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Celebrating as a community that’s learning

Linking it together

Student Brittany, Matthew, Lucas,
Sarah, Keriann, George,
and Charlie (Room 7),
Marshall and
Damon (Room 11)
Date August to September 2008
Topic The arts: visual arts.
Science: living
world, ecology,
planet earth and beyond,
earth systems
Observer Libby (teacher)
Helen (arts and EfS advisor)
Rob (cameraman)

How we created opportunities for learning

  • The children will make compositional decisions about the collective work, they will have opportunities to try different combinations and retell the stories about making the works.
  • They will make decisions about the presentation of the works in the school environment.

Learning story

Over terms two and three, the children have created a body of work related to their camp experience in term one.

They have painted calico panels in blues, greens, and browns, some have been sewn on and have torn edges.

There are two large canvas panels painted with rollers that depict sky, forest, estuary, and sea. One of these panels has the birds and animals we painted or dyed placed in the composition. We have a series of bird silhouette stencils framed and mounted. There is also a series of paintings made by sprinkling dry dye powder onto wet-strength cartridge paper.

We know the display areas in the school hall we can use and, as a group, we prepared them for the new display.

The canvas panels looked so good we did not want to stick our calico paintings over them, as was our original plan. We decided to place the calico panels together and see if the children could help to decide how they would best look. We spent time laying them on a flat surface and getting an idea of how they would be. We discussed sewing them together but, because the sewing machine was broken, we had to hand sew them together. They emerged in colour waves and the children decided they should hang horizontally in the sky-earth-sea sequence.

The children were fully involved in the decision-making about the placing of the works. There were some site restrictions and we were not entirely happy about access to the works visually and physically.

The confidence of the children and staff has grown and developed over the two terms. Brittany’s language development has jumped two years in six months. Some of her comments, when Helen asked her about what she liked about painting were:

“I like painting. What are we doing today? I think we should do painting ‘cause it is lots of fun with me. It is fun because of stuff in my hands.”

The children, when asked, continued to comment on their learning:

Marshall’s comment to Helen on 26 August 2008:

“I like doing art because you can get your hands dirty. I like getting it on my hands. In art we do it but not in other stuff (at school). It is the feeling of paint and it’s cool because you can do finger painting and get it all over your hands. It makes me feel good ‘cause the feel of it and how it looks – it looks cool ‘cause it surprises me in what I do. I still keep going when things go wrong – because (then) I do other things on my painting and I make it look good and I make it colourful too. I would like to do scraffitto (if I could do anything in art). I have learned that art is good and it makes me real happy. I like choosing for myself and all the colours – green, yellow, blue, and brown, and black. I’m very typical at what I choose – I choose more in art than other times at school. That is what really makes me feel real happy”.

Lucas, who experienced severe pain throughout the duration of project, was able to produce some of the most beautiful work. Matthew, who often refuses to join in, became an integral part of the group with a valuable contribution to make. George, so often distracted, found a place to shine through paint and printers ink, his colour choices and confidence grew at every session and his behaviour was exemplary throughout the project.