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Charanga Training

On Wednesday 5th April 2017 I organised for Stephanie Dufty, from the music hub to conduct some Charanga training for the staff. Charanga is a fantastic music programme we have bought which helps children learn how to play instruments and encourages them to use more musical language. It also helps staff gain confidence teaching music.

The training went great, all the staff were very enthused and Stephanie was fabulous, the feedback from the staff was all very positive, one member of staff quoted saying “it was very informative and explained everything step by step.”

I believe this training helped the staff feel more at ease using the programme to teach music after half term.

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Mini MusE – Music Educators Group – meeting 2.

I recently went to my second Music Educators Group meeting, as part of my role as Music coordinator.

We first spoke about the ‘All wrapped up for Christmas’ event, which looked spectacular, and there was discussion that this would definitely be happening again next year. This is an event that I would look to put the choir up for in the future.

They also mentioned that from this event parents have asked for a junior choir to become available at Forest Arts. This is now available and there are flyers available from the office.

We then spoke about the Transition/Leadership day event ‘Black History Month meets Rock School’, which is an event run by Secondary school and A level students at Forest Arts. This event will take place in October 2017 and the primary school students who take part must have some musical instrument knowledge, at grade 2 or above. Unfortunately for us, we won’t have any students with this ability, however there are 2 events that our school would be able to take part in and they are for beginners. This event will be offered to Year’s 5 and 6 students across Walsall.

We then spoke about the singing festival, which is taking place in March. The children are invited to sing two songs and then will take part in vocal workshops. I will hopefully be taking the choir to this event, as it’s a great opportunity to perform and boost their confidence and profile for our school for having a choir. This in turn will open up possibilities of networking with other schools for performances and shows.

We then were given a CPD on Signing in the Music Classroom. This was a practical session whereby a lady, called Bev Cullen taught us various Makaton signs that will be needed when teaching signing and music. She offers training sessions for all years and has her own resource books to help sign with various songs. I spoke to Bev about possibly doing a whole school session, in which she replied that she normally does phases but is willing to do bespoke sessions for schools.

This is something I would like to look into and get our teachers trained in this area. As whilst music is being taught via an outside agency this is may not always be the case and I would like all staff to feel confident delivering stand alone music lessons in the future.

Mini Muse – Music Educators Group

I recently went to a Music Educators Group meeting, as part of my first introduction to my new role as Music coordinator.

It was very interesting and insightful to meet Music leaders from others schools and draw on their years of experience in the role at their school. I also got to meet the leaders of Muse and the Forests Arts department. I got a full understanding of what Forest Arts provides to our school and to all the schools around Walsall.

During the meeting I got to see a version of a Music policy and assessment, which I will draw upon when making our schools.

A very interesting piece of information was the pupil voice, whereby, we ask the children for feedback on the music lessons and gan knowledge on what they would like to see more of in school regarding music. It’s away of catering our lessons to what the children want, as well as their needs.

One of the programmes that we were shown was called Sonic Pi. This is a coding programme, which incorporates parts of Maths, ICT Coding, as well as Music.

The children will have the chance to follow codes, which when played altogether becomes music. As part of the new National Curriculum within ICT, the children need to understand coding by gaining knowledge on; how it works, how to debug and how to create something from a code. The programme does all of these – It is great fun!

The aim is for KS2 staff to become familiar with this and to teach the children how to use it. In the near future I will lead a Sonic Pi twilight training for all staff.




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EdPuzzle – Interactive Video

EdPuzzle is a fantastic new website that allows you to turn any video into an interactive learning resource. The idea is that you select a video based on the areas you are currently teaching. Then you can crop the video if needed to ensure it has maximum impact. Whilst watching the video, you can click the question mark icon at any point to add either an open ended or multiple choice question.


Better still, if you use multiple choice questions, the site will mark the answers for you meaning that you only have to review the open ended questions. On these, comments can be left to further the explanation of answers or can be marked as correct or incorrect. The child receives this feedback immediately and can respond or adapt their answers.

*If you aren’t overly keen of the current audio track, you can voice over the video to add your own track.

The site offers a step by step guide to starting your first EdPuzzle so don’t worry about being a tech magician! If you would like to see an example of what the pupils would see, use the code below to try the Nelson Mandela video out for yourself.


(Y2) Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog

By Miss Marriott

Developing language is currently a main focus – so using ‘Traction Man Meets Turbodog’ By Mini Grey, has been an effective, engaging book – full of brilliant vocabulary.


To internalise the text, I taught the children how to retell the story using Makaton signs. I have recently received Makaton training  and this is something I thoroughly enjoyed  – so why not learn to retell stories using it? Additionally, I used Makaton symbols for my Storyboard and Story Map. Using the same signing system and drawing the same symbols throughout school, I believe, will increase consistency.

As you will see I’m developing my knowledge of Makaton symbols so not every picture is a Makaton symbol.



Here I am retelling the story of Traction Man and Turbo Dog using Makaton:

This video shows a group of Year two children retelling the story using Makaton:

Check out these Story Maps created by the children to ‘Immerse’ the story.

Story Map 1

Story Map 2

Story Map 4

Knowing the objectives were speech and synonyms for the word ‘said’, I stumbled upon this fantastic activity by – using to create a Text Message dialogue. Bringing a familiar messaging system into the classroom, instantly grabbed their attention. I told the children Traction Man had text me, asked if we had seen Scrubbing Brush, having a two way conversation. I challenged the children to think about different words for ‘said’ – which they linked to the speech bubbles. Later using the vocabulary for independent writing.

Here is the two way conversation!

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 21.21.19

Here is some of the work the children produced:

Text 1

Text 2

Silhouette 1

Silhouette 2

Story 3

(Y2) ‘My Adventure Island’

By Miss Marriott

As a Teaching Assistant at Leamore Primary School, I work with a small Year Two intervention group. These children are confident and brilliant at anticipating questions I’m going to ask them. So challenges are always welcome.

To work on all four interdependent strands of language: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing, I introduced the group to ‘My Adventure Island…where wild things happen!’ By Timothy Knapman and Sarah Warburton.


I work alongside objectives and topics that are currently set within the classroom setting to reinforce the children’s skills, so this book linked perfectly to the Island topic. I’m not aware if anyone else has used this book for set work, but I could not resist this perfect imaginative story.

After introducing the book, as a group, the children had extensive guided reading sessions, which included lengthy discussions about the book in order for the children to infer and deduce the clues behind the adventure. The children compared it to previous reading, from the beginning of the year,  reading ‘Where the wild things are’.

Before any written work was covered from this brilliant book, Story Maps (A Pie Corbett approach) were created to help embed the story, not only this, the children began to ‘talk the text’ from reading images from a Story Map. Additionally,  they began to use the language patterns and rhythm  I used. This strategy is used in School – building on the oral approach – through ‘imitation’, ‘innovation’ and ‘invention’ of language.

Here is the Story Map that involved the comprehension and recalling events of a story.


(Y2) My Adventure Island TFW from Leamore Primary School on Vimeo.

(Y2) My Adventure Island TFW from Leamore Primary School on Vimeo.

(Y2) My Adventure Island TFW from Leamore Primary School on Vimeo.

Here is the Storyboard to recall events.


To build on this, the children made their own Story Maps. Here are some that didn’t go home.


Once the children internalised the patterns and events of the story, the children took part in many Speaking and Listening activities to support ideas to innovate their own islands. They took on the role of  a character on their own island and took the ‘Hot Seat’ whilst the rest of the group asked them questions about their island (This developed their language).

To develop this idea, the children drew their own islands and illustrated what kind of island they would like.

Here is my example that I modelled for the children – using ideas based on ‘My Adventure Island’. My ideas were displayed on a washing line in the study area.


From this the children wrote similar stories and diary entries. I would definitely recommend this book as it would also be an effective way to introduce Narrative Poetry.