For Arts' week we engaged in the initiative; Take One Picture. We used the picture, 'Men of the Docks', by George Bellows (see below) as a stimulus for learning.
The main focus of our week was the Arts' subjects, such as dance, drama, music, poetry and Art. However where relevant other subjects were linked to the picture too, for example Year One engaged in Science experiments learning about how ice and icebergs change states. In Reception children learnt about how life was different in the past, focusing on how the role of a horse has changed through the years. Year five created skylines of different cities, using the New York skyline from the picture as a stimulus. They then engaged in research about their chosen cities and made comparisons between different places. Prior to Arts' week, children were shown the picture and asked what they were interested in and what they would like to learn about. Teachers then incorporated their ideas into their plans to make their learning meaningful and relevant to them.
The whole school also focused on the composer Anna Meredith. We learnt about two of her pieces called 'Connect it' and 'Hands Free'. In these pieces no instruments were used. Voices, body percussion and movement were used to create her musical pieces. We created a whole school piece of music, using the picture as a stimulus. We represented different aspects of the picture, such as the water, peoples, boats and horse using our voices, body percussion and movement.
Each year group had a different musical focus. Reception initiated combinations of movement and gesture in order to express ideas and made up their own simple rhythms. Year One listened to and copied simple rhythms. Year Two improvised a simple rhythm using the voice. They also used their voices expressively and creatively by performing chants. Year Three focused on finding the pulse and built simple rhythms on top of the pulse. Year Four also focused on finding the pulse and built up challenging rhythms on top of the pulse. Year Five composed complex rhythms, focusing on how pulse, rhythm and pitch work together. Year Six improvised and composed music using interrelated dimensions (dynamics, tempo, texture, structure).
At the end of the week, we participated in a whole school performance on the playground, joining each year group’s piece of music together. It was an amazing achievement to have created a whole school piece of music and the children were all fantastic!
For our Art work, each year group also picked a particular focus and responded using different media and techniques.
The children created chalk sketches of horses on paper and on the playground. We learnt about different techniques and strokes, such as short strokes, long strokes and smudging to help us create different parts of a horse. We also created box model horses and transient art horses.
We made clay boats. We also looked at the New York skyline and created our own skyline pictures using cotton wool to create different shades of grey.
We decided that the aspect of the picture we wanted to focus on was the boats. We learnt about different types of boat and we worked as a year group to create our own boat. We made the boat using recycled bottles and we created a patchwork sail by designing and making our own stamps which we then stamped onto fabric using fabric paint.
We used the concept of ‘abstract 6’ whereby we used a black square to focus on the picture in 6 smaller segments. We completed this in different media – watercolours, pencil and crayons.
The year 4 children decided to focus on the ship in the painting by George Bellows. We used recycled materials to create a dockyard scene. We used computer aided design to recreate the painting and we painted the ship using charcoal, chalk, wax and paint washes. We also created mood boards based on the scene which enabled us to focus on the colour and materials used by the artist.
We focussed on the skyline in the picture. We learnt about different skylines in different countries with famous buildings. We chose a skyline and painted a watercolour backdrop against which we created a silhouette of a famous skyline.
We completed silk paintings. We chose a section of the painting which we recreated using muted colours to reflect the picture.