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Showing posts from 2015

George Lucas talks on the need to teach 'communication'.

George Lucas (yes mom, the guy who directed Star Wars) talks here about how the school system in America is obsessed with teaching the 'grammar' of communication and how the arts, drama, cinema and music are labelled as 'creative fun'. He's spot on. ARTiculate workshops help children understand how ideas can be communicated in ways additional to writing. Click here to see the creative literacy workshops I offer.     

ARTiculate Bulletin wc 12.10.15 Have you tried Shakespeare's Macbeth by Leon Garfield

Inspired by a visit to the cinema, this week's bulletin features creative ideas for Shakespeare's epic Macbeth by Leon Garfield. This is taken from a collection called Shakespeare Stories and is a book I remember knocking around our house when I was a little boy! It's brilliant though and easily my favourite retelling of the classic plays. If you try any of the ideas I'd love to see the work your children produce. A  'Have You Tried?'  ideas sheet for Macbeth can be found  here .  To request this in pdf format, please join the mailing list by clicking  here  and sending me your details. ------------------------------ ------------------------------ -------------------------- Book a FREE taster workshop for your school   ------ ------------------------------ -------------------------------------------------- This half term I am offering FREE creative literacy taster workshops to primary schools in Leeds. If you want to ge

ARTiculate Bulletin 28.9.15: Black Dog by Levi Pinfold, Book a free workshop.

This week's bulletin features creative ideas for Black Dog by Levi Pinfold. This spooky tale has lots of unnerving qualities: Victorian sepia photos, objects that seem to move around from picture to picture and , oh yeah, a huge slathering hound on the prowl. Perfect for murky autumnal weather. If you try any of the ideas I'd love to see the work your children produce. To request this in pdf format, please join the mailing list by clicking  here  and sending me your details. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Black Dog by Levi Pinfold -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The sinister, murky tone of this book is ideal for gloomy, autumnal weather.  Buried deep in the snowy forest, a large beast is prowling around the house giving the Hope family the scare of their lives. But all is not as it seems in this spooky tale. Is it really a really a giant beast or

Is your school ready for World Literacy Day 13th October 2015?

Hello! World Literacy Day returns on 13th October as part of the World Education Games where children across the world will be celebrating language and literature. If your school is not ready for this global event, look no further. ARTiculate’s creative literacy workshops have had a proven impact on developing children’s writing. Using drama, discussion and art to stimulate exciting thinking, learners big and small have been amazed by the outstanding artwork and superb progress in writing my workshops can deliver. No gimmicks – just innovative ideas taught well by a qualified and experienced primary school teacher. For World Literacy Day , I have two exciting and engaging workshops to offer that include building birdcages, drawing with words and developing original ideas for writing that will get the children raring to go! Workshop 1: The Birdman - poetry and birdcage building ​ Workshop 2: The Arrival - fiction and creative drawing ​ To request these worksho

ARTiculate Bulletin wc 21.9.15

This week's bulletin features creative ideas for In The Attic by Hiawyn Oram and Satoshi Kitamura. It is a real gem and the perfect basis for a whole class literacy and art project. If you try any of the ideas I'd love to see the work your children produce. To request this in pdf format, please join the mailing list by clicking here and sending me your details. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In The Attic by Hiawyn Oram & Satoshi Kitamura -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The boy has a million toys and is bored. So, he takes himself off up the ladder to the attic and finds a hidden universe that is full of unexpected creatures, doors to new worlds and a wealth of imaginative possibility. Funnily enough, his house does not have an attic. But maybe you just haven't found the ladder yet. ---------------------------------------------------------

ARTiculate Bulletin #5 - Have you tried The Shape Game by Anthony Browne?

Get your new year off to a flyer with Anthony Browne's excellent The Shape Game . The perfect starting point for short, simple activities to get your class talking, discussing, drawing and working together. A  'Have You Tried?'  ideas sheet for The Shape Game can be found  here .  The Shape Game  by Anthony Browne The Shape Game is all you really need in order to understand the magic of Anthony Browne. On a family trip to the Tate Britain art gallery in London,  Anthony Browne gives us insight into his love of art and his childhood discovery of visual jokes and lends us a launch pad from which to analyse paintings, decode symbols and interpret art. In brief: Have you tried?  Ideas for talking and thinking : Interpret and discuss meaning in art and look for symbols in paintings. Ideas for writing : Collaborative written interpretations of famous artworks.  Ideas for art : Play the shape game like Anthony Browne turning doodled shapes into

ARTiculate Bulletin #4 - Have you tried Wolves by Emily Gravett?

Sorry to wake you from your slumber, teachers, but before you close that heavy-lidded eye, roll over and drift back into holiday dreams, take a sneaky look at this week's bulletin with wonderful ideas for teaching creative fiction. This week's resources are for the fantastic picture book Wolves by Emily Gravett.  Consider your inspiration for your first literacy unit of the year well and truly ticked off. Well done you. Now back to sleep...   A  'Have You Tried?'  ideas sheet for Wolves can be found  here .  Wolves  by Emily Gravett This magical book is a great example of how fiction and non-fiction can be combined in a text. We follow the journey of rabbit's imagination as he immerses himself in a new book about a bunny's most feared predator, the wolf. As we consider where his reading and his imaginings meet, this book is the ideal launch pad for a discussion about the very nature of imagination. This might sound a bit on the complex side fo

FREE taster workshops for September 2015!

You’ve heard the old expression: There’s no such thing as a free creative literacy and art workshop. Right? Poppycock. Here at ARTiculate, I am passionate about art. And writing. So I put them together and SHAZAAM… I deliver the finest creative workshops in the land. Using text, drama and discussion to inspire children to write, people in Leeds are raving about the work I do. “Very inspirational and creative – lots of new ideas to improve writing and unlock children’s imaginations.” Nadia, Teacher Y4 To be in with the chance to win a FREE taster workshop for your school, all you have to do is click  here  and email me your school’s details. Look forward to hearing from you! Stefan *Leeds (W Yorks) primary schools only, sorry folks.

Art that speaks to writing - Writing and art workshop Week 6

This superb artwork was created by a group of 8 and 9 year olds at a primary school in Leeds. The artwork is the children's counter piece to their creative writing based on the book The Island by Armin Greder. This workshop ran over six weeks and taught children the skills required to be a creative and imaginative author and illustrator. All children who took part in the workshop increased their writing attainment by at least 1 sub-level. If you would like your school to take part in similar work, please click here  and ask for information on creative workshops.
Beautiful Birds, Emmanuelle Walker (Flying Eye Books, 2015) Need a pile of books to keep your little ones (and not-so-little ones) ocupado this summer? The Guardian has compiled a great wishlist!

Snapshot illustrations from the Island

These excellent drawings were completed in our final workshop today. Some of these snapshot images are aspects of the book's main illustrations whilst some are taken from various doodles that are scattered throughout the pages. Using black ink, detail was added using the different shading techniques we have practised. Colour was applied later using watered acrylics. The children demonstrated not only their progress as artists but also their confidence in selecting shading patterns. Great work!

ARTiculate Bulletin #2 - Have you tried The Whales' Song?

This week's bulletin is inspired by a wonderful, charity shop chance-find picture book: The Whale Song by Dyan Sheldon. Here are some great ideas for you to use with this text. A  'Have You Tried?'  ideas sheet for The Whale's Song can be found  here .  The Whale's Song  by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe This modest little book might not look like much on first glance, but it is a treasure trove of starting points for English and art. Lily, a little girl living with two elderly relatives, hears a tale about the whales that visit their shore. Infused with dreams and memories, the story explores the girl's imaginings and the hazy illustrations give the book a detached, ethereal quality.    In brief: Have you tried?  Ideas for talking and thinking : explore the characters' perspectives on the whales through drama and discussion. Are they magical beasts or an economic resource? Included this week are resources for character development.

Art that speaks to writing - Writing and art workshop Week 5

In this workshop, I am using art as a means of developing a sense of character perspective. Our artwork looks at 'the people' and how they might react to the intruder. The art and writing are different accounts of the same event. W hen used in the right way, art can enhance great writing even further. Creating art that speaks to writing Week 5 "If an illustration only repeats what the text is already saying then either the text or the illustration is superfluous... The pictures carry the story on their own."  Armin Greder, The Great Bear (1999) It is always warming to hear an enthusiastic teacher describe a great book as a 'goldmine'. I find it comforting to imagine them burrowing through the themes, vocabulary and ideas to take their classes to the heart of a book. Teaching that aims to dig below the surface can immerse children in new worlds and, almost inevitably, produces great writing.  Another rich vein of creative possibility for literacy

ARTiculate Bulletin #1 - Have you tried Little Beauty?

As you probably heard on BBC 1 this morning, this week, ARTiculate has launched its new weekly-ish bulletin with ideas for creative literacy teaching. It made the Big News, right? If not, here is what I have for you this week: Exploring a Quality Text -  Little Beauty  by Anthony Browne Everything we do at ARTiculate is built around good quality texts. Story telling is a great way to draw children (and adults) into discussions about powerful issues and ideas. One such great text is  Little Beauty  by Anthony Browne. Here, we are allowed to peep through the bars at a 'special' zoo - home to a talented but miserable gorilla. He seems to have everything a primate could wish for but with one exception... a friend. This curious tale throws up important questions about need vs want, the nature of happiness as well as the treatment of animals by humans.  A  'Have You Tried?'  ideas sheet for Little Beauty can be found here . This resource is free for you t

Why is ARTiculate's new e-bulletin like a pygmy, crocodile plumber?

This week, ARTiculate is launching a weekly-ish bulletin from ARTiculate Education where I aim to push great ideas for creative literacy your way. Like a pygmy, crocodile plumber, the bulletin will be short, snappy and useful. I will point you towards books that are perfect for you and the classes you teach, some helpful planning ideas, videos, examples of work, details of new workshops I offer and so on that might give you great ideas for teaching effective, creative literacy. Heck, I might even chuck in the odd cat picture. If you teach primary school aged children already, are a student working in education or if you were cleaning the tables and signed up for this by accident, there will almost certainly be something in this for you to use now or in the future. To sign up, click here and send a blank email - I'll add you to the list.

Drafting - Writing and art workshop Week 4

Lessons on vocabulary gave us a clutch of exciting new words to try out; the drama let us explore the man's inner thoughts; the art work had given us a mood to recreate.  It can take time to immerse children in another world, but it is certainly worth the wait!  First draft! Week 4 After three workshops worth of discussing, acting, playing around with language, making notes, analysing and discussing how in fact you might catch a seagull to eat it*, we were ready to pour out ideas onto paper in a first draft. Analysing a text had given the group a five paragraph structure that they were going to follow to explain t hese mysteries, unanswered by Armin Greder's sparse text: Where the mystery man had come from? How did he come upon the raft? What were his first impressions of the peculiar island? Who are the strange and wild inhabitants of the island? What might the future might hold for the man. The narrative would be in the first person: the children retelli

New Workshop launched for September 2015

"Raised pupil's writing by at least 1 sub-level - developed their ability to apply knowledge. Hopefully we will see ARTiculate in our school again!" A Howdle, Literacy Coordinator You're entering the final stretch now, everybody! Well done! But before you hang your whistle up for the summer, there is a way to get a head start on next year by guaranteeing your children's writing will get off to a creative flyer. ARTiculate is launching a new creative literacy workshop that includes discussion and debate, drama, writing and art: a dead cert to get your new class buzzing! Our new workshop 'Human Zoo' is based on the book Zoo by Anthony Browne. Turning the world on its head in true Anthony Browne style, we ask how would the animals see the strange behaviour of the human visitors? Indeed, who really belong in the cage? Not only does this workshop meet the National Curriculum objectives for literacy, it fulfills the art ones too. Pretty nifty, eh? By

Analysing a text - Writing and art workshop Week 3

Text analysis is key to helping less confident writers build a framework to hang their ideas on. I t is the solid foundation that supports the imaginative flourishes of a quality finished piece.   A good author is a good reader! Week 3 "I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it, you can escape from the world into a story that's way more interesting than yours will ever be." Elizabeth Scott   Do we at ARTiculate have a catchy slogan? If we did, it would probably be the best slogan in the world. But, if I was going to adopt one here and now it might be: "Read. Then go for it!"  The importance of reading for an author is difficult to overstate. How can you write convincingly if you've never read a convincing book? Drawing on other people's ideas, being inspired by another's use of language, seeing how a text is structured - all essentials  for a budding writer. When you're working on a short, picture bo

Colour and mood - Writing and art workshop week 2

An artist creates emotion and atmosphere by using the right colours. Week 2 Pastel seascapes. Continuing from our experimentation with colour in last week's workshop, this time the children were challenged to create the right atmosphere with a stormy seascape. We agreed on a colour palette (from a paint chart), choosing colours to give the viewer feelings of cold, power, mystery and danger. These pastel seascapes were inspired by Armin Greder's illustrations. The children showed real mastery of pastels and chalks to create these brooding, vivid images, blending layers of colours to add depth. They are the perfect backdrop for our writing work next week. Check out the rest of the images in the gallery below.

Getting into the mood - Writing and art workshop week 2

Week 2: A good author gets into the mind of his characters. The man who arrives on the island is a nobody. We don't where he is from, or how he came to be on the mysterious island. We don't even know his name. The information gaps in this story are seemingly waiting to be filled and drama and imaginative discussion are the key ways to deepen and shape a child's understanding of the man and his situation. This week's workshop explored the man's origins . How has he come to arrive on this island on his flimsy little raft? He's an escaped prisoner! A castaway! A fisherman swept out to see! A man on a secret mission! He is a refugee from a war-torn land! He was sent away like Moses in a basket! He is simply searching for a new, better life! We then used hot-seating and interviews to develop these ideas with the children playing the exhausted, weary man just after his arrival. One question leads to another... Where did the raft come from? What

The ARTiculate effect!

Like our new blog background? It was designed by an eight year old at one of my recent literacy and art workshops! Thanks! To find out more about our workshops, click here .

Communicating with colour - Writing and art workshop week 1

Week 1: Authors communicate through words - artists communicate through colours. I feel very fortunate this week after launching a six week partnership with a Leeds primary school. Working with twelve of Year 4's finest, we will be exploring the creative processes of authors and artists using as a stimulus, The Island by Armin Greder. The book's beautiful but haunting pictures provide the perfect context for discussing how illustrators use colour to develop and change the mood of a text. Children discussed the emotions associated with primary and secondary colours and were surprised to discover they have both negative and positive connotations. Using Rothko's colour panels as a guide, the first group developed 'mood boards' using warm and cool colours. I was impressed with how they could discuss the significance of the colours they had chosen. Year 4's Rothko-esque colour mood boards The second group went further and used colours to indicate the c

Every Which Way!

An art collection collage - created by a Year 4 child for Gorilla. This workshop was an excellent way of getting children to analyse pieces of art, looking for symbols, colours and themes and explaining how paintings and their artists are trying to communicate with them.  It was like a flash back from Every Which Way But Loose this week as I  was back on the road in Leeds with my trusty Gorilla companion. We didn't even have time to stop for a burger at a road-side diner or for a bare-knuckle dust-up as there was plenty of work to do with some incredibly articulate Year 4 children.  This week, the focus of our work was the emotional tire swing of Gorilla, alone and trapped by modern life in his specially modified zoo cage until rescued by his unlikely companion, Clint Eastwood...erm I mean a little cat called Beauty. Same same. Anthony Browne's references to art as a means of of communicating with the reader is at the heart of why his books are such fertile ground

Busy week!

Supply teaching offers me the chance to try out some interesting art ideas with children. Here are some great results from this week! Exploding 3D shapes drawn on squared paper with Year 6. Children marked out a vanishing point with an 'x'. They drew around a plastic 2D maths shape and then connected each angle back to the vanishing point. As one child pointed out: it's like flying above skyscrapers! Sketching and painting with Year 5 Free sketched images taken from famous art works and finished with acrylic inks and paint markers. The Lichtenstein is my favourite!

You Little Beauty! Fantastic FREE taster workshop in Leeds today!

This workshop was an excellent introduction to empathy in children's literature and a great way for children to explore the skills and processes used by real author-illustrators.   What a great way to end the week! Spending some creative time with some Year 4 children at their school in Leeds today! Today, we got our teeth into the curious tale of Little Beauty  by Anthony Browne. Not all is as it seems at this 'special' zoo - home to one lonely but talented primate. With a comfortable arm chair, flat screen TV and with tea and burgers on-demand, this gorilla might seem to have it all. But the one thing he is missing is a true friend. Enchanting! A brilliant charcoal drawing of gorilla with a very effective painted background! Comparing the lifestyle, diet and habitat of this special gorilla with the REAL mountain gorillas of Central Africa, the children produced some excellent writing. They even turned their hand to some mixed media artwork to give our gorilla

Win a FREE Literacy and art taster session for your school!

You’ve heard the old expression: There’s no such thing as a free creative literacy and art workshop. Right? Poppycock. Here at ARTiculate, we are passionate about art. And writing. So we put them together and SHAZAAM… we deliver the finest creative workshops in the land. Using text, drama and discussion to inspire children to write, people in Leeds are raving about the work we do. “Very inspirational and creative – lots of new ideas to improve writing and unlock children’s imaginations.” Nadia, Teacher Y4 To be in with the chance to win a FREE taster workshop for your school, all you have to do is click here and email us your school’s details. Winners will be announced on Monday 1 st June! Still here? Get typing! *Leeds (W Yorks) primary schools only, sorry folks.

NEW WORKSHOP LAUNCH - Chromatography - Science and Art series

ARTiculate is launching an exciting new range of workshops linking artistic creativity with scientific experimentation. The first workshop explores how the principles of chromatography work and how they can be used to create stunning artwork! What is included? -5 focus sessions with a group of 6-8 children. -2 sessions with the whole class. -Delivered by an experienced, qualified primary school teacher. - All materials provided by ARTiculate. For more information, click this link or contact me here .  

Lecture on outdoor learning and Forest School in Early Years, Leeds Trinity University

A fun, enjoyable session with Level 5 students at Leeds Trinity University this morning exploring the theory and practice of outdoor learning and Forest School. The session explored the Scandinavian origins of Forest School and how it is applied to the UK. It was very positive that so many students recognised that the outdoor space is an excellent resource that can be used to enhance the learning of children. Outdoor learning brings confidence and independence to children of all ages allowing them the freedom to allow their imaginations to flourish! Thank you for all you hard work! The students had plenty of positive feedback! "Two fantastic [ARTiculate] lectures attended and loved them." Emma, student at Leeds Trinity University "[I was inspired to] let children explore the outdoor environment freely." Saphron, student at Leeds Trinity University "It gave me a better understanding of how to work with children outdoors." Rezwan