Getting technical with Art!

Before completing this module I always related Art to children creating a picture and that is it. The module has taught me that Art can be a whole load of different things, that  I wouldn’t have labelled as Art for Primary age children.

After carrying out some follow up reading to this session it is apparent that it is hard to define what is Art. Williams and Easingwood (2007) suggest that it is by far to simply decide what Art you like based on preferences and style, therefore it is important to allow children to explore various mediums.

During our third and final Art session, we  explored how digital literacy can be developed through creative arts and how multi-sensory projects can be used to develop a range of skills.  Also how these projects can be used to support visual literacy.
I understand that children need to develop an understanding of visual literacy and part of this can be explored through art. Below are some adverts that would interest children but they may not know the meaning behind them. Using clips like this can ignite children’s inspiration.

Another way of using technology within art is to create projects which include children’s art work. We looked at a range of picture books and discussed the illustrations and pictures in each book and discussed the different effects used. Giving children a range of books can encourage their understanding of the vast range of techniques used to create pictures. I hadn’t noticed that some books use a layering technique to create the pictures. Lauren Child often uses this technique by having setting photo captures then layering illustrations of characters and other features on top.

Illustrator - Emily Gravett
Illustrator – Emily Gravett
Illustrator - Maurice Sendak
Illustrator – Maurice Sendak
Illustrator - David Wojtowycz
Illustrator – David Wojtowycz


Illustrator - Lauren Child  Photographer - Polly Borland
Illustrator – Lauren Child
Photographer – Polly Borland

We worked together to create a back ground/setting for a story and characters which were intended to be made into an e-book. This is a great idea, being able to link art and ICT in such a creative way, it would entice children to create high standards of work.

PicCollage I created the back ground using ink and various ways of printing. I also added texture using tissue paper. Alison and Megan created the characters.  If I were to do this with the class I would encourage them to work in teams to first create a story within Literacy and then created backgrounds and characters using different materials and effects. Eventually the children would move on to creating a book using the book creator app.

We explored different ways of creating printing tools, I love the idea of making prints using cardboard and string. I intend to use this method during the run up to Easter to create Easter cards, I will encourage children to create a string pattern on an Easter egg shaped template and print onto to cards.

I learnt a lot from this session and feel a lot more confident about teaching art to children in the early years and KS1. I now realise the vast amount of opportunities to use Art in the classroom and have changed my views on it.

From further reading I realise print making offers children the opportunities to explore and experiment line, tone, texture, pattern and shape all within one avenue. Print making can be brought into many areas of the curriculum, Edwards (2013) suggests it can provide a powerful medium for securing knowledge in other areas of the curriculum. An idea I have come across in this reading is using print making when teaching 2D shapes, I have used this idea in my medium term plan for after Easter.


EDWARDS, J (2013). Teaching Primary Art. Harlow: Pearson Education

WILLIAMS, J, EASINGWOOD, N (2007). Primary ICT and the Foundation Subjects. London: Continuum International


Music across the curriculum…

As I stated in the previous blog post, I have been made aware that music really can link with all areas of a child’s development. It is also very important for children to be able to use music as an emotional outlet.

Music can provide easy links to Literacy and Maths development and offers children with opportunities to develop in all other areas. Mills (2009) supports this suggesting Music can easily be made very cross curriculum if used and planned correctly. It can reinforce learning in all areas of the curriculum.

One of my favorite activities from today’s  session was retelling a traditional story through an echoing song. I will definitely be trying this with my class as I feel it would be a very effective way to engage children in the understanding of a story.

It is very simple as it is sang to the tune of ‘one finger, one thumb’ and is of a repetitive nature.

The song we created as a group was based on ‘The Gingerbread Man’ .

The old man was hungry x3

so his wife made gingerbread men.

one jumped out the oven x3

and then ran away.

They chased him down the road x3 

until they came to a river.

The fox said jump on x3

I’ll take you across the river. 

The fox had an idea x3

what’s going to happen, oh dear. 

The fox was very cheeky x3

he ate the ginger bread man.

It is a very simple idea and children can work together to create songs based on familiar stories. Alternatively the teacher can lead and the children can echo. It also offers chances for children to identify percussion instruments for certain parts of the story.

There were many ideas that I loved from this session that I will be using within both my current placement and when I return to Foundation Stage. I feel that offering music as a way to reinforce Literacy learning is a great idea. I will be trying to incorporate it into many other lessons as well.

During discrete music lessons I will be sure to provide links to other subject areas. One of the activities we carried out today involved listening to a piece of music and use a similar structure to create our own piece of music using instruments. I have a planned to use this idea, I intend to play a piece of medieval music (linking to history and castles topic) and encourage children to create a piece similar to show their interpretation of  music from the medieval period.

MILLS, J (2009). Music in  the primary school. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Who knew recycling could be so much fun!

Today’s session involved looking at ways to integrate all areas of learning into music activities, not just for Early Years but KS1 as well. I found this session extremely interesting and enlightening as I had not made many of the connections before. Music really can be used to explore all areas of learning and we carried out several activities ourselves.

We were  introduced to a fabulous range of recycled instruments that are easy to make and very effective. The children in my main placement love instruments and making musical patterns  “noise”. They would love being involved in making such instruments would  and it would encourage them to take more care of them. It would also give children some ownership over the musical instruments and encourage more exploration of sounds.


Cheap and cheerful shaker, can use different sized pots and different things inside to create a range of sounds. 


Cheap plastic shot glasses all with a drilled hole in the bottle. Each glass to have a piece of string thread through and then join them all together. 


Short pieces of dowel with several elastic bands wrapped around the top to create beaters or drumsticks… Genius! 

Home made drumsticks!

Using Dance Across the Curriculum…

Only a quick blog for this session. I just wanted to share the main concept of using dance as an avenue of exploring various different aspects of the curriculum both in Early Years and across the primary phase. During the dance session we explored various books and stories that children may be exposed to throughout school.

One of which was the retelling of Humpty Dumpty which you can see below.

I have used dance, music and drama to explore the possible endings of a story and found it really motivated children to use their imagination and extended their ideas dramatically. The end piece of writing was clearly influenced by the use of dance and drama to explore story lines.

Getting creative with glow sticks…

Since the start of my current placement in Year 1 we have been covering the topic of Light in science. Last week our Art was linked to the topic of sources of light and especially the Northern Lights.

I thought I would share this idea with everyone, I found it very exciting to teach and the kids loved it. They all went home to tell their parents how they had created the Nothern Lights with glow sticks!

You must use a camera that has a ‘light trace’ setting, not all digital cameras have. Basically, I blacked out all the windows and light sources in a small room to ensure it was pitch black. Children were given glow sticks and encouraged to wave them around to create a pattern like the Nothern Lights. The camera takes multiple still shots and combines them together to show the trace of light the children have made. The end product is brilliant, really effective, well I think so!



These are now on display with other art work linked to the theme. I found this a very simple idea that all children could access.

Music session 9/12/13

Unfortunately I was unable to attend this session. After asking for information regarding this session, I was informed the focus was to use sounds and alter your voice to create different sounds for purpose. There were many warm up activities to encourage children to partake and build confidence with exploring aspects of music.

Within my Foundation Stage class we are constantly encouraging children to sing and use musical instruments. We use many songs to develop mathematical and phonetic understanding which works really well as children then continue to sing these songs independently within the setting. Children are encouraged to use musical instruments in a range of ways whether it is to explore stories or independently to explore sounds and effects.



Creative and Expressive Arts/ Digital Arts

Today we had lots of fun getting messy and exploring a range of materials. We created sculptures using items from around the room and turning other members of the group into a sculpture/character. It became apparent ‘Art’ can be absolutely anything and it is really down to the individuals perspective or outlook on the object, thing or idea.


We discussed mark making and while the tutor told us about a certain scene we had to make marks that we thought represented it. Although I personally do not feel  confident with drawing, I found this exercise enjoyable as it demonstrated there really is no right or wrong answers.

Clearly a masterpiece!

If I was to do an activity like this, I would extend the learning by asking children to tell me a story about their picture, as they may  interpret it in a completely different way.

We moved on from mark marking to investigating specific lines in groups, we had to find a range of ways to create lines of some sort. My group chose to use straight lines as the focus and to use colours that represent warmth. As a group we explored the materials and tools available to use and then discussed how we were going to set out the picture.

This activity would provide development within lots of areas of the EYFS curriculum and creates lots of talk and problem solving as a group.


Due to us getting very carried away with the creativity part of the session we ran out of time for the digital part! We did manage to quickly discuss some aspects of digital art and I intend to try some of these with the children in my class. There are many apps and programs that children can use to create pieces of art.

I really enjoyed using the iPads to capture abstract ways of creating words. The tutor gave us the task of creating one word that describes us. This activity inspired me to think of creative ways to bring iPads into phonics to encourage children to seek out the sounds they are learning and take pictures of them.

I put the pictures together to create the word using the ‘PicCollage’ app that we had been introduced to in a previous ICT sessions.

Through the use of activities such as the above children would be able to explore their own creativity and follow their own creative impulses. Activities like these can give children a way to express their selves in a creative form without having the worry of getting things wrong.  ‘Creativity  is the imaginative activity fashioned so as to produce outcomes that are both original and value‘  Edwards (2013).  It is important to demonstrate different ways of and techniques to gain certain effects.

EDWARDS, J (2013). Teaching Primary Art. Harlow: Pearson Education



Using ICT for presentation purposes….

In todays session, we looked at various apps and websites that offer exciting and interesting ways of presenting information to children. Also ways children can use these programs to present their own understanding of topics.

There is a wealth of programs available to teachers and parents to use. They provide quick and easy ways to create effective resources, which will excite children and ignite their passion for learning in the particular topic/session. Some of these are apps for the ipad, if iPads are not available similar programs can always be found on the internet.

Today I investigated a website called PhotoPeach, I liked the look of this when the tutor demonstrated the sort of resources than can be made. Firstly, I had to register to the website which was free and took no time at all. The website was easy to navigate around and it did not take long to work out how to use it effectively. I worked with another member of the group and we decided to base our resource on the topic of shape. Due to both of us working with different year groups we decided to differentiate the questioning so if could be used for the HA of my Reception class and for a introduction to shape for Nikki’s Year One class. The resource was  easy to make and if needed we could simply adjust the current slide show and change it to suit the learning objectives and the needs of the children. Once we had finished this quiz we uploaded the final resource to the Teaching Resources blog page to share with other trainee teachers.

Shapes on PhotoPeach

I plan to use this website in the future to create quizzes based on topical learning. I hope to use it in the future to show pupil voice e.g questions at the start of a topic. I could have pictures based on the topic and ask children to think of questions they would like to know, these questions can be added to the slideshow. As children find the answers they can add information to the pictures.

This activity encourages children to pick the correct shapes to fit in picture.

As I had previously been thinking about shape, I thought this game was a nice activity to extend children’s learning and reasoning regarding shape. During free flow children can work together or independently to complete the picture games.

When I have some spare time I am looking forward to playing around with some of the other suggested websites from this session. I will also be trying to gain access to the iPads in school to use some of the apps to create exciting resources which I can then use in my input sessions.

Computing in the new curriculum…

Plugged and unplugged computing… (11.11.13)

Back again and feeling a little more confident with what I am doing!

The new curriculum has changed the current area of ICT  to computing which means there will be more computer science involved. The emphasis has shifted towards children learning to programme and synchronise software and games rather that using word processing etc. Teachers are still expected to create opportunities for ICT to be used across the curriculum, and to develop the knowledge and understanding of basic ICT, however this should be incorporated across the curriculum.

I found out that developing computing skills does not necessarily have to involve any technology at all. this was a very interesting concept to me. Unplugged computing refers to the ways children can develop the skills they need through activities away from the computer. An example might be a P.E activity where children think about sequences of movements and giving commands. To me I would never have made the connection between this and skills needed for computing.

During the seminar we explored  basic ways of encouraging young children to develop the skills they need in specific areas of computing/computer science. Children first need to develop thinking processes regarding programming and sequencing and then move on to creating their own computing programmes.

Beebots are a fantastic way to introduce basic programming with young children. They offer exciting ways to develop knowledge of commands and programming. This could be through using both the actual Beebots and the computer software version.

The Beebots can be used on Beebot mats (there are a range of different ones) or you could create your own mats to tie in with any topics being taught.  An activity I would like to try is using them to draw, children can programme the Beebots which have an attached pencil and see what they draw. The website ideas to inspire  has a brilliant bank of ideas  for /Beebots (and lots of other ICT software) which, are very easy to do with young children.  The only draw back is sometimes the Beebots can be  inaccurate and children can take a while to get use to the processes of programming them.

The actual beebots. Can get various models to make things even more interesting. Cars, diggers etc.

The same ideas apply with the computer software version, as you can see in the pictures there are many mats available to select that can tie in with other curriculum teaching.

Beebots computer programme.
Using beebots for phonics encourages children to think about the processes to make the beebot move and phonics aspect too.
Beebots in action!
Beebots in action!

I used Beebots within a maths session to encourage number recognition, children worked together calling numbers that their partners had to programme the Beebot to land on. This worked really well and motivated children to identify all the numbers laid out.

Purple mash offers many different activities that assist in developing the key sequencing skills needed when programming. I sampled a few and feel the children in my class would love these, therefore during free flow I will work with children to use them.

Developing a piece of music using the various instruments and scales available, gives children a way of realising they can build up the creation by adding more that one programming line.

Sequencing and programming are key aspects of developing children’s computing skills. This program enables development in both areas.

Programmes can be found at the Purple mash website, however it is not a free website and requires a registration.

Although this session was aimed at the new curriculum, there are many links made to the current curriculum. Control technology is a way of introducing children to simple programming Elston (2007) suggests the importance of children first understanding basic sequencing relating to many programmes before able to move on to more advance programming activities.

I look forward to using some of the other programmes and apps we explored today. I feel that children would be very enthusiastic about them and not realise the amount they are learning while completing them. In any case when witnessing children using the skills relating to computing, I will try to question them to assess knowledge and develop understanding further. Elston (2007) also comments on the importance of questioning children to extend and consolidate their understanding.

ELSTON, C (2007). Using ICT in the Primary School. London: Paul Chapman


New to blogging…


After a little play around I am able to join the blogging world, I think I have fully set up my blogging page. By no means was this as easy as I first thought it may be!

So, I am 100% new to blogging as an individual and finding it slightly daunting to be honest. However, blogging is becoming more and more like the norm for general public as it is in schools. In primary schools children can be introduced to blogging as early as Nursery. I currently work in Reception and we are in the process of setting up a class blog, we intend to share work, events and show parents exactly what their little cherubs are up to on a daily basis.

I have been exposed to ways of using creativity as a way to engage children in their learning to encourage them succeed to their full potential. Creativity can be explained in many ways depending on the way in which it is being implemented into the learning and the curriculum. Price (2009) explains creativity to be the process of discovering new skills and making new connections.  Creativity has been a focus of many theorists including Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner (Pound 2005) and should be applied throughout the curriculum.

Showing some of the activities children have been participating in during free flow activities.

During both my ICT and Art seminars today I have been able to use an iPad and explore the ways in which this can be used to benefit children’s  learning. Ii became apparent there are a vast amount of uses of an iPad within any lesson. These uses stretch way further than  just using apps to consolidate learning in phonics and maths which is mainly how I have seen them used. Ipads offer a great way for children to record findings, photographing creations, to video learning journeys, the list is endless. I have gained an understanding of how great they are to create resources which can be used as a stimuli with children. Apps such as  ‘iMovie’  can be used to create a trailer for a book that you may want to introduce to the children or ‘mofo’ which can be used to create talking characters .

In Art we worked as a group to create a stick man in the ‘forest classroom’ this activity in itself was fantastic. The activity would offer development in a range of skills especially team work. The children I am currently working with would absolutely love the opportunity to take part in such an activity. I think we were big kids during this session as we took it all very seriously and let our creative sides take over, I loved the lesson idea! During the activity we used an iPad to record our progress and photographed key steps in the creation process. I hope to carry out an activity similar to this during my time in school. Using the iMovie app I created a trailer to introduce the activity in an exciting and effective way.

During today’s ICT session we had a  whistle stop tour of a small amount of resources available to teachers mostly via the internet. There really is a fabulous array of resources open to us and I for one am looking forward to investigating some of these further to use with my class and build into my planning on a regular basis.

I have always used technology while teaching but generally just the interactive whiteboard and YouTube or similar websites to for story telling and songs such as ‘numbers help me count’. I intend to use all technologies available to me in future as I think the children I work with will really benefit from the exciting resources available. Also having ICT as an integral part of any teaching is now expected and key to creating outstanding lessons.


POUND, L (2005). How Children Learn: From Montessoi to Vygotsky – educational theories and approaches made easy. Leamington Spa: Step Forward Publishing

PRICE, H (2009). The Really Useful Book of ICT In The Early Years. Oxon: Routledge