Music brings such joy to all children. I am passionate about encouraging all of my students to participate in music classes no matter their ability level. I am fortunate enough to work with 3 amazing Multiple-Handicap units in my building. I see these students on a rotation just like their typical peers’ classrooms. These “units” are self-contained and only come to music with their class, not in combination with their typical classrooms. This fully allows me to tailor my lessons for them to their age levels. We do things that are completely different from my other classes because it is what is best for them. Each class has the same schedule for activities:
Keeping the same structure in the lesson allows the students to feel comfortable in what we are doing. They can anticipate what is coming next since we have been doing it since the beginning of the school year.
When I started working in music class with students who had severe learning disabilities or handicaps I didn’t know much about doing things that were best for them. I needed more research and study, so I decided to create my Master’s Thesis on this exact topic. I basically created a curriculum to use for my adaptive music class. This obviously was tailored to the students I had at the time, but I have still since been able to utilize pieces of it with all my adaptive classes.
I found some really great resources while working on this project. If you want to learn more about creating meaningful lessons for your adaptive population I would check these out:
I enjoy beginning each class with a “Dance Party” because it can get everyone in the mindset for the class. I have the music playing as the students walk in and they get to move to the music however they want. Sometimes we try and follow along with the songs (Hokey Pokey) and other times we just dance. It allows the students to get some wiggles out before we dive into more of the content of the class. I am comfortable enough working with my students that I dance with them, sometimes “hand over hand” in order to allow them the mobility to participate.
When I do the Singing Books, I try and find books that are either a song or are rhythmic enough to do with a beat. Some of the books I have used before are: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Over the River and Through the Woods, Cat Goes Fiddle-i-Fee, Old MacDonald, and many more. If it has a good rhyme structure or song that goes with it, it works great!
Also take a look at my next few blogs posts to see how I teach some of the other activities to my students (coming soon):
Organized Adaptive Dances
Gross Motor Skills in Music