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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Friday Favorite: {Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus}

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We’ve shared how much we love the book, “Pete the Cat, I love my White Shoes” in one of our first posts. Well, Pete the Cat is back as a bus driver in this fun singable book.

One of the songs that all of the little hunnies in our ECSE classrooms love is “Wheels on the Bus”. We have a gross motor imitation goal so the song is a great opportunity for the kids to practice imitating actions while singing.

In addition to imitation, this book adds some novel verses to the old standard (The kitties on the bus say, “Let’s Rock Out!!”). For children struggling with rigidity, we want to practice change within the context of something familiar. This book is perfect to work on flexibility and why I love “Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus”.

We hope your little ones have as much fun singing and imitating the actions of this book as I have had this past week in my classroom groups!

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).

Friday Favorites: {Milkshake, Shake it Up}

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Today’s Friday Favorite is the perfect tune, especially considering our recent heat wave in Minneapolis! The intervention¬†is adapted from the song ‚ÄúMilkshake‚ÄĚ by Wiggleworms. You can following this link to find the CD¬†“Songs for Wiggleworms”.¬†¬†This intervention can of course be adapted depending on your client base. I sing the song live to give enough time for each child to give their favorite milkshake flavor or ingredient. For this activity, you will need two egg maracas for each child.

Before each verse, choose a child to give you their favorite ingredient or flavor of milkshake and sing that in the third stanza of the verse. The words from the adapted version are below:

You take a little milk,  pour some milk 

And you take a little cream,  pour some cream

You stir it up with ____________ (child’s favorite ingredient or flavor)

You shake it and you sing…1,2,3,4

Chorus:

Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

I usually use this intervention in small group therapy, but recently adapted it for an individual client working on identifying objects. For each verse, I presented him with two options and asked him to choose the one I requested. Instead of egg maracas, we used a large ocean drum to shake during the chorus, which addressed one of his gross motor goals as well.

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!

Friday Favorites: {Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck!}

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I have been using “Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck” this week during Musical Playground in ECSE classrooms to work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, impulse control, and imitating gross motor movements. The melody is simple so kids latch on to it right away and a handbell in the key you are singing the song in serves as the focus of joint attention. Have kids imitate the gross motor movements and wait to play the bell at “ding, ding, ding, ding, ding” to work on improving impulse control. Use as many verses as needed (or as few) so that each child gets a turn to play the bell. I like to repeat the song 2-3 times so everyone has a chance to get the gross motor movements and more than one turn to play the bell.

Here is the lead sheet and lyrics:

1) Hurry, hurry drive the firetruck (3x) [make driving motion w/ hands]

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

2) Hurry, hurry turn the corner [sway side to side as if turning corners while “steering” with hands]

3) Hurry, hurry find the fire [hands over eyes to look for the fire]

4) Hurry, hurry climb the ladder [pretend to climb up with arms]

5) Hurry, hurry save the baby [cradle pretend baby in arms]

6) Hurry, hurry squirt the water [pretend to hold a hose and spray water all around]

7) Slowly, slowly, back to the station [“steer” slowly]

Hope you have a fun time pretending to be firefighters with this Friday Favorite!

Friday Favorites: {It’s Raining, It’s Pouring}

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We have had a busy week at Toneworks, starting Musical Playground groups in four Early Childhood Special Education and Mental Health Collaborative classrooms! One of the songs we have been using this week to promote joint attention and peer interaction is “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” with slight modifications. In addition to the social/emotional goals, use of the rainstick requires motor planning and gross motor movement from the child so you can work on those goals as a secondary gain as well with this short little song!

Here is a link to the lead sheet and here are the lyrics:

It’s raining, it’s pouring, (n-a-m-e’s) making rain

First it’s¬†(n-a-m-e), then a friend

What friend do you choose?

A simple song that hits several goal areas for you to use this rainy Spring. Happy Friday!