Claire’s relationship with Fischy Music dates back to her time as a class teacher and music/assembly lead at Prospect Bank Special School in Edinburgh.
My pupils always enjoyed engaging with Fischy Music in class time and at assembly. Fischy songs are fun to act out and very catchy. They also tend to have a simple structure which makes them easier to teach to pupils with learning and communication needs.
As the themes of emotional and social learning became more of a focus in our school linked to our development planning, I personally found music and song to add a helpful dimension to my teaching of these subjects. Fischy songs in particular proved to be a great stimulus for helping develop pupil’s emotional language and literacy, and for some pupils the song lyrics were a great starting point for discussing and exploring a variety of social and emotional themes.
In my role as a music/assembly co-ordinator, I wanted to optimise on the emotional and social engagement I was seeing as a result of basing learning activities around music and song. I developed a resource I called ‘symbol movies’ which was an instant hit with our visual learners. To create these symbol movies I imported an audio track of a popular song into iMovie, then added a series of slides using Boardmaker picture symbols to match the lyrics. I fixed the timings and added transitions and then exported the file to create a kind of educational sing-along-karaoke with picture prompts! Among the first symbol movies to be created were the Fischy favourites ‘Build Up’ and ‘You are a Star’.
I remember how excited and in ‘full voice’ our pupils were when we welcomed Stephen Fischbacher and Susanne Butler to join us at a Prospect Bank assembly back in 2010 to show them how much they enjoyed singing along and acting out their songs using the symbol movies. Stephen and Suzanne loved the symbol movies idea as it fitted so well with their inclusive principles.
Symbol Movie Development
As Claire moved on from a teaching role into educational development she was commissioned by Fischy Music to create a set of symbol movies with illustrator David Wright from Kog Design. This first set of symbol movies featured in the ‘We’re on this Road: Songs for Resilience and Change’ Educational Resource Pack, published in 2012.
A second set of symbol movies was developed in 2015 for younger children and Early Years settings using songs from the Fischy Music and Sticky Kids ‘Fabby Dabby Dee – it’s good to be me’ CD. Two other symbol movies were also developed at this time for the Fischy Music Seasons for Growth project.
Special Resource Pack and Training Day
By 2015, Claire had of course set up Emotion Works and was investing more and more time running training to help teachers and early years practitioners use the Emotion Works ideas and resources. Practice examples shared at training always include the the use of story books, drama activities, poems, songs etc., and whenever a Fischy song or symbol movie was shown or suggested, there was always a very positive response.
On this basis, Claire, Stephen and Suzanne decided to run a joint Emotion Works & Fischy Music training day with an accompanying resource pack featuring 6 Fischy songs, a selection of symbol movies and Emotion Works guidance leaflets.
Places booked up fast and we were delighted to welcome 32 trainees to the Vine Trust Barge venue on 5th September 2015. The venue was perfect, with a communal training and singing space upstairs and special cinema and education room downstairs for showing symbol movies and trying out the resources.
It was such a fun day with lots of singing, learning and practice-sharing, and the feedback was extremely positive…
“Brilliant ideas for linking Fischy and Emotion Works”
“It lifts your day to come on this course!”
“To be absolutely honest, I’ve had a fabby dabby day! All of the resources are fantastic. I enjoyed the singing and my learning and can’t wait to get started. I’m sure this day will make a huge difference to my pupils’ learning about emotions”
With enough interest we’d be delighted to run this training again with Fischy Music – perhaps in another part of the country next time – just let us know if that would be of interest.
For schools or groups booking Emotion Works in-service packages who also have Fischy ‘Songs for Life’ access, this course can be delivered as a full day training option alongside the Introducing Emotion Works modules.