St Georges Day (April) Art work

Hi All,

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:)

Home Art 2: Art Inspired by Bed

This is suitable for all ages.

You will need: This will depend on the approach you choose. Watch the video first then decide which materials you would like to use.

Please share your outcomes and any videos of you taking part on my FB page!

Links below are to view the artworks mentioned in the video:

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Nwantinti, 2012

Vincent Van Gogh, The Bedroom, 1888

Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1955

Home Art (downloadable slideshow 1): Paul Klee

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

Home Art 1: Mark Making to Music

This is suitable for all ages.

You will need: A piece of paper (preferably no smaller than A3), some drawing materials (pencils/felts/pens/charcoal), a speaker and access to the the video links below:)

Please share your outcomes and any videos of you taking part on my FB page!

Playlist of eight tracks to use for Mark Making
Remember that you can always add to your drawings afterwards and re-listen to the tracks. Here is an example of my mark making:)

A regular blogpost

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…)

Set an alarm for every weekday

As per Julia Cameron  write ‘morning pages’

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

Not feel bad about not being super busy


On one of my nature walks…







Pupil voice in Primary Art and Design

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.

Creativity is...
Children from all years contributed to this large canvas, completing the sentence ‘creativity is…’

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.