Tag Archives: Super Supplementals

Super Supplemental: Piano Practice Chart

30 Sep

Let’s face it—it can be frustrating when our students don’t practice. We want our students to be successful in learning and growing their musical skills, but that can be hard to do if the only time they’re working on those skills is one time a week during their lessons. Doh! For students with additional challenges, practicing can be even more difficult to conquer. I always make a big point of working with each my students to teach them not only what to practice, but how to practice. I’ve started making practice charts for each of my students, and it has made a world of a difference!

Each chart has two standard parts: a place to list assignments/songs to work on, then the log portion (aka THE FUN PART!). Each time a student practices during the week, they color in one picture. It’s up to your discretion as a teacher to figure out how many times you want your students to practice during the week and for how long. I often start small and then gradually increase the amount of practice each month to phase in the concept of practicing regularly.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe great thing about creating your own practice chart is that you can personalize it for each student in a jiffy. I guarantee that your piano students are going to be WAY more likely to practice if something they love is on their chart—legos, cars, animals, Disney characters…anything works, as long as it’s motivating. One of my kiddos loves Frozen, so BAM! Each week, she gets to color in pictures of her favorite Frozen characters. If she practices 5 times during the week and colors all of her cute little pictures in, she gets a big version to color as a reward. 🙂

Enjoy this {FREE} download of my piano practice chart (which works great for older kids), or simply use it as inspiration to make your own! What are your must-have tools for your piano students when it comes to practicing?

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Super Supplemental: Football Movement Cube

28 Jan

photo-45It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, so you know what that means…time to share a festive activity idea! I have a beloved set of chalkboard paint dice that I’ve used many times for movement, instrument playing and songwriting activities (My favorite: writing emotions on one cube and instruments on another). I love being able to quickly adapt or re-purpose the dice as needed during a session, and knew that I wanted to use them for a Super Bowl-themed movement activity this week. However, my cute chalkboard dice don’t work as successfully for clients who require extra visual support to complete tasks. A few google image searches later, my handy dandy football movement cube was born.

P1020598Goal Areas: Increasing flexibility in unpredictable situations, motor skills, following directions, socialization


  • 1 Empty Tissue Box
  • 6 Movement Directions/Styles
  • 6 Printed Photos
  • Glue
  • Tape (for durability, if desired)

Making this was simple and only took about 10 minutes. Hooray for time management! You’ll first need to decide on six football-themed movements to put on the cube, such as:

  1. Cheer
  2. Touchdown Signal (Both arms up in the air)
  3. Touchdown Dance
  4. Victory Pose
  5. High Five Teammate
  6. Jump

Find some pictures that correspond with each movement you select, print them out and glue them to the cube. I prefer to use real pictures whenever possible, and found some snazzy shots of NFL players to make my cube extra cool. I also put clear mailing tape over each picture.

P1020599I pair this activity with some stadium jams like “Get Ready for This” (2Unlimited), “Let’s Get It Started” (Black Eyed Peas) and “The Power” (Snap!).

Each student has a turn to come up to the front of the class, roll the cube and perform the movement they roll. I also like to distribute pom-poms and signs to students sitting in their seats so that they can cheer on their peers. The superstar student rolling the movement cube gets to hold a football (if you have one).

TRY THIS AT HOME: Keep the kids engaged during your Super Bowl party this weekend. Each time a team scores, roll the dice and take turns getting some energy out! You can even work together to decide what movements will go on your cube before the big game.

What’s your favorite football activity to use this time of year?

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Super Supplemental: Mystery Box

15 Dec

This week, I’d like to share one of my favorite supplemental aids to use in sessions: my mystery box! It cost less than $4 to make and is something I have been able to re-purpose for many different populations and uses.


  • Scrapbook or Memory Box: $2 at AC Moore (Or a shoebox…which is also free!)
  • Stickers: $1.50 (I like using raised or foam stickers because they can provide an additional sensory experience for clients.)

Slap some stickers on your box and then you’re ready to go. Bonus points for making it look mysterious!

4 ways I’ve used my mystery box:

1. “Pass the Box” game.

Many of my clients benefit from practicing important skills like waiting, taking turns and following directions before Christmas arrives! This is a good way to prepare clients for what they might experience on Christmas morning (waiting while siblings open gifts, following directions from Mom and Dad, opening up a box with something unknown inside, etc). I have a simple “Pass the Box” song that I sing while I have clients pass it around the circle. They are only allowed to open the box and take something out when the music stops and they are the one holding it! I usually put different instruments (if they’re small enough) or instrument icons inside. Once everyone has an instrument, we have a jam session together!

Here’s a FREE DOWNLOAD (!!) of some of my instrument icons.

2.  Transitions.

The mystery box can be a great way to help clients transition from one activity to the next. This works especially well for clients with ASD who already use picture or object schedules for transitions throughout the school day! You can put an item in the box that represents the next activity (picture, instrument, scarf, etc) and have the client open it before the activity starts. You could also work on increasing client flexibility by putting one item for each activity in the box. Have clients reach in and select one item to determine what the next activity will be.

3.  Songwriting.

Put items such as stuffed animals, pictures, or key words/phrases inside the box. Use these items to create a short story or poem as a group, then orchestrate the story with sound effects or musical accompaniment. You could also have clients each write a word or phrase centered around a topic or question (i.e., What would you like to say to _____? How do you feel when _____?) and put their thoughts inside the mystery box anonymously.  Use these phrases to write an original song together.

4. Song title guessing game.

Find items to represent songs that you’ve done together as a group or pop songs on the radio (awesome for adolescents!). Have clients select items from the box and work together to try to guess the song title. Once the song title is guessed, sing or play it together. I especially like using this activity for older adults with dementia, because it can be a great opportunity for reminiscence. Select concrete visuals to put inside (i.e. Plastic yellow rose for “Yellow Rose of Texas”) and pair with extra clues (“There’s a state in the title!”) or write lines for each word in the song title on a large pad of paper (_____   _____   ____   _____). I’ve also found that this is a great termination activity and can spark a nice discussion about what your clients liked (or didn’t like!) about each activity.

Do you have a favorite supplemental that you find yourself using again and again? I’d love to hear about it!

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