Embedding creative activity at Thomas Ashton School

Embedding creative activity at Thomas Ashton School

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BY: Guest Writer
19 Mar 2018

Arts Award Good Practice Centre Thomas Ashton School are in the midst of a year of great creative activity, and are telling us about some of what’s taken place in our latest guest blog. They’ve embedded creativity in work across the curriculum, offering potential inspiration for other schools.

Art in Autumn

Taking the season as inspiration for our art, we started by focusing on the effects of autumn. Young people created works including a leaf sun catcher and a butterfly using leaves, practiced their weaving skills using autumn-coloured paper and used their handprint to create a tree.

One of our classes focused on creating artwork around “People Who Help Us”. Here young people created life size paintings of figures such as a police officer or doctor using the their outline to create the size, and photographs as inspiration for the paintings. As part of our work on Harry Ferguson, young people painted pictures of tractors and designed creations to help make life easier. These ranged from a drink dispenser, flying rockets with gadgets to mend the ship and a robot that did magic tricks.

As part of our September inset we hosted a session on guided art, teaching people to paint who may have little experience. This was a huge hit with our staff and the experience helped them gain their confidence in teaching the children. Since then, we have seen more art produced in class and also an increase in staff confidence when supporting art classes.

Creative Writing

Thomas Ashton Fossey camp.jpgAs part of literacy, the pupils have been studying books from Roald Dahl (not forgetting the drawings of Quentin Blake). The class read Fantastic Mr Fox then watched the film and compared the two. Pupils had the chance to ask each other questions during hot seating as Mr Fox. In the Autumn term, the Fossey class had been exploring the arts through recreating scenes from Dian Fossey’s “Gorillas in the Mist”, by re-imagining the base camp she helped create high in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. Camp Fossey was turned into a ghostly graveyard for Halloween, where pupils wrote and shared scary short stories.

Into Film

We have combined Into Film Clubs with our Arts Award offer. Pupils watch films which are supported with a resource pack. Young people are able to have fun and participate in an arts-based activity introduced through film, which is particularly interesting for those who also enjoy filmmaking. We had our first experience with Planet Earth in 3-D and have used film as an entry point to cover events through the year, such as Their Finest, a war film which linked nicely with Remembrance Day.

Intergenerational project

A local artist who works with a Drama group all aged over 65 invited our school to take part in an intergenerational project. This would involve our pupils working on a Music and Drama piece with an older generation group and will begin this year. In the meantime the older group performed a play to our pupils called ‘Gotta stay a week at Grandmas’. It well received by the pupils, who helped produce an extra verse for one of the songs performed in the play.

Holocaust project

Thomas Ashton moreincommon.jpgInspired by Jo Cox’s maiden speech to Parliament, we have been in touch with artist Deborah Pitman about her installation called ‘moreincommon’, and agreed to create our own version. We asked local schools to each nominate a boy and a girl to contribute to the final piece. The installation went on display this year, and has featured in local press.

Bucket list

Finally, an ongoing thread of work has a group of young people completing their bucket list of 101 things to do before leaving Thomas Ashton School, which will link to other activities throughout the year. There are lots of arts-based things on the list, so we look forward to seeing what our pupils create next!

Find out about our Good Practice Centres in previous guest blogs, or visit www.artsaward.org.uk/goodpractice

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