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 morewithmusic@gmail.com
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="http://morewithmusic.bandcamp.com/track/parts-of-my-face">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 google.com!

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!