Art and design teachers share ideas for getting creative with lessons, including message for mum, success on the cards, snow far so good, and morris major.
Ages 4 to 6
Message for Mum
For Mother’s Day my Year 1s make cards and photo frames. 3D flowers are nice. Cut the card into a flower shape, then fold the petals into flaps. My reception class like a teapot-shaped card with a tea bag inside, plus a poem about mum. Or make a photo frame of card, with art straws to cut, twist or bend and decorate the border. Spray with silver or gold paint. Then each child sticks a photograph of themselves in the frame.
Lianne Boyce is a Year 1 teacher at Morna International College in Ibiza, Spain
Ages 11 to 16
Success on the cards
Art & design can make a valuable contribution to speaking and listening skills. In our art department we have devised a set of review cards that we use as our “pass the puppet” plenary game.
The cards have questions such as:
1. Explain your use of colour in your work (comprehension).
2. Tell us the properties of PVA glue (knowledge).
3. Argue why your work should be chosen to hang in the staff room (evaluation).
The music plays and when it stops the pupil with the puppet puts it on, chooses, reads out and responds to a review card. If they answer confidently they keep the card and the pupil with the most cards wins.
Liz Stevens is head of art at Frankley High School in Birmingham
Ages 5 to 11
Painting by numbers
Creating a “wow factor” mural enables pupils to appreciate an artist’s work and apply different techniques as they create an original piece of art. Select a picture by an artist you are studying and make a coloured copy. Measure your display space, then divide the coloured copy into enough squares for each pupil. Number the squares. Each pupil reproduces the details in their square using art materials as appropriate — for example, thick paint or oil pastels are effective for the swirls in the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Sugar paper is also a strong base. Encourage
pupils to fill their paper with detail and watch their responses when it’s time for the assembling
of the finished work.
Lesley Higgerson is a primary teacher on a short career break
Ages 8 to 11
In the picture
One of the biggest problems children have with writing stories is the ability to empathise with their characters enough to understand and describe how they are thinking, feeling and reacting to events. One way of overcoming this is to use paintings in combination with drama techniques, such as freeze frame or thought tracking. Paintings, such as An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, help to solve the thorny problem of structuring a story. By analysing and describing the different reactions of each of the characters to the cockatoo’s suffering in the air pump, with the help of drama children can structure and write powerful narrative with plenty of emotion and rich use of vocabulary.
The description of each character also helps them to plan paragraphs and the foreboding setting in the background provides many opportunities for powerful word sketches about settings as well.
Libby Lee is a primary teacher at North Mymms St Mary’s C of E in Welham Green, Hertfordshire
Ages 7 to 11
Snow far, so good
Your pupils can produce masterpieces from simple items: a sheet of paper, black and white crayons and a pot of blue paint mixed with a lot of water. Ask them to sketch the outline of a large old house that almost fills the page, colour in the walls of the house with black crayon and the roofs with white crayon for snow. Have them paint over the entire page with their wash of blue paint. Combine their pictures and the result is a stunning display of an old village of snow covered houses with a background of clear blue sky. Lack of perspective helps to make the buildings appear full of character. Every pupil can be proud of their contribution, and may become the next Pieter Brueghel, a painter of landscapes such
as Hunters in the Snow.
Rosemary Westwell is a teacher in Cambridgeshire
Ages 8 to 11
To start our art topic on the Victorians in Year 4, we looked at the William Morris website, www.morrissociety.org. This shows a range of the great craftsman’s work in various media and, in class, pupils discussed which wallpaper, tapestries and tiles they preferred. I explained that Morris was fascinated by patterns in nature and wanted to reflect this in his art. Pupils made close observational drawings of leaves, flowers and natural objects collected locally. They designed their own Morris-style tiles on card using felt-tips and pastels, based on their original drawings. They then copied their designs on to plain ceramic tiles. The result was a beautiful display of Victorian tiles and happy pupils who had gained insights into 19th-century
refurbishment and the ideas of an innovative Victorian.
Charlotte Dowling teaches at St Mark’s C of E First School in Dorset
Ages 9 to 11
While still in Year 5, each child was allocated a Premiership football club. In Year 6, their art and design brief was to design next season’s kit. The children found out about the traditional kit colours (home and away) and logos and designs. They then designed a range of possible kits and sent their designs to the club chairmen for their comments. Eighteen out of the 20 clubs responded, many with letters from the chairmen. Some clubs, though, went further: Everton sent a signed first team shirt and said it plans to put the young boy’s work either on its website or in its club magazine. Manchester United sent goody bags and footballs as well as a signed shirt. Middlesbrough sent its own kit manufacturer’s design portfolio along with three replica shirts (this season’s actual kit and two designs that were ultimately rejected). Fulham gave the boy in question tickets for his family (and thankfully me) to go and watch the recent match against Reading from a directors’ lounge. We plan to continue the project and for the children to make up sample shirts of their designs. Many of the clubs have expressed an interest in seeing the results.
Mark Gilronan is a deputy head at Elaine Primary in Rochester, Kent
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