Category Archives: Expressive Arts

Music and Storytelling

Choose a well-known children’s story and dramatise this, using musical motifs, sound effect, character songs and instrumental music to accompany the drama/narrative. This can take the form of a stage production or a radio version of the story.

We choose the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and dramatise this into a radio version. To make the story come alive, we used the instrumental version of ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ for the effect of ‘if you go into the woods today…’. Additionally, we used musical motifs for every time Little Red Riding Hood was mentioned to signal the entrance of an important character. Sound effects were also used to help bring the story to life, for example, using a scream when the woodcutter is in the forest.


Exploring Characters

Choose a well-known story. Create ‘role on the walls’ to demonstrate how the main characters feel (inner) and how they are perceived by others (outer). Create a still image carousel to retell the story using just 3 or 4 key scenes. During each still image, use thought tracking to externalise what each character is thinking during that moment.

As a group, we chose the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and discussed how the pigs felt when their house was blown down vs. when their house wasn’t blown down, as well as how the wolf felt after being defeated. This allowed us to really get into the mindset of the characters and how they were feeling before creating our still images.

We recorded our still images and also considered the thought tracking element as a way of informing the audience of how each character is feeling at that time.

  • In the first image, we used the chairs to represent the house for three three little pigs and we are all happy in our own homes. Thought tracking – “I love living in my house next to my brothers. So pleased with my house built with straw.” – pig
  • In the second image, the wolf has appeared and blown down the first house, 2 pigs are still happy, however, the first pig is distraught. TT – Yas, blown my first house down.” – wolf
  • In the third image, the wolf has blown down another house so now 2 pigs are distraught and 1 pig is still happily in his home. TT – “Oh my god, can’t believe the wolf blew down my house, I’m homeless!! I shouldn’t of used sticks to build my house!” – pig
  • In the fourth image, the wolf tries so hard to blow down the last house, but is unsuccessful and the house is still standing with the pig inside. TT – “So happy I built my house with bricks, that wolf will never blow it down.” – pig
  • In the last image, all the pigs go round to the house built with bricks, set up a home inside together and live happily ever after. The wolf is very angry that he was unable to blow the house down. TT – “I am so angry I couldn’t blow that house down, I will get those pigs one day!!” – wolf


Tell a Dance Story

Choose a well-known nursery rhyme. Devise a simple choreography to tell the story without using any words.

The Teapot Song

I’m a little teapot, short and stout. Bend knees and have arms above head to create an ‘o’ shape.

Here is my handle, here is my spout. Put left hand on hip and have right arm diagonally up.

When I get all steamed up, hear me shout, Shake your full body.

Tip me over and pour me out. Lean to the right and lift left leg (keep straight) up off the floor.

I’m a very special pot, it’s true, Place right hand onto your heart.

Here, let me show you what I can do. Return to standing normal and place arms out (palms up). 

I can change my handle and my spout, Put right hand on hip and have left arm diagonally up.

Tip me over and pour me out. Lean to the left and lift right leg (keep straight) up off the floor.

Create an Advert

In this task, you are asked to create an advert (for television or radio). The focus of this should be the musical persuasion. 

My group decided to create an advert for ‘coca cola’, purely sound based for the use on radio. The advert starts with a take on the ‘jaws’ theme tune which was recorded on a keyboard. The tempo is gradually increased followed by the noise of a can opening which acts as the full-stop to the music. To end the advert there is a breath of relief followed by ‘coca-cola take a breath.’ We used this to persuade consumers to relax with a coca cola and take a break from their busy lives with the relief of a cold, fizzy drink.

Dance Drama

Choose an environmental issue and tell its story through dance.

We chose deforestation as our environmental issue. Using the song ‘Grow’ by Frances, our aim was to send a powerful message about deforestation using a slow, gentle dance. We found it particularly challenging to portray ourselves as trees through dance as we did feel a bit ridiculous and we weren’t sure how clear it was. However, it was all a learning curve and we worked as a team to get our final clip. In the clip we settled on as being the best, we all gradually come up and grow as trees followed by a bit of dance as happy trees, working together to provide oxygen for the world, then at the end we are all cut down and fall to our death. Upon reflection, I feel this would be a good task to explore with a class as it allowed us to really engage with an environmental issue in a way we never would have imagined.

Create a Silent Movie

In this task, you should select your soundtracks (examples will be offered during the workshop), use these as a stimulus for your drama, creating a story based on the different soundtracks. You should then act out your silent movie ensuring that the drama reflects the music selected.

In our music workshop, we were given the opportunity to create a silent movie and my group chose the genre of horror. We did this by creating our own soundtrack, keeping it fairly simple by just using tuned percussion and a wooden guiro. Initially, when we discussed how the silent movie would unveil, we wanted to use leitmotifs to distinguish between differing characters upon entry. However, upon reflection it was going to be too complex to portray well so we decided to keep the same tune and just play it over each time. As you will see in the video, I found the tune to go very well with what was happening in the movie as it gave an uneasy atmosphere and built up anticipation as the characters entered the lift. Although each character would enter the lift with the same music and then their disappearance would be discovered to the same tune, it provided a sense of rhythm alongside the mysterious tone of the unknown.

Upon reflection of this task, I believe it would be very beneficial to conduct a lesson similar to this in a classroom as it draws on children’s creativity and musical experience whilst allowing everyone to get involved. Additionally, children should feel a sense of pride after completing their very own masterpiece which they can share with family alongside having (hopefully) enjoyed the learning experience.

Learning from Packaging

Collect and photograph a range of packaging such as boxes, packets and tins from your kitchen or shopping. Flatten out some of the boxes when they are empty. Make notes on the different designs, colours and letters used by the designer and reflect upon these choices and the messages they give out. Compare two different examples and evaluate why you prefer one to the other. What audience are they aimed at? How could you use this activity in the primary classroom? What else could be learned from this study. Include photographs or sketches of the packaging, your notes and written evaluation. Design and create a piece of packaging to appeal to a specific audience or market and upload this to your portfolio.

  1. Quaker Oats have used a sun and blue sky to identify how good your mornings will be when you have their porridge for breakfast. Minimal text is used to highlight the key points – it is simple and quick. The red colouring represents the flavouring of porridge so
    consumers can easily identify the difference between the boxes.
  2. Tesco have used images of bubbles on their lemon bitter to emphasise the fizzy-ness of the drink. Coupled with the classic lettering used for ‘lemon’ it is visual appealing and subtle in its neutral colours.
  3. Tesco have used a classic red colour which has proven to be attractive to the human eye and in this example is representation of the jam centre. The text is positioned within the outline of a biscuit tin to feature where the creams belong once purchased. Having several images of the biscuit on top of each other send out the message that there is lots of biscuits for the price.
  4. John West have used green/blue/turquoise/aqua to represent the ocean in which tuna is obtained from. The traditional lettering and ‘since 1857’ could be there to send out the message that they are a reliable, long-standing company. The animated pictures of fish indicate what sort of product it is.
  5. Clover have used quite an outdoor/summer vibe for their packaging which could be to send out the message that their product is all natural. The attract to nature being that it indicates the product is much left artificial than other products, therefore, making it more desired. This is emphasised in the ‘simply made with buttermilk’ text.
  6. Pepsi have used a black label to blend in with the colour of the Pepsi, the attraction being it is simple to for the eye. It could be said that the red, blue and white logo is from the American flag as it is an american company. Again, the lettering is very simple and straight to the point ‘maximum taste, no sugar’ giving the consumer all the information they need.
  7. Tesco have used quite a faded, stamp-like logo for their instant coffee to represent the authenticity of their product. The coffee beans next to the cup are used to emphasis the rich, coffee taste you’ll get from the powder just by adding hot water. Additionally, ‘serves 55’ stamp is used to show how much you’ll get for you money.
  8. Nescafe have gone with a slightly more ‘out-there’ design for their ‘Azera barista style instant coffee’. This packaging is meant to be visual appealing to the consumer and is intended to stand out from all the other coffee brands. Additionally, the ‘limited edition’ banner is used to emphasis the need to get it now as it won’t be around for long.










    To compare the last 2 pieces of packaging for instant coffee, it is very clear they have many differences. The Tesco one is very much indeed for practicality – getting the point across but also attracting the consumer to the taste of a classic coffee. Whereas, the Nescafe one is much more visually appealing and relying on the consumer liking the design rather than the look/sound of the coffee. I definitely prefer the Nescafe one and I think this is purely down to the eye-catching design, it would most definitely attract your eye from far away in the shop whereas you would have to be intending to look at coffee and be fairly up close to find the Tesco one appealing.  This one is also aimed at coffee drinkers whereas the last one could be for anyone, you could not like coffee at all but still want the nicely designed container!

    You could use this activity in the primary school by asking pupils to bring in pieces of packaging from home that is their favourite and ask them to explain why, developing their aesthetic understanding. Additionally, they could have a go at designing their own packaging after researching and exploring aspects that need to be considered when designing products for the consumer. In addition to learning about advertisement and the power of visually appealing products, pupils would learn that everyone likes different things as everyone will have a different opinion on different packaging, therefore, this develops their ability to see things from other’s perspective.

Packaging for instant coffee, designed by me appealing specifically to coffee drinkers.


Final Design


Gallery Visit

Physically visit an art gallery, exhibition or museum. Select a piece of work and develop a project for the primary classroom based on your study, research and understanding of the piece and its context.  Your portfolio must contain evidence of your attendance (e.g. ticket stub) and direct study of the piece e.g. your own notes and photographs, diagrams or scanned in rough sketches. It is essential that you see and engage with the piece directly as well as in reproduction.

I visited the McManus gallery in Dundee and selected a piece by David Batchelor which caught my attention.

“The only colours that interested me were unnatural and artificial colours. Industrial colours, city colours: chemical, electrical, plastic, metallic, neon…”

This particular piece caught my eye as it was bright and colourful and stood out amongst everything else in the McManus. It is made from 200 plastic bottles, electrical flex and low energy lamps. As you can see from the photos, the central concern for this piece is colour. The subject matter Batchelor explores are always rooted in the artificial and industrially manufactured world. Everything that he has used is found (manufactured for some purpose other than art) and ‘poor’, being used up or industrial. The ‘shiny’ colourful materials are always contrasted by the mechanisms of how the work is powered and supported – electrical flex, junction boxes and plugs (both of equal importance and both transformed into sculptural objects of mesmerising beauty).

A project for the classroom could involve taking pupils to the McManus to actually study the piece and allow them to take their own photos and make sketches. I thought this piece would be quite enjoyable for children as it is visually appealing and made out of household items. Following on from this, there could be a class project in which pupils help to recreate their own piece using this as the stimulus. Every pupil could bring an item from home that is artificial and goes to waste after emptied and then together, build their own. As a class, we could explore why we think Batchelor created this and what does it say about our environment and the place we live in. Moving away from Art, we could explore recycling plastics and the effect it has on our environment. Additionally, we could use bright, neon colours to paint our own version of the piece.


Alternate Endings

Choose a well-known story. Consider the ‘big themes’ of the story and explore possible alternate endings. Decide on the most powerful new ending and film your new story. 

I choose the award-winning story ‘Lost & Found’ by Oliver Jeffers. In this book, a lost penguin shows up at a little boys door, the boy found out where it came from and returned it. However, the journey to the north pole is long and difficult in their little rowing boat, to pass town the little boy tells the penguin stories. When they arrive, instead of being happy they are both sad, then the boy realises that the penguin wasn’t lost, it was just lonely.

I consider the ‘big themes’ to be friendship, bravery, loneliness and adventure. The possible endings I explored were: the boy couldn’t find the south pole so came home with the penguin; the boy welcomed the penguin into his home, they went to school together, played together, etc. until he was ready to go back to the south pole; the boy took the penguin to the south pole and went back home but everyday the penguin came back and everyday the boy took him back till he realised he was lonely.


Writing in Role

Choose an everyday object from around you (e.g. a chair, a pen, the tv…). Use the drama convention Visualisation to explore what it would be like to be that object. If it could hear, what would it hear? If it could see, what would it see? If it could feel, what would it feel? Write a short description of the world from the point of view of your object.

My life is spent inside a dark cupboard, only to see the light of day when my services are required. Every so often I hear the click of the kettle and that is when I know I am needed. The tip tap of feet followed by a blinding light and a hand reaching out. Ahh…boiling water flowing into me once more, making me feel all warm inside. My bottom resting on a saucer with a rich tea to keep me company. Today, I am lucky for y owner is joined by a guest. Listening to voices above me, I soak in all the gossip as the liquid from inside me is slowly sipped away. Then, I am dipped into fresh, soapy water followed by a soft tea towel brushing against my ceramic skin drying every inch of my body. That is when I know I am starting my journey to the dreaded cupboard that I call home, where I am put to rest. Empty inside, I feel cold and unwanted till the next time…

How would you develop a human character from your object? What might they look like? Sound like? Move like? Think and feel? Write a brief character description. Include drawings if you wish. 

Cup looks happy and quite young, dreaming of a life outside the cupboard. Their voice very squeaky and quite chirpy. They move as if they are jumping, hopping from A to B. They feel very empty inside when not used and lonely, they think of a better life on the outside.

Using Photography in Teaching

Digital photography can be a useful tool and activity in the primary classroom. Almost everyone uses it, often without any formal teaching. Produce an illustrated guidance poster, video or hand-out for primary teachers and or pupils in the use of this medium. Consider aspects such as image quality, subject matter, composition, inclusion, accessibility, potential health and safety risks, privacy, storage, printing and compile a list of potential uses around the school.

The use of photography for learning in primary school is often overlooked. When I was in school, the option to do photography never came up till high school, I have no recollection of it being included in my primary education. However, I feel it is crucial to engage in photography from an early age as it opens up a whole world of discovery and allows children to express themselves in ways they feel more comfortable in. As some children find drawing or acting too daunting with lacking in confidence, cameras allow them to discover art in a way they don’t consider to be art or even learning. This allows us to change children’s perceptions of art in that anyone can do it, you don’t “have to be good at art”. In fact, it changes their view of school as photography is a prime example of how we can make learning enjoyable for our pupils. I feel it is crucial to manipulate any source of enjoyment to enhance a child’s education.

I have created this guidance poster to demonstrate how digital photography can be a useful tool within primary schools. Additionally, i have considered aspects such as subject matter, potential health and safety risks and privacy.