fun idea for self-contained SPED classes . . .

I teach a class of self contained autistic students ranging from 8-13 years old.  Some students are great at maintaining a steady beat and some students need more practice.  I was trying to come up with a “fun” way to keep practicing steady beat without losing interest in the students that already have mastered that concept.

Instead of playing “freeze dance” we played “Freeze Beat!”  Freeze dance is when the teacher plays a piece of music (I use a Hawaiian party mix as it’s fun… 🙂 ) and the students dance. When the teacher hits “pause” the students freeze, last one caught moving is out.  It’s a silly little game we play at the end of class for 2 minutes if the kids have earned a little “reward.” 

For the autistic class I play the music and the students keep the beat on their rhythm sticks, when I hit “pause” the students have to stop keeping the beat (they make bunny ears with the sticks).  After they get good at it I’ll let the students take turns hitting “pause.”

They LOVE being in charge of hitting play and pause and I love it because not only are the working the music concept of steady beat, they are also developing the sense that their actions have an impact on the group. It’s simply magical to see the children participating in that way!

What are your best tips for teaching basic concepts to older students or students with special needs?


One response to “fun idea for self-contained SPED classes . . .

  1. I’m always looking for new approaches to the teaching the “basics” in my music classes. As I attended an Orff Workshop I observed a “game” that really caught my eye…something FUN and very instructional indeed. I didn’t want to spend alot of money on the “flexible plastic discs” used in the game so instead I went to the dollar store and bought the 4/$1 plastic/webbed coasters for drinks. I drew the selected MUSIC SYMBOLS on them with black marker, spread them in a large circle and tried out the game! They loved it!!! Everyone stood behind one symbol. They had to name it (or they were out), then everyone SWITCHED PLACES to another spot while one of the discs was “quickly snatched away ” during the change…leaving someone without a place to stand (they ‘re out!). The students name their new “spot” and the game continues in like manner as the circle gets smaller and smaller. I usually stop with the last 2 kids cause the competition gets fierce! 🙂

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