what to play for special needs kids

ricky sp8

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Hey everyone my wife and I will be playing for our granddaughters special needs class next week. She and her classmates are of high school age or older. We need to play about 7/8 tunes. We mostly play Americana type songs our usual being of the killing,drinking or cheating type. Not sure that would be appropriate for this show. We don't want to play anything too childish for them but a two piece bass and ukulele/guitar/mandolin band should really stay away from pink and Marya Carrey if at all possible I think. Any suggestions would be appreciated so far we're going with sixteen tons and johnny cash big river maybe.Thanks Ricky
 

VegasGeorge

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I would think participation songs, clapping, foot stomping, etc. would go over pretty good. You could fine a lot of good stuff in camping sing-a-long books. But anything I could suggest would be ancient, so you'd do better listening to other, younger members for actual song titles.
 

PereBourik

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Don't sell those kids too short. My 18 year old son with Down syndrome is watching "Divergent" right now in the other room.

Participation songs are pretty good. "Waltzing Matilda" gives you a chance to talk about Australia and odd animals. They can join in the chorus; or "...down came the troopers, ONE, TWO, THREE."

I was surprised to find he knew the chorus to "Wabash Cannonball" the other night. There are lots of folk songs that don't have killin' & cheatin' in 'em.
 

IamNoMan

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Sabantien

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Home Amongst the Gum Trees is another great one for Australia, and you can add as many choruses as you like with different animals.

I'd even look at some of the more contemporary songs. Lorde's Royals is pretty popular on the uke. Can you have a chat to the teacher about what they're into?
 

Jim Hanks

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. Can you have a chat to the teacher about what they're into?
This. Every special needs class is different so if you can find out what mental level they are on, that might help. Also if they might respond better to slower/peaceful or faster/energetic songs.
 

Yukon Cornelius

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Hey everyone my wife and I will be playing for our granddaughters special needs class next week. She and her classmates are of high school age or older. We need to play about 7/8 tunes. We mostly play Americana type songs our usual being of the killing,drinking or cheating type. Not sure that would be appropriate for this show. We don't want to play anything too childish for them but a two piece bass and ukulele/guitar/mandolin band should really stay away from pink and Marya Carrey if at all possible I think. Any suggestions would be appreciated so far we're going with sixteen tons and johnny cash big river maybe.Thanks Ricky
Special needs is a large spectrum. Are we talking cognitive impaired? Autism? CP? EBD? LD? The list can go on an on. Talk with the teacher. Better yet go hang out one day to see what the vibe is like. Have uou talked with your daughter about likes in the class?
 

ScooterD35

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This Land Is Your Land, Here Comes The Sun, Octopuss's Garden, Ripple, You Are My Sunshine, Keep On The Sunny Side... Keep it light-hearted and happy with easy choruses. (I have a 10 year old with CHARGE Syndrome.)


Scooter
 

Peterjens

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Special needs is a large spectrum. Are we talking cognitive impaired? Autism? CP? EBD? LD? The list can go on an on. Talk with the teacher. Better yet go hang out one day to see what the vibe is like. Have you talked with your daughter about likes in the class?
This ^^^. My special needs nephew is an Elvis fan.
 

itsme

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This Land Is Your Land, Here Comes The Sun, Octopuss's Garden, Ripple, You Are My Sunshine, Keep On The Sunny Side... Keep it light-hearted and happy with easy choruses.
I was just going to suggest This Land Is Your Land. :)

If you have one of the Daily books, they have a lot of good stuff to draw from.
 

Jim Yates

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I do Boodle-Am-Shake and Carl Martin's Barnyard Dance with kids. You Can Plant A Watermelon Up Above My Grave/ The Watermelon Song is a great one for participation. Hop Along Peter is one I've had great success with with kids of all ages (and some adults).

Old Joe Clark works well with kids. Parents don't always appreciate these verses, but kids seem to love 'em.

I went down to Old Joe's house.
He invited me to supper.
I stubbed my toe on the table leg
And stuck my nose in he butter
.


or better yet:

Don't go down to Old Joe's house,
Tell you the reason why.
He blows his nose on old corn bread
And calls it pumkin pie
.
 

TheCraftedCow

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As one who has been a special ed teacher for 17 years, I am in awe of the suggestions you have been given. The Hokey Pokey gives motoric involvement, if they are able to do it. There are also the segments of Special Ed which are Pre Jail or I Just Am a Misfit in a Regular Class. By all means, please go observe beforehand. You might even ask what they would like to hear and/or sing along.

We have a bluegrass jam every Friday night out in a semi remote area. There are group homes which bring their clients to hear us. Some of them even come forward and sing while we accompany them. One young fellow was taught to play piano when he was younger by our daughter. He is BLIND as well as" developmentally
disabled?" At a keyboard, he is exceptional. PLEASE_PLEASE_PLEASE_ keep your
evident desire to focus on what they CAN do, rather than upon what the CANNOT do. May God bless your first efforts.....it probably will not be your last.

Another please----keep us posted about this.
 

Ukejenny

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A talk with the teacher should give you a good idea as to what to play for them, how much they can participate, and what will make it fun. I say play from different genres and styles if you can - mix it up and make it fun. How wonderful that you are going to be playing in a classroom! I have done it twice and I hope to get to do it again. I really enjoy it and playing for kids is great. Many of them come away with a totally different idea as to what the ukulele can do, if they have any idea about ukulele at all.
 

spongeuke

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I'm a retired special ed instructor. My suggestions to go to a "client" Dance and see what they like. I was always impressed that there were no wall flowers at the ones I went to from the first set to the last.
 

Yukon Cornelius

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I'd like to share a SPED story.

I've been an inclusion teacher 5 of the 8 years I have taught. I have had students with learning disabilities in my classroom ranging from ADHD all the way to extreme austism spectrum. Every year while in the lower 48 I had the privilege of hosting the EBD kids as well. Needless to say, I have always enjoyed my SPED experiences.

Anyways, one year I was displaced by budget cuts and I was sent to a school with a very large SPED population. This school had two EBD classrooms, two autism classroom and each grade level had two inclusion classrooms. All in elementary school. I had a reputation of being the ukulele playing, bearded, harley riding teacher. I developed a relationship with the SPED children b/c I accepted them all in my classroom. Inclusion is the wave of the future of SPED and I embraced it. Anyways, I had a child that was enrolled in the autism/CI classroom. He was at a point that his parents and teachers wanted to include him in regular education. I was the only grade level teacher for him that was on board, so he came to my room for an hour a day. One day I decided to surprise him and come to his regular classroom with my uke and play some songs while the rest of my class was at specials.

I was excited. I had my songs picked out and one of my nice tenors with me. I strolled on down the hall and walked into his class. I was mauled. I didn't see it coming. I was strumming the uke and the kids all looked up with a smile. One child was smiling more than the others. I thought he wanted to play the uke...My beard set him off. Something that simple. My beard.

We all got a good laugh about it and eventually I was able to visit weekly for about 5 minutes or one song. Just wanted to share.
 

Jim Yates

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A few years back, my friend Ted and I played for a Big Brothers/Sisters Christmas party. They had been told before we arrived that there would be a special visitor coming from the North Pole later that evening. When I walked in wearing a red sweater and sporting a white beard, the whole room broke out into enthusiastic applause. I thought, "Wow! I haven't even played a note and already I'm getting a standing ovation."
After about 30 seconds, everyone became very quiet and looked very embarrassed when they realised that I wasn't Santa.
SantaJim.jpg
 

ricky sp8

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Thanks everone for all the great responses i'm blown away by how many and how quick everyone came to my aid. We have since talked to the teacher it is a public school and most all of the speical needs students are grouped together from ages 14 to 21. Some like our granddaughter are on a diploma course and some a certificate of compleation. We are going with sing a longs for the most part and a couple of funnys thrown in. Jim Yates we listened to You Can Plant A Watermelon Up Above My Grave.Thats a good one
Thanks Agian friends,
Rickysp8;)
 

Yukon Cornelius

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Thanks everone for all the great responses i'm blown away by how many and how quick everyone came to my aid. We have since talked to the teacher it is a public school and most all of the speical needs students are grouped together from ages 14 to 21. Some like our granddaughter are on a diploma course and some a certificate of compleation. We are going with sing a longs for the most part and a couple of funnys thrown in. Jim Yates we listened to You Can Plant A Watermelon Up Above My Grave.Thats a good one
Thanks Agian friends,
Rickysp8;)

That is unusual. hmmmm...

I am currently working on a research project with SPED. Would you so kindly ask the teacher if she'd be willing to answer some questions for me for my research?