Feeling Creative


If I could choose to be more talented at something, it would be art. I would love to be able to draw and paint properly. When my pupils tell me that they are no good at drawing or art, I tell them that they just need to practice and that they will improve. Sometimes I even take my own advice. One year I bought a set of watercolours, another year a set of drawing crayons and last year I bought a sketch book and a set of pencils. I soon run out of steam though and they sit, unused on the shelf.

One reason is that I don’t know what to draw or paint and lack ideas or inspiration. However this Summer, I came across The Sketchbook Challenge by Sue Bleiweiss. It is full of ideas and projects to get you started on filling a sketchbook. There is a blog as well with a monthly theme for people to try out www.sketchbookchallenge.com as well as a flickr site for people to show what they have tried.

The ideas in the book are all varied and I was inspired to start using my sketch book all over again. I chose the first theme in the book which is Circles.

Circles with doodles
Circles with doodles


Planetary circles in crayon and watercolour
Planetary circles in crayon and watercolour
watercolour circles
watercolour circles

It might help me improve my art skills but actually that doesn’t matter. It’s just been nice doing something totally different and experimenting a bit.

Of course, wearing my teacher hat, I immediately started thinking of how I could use this in the classroom. We have sketch books for the children but I don’t think that I use them effectively. It tends to be a lot of “do a practise one in the sketch book and then do it properly” whereas the sketchbook should be a collection of lots of different ideas.

I can easily see how I can use the sketchbook challenge with my class. Themes such as circles have so many links and it will be interesting to see how the children cope with a less structured type of art activity. I can also see how they would have a lot of fun with the theme of dwellings and have already started planning a unit of work based on that idea.

So following on from my previous post, another thing that I am going to try this year is to use sketch books much more as they should be used and to really give my pupils the chance to practise their art and drawing skills in a different way.




A New Year

It’s the first of August and the holiday is rapidly approaching the half way point (if you teach in Leics anyway). I have cleared my old classroom and am waiting for the new one to be completed so that I can move my mountains of stuff. A new year’s resolution probably needs to be not to accumulate so much!!!! I have started to think about what I am going to do next year and how many things will change.

Some of my 'stuff'
Some of my ‘stuff’

The amount of change is actually scary. For the first time in years, I have no plans or existing fiipcharts to fall back on so everything has got to be planned from scratch. However, it’s been both exciting and fun to have had a certain amount of freedom in deciding what our new year 6 will do but also quite daunting.

This is the time of year when I always begin to think about what things I am going to try out this year, what new ideas I will try to introduce to my children and my teaching. The main thing that I am going to try is Maths journals which I have already posted about. I have retrieved a whole pile of old grey maths books from the stock cupboard which we no longer use and have given them a pretty cover. I think that it will generally be a Friday task when I want the pupils to record what they have learned during the week. My first entries will be a page each for the basic 4 operations so that all the pupils have a quick record of the methods they have learned.


My new maths journal with thanks to Bev Evans for the cover labels
My new maths journal with thanks to Bev Evans for the cover labels

I also want to create a class diary. This is our first year 6 and everything is going to be new and different and I would like to make a record of that. I intend to start it off myself and then hopefully hand it over to the children to keep a record of their final year at primary school.

I am also going to begin a new blog for year 6. The Amazing World of 5jdv has been going for two and a half years now and received nearly 25000 visits which I think is great but I would like to give year 6 a fresh start. I need to think of new title for it. I could wait for the children to think of one but I would like to have it up and ready for them at the beginning of term.

I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head at the moment but I know that if I try to do too many of them, I will end up not doing any of them properly. One thing that I do want to look at is another way of problem solving in maths which I have read about in blogs by Dan Meyer and Nick Hart. The idea of of showing children an image or video clip and getting them to think of mathematical questions about it seems such a great way of motivating children of all abilities.

And finally, I want to enjoy the second half of my Summer holiday! Happy holidays to everyone 🙂