100 IDEAS FOR ART. By Felicity Austin. Collins pound;22.99 each.
For a young drama teacher in the 1970s, "100 ideas" books were lifesavers. There was one I particularly remember, which fitted neatly into a jacket pocket. On those days when inspiration was lacking, the mere feel of it was reassuring. The A4 format of the Collins primary series does little to encourage this tactic, but the concept remains the same.
Gordon Lamont has collected 100 ideas for drama activities that support the wider primary curriculum. Each is carefully coded and referenced to another subject - PSHE, history, maths, and so on - and sometimes to photocopiable support material at the end of the book.
Varied as they are, teachers will need to glue these drama improvisations into their schemes of work for other subjects, for, in keeping with the "100 ideas" genre, there is no hint here about progression or assessment. A lively selection, nevertheless, and handy for brightening up the flagging topic.
While drama has a well-established supernumerary role in the primary school, art, of course, is a national curriculum subject. For this reason, the absence of any guidance on how Felicity Austin's 100 ideas might be located in a scheme of work for art is a more serious omission. A tendency to see primary art as a series of random and unrelated activities is, sadly, all too common.
More surprising in a book about art, are the cramped graphics and rather dull illustrative material. Presentation does little justice to the ideas themselves, most of which are stimulating and imaginative.
David Hornbrook is inspector for arts for the London borough of Camden