually challenge them to figure it out by the time the song is sung/played 4 times. This is a great active learning activity that will speed up the time it takes for them to memorize the song. Be sure to "check" their work at the end to make sure they are in the right order to get another repetition in! This is a great activity for younger and older children. In this activity, the emojis are color-coded so that there are 3 colors the same in a row. This will help and become apparent as they work on putting them in order.
Remember to only use one verse (or the bridge) at a time or it will be way too overwhelming.
These are the first 5 emojis (out of order 😉). Can you see how they fit with the song?
(Hint: the first two lines are "The wisemen were watching and praying For heavenly signs of His birth.")
The melody maps are a little more involved, and you may find more success with this with older children. Melody maps are visual representations of music notes. Like an introduction to reading sheet music. On the melody maps the shapes and symbols go up and down to show the melody. First, print these out "poster size." I do this in my printer settings, making each page take up 4 separate pages. Then I cut and tape them together. I like to display the pages out of order and first ask the kids three questions: what do you see? what is the same? what is different?
Then I challenge them to figure out what the maps have to do with the song. Sing through the song and collect answers. If they didn't figure out that it is displayed in the wrong order, sing through again and give some hints (ie: tap a few places to show where you are when you sing). Then work with the children to put the maps in the correct order.
After that, I ask them to figure out what the different symbols mean. At the end, I ask them to sing all of the colored shapes while I sing the black ones. Then we switch. This is a big challenge for them (and me!) but it is really effective. I would definitely practice doing this before trying it with the children.
Here are the maps for the first verse (out of order 😉). Can you put them in order? What do the different symbols mean? (The lyrics here are: The wisemen were watching and praying/For heavenly signs of His birth./They followed the starlight through long days and dark nights/To worship the Lord of the earth.)
In this particular map, I included green shapes to show action words and green word strips that go with each of them. I would save this for another week. Those can be attached to their respective maps. You can also make up an action to go with each of the words. Using an action will keep the attention of younger children who cannot read well.
When I teach this song, I also use actions. Here are the ones I use: https://youtu.be/-NNUZeJb2xA
I also just created this cute lyric video using illustrations by Susan Fitch (used with permission).
Another great thing to do is use pictures to make visual cues (try this without the words for a more active-learning experience). Susan Fitch has some adorable ones (linked above) and I also LOVE anything Alyssa Harper draws. She is a magician! HERE is a link to her illustrations for this song.
Have so much fun, and remember to bear testimony as you teach. This is such a beautiful song!