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="http://morewithmusic.bandcamp.com/track/i-like-bubbles">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 challenge...to 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 morewithmusic@gmail.com 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 www.musictogether.com. 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="http://morewithmusic.bandcamp.com/track/5-little-ladybugs">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 www.preludemusictherapy.com

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="http://morewithmusic.bandcamp.com/track/brown-bear">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 morewithmusic@gmail.com 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 at:www.playfairtoys.com

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 www.MelissaandDoug.com and www.GummyLump.com

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="http://morewithmusic.bandcamp.com/track/sometimes-you-want-to-clap-your-hands">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 www.girlpower2cure.org

"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 www.girlpower2cure.org/listen 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 morewithmusic@gmail.com 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

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Several years ago, I taught for two years in an inclusive preschool. I created songs to almost EVERYTHING during circle time and it was so rewarding to see the children learn and grow from the music and the instruction. I created songs to teach all of the colors to 3-5 year old children. Today's song is about the color blue.
The children loved singing this song and holding up pictures of the objects described in the song. We often went on "color hunts" around the classroom too. "I spy something that is blue..."was also very popular to play during any downtime.

Here are the lyrics:
Blue spells the color Blue. (repeats)
There are blueberries on the bushes,
blue jays in the trees,
blue jeans on my knees
and blue skies over me
Blue spells the color Blue (repeats)

© 2009 by Amanda Ellis

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Five little seashells

Here's a very basic, but fun counting song to do for a summer/beach theme.

5 little seashells, lying on the shore
Swish went the waves and then there were 4.
4 little seashells, cozy as could be
Swish went the waves and then there were 3.
3 little seashells, all pearly new
Swish went the waves and then there were 2.
2 little seashells out in the sun
swish went the waves and then there was 1.
1 little seashell all alone
whispered,"Shhh" as I carried him home!

What are your favorite beach or summer songs?