Changing the face of art

1st June 2007 at 01:00
Carrie Young finds hands-on resources for spreading creativity through your school

Project Teaching Packs. Animal masks, Weaving, 3-D masks (5-14); Block-printing, African batik, Felt-making, Kite-making (5-plus); Screen-printing, Wax batik, Papercraft (8-plus). Artworkshops pound;42 each. CD of images pound;5 for each pack (only sold with packs).

I love these packs: they come in a ringed folder with each page in a plastic wallet, with no danger of pages being damaged, torn or getting lost. That is just the beginning. What else do the packs (there are 10 of them covering various art processes for primary and early secondary pupils) offer you as an educator?

Each pack includes a history of the topic and an explanation of the process, as well as theme ideas, materials list, detailed lesson plans and approximate time allocation and photographs of the processes, plus much more.

Most of the materials are not that difficult to find and may be items you already include in your art order, but the packs include advice on suppliers.

The lesson plans include step-by-step instructions, alternative ideas and brilliant pictures of children's work to help demonstrate the various steps and outcomes of the tasks. The packs also offer ways to extend talented children.

Best of all, there is an optional CD of images available for each pack. I strongly recommend ordering these. When you are working with a large group or a whole class, it's helpful to be able to share the pictures on interactive whiteboards or other computer-based projection systems.

The themes of the packs would fit into any cross-curricular work that you might want to do and the packs contain web links to help you plan this.

These are superb resources: they are accessible to classroom teachers with any level of experience, well thought out and presented. A good investment for any school that wants to revitalise its art curriculum.

Hands on Art: Creative cross-curricular displays and activities for practical and fun art. By Brenda Whittle. Belair World of Display series pound;14.99. Ages 4 to 8

Hands on Art is a fabulous book that offers easy and effective ideas for developing creativity in younger primary pupils across the curriculum.

The book is easy to use: each section provides starting point ideas, display ideas and cross-curricular links.

The materials needed can be easily located. The possibilities are endless - your school and classroom displays will look like they have come to life.

The pictures and illustrations are vibrant and give you a clear idea of what your display might look like.

Anholt's Artists: The Magical Garden of Claude Monet. By Laurence Anholt. Frances Lincoln. pound;5.99. Seven plus

This enchanting picture storybook, now in a paperback edition, fits its title: when I opened it I felt as if I was entering a magical world. As I began to read, I started to travel through this magical world with Julie and her greyhound, Louey, who decides to run off into the countryside.

Some of the magical feeling came from the gorgeous illustrations within the book, including a fold-out illustration of Monet's waterlily pond.

The story itself has a lovely warm tone: Julie and Louey are bored with being indoors; Julie's mother, an artist, promises that when she has finished her painting she will take them to see the most wonderful garden in the world, which belongs to her old friend, the painter Claude Monet.

After a train ride into the countryside, Julie follows the runaway Louey into a mysterious garden and bumps into an old man, who she later realises is Monet. Meanwhile, Louey has trampled on some paintings.

At the back of the book you will find a short fact file on Claude Monet, which again helps with cross-curricular links.

This is one of a mini-series on artists (see also Degas and the Little Dancer and Camille and the Sunflowers), and a must-have if you are studying Monet. It makes a perfect introduction

Carrie Young teaches Year 6 at West Jesmond Primary School, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

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