Art Week at Primary School

By Paula Briggs

During June 2013, I was fortunate to help with the planning and delivery of Bourn Primary Academy's Art Week. Over 170 children took part (years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The normal timetable was collapsed - each child being invited to attend "Art School" for the week. The week was organised by Art Coordinator Jo Daniels. In addition to projects planned by staff at the school, including the creation of an art trail, AccessArt helped deliver the following activities: sketchbook making, constructing tree house sculptures and creating a Klee-inspired communal collage.

Art week at primary school: Completed image block
Communal collage: completed image block

 

Sketchbook Making

AccessArt has worked for many year to support the introduction and development of sketchbook work in schools. Following an hours Inset with staff, each child in every class went on to make an elastic band sketchbook. Children were asked to bring in a variety of scrap papers so costs were kept to a minimum.

Art week: making sketchbooks with years reception, 1,2,3,4,and 5
Making sketchbooks with years reception, 1,2,3,4,and 5

 

Art week: variety of pages included to inspire content
We included a variety of pages to inspire content

 

Art week: eclectic materials to inspire making
Eclectic materials to inspire making

 

Personalising covers to encourage ownership
Personalising covers to encourage ownership

 

Art week at primary school: personalising covers to encourage ownership
Personalising covers to encourage ownership

 

Secured with elastic bands and ties
Secured with elastic bands and ties

 

Reception sketchbooks
Reception sketchbooks

 

Teachers used drawing exercises to help develop their sketchbook work. The ownership that the children felt towards their sketchbooks was very apparent!

art week: sketching at lunchtimes
Sketching at lunchtimes

 

Sketching at lunchtimes
Sketching at lunchtimes

 

Sketching at lunchtimes
Sketching at lunchtimes

 

Sketching at lunchtimes
Sketching at lunchtimes

 

Making Tree House Sculptures

The whole school (very bravely) decided to make tree house sculptures. Following a short introductory assembly, and with a number of parent helpers and TAs present, children then went back to their classrooms to make sculptures! The focus was on how to manipulate and construct materials, balance elements, and to "design through making". The children kept up the making for the whole day, and then in the late afternoon we took the tree houses onto the field to enjoy.

Art week: making treehouse sculptures - a whole school project
Making treehouse sculptures - a whole school project

 

Sticks secured in pots and then "dressed" with inventive treehouse elements
Sticks secured in pots and then "dressed" with inventive treehouse elements

 

Each child made their own treehouse
Each child made their own treehouse

 

Children were encouraged to think about how to balance their tree houses
Children were encouraged to think about how to balance their tree houses

 

And given a variety of materials to construct with
And given a variety of materials to construct with

 

Children were encouraged to think creatively...
Children were encouraged to think creatively...

 

... and use their imagination
... and use their imagination

 

Art week at primary school: cardboard house secured with a stick
Cardboard house secured with a stick

 

Canopies made from fabric
Canopies made from fabric

 

Platforms
Platforms

 

Platforms
Platforms

 

Platforms
Platforms

 

Rope bridges
Rope bridges

 

Ladders
Ladders

 

Bunting
Bunting

 

Canopies
Canopies

 

Roof tops
Roof tops

 

Klee-inspired Communal College

Finally on Thursday I visited the school to work with approximately 120 children on a shared-collage. Working on a shared, finished piece is always a challenge as one tries to balance three criteria:

1. There is an end-result
2. No child is excluded through time pressures
3. Each child has a meaningful (if short) experience!

Working in a corner of the field, we decided to make a collage based upon the natural environment, which gave pupils the opportunity to explore new drawing materials/methods. Taking Paul Klee as our inspiration (especially his paintings which contained "elements" and blocks of colour), each child was invited to make a single drawing on a small sheet of paper. First of all they used 2 or 3 oil pastels to create a block of colour which they could then blend, and then over this they used graphite sticks and erasers to make rich marks. I asked each child to focus on an element of nature, rather than a scene, such as a leaf, twig, seed head. We added the images to a polythene sheet, and as the collage grew I directed or challenged different groups to produce different types of drawings with varying foci to balance the finished collage.

Suspended polythene ready for the collage
Suspended polythene ready for the collage

 

Adding the small image blocks to the sheet
Adding the small image blocks to the sheet

 

Art week: cutting holes in the collage
Cutting holes in the collage

Completed image block
Completed image block

 

Many thanks to the Head of Bourn Primary Academy Christine Page, the Art Coordinator Jo Daniels, and the staff and pupils for their enthusiasm and energy!

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