A brief introduction to primary, secondary, complementary and tertiary colours with a challenge to create your own colour wheel. Suitable for all ages. You will need: 1/2 pieces of paper, paints in Red, Yellow and Blue, paint brush and water pot. Please share your outcomes and any videos of you taking part on my FB page The Primary Art Class.
Learn about the art of Rodrigo (https://www.rodrigosrecycledart.com/) who makes art using materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Then use relief sculpture techniques and your own recyclable materials to create your art! Share outcomes with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and my FB page The Primary Art class
A very quick post, just to share a simple slideshow about Paolo Uccello, 1460. Saint George and the dragon. I have not provided too much information to go with the painting, as the National Gallery have fabulous teachers notes already made – there is a link in the slideshow to them.
Look out for my next video ‘Home Art Lesson 3’ on Monday… Have a good weekend:)
Includes three low mess activities, each one inspired by a piece of art by Paul Klee. The slides include audio prompts and instructions. You will need: At least 5 pieces of paper, drawing tools (pencil, biro, charcoal or felts) and colouring tools (paints, collage materials – scissors, glue, coloured paper or felts). Each of the three challenges should take 30mins – 1.5, depending on the individual.
Most suitable for Key Stage 1 children – Year 1 and Year 2
My posts are usually art education related, and rightly so – I am no lifestyle blogger or whatever the term is. However, today I felt compelled to write and to share a more personal post…Maybe it is the extra time at home.
News came toady that Tate is closed until May. Whilst obviously not a necessity, in the same way that loo roll or pasta is, the gallery is an important space to many. I certainly take it for granted that I can ‘pop to Tate‘ whenever I want. Aside from the art viewing, I am a member there and I often setup shop for the day, with my laptop, in the lovely working space. It is an inspiring room to be in with panoramic views of London and lots of interesting people to observe in-between working.
The truth is, I am starting to feel embarrassingly aware that my life in 2020 London is very ‘blessed’. I am at liberty to see friends, dine out, visit galleries, go to yoga or for a swim and nip to the well-stocked shops whenever I need or want to. Covid-19 is impacting my precious little routines and freedoms and it is making me feel silly for taking them for granted in the first place.
Some of us, including me, live in relatively breezy times where the basics of life are fairly easy to navigate. Sometimes this means we have the luxury of embellishing our lives with extras that I for one will appreciate more, post Covid. For example, just last week I ordered three packs of rice malt syrup online – because I had taken the ‘tough’ dietary decision to cut down on sugar – and they arrived the very next day. Flash forward to this week when the idea of queuing for toilet paper is becoming a reality.
I know things are not hard-hard now…or yet (especially compared with certain times in history or other places in the world) but I am starting to feel waves of deep recognition for the life I usually take for granted. Even when life is self inflicted sugar-free, it is very sweet.
I am social distancing as of Thursday last week – luckily a lot of my work can be done from home, although school visits and meetings have been postponed. Working from home is great but a lot of the things I rely on to boost my wellbeing and that I depend on if I do feel worried, are not possible right now. E.g. yoga classes, swimming, galleries and seeing friends and family. If you do have to work from home or self isolate, it can take some adjustment, especially when you are used to being busy and the comforting routines of school.
So, we adapt…
Intentions for social distancing (I appreciate I am in a position to…)
Walk almost every day in nature before I sit to do work on my laptop, or if not before then after or definitely the next day. Hopefully most of us can find some place of greenery to walk in where it won’t be too hard to keep a distance from others
Speak with my family on the phone – and via WhatsApp – much more regularly
Paint and draw
Experiment with baking
Work on those ‘projects’ that I never get time to
Meditate more – I practice Vedic or TM but there are lots of guided meditations out there, Ekhart Tolle is always good call
Do housey things – sorting / cleaning / cooking / crafting etc.
Enjoy quality time at home
Be grateful – not always easy but there is always something you can find to be grateful for and writing a list can be uplifting
I often find myself responding to Qs from art subject leads via FB and emails, these questions are increasingly around how to evidence progression and how to ‘defend’ a particular approach to assessment… For example, a decision by a teacher not to use the general school marking system in sketchbooks (I myself do not write in children’s sketchbooks).
I am a big believer that gaining and collating feedback from the children forms an important part of the bigger picture and direction of your art provision, and any outside visitors should be interested to hear their perspective too. Here are some ways I have gathered pupil voice in the past:
A simple A4 question sheet to KS2 done at any point throughout the year (children should feel free to fill this in anonymously if desired).
An anonymous ‘comments and suggestions about art’ box.
Informal chats with small groups of children, outside of the context of the art lessons.
Discussions with the class during art lessons.
A large canvas with a question on it – children are invited to paint responses.
A big question focus each half term with children invited to attach post-its with comments in response.
It is always interesting to hear the children’s responses to questions such as:
How do you know when you have made progress in art?
Why do we have art lessons?
What do you learn in art?
What are the guidelines for using sketchbooks?
How are art lessons different / the same as other lessons?
How do you improve in art?
How do you feel in art lessons?
Why do people make art?
What skills do you learn in art/ did you learn this term in art?
I don’t write in your sketchbooks, how do you feel about that?
What do you do if you are stuck in art?
Which areas do you want to improve on in art?
What makes you feel most proud in art?
Who knows the most about your progression / work in art?
These sorts of questions can really inform your choices about teaching, planning and assessment in art. I suggest very regularly collecting pupil feedback as an integral part of your art and design leadership, try to make time for it (I hear you eye-rolling at the idea of making more time to do more things? I know, sorry!).
Leading on Art has its own set of challenges compared with other primary school subjects, not least because we are often creating the intent and implementation with very little national guidance. It makes sense that our approach to its place in our schools should feel more creative, less top-down and truly consider the school community. For example, you could use a cross section of pupil feedback to create a manifesto for your art provision, feeding into your decisions around that Ofsted prompted consideration of ‘intent’.
When you are asked about progress in art and how you asses, hopefully your pupil voice evidence will backup that the methods your school uses are effective…and if they tell you otherwise, then it may be time to reflect and change. Keep in mind that Ofsted have said “developing and embedding an effective curriculum takes time, and that leaders may only be partway through the process of adopting or redeveloping a curriculum”. Be brave about evolving your art provision and changing things up a bit; as long as you have well considered reasons….pupil voice can form a big part of that story.
I love all the work I do with primary school teachers and I have the utmost respect for them. Having really only ever taught Art and Design at primary (and secondary) myself, I am always in awe of how class teachers navigate their way through all the subjects, not to mention all their other tasks and responsibilities.
Teaching at primary level, more so than secondary, involves a fair amount of teacher self-led learning and re-familiarising with subject knowledge and skills. What we, in schools think of as ‘planning time’ does not necessarily factor this in; for that is time set aside for you to plan and resource the lessons for the children, assuming you have the skills and knowledge to hand (or, that a cursory recap will suffice). I always think that it is just as valid if you need to spend that time reading a few wiki pages or practicing some skills, maybe this should have another title…self directed CPD perhaps?!
Most teachers feel more confident and comfortable teaching some subjects over others and that is totally natural and understandable, we all come to teaching with a different set of experiences and preferences. The only problem is that this this bias towards certain subjects inevitably has an impact on how the children experience different subjects.
I have heard many teachers and teaching assistants say things like ‘oh no, I hated art at school’ or ‘I am just not creative at all’ and frequently ‘I can’t draw’. I strongly advise against using that sort of language in front of the children, as much as we wouldn’t expect a teacher to share how much they hate maths at the start of a maths lesson. I think it is fine and even helpful to share with the children when we find something challenging though, because that is a common human experience, and to share models a willingness to learn and grow.
I invite primary teachers who have to teach, or even lead on, Art and Design (I know you didn’t necessarily ask for that responsibility) to reflect back on their own experiences of primary or secondary art lessons. Do this with a view to reconnecting with why and how you feel the way you do when you have to teach or lead on the subject. Some primary teachers I meet have not made any art themselves since year 9, some were told they were not good enough at primary school, some were teased by others about their art…there are so many ways that seemingly small or insignificant experiences can knock our confidence. If we leave those moments unvisited we run the risk of negatively impacting the creative or artistic experience for those we teach.
Drawing, painting etc. are skills that can be broken down and taught or learned, they are not exclusive gifts for some people. Likewise, talking about art or analysing art can be accessed by googling ‘how to talk about art?’ – I like these Aesthetic Scanning guidelines by Harry S. Broudy in “The Role of Imagery in Learning”. Given the time, any teacher can get to grips with making art and talking about art.
That brings me to creativity; it is worth remembering that this is something already valued by employees and predictions say it will be increasingly desirable in future workplaces. It is a soft skill that may not be so easily nurtured in AI or technologies and I believe it is something we are born with. Getting into a creative task can utilise your sense of resilience, problem solving and a whole host of other skills. Not to mention that being in a state of creative flow feels good and promotes wellbeing.
Your creative outlet might be baking, playing an instrument, sewing, creative thoughts as you walk your dog, interior design or how you dress in the morning. Creativity is in all of us.
One of my favourite parts of delivering training and running workshops with children and adults, is seeing people get back in touch with their own sense of creativity. It is (sorry to be cheesy) a really beautiful thing.
I hope you, as a teacher, have some moments of creative flow in your days – however that may look for you. Your children will benefit from your genuine understanding of how important and nice-feeling those magic moments are.
Get in touch if you’d like to speak about how I can help you with your primary art provision, and/or support your staff in feeling creatively empowered and ready to teach.