Category Archives: Special Education

Ted Talk Tuesday

This is an AMAZING talk.  If you teach students with hearing challenges, this will be great for you to see and learn about.  Actually,  this is important for all of us to learn about!

If you don’t have 16 minutes to watch this, I encourage you to click on the website and read the transcript.  It’s very interesting.

Charles Limb performs cochlear implantation, a surgery that treats hearing loss and can restore the ability to hear speech. But as a musician too, Limb thinks about what the implants lack: They don’t let you fully experience music yet. (There’s a hair-raising example.) At TEDMED, Limb reviews the state of the art and the way forward.

Charles Limb
Charles Limb is a doctor and a musician who researches the way musical creativity works in the brain. Full bio and more links

What did you think about this?  Do you teach any students with cochlear implants?


Advice and Sharing from a Member

Martha Feron, a member, posted a great comment on another post.  Martha was very generous and allowed me to repost it here on the site. 

I’ve received numerous emails from teachers seeking advice for ESE children and other children with special needs.  Martha used an idea from the Jim Solomon workshop and adapted it for her class.  I hope you can use her advice!

Martha writes,

I attended the Jim Solomon workshop and learned about the four chairs approach to teaching rhythmic patterns. I tried the strategies with my ESE students which includes autistic and intellectually disables students. Some of the students have difficulty speaking and writing, so I went completely physical with the lesson. After modeling different rhythm patterns, I had the students make rhythm patterns by directing their classmates to sit in the appropriate chairs. OMG they got it!! I felt so great that it made my weekend. I rewarded myself by going to the beach with my family. For those who are feeling reluctant to attend these Saturday workshops and paying the membership fee, IT IS SO WORTH IT and MORE.

Has anyone else used an idea from a workshop and modified it for special needs students? Please share! We’re all looking for great ideas when dealing with exceptional populations.

More SPED advice – from a reader!

Yamilka Gomez shared a great comment on yesterday’s post that I thought you all would like to read so I reposted it for everyone to see.  Thank you Yamilka!

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.

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?