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Teaching KS2 for the first time.

Discussion in 'Music' started by tea_and_cake, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Until now I've only taught 11-18 music, but from September I'll by teaching KS2 music as part of my timetable, and taking a KS2 singing assembly once a week. I'm really looking forward to this opportunity and am hoping to observe some KS2 lessons before I start, to get an idea of what kids are like in the classroom at that age. However, any suggestions for excellent topics / materials / approaches would be very welcome! I'm hoping that, in the long run, a joined-up approach to KS2 and 3 will make a huge improvement on KS4 uptake and results. What works for you?
  2. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Hi tea and cake, can you give us some more details about what you want help for? Is it songs for singing, is it how best to link with class project work, do you have access to instruments and if so, which ones? Will this KS2 be in addition to KS3+4?
  3. Just re-read my OP and it's quite vague, so thanks for the questions Jon! I'll be teaching in a fairly typical secondary music room, with access to practise rooms if needed, seeing classes for 50 minutes a week. I'll also be teaching KS3 and 4 at the school, so looking long-term, I'd like to develop KS2 music to boost results further up the school. I'm not asking for a published SOW; I know lots of primary schools use this, but I'd like to create something based around my own musical experiences and the resources available at the school.
    So, I suppose what I'm saying is; music specialists, what do you expect from your classes at KS2? How complex are the songs / pieces you perform? For those of you who do teach the same classes each week, in music rooms, what sort of work would you expect the pupils to create? At the moment I'm envisaging half-termly units with lots of singing, class performance on ukes and keyboards, possibly some band instruments, and composing and listening also integrated; can you suggest any musical topics, songs, etc that you've covered successfully in this way? I'm taking a KS2 singing assembly each week, so will try to create links with class project work there, but would like to set up an independent music SOW for my lessons.
    Hope that makes more sense, and thanks in advance for any advice you can give!
  4. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Singing - depends on the class and what they've been used to doing. You ought to expect them to sing simple part songs of the type where you might have section A, section B, then A and B together for example. They also ought to be able to keep an ostinato style 2nd part going. Have a look at the Sing Up site for examples of songs they can sing, for instance I have used Hey Mr Miller in three parts successfully with Y5 and Y6.
    Half termly topics are a good idea. Some of the ones I have done with 5 and 6 are:
    Instruments of the Orchestra (Y6) - using Britten's Young Persons Guide. The four families. I linked with science to demonstrate how sound is produced in the different families. I asked the children who were learning instruments to prepare presentations to the class about their instrument and to perform a piece.
    Carnival of the Animals - study of the piece and why it was composed. Own composition of 'Animal Music' in ternary form.
    Hebrides Overture (Fingals Cave) - study of the piece and its motif. Sea poems. Write own seascape using vocal sounds only. Worksheet here:
    Pictures at an Exhibition - study of the piece and story behind the pictures - especially The Hut of Baba Yaga! Own compositions with promenades. Each group has a different title and a promenade moves from one group to the next.
    Peter and the Wolf (Y5) - an introduction to the orchestra. Listening and activities. Resources here:
    The Sweet Machine - using Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a starting point. Resources here:
    I've also used themes such as Ghostly Music using Danse Macabre and ghost poems, Rainforests - rhythm work leading to notated rhythm compositions, Space - The Planets, World War 2 - dance band music, comedy songs and the classic songs of the time, graphic scores - compositions with pictures as starting points, The 12 bar blues with improvisation.
    I always encouraged the children to use their orchestral instruments in their composition tasks. I sometimes wrote instrumental accompaniments for the songs we were singing and had the children play these as the others sang.
    I hope this gives you a flavour of what I have done with Years 5 and 6. I was in a middle school, with a dedicated music room and had them for the first two years of KS3 too.
    PM me if you'd like any more info.
  5. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    You are so lucky! What you are doing is the reverse of what happened to me and to build a strong musical foundation with the younger ones is the way forward for sure.
    To make up your own course is a good starting point as you know your pupils and their abilities. I worked alongside the primary class teachers and one successful topic was Japan. We played and sang a few Japanese songs, pupils researched info about Japanese music and musicians, we had a Japanese lady come to talk to pupils towards the end of topic and the Art teacher joined in too making this a cross-curr. project (the school was inspected very soon after this and earned a glowing report!)
    There are loads of free on-line resources for ideas (it's not having enough time that is the problem!). "Lively Music" is an older series with traditional ideas if you want something more serious (I inherited this and dipped into it occasionally as it has recorded music already matched up with lesson plans, but I did prefer to make up my own as I gained in confidence). "Keynotes" is a good series with some free samples (I've bought a few full-price+licence titles which are more suitable for secondary, but there are others suitable for KS2) It's easy to make up note-naming sheets using treble and bass clef and quite fun making up crosswords - there's always Suduko with note-values - that should cover the basic theory.
    One idea I liked to use once a term was to look at a piece of classical music (e.g William Tell). I created a worksheet outlining the story with points to listen for, wrote out a few of the themes for the pupils to follow, told them the story, listened to the music and then had a class discussion on what was good about it - could it have been better and how? I always had a good point and a bad point which I shared with the class and "modelled" my thinking (hope that makes sense!) e.g. - the peace and quiet at the start sets a beautiful tranquil scene similar to our local beach (pupils could imagine being there) and when Gessler appears in the story the music could be more discordant to illustrate his nasty nature.
    For the singing assembly I would use some fun singing exercises to train them to listen to themselves and each other, then get them to make up some of their own (composing part of class work?) Teach them that attention to detail is very important and that making singing FUN is imporant too!
    I hope this has been of a little help and that I havn't wittered on too much! [​IMG] I thought I had the perfect job up until 2 years ago as I saw all the primary pupils who eventually came to our secondary school. I visited 4 schools and had to tailor my lessons as each school was slightly different (some had recorders, others tuned percussion, another put on a fantastic Christmas show, which required many weeks rehearsing and some liked singing more than others). The beauty of this was when they arrived in S1, I knew what they already knew. Unfortunately, this all changed 2009 and I was sent to different schools - not too bad I thought, but in the end I was spending 4 hours in the car for 2 hours teaching. I now have no primary input at all and the quality of music in first year is poorer as a result.
    It's such a pity that cutbacks hit music (and other arts) as if we can get younger people to develop a love of music it can only be a good thing. I don't see my situation changing for the better and I'm looking forward to retirement and private pupils again while I'm still able enough!
    Good luck with your extended teaching - come back and tell us how it's going after Sept!
    Joni x
  6. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Marlin - our posts crossed over but between us I think we've come up with a good course!!
    I also did a unit on Pop music, Ragtime and Reggae (this was a transition unit which led into secondary music). I also used DVD resources and "STOMP" was an all time favourite.
  7. Hi Marlin and jonowen,
    Thanks to you both for such fantastic advice! I really appreciate your suggestions and it's reassured me that KS2 kids aren't a completely different species - lots of your ideas can relate to things I already do within KS3. Sorry to hear about your recent job change jon; I appreciate that my situation is quite a rare one!
  8. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the thanks!
    make sure they know that you are in charge [​IMG] lol ! xx
  9. When I did Primary liaison I found the KS2 resources on Musical Contexts were very good as a starting point.
    You'll notice very quickly that KS2 kids will be used to very different behaviour management strategies. Get ready to put your hands on your head!

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