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Caroling with GOALS in Mind

Have you tried taking your groups Christmas caroling? It has become a favorite session of so many of my classes! Here are the GOALS I address when caroling and some TIPS to set your students up for success! Anyone who can carry a tune can carol, but it takes the clinical skills of a therapist to facilitate an effective, goal-driven session while caroling.

Keep it GOAL ORIENTED. Don't forget the incredible social, communication, motor and cognitive skills you can address!

Social // Take turns leading and following! Share instruments! Meet new people! Discuss appropriate hallway behavior and polite conversation!

Communication // Allow students to introduce themselves and the songs! And, of course, sing along!

Motor // Get up and out of the classroom! Walk or wheel to the front office, nurses office or library! Hold bells and other instruments!

Cognitive // Allow students to independently choose the songs to sing, whether by verbalizing or by pointing to a song choice card.

What are some other goals you can address?

PREPARATION is key. Remember these FOUR TIPS:

1. COMMUNICATE with teachers in advance of the session. Give them the names of some of the songs you will use so they can practice. Determine what rooms you will visit, or if you will have visitors come to you. Then decide who will communicate with other campus staff.

2. MEMORIZE a variety of carols. Offer selections to students using pictures to represent each song. I like to use a range of songs to include those that pair well with various instruments, those that are not religious as well as some that are to reflect the students you represent! {You can find color song choice cards + instrument recommendations for Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Feliz Navidad, The Little Drummer Boy and We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the Holiday Pack at my shop!} Other student favorites include Up on the Housetop, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and one of MY favorites is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

3. INDIVIDUALIZE. Think about your students. Knowing the unique needs of each student, have a plan for how you will get from place to place, what instrument adaptations you will need, and in what ways each student can play an integral role of spreading cheer!

4. COLLABORATE. This is a GREAT opportunity to get other staff or related services involved! Check with the campus PT, OT and SLP and see if they would like to be part of it! They will be assets for helping students to maneuver, manipulate instruments and produce language! We are stronger together. And they will enjoy the opportunity to be part of something memorable and impactful!

I hope you have a BLAST caroling with your students this Christmas season! Spread JOY!


Patina Joy

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