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!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Fall is Here!

Happy Fall!
Sunny days with cool breezes are definitely something to get excited about!
Things have definitely been busy in my neck of the woods!  This school year has gotten off to a great start and I've enjoyed seeing all of my little and not so little friends again.  :)

Today I have a song about apples to share.  I recommend using this song with younger groups (I work in special education classrooms and use this song with students who are PreK-5), and it focuses on color identification (red, yellow & green), and following directions.

I had so much fun recording this one!  I added a violin part to give it something a little special.  I think it really made the song sound good!   I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I have already implemented this song in a couple of classrooms and the students are digging it.  For visual aides, I've used printed apple clip pictures art that have been laminated and then students put them in a basket.  I've also used a large picture of a basket with velcro dots on the front of it and the students place their laminated apple picture on the basket.  Both ways have worked well!
How could you incorporate this song in your sessions?

As always, thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more posts!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Songs with Props

Happy Friday!

Today I'm sharing a song that is sure to be a favorite among your younger students!
Why am I so sure?  Well, let's just say one word:  Trains!

If you read my last post, you are already aware of the awesome train track tape that I stumbled upon at the store.  (I'm still excited that this product even exists!)  If you missed my last post, you can scroll down or you can find it here.

Well, I decided to write another song that I could use with younger students while incorporating the train track tape (the prop for this song).  So, before you begin the song, ideally you would have the train track tape on the floor before the students/group enter the session area.  You can even use this as part of your structure to the beginning of the session, "Everyone find a spot around the train track."

This song features a chorus that repeats after each verse:
"Choo-choo, choo-choo,
Chugga, chugga, chugga
Chugga, chugga, chugga
Choo-choo, choo-choo"

The verses call on the students to follow directions and participate in 3 movements:
Stomp our feet
Pump our arms
Raise one hand high and pull down

Click on the link below to hear the Choo-Choo Train song.
(This song is also available for purchase via the link as well.)

I can't wait to use this song with some of my younger groups!  How about you?
A song lyric sheet is available upon request for this song as well.
Please email me at morewithmusic@gmail.com to request a song lyric sheet.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Songs with Props

Happy Friday!
I've been busy going through my vault of songs and making lists of new song topics to work on and spending time creating new ways to implement oldies but goodies too.
Today I came across a song I shared awhile back called "Clickety Clack".

Many of the students I work with love trains, so I wrote this song to implement one of their favorite toys while addressing counting goals (specifically counting and recognizing numbers 1-5).

In terms of implementing this song, I typically use laminated cut outs of different color trains with the numbers on the sides of them.  (Sometimes I also have the number word on the other side of each train and this allows me to address another goal with some students who can already identify the numerals but not the number words themselves).

As I sing the song, students either hold up their train or place it on the floor and we put them in order after all the numbers have been identified.

Well, today while I was out shopping, I saw the coolest prop for this song!
Train Track Play Tape! (They have it at Wal-Mart for $9.33!)

It's a roll of tape that easily sticks to flat surfaces and comes off with no sticky residue leftover to clean up.
How cool is that?!?

So now, I can place a piece of tape on the carpet or table and the students can place their trains on the tape.  What a cool prop!  It also functions as a visual number line when we place the trains in order from 1-5 also.

How could you implement trains and/or train tape within your music therapy sessions?
Do you have song props that you just love?  Please comment below and share!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer is here!

It's officially the first day of summer!!!
I'm posting an old song that's one of my "go to" songs for the summer season.

The repetitive chorus ("It's hot, hot, hot!"), is an easy one that kids can quickly learn.  It's also an easy one to sing into and record onto a BigMac, or any voice output device, for students who are nonverbal.  In most sessions, I cue the kids to sing this part by themselves.  I have pictures of all the items mentioned in the song and the kids love labeling each picture as we sing the song.
A couple of years (and many sessions ago),  I quickly learned that anytime you incorporate food within songs it's a definite win with the kids (and most adults too!) :)  So, I purposely included popsicles and ice cream in this song too.

What other songs do you sing in the summer?
I hope you are having a great summer so far.  
Stay tuned for more song posts here at More with Music!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I Can Pour A Cup

Just reading that title made you thirsty, didn't it?  :)
Well, today's post is not about an actual beverage, but instead it's about measuring with cups.

Many of the students I serve are learning about different methods of measurement.
So, I wrote a song to help students learn about liquid measuring cups specifically.

I wrote this song in order to help students understand three things: 
1.  the action of measuring with a measuring cup-you pour from the bottom to the top
2.  you measure as the liquid moves up-you look for the lines on the cup
3.  fractions are used in measurement (identifying 1/4, 1/2, and 1 cup)

I've been singing this song a lot the past two weeks.  The rhyming in the repetitive chorus has helped students pick it up quickly.  I also added some simple actions to the chorus.
The chorus lyrics are below along with the actions I added.

Oh, I can pour a cup (pretend to hold a cup and make a pouring motion with your hand)
from the bottom to the top (point to floor, then point to ceiling)
and measure all the way up (extend arms straight out, palms up, and hands rise up in front of you as you sing, "all the way up")

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more songs about measurement!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Sounds of Spring

If you take a walk outside in the morning you will definitely hear Spring everywhere!
There are birds tweeting, bees buzzing, the breeze blowing and many more sounds we can hear.

Lately I've been singing a lot about the sounds of Spring with the students I serve.  I added sound effects to this song via the smartboard (wind, buzzing, tweeting), and the students were even more interested!

The students love making their own sounds as well.  We also learned the sign language for each sound (wind, bee, bird), and we sign as we sing.  Signing has helped many of the students focus on the particular words we are singing in the song greatly!

Here's the song below.  If you like it, you can purchase it for just $1 by clicking on the song title.  

What songs about Spring have you been enjoying lately?  
As always, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

All things Spring

Happy Spring!

Last week was spring break for us and I enjoyed a break from the busy schedule of each weekday.  I was disappointed that I was sick most of last week and lost my voice (along with many other music therapy friends I correspond with), but I was so glad to not have to use up sick days at work as well.

So far, this week has been a week full of songs about spring!
I'm putting together a collection of songs I have written along with songs I'm working on currently for an album entitled "All things Spring".  My next few blog posts will feature songs from this collection.

Today I'm sharing one of my favorites.  It's a song about the parts of a plant:  the roots, stem, leaves and flower.  This song includes short explanations of the job of each part of the plant also.  

Plants have four parts
Count them "1, 2, 3, 4"
The roots and the stem, the leaves and the flowers.

The roots absorb water and nutrients underground.  The roots help hold the plant in the ground.
The stem moves water to the rest of the plant.  The stem helps the plant to stand up above the ground.
The leaves make food for the plant.  The leaves need air, sunlight and nutrients too.
The flower is the pretty part of the plant that we can see.  The flower produces seeds that form new plants.

When I sing this song with students, I incorporate the counting aspect of the song to motivate the students to participate. With younger students, we use our fingers to count while we sing the song. With older students, we sing each number, and I pause after each number to highlight the counting. Using a pause in the music is a great idea if you want to assess and motivate a student participating in an academic skill such as counting, labeling, spelling,etc..

I highly recommend using a visual with this song.  The students learn so much when music and academic information is paired with a visual that they can see and touch.  If you don't want to use a real plant as an example, you can use an artificial plant or a picture of a real plant as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Celebrating Special Olympics

Welcome back!
Today I'm sharing a song I just finished.  It's literally hot off the press...or guitar and computer if you will.  :)

Special Olympics is quickly approaching next month and I wanted to write a song to help celebrate it.
I read the motto for special olympics and instantly got to work on writing out a few verses to go with it.

The Special Olympics motto is:
Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

I know several special olympics athletes here in my town, and I know that they definitely have to have courage to show the world what they can do.  Each year, Special Olympics is a great day of celebrating abilities instead of disabilities.  I really enjoy seeing the athletes receive their medals as each one of them loves being told that they are a winner!

I encourage everyone to go and volunteer your time at a Special Olympics day near you.  You will see pure joy and appreciate every ability you have at the same time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Green Day

Green day (not the band :)), is right around the corner!
I'm posting this a little early so you can check out this song to sing with the students you serve before St. Patrick's Day happens this year.

I wrote this song a couple of years ago, but I sing it with students each year.  Singing songs about holidays is a great way to help students learn about the different holidays throughout the year.  I also use visuals so the students can see the objects the song mentions (in this case:  shamrocks, leprechauns, gold, rainbows,etc..).
Pairing visuals with songs really helps students learn to label objects-especially new objects, new vocabulary, etc..

Here are the lyrics:

Shamrocks and four leaf clovers too
Leprechauns with gold and rainbows too
These are all things that we'll see today on St. Patrick's Day.

I will wear something green today.
Today we celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Green's the only color that can guarantee no one will pinch me.

Shamrocks and four leaf clovers too
Leprechauns with gold and rainbows too
These are all things that we'll see today on St. Patrick's Day.

What songs do you sing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Monday, March 7, 2016

All things Winter, part 5

Welcome back!
Today I'm posting my final post of implementation ideas for songs from my All things Winter album.  If you want to check out all the songs on this album without scrolling through the blog posts below, you can click here.

The two songs below are very similar and target the same goals and objectives.  They both target students understanding appropriate clothing for the weather (in this case, Winter).  Each song also identifies where each article of clothing is worn.

"I Dress for the Weather" identifies the following winter garments:  a hat on my head, a jacket, a scarf around my neck and gloves on my hands.  I recommend having visuals or real objects to show the students as you sing this song.

"I wish I was a snowman" helps students identify parts of the face (eyes, nose, mouth), and winter clothing (scarf and mittens).   This song is for younger students and has a repetitive chorus with each verse.  You can easily create a small or large "snowman" with white paper plates and as you sing the song, students can help dress the snowman.   A great tip I recently started implementing is to use the solo plastic plates and you can attach velcro easily to them.  You can print two eyes, a nose, and a mouth and the students can put them on the right places for the face.

This wraps up my implementation suggestions for the songs from my album, All things Winter.
If you have any questions, please comment below or email me at morewithmusic@gmail.com
I would love to hear how you use these songs and how you implemented them with students you serve.
Stay tuned for new song posts!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

All things Winter, part 4

In today's post, I'm continuing my love of polar bears with another song!

This song goes along with a great singable story:
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear? by Eric Carle.

I have found that many students (and adults) love the Eric Carle books.  The stories are interesting and the illustrations are very engaging.
This song goes right along with the text of the story.

I opted to use finger picking on the guitar so that students could focus on the book and story and not be distracted by louder chord strumming.  I encourage the students to sing along with the chorus each time.  We sing, "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you hear?  I hear a...", and then we look at each page of the book and see what comes next.  Many times the students are very good at imitating the sounds of each animal too!
A great way to implement this song/book activity with students who are nonverbal is to prerecord the chorus onto a BigMac (voice output device).  A picture of a polar bear placed under the switch cover is also a great idea.  You can let that student be the leader for the chorus each time and encourage the other students to sing with the student who is nonverbal each time she/he presses the switch (BigMac)
Another idea is to have pictures of each animal mentioned in the song and work towards students being able to sequence the animals in which they occur in the story.  Students can either hold up their animal as it is mentioned in the story or you can sequence the animals after the story has been read.

What other stories do you like to sing?

I hope these posts are helpful to you.  My next post will conclude the implementation ideas for my album, All things Winter.   More new songs posts are in the near future so come back soon!

Friday, March 4, 2016

All things Winter (part 3)

Happy Friday!
Today I'm sharing intervention ideas for two more songs from my album, "All things Winter".

While some parts of our country seem to be having spring weather already, many parts of the country are experiencing more winter weather this weekend.  This year has definitely had it's share of crazy weather!

Today I'm sharing songs about polar bears.  I love polar bears and many students do too!
The first song helps students learn basic things about polar bears.  The verses in this song teach that polar bears are soft and white, live where it is cold, swim underwater and love to eat. 

I like to use pictures of polar bears as I introduce this song.  The song itself provides repetition within each verse so that students have a chance to sing along.  I also incorporate sign language during the verses to help students focus on key words.  The signs I incorporate are:  soft, white, cold, swim, and eat.

The second song about polar bears focuses on the concept of big and small and slow and fast.

I like to demonstrate big, heavy feet stomping for the big polar bear and little quick steps for the smaller polar bear.  I've also used a big drum for the big polar bear and rhythm sticks or castanets for the little polar bear.  We sing the song and the drums go first with big, solid beats (you can say, "Big...step....big....step" to help them stay together.  In a 4/4 measure, drums play on beats 1 and 3.).  Then the other instrument group has a turn (for the quicker beats, I say, "Little, little, little, little".  In a 4/4 measure these beats would be the 8th notes).  In some classrooms, we stomp and walk around the desks to this song.  Students love this and it helps them focus on others as we have to stomp on the beat and stay together.

Stay warm (or dry..depending on where you live),  and stop back soon for more posts!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Implementing Songs (post 2)

Happy Groundhog Day!  If the groundhog is accurate we will get an early spring this year.  Sounds great to me!  In the meantime, I'm going to keep singing about winter. :)
Today I'm posting tips to implement another song from my album,
All things Winter.

"How many Buttons?" combines snowmen with counting.  This song is a great one to use with a group of students while they are learning about winter.  I mostly use this song with students who are kindergarten to second grade.

First, you need to get one of your dice from a board game or purchase one of the big foam die to use with this activity.  The students will take turns rolling the die and counting to do this activity.

Then you need to make a snowman visual.  You can use paper, you can use felt or even a large stuffed animal snowman and use velcro to attach buttons.  (I also use the smart board for this activity and have snowmen on each slide and use the Smart Die that is interactive on each page.  Students come up and tap the die, we count, then use a button image to drag buttons onto a snowman.  The button image is cloned.  If you need a pic of this activity please let me know.).  

When you have your visuals ready, you are ready to go!  I like to ask the students what they put on a snowman and then talk about buttons we are going to use that day.  We clap or pat our knees when I introduce this song and I show the students what we are doing first.  I sing the song, roll the die, model counting how many on the die and then put that many buttons on the snowman visual.  Then I look for a good listener as we sing the song again (patting or clapping to feel the beat) and call a student to come up and roll the die and count.  Then they get to practice counting the buttons and putting them on the snowmen.  We reset the snowman and take the buttons off at the end of each turn (unless you have a couple of snowmen...which would be a great way to use an art activity the students could all make!).  Many times I have students help each other count as we place buttons on the snowman and this helps keep their attention focused.

Stay tuned for more implementation ideas!  Feel free to comment below if you have additional ideas of how to implement this song with the students/clients you see!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Implementing Songs (post 1)

Thanks for stopping by!
As promised in my last post (you can find it here),  I'm posting implementation ideas for songs from my album "All things Winter".  I have used all of the songs in this album this year and have enjoyed trying out new ways to implement then and adapt them as well.

"What I wear in the Snow" is a song I wrote to compliment the book, The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel.  This book is a great book about winter clothing and is also a good one to read for sequencing objects as well.

One way to implement this song is to have real examples or visuals of the articles of clothing for winter and go over (label) them  first.  You can also say "show me the hat" or "show me the scarf" and show the visuals (being mindful to limit the field of choices for students that need less choices when needed).  You can also create a power point or Smart Notebook presentation to serve as visuals that the students will be able to see.
Next, you can sing the beginning of the song, "Here are the things I wear in the snow.  Show me where they go." and explain that we will be showing where each item goes on our bodies.  If you have a visual made of a body and separate pictures for the articles of clothing, the students can take turns bringing each picture up and placing it where they think it goes.  In many of the classrooms I work in, we first label the articles of clothing and then as I'm singing, we touch where we place each one (i.e. hat-touch head, scarf-touch neck, etc.).
I want to note that I don't always sing all of the articles of clothing in this song.  With certain groups I select certain articles that the students are learning to label and we start there (again-limiting the field of choices). Later we add additional items.
For students that are nonverbal or need assistance via a voice output device, you can program a device called a step by step (ahead of time), to say each article of clothing or a sentence for each article (i.e. "I wear a hat on my head.", "I wear a scarf around my neck.").
I hope these ideas are helpful and lead you to create your own creative ideas!
Stay tuned for more ideas!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

All things Winter

Welcome back to More with Music!

Today I'm excited to share not just a song, but an entire album for all things winter!

I am in the process of bundling numerous singles into albums, so please bear with me.  I decided to start with a winter album since that is our current season and many of us across the country are experiencing winter weather this week.

All things Winter includes songs about dressing for the weather, polar bears and snowmen.  There's something in this album for everyone!

You can look forward to future posts featuring songs from this album with ideas for implementing them into your classes and/or sessions.  If you have any comments or questions, I'd love to hear from you below!

Stay warm and have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
I hope all of you had a restful break and a Merry Christmas.
It's a new year and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for all of us!
I'm hitting the ground running and getting a blog post up before I head back to work tomorrow morning.

Today's song share is a simple one.  A teacher I work with requested that I come up with a song to help her students observe the rule that clothes, socks and shoes remain on during the school day.  She was getting tired of verbally redirecting the students and thought a song would be more effective as a reminder.   (She has a creative bunch this year...they may be little, but a couple of them are streakers, there are a handful of shoe launchers and a few of the others really like to go barefoot.)  :)

So, in light of all this potential energy on a day to day basis, I decided to keep it simple and write a piggyback song.  I recorded new lyrics to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes".  This way, we can still incorporate the actions of touching each lyric mentioned in the song as we sing it.  (And you can't really do the action of touching your shirt, pants, etc.. if you don't keep them on ;).  As you'll hear in the song below, I start out slower and gradually increase the speed each time.  Kids love to go faster so I thought this would help keep their attention also.

I'm excited to see how the kids react to this song, (and if it helps them keep their clothes on at school!) :)

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog posts.  I hope they are helpful to you in one way or another.