Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Just Add Music

Flanna's favorite artist right now--Lorde from New Zealand
Last Friday, I walked into a fourth grade classroom to pick up a student for speech therapy, and guess what?  The student did not want to come to speech.  Not even with temptations of all the fun we would have.  Not even with the mention of all the games we might play.  Not even with the possibility of earning iPad time.  Not even with his teacher threatening him with losing recess if he wouldn't go.  (I promise I wouldn't have let that happen!) He did not want to come to speech.  He did not want to, Sam I am. 

Somehow, magically, I coerced him into just walking with me for a few minutes in the hallway.  I used my handy dandy emotions thermometer (see below) and had him tell me how he was feeling.  Turns out he was "tired", he grumbled.  His morning had been rough.  He just wanted to go to sleep.

Well, I have a soft place in my heart for kids who like to sleep.  I myself wish sleep was a recognized hobby or competitive sport, because I would get the gold medal.

But back to my story.

TJ's Emotions & Energy Thermometer:
Print it, laminate it, and let kids use a dry erase
board to "check in" about their emotions/energy level.
If too high, help them use a self-calming strategy.
If too low, help them use an energizing strategy.
(Calm/relaxed is ideal.) 
On the back of my handy dandy emotions thermometer, I showed this fourth grader some ideas for how to "energize" himself a bit so that he could move his thermometer from "tired" up to "calm," so that he could get in gear for learning.  There are all kinds of energizing options like, "jump up and down, listen to music, go get some water, stretch," etc.  This kiddo picked "listen to music."  Luckily, I have iTunes radio on my cell phone.  My client requested his favorite song, which miraculously I found within a few seconds.  

The transformation was instant.  His face brightened.  He smiled and danced a little in his seat.  He sat up straight.  He completed his speech work without needing a single redirection.  What had been an exhausted, defiant, upset fourth grade boy, became Mr. Cooperative Student of the Year, just like that.

So, you've got a cranky kiddo?  Just add music.  You've got a grumbly 4th grader?  Just add music.  And hey, if you yourself are feeling overwhelmed and tired and heading home from work to pick up your child from childcare and trying to remember if you defrosted the chicken last night and feeling guilty that there is no way you're going to the PTA meeting tonight…well, maybe, just maybe, you can Just Add Music.   And let the moment be transformed.

What about you?  Do you find that adding music to your day makes it better?  And what's your favorite music right now?  


  1. With my mentee, Alana, I've been listening to pop music a lot. And now I've heard this one is crazy popular on YouTube......

    I want to make an adapted book to go with it!
    Thanks for the post, and I hope you do more soon. You're a great writer!

  2. Oh my gosh, yes! An adapted book would be great with this! That is the best video ever. Some of my colleagues did a version of this for our staff talent show, and I had never seen it then. Too funny!

  3. Music sure makes a long trip feel shorter!