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Alternate Activity 3: Singing "Sing When The Spirit Says Sing"

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Optional: Recording of the song, "Sing When the Spirit Says Sing" and appropriate music player
  • Optional: A guitar, piano or other instrument

Preparation for Activity

  • Prepare to teach the song, "Sing When the Spirit Says Sing," to the group. If you are unfamiliar with the tune, listen to it online. On Jay Droz's website hear the tune and see lyrics and guitar chord notation (#165). There are also many performances on YouTube.
  • Optional: Obtain a recording of the song to familiarize the children with the tune.
  • If you wish, invite a musical volunteer to help you teach, lead, and/or accompany the song.

Description of Activity

Children learn a hymn.

Gather children in a circle. Invite them to stand as they are willing and able. Allow room to move to words such as "shake" and "dance." Tell them this song began as an African American spiritual. You may say:

This song talks about spirit and how it moves inside us. Singing it together gives us some fun ways to move together in spirit.

Teach the song. Add verses with new verbs, or invite children to do so.

Then lead children to sing each verse and demonstrate the action words:

You've got to sing when your spirit says sing,

You've got to sing when your spirit says sing.

When your spirit says sing, you've got to sing, sing, sing.

You've got to sing when your spirit says sing.

You've got to shout when your spirit says shout...
... When your spirit says shout, you've got to shout right out loud...

You've got to wiggle when your spirit says wiggle...
... When your spirit says wiggle, wiggle like a worm...

You've got to shake when your spirit says shake...
... When your spirit says shake, you've got to shake like a snake...

You've got to dance when your spirit says dance...
... When your spirit says dance, you've got to dance, dance, dance...

You've got to sneeze (laugh, clap, move...), when your spirit says sneeze (laugh, clap, move...)...
... When your spirit says sneeze (laugh, clap, move...), you've got to sneeze (laugh, clap, move...) right along...

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