Repost: Fun Idea for your SPED Classes (Beat)

Here is a repost from last year that I thought that some of you would like to see again!

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?

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One response to “Repost: Fun Idea for your SPED Classes (Beat)

  1. The Book Strike It Rich has some really cool mallet activities that a lot of autistic children can do. I use them with my self contained autistic classes 2nd grade – 5th grade and they love it. There is a little song called Monkey Monkey that teaches steady beat and proper mallet technique – it’s a rhyme and they can tap the rhythm on the desk, floor or their hand. And they have to scratch like a monkey to the beat. I make them scratch themselves with the same hand they hold the mallet with, if it falls it means they were not holding it correctly.

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