DANCE

WEEK 12 – Tuesday 26th November 2019

THE LAST WEEK! I’ll admit…the module was better than I expected. As I mentioned in my introduction blog, I was nervous for this module as I don’t have much experience working with the arts. However, after the 12 weeks, I feel so much more confident and look forward to teaching them.

Our last dance workshop consisted of us performing our final piece and having it recorded. The final dance consisted of the routines we had previously made in our small groups and the piece of choreography in the middle. This experience has highlighted to me how important it is that children are given the opportunity to be creative. Within dance, there is very limited need for the input of the teacher. Children are able to use their imagination and experiences to come up with their own choreography. Before we performed, we discussed how important it is that all children are included. For example, some children may not be able to perform due to anxiety or injury, however, it is important that they children are given other jobs to do that include them in the experience. After we performed and were recorded, we went back to the benchmark of children having to “Perform, appreciate and evaluate dance”, we had performed so now we had to appreciate and evaluate our dance. We had to give ourselves 3 stars and a wish, mine were:

STAR – Timing, I was able to stay in time with my group when performing

STAR – Memory, I was able to remember the dance

STAR – Focus, I was able to stay focused and not get distracted by my peers

WISH – Confidence, I looked down a lot, I wish I was more confident in myself and able to stand tall and perform

We got a treat for our last music workshop and were allowed to work with the Ukuleles. We began by learning how to strum the ukulele, before playing a song called ‘my dog has fleas’, apparently, this is a good song to play to tell if the ukulele is in tune or not. I have some previous experience of playing the guitar at school, so I wasn’t too nervous about this. I really enjoyed this experience and think it would be something that is easy to teach pupils in the future. It seems intimidating but isn’t when you take the time to understand it, therefore, I think it would give children a great sense of achievement.

This was a great end to our time in music, I’ve loved working with various different instruments with the help of Julie, I especially enjoyed our workshop with the primary school pupils. This gave me an insight on what teaching music will be like in the future.

I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned about expressive arts into practice in the future, to encourage children to be creative imaginative individuals.

IMPROVISATION

WEEK 11 – Tuesday 19th November 2019

This weeks dance workshop, continued on from last weeks. We started putting our individual dances together as a section to create one big group dance. Our theme was Scotland, therefore we had to revolve our dance around Scottish themes. It is important to allow children to choreograph their own dances to allow them to explore their own thoughts and feelings (Cone, 2009). We had the opportunity to come up with various poses that the section had to perform while each group had a turn at taking spotlight and presenting their dance. So far, I’m really enjoying this dance experience! I feel like I really benefitted from starting off by working in small groups with my friends as it really boosted my confidence before having to perform to the whole section. After we came up with poses, we had to create a piece of choreography that filled the middle section of instrumental music. We discussed Scotland and what things relate to Scotland before coming up with gestures that match them. I think it was a good idea to have a set topic e.g. Scotland, as it gave us a frame to work from. This will also be beneficial in the school, as it will enable children to relate dance to whatever topic they are studying.

During music we were focusing on improvisation. We continued with the glockenspiel, practicing what we learned last week. We were then joined by Julie who played the melody of the songs on the piano, we then took turns improvising with the glockenspiel to play alongside Julie. I think this would work well in the classroom as there was no pressure to play the instrument correctly, but it would give the children the opportunity to become familiar with the instrument. These two weeks working on the glockenspiel have made me realise that music isn’t as intimidating as I originally thought! I now realise that everyone can teach and play music, therefore, I am looking forward to putting my experience into practice in the classroom in the future.

 

References:

Cone, Theresa. (2009). Following Their Lead: Supporting Children’s Ideas for Creating Dances. Journal of Dance Education. Vol. 9, pp 81-89. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233223027_Following_Their_Lead_Supporting_Children’s_Ideas_for_Creating_Dances [Accessed: 21th of  November 2019].

FIGURE NOTES

WEEK 10 – Tuesday 12 November 2019

This weeks lecture was focused on creative partnerships within the arts. This is where professionals come in to teach the children to provide them with expert knowledge in the art. One example of creative partnerships that we discussed was Creative Minds Learning Network. This is an organisation that hold events for teachers, that allow teachers to learn about the arts in order to be able to teach them effectively. Although dance is important within education, some pupils may not feel comfortable partaking in a dance lesson. Therefore, an organisation called the parkour project started coming into schools and taking a parkour lesson. This allowed the pupils, especially the boys, to express themselves through movements other than dancing. The project raised attainment and confidence levels and also improved the pupil’s ability to follow instructions and have awareness of the space around them.

Our dance workshop consisted of us performing our dance routines to the rest of the section. I was nervous as I’m not a great dancer and my confidence levels are pretty low. However, I soon realised that everyone was on the same boat and nobody was particularly keen on presenting their routines. This experience has definitely brought us together as a section, I feel so much more confident and connected with the rest of the group. As educators, it is important for young people that we teach dance because:

  • It increases confidence
  • Increases their physical wellbeing
  • Ability to communicate and work in groups
  • Improves self-esteem which can be carried over to other curricular areas

According to Smith, “Children should be able to compose, perform and appreciate dance” (Smith-Autard, 2002) Therefore, we have the responsibility of being able to promote confidence around dance and encourage children to partake in dance activities in and out of school.

In music this week, we were looking at a concept called ‘figure-notes.’ It used shapes and colours rather than notes and you simply press the key that matches the sheet. Figure notes is a form of notation that allows everyone to play together, whether you know tradition or non-conventional notations of notes. During our workshop, we all had the opportunity to have a shot at using figure notes on the glockenspiels. I really enjoyed this experience, I don’t have a very musical background and often feel intimidated when faced with a piece of music to read. However, this experience made me feel like I fitted in, nobody was more advanced than anyone else as we were all able to read the same pieces of music.

 

STRINGS

WEEK 9 – Tuesday 5th November 2019

Our Tuesday planned out slightly different this week for a start we didn’t have a lecture and we also began our block of dance workshops.

Our music workshop was an exciting one, we had 22, primary 7 pupils from Bellsbank primary school with us, who taught us all about their string instruments. A brief background of the pupils: they are all from a deprived area, an organisation supplies string instruments for free and provides the children with weekly lessons. The young boy I was working with had been learning to play the violin for primary 4. I could tell he was passionate about the instrument and had developed a love for learning about string instruments. We worked through a range of activities with the children to give us students an introduction on how to hold the violin correctly, how to pluck the strings and finally how to use the bow. This was a great experience for the children from Bellsbank, stepping foot in a university is something they may never have had the opportunity to do. However, today, they were given the chance toc come into the university and work alongside students. They were the ones with all the knowledge, teaching us.

 

In our dance workshop, we were looking at the 10 basic moves we should teach children.

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

These are the basics, that we should develop our dance lessons from. We completed a few warm up activities, then we were put into groups and were required to use the basic 10 steps, to come up with a dance routine. Cone states that “One of the most powerful experiences dance educators can offer children is the opportunity to create a dance that reflects their ideas.” (Cone, 2009) Children are given the opportunity to come up with all their own moves, using the basis of the 10 steps. I really enjoyed the dance workshop, I liked the activity we done where we had to go into one big line. Zara then played a song and the person at the front was required to make up a dance move that the rest of the class then had to follow. Every time the music was changed someone else was at the front and had to come up with a move. I think this was good as it would be good to use with children, it allows them to express themselves in a way they might not always get the opportunity to.

References:

Cone, Theresa. (2009). Following Their Lead: Supporting Children’s Ideas for Creating Dances. Journal of Dance Education. Vol. 9, pp 81-89. Available: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233223027_Following_Their_Lead_Supporting_Children’s_Ideas_for_Creating_Dances [Accessed: 8th of  November 2019].

 

CREATIVITY

WEEK 8 – Tuesday 29th October

Our lecture began with an emphasis on creativity within learning. We discussed Csikszentmihalyi (1996), who is a figure of creativity in schools. A famous quote from his book is “Constant busyness is not a good prescription for creativity”, this relates to the idea that boredom often leads to creativity. Children always being kept busy with tasks that the teacher has came up with, doesnt allow any time for them to be creative and fill their time in their own way. When children or adults are bored, we find something to do that will entertain us that is suited to the things we enjoy as an individual. Therefore, as teachers, it is important for us to create a tolerance for mess.

Moving on to the art workshop, we had a focus on Taylors model of assessment. We were all given images with a description on the back and were required to answer questions from Taylors model of assessment using our image. The first image we looked at was:

Process – Colourful, plastic lizards, plants and plastic toys.

Form – Set up against a rich black background to make the colours stand out.

Content – Resembled the queens head as it appers on postage stamps, suggests Britain is no longer made up of the people born here.

Mood – Like a mask covering up whats going on in the inside, pretending to be okay.

Another image that we looked at, and chose to create our video on was:

Process – Flags of the world, made by using black, grey and white materials. The artist must have knowledge and awareness of all the flags of the world.

Form – All flags are in a straight line and blowing in the one direction, this shows that there are similarities between all the countries in the world. Not one country is superior to the other.

Content – The artist has left out all the colours of the original flags to show similarities of countries rather than the differences.

Mood – It shows that if we take the time to get to know others, we would discover that we all have feelings and experiences in common.

After lunch we had our music workshop, this consisted of learning how to navigate the Charanga website. We looked at primary five, Mama Mia and how Charanga walks through it. The website offers lesson plans and step by step lessons and questions to work through with pupils. Theres a section for each year group with different songs for each, so theres a wide variety. I really liked the idea of this website, I’m personally not very musical, therefore, I think this recourse will come in handy as a base for teaching music.

References

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996) Creativity – Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, New York: Harper Collins

NORWEGIAN STUDENTS

WEEK 7 – Tuesday 22nd October 2019

This week in integrated arts we were lucky enough to be joined by four Norwegian students. We started the morning lecture off by hearing all about their life In Norway and how their education course at university differs from ours in Scotland. Some of the information we heard that surprised me was that all teachers must leave university with a masters degree. We were also told a bit about the Norwegian school system, for example, children start primary school at six years old, until they are 16. They then move onto secondary school for 3 years, then are allowed to attend higher education for 8 years. There is a strong focus on physical education being incorporated into all learning areas, numeracy and literacy etc.

Our focus in the art workshop was traditional Norwegian outdoor art. We were required to make an art piece, using what we could find from nature. First of all, we used our phones to do some research on outdoor art and take some inspiration from artists. One I looked at and liked his work was Andy Goldsworthy, he creates art using nature such as leaves, puddles and rocks. As a group, we went a walk along the side of the River Ayr, we all had a Norwegian student in our groups which helped us have a different perspective. Our first idea was to create a ‘snow’ angel on the ground but using the autumn leaves instead of snow.

However, we soon realised this wasn’t very creative and continued our walk to find something more exciting. We came across a tree with red berries falling of it and decided we would create the Norwegian flag.

 

I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the Norwegian students. It was interesting to hear the differences in our university daily life compared to theirs. Also hearing about how different their primary education system is to ours. Looking at the UWS graduate attributes, I think this experience helped me become more imaginative. Being given nothing but the outdoors to make a piece of art could be quite challenging, therefore, it requires an imaginative mind.

Moving on to the music workshop, we were looking at using the Garage Band app to create a piece of music. We worked individually to explore the different features of the app, which I personally think was quite challenging. I had no prior experience with the Garage Band app and never realised all the different features it has. So, I personally found it challenging and realised once the hour and a half was over, that I hadn’t produced anything of great length.

PRINT MAKING

WEEK 6 – Tuesday 15thOctober 2019

This weeks art workshop was on print making and the link between literacy and art. We looked at some of Bob and Roberta Smith’s work to give us some inspiration. A couple fo their pieces I liked said “We have only got eachother” and “Art makes children powerful.” However, we were to come up with one of our own quotes. The one I liked was “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” We were required to draw out our quote in big letters so that they could be seen. At this point I realised that my quote was too long for what we were going to do, so I changed it to “Be Fearless.” Our next step was to engrave our quote into a tile, we then had to rub ink into it and print it onto a piece of paper.

Personally, I enjoyed this task and I thought it would be a good way for children in the classroom to express their views. We could make prints with strong persuasive words, to go along with whatever topic we were studying.

 

Moving on to our music workshop, we were looking at rhythm patterns. The difference between the beat and the pulse of a song. The beat can change throughout the song, however, the pulse remains consistent “the pulse is a steady beat.” We were all given drum sticks and had to read pieces of music in order to play the beat. We learned about minums and that they are worth two beats, crotchets are worth one beat and quavers are half a beat. However, quavers often hold hands to become two quick half beats together.

Although, I don’t have much musical background I really enjoyed this workshop. I think it made music fun and something everyone can be involved in no matter if you know how to read music or not. I look forward to giving my class drumsticks and seeing how we get on!

MICROTEACHING

WEEK 5 – Tuesday 8thOctober 2019

This weeks lecture began with our introduction to music. Prior to this input, I had no idea of the effects of music and how important it is within the classroom. For example, music helps improve social awareness, promote wider health and wellbeing and enhances social skills. These are all vital skills young people should have, that they can develop simply through music.

Later on, during the music workshop, we looked a lot at musical appreciation. Listening to different pieces of music, has different effects on each individual, due to our individual musical appreciation. We can use music to inspire us to think creatively through literacy and art, for example, we could listen to a piece of music and allow it to inspire the pupils to write a creative piece of writing, or a story board (which we done in the workshop.)

During this weeks drama workshop, my group were to carry out our microteaching. We decided to choose a children’s book and develop drama ideas from the story, the book we chose was “Going on a Bear Hunt.” We decided to look at the drama conventions: Freeze Frame, Teacher in Role and Thought Tunnel. Once we had identified the conventions we had to split the lesson up so we all had something to plan and carry out. My area was the warm up, which I found slightly nerve-racking as it meant that I was the first in the group to talk. For the warm up, I decided to make it as if the pupils were going on their own bear hunt around the classroom. I found this very effective, as I meant it related back to the book but also made the pupils feel at ease and ready to start looking at the conventions.

I feel like our microteaching went okay, everything that we planned we were able to carry out. Personally, I feel like I need to work on my tone of voice and pitch, but I think that comes down to my lack of confidence.

ART AND LITERACY LINK

WEEK 4 – Tuesday 1stOctober 2019

In our drama workshops for the next couple of weeks we are completing and observing microteaching. In our groups, we have to plan a drama lesson then carry it out to the rest of the class. This week my group were only observing the micro teaching so I was looking forward to it. I think it was beneficial to watch the other groups teach as it allowed us to see each other’s ideas and teaching methods.

Thinking forward to our microteaching next week, my group got together and started to plan. I think our planning process went very well as we were able to split off to get jobs done. Someone completed the powerpoint, while another sourced a copy of the book we are going to base our teaching on. Now that we have a plan, I feel slightly more relaxed about next week, however, I am nervous that it wont go as planned.

In our art workshop, we looked back at the paintings we done last week. We were asked to use chalk pastels to emphasise our paintings and add anything we’d like to add.

Our next step was then to realte the piece of art we had completed back to creative writing. To do this, we were required to think of a time we had experienced the scottish highlands. However, if we’ve never had an experience we were to find a scottish poem that we liked. We were then given pencils and asked to write the poem/experience over our painting. At first, everyone in the class had the same kind of feeling, we all felt like we were going to ruin the painting we had worked on over the two weeks. However, after completing it, I understood the logic behind it and realised that it was actually a very good way to bring literacy and art together.

 

ROOM 13

WEEK 3 – Tuesday 24th September 2019

The lecture began by watching a video about “Room 13”, this was the first I had ever heard about it so I was very intrigued. Room13 began as an abandoned room in a primary school, and to this day it is still a concept and a room in many schools. It is a place for children to “manage their own learning and have creative autonomy in determining the subject, media and direction of their work” (Adams et al, 2008, p.11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the area of art, one of the worst things you can do is tell the learners what you want them to paint/draw and how to paint/draw it. Art has to be a way for children to express themselves and come up with their own ideas or it is pointless and pupils will not get any benefit from it. For example, telling all pupils to draw a flower pot with flowers, and telling them what colours to use results in a class of 30 pupils all with the same outcome. Including no originality or creativity at all.

In our Art lecture today, we were required to use all different random resources to create a paintbrush, we were then given the 3 primary colours and white and were required to paint a landscape. Although it proved difficult to use a paintbrush that we had created ourselves, it brought a fun and personal element to a simple generic landscape painting. It got us all talking comparing brushes, to see which materials worked out better and it also brought on discussions about what colours can be made with the paints (as we weren’t able to wash our brushes obviously, all the colours were just mixing.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our drama lecturer, we looked at Global Citizenship and social justice. For each issue such as immigration and free speech we had to act out scene around it. I found this quite difficult as they are all very sensitive areas that required a lot of prior thinking and planning before we could come to a decision of something to act out. However, I enjoy the idea of drama in the classroom, “drama means different things for different people” (Kitson and Spiby, 1997.) I think this quote is important because drama is a great way for children to express their individuality, however, we do have to remember that all children will express themselves differently. Some children may be confident where as others may be shy and reserved.

References:

Adams, J (et al) (2008) Teaching Through Contemporary Art: Report on Innovative Practices in the Classroom, London: Tate Publishing

Kitson, N. and Spiby, I. (1997) Drama 7-11: Developing primary teaching skills. New York: Routledge.

 

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