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Creative Arts Scrapbook

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Claudia Saunders

on 9 October 2014

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Transcript of Creative Arts Scrapbook

Reflective Scrapbook
Claudia Saunders

Introductory Lecture
Drama - Voices in the Park
Drama - Play Building
Drama - Puppetry
Drama - Teacher in Role
Visual Arts - Assessment in Art
Visual Arts - Art Dialogue
Visual Arts - Puppets & Masks
Media Arts - Introduction to Media Arts
Media Arts - The Great Escape
Media Arts - The Great Escape
Visual Arts - Art Appreciation
This week our lecture focused on the question:
"What Good are the Arts?"
My own response to this question has been shaped by my experiences in EDUP1001. Whilst previously I saw this Creative Arts as merely a 'break' from traditional subjects like Mathematics and English I now understand its immeasurable value in its own right. Hence I am excited to begin another semester studying Creative Arts.

Jessica Hoffmann Davis in her book 'Why Our Schools Need the Arts' (2008) makes an irrefutable case for the benefits of the arts. One of many points she makes is that traditionally and persistently the arts are seen as located on the opposite side of the spectrum from 'more academic' subjects of Maths and Science, meaning their own value in developing cognitive processes is ignored. We should acknowledge the relationship the arts have with other subjects. Indeed the relationship between the arts and life skills. Each of the major art strands encourage creative thinking, collaboration, communication skills, problem solving and even build self identity and worth. The argument for the worth of the arts is vast and supported by research, so why does it continue to be undervalued?

Hoffman Davis, J. (2008). Why our schools need the arts. New York: Teachers College Press.
My group's dramatic performance of our poem answering the question: What good are the arts?
Changing Education Paradigms by
Sir Ken Robinson
This week in Drama we used the picture book by Anthony Browne ‘Voices in the Park’ as the basis for our drama activities. Drama is a beneficial medium to explore children’s literature as supported by the writings of Winch & Holliday (2010) on planning and teaching reading which repeatedly highlight drama as a legitimate and effective method of deconstructing characterisation and plot as well as developing oral fluency.

Today’s lesson provided a wealth of ideas for the opportunities to explore text through drama. We learnt about conscience alley in our first year and I continue to see it as a quality exercise to examine character motive and decision making. But I particularly enjoyed the new exercise of ‘Role on the Wall’. This is an activity you can conduct following the reading of a text whereby you draw the basic shape of a character on a large sheet of paper on which students write adjectives to describe that character. This obviously has strong links with English in the sense of vocabulary and grammar features – adjectives but it also is an engaging way to explore characters. It involves every student in the classroom and challenges them to think deeply about characterisation in order to come up with an appropriate adjective. I foresee using this exercise in my classroom between reading text and asking students take on one of the roles within the texts. This would help scaffold them as they approach a role, making the task less daunting for less confident students.

Winch, G. & Holliday, M. (2010). The effective teaching of reading. Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (pp.1-247). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Our 'Role on the Wall' for Voices in the Park
Our Still Images from the Slideshow activity
In Drama this week we learnt about how a ‘pre-text’ can be used as a starting point for drama activities. We were given a passage from a text that was very ambiguous and therefore had great scope for imagination and interpretation. I found this very interesting and was instantly engaged, wanting to learn more about the mysterious ‘Green Children’. We completed a series of activities based on this text but for the purpose of this short reflection I will focus on the Mapping activity. This involved us working in groups to draw a map of the town into which the Green Children have arrived. We had a number of considerations such as choosing the power source, income source and geography of the town. We then had to work collaboratively to develop the map. The work of Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky and John Dewey all identify learning as a social process and group discourse as vital for deep learning (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998). Drama is almost always a collaborative process and it is activities such as the mapping one that allow students to discuss ideas and develop good communication skills as they make decisions as a team to produce a piece of group work. Therefore here we can identify another of the numerous benefits of the Creative Arts.

The mapping activity in itself proved to be another excellent way to delve into the imagined world. I feel that considering the detail of the town prompted deeper consideration of the story as a whole. In my own classroom setting more time would obviously be allowed for this activity as I felt in our own limited time we were very rushed and only skimmed the surface of the activity. For my own students I would want to ensure maximum discussion time.

Johnson, D., Johnson, R. & Holubec, E. (1998). Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
The town map my group created
An example of how teacher in role can be used to explore other KLAs such as HSIE.
Another drama strategy we explored today was 'Mantle of the Expert' which can be seen in practice in this video.
This week we explored a strategy completely foreign to me: teacher in role. I had never experienced this in the classroom myself which I am now disappointed about! Teacher in role quite literally involves the teacher taking on a role therefore allowing them to organise their students’ learning from inside the drama world (Ewing & Simons, 2004, p.32). Julia Balaisis has highlighted through her research that this strategy is consistently underutilised due to a lack of confidence amongst teachers. Balaisis (2002) interviewed specialist high school drama teachers and found the majority avoided teacher in role and those who did use this strategy did so sparingly and with little confidence. She found reasons for this were three fold. Teachers felt ill-prepared to adopt this technique, worried it confused the role of the teacher and questioned its overall merit as a teaching strategy. My own experience in today’s lesson has made me determined to attempt and try to perfect this strategy. Today Victoria supported the assertions of Ewing & Simons (2004) and Balaisis (2002) that teacher in role activities need to be clearly planned and the parameters must be clear to students but when this is done it can be very successful. The fact that even specialist drama teachers with theater experience interviewed by Balaisis had difficulty employing this strategy does concern me but I feel that it is valuable and a great way to explore a variety of topics across all the key learning areas. Hence it is a strategy I am keen to try.

Balaisis, J. (2002). The challenge of teaching “in role”. Applied Theatre Research,3, 20-27.

Ewing, R. & Simons, J. (2004). Beyond the script: Drama in the classroom. Take 2. (2nd ed). Sydney: PETA.
The materials we used to make our puppets.
Another week of Drama, unfortunately our last! I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s workshop in which we explored puppetry. I always have a sense of uneasiness about Drama. I feel that I am not ‘a natural’ and struggle to lose my self-consciousness whenever performing. Today I realised puppetry is an excellent way of overcoming this. Just like a primary student in their drama class I found my confidence growing with the protection of a puppet. It allowed me to relax as I felt the attention was somewhat distracted from myself. As Ewing & Simons (2004) highlight puppets take the focus of the attention allowing the puppeteer to feel safe and I certainly felt this myself. Coming into the classroom I instantly realised how simple the puppets themselves can be. When Victoria told us last week we would be doing puppetry I looked forward to handling elaborate puppets but I quickly realised we were instead making simple ones ourselves. This was far better as it allowed us to be creative and see the transformation from simple materials to a character. We had to consider how we could design the puppets to allow us to control the movements and how to make them interesting enough so that they would indeed be the focus of the performance. I look forward to exploring puppetry in my own classroom. I would be interested in incorporating art lessons into the creation of the puppets, perhaps having groups work together to create their characters for a small role play.

Ewing, R. & Simons, J. (2004). Beyond the script: Drama in the classroom. Take 2. (2nd ed). Sydney: PETA.
A new week and a new art strand. This week we moved into Visual Arts, one of my favourite areas of the Creative Arts. Our focus for today’s workshop was art appreciation; hence we began by looking at Professor Edmund Feldman’s ‘Inquiry Method’ (1994; notes taken by Graeme Chambers). This method outlines the four main steps in art criticism:
1. Naming
2. Analysing
3. Interpreting
4. Evaluating
As teachers we want to scaffold our students in such a way that they can move beyond just naming and analysing and begin interpreting and evaluating. In our workshop we looked at a number of activities we could conduct in our classroom to enable us to do this. One strategy the ‘Art Alphabet’ produces a list of words that describe the painting, process and artist and is therefore appropriate for developing naming and analysing skills. It forces students to look carefully at the artwork as they search for appropriate words. Similarly the activity ‘Dinner Parties’ prompts students to look at artworks and formulate questions to try and determine which artwork each dinner party guest is from. These are perfect for primary schools students developing the early art appreciation skills and is an appropriate strategy when considering the above quote. In teaching primary school art appreciation we should not become bogged down in the detail of art but instead provide students with the skills to interpret any piece of art. Viewing art must be seen as interesting and fun so as not to disillusion students and the activities we did today (which also included the ‘Art Map Compass’, see below and ‘Living Clay’) are great ways of presenting art appreciation in an engaging manner.
Direct observation sketch of a car wheel
“Art appreciation does not aim to fill children with facts about art but to develop their strategies for looking at art and making sense of what they see”
Our focus in this week’s Visual Arts workshop was assessment in art which presents a unique challenge for teachers. Unlike Maths or Science Visual Arts cannot be measured in terms of right or wrong. It can be extremely subjective and delicate as you must be careful not to undermine the students’ confidence. Robyn highlighted to us today the importance of collecting work periodically so you can evaluate students’ progression and avoid making judgements based on one artwork alone. Strategies such as treasure boxes, art folders, questionnaires, picture records and informal questioning are all valuable, innovative ways by which teachers can gauge student understanding and creates a quality record of their work. Gibson & Ewing (2011) emphasise that assessment must be authentic, integrated into the learning process and involve students in determining the assessment criteria. It is evident that quality assessment in this area is not easily achieved and requires careful planning. The aforementioned strategies enable teachers to create an ongoing record, the necessity of which should be made clear to the students. It is also important to assess the art making process rather than the finished work alone. Questioning the students about their creative process and decision making is equally important.

Gibson, R. & Ewing, R. (2011). Transforming the curriculum through the arts. Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan.
My artwork from this week's workshop
When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college – that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"
Howard Ikemoto
Art dialogue, our focus this week, was not something I’d considered before today’s workshop. Last week’s lesson on assessment emphasised the importance of talking to student’s about their artwork but I still hadn’t considered how you do this in a manner that elicits quality responses from the students and doesn’t undermine the students’ confidence as an artist. There are six approaches that are typically adopted by teachers to ‘encourage’ art dialogue. These are complimentary, judgemental, valuing, questioning, probing and correcting. Each of these are deeply flawed and can be improved upon. One way to do this is to use the elements and principles of art as your starting point for discussion. This has innumerable benefits; firstly it integrates this art language into the lesson and the classroom vocabulary. The more these elements and principles are discussed the deeper student understanding of them will be. Questioning students about the shape, line, texture of their artwork will force them to evaluate their own decision making and justify their choices as artists. It is important to open this dialogue during the artmaking process rather than only at its conclusion so that teachers might offer direction, balanced with positive comments (Hartung, 1995). The quote from Howard Ikemoto perfectly encapsulates the fact that young children have no concept of being ‘good’ at art. They are free to explore without this self-consciousness. Through effect dialogue we can try to prolong this freedom as long as possible.

Hartung, E. (1995). The many faces of critique. SchoolArts, December, 36-37.
The artwork I produced in class this week.
In our final week of Art we created puppets and masks using basic materials. These were extremely fun activities that I look forward to using in my own classroom, linking it to other key learning areas such as Drama and English. We had to choose a character from a movie, book or fairytale as the basis for a toilet paper roll puppet. This was very engaging as we all attempted to make our puppets recognisable through creative use of the materials provided. Looking at our finished puppets I was inspired about how they could be used in drama lessons. My own drama experience has shown me that puppets build confidence. Two primary students using these puppets to have a conversation in role would be highly engaged and producing quality dialogue, probably superior to that without the puppets. The props deflect attention from the student and this is particularly beneficial for shy children.
The masks could also be a good prism to explore other cultures. An opportunity for a lesson would be looking at the masks and the making process in a variety of cultures. These can also be used for drama exercises. As the students’ are covered they may have more confidence to truly embody the role.
My puppet, Prince Charming, is on the right, next to his bride, Rapunzel.
This week we moved onto the final art strand in this course, Media Arts. Media Arts was not part of the Creative Arts 1 course and hence going into today I had very little understanding of what it actually is. I have now discovered that it is the use of communication technologies to produce work that incorporates images, sound and text (Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority, 2013). This includes film, television, radio, newspapers, websites, graphic novels and video games, to name a few. Today we explored the key concepts of Media Arts: representation, language, technology, audience and institutions. In groups we were assigned one of these concept and had to come up with a still image to represent that concept. This was a challenging exercise as it was our first introduction to the concepts but it was also extremely valuable as it caused us to think deeply and creatively to hypothesise what our concept involved and then demonstrate our understanding to the class. I feel this would be an excellent introduction to the Media Art concepts with primary age children assuming it was strongly scaffolded. We then looked at 'Marshall Armstrong is new to our school' to gain an insight into framing, an important technique in Media Arts. This text has a lot of depth and would be fantastic as the basis of a unit of work as it not only explores framing but also perspectives, layered meaning, themes and visual literacy. With this text, which explores favourite places, in mind we then went out into the uni and took two pictures that encapsulate our favourite places on the campus and thought of a single word that explains why it is important to us. This exercise was an excellent example of an introductory activity for media arts, it was a great way to show how image and text can be combined, even in this basic manner to add meaning. I also appreciated the link between the text and the activity. Organising the lesson in this way ensured that our interest and prior knowledge was activated and the activity was purposeful.

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (2013) . Draft Australian Curriculum: The Art Foundation to Year 10 draft in progress at 22 February 2013.
This week in Media Arts we looked at a short film made by primary school students entitled 'Genie App'. It is a very impressive piece especially considering the age of the students. The plot is developed, the editing is professional and the filming techniques have obviously been considered. Looking at this film we were able to see the vast scope for activities in this art strand. Knowledge of angles and other film techniques is taught in English also so there is an obvious link between these key learning areas. Because of this I feel I have a good understanding of this area however the actual filming process and editing process is new to me and I hope to receive more training in this. What interested me about this film also was the collaboration required to produce it. It required the coordination of almost the entire school including teachers, even the principal! Again this demonstrates the collaborative nature of the arts which helps students establish life skills including the ability to communicate effectively. I look forward to making films with my students!
The Genie App
Our final week of Media Arts has already arrived! It has gone so quickly, I'm very disappointed to see it end! This week we watch the escape sequence from Toy Story 3 to analyse how shot angle and distance, timing, sound, lighting, space and movement have all been carefully used in the composition of the piece to create tension and suspense. In film and animation nothing is by accident, every technique serves a specific purpose and it is an important part of Media Arts to be able to deconstruct this. Today we examined the rule of thirds which helps composers to control what the audience is looking at. We then had the opportunity to storyboard our own escape sequence through photographs. In doing this we were expected to consider the rule of thirds. I found this to be an extremely fun and educational experience. Discussing ideas and shot construction with my group was really great as we were able to bounce ideas off one another and ensure that we were following the task and meeting the brief. When we returned to the classroom Miranda looked at the images we had taken and gave us some advice in terms of 'dead space' and how we could improve the images. I think this individual feedback to the group was really important, I feel it was during this time I really got a grasp on the rule of thirds and how we can best design our images.
Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (2013) . Draft Australian Curriculum: The Art Foundation to Year 10 draft in progress at 22 February 2013.

Balaisis, J. (2002). The challenge of teaching “in role”. Applied Theatre Research,3, 20-27.

Ewing, R. & Simons, J. (2004). Beyond the script: Drama in the classroom. Take 2. (2nd ed). Sydney: PETA.

Gibson, R. & Ewing, R. (2011). Transforming the curriculum through the arts. Melbourne: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hartung, E. (1995). The many faces of critique. SchoolArts, December, 36-37.

Hoffman Davis, J. (2008). Why our schools need the arts. New York: Teachers College Press.

Johnson, D., Johnson, R. & Holubec, E. (1998). Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Winch, G. & Holliday, M. (2010). The effective teaching of reading. Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (pp.1-247). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
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