Category Archives: Expressive Arts

The Enormous Turnip



Choose a well-known children’s story and dramatise this, using musical motifs, sound effect, character songs and instrumental music to accompany the drama/narrative.  This can take the form of a stage production or a radio version of the story.

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

Say Cheese!

Using Photography in teaching (4 hours)(Art)

Digital photography can be a useful tool and activity in the primary classroom.  Almost everyone uses it, often without any formal teaching.  Produce an illustrated guidance poster, video or hand-out for primary teachers and or pupils in the use of this medium.  Consider aspects such as image quality, subject matter, composition, inclusion, accessibility, potential health and safety risks, privacy, storage, printing and compile a list of potential uses around the school.


The use of photography in the classroom is all too often limited to the teacher, usually taking pictures of the children working or what they create. These pictures are then used in displays and often little learning is taken from them. While it is good to document and evidence the children’s work, there are so many more learning opportunities to use photography in the classroom.



Using cameras as a medium for art allows children to expand their thoughts about art, and changes their perspective. This strategy can be useful in including children who feel that they are “not good at art”, as they can feel less pressure by using photography. They can capture the beauty of what they see without worrying about drawing properly etc.


There are also other uses for photography which draws links between art and the artistic nature of photography (angles, lighting etc), and other areas of the curriculum – some ideas are shown in the leaflet I have created for the TDT.




The Blue Lights of Pizza Express

Go to Choose a dance and teach it to someone.

Being a passionate Scottish Country Dancer, the task to learn and teach a Scottish Country Dance as part of the Expressive Arts elective thrilled me immensely! I have been dancing as a hobby from the age of 5, and for the past few years have been assisting in teaching the younger class, and it is still a hugely enjoyable pastime for me, however, I believe that schools take the joy out of it.

The dance I chose to learn and teach to my class is “The Blue Lights of Pizza Express” (yes, it is a real dance). The picture shows the dance crib (instructions)(click to view clearer), which is written using dancing terms, which we know, but would need explaining to a beginner. This dance is a Strathspey (slow dance), in a square set, the type of which is not taught in schools. The dance is quite complex, and took a good deal of explaining to my class, and therefore I certainly wouldn’t use anything near as difficult with a primary class. We did get a video of us dancing it, however, the file is too large to be uploaded to the site. If anyone would like more beginner-friendly instructions for the dance, just comment.


As my love for Scottish Country is so well established, I am of the opinion that it is taught completely wrong in schools, to the extent that our national heritage is loathed and comes with such a stigma. Whenever I tell anyone I do dancing, they usually ask which kind, to which I reply Scottish Country. The sheer comments and questions that follow highlight my point precisely. They ask “Why?”, or sometimes simply just laugh or look confused, a reaction which I argue would not be given had the answer been Ballet, Hip Hop or even Highland.

Schools teach the same 6-8 dances throughout primary and secondary, and in an attempt to make it more fun, have begun to use modern music. While this is a good strategy, and one we use in dance class ourselves, it is only the beginning. Children are forced to dance with classmates they would rather not, which starts the lesson off poorly. Children should be able to choose their partners, boy or girl, and, as long as there are clear rules about expectations of behaviour, there will be less misbehaving to warrant partnering children up. There should also be a range of dances taught, as well as step practice. We would not give children the task of playing football or basketball without teaching them some core skills they would need to play. Therefore, why do we partner children off and tell them where to go – usually by walking – and let them get on with the “dance”. There needs to be a shift in the thinking of teachers who teach Scottish Country Dance, before there will be a shift in attitude towards it.