Hi, I’m Tim Tuck, and I teach Reception through Year 12 students at Maitland Area School in South Australia. This blog is my online hitching-post to share classroom resources, reviews and classroom hacks. It also (quite) subtly provide links to some of the school musicals (at Maverick Musicals) and educational books (at Blake Education and Pascal Press) that I’ve written over the years. Music, drama, science and technology are my main interests and I hope that’s reflected in the posts and downloads on show. Enjoy!

My Links: Maitland Area School | Blake Education | Pascal Press | Maverick Musicals

This year’s theme for World Radio Day was ‘Radio In Time of Emergency‘.

I developed this drama unit for Year 5 & 6 around that theme with a focus on improvised dialogue, characterisation and structure.

The lesson sequence is based on the 5Es teaching model, familiar to many teachers from working with the Primary Connections science modules. I find the structure admirably suited to drama units with its Engage / Explore / Explain / Elaborate / Evaluate cycle.

The full unit plan with Australian Curriculum outcomes and a pdf of Emeregency Scenario cards can be downloaded below.

Lesson sequence



Lesson content


  • Develops shared norms
  • Determines readiness for learning
  • Establishes learning goals
  • Emergency radio samples: Hindenberg, Nepal, aircraft landing.
  • Emergency / disaster photos. Improvise a radio broadcast as the different scenes appear.
  • Mime using different radios – hand-held, walkie talkies etc.


  • Prompts inquiry
  • Structures inquiry
  • Maintains session momentum
  • Emergency situation cards: short scenarios of amusing emergencies.
  • In groups, leader improvises the scene as the rest of group mimes the action.
  • Swap: group mimes as a ‘reporter’ improvises the narration of the action.


  • Presents new content
  • Develops language and literacy
  • Strengthens connections
  •  World Radio Day: discuss the themes.
  • Share the World Radio Day UN video.
  • In groups, respond to the themes – create a short scene demonstrating each. Emphasis on serious responses.
  • Hot-seating: journalist, refugee, radio broadcaster.

Elaborate Facilitates substantive conversation

  • Cultivates higher order thinking
  • Groups select a scenario for broadcast eg. Nepal earthquake, bushfire, refugee, bomb threat, flooding.
  • Students develop a script. Characters include broadcaster (DJ), reporter, ‘involved civilian’.
  • Recording of script, editing with sound effects, music, voiceovers.


  • Assesses performance against standards
  •   Facilitates student self assessment
  • ‘Braodcast’ of radio programmes.


Unit OutlineEmergency Scenario Cards 
Drama - 56DK Unit 1 - Emergency RadioEmergency Cards


Ghost Pic 1The ‘Ghost of Tom’ (or ‘Ghost of John’) is a perennial Halloween favourite and no wonder. It’s (a little bit) spooky, has a ghost, a ghost lyric (oo-oo-oo), is a round and can be accompanied by just two notes.

This version is in Am, making it easy to perform on tuned percussion instruments (no sharps or flats).

The range for vocalists is a bit of a stretch, you might have to lower some parts down an octave.

Below are the resources I’m using with my music students.

  1. A simple grid notation accompaniment with just three patterns: A-G-A, C-B-C and E-D-E. JP children will quickly learn these and older students with limited music experience will also cope.
    Ghost Of Tom Simple Percussion Chart
  2. The four lines written in notation. Use this for older students. Give them the choice of which lines to play (beginners can do the last two).
    More capable students can play all four.
    Have You Seen the Ghost of Tom – Percussion Chart
  3. An audio accompaniment with vocals. It’s just 90bpm, so a good speed to play along with. It has a two bar intro and then the song is sung once. The song begins again but this time as a round. Part two begins at bar 11, part 3 at bar 13 and part 4 at bar 17. Each entry is marked with a cymbal. It finishes with a two bar ending.
  4. A simple score of the song.
    Ghost of Tom Score
  5. Vocal sheet (with alternative verse).
    Have You Seen the Ghost Of Tom – Lyrics

ResourcesGhost Pic 2

Ghost of Tom Thumbnail - Simple Percussion Ghost of Tom Thumbnail - score

Ghost of Tom Thumbnail - Percussion Ghost of Tom Thumbnail - Lyrics



When I sync my iTunes playlists with my iPad or iPhone, the playlists are – by default – all expanded.

Collapsing these, all scrolling to the bottom can be quite frustrating and time consuming.


Clicking with Ctrl + Down Arrow on any of the expand / collapse triangles will collapse all the playlists.

ctrl down


SunSmart SiteIt’s the summer term here in Australia, which means students have to wear hats during playtime at school.

The SunSmart site came up while researching ideas for ‘No Hat/ No Play’ signs for our schoolyard.

After a quick registration, I completed the online teacher training. It’s pretty basic – quizzes, animations, text to read – but provides a good reminder of why we need policies in schools around shade, UV exposure, sunscreen and skin cancer.

You receive a nice certificate at the end and your choice of resources, including picture books, lesson plans and posters.

Highly recommended for all educators (and students and parents!)



Alphabet CardsMusic Mind Games” (Michiko Yurko, Warner Bros Publications) is an outstanding resource for any music educator, especially so if you’re planning on teaching any aspect of music theory.

With its emphasis on cooperative learning, hands-on games and ‘joyful learning’ the simple, focused and fun games can be used to teach everything from the basic music alphabet through to advanced triad building and interval recognition.

A simple resource mentioned is the alphabet note pack. These are typically small square cards printed with the letters A-G and available in a variety of colours. Michiko utilises them for a variety of games, including ‘Snake’ where students simply place them in order from A to G to learn the musical alphabet. I’m using them for recorder lessons, sight-reading and composition activities.

The attached resource is a printable pdf of cards. Each A4 sheet has six note squares. The 100mm cards are big enough for small hands to manipulate and  make efficient use of space on the page when printing. Note that the seven letter alphabets “wrap around” to the following sheet. Printing off the seven pages will give you six complete musical alphabets.

Music Alphabet Cards Download

Printing hint: Print out at 100%. You’ll lose a little of the cutting lines on the left, top and bottom margins but the cards will only require four cuts to create your cards.

Of course, if you don’t want to make your own, you can purchase them from the Music Mind Games website.

ISS Spot the Station Home pageNASA has a handy service so you can know ‘when to look up’ and see the International Space Station.

  1. Head on over to spotthestation.nasa.gov
  2. Clock the ‘Sign up for alerts’ button.
  3. Select your country, state / region and city. As a proud South Australian I was limited to four somewhat peculiar choices: Adelaide, Leigh Creek, Peterborough and Woomera. Hopefully your country’s selections aren’t quite so geographically puzzling!
  4. The next screen offers Email or SMS but the SMS services are restricted – I think – to the USA.
  5. Finally review your information, agree to two conditions and you’re almost done.
  6. NASA will send a confirmation email your way. Click the confirmation link, enter the info and you’ll now recieve a notification when the ISS is observable from your location.

Happy ISS viewing!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff story lends itself marvelously for drama explorations. With only two characters ‘on-stage’ at any one time it’s also ideal for small-group puppetry. This download is a set of character silhouettes that are ideal for use as shadow puppets. Just cut the shapes out, glue on sticks and away you go. Students could also make additional scenery (eg. the entire valley) to expand the basic lesson setup.

Resource Sheet:

Download The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Shadow Puppets

The Three Billy Goats Gruff:  Preview

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: Preview

Additional resources:

You can find more lesson plans here:

You can find scripts here:

Videos are here:



My current middle school performing arts unit is on Film Sound and traditionally students demonstrate their knowledge of Foley sound by recording a short video and adding sound effects to it.

This year we’ve utilised the rich diversity that is youtube and made use of the many silent movies, musicless videos and bad-lip reading videos available.

PS. Please watch the sample videos below before using with your students.

Silent Movies

There’s any number of silent-movie era films on youtube. The Charlie Chaplain films are particularly useful with clear, well-defined action and readily followed plots.

My students practised their Foley skills by creating sound effects live as the video played on a laptop. The video and sounds were recorded for playback on an iPod. A little crude but quick and surprisingly effective.

Musicless Music Videos

It’s easier to explain this new mashed up genre by watching one. But for a short explanation:

  1. Select a music video.
  2. Remove the music soundtrack.
  3. Add sound effects as appropriate.



Bad Lip-Reading

Similar to the Musicless Music Videos, but with dialogue rather than sound effects:

  1. Select a short scene from a film, sports training video or TV show.
  2. Remove the soundtrack.
  3. Re-dub the dialog with words and phrases that match the lip movements of the actors, but which are funnier.

All three activities have proved popular with the students and all provide an excellent  framework i which to practice or demonstrate skills.

Australian Curriculum Links

Media Arts Year 7-8

  • Develop and refine media production skills to shape the technical and symbolic elements of images, sounds and text for a specific purpose and meaning
  • Plan, structure and design media artworks that engage audiences

Media Arts Years 9-10

  •  Experiment with ideas and stories that manipulate media conventions and genres to construct new and alternative points of view through images, sounds and text
  • Develop and refine media production skills to integrate and shape the technical and symbolic elements in images, sounds and text for a specific purpose, meaning and style


Lego Movie ApI’ve been using the Lego Movie Maker app with our students for a while now.

The app is free (yipee!) and although it’s a bit clunky in places it’s proven a real hit with children from ages 6-14.

If you do any stop motion animation on the iPad or iPhone give it a go. And feel free to download the manual I put together for our school.

Lego Moviemaker Manual download


Socrative screenshotI saw the Socrative student polling app demonstrated at the Music EdnetDaytime‘ music conference.

Socrative is free (basic use) and consists of a teacher module where quizzes, questionnaires and resource materials are assembled and a class module where students logon (via the website or app) to take part in the poll.

Our demonstration had us answering questions about our music-technology abilities and our involvement in courses focusing on scoring for movies.

The app worked flawlessly, updating voting / scoring in real time.

Once home I tried out the teacher app (on iPad) and found it to be easy to use if perhaps a little bare-bones.

Socrative should prove useful in any curriculum area and could be used to gain student feedback, test basic concepts or administer assessment tasks.

The app provides a range of reports and the option for responses to remain anonymous. The help facilities are impressive, with a free pdf manual to make operation and quiz creation painless. Personally I liked the idea of the ‘Space Race’ the best; students are placed in teams which compete to race across the screen. Huge fun!

Socrative Website Blog Article

Socrative Manual Blog Article