SPOTLIGHT ON: ARTS

The popularity and push for STEM learning is gathering STEAM, as educators increasingly recognise the power of integrating Art with Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths curricula. This approach recognises Art as core to the development of creativity and thinking skills critical to problem-solving. The art programme here at High Meadows School - a progressive, independent, international Baccalaureate (IB) school - supports inquiry-based learning that departs from a siloed approach.

When we hear the phrase ‘team building’, the image of smartly-dressed professional adults reluctantly tumbling through an obstacle course or trying to construct a watertight raft on a muddy riverbank is hard to shake. We like to think that professional adults are already capable of working well in a team, and so to help make this the case, we can make the concept of team-building a much more child-friendly activity, and emphasise it in early formative years to give our children the skills they need to get on later in life. Arts and crafts are a brilliant way to encourage creativity and improve coordination and motor skills, as well as giving children the opportunity to work as teams and explore group dynamics.

What is the main purpose of studying the arts at school you might wonder? What are the benefits of studying the arts to a school-leaver? All the products that we see around us, live with, use, live in etc have been designed. We visit art galleries, outdoor installations of art (eg the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppy installation at the Tower of London last year) that have all been created by art college graduates. Many people engage in educational activities in galleries, museums, care centres etc.

When thinking about what we would like our students to be able to do, the above definition really appeals to me. I believe that in preparing our learners for the real world, which is competitive and often challenging - we should also be teaching them how to (in the words of the dictionary definition) create ‘meaningful ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.’ We don’t want our students to be passive consumers of digital or analogue culture, I want them to be involved in shaping it.

It can be easy to forget that a child’s mind works in a wildly-different way to that of an adult. DesignBox Architecture director Philip Wells was reminded of this when he ran a series of creative workshops at a London primary school...

Children learn very quickly. Their learning patterns are led by their conceptual thoughts at first, and then by experience as they get older. When children are faced with new challenges, their thinking methods are not confined to established preconceptions of how things should look or work. Instead they are more fluid, often very confident and usually unique.

Tablets are becoming more popular in schools as each term goes by, and it’s handy for teachers to share tips on the technology. London-based primary teacher Poppy Gibson has a bevy of experience when it comes to tablets in the classroom, and gives her best pointers on the matter.

[As seen in the February 2014 edition of our magazine]

Many teachers have explored and established effective ways of using iPads within a range of subjects. This article shares ideas of inspiring extra-curricular clubs that could be offered to pupils outside of timetabled lessons, during lunchtimes or after school, with simple set-ups but powerful results.

I have recently returned from Junior School Leidschenveen, the British school in the Netherlands. It is an international school with a huge diversity of children from all over the world, and has an incredibly creative ethos. Myself and my colleague Laura Brown have had the pleasure of running 3 one week long creative projects over the last 18 months. The most recent demonstrated a core belief of mine: Real learning needs to engage and motivate - it needs to be experiential and immersive. It needs to matter to the learner - and to the teacher.

As an important part of 2017’s Capital of Culture, Feren’s Art Gallery have been helping pupils discover art with the help of the hard workers at Hull Children’s University. Innovate My School regular David Andrews explains how the use of iPads have been an essential part of this project

Recently we've had the privilege to be invited to work alongside Hull Children's University and St James Primary School, sharing our methods on how the application of mobile technology can have a real impact on [education] standards. Over the next year we will be working with all the schools which are supported by the charity to share a simple, effective, accessible approach to raising standards across the curriculum.

Working alongside Hull Children's University, we helped to design a Digital Arts project based on the module 'I'm Proud of My City' - Hull's successful bid to become the City of Culture for 2017 and using the free Feren's Art Gallery for inspiration for the children's ideas.

Hull Children's University was started by Dr John Buttrick to give 'young people the opportunity for invaluable learning experiences aimed at raising their future aspirations and ambitions.' We first became inspired by John and his ethos at an event at Hull University, 'We Will Be Champions', in May 2012, which was set up inspire the primary children in Hull to perform to their maximum potential and to be the best that they can be. The event attracted around 500 children and some fabulous speakers, which included Kevin Keegan, Graham Taylor, John Godber, Mike Tomlinson, Alan Johnson and Sam Whittaker.

Whether you’re about to invest in visualisers for your classroom, or already have one and are looking for new ways to use it, here is the fourth article in our series looking at maximising the effectiveness of visualisers across different subjects.

Here we are looking at music, arts, crafts and design classes. Below you will find practical tips on using visualisers to help pupils explore their creativity:

Music lessons at KS1 and KS2

  • Record and play music in the background so the children can sing over with lyrics shown on the screen.
  • Teach the class how to read music.

If your School PTA has not yet run an annual Christmas card printing project then you may be missing out on a fantastic fundraising opportunity.

School Christmas card projects allow children to design Christmas cards on pieces of paper and have these cards turned into professional quality pieces. The PTA then sells these packs of personalised Christmas cards to the students' parents. It’s a lovely way for children to see their artwork turned into real printed Christmas cards.

However, if you are responsible for running one of these projects as a PTA member then you will want to sell as many packs as possible to ensure your PTA maximises it’s fundraising opportunity.

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