Magical Places Transformed

December 22, 2021
By
Darlinda Singh
Scott Galbraith

Magical Places Transformed

Creative Practitioner: Scott Galbraith

Creative Practice: Contemporary Dancer

School: Westfield Park Primary School

Teacher: Darlinda Singh

Year Group: 3

Main Curriculum Focus
HASS - GEOGRAPHY - Places are both similar and different.

Cross-curricular Links
Literacy
Dance

WHAT WE DID

Project overview

In our Creative Schools project at Westfield Park Primary we have explored the cultural significance of specific landmarks in Australia, looking at Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, Heart Reef and Daintree Forest. Students created stories and built beautiful dioramas that showed the landscape, people and animals that are located in those landmark areas. The students are working towards a re-enactment of stories connected to these places; exploring storytelling and movement ideas connected to these significant landmarks.

In our sessions we focused on developing children’s creative and critical thinking skills. We focused on class collaboration skills and explored how this can be done whilst working together to create a performance piece. Each session was designed so that students either worked in large or small groups so that different styles of communication varied each week.

The students have created and developed movement-based stories over the course of Term 2, and the project will culminate in Term 3 with a live dance performance presented in front of the wider school community.

How did we make the curriculum come alive?

We used movement as the vehicle for bringing the HASS and Literacy curriculum alive. We disrupted the traditional low-functioning classroom environment of sitting at desks, and moved our workshops outside where we could develop ideas in a more active way exploring movement and dance.  

How did we make the Creative Habits of Mind come alive?

We consciously chose colours associated with the creative habits of mind, and compiled short stories around collaboration and discipline. Each session, the students took part in warm-up games that required cooperation with classmates in order to be successful.

How did we activate student voice and learner agency?

Each student was encouraged to give feedback at the end of the session during the reflection part of the workshops, thus developing students' critical thinking and communication skills. Each response from students is valued and students were encouraged to share their learning within the wider group. Their own interpretation of the learning process was seen as a valuable contribution. This group had a strong sense of voicing their opinions but needed some practice in communicating and giving and receiving feedback among their peers.


WHAT WAS THE IMPACT?

Students

The students are really engaged in the Creative Schools project. They enjoyed the movement aspect of the project. Going outside and working in new spaces around the school has provided them with energy and a sense of play whilst learning.

Teacher

The teacher has been impressed with how the students have progressed, noticing how important reflective practices are for students' learning. She has also noticed that providing different platforms to present information is a great way to engage the diverse students' learning needs that she has in her class. She was amazed to see the students' engagement and excitement when working with the Creative Practitioner on this project.

Creative Practitioner

This project has really developed my creative process. I have learnt and experimented with different ways to control the space when working with students. Applying this to a performative setting is a huge benefit as this experience gives me time to practise the concept of presence. I believe that presence is something that can be practised in performance. Teaching is a form of performing, just in a less formal setting.

School

The school is commissioning different artists to provide engagement with the students, and slowly understanding that the arts have a critical role to play in communication and community building. This school values the Creative Schools program, and the teachers that are involved are able to shed light on the process so that other teachers can be encouraged to create more collaborative and imaginative learning spaces.

“They have gotten a lot better at following instructions and working as a group. Their reflection skills have really improved. I’ve seen flow-on affect in other areas and subjects. I’m giving them the opportunity to be creative in how they present their information. I want them to be creative. They were out of their comfort zone to start with. They need further exposure to trying different possibilities to help model their creativity.” - Teacher
“It’s been really awesome. I’ve focused on developing students' skills. This term has been about developing students' creativity and imagination skills that then equips them to tackle the curriculum. I’m interested in developing curious learners. I’m getting them to post questions and get them interested in what they are learning.” - Creative Practitioner
“I’m learning to be responsible. Listening to your teammates. You don’t ignore the teacher. No bossing your teammates around.” - Student
“Scott is teaching us so many fun activities. He’s teaching us how to move our body and about the community and what it means to be nice to each other.” - Student
“In Creative Schools everything you do like maths and art is mixed together.” - Student
“Creative Schools is always a good exercise for your imagination and it gets you happy with your work.” - Student