Expressive Arts and Culture- Session 5

Today was a continuation of last week’s session focusing on learning with narrative and visual methods to construct meaning in and through the expressive arts.

Diarmuid introduced us to arts based research. To gain a deeper understanding of arts based research we listened to interviews with Patricia Leavy and explored her handbook. Arts based research involves using the creative arts to build knowledge within research. This may involve the use of essays, scripts, poetry, music, dance, photography and comics to name a few (Leavy, 2019). Previously, I did not realise that one could use these methods for research purposes, however, with greater thinking I realise that each of these examples are often created with great meaning behind them. An example that comes to mind is an acquaintance of mine who regularly posts her poems on facebook that explore deep emotions and topics that she goes through such as grief and how she copes with it.

Leavy also explains the benefits of arts based research. Arts based research provides new insights and learning on various topics as well as allowing one to form connections between individual life and larger contexts in the way we live them (Leavy, 2019). Arts based research is holistic therefore it interconnects different subjects and disciplines (Leavy, 2011, cited in Leavy, 2019).

I believe that arts based research would be useful to use in the classroom as it will allow the children to represent their findings in a creative and unique way. This will benefit children who find writing a difficult method to display their knowledge and understanding as there are so many art forms to choose from.

To be truthful, I feel like I am still unsure on what Arts Based Research is about therefore I will conduct more research on the topic.


Leavy, P. (2019) Handbook of Arts Based Research. Guilford Press.


Expressive Arts and Culture- Session 4

Today we focused on learning with narrative and visual methods to construct meaning in and through expressive arts.

Originally I thought that writing a text would be the best form of communicating feelings and meanings. However, Diarmuid introduced us to drawing as a form of entry into a text that engages children in a way that they have not been engaged before (McAuliffe, 2021). Portraying messages through drawings is useful for children who do not have english as their first language.

Narrative art tells a story. The artist chooses the space and time and how the story is represented through the artwork (Eskew, 2014, p.4). Children can realise the significance of art in their lives by creating meaningful artwork that is relevant to their lives (Gnezda, 2009, cited in Eskew, 2014).

During the session we were instructed to read an article and convey the message of it through a drawing of our choice. My drawing can be seen below.

The article, by Ami Kantawala, was about the difficulties that teachers face during the ongoing pandemic and how much teaching has changed because of it. The drawing shows how before Covid-19 there was face to face, practical and beneficial learning but there is a crack to represent Covid-19 breaking the routine. On the opposite side of the crack is a teacher sitting alone and unhappy at a computer as she deals with the difficulties of remote learning. I can relate to this as due to Covid-19 I have had to complete university work from home and have missed out on seeing my friends for over a year. Our second year placement is not going ahead either therefore we will not get the classroom experience this year.

I believe that what we focused on this session will be useful to use in future practice to allow children to express themselves and tell stories without the need for words. It may allow them to open up more about their feelings as well as have a more suitable method of sharing thoughts.

The activity completed today achieves the following expressive arts experience and outcome:

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities within art and design (EXA 0-05a, 1-05a, 2-05a).

(Education Scotland , no  date).



Education Scotland (2017) Expressive Arts Benchmarks. Available at: (Accessed: 4 March 2021).

Eskew, D.J. (2014) Exploring How Narrative and Symbolic Art Impacts Artist, Researcher, Teacher and Communicates Meaning to Art in Students. Georgia State University. Available at: (Accessed: 4 March 2021)


Expressive Arts and Culture- Session 1

Today was our first session of Expressive Arts and Culture. We focused on music and how it can be used to represent different animals. An example shown to us was by  french composer, Camille Saint- Saens. To represent a tortoise, he reduced the speed of the music to the can-can to display the slow and quiet movements of the tortoise.

We separated into break out rooms and were instructed to compose our own piece and sounds to represent an animal of our choice. My group chose a flamingo. We decided that flamingos are elegant and graceful therefore the music we produce should match that. However, on zoom this presented as a challenge as it was hard to hear each other due to unstable internet connections as well as having a lack of instruments. With some creative thinking we managed to compose our piece using:

  • A ukelele
  • Two metal spoons
  • Electronic keyboard on GarageBand
  • A child’s toy

The two metal spoons represented the beat but we also had the idea that it could represent wings flapping. We thought that by doing a gentle strum of the ukelele and slide of piano keys we would create a calming effect to represent the flamingos sleeping while standing on one leg in the water. Once playing this we found that it did not have the desired effect  however that was partially down to zoom not responding on time. We used the child’s toy as it had animal sound features which included a duck. After researching what a flamingo sounds like we agreed that it was similar to a duck’s quack therefore incorporated it into our piece. This would be a good activity to do with children as it allows them to use prior knowledge and research skills to explore different animals and music as well as allowing them to experiment with different instruments and tempos.

This activity can achieve the following experience and outcome for music:

  • Inspired by a range of stimuli, and working on my own or with others, I can express and coomunicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through musical activities. (EXA 0-18a/ EXA 1-18a/ EXA 2-18a)

This is something that I would use in future practice as I could link it to various topics. I believe it would be really good to use when studying dinosaurs with a class as they can use loud instruments such as drums and symbols to represent a scary T-Rex.



Education Scotland (2017) Expressive Arts Benchmarks. Available at: (Accessed: 13 February 2021).



Expressive Arts and Culture- Session 2

Today we explored behaviour management strategies while teaching music in the classroom. As someone who had a very large and loud class during my first year placement, this session was very useful for what methods I could incorporate into future practice.

As the classroom can become very noisy and over-excited during a music lesson it is important to establish routine and control as the teacher.  Setting out instruments before a lesson begins saves time and arguments between children over specific instruments.

Some examples of management strategies from the Incorporated Society of Musicians include:

  •  When setting up the classroom with instruments, place them out of the reach of children or under chairs.
  • Teacher hands out instruments rather than have children choose.
  • Give children a number so that they can collect the instrument in an organised manner.
  •  Assign “music monitors” and give them clear instructions of when to hand out and collect instruments as well as where to store them.

(ISM, p.1&2, 2021).


Other management strategies that we explored in breakout rooms while reflecting on past placements include:

  • The use of buzz words
  • Tidy-up song
  • Simon says
  • Class chants
  • Fairy lights around the whiteboard

I had never heard of having fairy lights around the whiteboard idea before but I find it a great idea that I would love to use in future practice. When the teacher turns on the fairy lights, the children know that that is the signal to stop what they are doing and turn all of their attention towards the board. I find this a good form of control without having to raise my voice to be heard above the noise of the class as well as adding nice decoration to the classroom.

I witnessed the class chants being used while I was on placement. To ensure everyone was listening the class teacher would chant “are you listening?” and the class would reply “yes we are”. This was a good method to use as it engaged the children, however, a lot of children would try to be cheeky and reply “no we aren’t” or not engage at all.

As a future teacher I will ensure that all of the resources required for the lesson are set up before the class starts. I did this in my previous placement before a literacy lesson. By having the resources out on desks, the lesson was able to start straight away and there was no time wasted on children collecting resources themselves. I also use this method in my work while coaching children in sport which results in the lesson running smoothly.



ISM Trust (no date) Using Musical Instruments in the Classroom. Available at: (Accessed: 19 February 2021).

Expressive Arts and Culture- Session 3

Today we focused on composing sounds to incorporate into a moving image.

We completed this in groups of four and explored the BBC sound effects website to source appropriate sounds that would fit in with Mickey Mouse- The Haunted House. I was anxious of this task as I am not the best with computers and mixing tracks so was not expecting to enjoy it, however, the BBC sound effects website contains over 33,000 sound clips and was simple to use after we worked out which buttons to use and how to shorten and delay clips. The website also had its own sound mixer which was very useful as we did not have to change between websites.

Below is our finished piece.

In order to create this we had to source sounds for:

  • a storm- thunder/ rain/ wind
  • footsteps
  • bats
  • a door locking

Composing music and sounds is very beneficial in a child’s development. Activities such as the one we did this session will allow children to build confidence in the work that they produce, work and exchange ideas with class mates and problem solve. This enhances a child’s communication and social skills both in and outwith the classroom (Moran, 2012, p.1).

I really enjoyed the session today. Although it was difficult to begin with, we managed to become familiar with the way the website worked and I can practise using the website more in the future. I am glad that we were introduced to BBC sound effects as it is something I will use in my future practice and I believe that the children will find it highly engaging with numerous lessons and topics. I have left this session feeling more confident in this area of music and I cannot wait to incorporate this into my own lessons.

This activity accomplishes the following second level experiences and outcomes:

  • I can use my voice, musical instruments and music technology to experiment with sounds, pitch, melody, rhythm, timbre and dynamics – EXA 2-17a
  • Inspired by a range of stimuli, and working on my own and/or with others, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through musical activities – EXA 2-18a



BBC (no date) BBC Sound Effects. Available at: (Accessed: 25 February 2021).

Education Scotland (2017) Expressive Arts Benchmarks. Available at: (Accessed: 3 March 2021).

Logan (2021) Mickey Mouse Group Task. 3 March. Available at: (Accessed: 3 March 2021).

Moran, P. (2012) ‘Bringing Composing into Schools’, The Journal of Music. Available at: (Accessed: 3 March 2021).



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