Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Free choice Christmas activities

This week the kids will be bringing home their art room scissors, pencils etc and their visual diaries ( scrap books) some classes have not used the whole book, other children love to make a lot of planning drawings so they may have completely filled their books. I've given them a holiday drawing 'challenge' with a selection of ideas to keep them in the habit of drawing over the break and so they can fill their visual diary with daily (or almost daily ) drawings! 

Being the end of the year the kids have been doing a variety of quick simple activities that can be completed in one lesson. Some of them are Christmas themed, some are not, however even the Christmassy ones can be adapted for those children who don't do Christmas activities for whatever reason - or if they've just had Christmas overload. ;)

So the holidays are nearly upon us! If you are looking for ideas to entertain your kids please consider taking your kids to one of our local galleries or take a train into Perth and visit the cultural centre, with the Art Gallery of WA and PICA within easy walking distance of the central train station. AGWA and PICA both run holiday workshops for kids - check out AGWA's website as they sometimes have free kids activities to go with their exhibitions. Fremantle Art Centre runs kids holiday workshops and often have interesting free exhibitions and now have a kids activity space that is linked to the exhibition they are running. 

Whatever you do this holiday I hope you have a safe and enjoyable break. 

Merry Christmas and happy new year! 

Miss Knight.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A rewarding day!

At our school we have a reward system called 'Above and Beyond' where kids are rewarded for doing exactly that both with their behaviour and for achieving goals. Throughout the year as kids receive award certificates they also get to attend certificate events. This term we had a an art focused reward. 

I organised to have Art on the Move come into the school and the kids got to meet artist Miik Green who told them about his work and led them through some art activities where they could experiment like he does to create some of their own art works.

It was a lot of fun!  


Monday, 28 November 2016

More wild things from the kiln

Opened the kiln again today and here are a few more of the yr3/4 & yr 4 ceramics.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lions, tigers and bears!

Because I have been doing writing along with my art lessons I've been looking for ways to combine both. I thought this art work was a perfect way to inspire writing, developing ideas and sequencing events.

Traumgarten - Henri Rousseau 

First of all we discussed the art work using the VTS strategy. This strategy encourages children to make inferences and back them up with evidence in the art work. It also highlights that people have differing opinions and that is ok. We thought that maybe the man in this painting played his ukulele to tame the tiger so that he could get on his back. ( Don't worry - we know that art isn't always real, it's a bit like magic an artist can make anything happen! 😉) 
Yr 3

 Once we discussed the art work I had them imagine that they could tame an animal that lives in jungle or forest .... or the bush ( some kids really really wanted to tame an animal from Australia! So I had to acquiesce!

Yr 1

 They had to come up with an explanation for why they were in the jungle and how they managed to tame their wild animal. 

Yr 3
Once they had their ideas they made drawings of themselves on their animal, including any special thing they may have used to tame their animal. Once this was done some of the classes wrote the beginning of their story. 
Yr 1
 The next step was to look closely at the shapes of the jungle plants Henri Rousseau used and then use these ideas to draw their jungle around their drawings, filling the page.
Pre primary
 At this stage those classes doing writing continued to write their stories, having adventures in the jungle with their animal making sure that at the end of the story everything was wrapped up, making sure the reader was satisfied and had no questions at the end.
 Yr 2

Last of all we painted the drawings using watercolour techniques. 

Yr 3

A changed land

Last week our two yr 5 classes went in an art and history excursion to the Art Gallery of Western Australia. We saw an exhibition called 'Unknown' Land. It had drawings and paintings of Perth, Fremantle and other parts of WA from the time of early settlement. 

We were able to see how places had changed over time. We also spent some time drawing the urban environment around the gallery in the cultural centre. We also thought about the title of the exhibition and discussed the fact that it was unknown to the colonists but it was in fact very well known to the aboriginal people who already lived here.

This week in the art room we have drawn and painted landscape pictures of some of our favourite landmarks locally or somewhere in WA. We used the iPads to research photos of our favourite places and sketched ideas in our visual diaries before making our drawings.

Next we will be thinking about how things have changed over the last 200 years and use our history knowledge to predict how this landmark might change over the next 200 years. We have talked about areas being built up as populations grow but also how people are interested in conserving the environment and sustainability. So will their houses and buildings have solar panels or rooftop gardens in the future? 

We will use these ideas to create another landscape painting showing the same spot as we imagine it will be in the future. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Cracking the kiln!

I was excited to get to school today to crack open the kiln. Nothing has exploded! Always a good thing and one of those unpredictable things that can happen with ceramics, even when you follow all the right techniques. 

The yr 3/4 and yr4 classes created pinch pot 'wild things' We watched a very expressive YouTube reading of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. We observed the patterns and textures on the bodies of the wild things and recorded them and created some of our own ideas in our visual diaries. 

Next we had a game or two of Exquisite Corpse - a fun drawing game developed by the Surrealist artists ( think Salvador Dali and his friends) these games helped us to come up with ideas for some drawings of wild things. After exploring these ideas we had a look at the work of a contemporary Australian ceramicist, Vipoo. He creates some interesting characters. 

Finally once we had looked at all these ideas the kids got to create their own ceramic " wild thing'. The yr 4's had to have a pinch pot as part of their construction and had to demonstrate that they could join two pieces of clay using the correct technique. The surface of their work had to have textures applied. Year threes were able to create a model of a wild thing that if they didn't make too thick I would fire or they could choose to paint as is. Many of them chose to follow the year 4 outline although this was not expected to demonstrate a satisfactory grade level for them. 

Last week room 1 got to glaze their pieces. They had to be really really careful as I am rushing them through the kiln because we are so close to the end of the year and there's quite a few to get to. The once fire method means applying glaze to green ware which has not been bisque fired. They are very fragile at this stage but the yr 3/4 class managed quite well. The paper clay I've given them can be moistened and reattached sometimes (if your work is not too thin) and a couple of models I has success with 'gluing' them back together with glaze. 

The year 6 classes had a bonus clay day because I had left over clay from the yr 4s. Their outline required them to create something rolled and textured. They could join the rolled pieces to create a cylindrical or conical form. It had to be done properly - joined with slip, surface decorated and not rolled too thin in order for me to fire it. This was clearly communicated to the children and most of them followed the outline. Once their models were dry most kids glazed their work but some opted to paint theirs with water colour paint and varnish them rather than fire them. 


Today the studio will be busy with glazing again with two more classes trying to get as many glazed as possible for the next kiln load which takes about two days to reach temperature, fire the clay then slowly cool so that the pieces don't crack when you open the door letting cool air in.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Amazing 3D

At the end of last term we did some paper mâché over the milk cartons left from the milk supplied to schools to promote dairy. There were SO many milk cartons that the challenge for our waste size school was to think of ways to use them. 
The year 5 and 6 classes created plain house forms that they were able to decorate in any way they wanted to. 
They will be used as an art installation for the pally deck open day. We discussed that the fact that they were all the same form - with a few exceptions where a couple of kids opted to join two or three cartons together, created a sense of unity, making them look like a set that belonged together despite the fact that they are all decorated differently. 
These differences or variety create interest, making people want to take a closer look. The kids came up with some pretty cool ideas and they look great en masse.
After finishing these forms the children looked at them carefully from different angles, observing the lines and shapes that they could see.
They made several drawings creating different shades to create 3D drawings in their visual diaries. 
Next we used these drawings to create paintings using acrylic paint. We learnt about how the brush strokes are visible with thick paint and we need to think about how we apply the paint.
Acrylic paint is also pretty opaque and can be layered so it is important to do the background first and build up the paintings.
The children selected one colour for their house form and created a sense of depth by mixing shades and tints of that colour. 

Saturday, 15 October 2016


It's our first week back after a two week break and the pp/1, yr 1, yr 2 and yr3 classes are busy preparing to do some sewing projects. The yr threes are finally sewing their pencil cases which will be used to store their art supplies for the rest of their time at primary school. The other classes are making a small decorative item.
We started by looking at a piece of sashiko embroidery and discussed what they could see and how it may have been made. We then talked about how originally it was used as a way of mending clothes because once upon a time it took a long long time to make clothing by hand and people couldn't just run out to Kmart and spend $10 to buy a new one. This lead to a talk about the development of machines and how times have changed then onto sustainability and how sustainability is more than just sorting rubbish and recycling it. We talked about mending clothes and not creating more rubbish. Who'd have thought one little bit of patched embroidery could lead to so much learning hey? 😉  We learnt the term 'textiles' that refers to the art of making things from threads and strands, yarn and fabric. The kids brainstormed how textiles were used in their homes. There are lots of textiles in our homes and many children have craftspeople in their families who knit, crochet or sew. These crafts fall under the textiles art form. Today's lesson was spent getting ready to sew, choosing and labelling our fabric with name and room number, creating a focal point shape (yr 3cut theirs from felt and pinned it on, the others selected a sticker shape and positioned it on the fabric) THEN came the most important part of the lesson. We learnt ways to thread a needle and tie knots. 
I did not even attempt to introduce the actual sewing as I wanted to focus on these important fiddley skills. Now I know that every child can thread a needle and tie a knot. Although I have an alternate plan for the PP and yr 1 kids if required, we'll put a bit of tape at the end of the yarn. But after breaking down the mechanics of knot making using thick string to demonstrate and teaching them to make a 'chicken beak with their fingers ( softly putting the pad of their pointer finger on to the pad of their thumb rather than pinching the tread with their nails this gives them the ability to move their fingers a bit to grab the needle or extra bits of thread allowing loops to be held in place while making the knot) I don't think I will need the alternative, as they all managed to tie a knot so far - there's another couple of classes to go but so far so good. We talked about the importance of having a go and practicing a skill. They all laughed when I suggested that if they couldn't kick a goal in footy that the coach could run on and do it for them. They said you had to try over and over and keep kicking the ball yourself no one could do it for you. Art skills are the same, they take time to develop and require practice and effort to achieve and boy weren't they proud of themselves when they got it! 
  So you might find that your kiddo brings home an extra length of yarn this week to practice tying knots. They know that the knotted string is not actually important it is the doing and the learning that is important - but some of them couldn't bring themselves to put it in the bin on the way out the door.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Cultural Presentation

Today's presentation of what the kids do in Music, Indonesian and visual art was a fantastic success.

( Calm before the storm - my puppy came along with my husband to help us set up. )

It was a huge amount of preparation with a variety of challenges coordinating three learning areas and 450 kids! Plus don't talk to us about technology! ;) But it was all right on the night and the kids loved it.

 Every class performed a little musical item. The choir and instrumental groups performed and the whole school sang Indonesian songs. We made a media presentation with photos and film clips showing the kids art works and the fruits of the collaboration between art and Lote with the puppet plays they'd done in Indonesian with puppets made in art.
I put together an exhibition of art works from across all year levels showing a variety of art forms we've been doing this term. Part way through the day the wind came up and required a flurry of activity to gather up artworks that had flown away and re positioned and nailed back into place with tacks! And the oncoming rain lead to a hasty rearrangement of the outdoor 'gallery' space.

It's been a very busy term! 



Thursday, 25 August 2016

Book week

Today we had our book week dress up parade. There is SO much excitement and energy in the school - on top of that everyone is wearing fancy clothes that we don't want paint or ink on so I decided to take advantage of the colour and fun of the day and use it for inspiration of our art works. 

Our normal art classes, following this terms programme of work would have us printing with messy ink or using messy PVA glue and paint so with all our special costumes I thought it bes to make a programme detour!

I decided to go as 'Ragged Little Blossom' from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. This presented a learning opportunity to show the kids other art work by May Gibbs.

 I had a sudden Light bulb moment this morning as I got ready for school and came up with a cool idea for today's art classes using her work as inspiration. I found a few gum leaves and copied them in coupler on the photocoppier. 

The children looked at May Gibbs's work and used their imagination to populate their gum leaves with their own fairy folk - cute or gruesome, their choice!     

Some kids decided to use their sketch books to plan and try out different critters and creatures ...

Others just jumped in and began drawing.

The other option was to use a long strip of paper to record some of their favourite costumes in the Book Week parade.

We all decided it was one of the best art lessons ever!