“Old McDonald” has been a favorite of Noah’s for a while now. It’s a great song for putting to PECs, because it’s a predictable song that allows for filling in the blanks. So if you’re working on animal recognition, animal sounds, letter recognition or working memory, this is the board for you!!!
The working memory component deserves a little explanation. An important part of learning is short-term memory, and this is often weak in children with Down syndrome and other learning challenges. In “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” working memory is the mechanism by which when a child gets to “With a ________ _________ here and a ___________ _____________ there,” he remembers that it was a cow he was singing about so “moo” goes in the blanks. Using the PEC board provides a visual prompt to cue that working memory as to which animal sound belongs in the blank.
Preparation: Print and laminate one set of the above printables. Leave the first two pages intact and attach hook Velcro dots to the center of the box labeled ? and the boxes labeled “with a . . ., and a . . . , here a . . . ” Cut out the animal and animal sound cards. Attach loop Velcro dots to the center of the backs of those cards.How to Use:
- Place the boards in front of your child. Off to the side but still accessible, place the cards in sets of four, the animal along with the animal sounds that correspond with it.
- Sing “Old McDonald” with your child.
- Anytime you get to “EIEIO,” point to and have your child point to the correct letter boxes on the board. Provide hand-over-hand assistance if necessary.
- When you get to “And on his farm he had a _________,” allow your child to choose an animal card. Best case scenario would be for you to just stop singing when you get to this point, look at your child quizzically, and allow him to sign or say the animal. At this point, direct him to the appropriate card set, and allow him to put the animal card in the proper position on the board. Prompt as necessary.
- When you get to the squares that require the animal sound, have your child put the animal sound in the box (hand him the correct card), and point to the words as you sing them.
- Repeat for as many animals as you desire.
If I left out any of your favorite animals, or if you add other silly words in, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add cards for them.