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There are opportunities for learning EVERYWHERE!

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After a very stressful week of exams and assignments at university, I am FINALLY HOME in Northern Ireland! I decided that, as it is Mother’s Day today, I would bring my mum up to the Sperrin Mountains -which are just a few miles away from my house- so that we could go for a walk. , I was amazed when I got out of the car and looked around the surroundings. I couldn’t help but think ‘There is so much potential for learning’ – I still obviously have my ‘teacher head’ on! But it’s true – as I walked deeper and deeper into the countryside, I kept seeing more and more creative opportunities for learning. My mum, sister and I were walking up a really really steep hill and were discussing the beauty of the trees – they all look the same from a distance, yet when you look up close, every single tree is different in it’s own right. One tree had a smooth, dark trunk, yet the one beside it had a type of fungus growing on it, making it look white and fury. This can easily be related to Health and Wellbeing as it is important for children to learn about the concept of individuality. We continuted on our walk and suddenly, in the distance, a deer walked across the path. This led us to discuss how the deer survives on its own, how it finds food and why it got scared and ran away when it heard us. If children were given this opportunity to explore the countryside and to see this deer, they would be able to appreciate their timid nature and understand what sort of environment they live in. As my mum, sister and I reached the ‘turning point’ on our walk, a small puppy came running up to us. We gave the puppy the attention it was looking for and looked about to find its owners. We were, however, in completely barren land and there was no-one in sight at the time. We decided that it’s owners must be further down the path where we were walking so we encouraged the puppy to follow us down again. This led to discussion about what we would do if we got lost in a forest with no phone reception, and how you could stay safe. At the end of the path, there we saw the puppy’s worried owners whom it had run away from and they were happily reunited! In conclusion I think that if we included more outdoor learning, including learning in the country-side where possible, we can provide children with some really wonderful opportunities to learn about the world around us – enabling them to become successful learners which the Curriculum for Excellence aims to promote.

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Kelvingrove Art Museum, Glasgow

Kelvingrove Art Museum, Glasgow

At Kelvingrove Art Gallery we were provided with advice on how to encourage pupils to discover various pieces of art in the museum, e.g. by providing each pupil with a torch and asking them to explore different points of a painting, suggesting how this part makes them feel, exploring the concept of inner emotions. We were advised to use higher order questioning methods when talking to children about art as this enables them to come to a new level of thinking. For example, instead of asking basic questions such as “What colour is the sky in this picture?” it would be more beneficial to ask “How do you think the people in the painting felt?”, contrasting it with other paintings. Another issue explored was the need to explore colour and texture used in paintings with the pupils allowing them to understand the links between colour and emotion e.g. dark colours in paintings generally suggest a gloomy context.

We were brought on a short tour of the museum where we were provided with ideas of activities we could do with pupils enabling them to see art beyond the literal visualisation and start to think what the art suggests. It was suggested that we could show children the armour of knights, comparing it with the armour of animals (e.g. the hard shield on a tortoise) discussing how both these armours are used for protection. This could then lead on to further discussion about animals which have protective armour.

I have included the link for Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum below:

http://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/our-museums/kelvingrove/whats-on/exhibitions/Pages/home.aspx

Below: Some pictures of my day at Kelvingrove!

In small groups we explored the museum, gathering ideas for a lesson which we could present to a class of primary school aged pupils. My group were particularly inspired by the ceramic faces which were hanging from the roof at different levels, giving us the idea of doing a lesson based on expression where pupils could look at the expressions on the faces and write a creative piece suggesting why the particular expression is displayed.

What I learnt from the workshop:

– The importance of looking beyond the literal visual meaning of a piece of art

– We can incorporate art into various elements of the curriculum e.g. English

– Colour dramatically affects the mood of artwork

How the experience could be applied within a primary teaching context:

-After looking around the museum I thought of various objects which could be explored in order to teach ‘the arts’. For example, pupils could look at various sorts of jewellery, exploring different cultures, colours, textures, synthetic materials vs. natural materials. Children could then make a piece of jewellery such as paper bracelets which are made in Africa.

HEY THERE, I’M NEW :)

NEW BLOGGER

Hi there, I’m Hannah. I am a 3rd year Primary Teaching student at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. I have taken an elective entitled ‘Children, Creativity and Computers’ and have explored some of the various ways in which we can use technology to help children learn. Through this class, I have developed knowledge in both theoeritical elements of using computers to aid learning, but also have developed my practical skills. All the girls in the class are going crazzzzzzyy for blogs so I thought that I would give it a try and join the wonderful world of blogging. I hope you like my posts and that they are in some way useful for you!

Hannah