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Written activities

Discussion in 'Music' started by wingcommander81, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. wingcommander81

    wingcommander81 New commenter


    Can anyone point me in the right direction on TES or make a suggestion?

    It's that time of year when YR9 cause havoc in Music lessons and nothing works. Last week some of the instruments were vandalised. So I've decided for the remainder of this half term, I'm going to set written tasks/other paper based work......we're very under-resourced, no computers I'm afraid!

    can anyone suggest anything that has worked for them or if they've found something useful in the resources section? As you can imagine, I don't want to reinvent the wheel because I've already spent time planning practical lessons that I'm now not going to teach due to their lack of respect for equipment.

  2. It won't work.

    Believe me, I speak from experience when I say that forcing disaffected and badly behaved Year 9s to do written work will only make things worse.

    I know schools shouldn't work like this, but in practice - if you want to maintain your sanity - you will have to meet them halfway. Pick your battles carefully and maybe turn a blind eye to certain "minor offences" for the greater good.

    I don't think there's anyway to "win" in this kind of situation, it's just about damage limitation. Even if you manage to make the written work stick, they won't learn anything from it - certainly nothing "musical", so you might as well make your life easier and go with what they want to do.
  3. wingcommander81

    wingcommander81 New commenter

    Point being; they don't want to learn music, they've trashed the equipment.

    Give them what they want?! That will probably get me sacked.

    I'm not saying storm in there with written work saying 'this is the way it is', but rather dress it up as what is planned. It's either that or sit there doing nowt because the place has hardly any functioning equipment left.
  4. In that case, I'm afraid you're fighting a losing battle. In fact, you've already lost. If they've already decided they're not going to bother with the subject, then it doesn't matter what you do or how well you do it, you're not going to bring them around before the end of term.

    Either way, the end result is the same.

    Sure, having some "work" on the desk looks better for anyone looking through the door, and it probably eases your conscience a bit, but they won't actually do it. At best, you'll get one or two who make some effort, and everyone else will simply copy off them. - or else they'll just sit there with a blank piece of paper all lesson, ready to get into mischief the minute your back is turned.

    The more you push them, the more they will push back... and they will always be stronger because they have much less to lose than you do.
  5. gliss

    gliss New commenter

    How about doing a dragons den project....they have to present a product.....anything .....trainers , pen, the ultimate hair band! but as part of the presentation they must produce a jingle or a rap....
  6. cmf


    Sorry to hear about your situation, it is a hard time of year. In the long term its up to you to make sure they "want" to work after they have picked their options. Music should in the first place, be a lesson they want to be in and love doing so, and I do not wish to sound patronising but you might want to have another look at the scheme of work to see why they do not wish to be engaged at this time of year, for the future!

    I use to have the same problem until I re-vamped my scheme. Nothing will work for ALL the students, however for a quick fix, and that is all it is, you really need to look at the reasons why they don't want to work, they should love being and doing in your lessons.

    I assume they all have music players (I don't call them phones!!)

    Try a radio project. in groups of 2 or 3, they have a 20 min slot where they have to produce a jingle, slots for weather, sports, school news, exam updates, competitions, interview and of course they can play their favourite music (no explicate lyrics) As long as you give them a simple fro-forma to work from it gets them to focus on what they listen to!

    But you really need to look at what your are teaching them from Y7 onwards, and the reason they are not engaged now.
  7. midnightoil

    midnightoil New commenter

    You have PM
  8. wingcommander81

    wingcommander81 New commenter

    Guys, been there and done it. I know how to work backward from KS4 and make the lessons in KS3 relevant and modern.

    It's a 'rough' school. I'm not some old fuddy-duddy sat at an out of tune piano getting them to sing folkloric chant.

    All tasks and schemes are practical based activities; pop, rap, rock, ringtone composition etc etc.......and I do the best I can without technology, and seen as though I'm only covering at the moment, THEY ARE doing what they are interested in.

    I've gone into schools before and revamped the schemes, and with great success, but these schools had invested a bit more cash in more resources other than keyboards.

    I'll try (another) radio project.

    I can't believe I'm being told I really need to look at what I'm teaching when I've already stated I've got NOTHING but a few knackered keyboards, which they've knackered.
  9. NPTJ

    NPTJ New commenter

    Suggestion, off the top of my head:

    Can you find a backing track online and direct them to it verbally (I know you can't send them links if there are no computers). Their homework is to download a copy of it onto their 'phones/iPods.

    Then, their task is to write a song over the top of the track and make it a competition. Each song must include a sung chorus. They can either sing or rap the verses.

    The only equipment to break is their own, and there should be room for real creativity there.

    Just a thought... I hope you work something out wingcommander81!

    Right... back to reports, and then getting my Year 8s to write an opera! (Seriously.)
  10. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Depending on how things go... you could do a non-instrumental series of one or two lessons - if they work well, you could put some or all of them back on instruments with very clear expectations and zero tolerance if they are being rough with anything.

    How about them designing a CD cover and merchandise (T-shirt, wristband, posters, whatever) for their own invented band/artist. If they do okay, the next couple of lessons could be writing a song of their own to go on the CD - maybe using a pre-done backing track as suggested above.

    If you have some kids in the class who are doing GCSE in September, you want them to have the opportunity to carry on developing.

    Maybe a class CD - where kids who want to work on music and can be trusted prepare a performance/composition, and kids who don't do the 'marketing' stuff for the CD.

    No harm in asking SLT to pop by at random during the lesson - you can warn kids at the start that this might happen at any time...

    Good luck.

    NPTJ - Year 8 writing an opera?!
  11. erp77

    erp77 New commenter

    Surely it's not every single member of the class?!

    How about starting them off with a short written task then those that behave or have completed move on to a practical activity. They should soon get the idea that good behaviour is being rewarded.

    Other things I've done in the past at this time of year is had a 'sing star' competion, wrote world cup/ olympics songs
  12. NPTJ

    NPTJ New commenter

    Hi muso2,

    Yes indeed - we've been studying Carmen and they're now writing their own version of Orfeo, one 2-3 minute act per group of five. We're one week in, and after initial fears were over, they're actually taking it very seriously and have written excellent libretti. The music starts next week. We'll see...!
  13. FCarpenter

    FCarpenter New commenter

    I don't teach this year group, but Year 6 can be hard enough at this time of year. Just a suggestion... Could they be put in groups and each tasked with putting on a small musical performance (say max 5 mins), planned and rehearsed over, say three weeks. It could be an excerpt from a story that they reenact musically, or a picture type book that they have to dramatise and set to music, to perform to a local nursery or primary school group? (If you give them a purpose with a tangible end result that they are expected to achieve in front of an audience, they might just buckle under!) It seems to me that if you give them something practical, and mix up your groups a bit, that would be better than paperwork. Paperwork isn't going to do it... Or give them the task of mending the equipment they broke, with a reward of longer break time or ...dare I say it... sweets if they manage to mend it! (I'm just chucking out a few ideas. I know what kids can be like this time of year, mad!)
  14. FCarpenter

    FCarpenter New commenter

    Or, yes, as someone mentioned before, they have to perform a traditional song that they research on the internet or iTunes or wherever, from round the world (one of the countries in the world cup), with a small prize (...sweets...!? I know, I know...) for the best (make sure you have enough for all, of course, for their marvellous efforts, but twice the reward for the winners! But they don't know that until the end!)
  15. FCarpenter

    FCarpenter New commenter

    There is a free World Cup song listed on here too, somewhere. It's really good, and I should imagine will work with any age. (You could put together a list of World Cup songs together, lyrics and recordings, and have a really good sing song too! Bring in a few flags and rattles and you're away! Until we get knocked out.) I may well use these myself!
  16. Sir Cumference

    Sir Cumference Occasional commenter

  17. a few ideas Ive used in the past...

    Plan their own music festival - design everything from a main stage and the actual location/map to planning what music will play and then promotoe it - lead into may be looking at the music industry and different jobs such as roadies/promoters/agents etc.

    Time tunnel project - each week they research music from a different decade. Have info sheets prepared about music from the decade and key artists. I also provide a practical activity each week for those that want to do it.

    What makes a good performance? They review X factor auditions and discuss, then have to prepare their own performances. Could be over a backing track or even sing along with a song on their phone, or for those that are are doing GCSE/play instruments they could perform on those.

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