Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year

Happy New Year!

I'm wishing great things for all of you in 2010!

Since starting this blog in the spring of 2009, I've learned so much and met several online friends that I cherish. Everyday I am amazed by technology and the ability to connect and relate to people who are so far away, yet experiencing some of the same things I am with my career and life.

To all of my blog readers, I want to say "Thank you" for reading, listening and stopping by. I hope to post and share even more this year.

I have several goals and New Year's Resolutions for this year. What are your big resolutions for this year?

Several of my resolutions center around the them of organization. We all love to be organized, love to have things organized, and normally function very well in an organized environment, but rarely do we LOVE to donate our time to actually doing what it takes to GET organized. No matter how many other things I can use as a distraction, organization really needs to happen. :)

So, my first question for the new year: What has helped you be the most organized in your career, life, etc.?

Wishing you a Happy New Year,


Friday, December 4, 2009

Big Green Christmas Tree

Here's a song you can use during the month of December!

I currently work with several students who are nonverbal who are working on choice making. Choices are made for various activities via picture cards (pecs and real pictures as well) and/or voice output devices and simple switches.

For this song, I have a file folder with a plain tree on the inside of the folder. I also have several ornament pictures that students can choose from to decorate the tree. My ornament pictures include ball ornament, angel, gold star, candy cane, color lights. You can add as many or as little as you like.
You could also concentrate on colors and only use ball ornaments of different colors and students would then choose the color of their ornament for the tree.
I also have a powerpoint visual for this song. After students choose their ornament, I drag each ornament and place it on the tree. Higher functioning students can click and drag their own ornaments onto the tree.

<a href="">Big, Green Christmas Tree by More with Music</a>


I'm a big, green christmas tree,
Standing tall for all to see.
I need your help.
Oh would you please--
Choose an ornament to put on me?

Monday, November 30, 2009

7 Days in a Week

Things sure seem to stay busy this time of the year!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and the count down to the holidays has begun. While we're all hustling and bustling around, sometimes it seems that time goes so fast!

Whether this seems true or not for you, there are still seven days in a week and that is the song that I'd like to share today!

There are a variety of ways you can use this song. Visuals for each day of the week (Days typed out) would be great and also counting the days, 7 in all. I tried to be sure to leave appropriate space when singing the individual days so that verbal students can sing along via "call and response" style. Nonverbal students can participate by holding up a day of the week when it is sung and/or using a switch (pre-programed to sing the chorus)to sing along with the chorus.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and look forward to sharing more songs soon!
<a href="">7 Days in a Week by More with Music</a>

There are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 days in a week. (Repeat)

Now let's name them all,
7 days in a row.
Can you help me name them all?
Ready, here we go!

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

We go to school on the weekdays,
5 days in a row.
We have fun on the weekends,
Saturday and Sunday, you know.

© 2010 Amanda Ellis

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recycling Song

A Recycling song!
I have looked in many places for a recycling song to use with students and (no offense to anyone out there), but I have yet to find one that I really, really like and want to brag about.

I probably haven't looked hard enough. In the midst of my search, I went ahead and wrote a song about recycling and the different materials that one can recycle. I can't say it's my favorite and I probably won't brag about it, but it will work for now. :)

<a href="">Recycling Song by More with Music</a>

Here are the lyrics:

Paper, Plastic, Glass bottles and Cans.
These are all materials
that can be recycled and used again.

Paper from schoolwork, newspapers and magazines,
recycle them when you can
and help keep the earth green.

Plastic from water and soda bottles too,
Shampoo and lotion containers,
Recycle them when you can.
It's good for me and you.

Glass bottles and jars,
contain different things.
Vegetables, sauces, jellies and beverages too.
When they're recycled, it saves money and the environment too.

Cans from sodas and food cans too,
they can be recycled after they're used.
Recycling cans saves money and the natural resources of our land.

© 2010 Amanda Ellis

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This is the Turkey

Here's a song I wrote to compliment a book that a teacher read to her class this week. The book is called "This is the Turkey" and it is written by Abby Levine. It is a beautifully illustrated book centering around the theme of the foods we eat at Thanksgiving and of course, family.

In the story, a quite unusual accident happens with the Thanksgiving slips out of the mother's hands and lands in an aquarium! Of course, the story then concentrates on the abundance of foods left for the feast and family surrounding us being the most important thing.

<a href="">The Turkey Flew! by More with Music</a>

In using this song after students have read the book, one could program a voice output device (such as a big mac) to say, "Oh Dear, Oh me, what will we eat?" or you could print out pictures of the foods in the song and allow students to choose "What will you eat?" via picture. Incorporating a GoTalk4 or GoTalk9 so that nonverbal students can choose which foods they will eat would also work well with this song.

What are your favorite books for a Thanksgiving theme?

Paper CD Cases

I stumbled across this while online this morning and just had to share!

This might be time consuming and involve more work than putting a CD in a normal CD sleeve or case, but for special occasions/holidays with decoarative paper, I think these could be really cute!

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am Thankful

Here's a song that I love to use during this time of the year.
It is titled, "I am Thankful" and it is written by by Hap Palmer. He's been around for awhile and has many great songs and CDs. You can check him out on his site here. On his site, you can find his CDs and also the lyrics and free activity ideas to go along with his songs.
His song, "I am Thankful" is a great one to use for a Thanksgiving theme. I like it especially because you can ask students what they are thankful for and insert their responses right into the song. I have recorded it with answers in the song just so you can get the idea of how this song sounds/works, etc. I only use this song for educational purposes as well.

<a href="">I am Thankful by More with Music</a>

Isn't it awesome when a song naturally targets a goal? (i.e. answering Wh questions: "What are you thankful for?") :)

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Several of the classrooms I am work within are studying the 5 food groups this month and talking about energy, balanced diet, etc. (as a way to lead right into the Thanksgiving feast, I'm sure!).

I wrote this song as an introduction to a five food groups unit. I also have separate songs about each food group. If you haven't checked it out yet, go to the Dole website (here) and (among others), listen to their fruits and vegetable song, "SuperKids Song". It's hip, fun, and can be appropriate for elementary through high school age classes to sing!

Apples, Oranges, Corn and Broccoli,
Food is good for you and me!
Milk and Eggs, Yogurt and Cheese,
Food is good for you and me!

Food is made up of nutrients that help
our bodies to grow.
Food gives us energy everyday to get up, and go!

(Repeat Chorus)

*I hope you are having a great weekend and looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday coming up! I'm looking forward to a few days off!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ted the Turkey

Here's a song you can use for "turkey" season with students. I think it has the possibilities of being a really fun and cute song! :)

I found lyrics to the first part of this song on the internet and it us usually sung to the tune of "I'm a little teapot". I added the additional lyrics and changed the tune so that I can use this song with younger and older students. I will use this song for educational purposes only.

Some of the ways you might use this song include asking "Wh" questions (i.e. What is the turkey's name? What does a turkey say?) and then with the second half of the song, ask students, Where could the turkey hide?" You can have pictures printed representing choices of where the turkey could hide and let students pick one of the pictures, or for more advanced students, let them draw the place where the turkey could hide. I'm sure you will get some very creative answers!
<a href="">Ted the Turkey by More with Music</a>

I'm a little turkey.
My name is Ted.
Here are my feathers,
And here is my head.
Gobble, gobble, gobble
is what I say
and I'm running away on Thanksgiving day, Yes!
I'm running away on Thanksgiving Day!

Where should I go? Where should I hide?
Should I stay inside? Or should I run outside?
Where should I go? Where should I stay?
Cause I'm running away on Thanksgiving Day, Yes
I'm running away, on Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rett Syndrome

Please take 90 seconds and watch this Rett Syndrome Public Service Announcement! Help us spread the word by sharing it with others too!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What do you like about Halloween?

Here's a song for Halloween!
Pumpkins, costumes, candy too.
I like Halloween, how about you?

I hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Colors, Colors!

Here's a song I use to help teach colors. I have used this song several different ways so far.

<a href="">Can you tell me the color? by More with Music</a>

One way is to use the song in a class or group, and use scarves of different colors or different colors of paper that the students hold up when their colors are called. For lower functioning students, I recommend focusing on fewer colors at first. The chorus, (Colors, colors, everywhere, you see them everyday. Some are here and some are there. Let's sing about our colors today!), can also be sung into Big Mac switches or other voice output devices in order to give nonverbal students a turn to "sing".

For higher functioning students, I also have each object mentioned in this song printed out on a picture card and I show them the card and they tell me the color. Once students are experienced with the song they can move to sequencing the pictures in the order of the song. I've also made a power point presentation of each object in the song and added the song to the power point. If a student chooses that power point, we watch it first and then I ask "Wh" questions about each color, (i.e. Which one is Red?, Which one is the color of a lemon?,etc.).

I got the idea for the lyrics about colors for this song from another song on the internet, so of course, I will only be using this song for educational purposes.
Hope you're all having a good week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Listen, then play!


Here's a song that focuses on listening skills with rhythm instruments.
(If you scroll down and read my previous post today, you'll understand this post even better!)

The rhythm instruments featured in this song include: egg shakers, bells, paddle drum, and clatterpillar (I LOVE the clatterpillar! :)).

Listen, then play.
Listen, then play.
Listen for your instrument, then you play.

If you have any comments and/or questions, feel free to contact me at
Thanks for stopping by!

Listen and Do

Hello readers!
It's been awhile since I last posted, but I've been busy with work and life and wanted to be sure to post today.

I wanted to share a song that I wrote this week. It's titled, "Listen and Do". I use this song as a simple listen and then do song. I use rhythm sticks or drums and the students in the group are encouraged to follow the leader, who at first is the music therapist and/or teacher.

Here's the song and I hope you might be able to use it!

Listen and Do,
Listen and Do,
Listen to the rhythm then you play it too!

While I write this, I also can think of a couple of other ways to use this song.
One way would be to change the lyrics and have the song concentrate more on speech and/or vocalization.
The song might go like this...

Listen and Do, Listen and Do
Listen to my sounds, then you make them too.
"Ba, ba, ba, ba" (or whatever sound that particular student is working on).

The second way would be another way to enforce following directions with fine or gross motor movements.
The song might go like this...

Listen and Do, Listen and Do
Watch what I'm doing (or watch me move) then you do it too.
(some actions you could do include: pat head, pat knees, blink eyes, stomp feet, rock side to side, etc.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Clouds are so interesting to look at. No two clouds are identical...just like people. :)

I wrote this song to help teach students about clouds, (after much researching the internet and NASA sites about types of clouds, how they are classified,etc). Clouds are classified by shape, color, and height. They are classified for where they are located in the sky: low, middle, high.

I have to say, this song was very tricky to write! I decided to make it as simple as possible and write about the three basic types of clouds: Cirrus, Cummulus, and Stratus clouds.

I plan to incorporate several visual pictures of the definition of a cloud (i.e. picture of clouds, sun above clouds, moon over clouds, water droplets), and a visual for the three types of clouds.

So, take a minute to listen to the song and if you have any questions or comments, you can email me at

<a href="">Cloud Song by More with Music</a>

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I have a pumpkin

Here's a song I wrote this week. It's a song about a pumpkin transforming into a jack-o-lantern. I work in several elementary classrooms where they are working on learning to identify their shapes (mainly circle, square, triangle, rectangle for now), and parts of a face. So, I opted to write a song reinforcing shape recognition skills and parts of a face, within a song about a pumpkin.

<a href="">I have a Pumpkin by More with Music</a>

I have a laminated file folder with a large picture of a pumpkin on the right, inside of the folder. On the left I have several laminated black shapes attached with velcro to the folder.

I also designed a power point presentation for this song (for my severe profound classes who use a smartboard in their classroom). Each slide features the pumpkin with an additional facial feature (triangle eyes fly in first, then circle nose, then square mouth). Then for fun, the jack-o-lantern spins during the last verse of the song. The kids really enjoy watching it!
On another day, I might ask the students what shapes they want to use for eyes, nose, mouth, etc. and create a totally different looking jack-o-lantern.
Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Diameter of a Circle

Here's another song to help teach the mathematical concept of the diameter of a circle. This one is very simple as well, but that's the idea. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Radius of a circle

Here's a simple song I wrote to help teach students how to measure the radius of a circle.

The students I wrote this for will probably not make it to the actual mathematical formulas, but I think it's good that they might be able to grasp what the math vocabulary is talking about.

This song is VERY simple and straightforward, but I really wish I could have rocked out to this song when I was learning about Radius, Diameter and Circumference! :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Let's learn about a Hurricane!

Here's a song I wrote to the tune of "Ob La Di, Ob La Da" for a special needs high school classroom (IED Severe), learning about hurricanes. The vocabulary words I wanted to address included: hurricane, wind, rain, flash floods, dangerous, rescue workers, circle, pressure, ocean, strong.

I really like how the chorus sounds with the vocabulary words, but it was tricky to word some of the verses of the song. Some of the lyrics had to be sung rather quickly to fit them all in. :)

Anyhow, I would love to hear what you think of this song. Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sunny Days

So, my 5 1/2 yr old son was talking to me from the backseat of the car yesterday and said, "Hey Mom, I made up a song today. It's called 'Sunny Days', and we should record it." So, here it is.

It's a little...ummm...random, and it doesn't fit into any one particular style of music (listen all the way to the end), but it's cute and I thought I'd share.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

The Water Cycle

Here's a song about the water cycle. I opted to use lyrics from other water cycle songs found on the web, but changed the key and tune. This song, of course, will only be used for educational purposes.

One of the classrooms I work in is learning about the Water Cycle and I wanted to address this in the most clear, concise way. We're targeting vocabulary words in this song: Precipitation, Evaporation, Condensation.

Stay tuned for a song about Hurricanes later this weekend!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Good Manners

Here's a song I recently wrote about having good manners. I decided to start with a simple manners song and address saying "Thank You", "Excuse Me", and respecting personal space. I plan to add additional manners to the song as I go along.

Manners are something that parents, teachers, and therapists definitely have to teach. It is a more challenging subject to teach to children who have do not yet understand social cues (such as some children with autism). I find that songs and a lot of acting out and modeling these behaviors to the students helps to teach them alot.

I hope all of you are having a good week.

If you have any questions or comments, please email me at
Let me know what you think!

Good Manners

I try to have good manners,
in everything I say and do.
When I'm using my manners,
I'm thinking about how I treat you.

And I say, Thank You,
when someone gives something to me.
And I say, Thank You,
when someone does something nice for me.

I use good manners, whenever I can.
A person with good manners is who I am.

I say, Excuse me, if I'm standing in your way.
I say, Excuse me, if you're talking and I have something to say.


I respect my friends and teachers when I keep my hands to myself.
I respect their personal space when I leave a space between them and myself.


I have good manners,
in everything I say and do.
When I'm using my manners,
I'm thinking about how I treat you.


© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Monday, September 21, 2009

Motivating Mondays

What kind of music motivates you?
I find myself having different answers to this question almost daily. The truth is, it really depends on the day and how I'm feeling, how much is going on, and how busy I am at any given time that day. I always have my favorites I will pick, but somedays, I'm interested in hearing something new with a different sound and a different flavor, if you will.

This is an important thing to remember when working with students and/or other clients in the music therapy profession. It is a full time job to keep one's skills current and also be able to adapt to several different styles of music. I'm often thinking of the goals I'm trying to address within music therapy sessions with particular students, but it's just as important to focus on the style, beat, and accompaniment of each song with which I'm hoping to motivate and teach the student.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to record some (mostly classical) pieces with a string quartet. It was such a great afternoon of mostly nonverbal communication, and being in tune with one another and really moving as a group, rather than four separate soloists.
You can have a listen here.

I hope everyone has a great week and I appreciate all the recent feedback!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making a Prediction

We all make predictions everyday. This includes things like predicting how long it takes us to get ready in the morning and setting our alarm accordingly, to which way we should drive to avoid traffic based on traffic patterns previously experienced.

I wrote this song to help teach students what a prediction is and that it is, by definition: "reasoning about the future based on facts and evidence".

This song could serve a science lesson very well (i.e."We're going to predict what's going to happen when..."). Students might be more motivated to answer "Wh"questions like , "What do you think will happen?", or "What do you see?".

Making a Prediction

What will happen?
What will we see?
Will something change?
Will it look different to me?
I'm making a prediction based on facts and what I've seen.
I'll predict what's going to happen, before it's shown to me.

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

What other songs do you love to use for teaching science or reading units/skills?

My Face

This song is about a few of the parts of a face (eyes, ears, nose and mouth). I wrote the lyrics to this song to help a classroom of elementary students with developmental delays learn to recognize the parts of their face and also learn a little bit about the job of each part. The song is to the tune of "I like to eat Apples and Bananas".

I love to use Boardmaker pictures with this song in order to give a good visual of each part and then help the students find the parts of their face while we're singing the song.
Another classroom activity I plan to do with this song is to incorporate the All Turn it Spinner and paste boardmaker pics on the spinner. When a student presses the switch to spin, we will sing about the body part where the spinner stops. I also like to do number songs and instrument choices with the spinner from time to time to change things up a bit.

<a href="">Parts of my Face by More with Music</a>


Let's sing a song
about the parts of our face.
We wear our faces each day and to every place.
I have two eyes, on my face
I have two eyes, on my face.
I like to blink, blink, blink, blink with my eyes
I like to blink, blink, blink, blink with my eyes.

I have two ears, on the sides of my face.
I have two ears, on the sides of my face.
I like to hear, hear things with my ears,
I like to hear lots of things with my ears.

I have one nose, in the middle of my face.
I have one nose, in the middle of my face.
I like to smell, smell things with my nose.
I like to smell, smell things with my nose.

I have one mouth, it's on my face.
I have one mouth, it's on my face.
I like to eat, eat, eat, with my mouth.
I like to eat, eat, eat with my mouth.

That's our song
about the parts of our face.
We wear our faces each day and to every place.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clean Up!

I wrote this song very recently (like yesterday),
for a teacher who teaches students with special needs at a high school. She requested a song to use to help get the students to help her clean up the room at the end of the day.

I'm sure you've all heard the very famous rendition of , "Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere..." (which is usually sung in a very nasal sounding voice and chanted way too many times, in my opinion). Well, this song is meant to be more age appropriate for students in high school and hopefully, will help the teacher accomplish acquiring help in cleaning up the classroom! :)

It's time to clean up the room.
We're gonna' pick up things and put them away.
We're cleaning up the room.
It will be time to leave soon.
We're gonna clean up the room at the end of the day.

Help one another.
Put things away.
We're working together,
at the end of the day.

It's time to clean up the room.
We're gonna' pick up things and put them away.
We're cleaning up the room.
It will be time to leave soon.
We're gonna' clean up the room at the end of the day.

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Monday, September 7, 2009

Teaching Music

I was reading blogs today and came across a very interesting youtube video posted here.

It is a video featuring Bobby McFerrin teaching the concept of a pentatonic scale to an audience of non-singers. It is really amazing! I instantly thought of some of the more advanced students with special needs that might be able to accomplish this (with the music teacher or music therapist performing the improvisation over the scale at first) with voice or even boom whackers! Resonator bells could also work and the pattern Bobby McFerrin demonstrates could be made even more simple so that there could be an ostinato for the lowest functioning members of the group who could keep the beat. One could even break up the pattern and assign different bells/boom whackers to each individual student and cue the pattern within the pentatonic scale. The possibilities are endless! What do you think?

I'm thankful to see others teaching in such creative ways! It really helps keep the creative ideas and teaching flowing!

Hope everyone had a nice Labor Day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

People Like it When I say Hi!

One of the greatest things about the internet is the unlimited amounts of resources one can find online.

I often wonder what I did before there was!

Anyhow, I wanted to post a song that has been working really well for me lately. I heard this one online and it is by another board certified music therapist named Cathy Bollinger.

The song is titled "Peolple Like it When I say Hi" and while I don't use it in it's entirety (as written by Cathy), I think it is really catchy and the students love to say "hi" to one another and also use their communication devices/voice output devices to say "Hello". It is also a great song because it can span across a variety of ages of students, which in the music therapy world is a great thing to have!

Hope you enjoy it and thanks to Cathy for writing it!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Morning!

So, I wanted to post another song that is originally from Bear in the Big Blue House. It is such a nice song and I've had it in my head for days already! :)

It is the Good morning song and I originally was reminded of the song's greatness after reading the blog of one of my online friends, Rachel Rambach. She is an amazing board certified music therapist with an awesome voice and great ideas! You can find her website and blog here.

I actually heard this Good morning song quite a lot when my son was much younger, but I vividly remember him loving it too. I recorded my own version of it and added myself playing a violin harmony to it. I really like it and am excited that I'm learning my way around the audacity program (that I use to record songs).

My son starts kindergarten tomorrow and he's already requested this song for his "breakfast music". He loves to choose music to listen to while we eat at the table, play with toys and/or dance around. He told me my recording was "pretty good", so I'll take that as a good vote and share it with all of you!

I hope you all have a great Monday and a Good Morning!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finding the Lyrics

How many times have you tried to sing a song and forgot some or most of the lyrics (words)?

I rarely forget the lyrics to the songs I write, but I often check and search for lyrics when I plan on using a song written by another artist in sessions.

I came across a website this weekend that I wanted to share. The website is basically a site where you can search for songs by name, artist, band and/or the lyrics you can remember. You can find the website here.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Goodbye Song

Here's a Goodbye Song I plan on using this year.

I owe it all to Bear in the Big Blue House! My son absolutely LOVED Bear in the Big Blue House when he was between the ages of 1-3 1/2 years old. The songs on the movies are very catchy and upbeat!

I decided to use the Goodbye Song, which is sung at the end of every show. I use the first part usually heard on the movies, and then adapted my own way of fitting each student's names in the song to say goodbye to each individual student.

During sessions, I plan on playing this quite a bit slower and adding a little space between each student so they will have time (to be cued, to use their voice or voice output device,etc), to say goodbye.

I hope everyone had a marvelous Monday! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back to School!

Here's a little jingle I wrote about going back to school. It's still a work in progress, but I thought I should go ahead and share it because it relates to last week and this week in most places across the world!

Hope you have a great week!

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Learning a Phone Number

Ring, Ring, Ring-a-ling!

Here's another song I wanted to share for the beginning of the school year. This song addresses learning a phone number. You can incorporate lots of activities to help a student learn their home phone number, but I have found short jingles help the most and keep things fun!

What songs do you use to teach a phone number?

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

And a special thanks to all the feedback I've received via email!

The first five responders this past week have been identified and their free CDs are in the mail.
Hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Group Song

I just finished my first "project" with the audacity program and wanted to post it for all of you to hear. It's one of my previously posted songs, "Clap Your Hands", but it is a favorite of several of the kids I see each week.

I love this song (personally) because I can use it with a variety of ages with a variety of abilities. I wrote it specifically for a class of students that don't generally get out of their seats. I also use this song with the help of visual aids (Boardmaker picture cards) of the body parts mentioned and I allow the student to tell me, "What's next?" or "Sometimes I want to..." and they complete the sentence. You can pace the song faster for higher functioning students, but I think the song is a great one to follow any "Hello Song" as a good "ice breaker"!

Hope you have a terrific week and thanks for stopping by! :)
<a href="">Sometimes you want to clap your hands by More with Music</a>

Motivating Mondays!

Everything seems to stay busy around here!
Work is steady (which I'm thankful and tired from at the same time), and the start of another school year is literally right around the corner. My son will start Kindergarten this year and we are in the midst of getting ready for the schedule change that goes along with a full school day for him.

As for blogging, I intend to daily or at least a couple times each week, but lately that has not been possible. I hope to get on a more regular schedule of posting as I get used to the new fall schedule.

I'm so excited to see 900 hits on my blog and eagerly look forward to posting more songs and ideas soon! I've also been guitar shopping and think I might have found "the one" for me at this point! I've also been learning my way around a recording program called Audacity. So, hopefully, I can post some better sounding tunes soon!

For today's Motivating Mondays post, I decided to share another website I actually stumbled upon over the weekend. It is called the Mosaic Project.

The Mosaic Project is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that works toward a peaceful future by reaching children in their formative years. On their site, they feature songs about empathy, diversity, conflict resolution, and peace. Their music targets the 4th and 5th grade audience, but is hip and catchy enough to appeal to all ages.

I encourage you to check them out and listen to their songs!

Hope you have a great week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

All About Me

Many teachers incorporate an "All About Me" unit in their classrooms, sometime in the first few weeks of each new school year. This really helps students and teachers get to know each better and share their unique personalities with each other. This song can be used for each student in a classroom. Students (and/or their parents) can help fill in the blanks to this song, and also practice spelling and reading their names. For students with delayed speech or non verbal students, their descriptions of themselves and what they like can be represented with a picture card so that they can participate in the song also.

I decided to use my own son as the example this time, so you can better hear how the song goes! He will be entering Kindergarten this fall and is so excited that this song is all about him!

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

What songs do you use for All About me units?

As always, if you have comments or questions, send me a quick email at

I love to hear from readers and enjoy your feedback!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

Everything seems to stay busy around here!
Work is steady (which I'm thankful and tired from at the same time), and the start of another school year is literally right around the corner. My son will start Kindergarten this year and we are in the midst of getting ready for the schedule change that goes along with a full school day for him.

As for blogging, I intend to daily or at least a couple times each week, but lately that has not been possible. I hope to get on a more regular schedule of posting as I get used to the new fall schedule.

I'm so excited to see 900 hits on my blog and eagerly look forward to posting more songs and ideas soon! I've also been guitar shopping and think I might have found "the one" for me at this point! I've also been learning my way around a recording program called Audacity. So, hopefully, I can post some better sounding tunes soon!

For today's Motivating Mondays post, I decided to share another website I actually stumbled upon over the weekend. It is called the Mosaic Project.

The Mosaic Project is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that works toward a peaceful future by reaching children in their formative years. On their site, they feature songs about empathy, diversity, conflict resolution, and peace. Their music targets the 4th and 5th grade audience, but is hip and catchy enough to appeal to all ages.

I encourage you to check them out and listen to their songs!

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

Hello again!

I first wanted to apologize for my lack of posts lately. My posts have been few and far in between. I've been doing some traveling, attending a family wedding, enjoying the summer with my 5 1/2 yr old son, etc., but I hope to keep things rolling along at a more regular pace now.

Secondly, I wanted to say that I am SO excited that I have had 806 visitors to my blog so far! I never imagined there would be that many people interested in what I do or what I have to say! I don't receive alot of feedback or emails from my blog posts, but I will assume enough people are interested in reading them and carry on! :) If you have any questions or feedback on my songs feel free to email me at

It's almost Monday here in NC, so I will go ahead and post my Motivating Mondays blog.

When I was thinking about today's post, I asked myself, "What motivates me? What pushes me along? What inspires me to keep going?" My first answer, of course, was music. Big Surprise! :) Another answer that I came up with, was learning new skills that further add to what I already know and practice everyday.

So, today's post is about a website I ran across while surfing the web (what did we ever do without the world wide web???). The website is called Next Level Guitar and it is a teaching site for beginning to expert level guitarists-acoustic or electric guitar. The co-founders of this site are Tim Gilberg & David Taub. The website address is

I highly recommend it! When you visit this site, you will find a total of 150 FREE beginner guitar lessons plus an assortment of other free videos, written lessons, and chord videos. This site covers chords of all types and rhythm/strumming patterns for guitarists. I really found this site most helpful and the videos moved at an easy pace to follow and play along with the lessons. The instruction techniques are sure to improve any guitarist's playing skills!

I have a busy week ahead, but I hope to post a couple of songs using some of my new guitar tricks later in the week. Be sure to stop by!

Hope you have a wonderful week!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I like to Jump!

Here's a fun song for all those kiddos out there who love to jump! The best part is that kids can jump outside and inside! One of the coolest gifts my own 5 year old son received as a gift was a smaller trampoline called an exercise trampoline. So, even on the coldest or rainiest days, he can still jump to his heart's content! Stay tuned for a picture of him jumping on his favorite trampoline!

Here are the lyrics:

I like to jump, jump, jump
on my trampoline.
I'm the highest jumper that you've ever seen.
I jump a lot and when I do, I feel so free.
I wish you'd come along and take a, take a jump with me.

We're gonna' jump up and down with all our might.
We'll jump all day and into the night.
For when I'm jumping, I feel alright.

I like to jump, jump, jump....(chorus)

We're gonna' jump real fast and jump real slow.
If we get tired we'll lay down low.
I need to get jumping for it sets me free and
that's what I need.

I like to jump, jump, jump...(chorus)

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

Today's Motivating Mondays post will be about an inspiring place I visited this weekend. I have been spending some time in Florida this past week (away from my guitar and recording equipment, so I apologize for the lack of song posts lately!).
Today we ventured to the NASA Kennedy Space Center. I found it to be a very interesting place with lots to see! More importantly, I really liked the NASA motto I saw throughout the various buildings, "Failure is not an option".
If we think about that motto and families who have children with special needs, it means alot! We cannot always fix everything, but we can strive to make things the best that they can be. We can search for ideas and find support all around us. We can network with many professionals, teachers, therapists, and experienced parents in our communities and via the internet to come up with new ideas, adaptations and solutions. Many times I think it is far more easier to list the problems and limitations a person with special needs has versus listing all of the solutions and adaptations we can put in place.
So, on the hard days, remember: "Failure is not an option".
In lieu of my visit to the Kennedy Space Center, I thought I'd post one of my most popular songs on this blog so far (according to site hits).

Planets go around the sun

Monday, July 13, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

It's Monday!

Here in NC we have rain this morning, but there are lots of motivating and inspiring things going on all around us!

Today's Motivating Mondays post is about the power of giving and being a hero. I recently became aware of a very inspiring website through a comment left on my blog. I have been amazed by what I have read so far! The website is

Wish Upon A Hero Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. They seek to align resources of individuals and corporations to impact education and literacy, economic despair, healthcare, environmental stewardship and disaster relief. The organization has programs that seek to support familes affected by Autism, Down's Syndrome, familes in need, communities in need of playgrounds, children in need of musical instruments for music programs and so much more!

The philosophy at the Wish Upon A Hero Foundation is that "Everyone's A Hero." There are chapters for nearly every state so go check them out and see how you can get involved today!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

It's Monday again and today's Motivating Monday post is about the power of play.

Typically developing children and especially children with disabilities learn a great deal through play. Play is a highly motivating thing!

We all seem to have busy lives and schedules, but it is SO important to make time to sit down and play with our children. They reap so much from play experiences with mom, dad, siblings,grandparents & other caretakers each day. To mention a few developmental areas, play builds self-esteem, self-help skills, fine and gross motor skills, reinforces academics (colors, numbers, shapes, prepositions, etc.), hand-eye contact, spatial relationships, plus a great amount of social skills are gained through the 1:1 interaction during the play (i.e. building relationships, eye contact, answering questions, taking turns, initiating play, etc.)
Below is a short list of some of the websites that carry toys for children and adolescents with disabilities.
Feel free to comment and add more to the list!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I like bubbles!

Here's a fun song for the summertime!
You could use this inside or outside..whatever the weather!

Kids just love bubbles, and I wrote this song to incorporate various communication goals and Wh questions like,"Where do you want to blow bubbles?".

Bubbles are also a very good sensory experience for kids!

Lots of communication could be targeted with this song. For example, you could print out Boardmaker pictures of blow, bubbles, high, low, toe, up, sky, right, left, more and less, etc. and reinforce the words with the pictures to teach those pictures. Pictures and words are more easily learned when the student is involved in an activity (such as blowing bubbles) compared to just showing the pictures and verbally speaking the word.

How could you use this song? Where do you blow your bubbles? :)

<a href="">I like Bubbles by More with Music</a>

I like bubbles
Great big bubbles
They're round and shiny and quiet when they pop!
I like bubbles great big bubbles
They're round and shiny and quiet when they pop!

I can blow them high , I can blow them low, I can even blow one to your toe!
I can blow them straight till the wind blows by
I can blow my bubbles up to the sky


I can blow them right,
I can blow them left
I can keep blowing till I'm out of breath
I can blow some more
or I can blow a little less
but blowing bubbles is the best!

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Motivating Mondays!

For the very first Motivating Monday, I wanted to feature a friend's little boy, Warren. He is a cutie and has two great parents putting him first- full-time!
Read on as his mother, Amy, tells their story...

My son, Warren, was born a perfectly healthy, full term baby boy. When he was 11 months old, we woke to a parent's worst nightmare with an unresponsive, stiff child lying in his crib. After test after test, a life flight to a more advanced hospital, and endless doctors and nurses working together, it was shown that Warren suffered an arterio-venous malformation (AVM) rupture in his brain which resulted in multiple strokes. Our life as we knew it was over. Warren spent 7 weeks in the hospital and another 4 weeks in an inpatient rehabiliation center. He lost his muscle control, as well as his vision, and does not communicate with us other than an occasional smile when we play with him.

We see each day as a blessing just because we have him! Warren is a true miracle, and I'm grateful each morning when I can kiss those sweet cheeks and rock him in my arms. We put one foot in front of the other just like every special needs parent and have our days when life just seems too overwhelming. However, as parents, our responsibility is to take care of our children, and so I find joy every single day in the fact that I am a mother to a very special little boy and that God chose me...knew that I could handle this raise a child with Warren's needs.

Warren has therapy five days a week which focus on building back his muscle strength and communication. We have become very creative with finding toys for him to play with whether it be feeling a pile of beans on his tray, helping him rip paper, banging his hand down on a tamborine or cuddling a soft animal. As summer approaches, we have put him in a baby pool in the backyard, played with sand in his sandbox, and recently received a JennSwing for the backyard which is very soothing to him. Although everything requires extra thought to figure out how we can make it work for Warren, we challenge ourselves daily to give him experiences that other children have. He is worth it!
You can follow updates on Warren and his family at

Motivating Mondays!

Motivating Mondays!

I've decided to start something a little different, but hopefully something interesting to read each Monday! Motivating Mondays will feature pictures of inspiration, stories that will inspire you and very soon, pictures and/or stories of families with special needs kids and their lives. My vision for this is that it will inspire you, help you to create ideas of your own and also help families to share & network even more, and grow in their knowledge of how to help their children.

Feel free to email me at if you have a picture/story you'd like to share and if you would like to nominate a child/family to be featured on Motivating Mondays!

Stay tuned for the very first Motivating Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Favorite Lullaby

Here is a special treat for all to listen to!
This is a lullaby from one of the Music Together® song collections. You can check out Music Together® and their awesome classes for infants, kids, and parents at Their song collections are research based and kids and parents alike love them!
I am a registered Music Together teacher, but more importantly I enjoy being a mother and using the Music Together® songs in our daily lives with my own son. This is a fairly recent recording of him singing his favorite lullaby, Su La Li. I am biased, but I think his pitches are pretty amazing! ;)
Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Five Little Ladybugs

<a href="">5 Little Ladybugs by More with Music</a>

Here's a fun counting song. It goes along with the book,"Five Little Ladybugs", written by Melanie Girth and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. This download is also free! I highly recommend this book to reinforce counting skills and for its vivid colors.

Besides counting skills, this song can also reinforce answering Wh questions (where was the ladybug? What were the ladybugs doing? Who came along?). It is also a very tactile book where students can touch number of ladybugs on each page.

Here are the lyrics:

5 little ladybugs sleeping by the shore
along came a fish and then there were...
Four little ladybugs climbing up a tree
along came a turtle and then there were...
Three little ladybugs drinking up dew
along came a duck and then there were...
Two little ladybugs basking in the sun
along came a frog and then there was...
One little ladybug sitting all alone
along came a breeze-then she was...

You can check out this book by clicking on the link below!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Safety Signs

STOP....and listen to this!

Here's a song I love to use with upper elementary and secondary students. It is from a book of songs from Prelude Music Therapy.
I use this song to teach Safety Signs and signs around the house and community the students will frequently be exposed to.

A lot of the students really love the fact that the guitar stops when we sing about, "This sign says STOP!". It's a real attention getter! :) I use laminated real pictures of each sign to provide a visual for each sign I am teaching.

This song can easily be incorporated into a voice output device as well, allowing all students to be able to participate in the song. Simply place a picture of each sign on a bigmac/little mac or import into other device (GoTalk4, GoTalk20) and each week as you sing the song, model to each student where that sign is located on their device. As you sing the song, each student will learn to push "STOP" picture when you sing about the Stop sign. This song is great because of the fact that the lyrics repeat 4 times every phrase, giving the learner even more chances to say the name of the sign. Another idea is to sing this song but at the very last "This sign says.." change the lyrics to "Which sign says..?" and offer the student a field of 2 signs to choose from.
This encourages answering Wh questions and sign identification.
How could you use this song?

I encourage you to visit the Prelude Music Therapy site for a lot of good music therapy song resources! Check them out at

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

This is one of my top 10 favorite books of all time! Eric Carle is the author. I use this book a lot with younger children and you can incorporate a lot of different educational goals within the book. Children on the verge of reading learn best with plenty of identifiable images and rhythmic repetition. This book offers that and more!
I recorded the words of the story to the tune of "Twinkle, twinkle little star" and it is very easy to sing accapella with the kids. Best of all you can download it for free today!

<a href="">Brown Bear by More with Music</a>

There are vivid colors and great illustrations of animals and people in the book. This is a great sequencing book also, and lends itself to asking the questions, "What comes next? Who comes next? What do you see?"
I use the board book version of this book because it's easier for younger children or children with fine motor issues to turn the pages. You can also wipe off these books pretty easily which is always a plus!

Many teachers personalize this book for their classrooms by changing the words to: Lisa, Lisa, who do you see? I see Brian looking at me". This helps the children get to know each others' names quickly and is a great ice breaker for group time. Want a personalized CD for your classroom this fall? Email me at to find out more information!

You might also want to check out:
The Touch 'N Read Block for the Brown Bear book. This is a great toy to make this book a multi-sensory experience! You can find it

Visual aids for Brown Bear characters in the book. These really help out with visually impaired children! You can find this kit at

Sound Puzzles

Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O. On another day... he also had a band!

Check out these neat and very durable wooden sound puzzles below. I use them a lot with younger children and they LOVE them! The animal sounds made when the puzzle piece is correctly placed in the space encourage language development (children often will repeat/say animal sounds before words). Matching skills, labeling, and eye-hand coordination are also practiced. You can also easily clean the wooden pieces with clorox wipes which makes these puzzles all the more amazing!

You can find these sound puzzles at numerous places online, including and

Monday, June 15, 2009

Clap Your Hands

Here's a song I wrote to get kids moving! I also wrote this song with a very particular little girl in mind. This song will be used to encourage and to continue to motivate her to communicate by allowing her to choose (with picture cards) which body part is next. In essence, she will tell me how the song will go each session! :)
I can also see this song working with groups of children and young adults. This might be a great song to try before the official "Hello song" of each music therapy session.

How could you use this song?

<a href="">Sometimes you want to clap your hands by More with Music</a>


Sometimes you wanna' clap your hands.
You wanna' feel the beat.
Sometimes you wanna' clap your hands,
you wanna' move to the beat.

~Pat your knees
~Stomp your feet
~Stretch up high
~Rock back and forth
~Sway side to side
~Kick your legs
~Give high five's
~Dance in your seat
~Wave "Hello"

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Monday, June 8, 2009

Girl Power!

Have you ever heard of Rett Syndrome?

I recently came across a great website about Rett Syndrome and the search for a cure. Rett Syndrome is a debilitating neurological disorder that predominantly affects females. It is considered the most severe form of autism. Most girls with Rett Syndrome cannot speak, walk or use their hands. It is estimated that another little girl is born with Rett Syndrome every 90 minutes. There is hope and scientists are researching for a cure!

***Please check out

"Girl Power 2 Cure, Inc is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and
funds for treatments and a cure for Rett Syndrome. We are all about harnessing the
spirit of girls as volunteers, as mentors, and as a power of positive change in their
communities in support of their fellow girlfriends who are suffering from Rett Syndrome."

It is a great site to find out more information about Rett Syndrome. While you're there, have a listen to some great songs at You can even find activities to use with the songs on this site - and of course you'll want to buy the Girl Power CD and try the activities out for yourself!).

Happy Listening!


Mountains are the highest kind of land. Here's a song I wrote for a teacher when she requested a song to help teach the concepts of different landforms. The students really liked seeing pictures of what one can DO when on a mountain: climb them, ski on them, sculpt them (Mt. Rushmore). Here are the lyrics:

Mountains tall and mountains grand
They are the highest kind of land.
Strong and sturdy, big and rocky,
They stand tall from high above.
You can climb them,
You can ski on them,
You can even sculpt them too!
Mountains tall and mountains grand,
They are the highest kind of land.

© 2009 Amanda Ellis

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Eye Contact

I wrote this song to help teach children the social cue of making eye contact. Eye contact is one of several nonverbal social cues. Often children diagnosed under the autism spectrum need extra help learning and practicing social cues. There are several fun ways to incorporate eye contact in games, in the classroom, and in everyday living. Email me at if you need more ideas!

Eye contact,
is something I'm learning.
I need to look at you.
Eye contact,
is something I'm learning,
I'm learning how to do.

When someone calls my name,
I stop what I'm doing.
When someone calls my name,
I stop right then.
I look with my eyes at that person,
I give them eye contact.

Eye contact,
is something I'm learning.
I need to look at you.
Eye contact,
is something I'm learning,
I'm learning how to do.

© 2009 by Amanda Ellis