Friday, October 19, 2012

Appy-Picking Month: Weekend Music

Do you use music in your therapy? Especially as kids get older, music can provide a great conversation starter and really be part of kids' identity, making it a good context for an activity with a social-pragmatics or other group. Having kids introduce a song can be a great motivating guessing game (who liked it?) or fit into a discussion, analysis of a song (for story structure, vocabulary, etc) or "people file" activity (what aspects of the song go with the person?).

You can of course download songs using your iTunes app, but this becomes very quickly.  Two free apps, Pandora and Slacker (both for iPhone or iPad) allow you to create stations by genre (another good language piece, the category of genre) or artist.  With your free account, you cannot look up or play a specific song, but it will play related songs, and maybe eventually that song (you have a limited number of skips).

I will also mention Songza, also free, but BE REALLY CAREFUL.  The great thing about Songza is that you can play music for different times of day and activities/sensory needs (e.g. songs for "An Energy Boost"), but in the evening/late night categories these activities get "interesting."  It is worth checking out but I would not allow young kids to control or even perhaps see/know what the app is.

I myself am a huge fan of Spotify, and find it worth the $9.99/month fee for my own personal use.  Spotify is like Star Trek to me: "Computer, play [insert just about ANY song here]."  And it happens.  So if you are a music fan, it is worth looking into, and then bringing into a therapy session.  Spotify has wonderful iPhone and iPad apps, and also allows you to create playlists, which would be another great group cooperative activity for older students.

Spotify for iPad

Note that all these apps are rated 12+, which can be a reminder to let kids use them only with supervision and a degree of control. I should also add that if you feel you know little about today's music, this is probably an activity to avoid as you won't be able to screen very well. :-)

Common Core Connection:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1c Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.

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