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The Story Of Sparkyard
Sparkyard, our brand-new subscription service, is on its way! While we work on the last few bits before release in early 2022 (read on to learn how you can get early access!), we thought we’d tell you a little bit about how Sparkyard came to be – the ‘why’ behind Sparkyard. We know that Sparkyard is positively going to impact schools, teachers and children all around the UK – let us show you how!
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Five Reasons To Do An Out of the Ark Nativity
At Out of the Ark Music, we love nativities (we’ve published over 50 of them)! Every year, we love to see and hear about all the fantastic performances schools put on up and down the country. We feel really privileged to help schools reap the amazing benefits of this festive tradition. But why should YOU do an Out of the Ark Music nativity this year? Let us tell you why…
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Sparkyard Is Coming!
Over the next couple of months, we’ll be launching a brand-new subscription service called Sparkyard. We’re very excited to be able to share more information on what we’ve been working on over the past few years!
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Spotlight on: That's What I Call A Class Assembly! series
The That’s What I Call A Class Assembly! series for ages 5–11 has been specially designed for classroom teachers as a teaching aid to support, consolidate and reinforce learning in key topics. These books really do bring the curriculum to life! Through listening to and learning the catchy, fact-based songs, children will find it easy to retain and recall information. Each book comes with a short script for the children to really immerse themselves in the topic and showcase to the school as a class assembly or mini-musical. Furthermore, with four pages of cross-curricular ideas, the learning potential around the topic is really extended.
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Has arts education ever been more important?
Close your eyes for a moment and think about a favourite piece of music – that one song that really does it for you. Perhaps it’s an Adele hit, or a bit of Coldplay, a Justin Bieber track or a snatch of Mozart or Mahler? Whatever your answer, I’m willing to bet that you weren’t struggling to come up with a single piece you could choose. Odds are that you have a ton of music you like listening to, and your favourite will change depending on your mood. What might be a perfect accompaniment for romantic night in is likely not to cut it if you’re heading for a roof-down blast to the beach on a hot summer’s day… So perfectly does music capture the essence of a time, place, experience or feeling that our lives can be catalogued by the music we’ve loved.
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Have Some Fun And Get Active With Our New Playlists
The link between physical activity and mental wellbeing is well known and proven. The National Curriculum requires us to teach pupils the importance of understanding that good physical health contributes to good mental wellbeing, and vice versa. On top of this, music and movement are inextricably linked, and innate. Play a song with a strong beat to a toddler and they will instinctively start to dance. Indeed, for some of our songs, it’s practically impossible not to start moving!
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10 Challenges Singing Teachers Face - A Guest Blog By John Dabell
Singing teachers face all sorts of challenges in their day-to-day work. It’s a tough gig, but an immensely enjoyable and creative one. Clearly, the pandemic is the single biggest health and safety challenge that any teacher has had to face and this has hit pupils and staff hard. Singing, aerosols and COVID have been a nightmare.
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Our Wellbeing Playlist
Every teacher knows the importance of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their pupils. In fact, with the challenges that the coronavirus has brought over the last 12 months, for most schools, it is their highest priority. Here at Out of the Ark we have always believed in the power of music to make a difference and enhance wellbeing. Here are a few of the reasons why...
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Establishing Routines & Loving My Learning
Here at Out of the Ark we strongly believe singing is not just for the school hall or music lesson (though it’s great in these places too of course)! We are passionate about the power of singing, and embedding songs throughout the curriculum and in every classroom in the school. Some of you may be familiar with our Singing School Project. One of the key findings from this report was that ‘integrating music right across the curriculum can result in improvement in almost all learning areas’.
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15 Reasons For Singing - A Guest Blog by John Dabell
You might think there isn’t much to sing about these days, but if there was ever a time we needed to empty our lungs then it is now. Singing is intimately linked to our mental wellbeing and it is hugely beneficial to our physical health too, so this is hands down a win-win situation for everyone.
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Makaton Signing With Singing Hands
At Out of the Ark Music we believe that singing can and should be inclusive. With that in mind, we have worked closely with Singing Hands to produce Makaton-signing videos for five of our popular songs. We asked our friends at Singing Hands, Suzanne Miell-Ingram and Tracy Upton (who were recently awarded with MBEs!), to explain a little bit about what Makaton signing is and why it is useful to use alongside songs.
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Ideas For Using Universal Access During Lockdown
We know what a difficult time this is for everyone and want to do all we can to support schools, teachers and children during this lockdown. Singing, even from home, can help everyone feel connected to their school community. So, in light of the most recent government announcement, Universal Access to our entire songbank* catalogue for a whole year is now available to purchase until the end of February 2021. Universal Access is an online solution to music teaching, allowing you to continue to sing with your children over lockdown. With a licence that allows you to display the songs and resources over your chosen digital platform, and access to over 900 songs and more than 300 activities, you can continue to sing.
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Meet The Team And Hear Our Favourite Christmas Songs!
For our last blog of the year we thought we’d give you a little introduction to a few of our team in the form of their favourite Out of the Ark Christmas songs. Wishing you a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year, from all of the staff at Out of the Ark Music!
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Get Into The Christmas Spirit With A School Christmas Playlist!
At Out of the Ark Music we think one of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit is with Christmas music! With everyone in their separate bubbles, creating a Christmas playlist to use in every classroom around the school is a great way to keep the spirit of whole-school togetherness alive. 
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Tips For Filming Your Nativity
Here at Out of the Ark we have loved hearing the innovative ways in which schools are still managing to put a show on this Christmas, in spite of the many challenges this year – including one school that is hiring a stable and performing outside! However, if you don’t happen to have any farm buildings available(!), here are some tips on how to go about filming your nativity, whether you are working in one or more separate bubbles, singing or not singing.
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: Mark, Helen And Naomi Johnson, Writers Of It's A Miracle!
As part of our “Out of the Ark Music Asks” series, here we talk to Mark, Helen and Naomi Johnson, writers of our brand-new nativity It’s A Miracle! for ages 5-9. Set half in heaven and half on earth, this nativity captures all the beauty and wonder of the true Christmas story, with just the right amount of humour. The story begins when we meet the ‘Holy-gram’ machine, a new and divine way for God to communicate. When the Holy-gram sends a very important message to the angels, they fly into a panic. How busy they will all be – there’s just so much to do!
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: Danielle Marsh And Lin Marsh, Writers Of The Angel Who Nearly Missed It All
As part of our “Out of the Ark Music Asks” series, here we talk to Danielle Marsh and Lin Marsh, writers of The Angel Who Nearly Missed It All, our brand-new nativity for 4-9 year olds. There have been HOURS of rehearsals and much preparation for the incredibly important role that the Angel Chorus will need to play to spread the news of the birth of a very special baby. But, are they ready? Well, one angel most certainly isn’t! Join Late Angel, the Angel Chorus and a whole host of familiar characters in this exceptionally well-written nativity by Danielle Marsh and Lin Marsh.
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: Gaynor Boddy And Rebecca Kincaid, Writers Of A Bundle Of Joy!
As part of our “Out of the Ark Music Asks” series, here we talk to Rebecca Kincaid and Gaynor Boddy, writers of our brand-new nativity for 3-6 year olds, A Bundle Of Joy! Discover a particularly special bundle of joy this Christmas, with our beautifully simple nativity that is bundles of fun! Sure to warm everyone’s hearts, it is full of all the traditional nativity characters plus someone you haven’t met before – Grumble, the grumpy, grumbly donkey who travels to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph.
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Top Five Songs For Singing Outdoors
The mental and physical health benefits of outdoor play and physical exercise are well-known, and it is likely that finding creative ways to get your class active will be an important part of your curriculum this year. Active songs and playground games are great for this and could be enjoyed in small groups in a large, open space. 
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Our #candomusic Ideas For Harvest
Harvest Festival is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon, which this year is Sunday 4th October 2020. But harvest isn’t just one day, it’s a season, and the message of thankfulness that harvest brings is relevant year-round. Whether you're working with a small group or bubbles, singing or not singing, we believe that a harvest celebration is not only possible, but is a wonderful opportunity to explore themes of thankfulness, food and the seasons. 
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Top Ideas For Putting On A Bubble-Friendly Nativity For Christmas 2020
Fluffy little sheep, cute angels, donkeys, shepherds, wise men, Mary, Joseph and of course the baby Jesus – the wonderful tradition of the school nativity play. But just how are schools going to put them on this year when there are still so many unknowns being thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic? Do not despair! The nativity musical is alive and well. As someone who regularly puts on musicals in schools, I have thought and thought around this unprecedented complication and come to the conclusion that there are so many ways to give the children the same wonderful experience with just a few little pandemic-friendly tweaks.
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Our #candomusic Recovery Curriculum
Our understanding of the risks associated with singing in relation to COVID-19 is growing all the time. It seems likely that the singing landscape in schools will look very different. While some schools will feel comfortable singing in ‘bubbles’ or outside for example, others may not have the facilities necessary to sing as regularly as they might like. The great news is that your favourite songs (as well as many you have yet to discover) can be used to support your music and whole-school curriculums whether you are singing in your school or not. Our #candomusic Recovery Curriculum will show you how.
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6 Top Primary School ideas For Learning About Insects
What a beautiful world we live in and what amazing creatures we share it with! Although the fauna of a region includes the birds, fish and mammals that live there, for the purposes of this blog, we’re going to start small and enter… Bug World! There is no shortage of interesting specimens to investigate – so grab a magnifying glass and a transparent receptacle if you have them; if not, a keen pair of eyes and a big dollop of curiosity will do! OK, let’s get going…
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Top 10 Songs For Primary School Leavers
The transition between primary and secondary school is an important moment for pupils, and it’s an occasion schools up and down the country put a lot of effort into marking. Leavers’ assemblies might look a little different this year, but just as teachers and students have adapted their learning for this unusual time, we know there’ll be lots of innovative ways to adapt leavers’ assemblies.
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Six Top Primary School Ideas About Plants And Flowers
Flora and fauna might sound like the latest double act (think Ant and Dec), but they are in fact two amazing aspects of nature. Flora is the general term for plants and flowers and fauna for animals. Here are some ideas to challenge children to find out more about flora!
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Top Five Ideas For Children To Celebrate Siblings
Why not make today the day where all of the children in your household celebrate one another, enjoy the things they have in common and appreciate the differences between them. We've created some ideas around the theme of siblings for you to try at home. Note, the children may need some adult support, but encourage them to help each other as much as possible.
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Five Top Ideas For 'Thank A Teacher Day'
It’s usually towards the end of the summer term that all the ‘Best Teacher’ cards and mugs start appearing in the shops. However, as everything is so topsy-turvy right now, why not sneak up on your teachers and surprise them with a great big THANK YOU! this week? You might not be able to present them with a mug, but you will certainly raise a smile (and perhaps a tear or two) if you get your children to take up any suggestions in our blog.
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12 Top Ideas For Fun With Scrabble Letters
It’s amazing how much fun you can have with Scrabble letters at home with the entire family. If you don’t have a version of the actual board game, there are plenty of online versions you could try. You can also find lots of classroom ideas and downloadable resources that could be easily adapted to playing at home. Here are 12 of our top ideas linked to Scrabble that you might enjoy trying out.
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Five Ideas For Your Five A Day!
Fruit and vegetables aren’t just good and nutritious to eat, they come in handy for all sorts of things. Get your children to try these five activities based around them, then make sure you eat at least five different fruits and vegetables a day!
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Talk Like William Shakespeare!
When we put our heads together to come up with some fun things to keep everyone entertained, educated and happy at home, we realized that April is a very special month– it happens to be the birth month of William Shakespeare! He was born on the 23rd April in 1564, so we thought it might be fun for children to try to ‘talk like Shakespeare’. Let’s start with a rousing chorus of: ‘Happy birthday to thee, Happy birthday to thee, Happy birthday dear William, Happy birthday to thee!’
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Top 5 tips for learning about FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE - LIGHT BRINGER
In these difficult times, ‘light’ moments are so important. Like hearing the news of Captain Tom’s amazing fundraising for the NHS or watching videos of families dancing together in lockdown. So, what an appropriate time to remember Florence Nightingale in her bicentenary year, a true ‘light bringer’ who revolutionized the way hospitals and the nursing profession were run, and established the first nursing school in the world at St Thomas’ in London. She enlightened society about the importance of cleanliness and nutrition and brought light, literally, to the soldiers in her care by checking up on them, even at night, walking around with her lamp, which is how she came to be known as ‘the lady with the lamp’.
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Six Fun Ideas for you to try on World Health Day
Well, what better time to be talking about world health than right now? In the current circumstances, it is easy to feel that everything is out of our control, so it seems like a good time to be planning what we can do when we are free to move about again and to be thinking about the changes we would like to make, so that in the future our world can be a healthier place. Here are some ideas around the theme of World Health Day for you to try at home.
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5 Ways To Build A New Routine Using The Positivity Of Music
Social media is full of the highs and lows of homeschooling, lockdown and isolation right now. This is an unprecedented and challenging time for parents and children, so here at Out of the Ark Music we have made a selection of songs and downloadable resources available for free to help families shape their own ‘new normal’ in these unusual times. Our hope is that as you’re squeezed and squashed together with no escape, you’ll find joy and unity as a family. So here are our five top tips to help with that!
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Out OF THE ARK MUSIC @ HOME Activity - Cardboard And Chalkboard Castle
During the current climate, and with the challenges we are all facing in the coming weeks and months, we want to do everything we can to make our resources available to you for use at home. As such, we are making seven songs a week – one per day – available for the coming weeks. Each song comes with some great activities to do at home. This Saturday’s song is 'I've Got A Cardboard Box' and everyone knows you can't have more fun than with a cardboard box! So, set your imagination free creating rockets, robots, super-scary monsters and anything else you desire with this fabulous song. Here’s one idea for you to explore today!
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The Singing Schools’ Research Project: A Teacher's Experience - Part 2
In 2017, in collaboration with Professor Susan Hallam MBE and the Milton Keynes and Sheffield Music Hubs, Out of the Ark Music worked with 24 primary schools, offering them simple training for all their staff alongside free, unlimited use of our entire catalogue of songs and all associated resources. They wanted to measure the impact that fully integrating singing into the school curriculum could have on a range of measures. In part two of our blogs, Laura Dolan talks to us about how the children in her class benefited from different songs.
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The Best Simple, Stress-Free Fundraising Ideas For Sport Relief – 9-13 March 2020
Sport Relief isn’t far away, but it’s not too late to take part! There is no pressure to be a sporty superstar, it’s all about getting active, having fun and raising money for this great charity. Mark, Helen and Naomi Johnson from Out of the Ark Music have once again written the nation’s FREE schools’ song for Sport Relief, It’s Game On! Here are our 3 super-easy top fundraising ideas for you and your class to try out.
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The Singing Schools' Research Project: A Teacher's Experience - Part 1
In 2017, in collaboration with Professor Susan Hallam MBE and the Milton Keynes and Sheffield Music Hubs, Out of the Ark Music worked with 24 primary schools, offering them simple training for all their staff alongside free, unlimited use of our entire catalogue of songs and all associated resources. They wanted to measure the impact that fully integrating singing into the school curriculum could have on a range of measures. Laura Dolan, a class teacher who was involved in the project, talks to us about how it impacted her teaching and her school.
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10 Reasons Why Singing Should Be Part of Every Primary Classroom - A Guest Blog By John Dabell
Schools that value and prioritise music have a School Music Education Plan that ensures that they are delivering a Music Curriculum in which pupils have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument, sing regularly, to perform and hear live music, and to work with professional musicians. Singing costs nothing, it’s easy to set in motion and it oxygenates a school like nothing else. If a school ain’t singing, then it ain’t swinging so here are ten good reasons why singing should be ringing in every classroom.
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Top 15 Reasons Why Singing Is Important For Child Development - A Guest Blog By John Dabell
Singing is a foundational musical skill and one of the most natural ways for children to engage in making music and central to the development of musicianship. It can make children’s brains light up like a Christmas tree and it’s something they should be doing every day of the week because it’s good for their development on so many levels. Research has shown that music-making improves a myriad of cognitive and non-cognitive skills and the variety of skills needed for singing help develop the whole child. John Dabell discusses 15 ways singing can help with child development.
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Why Are Nativities Still Important?
It's that time of year again! There's a flurry of activity up and down the country as children and parents prepare for this year's Nativity. Few stories are so widely known as the Nativity story, and the annual tradition of tinsel and tea towels is one that brings a whole lot of joy across the ages. Nativities present a special opportunity for children and adults alike to be reminded of the story of Christmas and the reason we celebrate.
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The Lost Traditions Of Christmas
Of any season throughout the year, Christmas is definitely the one with the most tradition and heritage throughout the western world. From Christmas turkeys to Christmas number 1s, from stockings to school nativities, there are even some newer traditions such as ‘The Elf on the Shelf’ making their way into our Christmas routines. Not all festive traditions have stood the test of time, however. Many have declined in popularity whilst others have been consigned to the history books.
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The History Of The Christingle
In recent years Christingle services have become a popular Christmas tradition. They are held between late November and Christmas in churches and schools around the UK. Familiar carols are often sung and readings are read, whilst the Christingles that children have made are lit.
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The Highs And Lows Of Putting On A Nativity: A Guest Blog By Kelly Fort
It surprises us all how quickly the Christmas season comes around each year and I’m sure it comes around even more quickly for anyone who, like me, is producing any kind of Christmas performance. It’s around this time that I start gearing up for work on nativities, musical shows and youth events as part of my role as a lay worker for the Methodist church in Burnley.
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Sing Your Heart Out - Why Singing Is Good For Pupil Well-Being: A Guest Blog By John Dabell
The contribution of music and other expressive arts activities in promoting the well-being and health of the school community is enormous. Singing is one of the most accessible forms of music-making and there is something rather special about how it can feed our minds, bodies and souls. It really does makes us feel well.
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Top Classroom And Assembly Ideas For Remembrance Day
This Remembrance Day, 11th November, many schools across the country will be paying their respects with a remembrance school assembly or service, or special classroom activity. Helping kids understand the significance and importance of Remembrance Day can be difficult. To make it easier, we have composed a list of ideas on how you can teach children about the reason why the nation holds two minutes of silence on the 11th hour of the 11th month every year.
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Naomi Johnson, Writer Of I'm Gonna Shine!
Choosing the school nativity for Christmas can be a daunting task! To make your decision it a little easier we’ve caught up with some of our nativity writers. We hope we’ve captured some of the thinking behind one of this year's new releases. Here we talk to Naomi Johnson, writer of I'm Gonna Shine!
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Mark And Helen Johnson, Writers Of Everyone Loves A Baby!
Picking the school Nativity for Christmas can be a daunting task! To make your decision it a little easier we’ve caught up with Mark & Helen Johnson, writers of Everyone Loves A Baby. We hope we’ve captured some of the thinking behind one of this years new releases.
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The Positive Effects Of Singing: A Guest Blog By Pete Taylor
Singing, throughout my life, has freed me and empowered me. It’s brought me friends and opportunities, and has given me a way to identify, control and communicate my emotions. It’s shaped the way I think and the way I interact with other people and it’s given me great joy. My job is to bring this freedom and power to as many people as I can.
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A Guide To Kickstarting Music In Your Primary School
With the new school year in sight, it's the perfect time to introduce the power of music and singing to your school. This blog post will provide you with simple, acheivable ideas to introduce the benefits of bringing more music to your primary school curriculum.
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What We Can Learn From Space Exploration & Apply To Everyday Learning
Space is a brilliant topic, not simply because young children get to learn about “cool stuff”, but because it teaches children so much more about life and the world around and beyond them. So, when you’re next exploring “infinity and beyond” in your classroom, try and relate what your children learn about space to something that could influence their personal lives. To help, here are three concepts that we have interpreted from space exploration and applied to them to everyday living and learning.
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5 Songs For A Leavers' Assembly
As the school year comes to an end, many children are preparing for a big step in their lives. Leaving primary school can be an emotional experience which is why it is so important to celebrate the end of an amazing journey with an assembly that unites a year group and school, one last time. Because of this, it’s likely you’re on the look-out for some great songs for your leavers’ assembly and, luckily for you, we’ve got just the selection in the list below!
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Five Things We Can Learn From Sport And Apply To Singing
Summer sport fever is hitting here in the Out of the Ark office. To put our enthusiasm to good use, we thought we’d see what we could learn from the world of sport. One word sprang to mind: TEAMWORK! Teamwork is vital whether you’re playing in a rugby match, playing in a symphony orchestra or singing in your local choir. It’s all about working together to accomplish a common goal. In the case of singing, perfect timing and harmonies help to create an unforgettable performance every time - even if it’s just in rehearsal! So what can we learn from the sports field?
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Top 5 Songs About The Environment
World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June every year and, as the UK Parliament declares a climate change emergency, you may be wondering what more you can do to make a difference. It’s true that small actions by individuals can have a big impact. To make a start in your classroom, we’ve chosen five of our top songs about the environment and compiled a list of five lesson ideas for you to save (the planet) through song.
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Ten Teaching Ideas About The Victorians
Did you know that 24th May 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth? Did you also know that her first name was not Victoria? And did you know that Queen Victoria was barely five feet tall? We've selected some of our favourite teaching tips about the Victorians and listed them for you to explore. We've even highlighted how you can develop these ideas further if you want to.
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How To Wake Up Your Brain & Feel Ready To Learn!
We have all experienced mornings that just don’t start as well as others and in a class of about 15-30 children, all experiencing different mornings, there are bound to be some who are having a much slower start to their day than others. With this in mind, I’ve compiled some top tips to help you make the most of your morning routine so that you and the whole class start the day on the same note - a musical one preferably. So grab your glasses, if you need them, have a read, take some notes and start taking some steps towards better mornings with my very own How To Wake Up Guide.
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Share-A-Story Month: What A Story Means To You
Here at Out of the Ark Music, we love telling a story (no surprises there!) Looking through our collection of fantastic musicals, brilliant Song and Story books, playful nativities, not to mention many of our amazing songs, it's safe to say that we're very partial to some story time. In celebration of National Share-A-Story Month this May, we asked some of our staff to share what stories mean to them and which ones have stuck with them all these years.
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Rebecca Kincaid, Co-Writer of Pirates Versus Mermaids, Hats Off! and many more
Whilst you’re busy picking your schools’ next summer musical, we thought you may like to hear more about what happens behind the scenes with some of our best primary school musicals. Eager to find out the secret ingredient to making a magical school production, we decided to interview with Rebecca Kincaid and share her wisdom with you!
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Five Literacy Lessons About Frogs!
Inspired by our most recent musical, Croak!, we’ve come up with five fantastic literacy lessons, and they’re all about frogs! Make use of these fun literacy activities in your classroom as you prepare for summer and your upcoming school musical. So, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!
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The Singing School Project: Music Education Research Study
In 2017, in collaboration with Professor Susan Hallam MBE and the Milton Keynes and Sheffield Music Hubs, Out of the Ark Music conducted a major research project into the most effective ways of integrating music (and singing in particular) into the school curriculum. We worked with 24 primary schools, offering them simple training for all their staff alongside free, unlimited use of our entire catalogue of songs and all associated resources. As part of the project, we asked all schools to sing regularly together as a whole school community. Many chose to start their days with singing, and some ended the school day with a singing celebration. However they implemented their whole-school singing, all reported a positive impact on both children and staff. Our aim was to measure the impact that fully integrating singing into the school curriculum could have on a range of measures, including well-being, social inclusion, pupil and teacher confidence, as well as academic attainment across general subjects and the music curriculum. Some of the results surprised even us!
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6 Songs And Activities About Bugs
We’re simply buggin’ out over the official start of spring on Wednesday 20th March 2019. Just like an insect with six legs, we’ve selected six songs about bugs to get you buzzing for spring. This selection of songs is particularly great for Early Years, with catchy and easy-to-learn tracks specifically designed for younger voices. We’ve also created a few classroom resources for you to utilise as you and your students venture into the world of creepy crawlies!
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5 Ways To Fundraise In Primary Schools
Put the FUN in fundraising this Red Nose Day with our top tips to fundraising in primary schools. There are so many ways you can raise money for Comic Relief and have a laugh at the same time. Along with your FREE school song and classroom activities which you can download here, host a whole variety of money-raising events using our ideas included as inspiration.
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Top 5 Easter Songs
It’s that time of year again when one moment you’re filling your tummy with some lovely pancakes on Tuesday; making a promise to give up something for Lent on Wednesday; and, before you know it, it’s Good Friday and Easter Sunday! This daily countdown can only mean one thing – Easter is coming, and you need to get your school assembly or church concert good to go! For this week’s blog, we’re keeping it short and sweet - just like a packet of mini eggs – and we’re sharing our 5 favourite Easter songs from our 5 favourite Easter songbooks. Read carefully as there are also some fun craft and dance activities to compliment these crackin’ tunes!
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Mary Green & Julie Stanley, Writers Of Class Assembly: Maths
In the lead up to World Maths Day on Thursday 7th March 2019, we thought we would dive into the minds of Mary Green and Julie Stanley, writers of the wonderful That’s What I Call A Class Assembly Series including brand-new Class Assembly: Maths which is the ideal resource to help support maths learning for ages 5-7. Packed with a fun script and 4 easy-to-learn songs that reinforce core maths topics, including counting in twos, fives, tens & hundreds, estimation and measurement, number bonds to 10, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Perfect for a class assembly or fun classroom learning.
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How To Make Pancakes – And A Party!
Are you ready for some flipping good fun? Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday to use its official title, is fast approaching. It’s the only day of the year when pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner is acceptable. Not sure which topping to have? Not a problem - you’re allowed to try them all! Like all great traditions, there is a more serious side to this festive feast day, which means there are lots of ways to celebrate and explore why we love pancakes in the classroom.
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A Guide To Celebrating Women's Month In The Classroom
King Henry III, Christopher Columbus and William Shakespeare are the names of just a few men who have helped shape the world today. In more recent years, the world has come to acknowledge that beside these great men stood a variety of wonderful women who contributed just as much to shaping life as we know it. Every March marks a month of celebration for womankind. It is globally recognised as Women’s History Month, with 8th March considered International Women’s Day. Using our recommendations below, why not highlight a few famous women in some of your key curriculum lessons - including science, literacy, art, music and, of course, history - throughout March.
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Ann Beresford, Writer of The Tale Of 3 Trees
As part of our campaign to give our customers a greater insight into what happens at Out of the Ark Music, we thought you’d like to hear a little more about the creation of our first Easter musical for 7-11 year olds, The Tale Of 3 Trees by Ann Beresford. The Tale Of 3 Trees is a mini-musical with a big heart, perfect as a primary school musical. Full of hope and encouragement, this beautiful traditional folktale is retold with a simple script and four stunning school songs that are full of the expectation, disappointment and ultimate joy at the end of the story. With great Easter songs and the climax focusing on the death and resurrection of Jesus, this mini-musical is perfect for Easter, but also suitable for year-round performances.
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5 Valentine's Day Songs For The Classroom
Valentine's Day is celebrated annually on the 14th February. To help “put a little love in your” school, we’ve put together a list of amazing school songs along with some fantastic classroom ideas and discussion points to mark the age-old tradition of St Valentine. We know it can be a tricky one to teach (with giggles often getting in the way) but with so much room to touch on themes of friendship, compassion, caring and much more, it’s a must for any classroom teacher.
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6 Lessons About The Chinese New Year
We're halfway through January but for some cultures, their New Year celebrations are yet to start! We love learning about different cultures and traditions and we think you probably do too. So, with the Chinese New Year fast approaching, we thought we would offer you some helpful hints to fill your week with some fun Chinese themed lesson plans! The Chinese New Year is a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia. Here are 6 lesson ideas about the Chinese New Year, just for you. And, as always, don’t forget to end the week with some school assembly songs too!
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A Guide To Setting Up A Choir
Starting a choir from scratch might seem like a daunting task, but it isn’t as difficult as you might fear. Like any other project, a little planning can go a long way. Whether you’re setting up a school choir to meet curriculum criteria or simply starting a choir because you and a few others love to sing, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to help you get on your way.
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10 New Year Traditions From Around The World
New year celebrations are awash with great traditions, whether you're singing Auld Lang Syne on the stroke of midnight, making new year resolutions or simply gazing at the fireworks out of your bedroom window. We’ve decided to take a quick look at some of the weirder and wackier new year celebratory customs from around the globe. From the superstitious to the more off the wall. Exploring these traditions in the classroom could be a great way of getting your children to embrace other cultures and beliefs from around the world.
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The 12 Tips Of Christmas
At Out of the Ark Music, we empathise with you and the chaos Christmas has brought into your world yet again. So, to make things a little easier in the lead up to one of your biggest Christmas musicals yet, we’ve composed a list of top tips for putting on your Christmas play.
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A Guide To Singing Your Way To A Fabulous Phonics Lesson
Although the phonics lesson is firmly rooted in our busy school timetable, you may not have considered the role that music can play in ensuring your class can spot a split vowel digraph from a mile away! Research shows active engagement in music has the potential to enrich learning in phonics and impacts positively on children’s reading skills as a whole. Therefore, we teamed up with Nikki Lewis, writer of The Inn-spectors and Christmas With The Aliens to map out the ways in which you can sing your way through a fabulous phonics lesson.
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1 Poem and 11 Facts About Silent Night
“Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright” These are lyrics that everyone knows. They were the lyrics to one of your favourite Christmas school songs as a child. Maybe sang them in church growing up. Now, you’re probably planning to sing the same words again in the Christmas school assembly or school concert. Everyone knows the song – but does everyone know the facts about Silent Night?
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A Guide To Putting On A Christmas Concert
Out of the Ark Music Christmas school assembly songs and songbooks have been delighting schools for many years. They are a fabulous opportunity to create your own Christmas concert to suit your needs, or indeed choose just a few of your favourites for a great school assembly or Christmas classroom sing-along. The scope for performance opportunities is wide, so we have created 3 playlist suggestions from our most popular Christmas songbooks packed with wonderful primary school songs and songs for younger years to give you an idea of how you may like to form your Christmas concert this year. The playlists are by no means exhaustive but give you a great place to start. So, grab a Santa hat, stand up straight, take a deep breath and get ready to put on the greatest concert of the year!
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Sue Langwade, Co-Writer of Bah Humbug!
We often get asked about our team of writers, so we thought we’d give you a little insight into the creation of one of our new Christmas Musicals, Bah Humbug! In a fun adapted version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, we start the show on Christmas Eve, and what a night it proves to be for the miserable, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who finds himself visited by some rather unexpected characters!
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Fun Facts About Bonfire Night
As Bonfire Night approaches, we thought you may like some fun facts about Guy Fawkes to share amongst your students as a classroom activity. We all know Guy Fawkes as one of the conspirators in the (failed!) attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November 1605, but did you know he used a fake name when he was arrested?
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Out of the Ark Music Asks: An Interview With Nikki Lewis, Author Of The Inn-spectors
We often get asked about our team of writers, so we thought we’d give you a little insight into the creation of one of our new-for-2018 nativities, The Inn-spectors for 4-8 year olds. With a simple script and some fabulous songs, this nativity follows a team of inn-spectors, sent into Bethlehem to check that all the accommodation is up to scratch, but they are not pleased.
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Harvest Worship - Top Tips On Planning Your Harvest Festival Assembly
Whether your school is planning a large harvest festival celebration in partnership with a local church, or simply a harvest assembly with a religious theme, here are a few ideas to get you started.
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Top 5 Harvest Crafts For Your Primary School - A Guide To A Crafty Harvest
It’s harvest time again and here at Out of the Ark Music, we’re finding even more reasons to celebrate the season. Our wonderful catalogue of autumn and harvest songs have inspired us to seek out fun and crafty activities for kids – perfect for the classroom! Have a go at singing along to some Out of the Ark Music songs whilst creating some DIY harvest crafts. Better still, why not host a harvest assembly and display these wonderful autumn crafts for all to see?
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Top Ways To Celebrate Harvest In Your Primary School
The Harvest Festival is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday nearest the Harvest Moon, which this year is Sunday 23rd September 2018. But harvest isn’t just one day, it’s a season, and the message of thankfulness that harvest brings is relevant year-round. So, extend your school’s harvest festivities with these fabulous harvest celebration ideas for primary schools!
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A Guide to Putting on a Primary School Leavers' Concert - From Sing Sensational
At Out of the Ark Music we have some brilliant songs for your primary school concert! Follow numbers 1 to 10 below for the ultimate concert programme, or pick and choose to your hearts content. All the songs come from our fabulously popular songbook Sing™ Sensational, a spectacular collection of 19 flamboyant songs and warm-ups just right for an extravagant, energetic and exciting show-stopper of a performance!
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Top Tips For Putting On A School Musical
Did you pick the short straw? Are you organising the next end of term musical? If so, you are going to need these top tips to ensure it’s a successful school play! You’ve probably been trawling websites and catalogues lying around the staff room but it all seems a little daunting – what songs to sing, is the script suitable, have we got some strong actors and singers this year? You’ve got a busy time ahead so, to help you with your plans, here are a few tips.
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A Guide To Taking A Bow On Stage
Teach your primary school students how to bow on stage and end their performance like a professional with our guide to bowing out in style!
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6 Ways To Celebrate Primary School Leavers
Remember when they first arrived – the leg-clutching, the anxious faces and the tearful goodbyes? The first day at school can be a difficult one, for children, parents and teachers alike, but it doesn’t usually take too long for everyone to settle into the routine of daily life. Science classes, assemblies, collage-making and music lessons, nativity musicals and sports days; the school year has a rhythm all of its own.
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Sunflower Growing Challenge and Interesting Sunflower Facts
Is there anyone who hasn’t seen a print of Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’? The great painter produced two series of paintings inspired by these looming floral giants, and reproductions of his work have adorned the walls of primary schools, doctors’ surgeries, public buildings and homes for generations. Glowing golden and orange they capture the imaginations of children and adults alike, and anyone who has driven through those ‘holiday’ parts of France where ‘tournesols’ grow in happy serried rows can’t fail to have had their own heads turned in appreciation.
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World Voice Day: 16th April 2018
We use our voices all the time, telling stories, giving instructions and chatting with friends, and while some of us are more talkative than others, there's no doubting just how important our voices are. But have you ever wondered what happens when you sing?
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Top 10 Children's Songs For Literacy
Happy World Book Day! This global event is now in its 21st year and is designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading.
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Top 10 Children's Songs for Easter
We would like to share our top 10 Easter songs with you AND inspire you to get crafty with some fun Easter activities for kids!
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Top Songs And Facts For Pancake Day
It’s Pancake Day on 13th February and soon the nation will be cracking more than 52 million eggs to mix the batter for our favourite, flat, fun-filled, flip-flop food. Pancakes are found in almost every culture across the world, but here in the UK they were traditionally eaten to use up all the eggs and fat that wouldn’t last the 40 days of the Lenten fast.
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Top 9 Songs You Need For Your Christmas Celebration
Here we come a-Wassailing, a-Mumming and a-Carolling! We all love the best Christmas festive traditions – they offer us a chance to get together with families or friends and enjoy a time of celebration. Three of the older Christmas traditions have changed through the centuries but at the heart of each of them is a theme of the community coming together to celebrate and sing.
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Top Tips For Putting On A Nativity
It's that time of year again! There'll be a flurry of activity up and down the country as schools prepare for this year's nativity. From choosing a cast, learning the songs, rehearsing the lines, sending the invitations out, to searching the back of the cupboard for the baby Jesus doll, it's a busy time ahead. So, to help you with your preparations, here are a few top tips:
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Top 5 Harvest Songs For Schools
The moon continually waxes and wanes throughout the year, but full moons have traditionally been given some beautifully poetic names – Moon after Yule and the Wolf Moon happen in the first quarter of the year while Spring brings the Egg, Milk and Flower Moons, for example.
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They're Bullooming Brilliant and Udderly Fantastic! It's Cow Appreciation Day
You can’t venture far into the countryside without spotting them – mainly black and white, oddly often all pointing in the same direction (why do they do that?!) and constantly munching away at the grass. They are a familiar sight for sure, but how much do you really know about these beautiful, bountiful bovines?
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Summer Song Picks: Sadie Cook
It’s mid-June. The sun is shining, the sky is clear and there’s surely a song in everybody’s heart! As she climbs behind the wheel of her sky-blue Beetle for the drive into Out of the Ark Towers we ask Sadie Cook, Director of Publishing, what she’ll be listening to and why. It turns out she has very specific taste!
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How Will You Be Celebrating International Music Day?
The French have had their fair share of good ideas, haven’t they? Antibiotics, the oboe, little black dresses, the camera phone, cheese and wine… the list is endless! But in 1982 they had a brainwave, Fête de la Musique, or, as we know it, International Music Day. The idea was simple: a series of concerts and events, free to the public, to be held on 21 June (midsummer) each year.
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Can You Spot Bee-yonce?
it’s the height of Spring! Trees are coming into leaf, lambs are playing in the fields and, in the Out of the Ark hive our queen, Bee-yonce is getting busy! Can you spot her in the video? (Hint: she has a white spot on her back.)
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Wanna Make Great Music? On Your Bike!
Serried ranks of violins, a phalanx of shiny brass, a row of straight woodwinds and a clamour of bangy, crashy instruments at the back. The spectacle of the classic symphony orchestra in all its glory! Or maybe you prefer rocking out with a couple of cool-looking guitars, a bass, amplifiers and keyboard, all driven by the all-in-one drum kit at the back.
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Are You Having A Bubble?!
Do you enjoy a chuckle or a snirtle, do you like nothing more than a good yock? Are you ever happier than when you’re creased up, rolling in the aisles, clutching your sides, guffawing like a drain? Or perhaps you’re more at home formally cachinnating?!
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Spring Chicken
Boiled, scrambled, poached, pickled, fried, or best of all (at least in my opinion) covered in hollandaise sauce, we certainly enjoy our eggs. In the UK alone we eat 34 million of them each day, and our love of these oval, shelled wonders has helped make the humble chicken one of the most populous land animals on planet Earth.
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Who got rhythm? Ronan, the Californian sea lion! That's who!
Do you sweep across the floor with all the grace of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or are you more in step with the natural rhythm of Ann Widdecombe? Many people claim to have two left feet when it comes to dancing, and never mind a Hand Juggle Slingshot (yep, that really is a dance move), some of us approach anything more complicated than a drunken ‘Dancing Queen’ with more than a little trepidation!
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Sing: Join A Choir
Question: what do boys, the National Health Service and a housing estate near Watford have in common? Answer: they have all been the subject of the fabulously successful BBC series The Choir where Gareth Malone puts together a choir of unlikely singers and transforms them into a successful singing ensemble, in the process often changing the lives of the participants forever.
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My World: I Love Music
Christmas seems like a distant memory. All the beautiful lights have been put away for another year, the sun is low in the sky and it’s dull, grey and cold outside. If your energy levels are lagging, let us help you light up your classroom, cast away the winter blues and bring some zing and fun to your January.
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Christmas Quiz – The Answers!
And so for the answers to our Christmas number 1s quiz. How did you do? The correct answers are highlighted in red, while blue indicates some great Christmas hits that either only made it to the number 2 slot or were never Christmas hits in the UK at all!
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Win a bottle of bubbly & a fabulous resource for your school!
Christmas is nearly here and it’s competition time at Out of the Ark! The titles of lots of UK Number One Christmas singles are hidden in the text of this week’s post (some are more difficult to spot than others, and some are downright sneaky!). Find as many as you can and you could win yourself a bottle of bubbly! You can also choose any Words on Screen™ single title for your school.
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Q: What's green, covered in tinsel and goes croak?
Crackers: an essential part of our Christmas celebrations – a novelty toy, a paper hat and, of course, a joke! Often more ‘oh no’ than ‘ho-ho-ho’, apparently one of the reasons that these terrible puns and riddles are so popular is precisely because they are so bad.
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You absolutely need music in your life. Here's why...
You may have seen this image floating around Facebook. It popped up on my feed recently and it got me thinking: how much does music really add to our lives? Maybe we wouldn’t miss it if it were gone…
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Guest post – Mary & Julie's recipe for a great Nativity
The School Nativity Play – such a memorable tradition! We have worked together for years as both teachers and writers and sometimes it feels as though Christmas extends from spring until autumn as we beaver away at creating a new nativity musical. Superstar is our latest addition to the Out of the Ark catalogue and we devised this plot to help children to understand that everyone has a chance to shine.
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5 Essential Singing Warm-ups For Children
Picture this. You’ve been dreaming of that perfect vacation for a while now – wistfully looking through catalogues, choosing a destination, planning excursions or checking the Waterstones ‘We recommend’ lists for some great holiday reads. The day has finally arrived: school’s been wrapped up, the suitcase is packed and the plane has boarded.
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Can Listening To Music Make You More Intelligent?
We all know that Mozart was a genius. He had written his first compositions by the age of five and by eight he had composed his first symphony, though his first opera had to wait until he was a stately eleven years old! He also kept a pet starling and taught it to sing the theme from his 17th piano concerto (although he was disappointed that it always got one note wrong!). But can it be possible that just listening to music written by the bird-educating boy wonder can make you more intelligent?
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Do you ever wish you were a hedgehog?
The start of autumn sees a flurry of activity in schools – a return to work for teachers and new year groups and classes for children. New faces and places, lessons to plan, outings and activities to organise… all this can come as a bit of a shock after the (hopefully) slower tempo of the summer holidays.
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The Links Between Maths And Music
The worlds of music and maths are miles apart, aren't they? After all maths is all to do with equations, 1s and 0s and logic; music on the other hand is all about feelings and emotional expression, a comforting, safe place where there are no rights and wrongs. Of course most of us know that, in reality, music and maths have much in common, but the connection goes way beyond shouting out ‘1,2,3,4’ before air-guitaring your way through Born In The USA, or whistling Can’t Buy Me Love while working out that you can’t afford the monthly payments for a car loan over 5 years at 25% APR!
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This Is Me!
Over the last couple of weeks there’s been a fair amount of ooh-ing and ah-ing in the office over our fabulously colourful new product, THIS IS ME! It’s a product that is sure to become an indispensable assembly resource and an established favourite with schools and parents alike.
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Do you have what it takes to be a conker conqueror?
October sees the ripening of the nut of one of Britain’s best-loved trees, the horse chestnut – those shiny, mahogany-brown beauties nestled in their spiky, green protective cases; and there are few things more exciting than to prise a perfect conker from its jacket. After all, it could turn out to be a winner!
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After Eights - there's always one more in the box
A box full of empty wrappers. You’ve enjoyed the pepperminty chocolatey-ness and the time has come to chuck the packaging into the recycling. Still, more in hope than expectation, you take one last riffle through the papers and… YES! You find one more forgotten wafer-thin mint – and that little unexpected extra tastes so good!
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Didaskaleinophobia – are you a sufferer?
Didaskaleinophobia is a fear of going to school and is thought to affect between 2% and 5% of school-age children. While it’s a pretty uncommon condition, there’s no doubt that those three little words – back to school – carry so many different meanings and varying emotions! The chance to see friends again, the excitement of new classes and activities, sharing tales of long summer holidays, new faces to welcome, lesson planning and marking, having to set an early alarm… we all have mixed feelings about that first day back.
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