We have a great guest post today! Michelle Lazar, an Autism Specialist and Music Therapist, shares some completely adorable and academic Halloween activities. I love how each song focuses on a different academic skill and can be adapted to make more challenging or easy depending on the level of your students. Music can be so powerful and beneficial for our students. It’s a great way to get students engaged, active, and learning!
Can’t carry a tune? These Halloween learning rhymes written by Michelle Lazar, MA, MT-BC can be chanted to a beat.
New research is emerging about the use of rhythm to help individuals with autism regulate their motor responses and speech. (Check out “Rhythm, Movement and Autism”) and preliminary studies on Auditory-Motor Mapping Training.
Ever notice your foot automatically tapping along to the beat of song you hear? That’s because rhythm affects our motor systems on a subconscious level. Using the timing and pacing of rhythm, music therapy can regulate the pacing of speech, assists those with Parkinson’s or recovering from a stroke to walk again, and increases relaxation by slowing down the heart rate. Rhythm also helps to organize information, making it easier to recall. When we sing the “ABC Song” from memory, we recall not only the melody of the song but the rhythm pattern. If you take away the melody from the song, it’s still easy to chant, but much more difficult without the rhythm!
Using rhythm and learning, Michelle created these four simple Halloween chants and songs ideal for preschool and elementary-aged children with autism and other special needs. Each activity targets specific goals such as speech production, pretend play, skip counting, and prepositions.
For a Printable PDF version of Halloween Learning Rhymes click here.
Ghosts, Ghosts, Ghosts
LEARNING GOAL: Prepositions
Ghosts fly up and ghosts fly down.
Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts all through this town!
Some go left and some go right.
Some float over the clouds all night.
A few even hide right under my chair
But I don’t mind, I’ll give them a scare. BOO!
[use shakers or ghost toys/cut-outs to mimic movements]
Haunted House Hooray
LEARNING GOAL: Skip counting
2, 4, 6, 8 I hear some rattling at the gate!
3, 6, 9, 12 I see creepy crawlies on the shelves.
4, 8, 12, 16 I see some slime that’s glowing green!
5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 I heard a noise let’s get out of here QUICKLY!
[create movements for each line]
LEARNING GOAL: Attributes/ Descriptors/ Pretend Play
Shakin’ up my goodie bag. Mixin’ up my treats.
I’ll listen to my teacher to find out what to eat.
[ADULT SAYS:] “Find something that’s ______” (red, striped, round, squishy, etc)
[Put a variety of food/candy flash cards in a bag to encourage pretend play.
Adult shakes bag with child and holds bag while child chooses correct card.
Role model responses such as ‘Yum!’ “Ewww”, “Wow”, “Yuck!”]
LEARNING GOAL: Speech Production
Halloween is coming soon… Jeepers, creepers, BOO!
And on that day the BLACK CATS play,
Jeepers, creepers, BOO!
With a MEOW, MEOW here and MEOW, MEOW there.
Here a MEOW, there a MEOW, everywhere a MEOW, MEOW.
Halloween is coming soon.. Jeepers, creepers, BOO!
[leave out last word in each phrase and wait for the student
to attempt a sound or a movement (such as hands to cheeks
for “BOO!”) before continuing. Add new Halloween vocabulary
with sounds effects to each verse. This can be sung to
the tune of Old MacDonald]
If you’re looking for songs that teach communication, social skills, behavior, and more you can also check out the downloads, Books, and CDs at www.tunedintolearning.com/store.
Michelle Lazar, MA, MT-BC is an Autism Specialist and Board Certified Music Therapist and founder of San Diego-based Coast Music Therapy and Tuned in to Learning. Michelle’s specialization is capitalizing on the strengths students with autism have for music and using it as a tool to improve learning and communication.