Adapting First Steps & Conversational Solfege For Exceptional Learners

Rachel Grimsby & Leslie Weaver

First Steps and Conversational Solfege will be discussed through the lens of the special needs student. Participants will experience a First Steps lesson with the presenters, will have the opportunity to experience assistive technology, and see video of exceptional students in action.

1.) Participants will gain a better understanding of learning needs of students with Autism, visual impairments, physical impairments, SLI and Down Syndrome. 2.) Participants will gain a better understanding of how to make accommodations and/or modifications to the FS curriculum for exceptional learners. 3.) Participants will gain a better understanding of how to make accommodations and/or modification so the CS curriculum for exceptional learners. 4.) Participants will leave with a sense of self-efficacy in the ability to reach out and communicate with their special education staff

Rachel Grimsby

Rachel Grimsby has 15 years experience in elementary general and choral music education. She holds a B.M.Ed from East Carolina University, and a M.M.Ed from The University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music. She has obtained certification in all Kodály and Orff levels. Rachel is a teacher trainer for FAME, holding certifications in First Steps and Conversational Solfege Levels One and Two. Rachel is a frequent clinician at the local, state and national levels. Rachel is a member of the National Association for Music Educators, Organization of Kodály Educators, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, and is a current and founding member of the Feierabend Association of Music Education. Rachel is currently pursuing her Ph.D at Michigan State University.

Leslie Weaver

Leslie Weaver has been a public-school music educator in the state of Pennsylvania since 2005. She began her career as a Class Instrumental Music Teacher in the School District of Philadelphia before accepting a position in the Hamburg Area School District in 2009. Leslie currently teaches K-5 General Music, 7th Grade General Music, 3rd Grade Recorder, 4th and 5th Grade Chorus, Elementary Autistic Support Adaptive Music, Elementary Life Skills Support Adaptive Music, and High School Life Skills Support Adaptive Music. She has implemented material and techniques from First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege in all of these courses.

Leslie graduated from Lebanon Valley College with a Bachelor of Science degree in music education and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music performance in 2004. She then was introduced to First Steps in Music and Conversational Solfege in 2010 and 2011 respectively. While implementing both curricula into her elementary school music teaching, she earned a Master of Music degree in music education from Boston University in 2016. She reached her latest academic and professional career goals by becoming an Endorsed Teacher Trainer in First Steps in Music in the summer of 2017.

In addition to teaching elementary school, Leslie also teaches private woodwind lessons. She is a member of the Music Educators of Berks County, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, NAfME, and FAME. She enjoys reading, visiting the U.S. National Parks, rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies and Philadelphia Eagles, and spending time with her husband and dog.