Try out our Music & Art INSET activities with your students

The first INSET session of the new school year took place at the Museum of London on 10th November. Sam Holdsworth from Nimble Fish shares some activities from the day.

17 November 2016

Our morning session was led by musician Tara Franks and was an energetic exploration of rhythmic patterns, voice and percussion. The focus of the session encouraged participants to improvise and compose their own responses to Tanzania folk song, “On Na Sa Sa”. Impressive group compositions included finger clicking and foot stamping, body percussion and even the sounds of the odd farmyard animal!

The afternoon was led by professional artist Alex McIntyre. Her session was a focused exploration of portraiture and the impact of using different types of materials and techniques. Each with their own mirror, teachers were invited to draw themselves using graphite, liquid ink and charcoal whilst also drawing with their non-dominant hand or without looking at the paper. Teachers also explored the use of contour lines and tonal drawing, working at speed and group drawing.

As with all of our INSET sessions, teachers are given time to work in groups to share ways in which the workshops activities can be applied to their school settings.

We’ve written up details of two of the workshop activities here for you to try out.

1 to 8 Sound Game and Multiples

Aim: A fun and practical activity to support children learning multiples


Teacher and children sit in a circle.

Clap/click/taps out a steady rhythm in an eight beat cycle. Ask the children to copy the rhythm (be careful not to speed up).

Once the group is confident with this, start the game again, however, this time ask the children only click on a multiple of 4. Count the group in with the first beat but for beats 2 and 3 the group is silent, the circle should only click together on beat 4. Again, beats 5, 6, 7 will be silently counted. The circle will click on beat 8 and so on for beat 12, 16, 20 etc.

This activity can also be led by children in smaller groups.

Extension Activity:

It is also possible to experiment with a large group creating different sounds on different beats e.g. a click is used on a multiple of 4 but a clap is used on a multiple of 7 and a sound on beat 9.

This can also be a fun way to create a whole group composition. Ask each student to pick their own sound/body percussion and multiple. Count the group in and see what happens!

Click here to download the full workshop plan.

Group Drawing and Topic Revision


This exercise allows the whole class to share their knowledge and understanding of any subject, themes or story in a fun and inclusive way. It is easy to set up and can be adapted depending on time restrictions.

What you’ll need:

Large roll paper or paper tablecloths, felt-tip pens or crayons.

Move desks and chairs and roll the paper through the middle of the classroom or cover tables with the paper tablecloth.


Ask children stand around the paper to draw key details from a topic they have been studying. Student might choose different or similar themes/ideas. This will provide interesting talking points later. After 10 minutes ask the children to move to another place on the paper. Ask them to what they see. Repeat as many times as you like.

At the end of the exercise, hang the paper/tablecloths on the wall. Ask the children to comment on what they notice. Pick out specific images to go deeper into the subject/topic. Ask children what’s missing or what needs to be added.

Click here to download the full workshop plan.

Our next free INSET session takes place on 26th January - click here to book and find out more.