Thursday, February 23, 2017

Exposure First

Happy Thursday, (also known as "Friday eve")!

Today I'm sharing a brand new song and giving you the inside scoop as to why I wrote it the way that I did.
To give you a little background, a teacher that I work with asked if I could write a song to help the students celebrate 100 days of school. Her school was having a celebration for the 100th day of school and all kinds of activities were planned for that day.

After discussing this concept for a few minutes, the teacher shared that a few of her students were still working on counting from 1-10 and the rest of her students were working on counting 11-20 and 20-30.  The idea of 100 was not really a concept they had spent lots of time on so far this school year. This is pretty much reality in any classroom.  There are students functioning on a variety of different levels, strengths and weaknesses.

So, as I set out to write this song, I decided that if this was for a celebration, it should definitely sound upbeat.  Furthermore, I wanted to keep it simple, and I didn't want to count to 100 during the song. :)
I asked myself questions (i.e. What do the students need to know to celebrate 100 days of school?,
What will the students grasp quickly?  How do I explain 100 to a student that is not able to count that far yet?)

I decided to give the students exposure first.  I wasn't going to teach them to count to 100, but I was going to expose them to the concept of what 100 is all about.

I came up with three ways to describe the concept of 100 (of anything):
100 is big
100 is a lot
100 is a large amount

Then I added activities they can relate to doing everyday, like reading, writing, counting and learning to work together.  This essentially became the "meat" of the song.  I then added one more thing:  an opportunity for the students to cheer, "Hooray!" during the song.
When I sang this song with students very recently, the "Hooray" part was definitely an attention grabber! :)

Here's the song below.  What are some ways that you provide students exposure first?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Happy Holidays plus a freebie!

This has been a busy semester for me.  I realize I haven't posted often, but I've been busy recording songs for many different subjects and topics.  I hope to get back on a somewhat regular blog posting schedule in the new year.

Today I'm sharing an oldie but a goodie!  I seriously get lots of use out of this song around this time of the year.  The kids love it and they learn it pretty quickly!

"Christmas Lights" is sung to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down".  When I sing this song, I also incorporate sign language(ASL) for the following words:

Today I'm giving away a freebie also!
By clicking on the link here, you can access a power point presentation that goes along with the song "Christmas Lights".  Each slide features colorful pictures of Christmas lights and the lyrics to the song.

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Rhyming Words

The reading bug bit me!
If you read my last post, I wrote about skills students need to acquire in order to learn to read.

Lately I've been working on several songs to help students with pre-reading skills in a fun way.
Today I'm posting a song that was adapted from an old nursery rhyme, "A tisket, a tasket".
In this song, I focus on students learning that rhyming words sound the same.

While singing this song, students select word cards (note cards cut in half or quartered are good sizes), from a basket.  You can also make word cards with clip art representing each word as well.

Each student takes a turn reading or sounding out their word (Remember-start simple.  Word families are great for this!),  and the other students can listen and try to figure out if they have a word that rhymes with the word that was read.  This activity could be repeated on different days so that students would have more practice with rhyming and reading the words.

What songs do you use to help students learn to rhyme?

I hope you have a great week and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sticking Words Together

Students can have a variety of challenges when it comes to learning how to read.

In order to learn how to read, students must:
*recognize the letters of the alphabet, uppercase and lowercase letters
*learn the sounds associated with the letters of the alphabet,
*encode letters for the sounds heard for the initial, ending and medial sounds heard in words
*recognize word families and build words (word building)
*increase sight word vocabulary, develop word sense
*decode (learn phonetic rules that tell us how to pronounce sounds of letters in conjunction with each   other)
*learn punctuation and capitalization
*recognize spelling patterns

The song I'm sharing today is one of many that I use to help students learn how to read.  This song identifies the five vowels:  A, E, I, O and U.  The song also defines vowels as letters that "stick words together.  They also have two sounds-long and short.  You have to listen for the difference in vowel sounds.

I work with one student in particular who inspired some of the lyrics in this song.  He is a very energetic student who is always eager to sing in music therapy and can often be heard saying, "Come on!  Let's do it!" or "Here we go!" as each session begins.  See if you can hear the extra lyrics I added to honor his spirit and energy! :)

What are your favorite songs for reading and the skills involved in learning how to read?
Please share or comment below!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Shaping Behavior

How many of you remember the golden rule?
It goes something like this:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
If all of the students we work with did just that, life would be amazingly easy!
Many students that I work with in the public school setting are working on impulse control.  This looks different from classroom to classroom, because it includes verbal, nonverbal, physical and social and emotional behaviors.

Today I'm sharing a song that helps remind students to think about their behavior.
This includes anything they may say or do.  I've been singing this song the past two weeks with students and they quickly learned the song lyrics.  A lot of the students are also able to pair sign language to key words in the song (I sign the following key words: think, speak, do, want, them and you).

What other behaviors do you shape through songs?
Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!