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Less is More + February

Welcome back to the Tuesday Toolbox! From strategy ideas and session planning tips, to clinical and organizational skills, Tuesday Toolbox is here to support and inspire you! For the rest of the school year, the focus will be: Less is More (psst! To get these delivered straight to your mailbox each Tuesday, make sure you're subscribed to the blog)!

Are you EXHAUSTED?? Are you WORKING HARDER, and want to work SMARTER? Are you OVERWHELMED by trying to keep up with pinterest and social media? Are you feeling ISOLATED? This series is for you!


Drum Up Kindness! + Materials: Drum (I use a frame drum, but you could use any hand drum!)

Kindness Conversation Cards (<< f r e e printable!)

+ Goals Addressed:

Social Skills, Cooperation, Following Directions, Turn-Taking

+ Number of Strategies: 3

+ Directions:

1. Hold the drum and say, "Repeat after me." Play a beat on the drum (1-2 measures). Motion for students to repeat after you by patting their legs. Do this for 3 sets.

2. Pass the drum to a student and instruct him to play a beat. Join the other students in repeating his beat. Allow him to play 3 sets, before instructing him to choose a peer to pass to. Continue until each student has a turn!

3. Then, using a piece of tape or sticky tac, stick one of the conversation cards under/inside the drum. Play a recording of a song like, "You've Got a Friend in Me" (Randy Newman), "Lovin' You is Easy" (Ben Rector), "Love is an Open Door" (Frozen), etc. Instruct students to pass the drum until the music stops (you pause the song).

4. When the music stops, the person holding the drum will flip the drum over to reveal the card. They will then read the card (alone or with assistance) and follow the instructions (i.e. give a compliment to someone in the room). In this instance, the person they compliment will then compliment another student, and this will continue until each person has had a turn. Then repeat steps 3-4 with new cards!

+ Cooperative play? Check!

+ Turn-Taking/Passing game? Check!

+ Social Skills practice? Check!

Add a greeting song at the beginning, and a transition song at the end, and you almost have a full session using only 2 materials!

Less BUCK; More BANG

Here are some of my fave tips for saving money!

1. Borrow, don't buy! I ALWAYS forget about the library! If you haven't been lately, you would be amazed at the variety of books at the library! Check it out, use it with your students, and return it! I also do the occasional summer camp with large groups where I need some large drums and a greater quantity of instruments than I own. So, I call up my MT buddies and borrow a few items for the week rather than buy them (and store them) for that one camp per year!

2. Shop what you have! I had an evaluation recently with a goal of identifying items within different categories (i.e. transportation, animals, fruits...), so I was trying to decide what items I needed to purchase to make it happen... Then, I stopped myself, pulled out my bins of manipulatives from other songs and strategies, and I came up with everything I needed using what I already had! (Bonus tip: I do the same thing before I go grocery shopping - I ask, what do I need to add to the items I already have to make a meal. Less waste, more yum ;)!

3. Stay away from office supply stores! Paper, pens, card stock and velcro are cheaper on amazon or at Walmart. And if you don't have the luxury of access to a laminator through your work, it is worth the investment of a little $25 personal laminator. Buy refill pouches in bulk on amazon, and it will be way more affordable than Fedex or fill-in-the-blank-office store.

4. Take turns! I sometimes feel like I if I bring in a manipulative (like little toy cars or animals toys), that I need to buy enough for each student in my classes to have one. Not true! This is a great opportunity to practice turn-taking ;)

Less TALK, more ROCK!

As music therapists, we KNOW that music is engaging, motivating, and memorable! But often we spend a lot of time talking in our sessions when we should be using music! Here are:

3 Things You Are SAYING That You Could Be SINGING or PLAYING!

1. Sit down. Please sit Down. It's time to sit down. Said any of these before? GUILTY! Think about this. WHY do they need to sit down? Is it a classroom expectation? Do they learn more successfully when seated? Or is it just something we are trained to tell them? If it's not one of the first 2 reasons, consider letting them stand, or jump or whatever it is they are doing! If it IS for one of the first two reasons, come up with a sit down song.

"Sit down. Sit down. When it's time for music we sit down." Repeat it as needed throughout the session to help teach the expectation rather than losing your breath and pulling out your hair saying it a hundred times. Teachers can even use the song throughout the day! "When it's time for ____ we sit down."

2. Put the instruments away. Give me your instruments. It's time to clean up. One of my favorite ways to have students give instruments back (after singing a little clean up tune) is to make a sound effect as they put their instrument in the bag/bin! Wooooop! DING! Tadah!! It makes even giving up a preferred item FUN!

3. Ok everyone, come on over for music! It's time for music! Playing time is finished! Just start playing your hello song! Use the musical cue to set the expectation for students to participate in music each week! Our particularly musically-motivated kiddos will come on over when they hear that guitar. Then the teachers just have to corral those couple friends that need some extra love!

Were the strategy ideas helpful for you? Do you have ideas of how you would change it? What are your favorite money-saving tips? What things to you SING instead of SAY? Hit REPLY to let me know! I can't wait to hear from you!

<3, Patina Joy

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