Friday Favorite: {At the Bottom of the Sea}

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It’s another “Minnesota’s closed” day due to the wonderful new batch of snow dumped on us last night. Because I can’t share one of my new favorite activities with my ECSE classroom this morning, I’m going to share it with you! Enjoy your day inside, and hopefully this intervention will inspire you to daydream of warmer oceans ūüôā

This activity is adapted from the song “At the Bottom of the Sea” by Ralph’s World. Here is a link for the song. You will need a large blue scarf (the texture is a great sensory item) and several beanie ocean animals. I use a jellyfish (open to interpretation as an octopus as well), crab, colorful fish etc. and put them in a small cloth bag to “hide”.

Begin by moving the scarf up and down with large, slow movements and sing…

At the bottom of the sea

Where the mermaids murmur

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

At the bottom of the sea

Where the crabs walk backwards

You’ll find me

At the bottom of the sea

Choose a child to ask, “Who’s at the bottom of the sea”? Depending on the group, you can give them hints to guess the animal, or just pull each one out and have them identify it. Have the child throw the animal into the sea, aka the scarf.

Using small, fast, up and down movements sing….

And we’re gonna swim, swima, swim, swim, swima, swim, swim, swim

At the bottom of the sea

This is a great activity to address a variety of goals such as gross motor, animal identification, palmar grasping, and self-regulation. What animals can you find at the bottom of the sea?

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Timeless Tunesday: {This old Man}

This is truly a timeless tune, with the original lyrics! Goal areas can include palmar grasping, rhyming, sequencing, object identification, gross motor movement, and imitation. I am going to share about this activity with the goal areas of rhyming, gross motor movement, and palmar grasping for a client with cerebral palsy. To set my client up for success, ¬†I made a magnetic “dauber” (literally a paint dauber that I hot glued a strong magnet to) with a foam handle, and under each visual was a magnetic strip. Easy to move and easy to hold! Here is what mine ended up looking like…

Thisoldman

…and here is a link to the printables and numbers!

I sing the tune  a cappella so I can assist with demonstrating the actions and moving the visuals if needed. Here is a link to the song if you are unfamiliar with the melody!

1) This old man he played one (hold up thumb and wiggle it)

2) He played knick knack on my thumb (find the picture of the thumb,grab it with the magnet dauber, and put it next to the #1)

3) With a knick knack paddywhack, give a dog a bone (pretend to knock on a door)

4) This old man came rolling home (move arms in a rolling motion)

For each verse, the number in line 1) will increase by one, so hold up that number of fingers. During line 2), find the new picture that matches the number in line 1). Lines 3) and 4) stay the same during every verse, so the actions are also the same.

Monday Music and Movement: {I had some Apple Seeds}

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Much to my happiness, December’s collaborative academic theme in my ECSE/MHC classrooms is…drumroll please….FOOD! Some of my favorite music interventions include classics like the singable book “Today is Monday“, a body rhythm chant “I like to Eat”, or today’s special, “I had some Apple Seeds”.

The first thing you will need is visuals of various foods, depending on your objective. Using the melody of “Do Your Ears Hang Low“, sing each verse, substituting your foods for “apple”.

Oh I had some apple seeds (cup your hands like you’re holding seeds)

And I planted them in the ground (pat the floor to “plant” the seeds)

And the sun came up (raise your arms in the air to make a circle, like the sun)

And the rain came down (have your arms float back down while wiggling your fingers)

So I slept all through the night (pretend to lay down your head, I like to add snoring sounds)

And I woke up to see (make a surprised face and point to the ground)

That some little apple seeds (put hands together in front of your body)

had become an apple tree  raise them up to make a tree)

To adapt this activity, I let the students give suggestions for what kind of tree to grow. Depending on the class, I give the option of choosing between two visuals of foods, or let them come up with their own ideas. You can have them identify a variety of foods, choose foods that belong in specific categories like fruits or vegetables, or have them come up with silly ideas. Some of my favorites have included growing a bulldozer, donut, or cello tree!¬†Working in a culturally and linguistically diverse school, I am able to incorporate foods from other countries as well, which encourages students to learn about their peer’s backgrounds.

Monday Music and Movement: {I Went Walking}

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In partnership with several local organizations, Andrea and I are providing Learning through Music and Musical Playground group sessions in twenty-four Early Childhood Special Education and Mental Health Collaborative Classrooms in the Minneapolis public school district. Within this partnership, we collaborate with classroom teachers, occupational, physical, and speech therapists, to create goals and objectives appropriate to student’s IEP and group goals. We use the classroom’s monthly themes and weekly objectives to improve the student’s ability to transfer skills learned in music group to classroom group time.

In my ECSE and MHC classrooms, this month’s theme was community workers. This week’s objective was to understand who firefighters are and what they do. To follow this theme, I used adapted lyrics from the book “I Went Walking”, and used the melody from “Buffalo Gals”. It’s not common, so here is a copy of the melody. It was a favorite of mine growing up when I went through a Little House on the Prairie phase. While keeping beat with the lyrics, alternate tapping each leg to simulate walking during the chorus, and model the fireman’s movement during the verse. Using only the first eight measures of the song, begin by singing the chorus, and then alternate verse and chorus.

Chorus:¬†“I went walking down the street, down the street, down the street,

I went walking down the street, what did I see?”

Verse 1: “I see a fireman driving a truck, oh driving a truck, oh driving a truck,

I ¬†see a fireman driving a truck, that’s what I see.”

Chorus

Verse 2: “I see a fireman turning the corner”

Verse 3:¬†“I see a fireman finding the fire”

Verse 4:¬†“I see a fireman climbing the ladder”

Verse 5: “I see a fireman saving a baby”

Verse 6: “I see a fireman squirting the water”

Verse 7: “I see a fireman drive to the station”

For the younger groups in ECSE that I see (3-4 yr olds), I choose 3 or 4 verses to sing, and use action visuals with velcro on the back to line up on a board for each verse. For the older students (4-5 yr olds), especially in the mental health classrooms, I give them more of a challenge. Before each verse, I model the movement that the fireman does and have them guess the action (driving, climbing, spraying, etc) for all seven verses. When I began the Learning through Music sessions this fall, I used this song, but the four verses had a different community worker in it. We used fireman, police officers, and mailmen, and dentists, which were the four weekly objective workers they learned about. In addition, In addition to adapting it for community workers, I have also adapted it for animals (I went walking through the barn or the zoo), and food (I went walking through the store).

Monday Music and Movement: {I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More}

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There is nothing I enjoy more than a book that includes messy painting while working on identifying body parts and colors! “I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” is a great way to keep the kiddos engaged because of the silly antics of the characters. The melody for the book is adapted from the chorus of the old country/blues song It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More. Here is a ¬†link for a simple kid’s version of the song.

Instead of singing:

“It ain’t gonna rain no more no more, it ain’t gonna rain no more. How the heck can I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more.”

sing:

“I ain’t gonna paint no more no more, I ain’t gonna paint no more. That’s what I say cause there ain’t no way, that I ain’t gonna paint no more.”

While singing this part, have the kids pat their knees as you sing. On the pages that identify body parts, sing “So I take some red, and I paint my head”, pause and have the kids “paint” that body part. For more of a challenge, have them identify the color before you sing it. At the end of the book, have each child give their favorite color that was listed. If possible, try to encourage them to remember what body part went along with the color.

Happy painting!

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: {Let’s Go Fishing!}

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Today’s Friday favorite is an activity that I adapted from my former (awesome) internship supervisor Julia Lundquist. Almost every child that I work with adores this game, and it addresses fine motor, gross motor, academic, social, and regulation skills!

For this game, you will need enough fish for everyone to have two, plus one extra. Here are the fish¬†that I use. I laminated mine since they happen to also be a favorite chew toy! Depending on the goal area, you can either write a number on each fish, or color them each a different color. To “magnetize” them, attach a small paperclip over the mouth of the fish, or cut small strips of magnet (from craft stores) and paste them to the back. For the fishing pole, I used a refrigerator magnet and taped it to some yarn and attached it to a rhythm stick. You can also just tie a magnet to a string and use any kind of stick from the great outdoors.

After you lay out all of the fish in a pond, choose someone to fish first and hand them the pole. Begin tapping your knees and chanting:

“Let’s go fishing, fishing in the sea,

And what kind of fish with _____ (name of child holding the pole) catch for me?”

The person to the right of the fisherman will say “Please pick the ____ fish.” After catching the correct fish and giving it to the person asking, the turn is over and the pole is passed to the next child.

The academic skills addressed in this activity are color or number identification, but you can also adapt it using sight words, math problems, etc.

Happy Friday and happy fishing!

 

 

Friday Favorites {Peek-a-boo, Where are the froggies?}

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One of the first mirroring activities that infants learn is “Peek-a-boo”. It’s a guaranteed way to bring a smile to a kid’s face, and it’s easy to adapt! For my version of the activity, I focus on the goal areas of following directions, body identification, imitation, and self-regulation. Begin by gathering enough frogs for each child and yourself to have one. I use beanie baby frogs because they have some weight to them, which is important as you will see later in the activity. Use your favorite transition song to pass out the frogs, and begin by having the kids “hide” the frogs behind their back. While holding the frogs behind your back, begin singing “Peek-a-boo”. Here are the words:

Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?

Peek-a-boo, where are you?

Peek-a-boo, where are the froggies?

Peek-a-BOO!

When you sing the last “Boo” pull out the frog and place it on a body part like your head, shoulder, knee, elbow, etc. After each child identifies and imitates the position of your frog with their body, the frogs can be “hidden” again and the song starts over. This activity can be adapted using any kind of animal beanie that you have, and for an additional challenge, have the kids take turns leading the activity and choosing a body part for the frog to rest on.

Ribbit Ribbit!

Monday Music and Movement: {Star Wars meets MT}

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One of my projects every week is to find new music to use for adaptive lesson students. For this task, I like to dig outside of the traditional classics. Some of the favorite pieces¬†I’ve done¬†for clients are the harp theme from Zelda, Angry Birds theme song, ¬†and Mario Bros theme song. Today, I am transcribing the theme from Star Wars to be played on the piano!

Adaptive music lessons are like traditional music lessons, but in addition to increasing musical knowledge, you are tracking non-musical goals. The instruments and music are adapted to set the client up for success, such as large hand grips on mallets for a client with Cerebral Palsy, or replacing regular musical notation with color dots that correspond to notes on an instrument. Instead of being required to learn how to visually read music, physically play an instrument, and do them simultaneously, the process is simplified.

For example, the song I am transcribing today for the piano, is regularly played over a three octave span, and uses both the right and left hands. For an eight year old with Aspergers that dreams of being Luke Skywalker, three octaves won’t work. Instead, I am adjusting the theme so it is played in one octave, and each note is colored to match the keys on the piano. The theme is a single melody line and can be played with either hand and any combination of fingers. It is a fun, easy way to track musical knowledge, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and confidence building.

Here is a picture of what the adapted piano looks like:Piano

Here is a picture of a song written for adapted piano:photo-1

Visit our Toneworks page for more information about adaptive lessons!

Monday Music and Movement: Here Comes Peter Cottontail

One of my favorite songs growing up was “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”. My sisters and I would change the words to go on a scavenger hunt around the house to find different¬†items that my mom would hide.

In this version, the melody of the song is used, but different verses are substituted to focus on different goal areas. Here is the song so you can hear the melody that is used. These goal areas include, the gross motor movement of ¬†“hopping” over and collecting the item requested, identifying objects, colors, and letters, as well as self-regulation to “freeze”.

“Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail. Hippity, hoppity, hippity hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the Easter basket? Hop over to the Easter basket. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the jelly beans? Hop over to the jelly beans. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the _____(pick a color) egg? Hop over to the ___egg. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the letter ____ (pick a letter)? Hop over to the letter ____. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

Items to find can be purchased at a dollar store or use props that you have at home.