Timeless Tunesday: {It Is Winter}

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I know some readers are in warm weather…but it’s been quite the winter in MN so far. As a result, it’s still appropriate for teachers to plan “Snow” as the theme of the month and for me to create this movement song with scarves! I set the words to the tune of “London Bridge”. During this music therapy intervention students can work on imitation, gross motor movement, including crossing midline, and use expressive language.

Pass out the scarves and sing to the tune of London Bridge:

Snow is falling to the ground (move scarves up and down or toss and catch)

To the ground, to the ground

Snow is falling to the ground 

It is Winter, Brrrr (rub arms & shiver)

Brush it off so we can play (sweep the floor from side to side)

We can play, we can play

Brush it off so we can play

It is Winter, Brrrr

Squish it up into a snowball (use both hands to squish scarf into a ball)

Into a snowball, into a snowball

Squish it up into a snowball

It is Winter, Brrr

Cover up and stay so warm (use the scarf like a blanket on lap and tap knees)

Stay so warm, stay so warm

Cover up and stay so warm

It is Winter, Brrr

Such a simple melody, but you can encourage so much movement and language with the added sensory stimulation of scarves on top of the music and movement. If it’s still cold in your area, I hope you can use this intervention!

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Monday Music & Movement: {5 Little Turkeys}

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We can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving week! Here’s a little song that we have been using by changing the words ever so slightly. You can find the original melody on a video HERE. This intervention is a great way to work on counting with 1:1 correspondence, joint attention, and imitation of gross motor movement.

5 (five fingers up) little turkeys went out one day

Over the hills (trace a hill)  and far away (use hand to shield eyes as if looking out)

Mother turkey said, “gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble”

But only 4 of the turkeys came back

(Repeat with all the little turkeys)

Sing directions: “Let’s gobble to find all the little turkeys”

Then count the turkeys back again from 1-5. I used this free clipart as the body and cut out feathers freehand before laminating it all.

Hope you enjoy the long weekend coming up!

Friday Favorite: {Apple Songs}

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The Fall solstice has passed and it’s prime apple pickin’ time for us in Minnesota! Today we bring you a couple of our favorite simple apple songs and fingerplays. These songs are great for working on color identification, counting with 1:1 correspondence, joint attention, and making predictions [important reading comprehension skill].

5 Little Apples

Chant just like 5 Little Monkeys or 5 Little Fishies

5 little apples sitting in a tree [Hold up 5 fingers]

Teasing Mr. Caterpillar, “can’t catch me, no you can’t catch me!” [wag finger]

[whisper] Along comes Mr. Caterpillar, quiet as can be and…[move hands like a caterpillar]

CRUNCHED that apple right off of the tree [pretend to hold an apple to mouth and take a big bite]

[gasp] OH NO! How many apples are left? [count 1:1]

Repeat until all the apples are gone and count fingers back to five.

Way Up High in an Apple Tree

Sing to tune of Twinkle, Twinkle

Way up high in an apple tree, five __color__ apples smiled down at me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came an apple, mmm it was good

Way up high in an apple tree, four __color__ apples smiled down at me

Repeat until all the apples are gone then sing:

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples smiled down on me

I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came no apples, they’re gone now for good

Way up high in an apple tree, no more apples left now for me!

We hope you have fun sharing these songs with your little ones. Happy Friday!

Friday Favorites: {5 Little Leaves}

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I’m writing this with a predicted high of 92 degrees and a good deal of humidity today, but before we know it, fall will be here shortly in MN. “5 Little Leaves” is one of my favorite songs to use during the fall. There are several versions around of this song, but my personal favorite is one by Lynn Kleiner. Click here to listen.

Sometimes I use the recorded version. For example, if I’m alone leading a group of toddlers that love to run around. Most times I use a live version using guitar, orff, or piano depending on the goals and needs of the group. Here are the lyrics:

5 little leaves all bright and gay

Dancing about on a tree one day

The wind came blowing through the town

And one little leaf came tumbling down 

{doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot, doot}

Continue with 4 leaves, 3 leaves, and so on.

There are several ways to use this song during music therapy groups or individual music therapy. You can work on goals of counting with 1:1 correspondance, color identification, working together to make the leaves “dance” on a parachute, gross motor goals with scarves, and self-regulation with stop/go with the wind coming through to name a few.

#1) Scarves

Pass out scarves to the little ones and encourage them to move their scarves about like dancing leaves. When the wind comes blowing through the town, everyone can spin. Throw the scarves up as the one little leaf tumbles down and start all over again!

#2) Parachute

You can use felt, fake, or real leaves in the middle of the parachute. Everyone can help move the parachute so the leaves “dance”. When the wind blows, make sure so move the parachute quickly! Finally count 1-2-3 and go way up high to make the leaves tumble down. You can take away one leaf each verse and count the leaves that are left.

#3) Felt Board and Fingerplay

Have everyone count their “leaves” [fingers] and go through the song taking down one leaf from your felt board with each verse. You can also hit color identification goals during this intervention by using different colors for each leaf. Here is a template I have used for both felt and laminated paper leaves.

Happy Friday!

Monday Music & Movement: {Had an Apple}

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Image via Sweet Cup ‘N Cakes

After a week of heat indexes in the 100+ range, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and threw windows open yesterday when the temperatures in MN dropped into the 70’s! Along with the cooler weather, I took down summer decorations to fall and got to baking chocolate zucchini cake and simmering chicken wild rice soup. Autumn is my favorite season and it’s definitely on my mind right now! Today’s Monday Music & Movement kicks off our fall songs posts. We hope you enjoy it.

This song is a piggyback of “Old Dog Blue” and is used to work on goals of matching color. For a foundational skill of matching, you will want to start by making 2 apples of each color for an exact match. Here is one example of clipart that you can color in. After the child or group meets that objective, you can work on matching a picture of an apple and a worm that are the same color, which is a more difficult task. You can also work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, and expressive language during this intervention.

Start by passing out an apple to each child. Hold up or place on the first color apple on the board and sing:

Had an apple and it was __color__ (3x)

Who has the same as me?

Wait for the child to answer {I do, or Me!} or for peers to help the child identify their matching apple or worm. Have the child bring it up to the board or to you and sing:

__Name__ had a __color__ apple/worm (3x)

Two same  _color_, __color__ {point to the two objects}

This music therapy intervention is short and sweet, the repetitive and predictable nature of the verses are perfect for young children and groups of children with special needs that need structure in learning. The possibilities of tailoring this simple melody to objects that will capture the attention of young children are endless. Matching characters from “My Little Pony” or “Lego Star Wars” anyone?

Happy first week of school to most children that we have the privilege of working with every week!

Monday Music and Movement: {Alphabet Soup}

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We have been on a food kick lately with the blog posts, so I’ve decided to add one of my favorite interventions to the list! Today’s Monday Music and Movement activity focuses on improving academic skills like pre-reading and letter identification. To begin, collect the appropriate letters for your group. For mine, I printed out this alphabet, laminated the sheet, and cut out each letter. If you want to get really fancy, you can add a small magnetic strip to the back of each letter and make a laminated cut out of a spoon After attaching a magnet to the underside of the spoon, you can “catch” each letter that is requested.

The lyrics are sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”:

I have a bowl of alphabet soup,

A letter for me and a letter for you.

Sip sip sip on the alphabet soup,

What letter should we eat? 

There are many ways to adapt this game depending on the number of children and level of development. For more of a challenge, request the first or last letter of a word, or show visuals of animals or objects and have them choose what letter it starts with. If you have a large group of children, give each of them a lowercase letter, and on their turn, have them choose the capital letter that matches theirs. To make the game easier, print out a second set of letters. During the individuals turn, hand them a letter, and tell them to find the match.

While kids are playing, they are also making secondary gains like improving receptive language, turn taking, self-regulation, and sensorimotor skills. It just so happens that all of these goals are prerequisite skills for full inclusion kindergarten classrooms!

Friday Favorites: {In the Summer}

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Today’s Friday Favorite is a piggyback version (same melody, different lyrics) of the song “In the Jungle”. I got this song writing idea from my fabulous internship supervisor at The Family Partnership, Sarah Woolever. You can use this song to meet goals of choice making, turn taking, sight words (names and foods), food identification, and if the kids are older you can even talk about healthy vs. less healthy food choices as well.

You will want to find or print off a variety of foods, include the names of the foods on the cards so you can work on sight letters/words. You may want to print out a few more than the clients you have in the group in case they all hate green beans 🙂 If clients are old enough to read, you can write out the  lyrics on a large notepad or have it on a powerpoint. If not, just have a felt board for them to place food pictures on to with their names on it.

Start singing/playing the chorus of the song…

In the summer, the hot, hot, summer

We like to have fun in the sun

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

We like to eat lots of yummy food

Now the children get to make a choice during the verse and put their food next to their name on the board

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food__

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food)__

Then everyone can join back in for the “a-wim-o-weh” part

Here’s a link to a lead sheet for The Lion Sleeps Tonight so you can see the melody and chords from Wikifonia! We hope you enjoy song writing all about food with your kiddos!

 

Friday Favorites: {Today is Monday} Singable Book

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I love Eric Carle’s books as a mom and a music therapist. The pictures are beautiful and eye catching and many of his books lend themselves to becoming singable books (Brown Bear anyone?). “Today is Monday” is versatile in terms of goal areas you can address. Goals include matching, gross motor imitation, recall, sequencing, sight words, choice making, and turn taking.

Here is a link to the sung version on YouTube and to buy the book on Amazon. The lead sheet to the song is in the book if you get it from a bookstore or the library!

Therapeutic Music Intervention #1)

For children who are working on pre-reading and pre-writing skills, you can utilize goals of tracking left to right, turning pages front to back, and picture matching. You will want to create copies of the food or use PECS or clipart and laminate. Pass out to children and tell them to hold up their picture or bring it up to the board when it matches the book. Sing through the books, using your finger to track left to right and have children take turns turning the pages after they have a matching picture (works on pincer grasp as well).

TMI #2)

Build on the first TMI by adding gross motor movements for each food as a memory device along with the song. Then, scramble the pictures after the book. If you’re working on recall, flip pictures face down or hold them in your hand. Ask children what foods we just sang about? If you’re working on sequencing with the group, ask children to help you put them back in order from Monday to Sunday.

TMI #3)

Finally, you can build on the previous interventions by leaving the book out. Print off the days of the week along with the pictures. Have a felt board where you place the days of the week. Children can take turns choosing the food they would like to eat on the day of the week. If children are working on sight words or letters, you can mix up the days of the week and have the children find the day before placing a picture on the board.

It’s important for us as music therapists to design interventions that create a scaffolding of academic and social skills and singable books, like “Today is Monday” make it possible for us to keep changing our intervention while using the same familiar song and book.

Thanks for reading and Happy Friday!

Friday Favorites: {Aiken Drum, The Man on the Moon!}

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One of our favorite songs to work on pre-reading/pre-writing skills is a spin off of the old Scottish folk song “Aiken Drum”. In the original version, the verses each name different clothing items–hat, coat, buttons, and waistcoat. Each clothing item was “made” out of a food like cream cheese, roast beef, or crust pies. Here is a link to a free printable pdf.

To make it more conducive to our goal areas, we use body parts that are made out of shapes. You will want to gather a paddle drum and laminated shapes that are appropriate for the functioning level of your group. Give each child a different shape, and begin the song by singing the chorus. When you get to the verse, begin to draw “Aiken” either on a piece of paper or a white board. Everyone gets a turn to hit the paddledrum as you sing “and his name was Aiken drum” the first chorus. Then, the child who has the shape you pick each verse gets to hit the paddledrum on “drum”. Encourage them to sing along too!

As you name each body part and draw the shape, the child with that shape must identify and match them together. To make it more challenging, kids can choose a body part for their shape, and help draw it. In a seemingly simple music intervention, you can address objectives of matching shapes, drawing shapes, identifying colors of the shape visuals, joint attention, and turn taking.

Chorus:

There was a man who lived on the moon,

Lived on the moon, lived on the moon,

There was a man who lived on the moon

And his name was Aiken Drum.

Verse:

His head was made of _____, ______, _____

His head was made of ____

And his name was Aiken Drum.

Continue to identify and add body parts with shapes.

Here’s an example of the silly man on the moon one of our Musical Playground groups made this week.

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We aren’t artists for a good reason…Happy Friday Everyone!

{Musical Playground in ECSE Classrooms}

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Toneworks is very excited to announce that we have been awarded mini-grants to provide music therapy groups. Lyndie Walker and I will be going into early childhood special education (ECSE) classrooms for music therapy groups called, “Musical Playground”.

Musical Playground are music therapy groups designed for children that are differently abled to interact with peers while working on academic, gross motor, cognitive, and social goals. We are privileged to have this wonderful opportunity to work with 3-5 yr olds in ECSE classrooms and are excited to use music to meet goals and to give music resources to the teachers and children.

If you are a teacher or parent in the Twin Cities metro area and would like to explore options for getting individual or group music therapy in your classroom or for your child, please Contact Us and we will be happy to talk!