Blog Eleven 15/12/20


We have reached our last week of this integrated arts module and the last week of dance. The outcome of our dance activities and learning has all come together as a final product. It was great fun to present it to Zara. As a student teacher I felt proud to take part in this creative process and I am sure I will even more so when I take it forward to my own pupils in the future. If I have enjoyed the experience, I can imagine just how a child would feel having gone through the same process. We discussed the value of positive experiences for our learners and how taking that forward in their learning journey into adulthood would have a profound effect on how they learn, their life choices and their fulfilment. It is therefore important I evaluate their creative input and not dismiss their meaningfulness. All the ideas I have learned have given me lots of enthusiasm and ideas as to how I can teach dance and integrate it in my class curriculum. As Cone (2009) tells us “The vision for the dance belongs to the children.” I cannot wait to get started!

Visual Art

In our final class Diarmuid wanted us to be inspired by the range of affordances there can be in art in primary school. He showed us some photo’s and explained about a primary school in Fort William who developed a new pedological concept for art in school, Room 13. It emerged from an unused room on the second floor of the school and in here the children could be free to let their creativity flow. It was the first critical based art practice in the UK and has had huge acclaim. It just goes to show that with forward thinking in teaching differences can be made in the way that art is perceived by children and society and the influence of the importance of art in the curriculum as a subject and not an entertainment. This is taking art seriously, allowing children to see art as a critical process and developing their critical thinking skills. The Curriculum for Excellence affords this way of teaching art and we as student teachers should embrace it leaving behind the old teacher led art pedagogies opting for providing a freedom for meaningful creativity.


Now that I have reached the end of this module, I can say whole heartedly that I have a deeper appreciation for the role that the arts play in education. My experiences of creative freedom were mixed as I was fortunate to have some influences out with school. However, I can see now that if I had been allowed to explore my creativity as an element of my school education it would have influenced my life in a much greater way. There are children who cannot have these opportunities out with school and so are missing out on the enrichment of their education and increased life choices. Music, drama, art and dance can be integrated by teachers with the correct planning, sourcing resources, seeking support and a positive attitude. I should be confident and willing to guide children and young people in their creativity and ensure the arts are as much a critical process as all disciplines in education.

Blog Ten 8/12/20


Dance around the world from your living room

To begin this session, we asked what is creative dance? According to Cone it is something that is created by the children’s own experiences, thoughts and feelings. It should be done in a manner that is safe, fun, meaningful and child led. “Offering children the opportunity to discover how they can be creators of their own ideas is one of the most powerful lessons we can teach.” As a teacher and an effective dance facilitator I should:

  • Support children’s ideas
  • Ensure a safe environment for learning.
  • Convey ten basic dance skills.
  • Provide chorographic structure when needed.
  • Provide exploratory tasks.
  • Trust in the creative process

Zara explained that to achieve this in primary school the Midway Model (Smith, Autard 2002) for dance in schools is a recognised model of good practice. Us as teachers can achieve this by working hard to provide resources and visual stimulus, knowing basic dance skills and taking up training opportunities and acquiring the assistance from local professionals and organisations. From reading the Cone article I concluded there are many benefits which come from including dance in education, as there is with all the expressive arts, including:

  • Expanding social skills
  • Enhanced learning skills – listening, communication, organisation.
  • Increased self esteem.
  • Better resilience
  • Experiencing meaningful experiences
  • Increased collaborative skills.
  • Increased confidence
  • Healthier physical wellbeing.
  • Healthier mental wellbeing.

The curriculum for excellence (2009) states that “children should have the opportunity to create, present, appreciate and evaluate dance.”

To practice how to evaluate a dance were asked in our groups and using the Cone worksheet create our own dance evaluation with our own theme and ideas. We used curriculum for excellence experiences and outcomes to help us.

For the practical part of our session today we practiced our ten basic moves with the beginning and end, our visual stimulus and moved on to adding another chorographic device. Ultimately, we had our routine.

Visual Art

Our visual art input from Diarmuid today focused on a presentation by Isobel McGuire who was a former student with Diarmuid. It was an example how the expressive arts might be woven in and out our curriculum. I found the presentation very interesting and made a few points to remember for my own teaching practice. I had not realised the diversity of art materials that could be used and that most of which, using a bit of effort, could easily be acquired for classroom work. Isobel covered all areas of making visual art and Diarmuid offered some insight as to how children’s creativity would benefit from them and to how they make links with other disciplines.

  • Line – children draw best with the tool they write with as they have a confidence in handling it. Using ink in the form of a fine line is sometimes better as it can not be erased over and over.
  • Shape – cutting out shapes from coloured paper could inspire children who do not like to draw.
  • Colour – exploring use of colour using example artwork from current artists.
  • Pattern – very popular choice with children as they enjoy the intricacy of it. Could be linked with history such as the heritage of the textiles industry in Scotland.
  • Texture – using fabrics or paper to weave or do collages allows a feel for textiles. Children doing this could foster an interest in clothing design and link to culture and heritage.
  • Tone – investigating within drawing, exploring how light falls upon objects. Could be linked to science.
  • Technologies – digital printing which takes the child into a world of literacy with printed words and history in the form of hand painted books.
  • Digital art – could link learning with contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol.
  • Design – encourages development of ideas.
  • Sculpture – allows children to look at the world in three dimensions. Also, a good way to awaken a child’s creativity particularly in boys as they seem to enjoy the manipulation of wire and such like.
  • Land art – can involve getting children to explore the outside and nature. Could be gathering of natural materials and making art and then recording it as a photograph. Can be linked to science topics and projects such as environmental issues or diversity and can be a very meaningful process.
  • Textiles and felting – using special materials to create landscape art, like soft sculptures.

Diarmuid concluded with a valuable point, always reference living artists as they will be using current affairs in their artwork. These artists will be more readily accessible in terms of exhibitions, interviews and modern approaches to use in lessons.


The main message I am taking from todays classes is that as a teacher and facilitator of the expressive arts in my classroom I must encourage freedom of expression and nurture creativity by providing materials and safety guidance. By doing this I am teaching my pupils how to be creative.

Blog Nine 1/12/20


 Jack Hammer

This week’s input started with Zara putting us through a warmup we might do with our learners. We did some stretches to begin then Zara described some more ideas about warm up games:

  • Disco tig
  • Bean game
  • Splat
  • People

Each game has the aim of getting the children moving around and loosened up ready to start their dance. Although we could not try these they sounded like great fun. I look forward to trying them out with my learners. Next, we went back to the ten basic dance skills we looked at last week and had a practice by changing the sequence of numbered activities a few times. Zara also asked us to come up with a beginning move and an end move to add in. After being given a number variation for our group we were given the task of drawing a picture that personally represented Christmas and these were shared in our groups. Each group chose one picture, invented a movement and added it into our dance routine. It was great when it was all pieced together. I could not believe how easy it was to come up with a full dance routine with these few easy steps. The fantastic thing about it was everybody could take part. The activities were fun and engaging and I could imagine the children collaborating and sharing without realising the creativity going on. To finish off, as we would with a class of children, we did some cool down stretches. This is a very important part of the full activity as it will prevent the children have a strain injury and allow more excitable children a chance to relax and settle before moving on. To help us understand what we did today Zara suggested we read an article by Theresa Purcell Cone (2009) Following their Lead: Supporting Children’s Ideas for Creating Dances. On reading this I was able to ascertain that as a teacher I should be guiding the creative learning with the children by providing questions about topic and allowing them the freedom to discover and experiment and explore their ideas. Children will naturally come up with ideas that reflect their own desires, worries, needs and happiness. It made sense therefor that as Zara allowed us to create our reflection of what Christmas means to us and debating which image to use and how to make it physical that we were doing exactly as Cone describes. Cone also explains “Following the lead of children in the creative process required me to believe in the validity of children’s creativity, support children’s way of knowing, and be willing to bracket my vision for the dance” This statement indicates to me that as a teacher I should be able to allow the children to lead their learning and not redirect their creative thoughts or dismiss their ideas or meaning.

Creative partnerships

This input was conducted by Zara and Julie. Zara explained that creative partnership is about providing experiences for children and young people by involving those outside school to help make opportunities for creative learning. This can be done across the expressive arts. We looked at an East Ayrshire initiative which Zara led where young people were invited to join a course involving dance and parkour. The lessons took part with an expert in parkour who along with Zara taught the youths parkour moves and how to create a routine which they could use to demonstrate their learning. The project was a great success. The group of boys presented a display of their skills and many of the boys involved showed special aptitude on the course. Some of the achievements noted from the group were changes in behaviour such as resilience, respect and self-esteem and development of skills such as organisation, collaboration, decision making and problem solving. It is important that as a teacher I remember to tap into and become involved in these projects and initiatives as they will offer children and young people life chances that are not always possible in school or even out with school, but which will enhance their learning experiences and skills. Julie explained that there are always opportunities to take up funding to provide chances for children to explore the expressive arts and the achievements that come with it. It is up to us as teachers to seek out those people such as parents, friends, organisations and sponsors who can help contribute and design projects in which pupils can participate.

Visual Arts

Today Diarmuid discussed how the process of analysing our work and finding out what it means leads to enhancement on other areas of the curriculum. He suggested that linking our artwork throughout the curriculum could be the way forward to teaching and many teachers do this already. It was interesting that he pointed out that we live in a visual world now for example, the internet speaks through images and so it seems we have an innate desire within us to visualise everything we do. Referring to last week’s exercise where we made the paint brush, he continued that ordinary manufactured paint brushes could standardise what we produce and by constructing our own tool for the paint we are therefore improving the relationship between ourselves and the painting and creating ownership and a unique and meaningful work of art. Carrying out this task is just like any other subject where the learning objective is a problem needing to be solved. Through the design process we are developing problem solving skills which will benefit other curricular areas too. Diarmuid went on to demonstrate another activity that could be conceived as cross curricular which was the integration of a poem with art. It was interesting to see how literacy could be combined with art by using metaphors in the image. This would also allow for children to talk about their art and develop their vocabulary and even for a performance aspect which is formally what poetry is about. We were able to see an example by watching a short film which showcased a poem called Homecoming and children’s artwork visualising the written words. Another film we watched was a presentation of a primary four pupil’s art portfolio. It was clear to see there was a teaching issue with regards to the planning of the art lessons in the school. From Jason’s discussion of his work, it was apparent that the lessons were a little random and there was very little continuity in the planning for lessons. Much of the work was also associated with topics. Diarmuid explained that if there had been more planning of materials and concepts the work produced by the child would have been richer in content. The final point we considered today was that children often find it difficult to talk about their artwork. We were directed to Rod Taylor’s higher order questions. These should be used to help children approach talking about their artwork which will encourage them to become more critically minded and able to articulate about their artwork more freely. We have been encouraged to use it too and below is my effort. I used my paining from previous weeks workshop.

Taylors Model of Assessment (1)

This work has been made with a personally designed painting tool which allows a unique style of mark. Earthy colours have been created and the pallet limited to yellow, red and blue. The scene is imagined but described in words to the artist. The painting conveys a feeling of nature somewhat familiar to the artist.


I really enjoyed this week’s classes and I feel my appreciation for expressive arts is growing as much as my understanding of their importance in primary teaching. Overall I have a growing enthusiasm to teach creatively and to encourage children to reach their creative potential.


Theresa Purcell Cone (2009) Following Their Lead: Supporting
Children’s Ideas for Creating Dances, Journal of Dance Education,  pp.81-89, DOI:10.1080/15290824.2009.10387390

Blog Eight 24/11/20


Our last week music inputs were focused on our assignment. Julie guided us through a lesson plan and sign pointed the information that should be under specific headings. We are free to set a lesson plan for any of the art forms we have been looking at. I feel contented that I can be successful with this task. I have learned so much from the workshops so far and I am beginning to get a sense for the style of lessons I would like to achieve.

In the second part of the music input we had a look back at the classroom resources we have used; ABC, Sounds of Music and Music Express. We noted how they are set out for appropriate levels from early to second level pupils and had a look at the curriculum experiences and outcomes and how they can be linked with the components of the lessons. From this I began to formulate some ideas for my lesson plan. I am surprised how much my confidence has grown in my ability to teach music I am looking forward to creating a fun and engaging lesson.


Introduction to primary dance (anybody can dance)

My opinion of dance is that it is fun, exhilarating, social, and emotional. I think like the other arts our own idea of our ability to dance is through having positive experiences and I was lucky enough as a child to have experienced and benefited from dance classes but not in school. I wondered how could dance be brought into my primary class and how could I ensure that it was a good experience for my pupils? Zara explained that dance in primary school should be a child led activity. It should be safe, meaningful, and fun and there are many ways to use it cross curricular. It is an excellent way to bring health and well being into class, it could be used to enhance topic work and make subjects like maths fun. Zara described how to introduce a dance lesson to children by engaging them in a warm-up game. The physical activity will help the children to get their body ready for moving and relax into dancing together. The following are dance game warmups we looked at:

  • Height order game
  • Chinese dance whispers
  • Giant knot
  • Shape game
  • Follow the leader with dance moves
  • Dance circle
  • Highland tig

A warmup is very important before any physical exercise so a five-minute cardio game should be included or even some exercises focusing on our muscle groups. Zara demonstrated how this might look showing us some stretches and movements we could do. Because of the physical activity we are doing in dance it is crucial it is done safe and children should be familiar with how the body is responding to the movement. Zara explained an activity to teach the children about this could be getting the children to draw around a friend, we give them the names of the muscles, bones and organs and ask the children to place them on the outline they have drawn. We were able to have a go although as we could not be in class, we used a doll to draw around and placed the names on that. A great way to integrate a lesson on science. The final part of todays input was learning 10 basic dance skills that a teacher should know to be able to teach dance in primary. These are defined by Dance in primary by Education Scotland and should be demonstrated to the pupils.

  1. Balance
  2. Gesture
  3. Hop
  4. Jump
  5. Kick
  6. Reach
  7. Roll
  8. Slide
  9. Turn
  10. Twist

It is then possible to make a routine using a combination of the numbers. Before you know it you have the start of a dance routine.


I have really enjoyed my first input to dance it has opened my eyes to the possibility of bringing this art form into primary school. I can already see how dance education could help to break down the barrier’s children face in participating in dance. I understand that dance should be something to be enjoyed and appreciated as part of our cultural background and this can be done by infusing it with other learning. It should also be taught to allow children to express their creativity. If dance can be integrated with other curricular areas in primary it will not only benefit health and wellbeing but will enhance learning in those other areas such as maths, science, and history.



YDance Scottish youth dance, Education. Available at: (Accessed: 10 January 2021).

Education Scotland, Parent zone. Available at: Expressive arts | Curriculum areas | Learning in Scotland | Parent Zone ( (Accessed 10 January 2021).


Blog Six 10/11/20

Visual art

This morning in our visual art class we were looking at painting, how it can be used in class and a possible lesson linking literacy and art. Diarmuid explained that paint is a readily available resource in primary school but, teachers will often avoid using it as it is an ungovernable material. The paint usually comes in different forms such as liquid, or solid blocks in readymade pallets. Diarmuid suggested limiting the colour variety as it allows children to explore colour making and allows them to think more creatively, for the same reason It is also good to provide coloured paper. Giving them choices and creating a problem-based activity is raising the bar in terms of cognitive development. Diarmuid also described why providing pictures for children to copy puts pressure on them to produce a replica and does not challenge their creative ability. I can understand why this would be the case, many children including my own will say they cannot draw or paint or are not creative and this could be why. The experience of not being able to produce what they see becomes a negative experience which they then try to avoid in future. They are then being denied the chance to develop their creativity and other learning that can benefit from having good creative thinking skills. To demonstrate the value of tapping into to children’s imagination and problem-solving skills Diarmuid set us a task of making our own paint brush as part of today’s activity. From doing this I could see the fun learning and enjoyment children would have doing this. Selecting their materials, using their reasoning skills, and the success in putting something together that is their own. Next a highland landscape scene was described to us and we had to use our paint and our newly made brush to create this scene. This would be a good example of how to use art with literacy. We also made a border around the edge of the paper before beginning to paint. The idea of this is that when finished painting the artwork descriptive words can be written around the edge of the painting. This showed us another way to link art with some literacy learning. Diarmuid also pointed out how the margin could be used as a protective border to avoid the mess of paint over the edges of the paper. I must admit I am not sure how well that would work as when I see children in mid creative flow with paint, I fear nothing will stop them. Time to stop that fear and enjoy the creativity.

My brush and highland landscape painting.



Today our first music input focused on some more ICT within music. There are so many resources available to teachers to help them bring the joy, creativity and learning of music into their classroom. Julie discussed with us about how we could begin a music lesson with our pupils and how warm-ups are a great way to embed the thoughts of rhythm and pitch ready to begin whatever the lesson might be. We were shown some video of examples of warm up exercises done by musicians, those involved with the Benedetti Foundation and Body Percussion by Ollie Turner who was involved in the west end show Stomp. These were so much fun to do and easy to follow, everyone can take part and I could imagine the children’s enthusiasm building ready to begin. I could also envisage how the warm-up could be tailored to different learning levels for example using nursery rhymes for early years. Julie reminded us about primary teachers’ fears about teaching music in their class and how when asked many will say they do not know where to begin. I can understand this. Even with a little musical experience I was worried about what constitutes a proper music lesson that will give a child a positive and fulfilling experience. Thankfully, people like A. Daubney and J. Mills have created resources which help teachers navigate teaching music. We were urged to have a read at some of their work and when I did, I really began to understand the development of our musical knowledge the reasons why music is so fundamental in life, and why and how it should especially be nurtured by a primary school teacher. Daubney (2017) states:

Children need adult role models who are not all ‘professional musicians’. They need you, their primary school teacher, to be part of the musical community in their school, and classroom, taking part, leading learning, and learning from and with the children.

Daubney has even designed the ISM toolkit to help break down the parts of her book which explains how to construct a music lesson and advice on how to deliver it successfully.

ISM | Using this toolkit (

Janet Mills (2009) discusses and agrees with points made by Daubney that music can be and is best taught in primary school. “class teachers, given appropriate preparation and support are all capable of teaching music”.

Both these authors have given me insight and inspiration for my teaching practice. I am becoming increasingly confident in my own capabilities and much more aware of my responsibility to nurture all of children’s learning with passion and commitment.



This workshop expanded our learning of how notation can be taught, this time it was pitch notes. I noted:

  • There are eight notes in an octave or scale
  • There is a treble clef stave with the pitch notes E G B D F and F A C E
  • There is a bass clef stave with the pitch notes G B D F A and A C E G
  • Middle C is always to the left of the two black keys and is seen between the treble and base clefs when written.

I learned that when teaching early level E, G, A are used and often with chime bars the reason behind this is that younger children will identify with nursery rhymes which often use only these three notes. Moving onto first level the pentatonic scale is used, and the notes C, D, E, G, A. Julie explained that these notes are used because no matter what notes you play together, they do not clash. This seems to resonate with us as even if notes are missing, we are naturally drawn to these notes. In doing this the children get a sense of achievement as it will always sound good. It is only when moving onto second level that we can include the notes F and B which are more likely to clash.


I felt this week I am starting to knit together the importance of teaching the arts as any other subject and the benefits for myself and most importantly my learners. I have been able to try out and learn about many resources at my disposal and they are influencing my thoughts and ideas about how I will teach and integrate the arts. Probably the most important lesson I learned this week is that as a teacher I should be teaching the arts with the same enthusiasm and interest as other subjects as they are every bit as important for a children’s lifelong learning and development as maths and literacy.


Mills, J (6th Aug 2009) Primary teachers and music in Music in the Primary School. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-8

Daubney, A (2017) Music: it’s place in our lives and education in Teaching Primary Music. London: Sage, pp 1-14


Blog Five 3/11/20


Garage Band

This week Julie introduced us to a digital music software called Garage Band. I had heard about the package, but I had no idea it was so good or that it was a real resource for teaching music. There is a wide variety of functions, instruments and sounds that can be accessed at the touch of a screen. The creator for Garage Band is Apple but there are ios versions and other similar software for pc and laptop. The software is downloaded to a digital device which in my case was my iPad. We were guided through beginning a project and all the possibilities available for experimenting. The experience was quite exciting. I could feel the exhilaration and see the learning children would achieve using this. This would give children the chance to experience playing with and creating sound in ways which would have been far less achievable in the past. The potential to tap into children’s creativity and to build on skills is endless. One of the activities is using sound loops. These can be layered and so the children are composing their own creation. In the process of doing this I was able to envisage the use and enhancement of their problem solving, listening and decision-making skills. In most schools today teachers would have access to iPad’s in their classroom so using this presents a great way of bringing music to children without the need of lots of instruments, space, and time. All these things would understandably place financial and time constraints on schools in the past so it is fantastic that children can have access to such an important and fun way to experience music. In a digital led world where our children and young people are the digital natives these resources are an integral part of their learning and there should be no barriers to experience the creativity and gaining the skills that can come from implementing music across the curriculum. I hope to use Garage Band with my pupils in as many ways as I can. The benefits to their overall education and their wider achievement are fundamental to their right to a happy and fulfilled learning journey.

Some other Music software for pc or laptop:

MixPad Makes Mixing Audio, Music and Voice Tracks Easy (

Audio Editing Software. Sound, Music, Voice & MP3 Editor. Best Audio Editor for 2020. (

Soundation — Make music online

Blog Four 27/10/20

Week Four 27/10/20


Notation Systems

Today it was explained that music notation can be taught by any teacher without expert knowledge. We looked at how visualising notation in the form of shapes or even pictures can be a beginning place for learning how to read formal musical score. One way is to use shapes and pictures which are spoken in their syllables which represent how many sounds are being heard. For example, square is one syllable so one sound, cir cle is two so two sounds. A square and a circle are each one shape so the two sounds in circle equal the one sound of square. Learners can use this to make their own rhythms. For younger children pictures of familiar things could be used for example animals or mini beasts which we used to have a go at making our own rhythm on a rhythm grid.

I was really interested to learn about Figure Notes. It was introduced in Scotland by Drake Music. Originally it was designed and used by two Finnish musicians as a way of helping children with learning disabilities to learn and enjoy music making, although it can be used with all learners. The idea is that you play what you see, and gradually new elements of music are added in reaching the point where they can use conventional notation. Matching stickers of notes on instruments can be used and the student can even see how long the notes they are to play by the length of the tail on the shape, the bars are always the same length. The coloured shapes are placed on a two-tier grid which later becomes the five stave lines. Progression takes place in three steps and I especially liked the idea that not only the teacher could see progression but so can the learners which would boost their determination and confidence. Another important point to make is that it is a differentiated resource some pupils can be using conventional notation where others are using Figure Notes which is important in any classroom where there are always different levels of ability. The important realisation for me is that all children can achieve and will want to continue learning.

Jingle bells pdf

Frere Jacques (1)

Another way of teaching notation is using graphic score. There are many ways to communicate how you want the sounds played. You can use:

  • Lines and dots.
  • Shapes that describe or look like the sound.
  • Drawing or cartoons in a staff or on a grid.

Modern composers have even written pieces like this!



This week we had been asked to make a puppet for our workshop and I have to say this has been my favourite workshop so far. Using the puppets and studying how they can help children and young people explore different areas of learning was fascinating. I have very little drama experience and I have to say before studying the integrated art module It would have been my least favourite art form to go to. We were shown a video of how drama, in this case puppets, can be used to help children understand their lessons and help to make it more enjoyable to learn. The video took us to the Thomas Tallis school which is a very important school with regards to integrating art in learning. In this video we were shown how puppets were used to help a group of pupils learn a chemistry lesson they were struggling with. Many other methods had been used but the information still had not stuck and their understanding was minimal. The teacher took the subject area of reactions between metals and provided a concept of a common teenage dilemma of boyfriends and girlfriends, who is better looking, who is best with who and so on. The pupils made puppets and even a puppet theatre. Through doing this they were fully engaged in the creative process of putting it all together with making, scripts, and voices and at the same time learning about the metals and non-metals and how the reacted with each other or worked as girlfriend or boyfriend. The pupils were interacting well and giving each other confidence therefor, were happy and engaged. (Peck and Virkler 2006: 789) explain “Lauded as a classroom tool puppetry is a way for students to become engaged in a holistic creative process” By doing the lesson this way there was no abstract theory to break down and they could see the physical and visual representation of the information which made it much clearer and easier to retain. Another video we looked at was set in primary school and used the well-known story of “Where the Wild Things Go”. We then had a go at making our own puppet show with the puppets we had prepared. We were able to see between these two activities the creativity which was happening. I noted:

  • Questioning
  • Exploration
  • Curiosity
  • Reflection
  • Imagination
  • Evaluation
  • Speculation

Using the puppets was a stimulus in the creative process bringing about the enhancement of learning skills such as:

  • Problem solving
  • Collaboration
  • Negotiation
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Language

Through taking part and watching these activities with the puppets I was also able to see the connections with the other arts. I have listed some examples I observed:


  • Listening to music to help understand mood or atmosphere.
  • Making music for sound effects.
  • Using music to tell a story.


  • Moving our puppet to the music to interpret the story.
  • Investigating different styles of dance to fit the story.
  • Inventing and performing a dance.


  • Creating the puppet – sewing, cutting, gluing, drawing.
  • Observing light and shadow.
  • Noting detail in puppet design.
  • Learning about pattern.
  • Learning about design.

Using puppets as a drama strategy can be a very effective way of achieving drama level 2 experiences and outcomes an example might be:

EXA 2-14a I have created and presented scripted or improvised drama, beginning to take account of audience and atmosphere.

  • Practising and rehearsing a puppet play
  • Performing and presenting play
  • Constructing and writing scenarios for puppet plays
  • Make believe and play making
  • Group work


My integrated art inputs continue to inspire and give me confidence to use them in teaching. The availability of resources available which will include all learners and the possibilities in the support for our learners is far greater than I anticipated. As I said before, drama was a part of the arts I would not have ventured for fear of embarrassing myself with lack of knowledge. But what I have learned is that however little or vast my experience in any art form I can teach creatively through them in more ways than I realised.


Peck, S, M., Virkler, J. (2006) Reading in the shadows: Extending literacy skills through shadow-puppet theater International p.789

Blog Three 20/10/20


Why music matters

This morning we talked about what physically happens when we take part in a musical activity and why this is important to our learning, mental health, and wellbeing. Firstly, we watched a TED presentation “Why Music is Important for Young People” by Anita Collins (2014). Collins is an Australian music educator who is very passionate about the effect that music can have on a child’s learning journey. Throughout the presentation she outlines many interesting points and facts which support her views. She talks about the 2 decades of scientific research of the effects of music on the brain and how it was found studying music increases brain development and raises cognitive ability. She explains “music uses all three areas of the brain at the same time and forms a greater bridge between the two sides of the brain.” And how those “high levels of executive function” can lead to many advantages in learning and wellbeing. I noted some of those are:

  • Improves listening skill.
  • Greater concentration.
  • Increased memory function.
  • Faster cognitive responses.
  • Improves later life brain health.
  • Moderates emotional state.
  • Makes learning more enjoyable.

She also goes on to say how this blows up the myth that “to play music you have to be smart.” It is in fact the exact opposite. She believes children should begin to experiment with music from a very young age and continue throughout life. If music were a core part of education, we would be giving our children and young people the best possible life chances, and this would have a knock-on effect for our future world economy and sustainability.

On further discussion with Julie, we learned about her findings in her experience of teaching music. She has been involved in projects which allow children from all schools and varying back grounds to experience music and benefit from its learning enhancement and enjoyment. She explained that in some schools there could be 80% of children from less affluent backgrounds and that projects such as a strings project she was involved in gave those children as well as those not necessarily academic the chance to shine and take part in something they may otherwise would not have had the chance to. The improvements that have been found through these projects were better behaviour, more resilience and increased confidence. I feel we cannot fail to see that this can have a massive impact on the wider curriculum and classroom management. Our lecturer encouraged us to make music happen in class and in the wider community and to tap into people nearby who could provide music experiences for our young people.

Julie suggested we read the Powers of Music by Sue Hallam (2010). On reading this I was able to see the breakdown of where music can support other areas of learning. It also provided in depth scientific evidence to why music improves learning for children. I have deepened my knowledge by learning that speech and music have similar processing systems and there is compelling evidence to suggest that long term involvement with music gives the greatest impact. In early childhood it enhances perceptual skills which affect language and reading. Playing a musical instrument further enhances the benefits to literacy skills by increasing the ability to recognise the difference to the auditory patterns of speech sounds. This is because the process of playing an instrument increases not only fine motor skills but the capacity of the brain to distinguish between rapidly changing sounds. Music has also been found to improve spatial reasoning which is helpful for mathematics. It is clear to see that overall attainment can be improved by being engaged in music education. If it has a positive affect on literacy and numeracy learning self-esteem will grow, so too will motivation which will in turn boost the resilience of the child. However, Hallam points out that “Engagement with music can enhance self-perceptions, but only if it provides positive learning experiences which are rewarding.”

Music Input two

The second music input was a workshop demonstrating a resource for teaching rhythm and pulse. The resource was designed by Kate Picken. Throughout the resource she notes the E’s and O’s from early to second level and we could see how a learner would progress in their music education. The resource uses colour and symbols or shapes to introduce notes to which clapping or tapping drum sticks or something similar each time a certain colour and shape appear in a sequence. This begins the learners experience of pulse and notation. This then builds to playing along with music and gradually introducing rhythm and more notes. Julie gave a great visual idea of a musical cake, whereby the children would start with learning about the pulse moving on to rhythm, melody and finally the dynamics of music such as timbre. I really enjoyed the practical experience from this workshop. I felt it was very easy to follow Kates lessons and I could imagine children would find this fun and engaging. This is a resource I will definitely have in my lesson files for my future teaching practice.


Developing drama as a stimulus

Today we were reflecting on process drama and teacher in role.

After looking at the different drama techniques we were then asked to think about how this could contribute to the different curricular areas. We discussed how freeze framing would not need to be used with thought tracking as just by looking at the body language, facial expressions, and even by using costumes or props can present enough information for the children taking part and watching to see what is happening. Children will develop their thinking skills by reading what they see to understand the narrative of the story. By seeing emotional expression and body language it helps emphasise what the character maybe thinking, feeling, and doing. The children can then share their thoughts and ideas with their peers and deepen their understanding of the story, expand their vocabulary, increase their confidence, and strengthen their thought patterns. These skills will influence all areas of learning and can be used over a variety of subjects. We watched some video which demonstrated the use of process drama in maths, literacy, science, and health and wellbeing. I was impressed by the diversity and scope for using drama in class to assist teaching different subjects. I could see how it would develop learning and encourage and engage all children regardless of their learning ability or confidence. I especially liked the teacher in roll example where the teacher takes the children to story land making use of the fact that children thrive in the world of make believe. Her lesson was teaching about odd and even numbers. The idea was genius but simple. The children loved being part of the story and were engaged in everything that was happening. She played the main character throughout and had control of proceedings in a subtle way, but the children also played parts and offered solutions to the problems which helped steer the story. And through all of this they were learning maths.

Props or costumes are also often used in process drama which can help make connections within the arts. For example, making masks linking art and drama or making music or using musical instruments to make sounds that are part of the story, linking music and drama.


I really enjoyed this weeks’ inputs not just the practical side but reading and seeing the theory and evidence behind the reasons why integrating the arts in school can have a profound affect on children and young people’s learning across the curriculum. I have experimented with resources I can use and see how easily I can use them in class lessons and how they would encourage and stimulate learning. I understand there is scientific research that proves the benefits on children’s learning processes, health and wellbeing, confidence, and resilience. It is important for me now as a student teacher that I implement this knowledge into my teaching practice.


Hallam s. (2010) The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people International, Journal of Music Education, 28, pp.269 DOI: 10.1177/0255761410370658

Ted (2014) The benefits of music education. October 2014. Available at: Anita Collins: The benefits of music education | TED Talk (Accessed: 20 October 2020).

Blog Two 13/10/2020

Overview of Integrated Arts

How to avoid killing creativity

Today’s lecture with Diarmuid discussed how the arts have been used in education in the past and how things are beginning to change with regards to integrating the arts in education now. Although I can remember doing painting, drawing, and school shows at primary and secondary school Diarmuid explained this has been seen to be more of a conformity than as the arts being recognised as an important tool that could be integrated into other lessons within the classroom. On thought this rings true with me as I cannot remember a single time I did drama or music as a possible literacy or maths lesson although, I do remember I used art within a history or topic lesson for example making a Viking boat. So why did teachers not recognise the arts as being a valuable vessel to deepen children’s learning? It seems there is evidence to suggest this may have been lack of belief in their own confidence of teaching something they may know very little about, also in the advantages from using it as a tool in their practice. It appears that teachers would stick to a template of what is expected in school therefor conforming to things like copying a famous art work, repeating the same drama and music for the nativity once a year, and incorporating dance at P.E. for Christmas parties. In other words, very teacher led pedagogies that were intended to teach technical skills needed for a practical led working world. An article written by Walter Humes published in TESS (1st July 2005) also explains that “Demonstrating flair and distinctiveness has been seen as a kind of showing off, a form of self-indulgence which ought to be suppressed.” However, this has begun to change in recent years with the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence in education and the development of the digital age.

I went on to read the web-based report Creativity across Learning 3-18. It discusses the development of our thinking about creativity, the skills gained from it and how creativity can be best applied in the school curriculum. The creative learning plan was created in partnership with Creative Scotland and other agencies committed to developing creativity in Scotland.  The author Bill Maxwell explains “Creativity is very clearly at the heart of the philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence and is fundamental to the definition of what it means to be a ‘successful learner’ in the Scottish education system.”

So, what are the consequences for me as a student teacher? Well, I am fortunate to have spent a quite a bit of time in schools as a classroom assistant and I have already experienced the barriers there can be within the school setting. Things like space, time, resource’s, and money are just some of those things. However, as a student teacher I will consider, the value of using the arts to enhance learning can far outweigh those issues. As a teacher I will teach creatively but also for creative learning. I can do this by having a tolerance for ambiguity, allowing children to lead their learning by being confident in a child’s viewpoint and their imagination and not being afraid to set positive examples by joining in the creative process. I will recognise that creativity is not exclusive to the arts. Science, maths, and literacy are just some areas that can be explored with fun pupil led activities. This will enhance a child’s learning by deepening their understanding, encourage curiosity and interest but also help them to think creatively in terms of problem solving, investigation, evaluation, and communication. Today’s children need to be adept in their creative thinking skills because their working world is digitally led and one which is constantly changing, therefor the future workforce need to be deep critical thinkers.


A Closer Look at Freeze Frame

This week’s session was a recorded session where we looked closer at using Freeze frame as a drama technique and how it can be used to enhance a literacy lesson. Freeze frame is where the teacher would ask a group of children to recreate a point in the story and then ask them to stop action. We were provided with videos to watch demonstrating the use of freeze frame and freeze frame being used in different ways. In using freeze frame, we are zooming in on a particular part of a story and digging deeper into thoughts, emotions, feelings, themes, and characters. Some of the things we can do with drama techniques are; asking children watching and the children taking part questions which will help them to develop a better understanding of literacy aspects, and in this technique in arranging them in different groups at different points of the story forms a visual of the narrative and emotional journey. Carrying out these tasks within drama techniques can provide many outcomes such as developing the ideas about characters for example deconstructing and humanising them. It can also help to give a greater understanding of a scene and encourage discussion of the story with their peers helping them form opinions, collaborate, and problem solve. Some methods using freeze frame are:

  • Story map – using groups of children to recreate scenes at different points in the story
  • Open and close eyes – asking the children watching to close their eyes between scene changing
  • Still image – asking a group of children to create a scene in a story but to stand still not stopping action
  • Tableaux – building up still image slowly adding components
  • Thought tracking – tapping a child in a pose and asking for their thought as the character.

During the video I was able to see how using freeze frame with Thought Tracking could work well to develop speech, and vocabulary. The children were able to empathise with the character they were playing which helped them to express their characters thoughts and feelings more deeply. It also creates lots of discussion between the children as it shares aloud the possible thoughts of the character which leads to a better level of

  • engagement
  • knowledge and understanding
  • sharing thoughts
  • sharing responsibility for development of a character
  • taking ownership of ideas

Freeze frame can be used very effectively for literacy but can also be used to explore topic work or history lessons just as well.



Todays input was recorded. We were learning about the digital resource for primary music called Charanga. It is a free resource and has been around for about 30 years. I followed the link to have a look at the website and found it to be very interesting not to mention reassuring. Charanga offers week by week structured lessons on different topics within music. It is set out appropriate to year groups in a timetable for throughout the school year. It is very easy to navigate the website with a scheme in place with 6 steps to each topic within which there are activities to complete in progression and lesson plans, assessments and support laid out alongside for teacher use. I really liked the addition of the support documents for the lessons especially as I have no formal music training. It gives me the confidence to know I can understand what is being taught too. Some of the activities include warm up and tracking games before beginning to learn to sing the song. Everything is colour coded and very visual using cartoon characters which are engaging and easy for the children to follow. As it is projected onto the smart board in the classroom it is very much resource lead teaching which is great for those teachers who don’t feel comfortable leading music lessons for fear of inexperience but will also build teacher confidence in using music as an important learning tool.


This weeks’ inputs were really beginning to dig into the reasons why the arts are so important in education. I can now begin to adopt the strategies and ideas I am seeing and imagine how I would use them in my teaching practice. By looking back and comparing my childhood education I can see how things are changing with a view to integrating arts more effectively. By reading the material I can now understand what my aim should be a creative teacher and by embracing the resources and strategies I am learning about in the workshops my confidence is growing in my ability to do that.


Humes W. (2005) Barriers to creativity in the classroom. Available at: Barriers to creativity in the classroom | Tes News (Accessed: 13 October 2020).

Curriculum for excellence Scotland. Available at: Policy for Scottish education | Scottish education system | Education Scotland (Accessed: 13 October 2020)

Maxwell B. (2013) Creativity across learning 3-18. Available at: Creativity across learning 3-18 impact report ( (Accessed: 13 October 2020)




Blog One 6/10/20

Overview of Integrated Arts

Today’s input from Diarmuid explained the essence of what integrated arts is all about. It is the combination of drama, music, art, and dancing and how these can affect and effect children’s learning. Over the years the arts have lost their place in education being pushed to the background with English and Maths taking centre stage. No one could argue that these are not important in lifelong learning but what has been forgotten is how the arts can influence, support, and enhance a person’s learning. I have learned today to “embrace ambiguity” and in turn this will impact on my teaching practice and the success of my learners. We were urged to read the Ten Lessons the Arts teach by Elliot Eisner which really helped me to understand the reasons that the implementation of the arts in education is important. The lesson that stood out most to me was number 5 “the arts make vivid the fact that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition.” This statement resonated with me personally as I have always felt I was not particularly academic but I was encouraged by family as a child in my love of music and drawing and think this has always helped me to understand the complex world around me other than reading, writing and doing maths. On perusal of the Thomas Tallis school Habits Pedagogy Wheel I was able to see the vast range of skills that can be developed by the arts in education and how it can span across the curriculum. I was surprised by the depth of learning that could be achieved and the possibilities for arts in education. I am looking forward with excitement to learn of the permissions of music, art, drama, and dancing within education in the coming weeks and hope it will give me the confidence and lots of ideas to use in my teaching practice.


My question before beginning this class was “how can I teach drama if I cannot do it myself?” by using drama in the classroom just as visual art we as teachers are reading between the lines, allowing children to express and learn other than just reading and writing. I am seeing that children and teachers can know and understand much more by taking part in drama than what we could maybe otherwise read or write. I have understood that “let’s pretend” is a natural part of childhood and that is then something we have all done. It is the human way of seeing and interpreting their world, learning to make judgements, experience and express thoughts and feelings and enhance their problem-solving skills. To be able to teach drama in my classroom I must be able to embrace and join in the experience with the children. By doing this I am setting a positive example, focusing, guiding the children on topic, and learning with and about my pupils as they learn about themselves and the world around them. ” Educational drama is not acting out the narrative of a story. It’s about exploring key moments, key characters and their dilemmas.”  Today I learned that I do not need to act out a story, all I need to have confidence to do this is to be passionate about using the tools of the teaching trade; a varied speaking voice, good body language, enthusiastic facial expressions and knowledge of teaching strategies. Angela our lecturer explained to us about drama strategies and we will be exploring those in turn to allow us to see how each can work to construct a drama lesson and demonstrate how they can be used across the curriculum. This week we used the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to look at thought tunnel which encourages the children to think from other perspectives and still image allowing the children to build a visual scene. We also watched a video which explored the strategies of focus, visualisation, bodyscape, still image, and tableaux. I found this to be very interesting seeing how the aims of a lesson can be achieved and themes explored using these different approaches within drama. I am beginning to see how important drama is in education and how effective it can be as a teaching tool. I can imagine how drama can develop all learner’s literacy, collaboration, and negotiation skills, as well as understand and explore creativity. I also realise it will help me to achieve and retain my professional standards as outlined by the General Teaching Council Scotland:

2.1.2 2.1.2 Have knowledge and understanding of Research and Engagement in Practitioner Enquiry

3.1.3 Utilise pedagogical approaches and resources.


The first music workshop began with my lecturer Julie explaining that primary music curriculum normally involves listening, playing, and composing music in other words experimenting with sound. Julie suggested that many teachers do not enjoy teaching or using music in lessons because unless they play an instrument or have had a good experience, they feel they are ill equipped. However, like drama if we are armed with resources and strategies, we can use this as part of our practice easily and successfully. I have understood from today that music plays a very important part of learning for children. It gives children an outlet to express themselves and allows those who do not engage very well with other areas of learning the opportunity to contribute and expand their learning in an alternative way. Listening to music can be a way to explore feelings, emotions, and storytelling and in fact enhancing the whole curriculum as well as classroom management. Playing music can be as simple as using digital technology and software such as Garage Band which allows children to manipulate sound simply by pressing buttons and selecting sounds on a laptop or tablet. I feel that today’s children born into a digitally lead world this will be very appealing even if music is not necessarily something, they thought they liked or were capable of. Composing can also be taught easily in the classroom using materials like Figure Notes which uses symbols and colours to represent notes to begin with then, moving on a stage at a time to conventional music notation. This was an area I had not thought about with regards to music. My thoughts were that because I cannot read music as a professional I should or would not be teaching it to children. I concluded this was a very valuable point to learn from today’s input. I noted down some of the reasons why teaching music in my classroom is important:

  • Enhances the whole curriculum
  • Has a wider impact on classroom management
  • Develops a child’s
    • Sense of emotion
    • Communication skills
    • Discussion skills
    • Problem solving skills
    • Wider appreciation of other cultures
    • Understanding


This is my second time around looking at the Integrated Arts in Education module. Revisiting these inputs has had a significant impact on my prior learning and understanding of the reasons for using the arts in primary teaching. I have understood from today that not only can teacher confidence be a barrier but the importance of the effect on learning is not widely considered. Perhaps this will allow me a deeper appreciation of what can be done and how I can do that effectively within my own teaching practice.


Eisner, E. (2002) the Arts and the Creative Mind Yale University Press

Toye, N, Prendiville, F. (2003) Drama and the traditional story for the early years Routledge Farmer

Thomas Tallis School habits pedagogy wheel. Available at: Tallis Pedagogy Wheel Guide ( (Accessed 6 October 2020).

General teaching council for Scotland (2021) standards for provisional registration. Available at: 2021-Standard-for-Provisional-Registration.pdf ( (Accessed 15 January 2021).

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