Tag Archives: ExpressiveArts

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.

I visited the McManus gallery in Dundee and selected a piece called ‘Waldella’ created by the artist David Batchelor. It was top on my list for catching my attention.

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

I picked this piece to write a reflection on as it was the brightest and most colourful piece of artwork in my eyes 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 and linked to 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 mechanisms of how the work is powered and supported – electrical flex, junction boxes and plugs (both of equal importance and both transformed int sculptural objects of mesmerising beauty).

A project for the primary classroom could involve taking children on a trip to the McManus galleries and getting them to study ‘Waldella’ and allow them to make sketches and annotations based on their judgements and visual experience. I thought this piece would be relevant and enjoyable for children as it is visually appealing and made out of household items. Following on from this back in the classroom, children could make their own replica of the piece using ‘Waldella’ as a stimulus and making reference to annotations they took while in the gallery. Each child would bring artificial items from home that will being going to waste after they are emptied and then create their own artwork out of the items. The children can then choose to use bright, neon paints that can be added after the construction stage. As a class, we can discuss and explore why we think Batchelor created this piece and what it says about our environment and the place we live in. Additionally, moving away from art and design, as a class we can explore the importance of recycling plastic and the effect it has on our environment.

Responding To A Performance🎭

The strange tales of Roald Dahl have always captured my attention since I was a child. So when Matilda the musical was on in the theatre I couldn’t resist going.

The story of Matilda is about a young girl who has gifted and armed with a vivid imagination and telekinetic powers stands up to change her future. The message, that you can control your own story, and rebellion and protest can defeat the bullies, is deeply embedded.

She is neglected by her parents and is enrolled at a school with a rather masculine head teacher called Miss Trunchbull. In the musical Miss Trunchbull is played by a male to emphasis the masculinity. This may be a vilan in the story but every time she appeared back on stage she was greeted with a roar and laugh from the audience. This has a great contrast to Matilda’s teacher, Miss Honey, who has the sweetest heart and becomes one of Matilda’s few and only friends.

The setting of the musical is very eye catching and bright, which really brought scenes and songs to life. During the song ‘When I Grow Up’ bright, electric alphabet blocks are used as props lighting up the stage and the actors swing out to the audience on swings attached to the stage. This song introduces Act II in a really effective way.

The music in the play helps the audience feel the actors emotions and blend break up the acting scenes nicely.

I quite liked how the musical wasn’t a replica of the book or the movie as Matilda’s mum went to ballroom dancing classes instead of the bingo, which introduced new scenes. This made it a bit more exciting as you didn’t know what would happen during these.

This theatre production would be an excellent one to take second level children to as it was very enjoyable, cheery and relatable to a child of that age but also had a powerful but never too frightening vilan in it to add a more mature impression on it. I would either use the theatre trip as an introduction to a topic on Roald Dahl or use it to finish up a topic on Roald Dahl after they were familiar with the book and movie.

Learning Theme Explored Through Song And Dance🦖🦕

I chose the theme of ‘Dinosaurs’ to explore through song and dance for early years and first level. This theme allows for lots of big movement and positions for the children to learn and move to. Being able to create big movements will make the learning more memorable, active and engaging for the children.

I found a suitable song about dinosaurs to use to choreograph the dance to. The song lyrics speak about different dinosaurs and tells the children facts about each one too, which helps the children learn facts and knowledge as they are dancing.

I choreographed a dance piece to the music, matching up the lyrics to the movements.

“Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs. Can you hear their fearsome rawrs?” Marching on the spot and a big RAWR! at the end using hands as claws.

“Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Coming from the muddy swamp.” Clap hands 4 times and crouch down to the ground in frog position.

“Come on everyone let’s RAWR!” Change position with a partner whilst RAWRing.

“Stamping feet. Stamping feet. Tyrannosaurus is looking for meat. He’s very tall, with great big jaws, little hands and sharp sharp claws.” Stamp feet 6 times as gradually rising. Bend down and look from left to right with hands like binoculars. Jump up as tall as you can reach. Snap arms like a crocodile. Wave hands and scratch forward 3 times.

“Stretching tall. Stretching tall. Brachiosaurus stretching tall. Brachiosaurus was never small. Long neck reached the highest plants and weight more than 14 elephants.” Stand as tall as possible on tip toes with one arm in air with hand like a floppy head. Jump down into frog position. Reach one arm from side to side making a snapping motion with hand. Everyone run into middle on room to make a huddle.

“Flapping wings. Flapping wings. Pterodactyles were such funny things. With little hands and little feet and a big great beak to catch fish to eat.” Arms out to side and flap them like a bird as you move back into a space. Pretend to giggle with one hand over stomach and one over mouth. Wave hands. Tap each foot forward, one at a time. Snap arms like a crocodile. 

“Swinging tails. Swinging tails. Stegosaurus had some spiny scales, all along his high arched back he was ready for attack. Turn back to front and swing arm behind like a tail. Step turn step. Down on all fours. Pull an attacking face!

“Paddling flippers. Paddling flippers. Plesiosaurus couldn’t wear slippers for he lived in the sea not on the land and he berried his eggs, guess where, in the sand”. Move arms around in a swimming motion moving to the right then to the left. Sit down with legs in front and tap sides of feet together 2 times. Pencil roll from right to left.

“Ready to charge. Ready to charge. Triceratops is looking rather large. Horns on his head and horn on his snout. Might just catch you so watch out.” Stand up and run backwards then forward using arms in a running motion. Make a stretched arms and legs out to sides, one limb at a time (4). Make horns out of hands on head and nose. Grapevine movement right and left while grabbing on arm out right then left.

“Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs. Can you hear their fearsome rawrs?” Marching on the spot and a big RAWR! at the end using hands as claws.

“Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Coming from the muddy swamp.” Clap hands 4 times and crouch down to the ground in frog position.

“Quick run away!!” Run off stage.

Music and Storytelling🥁📖

I picked the story ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’. When doing this lesson with a class it is best to pick story’s that the children already know so it is more motivating and meaningful for the children. Also try and pick a story that something exciting happens in it.

I scanned through the book and then picked instruments and sound effects we thought would suit the different movements and words in the book.

We used drums, rain makers, metal triangles, tambourines and wooden instruments.

We then practiced narrating the book and adding the sounds to the correct parts and then recorded the whole thing. Here is the results:


I really enjoyed this TDT and it really made me think how language can be linked to music. It had inspired me to try this in my class in the future.