In our last session we spent it at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow to complete a task set by our teacher. The task was to pic a theme or questions e.g. love, death, how does the artist show culture or time frame? Before we were let loose in the museum to find 10 pictures that fit our theme or question we got a chance to speak to one of the employees at the museum who gave us some background about the museum and the other surrounding museums and places we could take the children to let them learn and experience outside the classroom and about the world.
Having never been to the museum before it was a great experience for me so I could only imagine what an amazing experience it would be for a children to get to see and adventure round. Anna from the museum gave us a very handy pamphlet which included all the different workshops we could take a class of children to at all the different museums which also show the different curricular links that the workshops link to.
My question I decided to look at was ‘how does the background/setting of the picture help express the mood of the overall picture?’ The 10 pictures I decided to look at were:
I chose these images because it was clear to see that even the slightest difference in colour or adjustment in the background could have completely changed the mood or expression within the image. For example the picture of the group of people in the snow, this picture could be interpreted as a poor village struggling in the cold and snow however if the artist decided to paint these people in a beautiful spring field it wouldn’t express the same pain, poverty and struggling of the people in the picture.
In this session we moved from music back towards art and the idea of evocative objects. As part of our venture into this we had the task of writing 62 words describing our evocative object, in this lesson we combined those words using different materials to create a piece of art that represents our object.
In my case my object was a snow globe that my mum gave me at Christmas and to start my piece a drew a basic outline of the glove and the teddy in the centre. I then used a soft red pastel and gold/brown pearl dust to colour some of the base of the globe to represent some of the colours. I then wrote in my 62 words into the background of the globe/ around the teddy bear and used clear cellophane to create a shiny glass look using spray adhesive glue to stick it down.
These pictures show how I progressed through the making of my piece of work involving my words and drawing.
Concrete poetry is defined as “poetry in which effects are created by the physical arrangement of words in patterns or forms rather than by the use of traditional language structure”. Using this kind of activity with children would give them the opportunity to explore different ways of expressing themselves through visual elements and their own personal objects and writing.
Dictionary.com (2019) Concrete Poetry, Available at: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/concrete-poetry (Accessed: 17th February 2019).
In our 4th session we once again extended the endless possibilities of creating sounds to recreate sounds and images we see and hear in our heads. As a class we created a soundscape about fireworks night, splitting into groups to create different sounds we hear on fireworks night and then coming together as a class to play the different sounds at different times together creating one piece. This is a link to what we came up with:
After working together as a class we split into small groups to create our own soundscape picking a new theme and choosing which instruments agree and work with the chosen theme. In my group we chose to try to recreate a thunderstorm in a rain forest by using different instruments to create a soundscape that fits.
Within the soundscape we used a drum to create the sound of thunder, bells to mimic the sound of rain, a vibraslap to act as the noise of the trees and a woodblock and beater to create the sound of frogs in the rain forest.
By doing this activity it allowed us to see a different method of creating real life sounds by mixing together the sounds of different instruments. The allows children to be creative and to use the different sounds they hear to create an image or event in the head, it can also work the other way around, what the children see in their minds they can try out different instruments to recreate the sounds that match the images and events they hear in their heads.
In this weeks session we progressed the idea of using music to express our emotions another step further. Before the session we were asked to choose 2 songs that we felt made us feel different emotions. The 2 songs I chose were ‘Man! I feel like a woman’ by Shania Twain because I find it a very feel good song that makes you want to sing-a-long and dance about, which I love. The other song I chose was ‘The River’ by Bruce Springsteen because I really like how there is a story within the song, I have also seen him sing it live and it was one of the best moments of my life and every time I hear it it just reminds me of the amazing atmosphere in the stadium.
During the session we all got a chance to listen to everyone’s songs that they had chosen and we managed to invent a game which we called ‘share or delve’. We gave nothing away before we played ours songs and then after we could either share our stories or let people guess why we choose them and how they made us feel. It was interesting to see the different kinds of music and artists that people chose and how no 2 people had the same song.
After this activity we discussed how music on the radio, television and in film can change a person’s mood and or feelings towards something or someone. We talked about how it’s not the scene alone that causes the emotions of fear, joy or sadness but it’s the music that has been put with the scene that helps create the desired emotion.
These videos help describe better just how music can change how we see a scene in a movie, how it makes us feel and what we walk away with.
“Music is a language that crosses boundaries and one that people of all ages and backgrounds can share” (Mullet. S, 2016)
During this lesson we took the idea of evocative objects one step further. Using the software ‘garage band’ which we have already had the chance to experiment with, we were given the task to put the emotions that our objects make us feel into a piece of music.
Before I started creating my piece of music I thought about how my object, a snow globe given to me by my mum, made me feel. Happy? Sad? Reflective? Joyful? When I look at the snow globe it beings back happy childhood memories. Next I had to think about what I could hear when I looked at the object. What could I hear when I watched the snow, glitter and sparkle swirl round together around the happy sweater wearing teddy bear in the centre.
Looking and thinking about the snow globe I could hear a light twinkling and quite a jolly tune playing in my head, due to the memories I have of my object and how I think the teddy bear looks and feels. Which made me think of the different instruments that I could use to create what I could hear.
I felt this activity would be a good way for the children to express how they feel about their objects or if they were struggling to describe how they felt, they would be able to use a different method of communication such as music.
Mullett, S. (2016) Classical Music To Teach Emotions, Available at: https://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/classical-music-teach-emotions/ (Accessed: 25th January 2019).
“Theory enables us, for example, to explore how everyday objects become part of our inner life: how we use them to extend the reach of our sympathies by bringing the world within.” (Turkle. S, 2011)
As part of our first session we were asked to bring in an evocative object, which we would then share and show to the rest of the class and explain why this object had meaning to us and caused emotion. The definition of ‘evocative’ means “bringing strong images, memories, or feelings to mind”, the object could be a simple ornament within the house that reminds you of a trip or funny memory, a piece of jewellery given to you by a family member or a toy from your childhood or something that was passed on to you by a special person.
My evocative object was a Hamleys snow globe given to me by my mum at Christmas. Hamleys is the oldest and largest toy shop in the world and one of the world’s best-known retailers of toys. It was founded by William Hamley and the first store was named “Noahs Ark” and was opened in London, in 1760. The story behind the the snow globe is that every Christmas when we would decorate the house I would always get to help get the decorations out and put them out and up around the house. Of course my favourite decoration was the snow globe, I enjoyed watching the snow and glitter dance around the teddy bear in the middle of the globe, so now that I’m all grown up and have my own flat to decorate, my mum gave me a matching snow globe to the one from my childhood and she had been keeping it for the past 20 years and waited until I had my own place to put out my snow globe.
Evocative objects remind us that we need to treasure the people around us before they leave us, to enjoy life and the experiences it throws our way, to cherish our time as children and the memories we make. It’s important to have these objects, important for us to feel these emotions, to remember those memories because these are the things that help shape who we are. What we feel and experience helps build our personalities and character, what we have been through change in a positive way they way we look and treat others, change how we see the world. We have a piece of those objects with us all the time and our objects have a piece of us, they make us who we are.
Oxford University Press (2019) Evocative, Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/evocative (Accessed: 16th January 2019).
Turkle, S. (2011). Evocative objects. 1st ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
13/11/18 – 20/11/18 – Micro Teaching and Dance Performance
In our last two sessions we carried out activities to help us be able to evaluate our experiences with the expressive arts, specifically drama and dance.
Within drama we carried out micro teaching tasks in small groups and presented our mini lessons to the rest of the class. We chose the book ‘There was a wee lassie who swallowed a midgie’ as it creates links to language, culture, rhyme and imagery. Firstly, we read the book to our peers so that they understood the book in case they hadn’t heard it before, we would also have done this in the classroom so that the children could understand the context of the story. After this we carried out some of the different techniques we had been shown and tried out ourselves during our time exploring the arts.
After carrying out our lesson we reflected together as a group on what we think went well and how we could improve the lesson for the next time. We agreed that splitting who lead the different activities was beneficial as we all got a chance at seeing what it would be like to be in charge of the lesson. Personally for me this helped improve my confidence in myself when it comes to the arts as my knowledge and understanding of the expressive arts has improved greatly and I now feel like I would be able to transfer what I have learned into the classroom. This is just one of the many benefits that comes with being involved in the subjects of art, music, drama and dance, it changes how you see what’s around and how you see yourself and makes you realise you’re capable of things you didn’t think you could be.
“I have developed confidence and skills in creating and presenting drama which explores real and imaginary situations, using improvisation and script.” EXA 1-14a (Education Scotland, 2017)
To show us how we can evaluate what we gained from dance we performed our group routine within a routine we created as a class. Starting as a whole class we began the dance and then each group took turns performing what they had created one at a time and then we came together and finished as a class. They way in which evaluated our performance was by filming the routine and watching it back. I felt this was an effective way of evaluation as it allowed us to see what we did well and what we could improve for next time, it also gave us the chance to see the end result of what we had been working towards. This would also be a great activity for the children as well because they would see their hard work and creativity for themselves and feel encouraged to continue their journey and understanding of the arts.
“I can respond to the experience of dance by discussing my thoughts and feelings. I can give and accept constructive comment on my own and others’ work.” EXA 1-11a (Education Scotland 2017)
“One of the most powerful experiences dance educators can offer children is the opportunity to create a dance that reflects their ideas” (Cone, 2009)
When working in the areas of the expressive arts it’s like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw together, the subjects link together in different areas and this is what helps create a circle of endless positive outcomes for children involved in the arts and all the teacher needs to do is start the ball rolling. Giving children the chance to experience the arts it means they will see things in different ways to others, be individual and true to themselves, stand out from the crowd and grow to reach their potential so they can conquer the unknown future.
“STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!” (Education Closet, 2016)
In recent years education systems have been trying to incorporate more of the arts into the children’s learning by integrating different subjects and by creating connections between standards, assessments and lesson design. By doing this it promotes the children’s learning, getting them to expand how they think and their ideas, change how they see things and how they can transfer the skills they learn into other aspects of life.
To help us gain an understanding of how we could combine these aspects together, we got the opportunity to have a play around with a piece of software called GarageBand. Therefore, combing technology with the expressive arts, more specifically music. The software allowed us to create our own music by clicking and choosing an instrument and then picking a sound from a list of possibilities. After that we could then layer the sounds on top of each other to create a final track.
Using music in education helps children grow and develop in other aspects of their education and develop skills and traits that will help them in the future. It allows them to be creative and express their individual preferences and ideas through the arts.
Melanie Skankey explains this further and helps create a clearer understand for professionals as to what integrating the arts really means and how it can change education for the better.
“Creativity is a process which generates ideas that have value to the individual. It involves looking at familiar things with a fresh eye, examining problems with an open mind, making connections, learning from mistakes and using imagination to explore new possibilities” (Education Scotland, 2013). These are just a few benefits from using the STEAM approach and creating links for the children between the subjects and letting them explore their creativity and imagination through new and interesting ways.
Education Closet (2016) STEAM Portal, Available at: https://educationcloset.com/steam/what-is-steam/ (Accessed: 7th November 2018).
TED Conferences, LLC (2013) Arts integration: putting the A into STEAM curriculum, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T70fZeyMulw (Accessed: 7th November 2018).
Education Scotland (2013) Creativity Across Learning 3-18, Available at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/Documents/cre39-impact-report.pdf (Accessed: 21st November 2018).
The expressive arts encourage children to get involved and be a part of the production or performance rather than sitting back and watching someone else to the work. Getting a child involved in the creative process means they learn skills and knowledge that they can use and transfer into other subjects and continue using them through life.
The quote above helps us to make sense of the expressive arts as well as most subjects and experiences in life. By only telling a child something chance are they won’t remember what you said, making it more effective and giving them an example increases the chance they will remember what you showed them and finally the most effective way of getting a child to make sense of something and enjoy it more is by getting them involved in what’s going on.
Using the expressive art of drama is a very good way of getting children involved in the creative process rather than just telling them what to do. It’s also a great way of getting the teacher involved as well, it allows them to build positive relationships with the children and encourage them to be confident in their work and performances.
Before this workshop my experience of drama was made of very little knowledge about the different types of techniques that can be used in the classroom to get the children to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings. Getting a chance to try out these techniques ourselves gave us the opportunity to see the lesson through the children’s point of view.
Being split into groups and collaborating on ideas allows different ideas and creativity to flow from one person to another and gave us the chance to communicate our thoughts to one another while in a safe environment. Some of the techniques we looked at were:
Improvisation – a term for unscripted acting out which can include role play.
Thought tracking – a character speaks their thoughts and feelings from a still image or a freeze frame.
Thought tunnel – a double line of children who speak the thoughts and feelings of the character who is walking between the two lines.
Teacher in role – the teacher takes part in the drama alongside the children.
Role on the wall – A simple outline of a character is drawn on a large sheet of paper. Around the outside of the body the children write words and phrases that others think of the character. On the inside of the body children write what the character is thinking and feeling.
Many of these techniques allow the children to be in control of what happens in the scene they create and explore their ideas and creativity. However, there are opportunities for the teacher to be involved and help provoke ideas and thoughts from the children to get them thinking and expand their imagination to wider things.
Involving children in in the expressive art of drama not only allows them to express how they feel but also help them understand things that happen in the real world or more specifically in their world, it gives them a chance to show what they can’t explain through words. It helps deepen their understanding in other subjects and build skills of confidence, communication and creativity. They can feel safe sharing their ideas and feelings with their teacher and their peers without the fear of judgement meaning they allow themselves to let go and be fully involved in the arts.
“I have the freedom to choose and explore how I can use my voice, movement, and expression in role play and drama.” EXA 0-12a
“I use drama to explore real and imaginary situations, helping me to understand my world.” EXA 0-14a (Education Scotland, 2017)
Education Scotland (2017) Benchmarks Expressive Arts, Available at: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/documents/expressiveartsbenchmarkspdf.pdf (Accessed: 24th October 2018).
Integrating the arts in education is one thing but another positive way to get children involved in the arts is to look outside who’s in the school. Bringing in professionals to help can give children a deeper understanding and show teachers different methods of practice for using in the classroom. It can also be effective to get children involved in expressive arts projects out with the school. Meaning they get the opportunity to see the arts out in the real world and see how they can be used day to day and bring positive benefits to the children and others involved.
Creative partnerships enhance pupils learning experience and help develop their skills and the practitioner’s skills. Showing the different ways in which children can get involved in the expressive arts in school and out of school helps support the curriculum and support the aspects within it.
We got to experience this during one of our music workshops as a group of primary 6/7 school children from Greenmill Primary school came in to show us what they had been up to. We became the students and they became the teachers, the children were involved in the String Project which enables them to continue their music studies after leaving primary school. The String project is funded by East Ayrshire’s Youth Music Initiative and it was amazing to see so many children excited about the arts and music and interested in working together as an orchestra. They preformed for us using different instruments including the violin, cello, double base and viola and then they gave us the chance to learn the cords and have a play with the instruments.
I felt this was a great way to encourage the children to explore the arts because if they enjoy what they are doing then they want to do it more, they become passionate about it which is a great quality to have and take away with them as well as feeling like they have contributed towards a greater goal.
Creative partnerships are great and effective forms of collaboration and people working together towards a common goal. We continued this approach in dance as well by splitting into groups to create a routine, during which the teacher had very little to do with the task, we were in charge and in control of what kind of routine we good put together. To help get us started we were given 10 different moves that we could interpret anyway we liked and create a routine using the moves we created and decided on together.
Using this kind of activity in practice is exactly the kind of thing that shows how the expressive arts can create positive relationships between teachers and students and between students and their peers. It shows and develops skills such as communication, teamwork, creativity and passion.
Vimeo, Inc. (2018) Greenmill Primary School String Project, Available at: https://vimeo.com/176221212 (Accessed: 9th October 2018).
Just another blogs.glowscotland.org.uk – Glow Blogs site