26th May 2006 at 01:00
Robin Buss's pick of the week

Music: Sound and Composition Teachers' TV, Tuesday, May 30, 3-3.30am

Another pair of programmes for teachers nervous about their ability to teach creative arts, in this case music composition to a Year 2 group. We visit White Oak School in Swanley, Kent, to learn ways to start exploring sounds.Here, this involves putting sounds to the last scenes of a story that the pupils have been writing and, in the second part, developing notions of composition.

RE and Art Teachers' TV, Wednesday, May 31, 7-7.30am

Half-term is a good time to start trying out new ideas. Teachers' TV offers these two programmes with advice on integrating art into RE. Paul Hobbs is an artist who specialises in the subject and in the first film he illustrates techniques to a group of secondary teachers, several of whom are nervous because they have doubts about their abilities. Hobbs's point is that you don't need to be good at art to use it in the ways he suggests.

In the second film, Angela Saunders, who teaches RE at Plumstead Manor School, in south London, tries out a lesson on the Jewish Passover using Paul's "art sketchbook" technique.

Drama: Engaging with Text Teachers' TV, Wednesday, May 31, 2-2.30pm

In two visits to Haggerston School for Girls, in east London, we explore ideas for helping drama students work with words. To begin with, instead of speech and movement, they are taught the technique of "frozen pictures", emphasising gesture and facial expression. In the second film, drama head Rachel Tay Choudhuri introduces her mixed-ability Year 10 group to a passage that some may find difficult: the final soliloquy from Marlowe's Dr Faustus. She starts with warm-up exercises and uses "frozen pictures" to capture the midnight mood as Faustus prepares to relinquish his soul to the Devil. Even though this is a soliloquy, she wants to get four or five pupils working together on each piece and helps them assess their performances.

Paul Merton's Silent Clowns BBC4, Thursdays to June 15, 9-9.30pm

Paul Merton's clowns - Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Harold Lloyd - worked mainly in America, but Merton's travels take him to Europe to discover the previously lost ending of a Keaton comedy in a Parisian collection of silent films, to assess the influence of Chaplin on French mime and to put music to Laurel and Hardy in Rome. Merton insists that when these films are played at the correct speed and with appropriate music, they have real beauty. They can also be very funny and many of the stunts are breathtaking.

Full listings can be found at:

* * www.channel4.comlearningmainprogrammestv_schedule.htm

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