Smart through Art project

Smart through Art is a part of Lifelong Learning Comenius project. This project involves children and teachers from 6 schools from France, Ireland, Portugal and the UK. Our school – Rowan Gate Primary School is the only one in this project for children with special needs. That makes us, teachers, feel very proud of our children, that they are able to work at the same level as mainstream school children or even better.

Our project uses different possibilities of art to introduce countries and schools, which take part in the project. We chose ART as the central tool. Art is a universal language and is a medium which can stimulate all regardless of age, sex, race and religion.

Topics like friendship, exploring, being different, being creative and undertaking, … offer a whole range of possibilities. We introduce the masterpieces of local artists and use the arts made by our students to organize interesting and significant activities.

Our age group is the primary level.

We started this project in 2013. Children have already taken part in

  • Making and sharing National postcards.
  • Designing tiles to create a Comenius mosaic (you will be able to see this at school).
  • Travelling Teddy- using photography to capture images of Europe.
  • Making a pack of playing cards-to play happy families.

Children and teachers had an opportunity to visit Portugal, Ireland and France. For some of our children this could be the only chance of travelling abroad and communicating with people from other countries.

In March (16 – 20) they are coming to visit the UK. All children are taking part in sub-project ‘Art appreciation’ – exploring a famous artist from each country and exploring and responding to their work.

During the visit children will have an opportunity to visit the Mayor of Wellingborough, to experience the life and culture in the UK, to work together and create pieces that everyone will be proud of, to visit Northampton University and take part in ‘Interactive Art’ session using ICT equipment.

For teachers there is an opportunity to promote European Unity and cooperation demonstrating to wider school communities that children from 6 different schools can work together on a common project creating eye catching art.

 

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A group of Staff and children have  visited Nice this week (13 – 17 October).  More information to follow

Please click here to see us information about our trip to Dublin in March Smart Through Art-newsletter-March

More information about our trip can be found on

http://www.stmarysbooterstown.ie/9-news/latest-news/416-comenius-Ireland  or http://www.stmarysbooterstown.ie/ – One of the Irish schools.

If you click on Comenius Ireland, there is a lovely film made by their teacher about our trip.

Please click here for Comenius Assembly about our Portugal Visit

Our Project called “Smart Through Art”

The main goal of the project is for pupils to become familiar with cultural heritage of partnership countries.

The children will represent treasures of their national culture and get to know famous works of art through painting, pottery, craft work, story writing and travelling. They will learn about famous artists, potters, writers, festivals, important places and school life. The pupils will have a chance to produce their own pieces of art, as well as to start correspondence with children from schools abroad.

The partnership aim is to devise and implement activities involving all the children regardless of their age and ability in 6 workshops:

Postcard writing

Recreating pieces of art

Designing a Treasure game

Tile Design

Here you can see tile displays from our partner schools in France and UK

 

tiles-england

display-france

And our tile display!!!

tiles by Rowan gate

We are very proud of our work!

In October some of our children visited Nice, France

Please click here to see us information about our trip assembly about france

Travelling Teddy Bear

each having final activities and / or final product.

The majority of project activities will be included in everyday education. The exchange of ideas, experiences by pupils and teachers is essential. The Internet and English will be tools of communication. The Project meetings will enable participants to integrate, share ideas, present better the host country and schools.

As part of a group of 7 countries across Europe, UK schools hope to embark on the project focussing on looking at the work of famous British artists. Children will be looking at and responding to famous artwork, visiting museums and recreating pieces of art in their own style.

The rationale for the project

Studies show that exposure to visual art has many benefits in other areas of learning: improving content and organisation in writing, promoting better reading skills and text comprehension and aiding students’ reasoning about scientific images. Art also encourage s teachers to address and accommodate different learning styles.

Through liaison with our partner schools we will experience the life and culture of Artists chosen by our European neighbours.

We want to arouse enthusiasm for exploring other cultures and increase motivation to improve creative writing and reading skills.

We believe the project will be an essential step on the way to promote different methods of communication – body language, gestures, pointing, facial expressions, vocalisations, British Sign Language, pictures and symbols. It would be useful to share our knowledge about Augmentative and Alternative Communication and see if children from different countries can communicate not thinking of language as a barrier.

We hope that common international project work will prepare pupils and teachers for participation in the European community in the social and cultural dimension.

Project objectives and strategy

  • To develop knowledge and understanding among pupils and teachers of the diversity of European cultures and its value (share artwork produced by our children with our partner schools)
  • To help pupils acquire the basic life-skills and competences necessary for their personal development (SEN pupils show an intention to create. They develop their ideas and use tools, materials and simple actions to produce a piece of work. Pupils will be able to practise new skills with less support, developing their knowledge of the process of making – selecting and gathering suitable resources and tools for a piece of work.)
  • To encourage the learning of modern foreign languages (Some of our pupils will visit European schools and work together with their pupils. We would like our pupils who have a range of learning difficulties, to interact and integrate with pupils from other countries and cultures, having fun, playing and learning together.)
  • To support the development of innovative ICT-based content
  • To support improvements in pedagogical approaches (We would like to introduce ‘Encouraging Relationship Building’ (ERB), a new approach established and developed by Louise Kirby (a teacher at Rowan Gate Primary school) as part of ongoing specialist classroom research. Relationships are important for our emotional well-being, self esteem and psychological security.)
  • To enhance the quality and European dimension of teaching training (we will give our staff the opportunity to travel to other schools and share our good practise and experience the life and culture within other schools/ European countries)
  • To encourage cohesion within our own school and community, through the artwork, planned excursions, visits from artists and parents.

Results and Outcomes

Each country will be responsible for 1 section of the project – Portugal – Tile Design; Ireland – Postcards ‘Treasures of my Region’; Romania – Travelling Teddy Bear; Slovenia – patchwork; France – Treasure game; UK – Recreating pieces of Art; Estonia – evaluation.

Everybody will take part in every activity. After exploring and experiencing different types of art, children will share their work by means of Power Point Presentation, video presentation, creating postcards and treasure game, making a mosaic and wall hanging or through creating art galleries in schools so that parents and other students can appreciate the work being done, not only in their school, but also in the other schools across Europe.

UK schools will produce Power Point presentation reflecting children’s artwork, recreating famous pieces of Art from across Europe. Through this presentation work children will be able to learn about famous artists across Europe – not only in their home country.

We (Rowan Gate Primary School) will organise a workshop for teaching staff to introduce a new approach established and developed at school by our innovative teacher – ‘Encouraging Relationship Building’ – It is an approach for targeted children throughout the school with ASD who are hard to engage with and are not responding positively to other approaches. The aim is to join in with the child’s interest encouraging them to sustain an interaction that brings pleasure and joy. ERB uses the natural model of learning about communication and social relationships based on the interactive style of mother and infant.

European Added Value

By sharing the diversity of our Art Heritage we will be promoting the value of artwork in all European countries. We strongly believe that all children, regardless of ability, are able to contribute to our project. Our pupils’ needs range from MLD, SLD, PMLD, ASD or MSI. We work hard to enable all pupils to achieve and we believe that this ethos will be of great value to our partner schools.

We believe that our partnership will provide an added value to traditional learning and teaching by bringing in new and creative approach (ERB).

Impact

We believe the major impact and gain from the project will be the contact with other countries’ educational systems, knowing how other schools work, meeting new people with a different mentality and way of thinking and living. Pupils will improve their ability to work co-operatively. They will develop greater self-confidence and motivation to learn. Team work among teachers and pupils from different countries within a partnership also gives a unique opportunity to experience the European dimension.

By means of this project children will increase their awareness of the cultures of other countries and deepen their awareness of social inclusion. It is possible that some pupils may never travel to experience the life and culture of our European neighbours, therefore it is our duty to bring the outside world into our schools.

We aim at developing methods and tools to allow pupils with special needs work alongside pupils from mainstream schools exchanging teaching methods, materials and practices.

Relevance towards the objectives of the programme

  • To develop knowledge and understanding among pupils and teachers of the diversity of European cultures and its value (share artwork produced by our children with our partner schools)
  • To help pupils acquire the basic life-skills and competences necessary for their personal development (SEN pupils show an intention to create. They develop their ideas and use tools, materials and simple actions to produce a piece of work. Pupils will be able to practise new skills with less support, developing their knowledge of the process of making – selecting and gathering suitable resources and tools for a piece of work.)
  • To encourage the learning of modern foreign languages (Some of our pupils will visit European schools and work together with their pupils. We would like our pupils who have a range of learning difficulties, to interact and integrate with pupils from other countries and cultures, having fun, playing and learning together.)
  • To support the development of innovative ICT-based content
  • To support improvements in pedagogical approaches (We would like to introduce ‘Encouraging Relationship Building’ (ERB), a new approach established and developed by Louise Kirby (a teacher at Rowan Gate Primary school) as part of ongoing specialist classroom research. Relationships are important for our emotional well-being, self esteem and psychological security.)
  • To enhance the quality and European dimension of teaching training (we will give our staff the opportunity to travel to other schools and share our good practise and experience the life and culture within other schools/ European countries)
  • To encourage cohesion within our own school and community, through the artwork, planned excursions, visits from artists and parents

Within our school communication, language and literacy are a priority.

We achieve success for all pupils through the use of symbols, pictures or electronic devices.

We feel that this is a particular strength we can share with other schools and that an Art based project makes this accessible for all.

Children can express their feelings, choices, likes and dislikes centred on the theme of ‘Smart Through Art’.

Keys Competences

Cultural awareness and expression

Communication in the mother tongue

Communication in foreign languages

Project Implementation – Distribution of tasks

The project ‘Smart Through Art’ involves 10 schools from 8 countries.

Each country responsible for 1 section of the project – Portugal – Tile Design; Ireland – Postcards ‘Treasures of my Region’; Romania – Travelling Teddy Bear; Slovenia – patchwork; France – Treasure game; UK – Recreating pieces of Art; Estonia – evaluation.

Everybody will take part in every activity. After exploring and experiencing different types of art, children will share their work by means of Power Point Presentation, video presentation, creating postcards and treasure game, making a mosaic and wall hanging or through creating art galleries in schools so that parents and other students can appreciate the work being done, not only in their school, but also in the other schools across Europe.

UK schools will produce Power Point presentation reflecting children’s artwork, recreating famous pieces of Art from across Europe.

Prior the visit (during 2 months) children will learn about famous artists in their countries. They will then recreate pieces of art they like best. Depending on children’s abilities they may annotate their piece of work expressing their feelings, thoughts, ideas and artist appreciation.

During the visit – April/ May 2015 – children and teaching staff will have opportunity to share their art work, ideas; explore one another’s cultures and ways of thinking and living; and to understand and appreciate them better.

One of the UK schools (Rowan Gate Primary School) will organise a workshop for teaching staff to introduce a new approach established and developed at school by our innovative teacher – ‘Encouraging Relationship Building’ – It is an approach for targeted children throughout the school with ASD who are hard to engage with and are not responding positively to other approaches. The aim is to join in with the child’s interest encouraging them to sustain an interaction that brings pleasure and joy. ERB uses the natural model of learning about communication and social relationships based on the interactive style of mother and infant.

Participants involvement

We are planning to have project meetings twice between staff and pupils from the participating schools – first one – September, 2013 – in order to discuss our planning and organisation of the project; second one – October, 2014 – monitoring and evaluation of the project (in order to keep our project on track and improve our performance if needed). There will be at least two representatives from each school including children.

All children regardless their abilities are going to take part in all the activities differentiated by teachers according to the pupils needs.

There will be opportunities for children to spend 3 – 4 days in different countries, different environment; to explore and experience one another’s cultures and ways of thinking and living.

On-going activities

Our project provides opportunity for teachers from different subject areas to participate in the development of a cross-curricular approach, e.g. Creating postcards – Literacy, Geography, Art; Tile Design – Design & Technology; Travelling Teddy Bear – Geography, Literacy, Music, Art, ICT; patchwork – Art, Design & Technology; Treasure game – Literacy, Geography, Art; Recreating pieces of Art – Art, ICT.

We have already looked at our long-term planning and can confidently say that all the sections of our project easily integrate into the curriculum making it more attractive and motivating for our pupils.

Year 1, 2 – Geography – Where in the World is Barnaby Bear?

ICT – Introduction to the modelling, Combining text and graphics

PSHE – Being aware in the community

Art – Mother nature, Picture this

D&T – Moving pictures, What is sculpture

Year 3, 4 – ICT – Creating pictures, writing stories

Art – visit a museum/ gallery; viewpoints

Geography – Investigating our local area

D&T – Story books

PSHE – Choosing

Music – Painting with sound

Year 5, 6 – ICT – creating scenes, collecting and presenting data, writing for different audiences

Art – visiting a museum/ gallery, a sense of place

PSHE – playing and learning together

Science – How we see things

All children will do creative writing while making postcards about their countries.

Evaluation

Evaluation is crucial for success of our project. We will continuously monitor our project in order to keep it on track and improve our performance if needed. Three of the project meetings will be dedicated to monitoring and evaluation – to make sure that everything goes according to plan or to make any changes if needed. First meeting – September, 2013; second meeting – October, 2014; the last one – April/ May, 2015.

Evaluation will be provided through discussions (e-mail or video conferences), meetings with peers within schools and across our partner schools.

Dissemination

We hope that the project will allow all members of our school community to participate. We are going to produce simple booklets with information about the projects which will be distributed in various local venues. We will organise a special European Art exhibition showing all partner countries and school and introduce this to our neighbouring schools, parents and governors. We are thinking of inviting local or regional media and providing an article for the local and regional newspaper.

We will add information about the project and will regularly up-date the results via our school website.

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