“I am intrigued with the shapes people choose as their symbols to create a language…” Keith Haring

What an absolute privilege it has been to work with Year 6 over the past few weeks. To unleash imaginations and to provide a safe space to express who they are and what matters to them was the intention.

In the studio there has been laughter and tears, frustration and whoops of delight as we have shared through spoken and written words and pictures those who are special to us, our hobbies and interests as well as our dreams and our fears.  The impact is glorious. The learning journey is captured below.

Using monochrome mixed media-pencils, charcoal, graphite, biro, crayon, felt tip, paint and paper-we used our imaginations to mark make and create. To draw anything was a challenge for some of us, but in setting the time aside to explore and let anything happen produced some interesting results.

We then read together ‘The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing’. This picture book biography of the iconic pop artist Keith Haring, shared his story and art in a way that we could all access and embrace.

Although initially a little uncomfortable, Year 6 were encouraged to strike a pose that their peers would sketch in the style of Keith Haring. It proved a successful ice breaker/ warm up and outlines of friends-the form- was captured using a minimum of lines.

The simplicity of Keith Haring’s representation of people, animals, creatures and objects encouraged us to simplify our drawings of what mattered to us. These drawings inspired our designs that we transferred onto A3 photocopying paper, painstakingly cut out using craft knives and then finally screen printed onto t-shirts.

The results were wonderful. Each year 6 artist then gave their print a title accompanied by a profound blurb.

A big thank you goes out to Year 6 from me, for going deep and courageously sharing your wonderful unique selves.

As part of Year 6’s Arts Celebration, parents and interested adults were invited to walk the gallery in the art studio with their young artist. There were smiles and tears as well as pride from all.

Below are just some of the precious comments from the afternoon:

‘In a clump of trees on the edge of a park …’

A visit to the local park inspired our own park paintings.

With big gestural movements, the paint was applied with a thick paintbrush so that our background was created. We made sure that the sky met the ground.

Once dry, we created our own playgrounds. There were slides and swings, cargo nets and see-saws as well as roundabouts, sandpits and even tree houses. Using felt tips, pastels, pencil crayon and oil pastel the details were added.

If you look closely you may also see squirrels and crows and a very hungry badger. These animals featured in Gareth Edwards’ book ‘The Disgusting Sandwich’.

In groups, we created paper playground reliefs. These showcased the skills of scrunching, tearing, rolling, cutting, wrapping and curling sugar paper and then carefully gluing our creations in place.

Delicious sandwiches were designed by 1DT. The fillings ranged from cheese and salad to skittles, blueberries and chocolate. Corrugated card, newspaper, masking tape and hot glue were the materials used to create bagels, baguettes, croissants and sandwiches. Drawing around slices of stale bread provided the template. The skill of manipulating, cutting and gluing the materials together required patience.

After painting their thick slices of bread, the fillings were added.

Then, miniature sandwiches were made using plasticine. I was so impressed with the attention to detail.

The Owl inspires

This half-term, Edward Lear’s poem, ’The Owl and the Pussy Cat’, provided the hook for Year 2’s art in the studio and their dance with Miss Allison.

There have been observational feather drawings, impressive mono-prints of feathers, imaginary ‘plasticine’ islands where the ‘Bong tree’ grows as well as large paintings of owls in flight or perched and owls built with recycled packaging.

Independently, we have discovered the beauty of ‘sandwiching’ drawing materials-graphite, biro, charcoal, wax crayon, pastels, chalks, felt tips, pencil crayons and watercolours –to create texture and layers.

Working collaboratively (partners, trios or small groups) we have demonstrated how together we can create, build and make something brilliant when we actively listen to each other, dare to share our ideas and work with someone new. The mono-prints, islands and junk modelling owls are testament to this.

Our ‘Plasticine’ Imaginary Islands

Each Year 2 class has researched the owl. As a result, the art features:

  • Big eyes-necessary to see in the dark to locate their prey
  • Incredible wings that silently flap so that owls can swoop and pounce on their prey
  • Talons that grip, rip and shred their prey

Thank you Year 2 for working so hard and being fabulous artists.

Native animals…adaptation…urbanisation

Through dance, drawing, platicine, clay, silk painting, collage and construction, 5A captured the beauty and magnitude, resourcefulness and plight of animals native to the United Kingdom as well as both Poles.

The traditional drawing technique of scaling-up was employed on a number of occasions, culminating in life-sized polar creatures.

Our fortnight commenced in the United Kingdom, with 5A choosing native animals to incorporate into their illustrations. These drawings became the inspiration for their clay tiles and silk paintings. Red squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes and owls were popular choices with stags, robins and hares making appearances too.

5A were encouraged to use a viewfinder to select a section of their illustration that they thought would work compositionally. Their clay slabs represented their chosen view. The relief was made by using the skills of cross-hatching and applying slip to attach the clay shape onto the slab. Once dry, they were then painted with acrylics.

For the silks, this view was then scaled-up. Using a pencil and ruler they drew a simple grid (4 x 4) on the image selected and then transferred onto a larger 4 x 4 grid. Working one square at a time, they copied the lines until the animal slowly appeared. Then working with a partner, they made their silk frames by pinning the silk onto the wooden frame so that it was taut. With their scaled-up drawing beneath the silk, they then used gutta to draw the outline of their creatures. The gutta acts as a barrier, so that the silk inks do not bleed into each other when being applied unless a conscious decision. The results were impressive.

The life-sized polar creatures required research on behalf of 5A. What were the measurements of their creature? They then took a simple image of this animal, drew a simple grid over it and transferred onto corrugated card. This card had been cut and assembled together to allow the  length and height measurements of their polar creature to be drawn. A grid on the corrugated card –similar to the process for the silks but much bigger- was then drawn


The polar creatures were decorated with newspaper.  By tearing and cutting the sheets of paper texture was created and definition of the features was made by adding tissue paper. This process required team work and patience. In order to go again the next day, we watched ‘Austin’s Butterfly’. Through constructive critique and descriptive feedback from their peers, each group had areas to work on. The results were fantastic!

Once again, it was wonderful to invite 5A’s parents and interested adults to share in the arts celebration. The following feedback gives you a little insight into how incredible our young people are:

‘I am proud of Sara’s beautiful drawings and her dance. It showed me how much she has gained in confidence and how she is stepping out of her comfort zone.’

‘I am really proud of seeing how much Ezra has engaged with all the learning and how much he has enjoyed it. Some fantastic work and it’s fantastic to see how much he enjoys all aspects of arts fortnight. It’s something he always looks forward to.’

‘It was really good to see or witness what kids do and learn at school 🙂 especially art work!! Amazing.’

‘I have found how much Jayden’s imagination has come on. A very happy boy. The children seem happy with each other. Fantastic work. Well done.’

‘I am very impressed with how confident she was throughout the performance.’

‘Emily’s art work is full of expression. I can tell how much she has enjoyed completing it.’

‘I am proud of how Riya and her class have pushed themselves creatively.’

Native animals … adaption … urbanisation
Year 5 Pole to Pole dance

Responsible Steps

5B’s learning journey took them from the Northern Hemisphere-the United Kingdom- to the Southern Hemisphere- Antarctica.  Although a continent 50 times bigger than the United Kingdom, humans have never settled in Antarctica. However, this beautiful continent is in great danger due to the actions of humans. 

Our illustrations of these two places, captured the seasons, climate, wildlife, colours, mountains and urbanisation of the United Kingdom and the pack ice, icebergs, mountains and volcano, ‘aurora australis’ and vastness of the loneliest continent on the planet. 5B’s pictures provided the ‘view’ for their silk paintings and clay slabs as well as the collaborative 3D plasticine model scenes of both places.

A relief slab depicted what the United Kingdom meant for them. Some urbanisation did emerge through houses and buildings, road networks and pylons as well as pollution. Cross hatching, slip and intricate cutting of and moulding of the clay saw their designs transfer to the medium of clay. Once dry, the slabs were painted using acrylics.

Their beautiful silk paintings were made by:

  • Selecting a view from their drawing and then enlarging
  • Pinning silk onto a wooden frame and ensuring that the silk was taut
  • Using gutta to create the outline of their scenes and to act as a barrier. This stopped the inks bleeding
  • Painting with inks and adding texture with sea salt

Over the fortnight, we learnt that the Antarctic Circle was a risk. Climate change is happening with Global warming causing the ice to melt.  As a result, 5B’s dance choreographed by Miss Allison incorporated this sobering fact. Glaciers shrank and melted, forcing the wildlife to migrate to other locations in order to survive. Since Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions, so much has changed.

Together, we can make a difference. 5B’s posters share how we can take responsible steps in order to make sure that this wonderful and extremely important region has a chance of a future.  

Thank you to all the parents and interested adults who attended 5B’s celebration on Friday. Your responses captured the responsible steps we can make as a community. They included:

  • Cycling or scootering instead of taking the car
  • Putting on another layer instead of turning on the heating
  • Switching off lights when not needed
  • Eating less meat and dairy products
  • Buying things that don’t have packaging
  • Putting items on a free website for people to use, instead of taking to a skip
  • Not keeping the water running when brushing teeth

This is me…This is us…We are 5W

Transformation is the word that springs to mind when reflecting on 5W’s learning journey in the art studio. We have learnt together the importance of conversation and how listening to others, responding to what we hear and being genuinely interested in each other is good. It requires us to pause and be relational.

Daring to share a little or a lot of who we are has brought understanding, discovery and support. Together we have seen how cooperation is helpful, how being open to others and their suggestions can add something different to our usual and how stepping out of our comfort zones when encouraged and supported results in new experiences and accomplishments.  5W, I am so proud of you all. You are blooming!

Our illustrated initial captured a little of who and what made us who we are as individuals, with our ‘I am’ poems sharing this in greater detail.

An individual flower –pastel, pencil crayon and water colour-shared the ingredients that enabled us as an individual to bloom, whereas the collaborative flower, created with a partner provided the opportunity to work on a piece of art that required collaboration from all in 5W.

The ‘Plinth People’ –self-portrait style wire sculptures-captured the individual but were a collective in terms of representing the unique and wonderfully made young people that make up 5W. Hopefully, you see our personalities within these dynamic and personal creations.

Thank you to the parents and interested adults that could make it to our arts celebration. Hopefully, the following photographs of the time in the studio as well as the feedback shared will give you a glimpse of the tangible joy experienced as the successes and challenges of the fortnight were shared.


The first week of 4SH’s arts fortnight was inspired by contrasting the Roman god Venus (love/peace) with Mars (war). Gustav Holt’s orchestral suite ‘The Planets’ inspired our initial continuous line drawings as we interpreted these two movements with charcoal, pen and graphite. Colour to represent the emotions within the piece was then added. These contrasting emotions-both incredibly powerful-were then explored through dance and abstract painting.

Comparing the floating cloudlike forms of layered colour by Mark Rothko and the drippy, splashy, messy action painting of Jackson Pollock certainly made 4SH appreciate the differences in style. Throughout, an interpretation of an emotion was expected with brushstroke as well as colour choice.

After a session working in the style of Jackson Pollock to convey the contrasting emotions of love and war, each child was given an emotion that they needed to convey in his style. These were worn for their dance performance, choreographed brilliantly by Miss Allison.

Piecing together a picture of Saturnalia, introduced the contrast of slavery and freedom for week 2.  

With the feasting, came the ‘jugs’ and these inspired our own collaborative clay creations and mono-printing. I was so impressed with their coiled pots, ‘glued’ with slip on the cross-hatching. The facial features certainly brought the whimsical and smiles. Team work and real life Maths was definitely in operation during this session.

To encourage freedom in the drawing of these wonderful creations, mono-printing was introduced. The delight on faces as their drawing was revealed was very special.

Well done 4SH for a fantastic fortnight of immersive learning.   

Celts, Ceilidh and Knots

What an inspiring fortnight with 4H and Miss Hall. As feedback from the questionnaire shared:

‘The children sang their hearts out, the dance was sensational.’

To hear the children singing ‘Loch Lomond’, to see their happy faces as they flung each other around in dancing ‘Strip the Willow’ as well as share their own Celtic shield with you (their parent, big sister, grandma or uncle)was very precious. You were an appreciative audience and definitely an interested adult as you shared in their learning journey on Friday afternoon.

The colours of the shields were inspired by John Mc Cusker’s ‘Goodnight Ginger’ album

During their time in the studio, 4K have ben up to a number of creative opportunities. Their first challenge encouraged exploration, imagination and collaboration in creating a Celtic pattern by using a variety of materials.                                                           

  • They have also been wrestling in creating and painting Celtic knots and then combining their skill to contribute to their ‘tribes’ banner. Embellishments came in adding fabric, beads and sequins as well as sewing with ribbon and wool.

I am sure you will agree that the final banners look dramatic when hung together.

Together we listened to ‘The Secrets of the Witham Shield’ shared by the curator of British and European Iron Age Collections, prior to designing our own symbolic, bold and simple Celtic shield. We discovered that the Celts shields were oval, rectangular or circular, often over a metre tall and a couple of centimetres thick. They would have a metal ‘boss’ on the front which was designed to protect the users hand. This would be hidden behind the boss, gripping the handle.

Cardboard was used to make the shield, with their design accentuated by creating a relief and assembling with a glue gun. Well done Year 4 for your wonderful creations, that did in deed reference your designs.

Thank you 4H for immersing yourselves in the arts fortnight and bringing the joy of colour to the art studio.

The Romans and Celts invade the art studio

Tessellating tesserae versus swirls and knots introduced the different styles that would dominate over 4K’s time in the studio. To create their own ‘art’ from natural and man made objects allowed imagination and creativity from the start. It was also an opportunity to work collaboratively in groups. The concentration and joy was wonderful to witness.

Mosaic patterns influenced by the Greek key were used by the ‘Romans’ in their relief and press prints. Meanwhile, the Celtic knot and swirling lines inspired the ‘Celts’ for their prints. Inking up their plates, required effective use of the rollers-one for the ink and one to apply pressure. Working with a partner ensured that the inking up process was followed and that the area remained relatively clean! I am sure you will agree that the prints definitely differed between the regimented Romans and the patterns of the Celts.

Eagles, wreaths, lightning bolts and red dominated the Roman shield designs, whereas the swirls, patterns and mythical creatures were used in the circular Celtic shields. A variety of drawing materials-graphite, oil pastel, felt-tip, pencil crayon and wax crayon-brought their designs to life. Both had the ‘boss’.

Each group was then encouraged to use cardboard and a glue gun to make their shield. To raise elements of their design from the flat base of the shield made it sculptural and developed their understanding of making a relief. Bold and simple had been the brief.

Making a handle for their shield was their final challenge, before painting their creations. As you can see, the results were impressive and each shield unique. Well done 4K for showing resilience and perseverance in your creating, building and making.

It was wonderful to showcase all the creativity on Friday to 4K’s parents and or interested adults and siblings. Thank you so much for sharing in the learning. It was wonderful to see creativity in the youngest visitors too…