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.

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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: {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!

Monday Music & Movement: {Old Blue}

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Pretty much every little one I know likes puppies. Today’s therapeutic music intervention uses the first verse of the traditional “Old Blue” to work on expressive and/or receptive color identification, joint attention, matching, turn taking, and fine motor skills.

Start by saving the image above or searching for a black and white clipart of a puppy. You will want to print off two for each color you are working on. Go ahead and laminate them too, because we all know there is a good chance these puppies are going to get chewed on!

Pass out the dogs with whatever transition song you like to use. This would be a great opportunity to incorporate a transition song during which you sing the colors once while holding them up and use PECS or sign if any of your little ones use them. Then, hold up one color dog using your thumb and pointer (pincer grasp to encourage use of fine motor skills) and encourage all of the little ones to do the same. Start singing using the color you are holding first.

The lyrics are very simple, I just changed the last line in to a question:

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Had a dog and his name was _color_

Who has a _color_ dog too?

Wait for the correct answer and reinforce! Then to have even more practice association the color with the name, sing another time with the child’s name.

_____ has a _color_ dog

_____ has a_color_ dog

_____ has a _color_ dog

Come put it on the board!

The children are matching the dog they have with the one you will be holding (a pre-reading and pre-writing skill). The little ones will also be identifying colors receptively by holding up the green or using their words or sign to indicate that they have purple. Finally, your group will be turn taking and working on joint attention by attending to the dog you have and the color of dogs their peers have in the group.

Here is a link to the sheet music and chords.

We hope you can use this intervention with your clients or little ones. You can mix it up by using different animals or cutting animals out and placing them on different shapes to identify!