Last year we launched Classroom 200, a free online resource for school teachers that’s all about bringing music to life in the classroom. Here Classroom 200 contributor David Gray, who is a primary music specialist, instrumental teacher, composer and performer, provides some top tips for getting started with this popular new resource.
Classroom 200 is a fantastic online resource for school teachers working with children up to the age of 14. It’s designed to help children develop their composing, improvising, performing, writing, listening and singing skills. And the best thing is, it’s free!
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up at www.classroom200.org. It will only take you two minutes and will instantly give you access to 200 pieces of music together with high-quality music lessons.
When you’re ready to deliver your first Classroom 200 lesson you will notice a number of options on the home screen:
- Search – use the search function to type in any key words that link to the type of lesson you’d like to deliver or what you’d like to focus on, for example: jazz, baroque, tempo, film, Bollywood, Africa. This is a great for cross-curricular learning.
- Age range – change the slider to choose the age range of your class.
- Room layout – are you delivering your lesson in a classroom with tables or an open space?
- Elements – do you want to focus on any particular music elements, such as tempo, pitch or timbre?
- Group type – are you interested in music for specific groups, such as a choir or orchestra?
Alternatively, you could simply scroll through the different pieces of music and see if anything takes your fancy. Do bear in mind, however, that not all lessons will be suitable for the age range you are planning to teach.
About the music
You will notice that each song or piece of music has a symbol next to it to show what type or genre it is. For example, the microphone represents a song, the globe represents music from around the world and the clapboard represents film music.
Every piece of music in the Classroom 200 repertoire has been taken from the Model Music Curriculum (MMC) for England. The MMC put this repertoire together to encourage teachers to expose children to a wide range of music, giving them the opportunity to listen to different styles and genres from around the world.
About the lesson plans
When you have selected the piece of music you’d like to focus on for your lesson, click on the title and you’ll be taken to the lesson plan. Every lesson plan covers the following:
- Learning outcomes
- Equipment needed for delivery
- Suggested room layout
- Starter activity/Creative lesson opener
- Whole class learning activity
- Group work activity
- Performing, discussing and sharing activity
- Support/Challenge ideas
- Curiosity box
This is one of my favourite things about Classroom200. We’re all busy and the thought of having to write another lesson plan can be all too daunting, especially if you feel that music isn’t one of your strengths – I’ll come back to this later on.
Like any new lesson, make time to read the plan before you teach and prepare any resources you will need for the lesson. You can download the resources by clicking on the following image:
All the lessons are full of great activities from start to finish and are loosely based on a 45-minute lesson. However, they’re equally good to dip in and out of. You might just be looking for a 10-minute listening activity or an activity to focus on one element, such as pulse.
Something for everyone
Perhaps the best thing about Classroom200 is its accessibility. Experienced music teachers will get just as much out of this resource as a non-specialist. Teachers who feel that music isn’t their strongest subject will be pleased to know that it’s easy to use and in fact is designed to develop their own music teaching, knowledge and skills.
Children will love the range of music on offer and will enjoy the activities. The lessons are designed to be adaptive for each setting. You do not need to have whole sets of instruments to access the lessons, just a voice, some space and an eagerness to learn!