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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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 “Milkshake” 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: {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: {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!

Monday Music & Movement: {It’s a Beautiful Day}

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Welcome to another Monday Music & Movement! Today’s song is one that Lyndie, our other music therapist, taught me from a practicum and a second version that I learned from a different practicum supervisor. Shows you how versatile and well-loved this song is with music therapists in MN!

There are two sets of lyrics that I use with this song to work on goals of name recognition, turn taking, joint attention, and choice making. You will want to choose the lyrics that will best address the goal areas you are working on with a particular group. You can just sing the song as a group to each member and have the friend choose who goes next for option #1, or use a little glockenspiel or handbell to pass around for option #2. Here is the lead sheet on Scribd.

#1)

It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.

It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.

#2)

It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell, ring your bell.

It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell with me.

Using only one instrument grabs the attention of peers who are not playing the bell, to work on joint attention. Friends wait to take a turn and interact with peers by making a choice of who will go next. Finally, since children love to be the center of attention, why not use a song that will allow the attention to happen in a context that is positive and praises sharing and choice making? It’s great to see little ones succeed with such a simple intervention that sets them up for improvement in multiple functional goal areas.