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In or last input we were to perform our dance routine in front of a camera, that would later be uploaded on to Moodle. i feel as if I was presented with this task four weeks ago, I would have been a lot more anxious. However, during the last few weeks has taught me that … Continue reading Week Twelve →
In or last input we were to perform our dance routine in front of a camera, that would later be uploaded on to Moodle. i feel as if I was presented with this task four weeks ago, I would have been a lot more anxious. However, during the last few weeks has taught me that the environment in which we had practiced our dance routines was a carefree and light-hearted environment. No one was expecting professional moves, and everyone was in the same boat. I learned to take it easy on myself and loosen up. Working along side my group made me realise that I wasn’t the only one that felt uncomfortable at times and that a lot of people felt the same way but didn’t let that ruin their time to have fun. Before performing we had about 20 minutes to go over in our groups our dance routine. As I was off last week, I came to realise that my group had made a number of changes to the routine. I found it hard to catch up and learn the changes in the short time we had. However, my group was very helpful and took the time to go over the changes one part at a time. When I came to the performance it went by much quicker than I anticipated and before I knew it I was already watching the video and thinking about ways in which I could have improved my performance. During the evaluation I considered that I should work on my time keeping skills and work to me in sync with the rest of the group. I have become to understand the importance of dance in arts. Although only had three short inputs I feel I changed a lot of my mindset. Dance taught me that we will always find ourselves in situation we may not feel comfortable in, however it is important that we don’t opt out and embrace the opportunities that allow us to grow both emotionally and creatively. Teachers need to ensure that children are able to appreciate, perform and evaluate dance.
During our last music input we had the opportunity of playing the ukulele. We first learned to strum the ukulele and then we learned the notes and chords. When Julie first introduced the chords, I thought it would be way too technical to learn in such short time, however she provided coloured stickers that indicated where each chord was on the ukulele. This was vey helpful at first as it allowed me to practice playing the different chords. In order to practice further we played to a song called. this allowed us to practice the chord. Later to put it all together we played “last Christmas”. Julie explained this was a good song to practice to as it incorporated most of the chords we had learned. I found myself very engrossed in playing the ukulele as after I had perfected the chords, I found that I wasn’t relying on the coloured stickers. As future teachers I understand that in order to teach children instruments it is important to first teach them the anatomy of the instrument, so they understand how the different sounds are made. This allows their understanding of the instrument to increase which can then allow further explain to be easier. The stickers I feel were effective as the allow a helping hand for children to get a feel for the chords. Which allows them to both play the instrument with out getting to caught up in the technicality, yet still allows them to play and create.
Today’s dance class focused on how to integrate arts with other areas of the curriculum. Personally, I do not enjoy any form of dancing and find it greatly out with my comfort zone. However, I have been trying to keep an open mind and this output has greatly challenged that. Our warm up session was … Continue reading Week Ten →
Today’s dance class focused on how to integrate arts with other areas of the curriculum. Personally, I do not enjoy any form of dancing and find it greatly out with my comfort zone. However, I have been trying to keep an open mind and this output has greatly challenged that. Our warm up session was very energetic, and although I was out of breath in the first two minutes, I understand the importance of stretching our muscles out so that we can prevent further injuries. Children’s bodies are still developing, and their bones are much more fragile. So as a teacher is vital that we prepare our bodies for the activities later. In the previous week we done the same warm up procedure, however there were no music playing and the process was quite long, this week I found that by incorporating the warm ups into a short dance routine, it made it so much more involving and fun, and we were still able to stretched out our main muscles. By doing this short routine it also allowed me to become used to the environment again and remember that at the end of the day the aim was to have fun.
The main bulk of the class was to integrate other subjects, for example maths. I found this a creative method to involve maths into dance. It really allows the focus to remain on the dance aspect, but children still use their mathematic knowledge to create a dance routine. Zara gave out a series of maths questions that had an answer varying from 0 to 10. And as a class we came up for a dance movie for each number. Then using the answers to the maths equations, we formed a dance routine. Each group had a different set of questions. Another way to involve mathematics into art was by using a similar method in which a set move was assigned to a digit, however the children then had to dance out their home number and other children had to guess what the number was. These are just a few examples in how mathematics can be integrated into arts. I feel this is important as it really challenges me as a future teacher to be more creative in how I teach a lesson or how I merge more than one subject but still enabling the children to learn in a different mode of teaching.
However, I do feel that the need to always involve another area of the curriculum, in this instance’s mathematics, is not always necessary. Sometimes it’s important to show the significance of a creative lesson on its own and how there are enough skills and lesson that can be learned from it. For example, from this dance input I have learned the importance of collaborative working. It’s not easy to synchronise dance moves and it was difficult to come to a final dance move for a certain number. In some cases, we merged more than one dance move because some of the group members found it difficult to follow through. Ever since I entered the dance class, I’ve faced my fear of presenting in front of people, and whilst I still get nervous, I can confidently say that before I would never be able to stand inform of a class and perform a small dance routine. And the most important lesson the dance class has taught me is to loosen up, it taught me to appreciate to laugh at myself and to become more comfortable with myself and with my peers. And I feel these are lesson that are difficult to teach when doing a maths lesson. Our last input of the lesson was using visual aids to help come up with moves. We were provided with Scottish landmarks and were told to come up with a move that resembled the picture. This I found the easiest to do because I felt the picture provided a guide on what the dance move should resemble. I understand the importance of using visual aids in a lesson as it can allow children to interpret visuals in any way they desire.
Our music input touched on figure notes and how they can be sued to help read music for children with additional needs. I found this method extremely helpful, as someone who has very minimum knowledge of music and how to read it, I found it greatly helpful to focus on the different shapes and their length. I found this was great because in a short amount of time I was able to play two pieces of music (jingle bells and supper trooper) on the glockenspiels. It meant that I wasn’t caught up in the technicality of the music notes and was able to still construct a music piece with guidelines. This can aid children understanding of music and allow them to interpret music in a simpler way and can still enjoy creating a musical piece.
This we week we had the pleasure of meeting a class of primary seven from Bellsbank. Before meeting the children, we were informed that they were from deprived areas and had free weekly music lessons. The children’s appreciation for music was evident from the very beginning. The task was to allow the children to teach … Continue reading Week Nine →
This we week we had the pleasure of meeting a class of primary seven from Bellsbank. Before meeting the children, we were informed that they were from deprived areas and had free weekly music lessons. The children’s appreciation for music was evident from the very beginning. The task was to allow the children to teach us how to hold and play certain cords on the violin. I was seated net to one of the pupils and so had the pleasure of learning from her. Having the one-on-one allowed not only me to ask questions about her music interest and lessons, it gave her the opportunity to ask me about university and the course. Later on, I was informed that a lot of the pupils prior to coming to this UWS did not see university as a option for them, however after coming they realised that it was more of a possibility than they realised. What was very interesting to hear was that a few children realised they wished to peruse a career in teaching. This was pleasing to hear as it meant that the children were allowing themselves to plan further into the future and they had a sense of hope.
We had our first input in Dance, I was dreading this input as I hate any form of physical exercise and I do not like dancing. However, as I have been trying to do through out this whole module, I told my self to keep an open mind. For our warm up, Zara played a series of different music and as a class we lined up and the person at the start created a short dance move and everyone mimicked it. When the music changed the next person in line was to come up with a different dance move and so on. I can safely say that I disliked every aspect of this warm up, I felt completely out of my comfort zone and although I kept telling myself it wasn’t as bad as I thought, I was unable to enjoy it. When I noticed that it would be my tune to create a dance move shortly, I sunk to the back of the line. Looking back now I wish I hadn’t and had just went through with it, however I was just too uncomfortable and anxious. It was too quickly into the input and I wasn’t able to allow myself to fee comfortable in the different environment. I understand that there may be certain children that feel the same way I did, and although as a teacher it is important to be able to give children that small nudge to do things, they may not be comfortable with, it is sometimes just as effective to allow them to participate how much they want. For example, during the warm up, I didn’t exclude myself entirely, I joined in and I followed the moves just like everyone les, however it was just when it got to my turn that I opted out. Later, Zara explained that when teaching Dance there are ten basic moves to teach children.
in groups we created a dance move for each term that we thought was appropriate, each group was given a series of numbers and we had to correspond a dance move for each number, this created a basic dance routine amongst each group. This aspect of the dance input I did not mind as we were in smaller groups and the moves were short and basic. Being in a group that had my friends also made me feel better as I was with people, I felt comfortable with. This is also something that I have noted that can be effective when teaching dance and there may be student who feel shy and reluctant. Putting these children in groups with their friends can be effective as they can feel less under pressure and are more likely to enjoy themselves and participate. The most important thing a teacher can do when teaching any aspect of the creative arts is first establish a safe and comfortable environment that children feel safe to express themselves with out feeling judged.
Today’s arts workshop we were greeted with an image that had a short description at the back. We had to in groups discuss our thoughts on the image using Taylors Model of Assessment. At first, I thought this activity would be straight forward, however this was before I had seen the image. The image was … Continue reading Week Eight →
Today’s arts workshop we were greeted with an image that had a short description at the back. We had to in groups discuss our thoughts on the image using Taylors Model of Assessment. At first, I thought this activity would be straight forward, however this was before I had seen the image. The image was tricky in the sense that there was a lot going on and at the same time I felt there was nothing going on. Our image consisted of multiple different Lamps on a table, using the given questions we discussed the colour scheme, the layout and the mood. The questions were made so that we had to think in an analytical manner and really tested our thought process. Diarmuid explained that there must be a problem at the center of everything you do in the arts, and the process of solving that problem is what cultivates creativity and innovation. Allowing children to analyse pictures with the aid of questions encourages them to think in a deeper manner and not just scratch the surface.
In music we explored Charanga, and Julie walked us through the site, highlighting useful activities that could be used when teaching
children. I found this site easy to navigate and it was reassuring seeing how many resources were available. I understand that my confidence in Music is not great however I do not wish for this to affect my teaching or result in the children that I teach not gaining a fulfilling and meaningful lesson due to my inexperience.
Today’s music workshop explored the anatomy of music. We learned about rhythm, and Julie described it using an analogy of a cake. The bottom layer of the cake was described as the pulse, the next layer of a cake, the filling was said to be the rhythm, and just as the filling of a cake … Continue reading Week Six →
Today’s music workshop explored the anatomy of music. We learned about rhythm, and Julie described it using an analogy of a cake. The bottom layer of the cake was described as the pulse, the next layer of a cake, the filling was said to be the rhythm, and just as the filling of a cake gives the sponge taste, so too does the rhythm make the pulse interesting. During the we were given drumsticks and as a starting point we talked about squares and circles instead of quavers and crochets, I found this extremely helpful as It meant I wasn’t too caught up in the technicality and it was much easier to understand when to use one beat or two beats just by looking at the shapes. This method was very simplified, which I think is good for children and the simplicity of the activity allows children to enjoy and still create music. We played along to music, as there were a series of circles and squares on the board which allowed us to follow along. Introducing the circles and squares first to children I feel is effective as it allows children to slowly immerse themselves into the concept of music, as quavers and crochets may be too confusing to understand at first.
During the visual art workshop, we discussed Norwegian artist and explored how different painting have a different meaning and message behind it. For example, the infamous painting by name “Scream” conveyed the message of mental illness. I understand that as a future teacher it is important to explain to children that by painting you are not just creating an image, you are sending a message. Continuing this theory, in today’s workshop we printed messages. In groups we were to pick a message we thought expressed an important message. I greatly enjoyed this activity and found myself greatly involved. One of the reasons why I enjoyed this activity was due to the fact that it went horribly wrong. When printing we had to write the letter back to front, so that when we stamped the print onto paper the letters came out correct. However, we forgot about this aspect and so needless to say our slogan made no sense and was not our intended message. I had great fun creating the messages and picking the paint to create the print. This message made me realise that sometimes things don’t always go the way we want, but it is important to learn from our mistakes after and enjoy the process. Although so far this is the only activity that has gone wrong, it is by far the lesson that I have enjoyed the most. This activity can make a lesson more meaningful as children are not just creating an image for the sake of it, there is an intention and purpose, to send a message they felt strongly about.
Week four we were to prepare a drama lesson for the rest of the class covering any conventions we desired. This week I was able to watch other groups present their lessons. Two groups used the basis of their lesson on a child’s book “We are going on a bare hunt” this was interesting to … Continue reading Week Four →
Week four we were to prepare a drama lesson for the rest of the class covering any conventions we desired. This week I was able to watch other groups present their lessons. Two groups used the basis of their lesson on a child’s book “We are going on a bare hunt” this was interesting to see as although both lessons were based on the same book, the activities were very different due to the groups touching on different conventions. This shows that there are innumerable ways of teaching a lesson and in order for it to be interactive and fun, it requires creativity. Being able to see other groups deliver their lessons first was good because I was able to take points that I thought they done well, for example at the end of their lesson one of the groups asked the rest of the class to show from a fist of five how much they enjoyed a lesson, one being not at all and five being very much. This form of feedback was good as it allowed the class to express their thoughts on the lesson. However, Andrew pointed out that although “fist of five” is a good form of feedback it is not qualitative. Continuously asking for fist of five after a lesson can come across as just ticking a box, and not really getting information from children about what they think. Instead it is useful to occasionally ask children if they enjoyed the lesson and why? This allows children to think back in a reflective manner which gives the teacher a better understanding of whether the lesson was effective and successful.
During the visual arts workshop we developed our paintings from last week. We were given a variety of chalk, colored pencils and charcoal to add to our paintings. We were asked to think back to a time we had experienced the Scottish Highlands and write words or phrases that came to our heads into the paintings. At first, I was unsure and hesitant to add writing into my painting. Diarmuid explained that children may have same feelings and the pressure to not ruin their painting can impede their creative attempts and bettering the painting. He explained to overcome this hurdle, teachers should photo-copy children’s work and allow them to continue on that. This means that if the painting is not what the child is happy with, the original painting will remain intact, and knowing this can take away their fear and allow them to do what they want. This lesson was effective as it subtly integrated literacy in art, allowing children to incorporate literacy into their work in a creative way.
Our second week into the Integrated Arts module further explored the notion of creativity and how creativity is present in everyone- even those that claim they cannot draw. During our visual arts workshop we discussed how as future teachers we could encourage creativity. Many children in a classroom may be reluctant to create something due … Continue reading Week Two →
Our second week into the Integrated Arts module further explored the notion of creativity and how creativity is present in everyone- even those that claim they cannot draw. During our visual arts workshop we discussed how as future teachers we could encourage creativity. Many children in a classroom may be reluctant to create something due to feeling self-conscious and insecure within their abilities. To explore this concept further we looked at a book called “The Dot” in which it described a stubborn and reluctant child that was adamant she could not draw. It describes how a teacher encourages even her smallest contributions (which was making a dot) and praised her efforts. This book was interesting as it touches on how to approach children that may be unwilling to draw and create. As a teacher it is not always effective to praise the outcome, but to praise the efforts. Relating back to the book, the teacher doesn’t acknowledge the fact that the child had drawn nothing but a dot, she understands that this attempt, albeit small, was the child’s contribution. Dismissing the child’s efforts would be ill teaching as it could result in a child developing further negative attitudes towards the arts. This was interesting to read as it made me understand the power of encouragement and praising efforts rather than outcomes as it made the child want to try harder and explore more. This is the essential part of praising efforts, as children won’t strive for work that they consider “good” they will strive for innovation and creativity, to explore different methods as that is where the praise comes from.
The key lesson from today’s workshop was that everyone can draw (if you can write, you can draw) it was as simple as that. In order to test this theory, I coated my hands in black ink and made random imprints on a sheet of white paper using different positions of my hand. This resulted in sporadic irregular markings, which I later developed. Taking a pen, I closely examined each shape and created a small visual. This really allowed me to test my imagination as it was difficult seeing a shape where there was just a black smudge. It encouraged me to test my creativity and gave me a sense of satisfaction as I was able to turn what was originally nothing but an unconscious marking, into a conscious creative outcome. It was helpful having a starting point with the ink makings rather than just drawing on a white paper. This tested a quote from the book “make a mark and see where it takes you”. It was interesting to see how different people’s minds work, as other people had very different drawings in comparison. Whilst making the art works, we had aprons on, and Diarmuid make a point in noting the importance of providing children with an apron or any set of overalls that would cover their uniforms. The aprons provide a sense of protection and this allows children to not hold back and immerse themselves within the materials without fear that they will ruin their clothes. This baught me back to the point that Diarmuid made last week, to have a tolerance for mess, I understood that in some situations this phrase was to be taken literally. It is okay for children to make a mess, as this is their way of exploring and experimenting with new materials. It is the role of a teacher to not discourage mess, children that are sat neatly at tables and not making mess, are children that are not creating, these children are not experimenting, these children are just drawing, and there is a very big difference between drawing and creating.
During the Drama input we explored the importance of visual thinking within Drama. This is when visual aids such as pictures can provide a sense of inspiration for a drama piece. In today’s workshop our visual was a painting of a tenement in Glasgow. It was created by a Scottish artist Avril Paton in 1993 called “Windows in the West “. The conventions we explored when acting out a scenario was still image and thought tracking. In groups we decided to act out a scene during the World War 2, where a mother gets a call that her husband has just died at war, leaving her widowed and her three young kids without a father. During this scene we stayed in our position just after the phone call and I stepped out of the scene and explained to the rest of the class what was going through the wife’s mind. I felt more comfortable doing this as the concept of acting was still new to me. I find giving children that may be shy and uncomfortable the option of carrying out this role may be effective as it gives them a choice. It allows them to still be a part of the drama yet have a shorter role in acting. This allows children to immerse themselves slowly into the expressive environment, which they may feel more comfortable with.
Role play develops vital skills in young children as it helps develop their communication skills. In drama most of the activities are groups based, allowing children to learn and create in a diverse range of groups. Working in groups also allows children to develop their collaboration skills as they must create ideas and scripts they all agree on. It encourages children to become more confident as they take on roles that may be different to their actual personalities, allowing them to explore and create as drama cultivates an environment that can spark imagination. Drama is also a great way to inform children about important topics such as the World War, for example our group explored a wife’s reaction to her husband’s death during that time. This provide a great learning opportunity that allows children to experience what life was like during that period and how many people lived.
The Expressive Arts play a vital role in the development of creativity in the classroom as it aids in the development of divergent thinking (Dixon & Chalmers, 1990). It optimizes children’s creative potential by providing them with a medium such as visual art or drama with which they can express their emotions and thoughts. One … Continue reading Integrated Arts, Week One →
The Expressive Arts play a vital role in the development of creativity in the classroom as it aids in the development of divergent thinking (Dixon & Chalmers, 1990). It optimizes children’s creative potential by providing them with a medium such as visual art or drama with which they can express their emotions and thoughts. One of reasons the expressive arts is vital in the development of creativity is it cultivates and nurtures imagination (Jalongo, 1990). Imagination goes hand in hand with creativity, and as such elements of the Expressive Arts can encourage children to access and develop their imagination in a creative and effective manner.
It is important to first understand and value the expressive arts before one can teach it. In our first lecture, Diarmuid put a great emphasis on the significance of being able to teach the expressive arts in the most effective way possible. The key points that were reiterated by Diarmuid was to have a tolerance for ambiguity and a tolerance for mess. At first, I wasn’t sure what exactly he meant by this, but later during the visual arts input I gathered a general understanding of the term. He also emphasised that if there was anything to take from today’s lecture, it was to have an open mind and “go with the flow”.
This mindset was greatly tested later during the day in our first drama workshop with Andrew. In the drama lesson we were to act as villagers that had suffered an invasion from a dragon. Initially I found it hard to take it seriously and stay in character, but as the workshop went on and Andrew informed us how beneficial drama can be in a classroom as it allows children to release energy in a controlled environment and allows them to take on rolls that may be different to their actual personality. Andrew introduced multiple conventions that can be used when teaching a drama class. We explored thought tunnels when expressing our views on the dragon. A thought tunnel is when children line up in two lines parallel to each other. Someone representing the character of the dragon walks in the middle of the two lines and as they do so, children on the outside say one word that comes to their mind about the dragon. This was an effective convention to use at the start of the lesson as we were able to get our initial opinions out on the dragon, and many had the same negative opinion.
The second convention we explored was freeze frame, this is when a short scene is acted out and at an important part the characters freeze and hold their positions. In groups we had to act as if we had just seen the dragon and freeze our initial reactions. I found this incredibly difficult as I was unable to hold a genuine reaction. I found this activity uncomfortable as I felt exposed when told to hold my reaction to the dragon. I understand there may be children in a class that may feel like this and that it is not necessary to tell them off for not reacting in the same way as everyone else. It is important as a teacher to first create an environment that children feel safe and confident to express themselves, and some children may require a longer time to come to that point. It is the role of a teacher to encourage any form of participation.
The final convention that we explored in the drama workshop was hot seating. This is when, a character sits on a chair and the rest of the class can ask questions about the character. This is a great convention as it allows children to take lead and take the narrative in their own hands by answering the questions how they wish. It also allows the rest of the children to clarify aspects of the story they may be unclear with and therefore gain a better understanding. The hot seating in this case Andrew took the role of the dragon and as a class we were able to ask him an array of questions such as “why are you invading our village?”. This is good as you can get a different perspective of story, before we all had bad view of dragon as a threat but after hot setting a different angle was shown of a dragon that was just scared and changed our perception of the dragon from a threat to a victim. This was good as it showed the power of hot seating in drama.
In the visual art workshop, we viewed children’s art work ranging from early years to primary six. The art works consisted of self-portraits, landscapes, and abstract. Every art work conveying a different story in each painting. It was refreshing seeing an array of paintings, collages and sketchbook that children had created. It made me understand that art is not all about drawing, it is about creating, it is about inventing, some children’s art work was based solely on their imagination, as they put together a story that words couldn’t convey. These children’s art works screamed individuality, as no two art works even remotely resembled another. Each painting, each sketch, each doodle, it exposed an element of the creator’s personality, it expressed their ideas, something that is so unique and personal was laid out before me. It was interesting to note that the young children’s work was more daring and carefree, whereas the older children art work tended to come across as calculated and worked out. This conveyed to me that younger children were more confident within their ability to create, whereas older children developed a sense of self-doubt and shyness to create to their full potential. I understood this to be a role that a teacher could play in preventing, as teachers it is vital to appreciate and value a child’s work from an early age, even when their work may seem in-cohesive and invaluable. It is not my job as a teacher to make sense of a child’s scribbles, it is my job to encourage the nonsense scribbles and nurture the child’s confidence and enthusiasm to create. That is what matters. The worst thing I can do as a future teacher is dismiss a child’s art work and not pay attention to it. As this send the message that I do not value their work, which can have detrimental effects to a child’s confidence.
A drawing that caught my eye out of all the art works was that of a young child’s. Looking at the picture I don’t know what it is of, it is a series of random likes and shapes. However, the reason that this drawing drew me in because in the random and sporadic lines, it exudes a child’s enthusiasm. The heavy lines are a symbol of a child’s pure emotions that have not been filtered. The chaotic markings radiate with confidence and determination, all key qualities that a teacher should nurture and develop in a child. I know that if I had asked the child to explain what the pointing was about, I would have received the most exciting and interesting story that was as unique and creative as the child.
Dixon, G & Chalmers, F (1990) The Expressive Arts in Education, Childhood Education, 67:1. Available: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00094056.1990.10521568?needAccess=true&instName=University+of+the+West+of+Scotland&journalCode=uced20
Jalongo, M (1990) The Child’s Right to the Expressive Arts: Nurturing the Imagination as Well as the Intellect, Childhood Education Available: https://doi.org/10.1080/00094056.1990.10522518