Skip to main content

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 changing mood of the characters as the story progressed. It was incredible to hear them using these simple but effective guides to narrate a complex tale.




Coloured stripes indicate mood changes in the story. The thickness of a stripe varies by the intensity of the emotion. 

Looking forward to next week's session.

Popular posts from this blog

Filthy wretch or poor thing? Rethinking the Island, KS2, Week 1

A treat for the final half term - a new workshop at a delightful school in Leeds! This half term I am working with two Year 5 teachers to develop a cross-year group, cross-curricular writing project based on my favourite picture book, Armin Greder's The Island . I've done this book many times and every time the response is different! This week, we got to grips with the facts, possibilities and mysteries of the story. What do we know about the story so far? (we only ever read up to page 6 to leave it on a knife edge...) What doesn't this story tell us and what could we infer or predict?     We looked at the crowd of islanders who 'welcome' the stranger's arrival. As in every class, country or community, no group ever sees the world the same way and we discussed how the islanders might react differently to the man. Is he a poor thing who needs to be rescued? Is he a curiosity? Is he a threat? We each adopted an islander and took on their perspective f

Creative writing based on Hokusai's The Great Wave

The Great Wave - Creative writing workshop, Year 6 Week 1: Vocabulary development Inspired by Japanese artist Hokusai's masterpiece The Great Wave , Year 6 are starting on a creative voyage to bring the iconic print to literary life! We spent some time poring over the features of painting: the spray, the wave, the boats and, well hidden, Mount Fuji. After reading an account of Ellen MacArthur's sailing voyages, we began to generate some cutting edge vocabulary to give our writing some sparkle. This was the process: Children labelled the features of the picture, including parts of the wave (crest, barrel, swell, lip) We chose personified verbs for the different features. 'Grabbing', 'scratching' and 'grasping' for the finger-like lip of the wave; 'screaming', 'slapping' and 'whistling' for the wind. The group selected similes for each of the features. The wind became 'a bellowing dragon', the boats w

Progression in primary drama - going beyond the National Curriculum

Drama is an integral component of primary English teaching. It is the engine that drives creative responses to stories, helping children explore characters, settings and predicaments. Yet the primary National Curriculum for England (DfE, 2013) makes scant reference to drama. Some generic guidance indicates the importance of speaking, listening and performing although these points are both too obvious and too generalised to be useful to teachers and subject coordinators hoping to embed drama across the whole school. When writing our forthcoming book, Teaching Shakespeare in Primary Schools: All the World's a Stage (Routledge, David Fulton, 2021), both Maureen and I felt that whole-school drama guidance for primary teachers - so integral to teaching Shakespeare's plays - was notably lacking from online resources currently available (apologies if you have produced such a document but we could not find it!). We decided to compile our own. In fact, you may have found this blog post