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
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!