Giveaway: Model Me Going Places DVD

Last week, I announced my involvement in Model Me Kids‘ newest social skills modeling DVD, Model Me Going Places.  My original songs narrate the 12 scenes in the video, which is described on the Model Me Kids website as follows:

The Model Me Going Places™ video features children, ages 2-8, involved in activities in the community. It is designed to familiarize children with locations that may be challenging, and to help teach appropriate behavior in these locations through peer modeling. Each scene lasts between 2-4 minutes, depending on the chapter. At the end of each chapter is a storyboard summarizing the locations shown.

This video is narrated with music developed for the Model Me Going Places™ DVD by Rachel Rambach, a Board-Certified Music Therapist. This unique merger of video modeling and Music Therapy is designed to help teach skills in a way that appeals to the strengths of children with developmental disabilities.

Graphics and music are used to make the video appealing to children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Nonverbal Learning Disorders. A high production value helps keep the child’s interest so that he or she will want to watch many times.

I couldn’t be more proud of my association with Model Me Kids, having provided musical narration for both this DVD and previously, Model Me Faces & Emotions. So I’m thrilled that this wonderful company was willing to provide a copy of the newest DVD to one lucky Listen & Learn reader.

It couldn’t be simpler: to enter, all you have to do is leave a comment (including your email address) on this post between now and Sunday, March 28th at 8 pm. I will use random.org to select a completely random winner, who will be announced on Monday.  Teachers, parents, and therapists…I’m talking to you!  Enter now for your chance to win this effective (not to mention fun and entertaining) resource.

Sunday Singalong: Rusty’s Turn!

Every Tuesday evening, Rusty and I spend 30 minutes playing, writing, recording, and expressing ourselves through music. He is very interested in technology, so recently we’ve been using Garageband, iTunes, and iMovie to bring his musical creations to life. He continues to impress me with his good nature, musical talent, and creativity!

I love the fact that so many of my students want to incorporate technology into our work together, whether it’s music therapy or voice/piano/guitar lessons. Just today, I used the Flip Ultra HD Camcorder to record a student singing a new song, and we critiqued the video afterwards in order to improve her stage presence and facial expressions.  I use the “voice memos” app on my iPhone to record vocal exercises, piano accompaniment, and even entire lessons, which I can email to my students (or their parents) right then and there.

If you want to see more of Rusty, check out this YouTube video, which was filmed by and for our local newspaper, The State Journal-Register.  He is very proud of his status as a YouTube star!

Friday Fave: Model Me Going Places

Last summer I had the privilege of writing and recording songs to narrate the Model Me Kids video, Model Me Faces and Emotions (read my post about it here).  It was a tremendously fun project; in fact, I was a little sad when all the work was done and the songs were completed.  So you can imagine my how thrilled I was to be invited to narrate yet another new video.

I spent a good part of January and February working on new songs for Model Me Going Places, a video in which children model appropriate behavior in a variety of community locations.  I am so happy with the finished product, which I received in the mail earlier this week!

Included is the DVD, CD-ROM, and the lyrics for all 12 songs.  There is even a free iPhone/iPod Touch app that goes along with it, for which I provided piano melodies.  My one and a half-year-old nephew loves it, and he’s too young to be biased!

Here are both DVDs (front and back), which are wonderful additions to my collection of resources.  Many of my students were already familiar with Model Me Kids before they even knew about my involvement; one little boy came to his piano lesson shortly after the first DVD came out and said, “Miss Rachel, I listened to you on TV.  You’re famous!”  Hey, if I’m famous in the eyes of my students, then I’ve reached the top :)

You can order any of the Model Me Kids DVDs (there are 9 altogether) from their website, and be sure to go download the free iPhone/iPod Touch app!

Temple Grandin: The Movie



I first read about Temple Grandin during my music therapy internship several years ago, and I was completely fascinated.  The way she was able to describe her autism, and the way her brain worked, was completely unique and as far as I knew, unheard of.  I have since learned a lot more about Temple Grandin, and now, thanks to HBO, so have a whole lot of people who otherwise might not have.

On Saturday, February 6th, the full-length film Temple Grandin premiered, starring Claire Danes as the title character.  I had the opportunity to watch the film at The Autism Program of Illinois headquarters, which was a pretty amazing experience.  TAP and The Hope Institute for Children and Families (where I work as the music therapist) officially endorsed the film, and even sponsored its Chicago opening at the end of January.

Dr. Nyre, Hope’s President/CEO, was interviewed by several sources and spoke at the viewing I attended on Saturday.  I wholeheartedly agree with his assertion that this film should and will be used as a teaching tool in schools and facilities all over the country, because it provides such an accurate depiction of autism.  The film uses on-screen graphics to let us look into Ms. Grandin’s brain, to see the world as she sees it.

Have you seen the film yet? If so, what were your thoughts and reactions? I can tell you that by the end, there weren’t many dry eyes in the room where I was watching it. Claire Danes is amazing as Temple Grandin; in fact, you really do forget that you’re watching an actor, not the real deal. The film is educational and eye-opening, yes, but it is also extremely entertaining and touching. Take my advice and watch it.

Friday Fave: Model Me Kids

Today’s edition of “Friday Faves” is brought to you by Twitter, because that is how I discovered Model Me Kids. Little did I know that many of my students already knew all about Model Me Kids, and used their videos at home.

From their website:

Model Me Kids® is dedicated to producing high quality teaching tools for children, adolescents, and teenagers with Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD or NLD), and developmental delays. The videos are used by parents, teachers, and therapists. They are also helpful for teaching children with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome and may be used with typically developing younger children. Model Me Kids® videos demonstrate social skills by modeling peer behavior at school, on a playdate, at a birthday party, on the playground, at a library, restaurant, and more. Real children model and narrate each skill. DVDs for ages 2-17.

Shortly after following Model Me Kids on Twitter, I received an email from Sue Klein, MMK’s founder and president. She had visited Listen & Learn and thought my songwriting style might be a good match for a video they were currently producing. I loved the idea, and immediately called her to tell her so. Creating the music for Model Me Faces & Emotions™ became one of my summer projects, and it was so much fun! But the best part was receiving my copy of the finished DVD just last week. Actually, I take that back…the VERY best part was having my students receive their copies only to discover my picture on the back cover and hear my familiar voice narrating the video :)

Model Me Kids currently offers 8 DVDs: Model Me Faces & Emotions, Time for School, Time for a Playdate, I Can Do It!, Model Me Conversation Cues, Model Me Friendship, Model Me Tips & Tricks, and Model Me Confidence. You can view samples on their website.

Teaching social skills is a huge focus for the students with whom I work, which made this collaboration truly exciting. If you work with or have children (whether they have autism, another developmental disability, or are typically developing) and want to learn more about Model Me Kids, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website.

So that does it for today’s Friday Fave. This week has flown by, and I am in disbelief that it is already time for another weekend. I have sheet music to edit, two presentations to prepare, articles to write, and songs to record, but somewhere between that I am going to squeeze in some time with friends. What are your weekend plans?

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