Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nonsense Songs - a great way to stimulate communication skills

I thought I'd occasionally input one of the "nonsense" or "silly" songs that I use with clients to stimulate communication skills. These songs have very catchy melodies and simple lyrics - or just syllables! I've found that many of these songs encourage vocal participation from several of my kiddos that have been reluctant to vocalize - maybe due to the simplicity of the lyrics, sounds or syllables.

The following traditional song called "Dum Dum Da Da" is one that many of you old Girl or Boy Scouts may remember!

I usually begin by singing the lyrics as written, then sing the melody in the following ways:
1. As a cat (meow, meow)
2. As a dog (ruff, ruff)
3. As a mouse (squeak, squeak)
4. As a lion (roar, roar)
Ask the child or children you are working with to suggest more animal sounds!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Circle Time Song Website

There are many Circle Time Songs that I have used over the years to promote interaction within a group of children or even to promote interaction between a student and teacher (or child/mother or client/therapist!).

I just ran across a website that lists several Circle Time Songs that might be something you can use with your child or class. Some have familiar tunes. If a tune isn't listed, try speaking the words in rhythm.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adapting Familiar Songs

Are you tired of the same old songs? Or do you want to work on a particular objective and can't find the right song to do it?
Over the years, I have had a LOT of fun adding new words and verses to traditional or well known songs. One of my favorite children's fingerplay/rhyme songs is 5 Little Monkeys. Many of the kids I work with like this song, but frequently lose interest after the 2nd or 3rd monkey! Plus, I really wanted a song that I could do some sequencing activities with. So - I changed it around - added a familiar melody and verses to make it "3 Little Monkeys". Now there are hand motions to go with each of the verses and the old standard is new again!
Here are the words to my version of the "3 Little Monkeys". The music is available to download below the words!
3 Little Monkeys
(Adapted from 5 Little Monkeys - Additional words by Pamela Ott)
3 little monkeys jumpin' on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head!
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
"No more monkeys jumpin' on the bed!"
Two little monkeys sittin' in a tree,
One fell out and skinned his knee.
Momma called the doctor, quick as can be,
And he said "No more monkeys sittin' in a tree!"
One little monkey swimmin' in the river
Got so cold he began to shiver!
Mama called the doctor who's chin began to quiver
He said "No more monkeys swimmin' in the river"!
Three sick monkeys, all of them little
Lying there in the hospital.
Lulah and Johnnie and sister Fred say,
Never again will we swim in the river,
Or sit in a tree, or jump on the bed,
We don't want to bump our head,
So no more jumpin' on the bed!
Listen and download "3 Little Monkeys" here!

<a href="">3 Little Monkeys by Pamela Ott</a>

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hello Songs!

In my practice I have always begun my sessions with a hello song. This gets the attention of the individual I'm working with and provides structure - which is comforting to many of my kiddos. I'm sure this is true in preschool and kindergarten classes too - and it's a great way for children to transition into a "listening and learning mode"! Hello and other songs can also be used at home to get the attention of active and/or noisy little ones. Instead of calling their name, try singing softly and see if suddenly their attention is focused on you!

There are three songs I commonly use depending on who I am working with. The first is quite easy with very few words. After singing to my client, I then encourage them to sing it back to me. Many times I will sing with them, omitting the space for my name and encouraging the vocalization of my name.
The second hello is wordier and is quite appropriate in the classoom setting.
The third hello is a rap that I came up with for one of my pre-teen clients. His favorite type of music is rap and we play the bongo as we "rap" hello to help us stay on the beat.

Hello (to the tune of Goodnight Ladies)
Hello Suzie, Hello Suzie
Hello Suzie, How are you today?

This is the Way We Start the Day!
(to the tune of Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush)
This is the way we start the day
Start the day, start the day,
This is the way we start the day,
So early in the morning.
First we smile and shake a hand,
Shake a hand, shake a hand,
First we smile and shake a hand,
So early in the morning.
Then we sit down quietly,
Quietly, quietly,
Then we sit down quietly,
So early in the morning.
We listen very carefully,
Carefully, carefully,
We listen very carefully,
So early in the morning.

Hello Rap
My name is Anthony and I'm hear to say,
It's time for music and I like to play!
Today is Wednesday in the afternoon,
I'm feeling ________, how 'bout you?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Going On a Train - my Sing and Read Book!

I talked a little bit about Sing and Read books in my post on 8/20/09 entitled "Books to Read and Sing!". Unfortunately, I am not aware of any particular studies that have measured the effectiveness of Sing and Read books (if you are aware of any - please let me know. I would love to read them!), but in my experience and with the common sense that rhythm and rhyme do assist in the acquisition of language skills, I have always used Sing and Read books with my clients. There are several qualities that I try to identify before purchasing a new Sing and Read book, and they are as follows:

1. It should be a melody that my children can readily learn

2. It should be repetitive

3. The pictures should give an idea of the meaning of the text

4. The font should be big enough that children can follow along with their fingers.

Two years ago, I decided to make a Sing and Read book of my own using one of my best selling songs entitled "Going On a Train". I worked with an artist and tried to follow my own rules (above). The result is a wonderful little book and cd combo (I'm not too biased!) that was extremely fun to put together. I'm planning on turning several more of my songs into Sing and Read Books - so stay tuned!

I made a short clip of "Going On a Train" this morning so that you can get a feel of what I'm talking about. If you would like to purchase the Going On a Train Book and CD set, click on the following link, which will take you to the CD's and Books section.

Going On a Train is also available as a song download below. The lyrics are included.

<a href="">Going On a Train by Pamela Ott</a>

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Months of the Year Songs to Familiar Tunes

Well, now that we have the Days of the Week covered by familiar tunes, let's move on to Months of the Year! I still remember a song I learned in Kindergarten - just a few years ago! It was a song that listed the Months of the Year to a catchy marching tune - and we would march as we sang it! To physically experience the song and its rhythm and melody probably set it even firmer in my little mind! Wow - the power of music! I still find myself humming it on occasion. Here is a lead sheet with the words, melody and guitar chords in case you would like to try it!

I have two other versions of the Months of the Year set to familiar tunes that I have used over the years. They are:

Months of the Year to the Battle Hymn of the Republic
January, February, March, April and May,
June, July and August, then September's on its way.
October, then November, then December's at the end.
And we start all over again!

Months of the Year to Ten Little Indians
January, February, March and April,
May, June, July, August and September,
October, November and December
These are the months of the year

Two things I have learned when using familiar tunes to teach concepts.
1. It is probably best to pick one and stick to it. Several times I have tried to switch the tune and I end up getting confused and confusing my clients!
2. Some children may have difficulty using a familiar tune with different words. One of my clients, who has autistic tendencies, will now sing the new words, but has the need to talk about the common or "real" words to the tune each time. I beleive this has turned out to be a good experience for him because he has been able to "change the routine" just a little!

One more song that I an across a while ago can be found at this website called Education Oasis:

It is the Months of the Year to the Macarena! Fun!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Two More Days of the Week Songs!

Want more easy Days of the Week songs? Here are two more!

Days of the Week sung to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday too.
Wednesday, Thursday just for you.
Friday, Saturday that's the end.
Now let's sing those days again!
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday!

And here's my favorite - probably 'cause I grew up watching the Addams Family, taught to me by one of my clients who learned it in school!!

Days of the Week sung to the Addams Family tune
Days of the week, (snap snap)
Days of the week, (snap snap)
Days of the week,
Days of the week,
Days of the week. (snap snap)

There's Sunday and there's Monday,
There's Tuesday and there's Wednesday,
There's Thursday and there's Friday,
And then there's Saturday.

Days of the week, (snap snap)
Days of the week, (snap snap)
Days of the week,
Days of the week,
Days of the week. (snap snap)

Do you have other favorite Days of the Week songs?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Singing and Learning the Days of the Week

I always love sharing songs with familiar tunes because they're so easy to remember! I've run across several songs to teach days of the week, but here's a very easy and catchy one to use.
Days of the Week (sung to the tune "If Youre Happy and You Know It)

Every week has 7 days, yes it does. (clap, clap)
Every week has 7 days, yes it does. (clap, clap)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
Every week has 7 days, yes it does. (clap, clap)

And today is Monday, yes it is. (clap, clap)
And today is Monday, yes it is. (clap, clap)
And today is Monday, Yes, today is Monday.
And today is Monday, yes it is. (clap, clap)

And tomorrow is Tuesday, yes it is. (clap, clap)
And tomorrow is Tuesday, yes it is. (clap, clap)
And tomorrow is Tuesday, Yes, tomorrow is Tuesday,
And tomorrow is Tuesday, yes it is! (clap, clap)