Creatives Names: Claire Davenhall
Creative Practise: Visual Artist
School: Chidlow Primary School
Teacher: Llorrel Neville
Year Group: 5/6
Main Curriculum Focus
Year 5 create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced. Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways.
Year 6 creating texts plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative, and persuasive texts choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images, and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience.
Year 6 use of software. Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements.
GENERAL CAPABILITIES: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability
CROSS CURRICULUM PRIORITIES: Sustainability
GEOGRAPHY: Factors that shape the environmental characteristics of places. The impact of bushfires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond. Features of environments (e.g., climate, landforms, vegetation) influence human activities and the built features of places.
MEDIA ARTS: Exploration of how narrative structures are used to communicate ideas to an audience for a purpose. Exploration of stories from a specific point of view.
VISUAL ARTS: Development and application of artistic techniques and processes. Presentation and reflection of ideas, feelings, and opinions in artwork, including consideration of audience and feedback.
TECHNOLOGIES: Define a problem and a set of sequenced steps, with users making decisions to create a solution for a given task, identify available resources, Develop and communicate alternative solutions, and follow design ideas, using annotated diagrams, storyboards and appropriate technical terms. Select, and apply, safe procedures when using components and equipment to make solutions, work independently, or collaboratively when required, to plan, develop and communicate ideas and information for solutions
Chidlow Primary School is an Independent Public-School set amongst natural bushland in the Perth Hills, approximately 40 kms from the centre of Perth. Students have access to a range of natural play spaces and modern, well-equipped buildings and resources. The school is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment, where every student is successful and where every teacher is highly effective. Year 5/6 teacher Mrs Neville worked with creative practitioner Claire Davenhall to create authentic learning activities that focused on the group's inquisitive and persistent habits of learning, during their creative workshop sessions.
WHAT WE DID
We started the term 3 project by inviting students to come to class dressed as their favourite superhero. They were greeted by their creative practitioner Claire Davenhall, teacher Llorrell Neville and education assistant Mrs Broderick who all were dressed as Bat Girls. But why was the Deputy Principal Mr Dorozenko wearing a deep-sea dive suit?
Maybe he floated in through the overflowing drains and emerged out of the mud, was he sucked into a tornado, picked up by a water carrier or could a tsunami have washed him in land to Chidlow? What superhero could he be? One student who arrived as a firefighter gave him a water hose and told him it was trident.
"Now you look like AquaMan!" the student said. They wondered what the zips and dump valves on his suit were used for, perhaps some sort of communication device? Could he protect both the land and sea?
At the end of term 2, the students asked if they could make something big to go outdoors and work on a big project collaboratively. So, I introduced them to the Castaways School Sculpture competition and discussed with them adapting the dive suit while also answering the following question:
How did a deep-sea diver end up in Chidlow? Observe closely as we explore sustainability and our impact on both the land and sea. Weaving our stories of climate change through the creation & adventures of AquaFire!
Students and teachers alike have embraced the school motto; “Working Together” to create authentic learning activities that focus on the group's inquisitive and persistent creative habits of learning. Working in small collaborative groups, they designed different elements of the sculpture, using the deep-sea dive suit as their starting point.
They have carefully considered how to use recycled materials; ensuring they were weatherproof and thought about the beach location to enhance their ideas.
They came up with inventive ways to recycle everyday materials to produce their superhero AquaFire; from a firefighting helmet, a golden trident, a protective cape, communication devices and little aqua buddies (helpers of the sea and forests). Their selected recycled materials that had been utilized to represent the fight for our oceans and for our land. The incorporated embossed aluminium scales made from drink cans and sprayed painted flames and reflective tap details on the side of the sculpture.
How did we make the curriculum come alive?
We made the literacy unit come alive, by creating a 3-dimensional, life size superhero, inspired by their own ideas. Students shared their stories about the adventures and transformation of AquaFire and explored the themes of climate change and sustainability. They came up with inventive ideas of how a deep-sea diver ended up in Chidlow by creating a comic book zines and character cards before publishing their work using the book creator app on the iPad.
How did we make the Creative Habits of Learning come alive?
We made the 5 Habits of Learning come alive by creating a collaborative creative learning tree, inspired by the native bushland surrounding Chidlow Primary School. Each week students would add new leaves to the tree and select different colours based on the learning habits that they had developed most during the session. By doing this they could watch the learning grow each week. In the last session, we made our tree blossom, using all the colours of creative habits of learning, to symbolise how they had been used harmoniously, during our creative school sessions during term 3.
The students defined the Creative Habits of Learning as:
“Creativity is... like your own little world. There is no right or wrong. Collaborative is... where you all come together as one. Persistent is… where you set a goal and achieve it. Inquisitive is… including everyone and asking questions and joining in. Imaginative is… where you imagine things in your mind. It’s different to everyone else’s. Disciplined/Reflective is… you are reflecting and making your work better.” - Student
How did we activate student voice and learner agency?
The creative practitioner was able to share her love of sculpture to bring the literacy curriculum alive. This platform has given the students a new perspective on their learning and provided more learner agency. Students could choose their groups according to their skills and particular level of interest from plaiting the hair of the sculpture to spray painting the body. They learnt a lot through these different processes and shared both their failures and successes during our group reflections.
“The students are excited to be involved in the design and creation of the sculpture from recycled and repurposed materials for public exhibition and to work alongside a professional artist. We have integrated the project into our literacy unit and students have developed the project into published comics books that give a little more insight into the adventures of AquaFire.” (Creative Practitioner)
WHAT WAS THE IMPACT?
For the students this project has given them a deeper level of learning and it's been rewarding seeing them work collaboratively on such an ambitious project.
“Everyone comes together. Teamwork has been amazing. When Claire first came, we didn’t know what was going on, but now we know it’s about learning to be creative, and we really get into it.” - Student
For the teacher Creative Schools has been the highlight of her week.
“The kids are enjoying it. I’ve loved working with a Creative Practitioner. Claire is always so well prepared. I always have a relaxed classroom. I’ve seen a different side of the kids that I wouldn’t usually see. By allowing the students to do open ended tasks I’ve seen skills I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I think I am more creative than I thought I was. I always associate being creative with drawing. I’m trying to do more learning outdoors. The students are relaxed outdoors and more into the learning a lot of the time. At first, they saw learning outside as a privilege. And now they are really embracing the outdoor learning sessions. After the Creative Schools professional development training in March, I did some of the activities that we did on the PD with the kids back at school. I have built it into our studies on the Kokoda Trail and the kids blew me away with what they did. Now the reflection and language is really taking off. They are being able to explain their thinking. They have really taken the language of the habits on board, and it is also spilling over into other lessons. Sometimes in class when you hear someone say, “I can't do this”, or “I don't want to work with that person” they would encourage each other to persist or to collaborate. It is beautiful. It’s been great for my practice. I've always tried to make things interesting. Now I'm bringing more creativity in and recognising there are different ways of doing things. It is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone.” - Llorrel Neville, Year 5 /6 Teacher
For the School, the whole point of the program was the student engagement.
“It’s very obvious that this is an approach that inspired the children. The link to the outdoor space and taking the learning into the outdoor environment has allowed the students to bring the learning outside. It’s allowed the teachers to rethink how the curriculum could be delivered. I’ve given them the permission to take the time constraints out, which has allowed them to enjoy the project in a new way. The creative practitioner allows for that joy to enter the learning. Giving the children the time to think and enjoy the process.” - Chris Hennessy, Principal