Horrible Histories Style Songwriting Workshop with Dave Cohen

Ridgefield had a jam-packed creative day with Historyworks on the theme of ‘Rhythm & Singing’ inspiring creative writing using ‘history beneath our feet’, collaborating with the famous songwriter, Dave Cohen, funded by our S106 Public Art funding for ‘Rhythm, Rhymes & Railways’.

 

The day started with a Singing Assembly for the whole school.  Helen Weinstein and Mario Satchwell warmed up the singers with a rendition of Michael Rosen’s ‘Button Bop’, followed by our songs about the coming of the Railways in 1845.  First we sang ‘Eagle Engine Number 9’ followed by ‘One Railway Track’. 

 

Helen introduced Dave Cohen to the school by singing with them the song he composed about the Cambridge ‘Coat of Arms’ called SEAHORSES. Then Dave introduced them to his famous monarchs song, well known to the older children as a way of remembering the chronology of all the kings and queens.  The Headteacher thanked us for the singing together, and we started classes!

 

Next, Helen Weinstein and Dave Cohen spent an hour each with each class for their own bespoke creative workshop.  We spent the first portion showing the 3 elements which make up a good lyric – Dave’s 3 Rs are:

- Rhythm

- Rhyme

- Repetition

With the older children we had fun with them making suggestions for words about our chosen history theme, and seeing what rhymes they could test out Dave to find for them.  When we got stuck, Helen and Dave taught the children how to look up words in the ‘rhyming dictionary’.     With the younger children, they immediately sang to us as soon as we entered their classroom, so they showed us they were very engaged!  

 

Year 3 wrote a song about Helen’s mini lesson with them showing them the Victorian School where Ridgefield used to be by the corner of Mill Road featuring learning maths on an abacas and the punishment of the D for Dunce cap! 

 

Year 4 wrote a song about Helen’s research using the newspaper accounts of devestation to the Victorian railway cottages on Mill Road and what happened when a bomb fell there in World War 2, and the students came up with meaningful lines imagining hiding in the cupboard under the stairs, what people heard, smelt, felt. 

Year 5 wrote a song about the coming of the Railways to Cambridge in 1845, and who was benefitting from the railways like the Headly Eagle foundry enterprise, and who was not doing well like those who ran haulage businesses using the river as a trade route, or horse and wagons for transporting goods.

 

Year 6 wrote a song linked to their term project on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  Helen Weinstein shared with them the story about Roger Ascham who was the tutor to Elizabeth I learning the classics and the languages of diplomacy.  We contrasted this with how ordinary children learnt their ABC and prayers in the Catechism, starting with the hornbook, which every child in England had to learn by law in the times of Elizabeth I.  This book had syllable tables, and so the children took the chorus as the phonetic ‘ab eb ib ob ub’ then ‘ac ec ic oc uc’ then ‘ad ed ic oc uc’.

 

At the end of writing a verse and chorus on the whiteboard together, Dave astonished all the children by performing their song on his guitar and teaching them all to rehearse it and sing together to finish off our class.

 

Historyworks were delighted to be invited to our partner primary school to develop our lyric writing for the Railways project, and we were amazed at the quality of the work produced by the young people and their teachers.  All the years were incredibly engaged, and even the Year 3s who were pretty excited by 2pm on a Friday afternoon, did very well, singing their hearts out.

 

TOPICS WITH POWERPOINTS FOR CLASSES

9.30/10.30am YR 3 = SONG TOPIC for 7/8 yr olds = VICTORIAN SCHOOL/ EARLY DAYS OF RIDGEFIELD

http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/history-stories/victorian-schools/

 

11/12 noon YR 4 = SONG TOPIC for 8/9 yr olds =  RAILWAY BRIDGE BOMBING IN WORLD WAR TWO

http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/history-stories/the-coming-of-the-railway/

 

1/2pm YR 5 = SONG TOPIC for 9/10 yr olds = IMPACT OF ARRIVAL OF RAILWAYS IN 1845 - pros & cons

http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/history-stories/the-coming-of-the-railway/

 

2/3pm YR 6 = SONG TOPIC for 10/11 yr olds = TUDOR SCHOOL & ELIZABETH I TO FIT WITH THIS TERM ON SHAKESPEARE ( DID RAILWAY TOPIC LAST TERM)

http://www.creatingmycambridge.com/songs-creative/resources/other-cambridge-projects/#tudor-stuarts-school-life


Created with flickr slideshow.
Horrible Histories Style Songwriting Workshop with Dave Cohen

 

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