Te Kotahitanga
Manu Reo o Aotearoa

Year 5-6 Singing

‘All kids deserve an opportunity to try something new – kids may not know they enjoy music until they give it a go.’ Student 

Make singing part of the day

  • Sing instructions to get students' attention without shouting, for example, "who is listening," with students singing a reply like "I am listening."

  • Have specific songs for activities and classroom routines like tidying up at the end of the day.

Musical development

  • Students will enjoy songs with a clear beat.

  • Adding sounds, noises, instruments, and percussion parts can work well with Year 5 and 6.

  • As with year 4 students, Year 5 and 6 respond well to adding choreography and actions to songs.

  • In Year 5 and 6, students will copy well without overthinking and can be accurate with increasingly complex material.

  • Students can experiment with composing their own songs for singing, writing the text or playing around with texts written by others.

  • Keep reminding students to listen so they match their notes with the vocal leader/recording and don't shout-sing.

Singing for literacy and learning

  • Enquiry learning - research waiata that connect to your kura or rohe.

  • See here for the Awareness Days calendar of NZ events like NZ Sign Language Week, or Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week.)

  • Stimulate creativity - write a story based on a song, adding an extra verse, changing the lyrics.

  • As a literacy activity where students sing the song then identify, for example, the synonyms, rhyming words, or adjectives.

  • Use songs as a hook to learning, especially if the song includes information relevant to a topic you are studying.

  • Songs are a great way to learn about the world, diversity and multiculturalism.

  • Songs can reinforce learning and memorising - like times tables, or planets, or how to pronounce the vowels in te reo Māori. You can find lots of examples of these on YouTube, or use an existing tune and add your own words.

Singing for wellbeing

  • Start the day with waiata as part of your whanaungatanga and end your day with waiata together. Singing has strong links to wellbeing and can help students relax, using deep, controlled breathing in singing to decrease cortisol, a stress hormone. You can also use singing to energise students, or to change between activities.

  • "Brain Breaks" during the course of the day, with a focus on having fun in an inclusive and spontaneous way, using a mixture of teacher-chosen and student-chosen song in a class playlist (checking that the songs have appropriate lyrics.)

Keep it fun

  • Find opportunities for your class to perform their songs.

  • Encourage students to keep singing and participating in singing as their voices change at the onset of puberty.

  • Singing enthusiastically without shouting will help keep students' voices healthy.

  • They respond well to moving with music - choreography and actions - or using instruments when they sing.

  • Use singing games that keep students challenged.

​​​​​You'll need:

Backing track videos (without a voice singing if possible) from YouTube etc., a projector and speaker. Students love singing with live instruments if you can play, for example, ukulele, piano or guitar. If you can teach students how to read sheet music, print copies for them if possible.  For further information, see Hear Our Voices by Megan Flint, Mary Cornish and Maria Winder, or get in touch.

Song ideas for Year 5-6

E Tū Tangata - Kath Bee

  • Lyric video
  • multi-layered, including haka, rap and singing
  • ‘Pop’ song character
  • Repetition aids learning
  • Good message

Three little birds - Bob Marley and the Wailers - free resource from Sing Up 

  • Reggae classic
  • Good vocal range
  • Catchy chorus; verse melody a little harder
  • Repetition aids learning

Guardians of Papatūānuku – English and te reo Māori - Loopy Tunes

  • Lyric video
  • Lovely melody, lyrical
  • Repetition aids learning
  • Great message

Koekoea Hei - Waiata hei whakakoakoa

  • Good vocal range; recording is a little low but could easily be transposed higher
  • Lovely lyric melody
  • Lots of repetition
  • Good vocabulary in te reo Māori

EIAIE - Waiata hei whakakoakoa

  • Good vocal range; recording is a little low but could transposed higher
  • Catchy melody, easily learnt; opportunities for harmony work
  • Lots of repetition aids learning
  • Good message
  • Good vocabulary in te reo Māori

Ma te Mahi - Kiwi Kidsongs

  • Lyric video
  • Good vocal range
  • Lovely lyric melody, catchy, easily learnt; early harmony work with echo
  • Lots of repetition aids learning
  • Good message

Be the change - Sing Up

  • Lyric video; performance track and backing track
  • Good vocal range
  • Catchy, easily learnt; early harmony work with layers
  • ‘Pop’ character
  • Lots of repetition aids learning
  • Good message

Websites for more Year 5-6 songs

Children Love to Sing channel (by topic/age)

NZ Sign Singing (MENZA resource)

Wild Dunedin songs

Auckland teacher Mrs Poon-Lai's choral pieces and songs for Year 5 - 6 students 

Multicultural Music and Songs that Build an Appreciation of Diversity (songsforteaching.com)

Contemporary songs that work well for younger voices

Aotearoa - Stan Walker ft Ria Hall, Troy Kingi and Maisey Rika 

Dance Monkey - Tones and I

Feel Inside (and Stuff Like That) - Flight of the Conchords

Counting Stars - One Republic

Roar - Katy Perry

Shake it Off - Taylor Swift