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Sue Trainor: Home

Sue's work with children who have special needs is featured in the video "Beautiful Surprises." 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upq6sp-HmDo&list=UUpG6xkCux0enjfy8VI0eD0Q&index=16

Winner of the 2014 "Artist of the Year" Award from Young Audiences of Maryland.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpiUPvgG7jE

Sue Trainor inspires creativity in concert and in workshops. Her participant-centered, experiential programs motivate children and adults to explore new skills and ideas. Sue’s energy and enthusiasm capture everyone’s attention and her sense of humor and down-to-earth approach keep it.

Go to the VIDEO/PHOTO section (below) to see video from Benfield Elementary's songwriting residency closing concert. Three fourth grade classes sing the songs they composed about cells, Maryland history, and summer vacation.

School Assembly Video below, from Roland Park School, Baltimore:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEVewNAy06w

 

Mo. Co. - one more! - October 25, 2019

WIGGLE YOUR FINGERS

By Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier, WT teaching artist

 

This is a syncopated chant that uses words in rhythm. Every stanza has 16 beats, except the last, which has 8.  Movements are as described in the lyric.

 

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers, (rest, rest)

 

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

 

MOVE your elbows

MOVE your elbows

MOVE your elbows

MOVE your elbows

 

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

 

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

 

 

SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up

SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up

FREEZE!!

Drop your hands.

 

Mo. Co. Preschool - October 24, 2019

Hey, Friends! Here are the Initial Sound and Rhyme strategies I shared today. Hope you find them to be helpful models!

Best regards, Sue

 

INITIAL SOUND AWARENESS

Adaptations by Sue Trainor

 

1) Try using your favorite rap and hip hop rhythms to practice initial letter sounds. Here’s a simple 4-beat count (1 2 3 4). Show visuals of the letter “C”  and the ending sound “at.”

 

C  -  at    (clap clap)

C  -  at    (clap clap)

The word  (clap clap)

Is  ___  (clap clap)

 

C  -  at    (clap clap)

C  -  at    (clap clap)

The word  (clap clap)

Is ___  (clap clap)

 

Change the first first letter and repeat.

 

When the word family changes, offer children the option of changing the movement:

 

D – og (stomp stomp)

D- og (stomp  stomp)

The word (stomp stomp)

Is ____ (stomp stomp)

 

What I would NOT do (though it’s tempting) is to add movement on the first two beats. Young children don’t have the coordination to move and vocalize at the same time (unless they already know the song really well), so adding movement in that moment distracts from the learning objective.

 

 

2) Here’s a more complex rhythm, modeled by the “Pop See Koo” video on YouTube. 

 

CALL                                        RESPONSE

Hey friends                              Uh-huh

Are you ready                         Oh yeah!

 

My hands are high

My feet are low 

“at” words, it’s time to go!

                                                My hands are high

My feet are low 

“at” words, it’s time to go!

 

ALL (show visuals of the letter “C”  and the ending sound “at”)

Think about the Pop See Coo rhythm

 

C – at

C C   C -at

C – at

C C C – cat!

 

As above, repeat the song with a new first letter.  

 

 

RHYMING

 

Here’s a chant for a picture card exercise:

 

Now’s the Time to Make Some Rhyme

By Sue Trainor

 

Chorus:

Now’s the time

To make some rhyme

Now’s the time

To make some rhyme

 

If I say “cat"

That rhymes with ____(“hat") (offer children a visual choice of a rhyme word and a not rhyme word)

If I say “cat"

That rhymes with ___

 

Cat – hat, cat – hat

Now’s the time

To make some rhyme

Now’s the time

To make some rhyme

 

Continue with more examples for children to respond. Large group and/or individual turns.

 

 

 

Rhymes in context

Adaptations by Sue Trainor

 

I have found it helpful to animate nursery rhymes in a multi-sensory experience. For example:

 

 

Humpty Dumpty

I might begin with an imaginary box (as developed by Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist Katherine Lyons). 

            Imaginary Box

1)    First we go into imagination (some sound cue – could be an instrument, could be a sound we make with our mouths). 

 

2)    Model: I’m going to reach behind my back and get (dramatically) my imaginary box. I bet you have one, too!.

 

3)    Chant:

I have a box

            My box has a top

            Let’s peek inside and – STOP! (shut)

 

I have a box

            My box has a top

            Let’s peek inside….  OH!

 

            I see a horse galloping about

            Let’s reach inside and take his voice out  (make horse noises)

            And…  Stop! (shut)

 

            Let’s take out his feet this time.

            Let’s peek inside and take his feet out!

            Make galloping sound (hands on lap)

            Optional: Let’s put the gallop in our feet (in our spots)

            Optional: Let’s gallop in our circle.

            Time to put our horse feet back in our box….. and STOP!

 

            Let’s put our boxes behind our backs and come back from imagination.

            (Sound cue)

 

 

 

4)    Storybox

Storybox is a container with small props that become visuals for story sequence. In this case, I would use visual word cues as well. 

 

One day, the king’s men took those horses out galloping around and can you guess what they found? (Show Humpty Dumpty broken on the ground.) Oh no! 

 

5)    What happened??

 

6)    Recite rhyme with props and rhyme word cues; depending on skill level, offer children choices that include words that rhyme but don’t fit the context, and/or words that don’t rhyme. 

 

 

Making Music with Children Who Have Special Needs - September 28, 2019

Hi, all! Great to see you this morning at NoVA. Thanks for your questions and ideas about making music with young children, especially children who have special needs. As promised, here are the songs and chants I shared. Also, remember that there are a lot of videos, lessons plans and music to download from many Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artists at education.wolftrap.org

Please let me know how these ideas work for you!

Best,

Sue

 

Thumb Piano     

(descending scale) 

Time to sing, time sing

All my friends it’s

(rising scale) time to sing

 

 

Give Me the Beat

Chant by Yvette Holt

 

1.     Set up: Leader taps knees in steady beat.  Everyone taps knees in steady beat.

  1. Leader chants:  

Give me the beat, beat, beat

Give me the beat, beat, beat

Give me the beat, give me the beat

Give me the beat, beat, beat

 

  1. Repeat; everyone joins the chant
  2. Change motion to clapping hands. Everyone chants.

Clap your hands, hands, hands

Clap your hands, hands, hands

Clap your hands, clap your hands

Clap your hands, hands, hands

 

  1. Change motion to tapping the head. Everyone chants.

Touch your head, head, head

Touch your head, head, head

Touch your head, touch your head

Touch your head, head, head

 

6. Use other parts of the body.

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual: Leader’s model, icons of possible choices, leader chair icon (“Bear Chair”), photos of students to choose from in picking next leader

Aural: Chant, leader’s cues and spoken choices (use children’s devices as appropriate)

Movement: Beat movement, change from sitting to standing position, change to bigger movements (jump, twist, punch, stomp), move through space (walk, tiptoe, gallop)

Tactile: Feeling of the beat, teddy bear (to designate the leader), everyone has a doll or a stuffed animal to keep the beat on

Imagination: Pat the baby, rock the baby, bounce the baby, jump the baby

 

 

Slide Whistle

Sequence by Sue Trainor

 

Procedure: 

1.  Leader demonstrates the slide whistle.  

 

2. Everyone pretends to play a slide whistle. Pretend to hold the whistle and imitate the sound of the slide whistle vocally. (Discuss why the slide whistle is an instrument we can’t share.)

 

3. Everyone imitates the sound of the slide whistle and shows the high and low movement with their hands  Play low to high pitch, until everyone makes the connection between the vocal and physical representations. 

 

4.  Play high to low; everyone imitates the sound vocally and shows the movement of the sound with their hands. 

 

5. Play a sound; ask children if it is low or high. Ask them to show you with their hands and sing the answer in their voices. Repeat, alternating high and low.

 

6. Follow the sound with other parts of the body (not vocally). Elbows, head, feet, whole body, etc. Stop moving when the sound stops. Move quickly when the pitch changes quickly and slowly when the pitch changes slowly.

 

How can we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual: We see the manipulation of the whistle, we see how others move.  Other visuals. Leader should model the movements at first, but then stop so children have to move from listening and not from watching. Take a video of children so they can see themselves moving. Move in front of a mirror. Play with mirror movement: children face each other and move together to the whistle sound.

Aural: The sound of the slide whistle (or our voices) is the focus. NOTE: if children have sound sensitivity, this strategy should be used with a mellower, metal whistle rather than a plastic one.

Movement: Move to the sound of the whistle. Use a variety of body parts: hand, elbow, head, shoulder, knee, foot, whole body. Use the whistle to walk through general space: toot the whistle in steady beat as children take one step for each toot. If the pitch changes, children crouch as they walk or walk taller.

Tactile: Move an object to the sound of the whistle.

Imagination: Use slide whistle as accompaniment to movement in a role play.

 

 

 

Here’s What I Learned Chant 

By Sue Trainor

Here’s what I learned, oh yeah

Here’s what I learned, oh yeah

Here’s what I learned in our lesson today

Here’s what I learned, oh yeah

Here’s what I learned, oh yeah

Here’s what I learned in our lesson today

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Aural: Chant

Visual: Leader motions, icons for lesson concepts or segments

Movement: Create movements to go with it. I roll my arms and tap my knees

Tactile: Feel of the beat

Imagination: Recall of what we’ve done

 

 

 

 

Shake Those Eggs (streamers)

By Val Carroll

  1. Transition: Hand one egg to each child, singing a transition song such as (to “Skip to My Lou”) – “Here’s an egg for you and you, here’s an egg for you and you….”

 

  1. Slowly sing the song and model the motions described. Give children time to imitate.  Note the “C*” means C above middle C.

 

G          G          E     E      G       G         C*

Shake those eggs and shake them high

 

 F          F         F         F     A       G        D

Shake those eggs and shake them low

 

G          G          E     E      G       G        C*

Shake those eggs and shake them high

 

D            F     E            D    C        E   C    

Round and round and round we go

 

(same melody)

Shake and shake and shake and stop (3x) 

Then we’ll shake and shake some more

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual: We see the leader’s model, we could use a song icon

Aural: The song, the sound of the shakers or blocks 

Movement: Moving with the shakers (blocks, streamers, scarves). We could add other movements and spatial directions. (also, see tactile)

Tactile: The feeling of the shaker and the sensation of the movement inside the shaker. Could substitute other instruments (tap that drum or blocks and tap it fast, tap that drum and tap it slow….) or things like scarves.

Imagination: Could be adapted into storytelling. We could be retelling “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” for example:

Giraffes in the circle now, dance up high

Giraffes in the circle now, dance down low

Giraffes in the circle now, dance up high

Now round and round and round you go

Dance and dance and dance and stop (3x)

Then the giraffes can sit back down.

 

Walk Around the Table

 

 C          C    D    E       G       D      G        E   C

Walk around the table, table table

C            C   D   E       G

Walk around the table

D          D      G    C

Pick up something ____ (color)

 

Use the same melody to give other directions. 

“Pick up 3 leaves”

“Pick up something smooth”

 

 

Use imagination to visit a habitat:

Walk through the forest…. Point to the ____

Tiptoe

Jump

 

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual: Show pictures, props

Aural:  song, animal noises

Movement: walk around the room; move in different ways

Tactile: Use props, costumes, bags or baskets, “binoculars”

Imagination:  Imagine that we’re going to a habitat; imagine that some children are (in the role of) trees, animals, etc.

 

Adaptation: This song can be adapted for any purpose involving moving through general space.

-Walking through the park, the hallway, to the bathroom, etc.

-Swimming through the ocean

-Exploring in the forest / walking to our seats

 

Funky Duck Chant

By Sue Trainor

 

I’m Funky Duck, hey hey

I’m Funky Duck, hey hey

I want to know 

Can you find my ___ today

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual:  Puppet duck (or other animal) to which Velcro will stick. The puppet is the visual to draw children’s attention to learning content, such as colors, shapes, letters. numbers, etc.

Aural:  the chant

Movement: Because children are being asked to focus on an object, movement is not part of this strategy, aside from the puppet moving from child to child.

Tactile: the child is asked to take a picture or shape from the duck and replace it.

Imagination: when children have learned the strategy, they can take the role of Funky Duck and take leadership with the puppet. 

 

 

 

I HAVE A BOX

Adapted from Katherine Lyons’ version

 

Dramatically, chant:

 

I have a box

The box has a top

Let’s oooooopen it    (open the box slowly and dramatically, pitch rising on “ooopen”

And STOP! (loudly close the box)

 

I have a box

The box has a top

Let’s oooooopen it 

And see what we’ve got

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual:  The box is dramatic visual play, based on what we can see and what we can’t. Notice that the presenter’s visual expression and expressive gesture are also part of this visual.

Aural:  the chant, the rising pitch corresponding with opening, excited tone of voice, the box may be shaken to see what the object sounds like.

Movement: Because children are being asked to focus on an object, children’s movement is not part of this strategy, although they may imitate the box gestures.

Tactile: The box may be passed around the circle so children can have a sense of its weight. A child may be asked to help open the box once the sequence is familiar. There may be objects inside for everyone to touch.

Imagination: Children may be  asked to predict what’s in the box. We may use imagination in connection with what comes out of the box.

 

 

 Hello Toes, How Do You Do?

Collected from Mary Gresock

Objectives:        Singing Voice

                                    Matching Pitch

                                    Creative movement

                                    Identify Body parts, clothing, other things

 

 

Procedure:

 

1. Set up the starting pitch and beat with a cue phrase like “Let’s all sing”

 

2. Sing the song. Children will join as they learn it.

 

G  G    E       G        G    G    E

Hello toes, how do you do?  (tap toes)

 

G      G     E        A    A     G     E    C

I’m just fine and I’m dancing, too  (wiggle toes and sing in a character voice)

 

G     G     G      E

Ah doo doo doo  (make the toes dance and keep singing in character voice through the rest of the song)

 

G     G     E

Doo doo doo

 

G       G      E      A   A    G     E      C

Doo doo doo do-do doo doo doo

 

Model the first few times, then invite children to choose.

Hello knees…

Hello tummy….

Hello hands….

Hello tummy…..

Hello head….

 

Extension: 

  • Substitute clothing (Hello shoes, socks, pants, etc.)
  • Greet friends, puppets or animal props. How do they move?
  • Substitute people’s names (Hello Lee… and Lee gets to answer and lead a dance motion.)

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual:  Visual model, or the puppet or the person to be focused on

Aural:  the song

Movement:  Dancing movements

Tactile:  tapping body parts

Imagination: Wbat should we do next?

 

 

CAN YOU SIT ON YOUR SPOT?

By Sue Trainor

1.  Everyone is sitting on a designated spot. Leader calls; children respond.

Call: Can you sit on your spot ?   Response: Yes I can!

Call: Can you sit on your spot ?   Response: Yes I can!

Call: What are you doing?          Response: Sitting on the spot

Call: What are you doing?          Response: Sitting on the spot

 

Call: Can you clap on your spot ?   Response: Yes I can!  (clap in steady beat)

Call: Can you clap on your spot ?   Response: Yes I can!  (clap in steady beat)

Call: What are you doing?          Response: Clapping on the spot

Call: What are you doing?          Response: Clapping on the spot

 

2. Try another sitting motion or two. If everyone is holding their spot, try standing.

Call: Can you stand on your spot ?   Response: Yes I can!  (etc.)

 

3.  Call: Can you jump on your spot?   Response: Yes I can!  (etc.)

4. Ask for children’s suggestions for movement and substitute those actions into the chant.

5. End with:  Call: “Can You Sit on Your Spot”   Response: Yes I can!  (etc.)

 

How could we adapt this to use senses more?

Visual: Leader’s model, could use picture icons as appropriate for leader to choose the next movement. Another visual component of this is judging one’s own self-space. Can I see that I am in my place?

Aural: Chant.

Movement: Movement in self-space as described. Movement also can be extended to other positional concepts – stand in front, beside, behind, next to, under… Spots could be self-space in the context of a larger game  – like musical chairs

Tactile: Can use spots with a prop or stuffed animal. Is the monkey on the spot? Clean-up – I often ask children to put the spot on some part of their body (head, shoulder, elbow…) and pick up the spots from there.

Imagination: Spots could be self-space in a storytelling sequence; for example, as the character’s “house” or safe space.

 

 

Passing Game

Tune “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer On the Wall” – oh my!

Collected from special needs school

 

Objectives:

Following directions, taking turns, wait time, letting go – plus whatever is involved in manipulating the object

 

All sit in a circle. Sing:

 

Juan has a (ball, hat… whatever prop you want to pass)

What do you think about that?

Juan takes  the (or does something) (object)

And passes it to ____

 

 

Visual: The object; watching other children with the object.

Aural: Song

Movement: As described in the lyric directions

Tactile: Whatever the object is

Imagination: What can we do with the object?

 

 

 Who’s a Good Watcher

 by Mary Gresock, extension by Sue Trainor

 

Objectives:        Steady Beat

                        Visual discrimination / Imitation

                        Recognizing body parts

                        Prediction

 

 

Procedure:

1. Leader taps her head in steady beat and chants:

 

Who’s a good watcher, watcher, watcher

Who’s a good watcher, show me now

Ooops!

 

2. On “oops,” change the body part that’s being tapped – to shoulders, for example. (The strategy is more fun if “oops” is fast - NOT said in steady beat.)

3.  After several repetitions, the children should be able to join the chant and predict when the change will take place, but not necessarily predict what the new motion will be. 

 

Extension: 

  • First, begin tapping a body part (often head or shoulders), clearly keeping steady beat with a slow tempo and a big motion. Then, begin the chant. On “oops,” throw the lead to another person. That person ‘catches’ the throw and puts the beat on a new body part. On “oops” that person passes to someone new.  

 

WIGGLE YOUR FINGERS

By Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier, WT teaching artist

 

This is a syncopated chant that uses words in rhythm. Every stanza has 16 beats, except the last, which has 8.  Movements are as described in the lyric. 

 

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers (rest, rest)

Wiggle your FINgers, (rest, rest)

 

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

Shake your wrists, just like this

 

MOVE your elbows 

MOVE your elbows

MOVE your elbows 

MOVE your elbows

 

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

Pop your SHOULders, HUNH  (rest)

 

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

HANDS in the air – SHAKE ‘em up

 

 

SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up

SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up, SHAKE ‘em up

FREEZE!!

Drop your hands.

 

 

 

 

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