Here at Out of the Ark we like to help you to plan ahead! Although name labels are still fresh in the new uniform and you’re still getting to know your class, it won’t be long until half term is upon us, and then it’s one of the highlights of the autumn term - Bonfire Night! Fireworks, bonfires, sparklers and toffee apples… Bonfire Night is a celebration packed with opportunities to sing, learn and play, so here’s a list of our eight favourite Bonfire Night activities featured on Sparkyard for you and your class to enjoy:
Fireworks! from Songs For EVERY Autumn Assembly is the perfect way to get your class up on their feet in celebration at this magical time of year. With an upbeat and explosive chorus, add simple firework-like actions to bring this song to life in your classroom. On Sparkyard you’ll also find Light Up The Sky, a song about the fascinating story of Guy Fawkes, and a useful Fireworks Warm-up to get mouth muscles ready for singing.
Create a series of ‘freeze frames’ to tell the story of the Gunpowder Plot. Either divide the class into groups and assign each a different section of the story or create frames as a class. As well as playing the role of characters in the story (e.g. Guy Fawkes), the children can also assume the role of different locations (e.g. the Houses of Parliament). Perform the freeze frames in sequence or as a photo slideshow.
(Every song on Sparkyard has its own song page packed with fun, creative ways to extend the topic you are singing about and to support cross-curricular learning. The freeze frame idea above comes from the Fireworks! song page where you can find more information about how to facilitate this activity, as well as music composition activities, dance choreography ideas and more.)
Use lyric ideas from our Guy Fawkes song Light Up The Sky to create a composition using a graphic score. A graphic score uses images, shapes and pictures instead of notes and these scores can be dynamic and colourful just like a firework display! Find more tips and ideas about how to lead this activity on the Light Up The Sky song page, where you can find listening activities, tips for teaching the song and other helpful resources.
Do your class know how many barrels of gunpowder Guy Fawkes and his fellow plotters used? Or what fake name Mr Fawkes gave for days after his capture? Our Bonfire Night page in the Song Calendar on Sparkyard features fun facts for you and your class to learn more about Guy Fawkes and the infamous Gunpowder Plot. Why not present these in an assembly, or challenge your class to create a Guy Fawkes quiz?
With younger children, create a firework display through movement! Start with children standing in their own space on the carpet or in a hall. Introduce two cue words such as ‘go’ and ‘stop’ and have children weave around one another in the space as you call them out. Slowly, add various firework-inspired cue words with linked actions. Here are some ideas:
- ‘up’ and ‘down’ – stretch upwards or duck down as you move
- ‘bang!’ – stop and jump on the spot with arms outstretched
- ‘sizzle’ – five seconds of movement in a wiggly line
- ‘pop!’ – change direction
- ‘boom’ – sit on the floor
- ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ – speed up or slow down (fast = fast walking, not running, to avoid overexcitement!)
For more ideas about how you can facilitate this and add music to create a dance performance, head to the Bonfire Night page in the Song Calendar on Sparkyard.
Set up a science experiment with your class to create your very own miniature firework display! This activity is great for learning about states of matter. Using warm water, food colouring and vegetable oil, create fireworks in a jar – go to the Bonfire Night page in the Song Calendar on Sparkyard for more info.
Did you know that the Gunpowder Plot would have been successful had it not been for a particular letter that was written? The anonymous ‘Monteagle letter’, sent by one of the plotters on 26th October 1605, warned Lord Monteagle not to attend the opening of parliament on 5 November, ‘for they shall recyeve a terrible blowe this parleament and yet they shall not seie who hurts them’.
Can your class have a go at writing an anonymous letter to a member of parliament in 1605, with the tricky task of warning them of danger without giving themselves away - whoever wrote this letter was clearly unsuccessful in that regard!?
On each song page on Sparkyard, you’ll find links to assembly plans. On the Fireworks! song page, you’ll find a number of thought-provoking assemblies perfect for this time of year. Check out the Remember, Remember assembly plan, which looks at why we remember important events – it focuses on the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and what we can learn from it.
We hope you have a lot of fun trying some of these activities with your class. Wishing you a wonderful Bonfire Night – wrap up warm, have fun and stay safe!
Sparkyard is our intuitive, easy-to-use subscription service jam-packed with songs, assemblies, resources, a flexible music curriculum and much more. You can find a wide range of resources for different topics, including the Bonfire Night ones already mentioned by signing up to a FREE, 30-day Sparkyard trial.