Learning Number Through Songs

Learning number through songs is a fantastic opportunity to engage students. Number songs are a great buy in for our kids. I love using music and singing in the classroom. Do you cringe at the thought of singing? A Special Ed class is no place for worrying about whether you can sing or not. The kids don’t judge (most of the time). Sing loud and proud I say. Pitch comes second to enthusiasm and fun.

Using familiar tunes to learn number through songs, helps us as teachers because we don’t need music. It allows for predictability for staff and students. This of course supports all students but particularly those with Autism. My support assistants join right in at the drop of a hat now because they know the tune if not the words.

Why make up songs?

Yes there are some great songs available on line. The beauty of making up your own number songs is that you can make the content age appropriate. My students are mostly 8 turning 9 so singing the ‘Five Little Ducks Song’ (although very popular) is no longer really appropriate. What if we turned that tune into one about Five Racing Cars or motorbikes. Suddenly it becomes more acceptable.

Emergent number songs -  picture of racing car and racing bike.
Emergent number song – cars and motor bikes

Five racing cars went round the track one day. Zooming down the straight and around the hay. The people said ‘Go’ ‘Go’ Go’ but one of the cars was too slow. How many cars are left? Lets count 1,2,3,4. Four racing cars … Or something like that – you get the idea. Use your current theme or individualise for the students favourite topic of the moment.

Need number songs that are more visually strong?

Want to add a bit more buy in? Add a ‘You Tube’ number song clip, or one from the wonderful people at ‘Help Kids Learn’. 5 Rock Stars is a current favourite. I have bought the app and we play it via the iPad on the IWB. Pause throughout and use your visuals to teach the content. All the songs on the website or the apps are switch adaptable.

You can read how I engage the kids for 5 Rock Stars here. You can purchase my song resources and book adaptation of the song here.

One Song, Multiple Goals

If you have a group like mine you will be addressing multiple goals in one group. I may play one song but we will be rote counting up or back from 5 or 10, identifying numbers, and for one student adding or subtracting 1 within 10.

You tube clips too distracting? Just put a song on an iPod and use the visuals. Put the song on pause at the appropriate place as above.

Social Skill Goals

So many kids enjoy number songs that we use them to teach lots of other skills such as turn taking, accepting and joining in when someone chooses a song that is not the students favourite and, of course core communication.

Learning number through songs, is fun! Not only for the students but for the adults too. Watch this space as I will be developing a lot of songs and books to accompany them. In the mean time here are some cars and motorbikes to get you started. Real photos for the older students and some cartoon style for younger students. Download here.

Remember: sing loud and proud. Your students will thank you for it.

Aroha, Ann

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