Friday Fave: Graduation

Today is another special day at the Hope Institute…graduation day! Several students from the senior classes will be taking the next step in their lives after the time they’ve spent at Hope, whether that is moving back home to be close to family, being placed in a development-appropriate job, or joining an assisted living community. It’s a proud time not only for the students themselves, but also for the parents and teachers who have helped them get here. It’s always a bittersweet day, though – many of the students who graduate have spent years at Hope, making it hard for us to say goodbye.

My first experience at Hope was actually at the 2007 graduation, right before I became an employee. My principal asked me to sing a couple of songs, and I have been the official graduation day singer ever since. It’s a nice job to have :)

Today I’ll be singing “You Raise Me Up”, a Josh Groban song that I think perfectly embodies the spirit of this day. Here’s a video of Josh Groban performing this song on American Idol a couple years ago – I love the children’s choir and wish I had one to back me up today!

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

Bells Are For Shaking

Bells, bells, and more bells…I just can’t get enough of them when it comes to developmentally appropriate instruments for my students. They come in so many different sizes and shapes that I have one to suit the needs of even the most challenged kids. A student with little or no grip abilities? No problem – there’s a bell with a velcro strap for him/her. A child with noise sensitivity issues? Give him/her bells with small jingles that produce equally small sounds. What about kids who are working on color identification or turn-taking? I love bells like those pictured above: fun shapes and bright colors motivate my students to participate in such activities.

But the song I want to share today has a different goal in mind…discrimination between right and left. This can be a particularly difficult skill to master; heck, even sometimes I get the two confused ;) Any type of bell can be used for this activity, as long as it appropriate for the student.

Bells are for shaking, bells are for shaking,
Up and down, all around,
Bells are for shaking, bells are for shaking,
Listen to the sound.

Hold the bell in your right hand, grip it tight,
And shake it side to side, with all your might.
Hold the bell in your right hand, up in the air,
Shake it side to side without a care.

CHORUS

Hold the bell in your left hand, grip it tight,
And shake it side to side, with all your might.
Hold the bell in your left hand, up in the air,
Shake it side to side without a care.

CHORUS

It seems that I have a plethora of songs dedicated to playing the bells, which tells me I need to give a little attention to the rest of the instruments, too! Just another thing to add to the list. Luckily I’ll have some time to do that soon, as the school year is winding down and summer break is on the horizon. Only four days left…what about you?

More Songs for Teaching

One of my very favorite websites for discovering great tunes – as well as sharing my own – is Songs for Teaching. I’ve been lucky enough to have quite a few Listen & Learn originals available for downloading (find them here) at Songs for Teaching, and recently had the opportunity to produce a few recordings of well-known songs exclusively for the website.

Here are the first three, which you’ll probably recognize:

German Cradle Song

My Country ‘Tis of Thee

Rock-a-Bye Baby

I’ll be adding several more over the next few weeks, so I will be sure to keep you updated! In other news, you might have visited earlier today and noticed that many songs did not play as they should have. This was due to a file server upgrade, which I’m happy to say is completed. All of the songs you’ll find here are now hosted by a much more reliable server, which should eliminate any problems you may have encountered in the past when listening. Thanks so much for your patience, and for visiting Listen & Learn Music regularly :)

Flower, Stand Tall!

Flowers are popping up all over the place, and they are a great topic for a song around this time of year. Flower songs are good opportunities to address color identification, which is what I had in mind when I wrote the song below.

Red, orange, yellow, green,
White, purple, pink and blue.
Flowers are so colorful and smell good too.
There are many different kinds Mother Nature grows,
In a pot or in a field or garden rows.

Red flower, stand tall,
Red flower, stand tall,
Can you choose your favorite red flower of all?
(You just might be the fairest flower of all!)

Repeat, using each color.

My initial idea was to give each child a scarf and ask him/her to stand up as that color is mentioned in the song. I made visuals for each color flower, and to practice making choices, the child can choose which of three flowers of that color he/she likes best. For children who don’t have that ability, there are alternate lyrics in parentheses.

Friday Fave: Sadie!

This is our new little bundle of joy! Sadie was born on March 28, and we finally got to bring her home yesterday. She had a fun first night in her new home: she got to meet all of her grandparents, take a walk around the neighborhood, and play with all of her toys. She definitely wore us out…and she wore herself out too! We were expecting a lot more crying throughout the night, but she only woke us up once to take her outside. Not bad at all!

I have a couple new songs I’m looking forward to posting, but they’ll have to wait until the weekend. You can probably guess that I have been a little preoccupied for the last couple days, but I can’t wait to share the songs I have in store for you. In the meantime, maybe Sadie will inspire me to write a song about puppies :) Have a great Friday, and a wonderful holiday weekend!

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