Flying Arts Alliance Small Schools Mentorship Program saw another 5 schools create some wonderful Teacher/Artist Collaborations with visits to implement these in-school collaborations between August and November. Once again, Visual and Media Arts was used to apply direct links to what was being studied in the classroom; in this case Science and History subjects building rich curriculum experience for students and giving teachers a model of utilising artist as a resource.
Dalveen State School
Dalveen State School, located between Stanthorpe and Warwick has an existing Bird Garden with endemic species planted. The Principal Patsy Lee and I decide to focus the collaboration on the question ‘Why Study Birds?’ Connections were made to the Science curriculum on Living Things through links to the local environment and work on the beautification of the School’s bird garden.
Students explored new mediums and learnt new Visual Art skills. Students also discovered the parallels between artist and scientists at work. Utilising the resources of the local community Dalveen students made ceramic birds which were to be fired by the Stanthorpe Pottery Club. The Stanthorpe Men’s Shed designed bird houses suitable for the birds in the region and presented these to the school during the artist’s visit. Students also had the opportunity to undertake observational drawings of birds with watercolours.
Glenmorgan State School
Penny Sullivan, class teacher at Glenmorgan State School in the Western Downs region, south east of Roma, was keen to collaborate on a Chemical science unit the P-6 students were focussing on. We were able to make some terrific connections between my art practice and the properties of natural and processed materials, observable properties of these materials and the effects of heat on some materials.
An art immersion day was held with the students undertaking eco-dying of fabric and paper using plants and rusty objects and applying heat to activate a change. Students then participated in papermaking using recycled paper pulp and ‘roo poo’ they had gathered and processed before the artist’s visit. Finally a random weaving activity engaged the students incorporating a range of natural and man-made materials.
Linville and Benarkin State Schools
Linville and Benarkin, small schools located in the north part of the Brisbane valley, not far from Kilcoy, had recently experienced an Incursion visit from a Reptile expert and had the opportunity to observe reptiles up close. This provided good links to the Biological and Physical Sciences aspect of the curriculum such as external features of reptiles and adaptations and how reptiles move; and the Science Inquiry Skills content on communicating and representing ideas and observations from a Visual Art perspective.
Inspired by the sculptural art work of the Tjanpi weavers from Central Australia, students created their own sculptural figures with sugar cane mulch, exploring the external features of reptiles and how they move.
Linville State School had invited their Family Day Care Group who took part in the day and Benarkin State School included their Playgroup with one Mum and toddler creating a snake together.
Millaroo State School
Millaroo State School, located in the Burdekin area, had been studying a number of topics within the History component of the HAAS (Humanities and Social Science) curriculum, including Celebrations and Commemorations; stories of the First Fleet and transport; and Women’s role in Australia. We decided to look at these three History topics from the perspective of Past, Present and Future.
Students created three mixed media backgrounds using inks and watercolours and adding text and images that referenced the historical component e.g. historical ships, old letters etc. Students then created narrative art drawings in pen and ink which were cut out and layered over the top. After my visit, the mixed media art work (layered with historical and metaphoric meaning) is to be incorporated in a Media Arts composition, an activity led by class teacher Gemma Petersen.
Thank you to all the small schools involved in this project- staff, admin and parents, for all their preparation before my artist visit and to the wonderful students at all these small schools for their enthusiasm, perseverance and creative artwork. The Small Schools Mentorship Program has had a very successful year and the benefits of collaborating with an artist are evident. The staff, students and I have engaged in rich learning experiences with connections to curriculum well and truly explored from new and interesting perspectives.
Small schools across Queensland are invited to get in touch with regard to next year’s program as there are vacancies available. This is free to your school thanks to the generous support of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation through key capacity funding to Flying Arts Alliance Inc.
Primary and middle schools are also able to access resources and mentoring assistance in 2016 within my role at Flying Arts. I will be available from 22nd February, 2016. Any enquiries and bookings between now and then can be directed to Elysha Rei (Gould), Education & Professional Development Coordinator, on 07 3216 1322, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Look out for CASC workshops (Connecting Arts with School Curriculum) professional development for teachers and artists coming to regional galleries across Queensland in 2016.
Here’s to more creative collaborations in 2016 and thanks to all those involved with the Flying Arts Alliance Education projects in 2015.