In this short project aimed at 12-14 year-olds, students learn about hue and working on a large, exaggerated scale. The project is in three parts - drawing, painting and clay - and takes about 10 hours of lesson time. (The clay can be omitted for a shorter project.)
This unit of work was another massive success for my 13-14 year old students in which everyone produced highly competent artworks and really enjoyed the straightforward process. Even those who normally struggled with drawing were in their comfort zone here as Hundertwasser has his philosophy of "embracing your mistakes"! The three artworks will probably be completed in about 8 hours of art lessons, more or less depending on the students. We made a lovely display at the end which we called A Hundertwasser Extravaganza - much admired!
In this abridged version of ‘Pygmalion’, the basic story line has been kept and no important events left out. Everything, including the stage directions, has been downsized to a quarter of the play’s original length. In the script that remains, most of Shaw’s words remain the same: changes have only been made when archaic or overly complex writing may interrupt the smooth flow. Prior to each act is a concise summary of events and following each act is a set of review questions. A character guide also features.
This unit will ideally suit the teacher seeking a fairly equal mix of English and drama at the upper end of KS3 or KS4. There are further opportunities for written work in the Pygmalion Workbook (included) which gives background notes about the play and has activities in connection with each of the five acts.
George Bernard Shaw believed everyone should have the same opportunities in life despite their colour, class, age, or the way they speak. 'Pygmalion' is the story of the flower girl from the gutter, Eliza Doolittle, who proves she can become as beautiful and well-spoken as a Duchess within six months with the help of speech expert Professor Henry Higgins who makes a bet with his friend Pickering.
Higgins’ mother and Mrs. Pearce see the potential problems of this project. They are concerned about what will happen to Eliza when six months are over. She will be different. Will she be able to go back to her life on the street? Higgins and Pickering, despite being middle-aged, are immature and don’t wish to think ahead.
Eliza proves to be an excellent mimic, like a parrot! When the six months are up, Higgins wins his bet but Eliza is unhappy about the idea of being thrown away.
The play’s title is taken from a Greek myth. Pygmalion was a king who was also a sculptor of beautiful statues. He didn’t like the women in his city and he asked the goddess of love Aphrodite to bring his favourite statue to life. Pygmalion then married her. The play is similar to the myth in the following ways: Higgins is like Pygmalion in that he creates a beautiful Eliza. (She is described as quite ugly and rude at the start of the play when she’s a flower girl, in addition to making awful noises.) When his work with Eliza is finished, he realizes he is very fond of her and doesn’t want her to go after all. A change, therefore, takes place in Higgins too: he goes from cold-hearted to warm-hearted.
In this resource, extracts from eight plays have been carefully selected to introduce to students new to Shakespeare. The activities that accompany the extracts are designed to make Shakespeare accessible even to the unenthusiastic student, and gradually become more challenging as the unit progresses. Activities include improvisation, making a flip book, costume design, finding out about the Elizabethan homeless and tableaux with silent movie style captions.
Students are gradually eased into a lively step-by-step understanding of Shakespeare. The approach to each extract is different to give a sense of variety. Literary terms such as alliteration, rhyme sequence and pun are explained, and students find and highlight examples in the text. By thinking about the tone of voice that is best suited to certain phrases, and which words and phrases to emphasize, the text is vocalized and brought to life. Themes in the text are given a modern-day context through improvisation, making the issues relevant to the students.
Terms such as a play within a play, soliloquy, dumb show and prologue are applied to the extracts with explanations. Students will gain an understanding of the nature of Comedy and Tragedy. In the prologue from Henry V students will gain an insight into Shakespeare’s ideas about the nature of theatre.
The texts are presented almost entirely in their original versions. Following each extract, the less familiar words are listed with their meanings.
In this unit of work, presented step by step on a power point, students will create a collaborative artwork inspired by Bruegel's painting. They will initially study the painting, comparing and contrasting children's games in 1560 and children's games today. There is also an opportunity to research how children play their games throughout the world. Following this, students will take photographs to gather images of children at play and from these they will select the figure(s) they wish to draw. Ultimately the class will put all the figures together on a background they have designed and created making a stunning piece of collaborative art.
My 12-13 year-olds loved this project because it was all about food which was the perfect subject matter for them... straightforward shapes and vivid colours. We looked at the paintings of Wayne Thiebaud and discussed how he uses shadow and light and his status as the grandfather of pop art. Students will produce two coloured pencil artworks, two acrylic paintings and a ceramic cup cake with a removable top over the course of approximately 10 hours of class time. I've included photos of my students' creations.
This pack introduces drama students to the theatre practitioners Bertolt Brecht and Jerzy Grotowski. Students will develop a practical understanding of the ideas of Brecht and Grotowski through the exercises here, in addition to refining their own ideas about the nature of theatre.
Brecht and Grotowski developed forms of theatre that urged a response from the spectator: Brecht encouraged the spectator to take political action to change society whereas Grotowski wished to induce psychological change on an individual level. Brecht spent much of his adult life in exile from Germany during the Nazi period (1933-1945). Grotowski grew up in a Poland first occupied by the Nazis, then dominated by the Soviet Union, where free speech was highly restricted. In response to these politically charged times, both practitioners chose to use a montage scene structure in which episodes are cleverly juxtaposed to create the maximum shock. Brecht and Grotowski were influenced by the moral message and the stylized movement of Japanese Noh Theatre and this is considered in detail through practical tasks.
Through the exercises in this resource, students will gain a detailed knowledge of the philosophy of the two practitioners. The following areas will be explored in detail: how the audience is affected by the performance, how to stage a play and the role of the performer.
Students will be encouraged to refine and develop their own theatre practice by means of regular reflection exercises that will serve to organise their thoughts, while also proving a record of the learning experience when it comes to exam revision. Knowledge and subject specific vocabulary will be expanded in preparation for the written exam. As well as considering the value of the work of Brecht and Grotowski, students will appraise their own work in progress and in performance, increasing their maturity as thinking performers.
I did this project with a group of keen basketball playing 9-10 year-olds, most of whom had a very sketchy background in art and really lacked confidence. So, I tried to infuse their sporty confidence into their art lesson and it worked really well and they loved doing this project. The project started with them photographing each other playing basketball so that immediately piqued their interest, then we used the action figure for the first part of the collage which was a drawing based on their photograph. This is a nice quick mini project that should take 4-5 hours of class time but is a great way of teaching basics in figure drawing, composition and collage.
This is a fun filler activity which teaches children in the 7-10 age group a lot about perspective, line, pattern, composition and colour palette. This is a power point resource where the students can talk about the different artworks featuring the same subject matter - a cup and saucer on a table with a wallpaper/decorative background - before embarking on their own. As you can see in the artworks on show here, there is a basic structure but the students are free to interpret it individually. A high success rate on this simple yet complex activity and AMAZING display afterwards which cannot help but boost artistic confidence.
This unit of work runs for approx 8 hours of lessons and is aimed at 9-11 year-olds. Using creature descriptions from Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking-Glass as springboards, students create drawings, paintings and models from their interpretation of the text, culminating in a pop-up book style artwork which helps develop Design Technology skills. Included are exemplars from my class.
"She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver Goldsmith has, for over a century, been the most widely read and performed 18th century play in English literature. The version provided here has been cut so as to be approximately one-third shorter than the original. The language has also been slightly simplified to make the play more accessible to both native speakers and ESL learners, while still retaining the feel of 18th century speech. At the start of each scene is a summary and at the end of each act is a set of review questions.
"She Stoops to Conquer" premiered in London in 1773, just a year before Goldsmith, a gambler and a drinker, died aged 46. It is very likely that in the play's most famous and best loved character, Tony Lumpkin, the wayward and awkward young squire, who may be too fond of a good drink and a good joke, but who definitely has a good heart, Goldsmith was immortalizing the best of his younger self.
In 1772, while he was working on "She Stoops to Conquer", Goldsmith published "An Essay on the Theatre", in which he argued that comic drama in England in his day had become so focused on being polite that it had ceased to be funny. In his play he wanted to bring back the raw, laugh-out-loud, brand of humour that he admired in the comic plays and characters of Shakespeare, as well as of the great Restoration comedies written roughly a hundred years before-- and that was exactly what he did.
In addition to making his audience laugh, Goldsmith also has a serious purpose in "She Stoops to Conquer". He was Irish and middle class and his rough manner had made his socially elite university, Trinity College Dublin, reject him. However, outside the front gate of this university, a larger than life, bronze statue of him now stands. In his play, he makes fun of a society in which class and wealth determine how people relate to one another.
The main pair of lovers in his play, Marlow and Kate, has to invent other characters for themselves in order to break out of the restrictive manners of their class and relate to each other intimately as man and woman. By making fun of class and manners in "She Stoops to Conquer", Goldsmith is the direct forerunner of the next great comic playwrights to revitalize the English stage more than one-hundred and twenty years later, his fellow Irishmen, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.
The purpose of this project is to introduce Shakespeare in performance to students of all abilities aged 11-14 years. Working with an abridged version of ‘The Tempest’ and structured activities, students will get an idea of what is required to put on a production, from understanding the issues in the play to designing costumes.
The abridged version has been adapted to be more beneficial to a school cast by increasing the number of parts for girls (King Alonso has become Queen Alonsa, and the scheming brother Sebastian has become a scheming sister, Sebastiana), and the option of splitting Ariel, a main character, into six parts, giving students the chance to share this fantastic character, and opening up further opportunities for effective movement on stage as detailed in the Ariel activities here.
In the first part of the project, the students explore the main issues of the play through lively drama activities, developing their skills as performers. Movement is a key area of the project and students will learn about body language and physical expression. A speech and main phrases are studied in order to develop voice skills. Drama vocabulary is expanded, getting students ready for GCSE.
In the second part of the project, the students will design their production with the aid of photocopiable worksheets. Important character details and quotations are provided to assist students in the planning of the costume, hair and make-up for each character. Problem solving activities are tackled in designing the bewitched banquet. A list of sound effects and music is provided and students are encouraged to create their own musical instruments.
This pack introduces students to the theatre practitioners Antonin Artaud and Konstantin Sergeievich Alexeiev (Stanislavski). Students will develop a practical understanding of the ideas of Artaud and Stanislavski through the exercises provided, in addition to formulating their own ideas about the nature of theatre.
Artaud and Stanislavski epitomise performing skills vital for all drama students: physical theatre, realism and character analysis. Through the exercises in this pack, students will gain a detailed knowledge of the philosophies of these two contrasting practitioners. The following areas will be explored in detail: how the audience is affected by the performance, different ideas about how to stage a play and the role of the performer.
Through their study of Artaud and Stanislavski, students will be encouraged to refine and develop their own theatre practice by means of regular feedback sheets which serve to organise their thoughts. The feedback sheets will prove a valuable record of the learning experience when it comes to formulating ideas in written work. Knowledge and subject specific vocabulary will be expanded. As well as considering the value of the work of Stanislavski and Artaud, the students will appraise, analyse and criticise their own work in progress and in performance, increasing their maturity as thinking performers.
The Alchemist, by Shakespeare’s close friend Ben Jonson, is a lively choice for a school production. It runs for approximately 90 minutes and has parts for 20 students of varying abilities aged from 14 to 18. Accompanying the abridged version is a pack of 25 photocopiable activities.
The Alchemist takes place in a manageable setting of a sparsely furnished house in London, early 1600s. It is a madcap comedy led by three con artists who step into one disguise after another. Face, Dol and Subtle trick a variety of victims into believing that they can turn metal into gold, produce the philosopher’s stone and invent a fairy queen aunt who promises to bring luck to a young gambler.
Throughout the drama activities, students will develop performing skills and an understanding of this exciting period of drama. There are structured tasks on what is required to put on a play, from designing costumes using quotations from the play as stimuli to planning a functional and lively set. The exercise ‘What is Farce?’ highlights the essential ingredients of this genre and gives students the opportunity to create their own mini farces. Ben Jonson’s frantic and exhilarating style of drama is also explored through practical tasks. The exercises include relevant snippets of information about alchemy and the role of women in the 1600s. Other than occasional internet research, no additional resources are required for the exercises. Following the abridged version of the play is a glossary to enable students to make the most of the play and its era.
I've done this Design Technology project a few times now and it's always a winner - I've never known a class that wasn't absorbed by this so I'm really happy to be offering it to you. Students work in pairs (they can work individually if they wish). What I've included here are just two files - the power point which details each step so the class can look at it together at the start of each session along with a basic child-friendly checklist so students can make sure they haven't forgotten anything. I hope you have fun with it!