I have been using Charanga for a while now. I really like some of the units of work such as their hip hop unit and their work based on the blues. The Bon Jovi sessions always go down really well with the kids. I haven’t looked at it for a while so was quite surprised to see that it now offers a whole school scheme of work that you can follow on a week by week basis.
I have had a quick look and can see how appealing this will be for head teachers wanting to ensure music is taught throughout the whole school. As well the week by week lessons there are also lots of free standing units so you can take a more pick and mix approach.
There are also lots of schemes to teach whole class recorder, ukulele, guitar, djembe etc. There is classical music to listen to with information and discussion points, music theory and suggestions for assessment.
I would imagine that this would be fantastically popular with class teachers who are nervous about teaching music or too busy to collect their own resources. I know that I would have loved to have been given this as a class teacher.
It really is a quite remarkable resource that I really haven’t done justice to here and I would encourage you to contact Charanga directly for a free trial so you can see for yourself.
I have just got one teeny tiny nagging doubt which I will explain. Bear with me as it is a bit tortuous ….
When I first started teaching 24 years ago, the school I worked at followed a maths scheme called SPMG (Scottish Primary Maths Group) and the children worked through differently coloured booklets at their own rate. Inevitably they would would come to a section that instructed the children to go to the weights table and pick up parcel A, B & C. Of course there was never a “weights table” so the kids just skipped it. it was the same with the capacity unit, the 3D shapes table, the clocks and so on. I did query but was told that no one had time for these things anyway and it wouldn’t matter. Remarkably all the staff at the school did the same and I was left feeling guilty that none of the kids in my class would be able to work in a green grocers. Despite the very best intentions of SPMG to make the maths curriculum hands on and active it was sabotaged by the teachers.
And of course that is my fear about Charanga. It is all too easy to imagine the class teacher going through the opening of the lesson, the listening activities and games with a bit of a sing a long but when it comes to the getting out the percussion instruments the teachers will skip over. It also feels a bit passive with the whole class sitting in front of a white board.
Maybe I am doing teachers a huge disservice and Im chucking out the baby and the bathwater. My gut feeling is that this is a great resource for teachers but they need to be encouraged to switch off the IWB for at least part of the lesson so the class can focus on each others performances.
Don’t let me put you off – make up your own mind and then let me know if I am wrong to worry.