English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book review: The Dot

the dot

Book review: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot is the story of Vashti, who somewhere along the line has lost her confidence in her drawing abilities. Thankfully, she has an understanding art teacher, who has most likely taught many students with this same view.

(As an art teacher, I have taught many students who have announced that they couldn’t draw. One of those students went on to become a recognised artist for their drawing ability!)

Vashti, in frustration, jabs the paper and creates “The Dot”. With encouragement and determination, she goes on to explore the basic shape as an artmaking theme and creates bigger and more exciting artworks each time she creates. Her confidence grows and she encourages others with their drawing as well.

This is a beautiful book about not giving up, keeping it simple, developing skills, having a go, growing in confidence and encouraging others. We are dedicated fans of author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and highly recommend his books, particularly the others in this set, Ish and Sky Color.

To extend the learning from this book you could have a read of the following activities.

  • Discussion: Do you sometimes feel like drawing is difficult like Vashti did? Do you have a go anyway?
  • What artworks could you create using just dots?
  • How important is encouragement to you and do you like to encourage others?
  • Yayoi Kusama is a popular artist who uses dots in her work. Have a look at this white room in a gallery that visitors were able to stick coloured dot stickers onto the walls, floors and furniture!*

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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*Note: We do our best to make sure any external links are suitable but a supervising adult will need to do the research first to check that the content is suitable for students. Many artists have a wide range of artworks and although some artworks may be suitable for children and families, other artworks may not be. Supervising adults are responsible for ensuring that the content is appropriate.

Drama · English · Geography · History · Mathematics · music · PDHPE · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Creative learning experiences: Sydney

 

SydneyI think most educators would agree that excursions are a fantastic and fun learning experience. We try to visit the city centre of Sydney, NSW a few times each year and explore all the wonderful things there are to experience and learn from. I think the following activities are worth the time/money and can easily be linked to learning outcomes. This list includes places and activities we have visited as well as suggestions from other educators that we are yet to visit but plan to! Park the car, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your Opal card and explore! You could also pack a small art diary and some sketching pencils!

You might like to read my post about talking with children about art too.

I have also added cost indicators from Free, $, $$, $$$ to help. I have done my best to make sure this information is up to date and accurate at the time of posting but you will need to do your own research and planning as these things can change any time.

  • Powerhouse Museum – You can spend hours here and there is so much on offer for science, technology, history and art. $
  • Art Gallery of NSW – Fantastic for art, history and geography. Free – $$
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Great for science, geography and history. Free
  • Chinese Garden of Friendship – Great for history and geography. $
  • Australian National Maritime Museum – Amazing for history, science, technology, geography and often art. I think its worth paying the extra to get on board the ships as they are fantastic. Talk to the guides on the ships too as they are full of great information. Free – $$$
  • Chinatown – great for geography and history.
  • Sydney Aquarium – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Wildlife Sydney – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Darling Harbour playground – great for fun with lots of interactive play. Free
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – See what programs are currently on offer to suit children and families. Free – $
  • Sydney Opera House – Amazing for music, art, drama, dance and history. It’s free to visit, which in itself is a wonderful experience, but it is definitely worth looking out for a moderate cost family friendly show often on in the school holidays. Free – $$$
  • Sydney Observatory – Great for science, history and geography. Its free to visit but the tour costs a little. The planetarium often travels to libraries in other towns and is an excellent experience. Free – $
  • May Gibbs’ Nutcote – Home and gardens of May Gibbs, now museum. Fantastic for English, history and art. $
  • Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Great for history, geography and science. $$
  • Public Transport, especially ferries – Great for science, technology and geography. The ferry is a great way to view the architecture and landscape of the harbour as well. Get the cheap Sunday rates. $$
  • Barangaroo Reserve – wonderful for history, art, geography and science. Free
  • Taronga Zoo – great for science, geography and history. $$$
  • Cockatoo Island – Great for history. $$
  • Wendy’s Secret Garden – lovely for art, history and geography. (Wendy is the wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley). Free
  • ABC Studios tour – $$ cost but needs to be organised in advance
  • Australian Museum – Great for science, history, geography and art. $$
  • The Rocks walking tour – Free app
  • Vivid Sydney – Annual light exhibition

This is not a sponsored post.

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English · Geography · History · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Home

home

Book Review: Home by Jeannie Baker (It is also titled Belonging)

Home is one of the many, many books created by collage construction artist, Jeannie Baker. This book is the companion to another book of Baker’s, Window. Where Window creatively documents the urban sprawl of a suburb through the changing view from the window, Home/Belonging documents the hopeful reverse, where the concrete jungle of the city becomes slowly transformed into a lush green community space for the residents and native creatures. You can read more about the ideas of this wonderful book on Jeannie Baker’s website.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then Jeannie Baker’s, often wordless books, speak volumes about community, culture, the environment and changing times. There is a reason they are on the NSW English suggested texts lists for Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. They speak to people of all ages through the different layers of meaning.

Jeannie Baker demonstrates extreme levels of patience with her artmaking method, building up collages, layer by layer after dreaming up the idea, creating the images to work from and sourcing all of the varied materials. We have been fortunate enough to visit an exhibition of her collage works from her books and they are truly inspiring.

To extend the learning from this book, there are so many things you could do.

  • Collect materials and design and make your own collage construction.
  • Look at old photos of your own city, town or environment and see how it has changed over time.
  • Brainstorm ways to include more native plants in your community.
  • Research what the environmental issues are in your local community and think about what you could do to help solve these problems.
  • Write a description of a community from the perspective of two families. One perspective from today and one perspective from fifty years ago.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

English · Uncategorized · visual arts

How to talk about ART with kids

how to talk to kids about art 2

This title should probably read; How to talk about ART with kids, even when you don’t understand it yourself. I often hear people say they don’t understand art and therefore have no interest in it. The beauty about art is that everybody has a different experience of an artwork. You don’t have to understand it to be able to discuss it.

We went for a sculpture walk the other day and it prompted lots of questions from the kids about the artworks we were looking at.

Children like expressing their opinions and when they talk about art it’s no different. If you have some questions ready you can learn a lot about the artworks you are looking at as well as the ideas of the kids you are discussing art with. It is an amazing literacy challenge too, the kids (and yourself) may learn some new terminology (maybe assemblage could be your next favorite scrabble word!)

The Australian NSW Visual Arts syllabus requires students to appreciate and discuss art. Choose around TWO questions (from the total list) per artwork you are looking at and let the discussion happen! I also recommend just choosing a few artworks at a time, not a whole gallery at once. If a picture tells a thousand words than each artwork you view is like reading an essay.

Look (Talk about what you can see)

  • What is it made of? Is it a stone sculpture or a painting….is it both…?
  • Does it remind you of anything?
  • What does it resemble?
  • Is it realistic
  • How do you think it was made?

Feelings

  • How does it make you feel? Is it sad, spooky or does it make you laugh?
  • Do you like it? Why or why not?

Who

  • Who made the artwork?
  • Where are they from?
  • Is there information around that will tell us about the artist?

When

  • When was the artwork made? Is that surprising?
  • Does it look new or old?

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Subject areas: Visual Arts

Australian Curriculum:

  • Visual Arts:  ACAVAR109, ACAVAR113, ACAVAR117

Stages: All stages

NSW Outcomes addressed:

  • Visual Arts: VAES1.3, VAES1.4, VAS1.3, VAS1.4, VAS2.3, VAS2.4, VAS3.3, VAS3.4,