Hints and tips – How to write a good song

Before starting the times tables project, in Christmas 2013 I got involved in the school Nativity service at our local church.  The children rewrote lyrics to popular songs so that they were about the nativity.  We chose “I need a dollar” by Aloe Blacc, which became “I need some shelter”, and “Firework” by Katy Perry.  Over 30 children gave up two lunchtimes to work on this.

I gave them a worksheet containing the original song lyrics (and they could listen to the mp3), and some ideas to include.  The worksheets contain some of my original ideas – clearly the children didn’t like them because very quickly they were asking if they could rewrite the words, and rather annoyingly they did a better job!

Both attachments are below.

Xmas song ideas

Xmas tunes lyrics worksheets

I also gave them each a slip of A6 paper, which unfortunately I’ve now lost, which said something like this below

You know you’ve written a good song if

  • the syllables fit nicely in each line
  • the rhyming works well
  • it sounds good when you sing it to yourself and your friends
  • the words make sense
  • it’s about the correct topic
  • it makes you want to listen to it some more

These were very useful in getting the children to check through their own songs before giving them to me, and enabled me to give them very specific feedback.  Now I have spent some time in schools I realise these are called “success criteria”!


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