Category Archives: Curriculum resources

Music beyond sounds


Consider how you can make links between music and other curricular areas.  Choose as many subject areas as you wish, and for each, create activities that draw upon musical knowledge to enhance the learning. 

Music and Art – Create a picture to go alongside the piece they have created in music.

  • Consideration of key (major or minor = happy or sad) and what colours could represent that
  • Is this piece slow and graceful or quick and jumpy? What sort of lines and shapes
  • could represent this?
  • Musically, this develops the skill of appreciation, and being able to identify themes and techniques used in the music. Artistically, this allows the children to create an explorative piece, where they are free to express themselves, and justify their use of materials and artistic techniques
    • Art – Through observing and recording from my experiences across the curriculum, I can create images and objects which show my awareness and recognition of detail. EXA 2-04a
    • Music – I have listened to a range of music and can respond by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work. EXA 1-19a / EXA 2-19a


Music and Science – Waves and Vibrations

  • Use scientific skills of hypothesising and experimenting to investigate:
    • Which instruments make vibrations and how?
    • Which instruments make the most vibrations? Why?
    • Do higher or lower pitches make more vibrations? Why? (wave lengths)
    • Can you always see vibrations?
  • How do different materials allow vibrations to pass through them? Which would be the best material to use for music room? Why?
    • Music – I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to discover and enjoy playing with sound, rhythm, pitch and dynamics. EXA 1-17a
    • Science – By collaborating in experiments on different ways of producing sound from vibrations, I can demonstrate how to change the pitch of the sound. SCN 1-11a



Music and HWB/Drama – Music linked to emotions

  • Examine major and minor chords and scales. Ask the children how the sounds make them feel, contrasting the two. Also play with spooky and dreamy scales. Also look at pieces of music, having the children close their eyes and use their imagination to pick out the emotions present in the music.
  • This can then link to drama and characterisation, with the children creating/developing characters and their traits, based on a piece of music. This reinforces the skills of identifying themes and emotions portrayed in music.
    • HWB – I am aware of how friendships are formed and that likes, dislikes, special qualities and needs can influence relationships. HWB 0-44a / HWB 1-44a
    • HWB – I am aware of the need to respect personal space and boundaries and can recognise and respond appropriately to verbal and non-verbal communication. HWB 0-45b / HWB 1-45b / HWB 2-45b / HWB 3-45b / HWB 4-45b
    • Music – I have listened to a range of music and can respond by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work. EXA 1-19a / EXA 2-19a
    • Drama – I enjoy creating, choosing and accepting roles, using movement, expression and voice. EXA 1-12a




Music and Literacy – Music and Poetry

  • After looking at poems in class (potentially about their topic), let the children listen to different pieces of music and have them decide which piece fits the poem(s) best. (appreciation)
  • Then the children would work in groups to create their own music piece to match a poem, thinking about the techniques the pointed out in the previous examples. (composition)
  • If the children are enjoying these activities, they could be developed further, with the children writing their own poems and music to go alongside them (which could link with topic) – with the final product being performed, bringing in the final aspect of music. (performance)
    • Music – I have listened to a range of music and can respond by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work. EXA 1-19a / EXA 2-19a
    • Music – Inspired by a range of stimuli, and working on my own and/or with others, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through musical activities. EXA 0-18a / EXA 1-18a / EXA 2-18a
    • Music – I have experienced the energy and excitement of presenting/performing for audiences and being part of an audience for other people’s presentations/performances. EXA 0-01a / EXA 1-01a / EXA 2-01a
    • Literacy – Having explored the elements which writers use in different genres, I can use what I learn to create stories, poems and plays with an interesting and appropriate structure, interesting characters and/or settings which come to life. ENG 2-31a
    • Literacy – I can: · discuss structure, characterisation and/or setting · recognise the relevance of the writer’s theme and how this relates to my own and others’ experiences · discuss the writer’s style and other features appropriate to genre. ENG 2-19a



Music and Maths – The Sound of Shapes (reinforcement exercise)

  • When learning about 2d shapes, the more corners a shape has, the higher the note they should play i.e. triangle would have a low pitch but an octagon would have a high pitch, whereas a circle would be silent – use boomwhackers or similar
  • This tests their knowledge of shapes and their ability to distinguish low and high pitch and how to make those sounds.
  • This activity can then be used to teach about music notation. Instead of notes on a stave, the children could use shapes to know which note to play. This can allow them to create rhythms and patterns without knowledge of how staves work.
    • Maths – I have explored simple 3D objects and 2D shapes and can identify, name and describe their features using appropriate vocabulary. MTH 1-16a
    • Music – I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to discover and enjoy playing with sound, rhythm, pitch and dynamics. EXA 1-17a

Can’t sleep? Count chicks!

I have chosen to look at the picture book “Six Chicks” by Henrietta 1Branford in terms of the mathematical learning involved in the book.

The book tells the story of Red Hen, who is trying to get her 6 chicks to sleep. Red Hen tries many strategies to get her chicks to sleep, however, only one chick falls asleep at a time.

The book will familiarise children with number words up to 6 in a descending order, allowing them to practice the backwards sequence, which is often overlooked and is trickier for children to master.

While reading the story, the adult should try to get the children to count the chicks on the page – which should always be six – and the amount that are sleeping and awake. This will familiarise the children with numbers that add up to 6. For example, there are 3 chicks awake and 3 chicks sleeping; there are 6 chicks in total, therefore 3+3=6.

The adult could also use numerals alongside the story, as the book does not show the numeral with the number word. Every time the number word is said either point out the numeral to the children to highlight the connection between the two, or have the children point to the numeral if they are familiar with the numeral and number word connection.

Do you wanna count the snowmen?


When looking at nursery rhymes to promote counting, especially with early years children, there were many that came to mind. I remember singing songs such as “Ten in the Bed” and “5 Little Speckled Frogs” when I was young, however, when researching one for this module, I found the rhyme above particularly useful.

Firstly, as in many of these rhymes, the songs use the number name sequence going from “5 little snowmen…” down to “1 little snowman”. This gets the children practicing the numeral names and can learn about counting backwards, as in school we tend to focus on counting forwards.

Secondly, the song counts the snowmen on the screen. This reinforces the numeral names and their sequence from 1 to 5. It also has the children counting forwards, which means they can practice both in this rhyme.

The third thing I particularly like about this rhyme is that they include a noise for every missing snowman. For example, when you get down to 2 snowmen, there are 3 “shh” noises after it. This leads the children into addition and counting on, as they are learning that there are 2 snowmen there and 3 missing to make the total of 5.

I think this rhyme is particularly good to be used in the early years classroom to promote counting, and could easily be extended beyond 5 when the children improve in their maths ability. The subject could be changed depending on season or even topic, making it a highly versatile resource.

3, 2, 1… Action!

This video is an excellent resource from “teachfind” on how to structure a successful drama lesson.sw_StageLightBar_sa101665

The lesson begins with an agreement between the teacher and the children, in this case using the 3 C’s : Concentration, Cooperation and Communication. I believe that this is a great agreement to have with the children, not just in drama, but in the classroom also. I will take this strategy with me, on placement and beyond, as I think the children will connect with these rules well. The use of the simple 3 words is also effective in my opinion. It means that there is not pages of rules for the children to remember, or in many cases forget, and this strategy will stick in the children’s heads as it is better than a long, boring list.

Next, you shoustretching_legs_on_ringld then move on to warm up. These can be games which get the children moving and/or communicating (referring back to the rules), and should get the children interacting with each other. In my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of a drama lesson, especially with a new class of children. It will allow them to let themselves go (to an extent) and interact with their new classmates in a playful, semi-structured way. Some of these games could include:

Fruit Bowl/ The Wind Blows – good for mixing the class up. Must refer to rules to ensure chaos does not pursue.

Change the Action – the children must repeat an action after you have changed it. For example: Teacher claps hands, pupils sit still, teacher shouts “CHANGE” and pats her knees, children clap their hands and so on. This is good for building the concentration element of the rules. If the pupils struggle to concentrate with this activity, they cannot progress into a drama lesson.

Hula Hoop – must pass hula hoop “through” everyone in the circle without breaking hands. Concentration control.

Cross the circle – All the children are numbered and when their number is shouted they must cross the circle in the way you say i.e. fashion model, astronaut, hopping etc. This should be a fun activity to loosen the children up and make them willing to have fun and participate fully.

There are lots more, these are just a selection.

(Accessed at:

Next is the focus of the lesson. This is where the children should come together to interpret a source (pictures are used in the video) in order to establish a theme or topic for the drama lesson. For example, if the lesson was linked to the history of World War 2 that they had been studying, a picture from that time could provide an assessment for the knowledge they have taken in from the history lesson. This stimulus is also a way to provoke new learning by having the children act out and hopefully share the feelings of the people of that time.

Once the children are focused, then comes the development of their ideas. Allowing the children time to visualize a place or image that you, the teacher, prompts through words, allows the children to ‘get inside’ the story. This links to the ability to feel what a Capturecharacter feels, an important aspect of developing the character to be realistic and believable. Allowing the children to vocalize what they see/hear/feel ensures that they are fully engaged and involved (somewhat of an assessment). It also shows that they can put what they feel into words. Sharing how they feel or see things is an important skill for writing, ultimately linking drama work to further language tasks.

Body-scaping is a good way to allow children, in groups or as a whole class, to physically create a picture from their visualizations. This just uses their bodies with no props, and sound is optional.

CaptureAllowing the children to perform what they have created is key in giving the lesson a purpose. If the children know that there is no meaning to a particular lesson, it can lead to a lack of enthusiasm for some children, whereas others will be shy and not want to participate in acting to the whole class. It is this mix of personalities in a class that can make performance difficult to gauge. While this seems difficult in theory, I think that once you have your class and know them well, you should be able to work out what is best for them.

Once this decision is gauged it is important to ensure you are getting the most out of the children. This can be done through further prompting, as in the video, like thought tracking. This again allows the children to share their thoughts and feelings as the character, and shows the teacher that they have truly thought about the story and their image. This can also take the form of adding sounds to a silent still image. However, this must be incorporated slowly so that the children do not get carried away and cause chaos.

In order to give meaning to the lesson in terms of a teacher’s point of view it is important that the children evaluate what they have achieved, what they would like to achieve next time and what they have learned. This brings the children together at the end of the lesson and can reinstate calm before either heading back to the classroom or getting on with other work.

These evaluations link to a cool down activity, which has the same purpose, which is to calm the children at the end of the lesson.

There are various cool down activities, just as there are with warm ups, however, this one caught my eye in keeping the concentration of the children right to the end of the lesson.

Pass the pencil – a detective goes out of the room and one pupil is given the pencil. The children  must then pass the pencil around the group without the detective seeing. The detective has 3 goes to work out who has the pencil.shcesey 053_pe

Another cool down that I remember from primary school is sleeping lions. While looking back this was just an excuse to give the teacher some peace and quiet, it is a good way to get the children to relax after a busy lesson, or indeed day. Basically all the children lie on the floor and when tapped by the teacher, they may line up at the door quietly – so that they don’t wake the other sleeping lions.

In overall reflection of the video, I think it lays out how to structure a drama lesson brilliantly, taking any teacher through the steps they need to know to keep control of the class while structuring a fun lesson. I agree with the teacher at the end of the video who states that the importance of drama is to bring the subject to life. I think this shows the versatility of drama across the curriculum to reinforce what the children have already learned, but to learn new skills at the same time.






Dance like no one is watching!

“Only 9% of respondents attended a dance show or event (7% of males and 12% of females). The highest level of attendance is among those aged 35 to 44 (13%) and the lowest is among those aged 75 plus (4%). The majority of respondents who attended dance shows/events did so once or twice a year. Dance is the fourth most common cultural activity adults participated in, with 12% of adults indicating they had taken part in dance in the previous 12 months. ”

The number of people participating in dance in Scotland today is exceptionally low, especially considering that we are a culture rich with both Highland and Scottish Country Dancing. The studies conducted in this review show that girls more than boys, and youths more than adults, participate in dancing of their own free will. This is particularly evident when looking at dance classes, including my own, which are overrun (and in our case entirely filled) with girls. It’s a pastime which boys find much less attractive than other sports such as football, and I believe the awful stigma surrounding male dancers needs to be eradicated.

In terms of in schools, the focus tends to be on the heritage of Scottish country dancing, which often fills pupils (certainly in secondary school) with dread. As a Scottish country dancer,  who has been attending class for over 10 years, I believe that schools are not teaching this wonderful art form with the credit that it deserves. Children become bored with the dances that they ‘learn’ year after year, which are then forgotten about until the next wedding they attend. Schools should be teaching these dances with enthusiasm to allow children to understand the culture they come from, just as Bollywood is respected in India.

Schools should focus on teaching children the benefits of dance, as a relaxation technique or as a social activity for example. The dedication and concentration required for dance can be used as inter-transferable skills across the curriculum, and it is my belief that dance must be taught in a more positive, inclusive and meaningful way to unlock the potential of more able children.

Get Scotland Dancing: A Literature Review Produced by Catch the Light for Get Scotland Dancing.

Available at:

Accessed on 20/01/16

Real Book to Fake Book

Fakebook is a wonderful resource which allows you to create a profile for a historical or fictional character, working just like Facebook. You can post as your character and add their “friends”, just as children are exploring on the real site. I think this resource is particularly useful for the upper end of the school as it allows them to connect with their learning in a more approachable way than simply reading and writing.

As well as developing ICT skills, my opinion is that having a context like this to display learning will motivate the children to find out more facts and further research into the topic at hand.

This tool can be used across the curriculum in subjects from Language to Social Studies. In particular, I believe this could be used well in history as when writing a ‘post’ it allows you to state when it was posted, which could be a useful resource to help create timelines of events. – Accessed 19/1/16

Animation Fun

As 18 year olds we had great fun creating this animation, and I think a class full of eager children would feel the same.

This fun activity teaches the children the skills of using a camera, and also using a microphone to record sound. This can be done in the form of recording a song as we did, or the children can record their on voices to fit the animation. This kind of task if completed in a group can also teach the children about teamwork, and the importance of including everyone.

In terms of where animation can fit into the classroom, I believe it is a wonderful resource to link subjects across the curriculum. Allowing the children to create their own figures for the animation can be their art lesson, the recording of the animation can be their ICT lesson, and the subject of the animation can be varied to cover many different aspects in order to support the knowledge that the children already have.

I would say that animation slots into TCH 1-04b / TCH 2-04b:

“I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways.”

I believe this to be the case as animation allows to the children to work with a range of media, including sound, text and images, to portray their knowledge in a different way, which can hopefully allow them to retain the information.