Sketchbook Pathway Step 2: Energy of the Group

“If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we swap apples — we each end up with only one apple. But if you and I have an idea and we swap ideas — we each end up with two ideas.” Source

Use the “energy of the group,” guided by you the facilitator, to expand how we understand the question.

Painting a Storm

Kick-start momentum by working as a group to find points of access for the whole class.

The Aim: To help EVERYONE start to identify things within the topic which excite them. To provide lot’s of ways in so that exploration can be owned.

Try the ideas below.

Class Brainstorm: Re-Shape the Question Until it Resonates

Screenshot 2021-01-15 at 09.26.22

“Open up” the question or provocation to help pupils own it. Turn the question upside down, inside out, and examine it from all angles. Don’t assume anything without questioning it. 

“How Much Does A Cloud Weigh?” might become:

How heavy is a cloud to YOU?
How heavy is THAT cloud?
How does it feel to carry a cloud?
Could you hold that cloud?
How LIGHT is a cloud? 
How does that heavy cloud make you feel?
How do YOU experience CLOUD?
What is cloud?

Group: Mindmap

Use a group discussion as a stimulus for creating individual mindmaps. Start by asking questions to “open the theme” and then ask further questions to encourage pupils to explore ideas which emerge. Enable pupil’s to think like a “fern fractal” and keep pushing the exploration verbally, the children creating a mindmap as you go. Give them time between explorations to write notes and time at the tend to use a highlighter to emphasis ideas which feel exciting to them.

Be creative and experimental, not just with your thoughts but with your environment. How does having different music playing in the background affect outcomes. How does the shape and size of the paper affect the shape of thoughts? 

mindmap

Guided Activity: Practical Ice-Breaker

Sometimes the only way to kick-start momentum is to get your hands dirty. Turn the classroom into a “lab” and use group ice-breaker and warm-up activities as a way to get pupils to start making marks in their sketchbook, OR making marks with “things”. The boundaries set by the activities will offer a structure from which to work, but by inviting pupil’s to do something outside of the expected you’ll be helping them take on new ideas and start to think more creatively. 

Take a look at how you can adapt the following activities to fit your question, theme or provocation. Remember you don’t have to make every sketchbook activity directly relate to your topic – sometimes throwing “spanners in the works” can shift and refresh thinking, and ideas and experiences generated will feed through the sketchbook work.

Thinking Through Making


This is a sample of a resource created by UK Charity AccessArt. We have over 1100 resources to help develop and inspire your creative thinking, practice and teaching.

AccessArt welcomes artists, educators, teachers and parents both in the UK and overseas.

We believe everyone has the right to be creative and by working together and sharing ideas we can enable everyone to reach their creative potential.

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