Creative Practitioner: Jodie Davidson
Creative Practitioner Practice: Visual Artist
School: Little Grove Primary
Teacher: Joanne Knight
Year Group: Year 5/6
(This project was delivered online with Creative Practitioner Jodie Davidson, delivering a 90 minute session via WebEx with the teacher and students each week for 8 weeks, along with project planning and reflecting with the teacher after the sessions.)
Year 5 Design and Technology
• Food and Fibre Production - People in design and technologies occupations aim to increase efficiency of production systems, or consumer satisfaction of food and fibre products
Year 6 Design and Technology
• Food and Fibre Production - Past performance, and current and future needs are considered when designing sustainable food and fibre systems for products.
• Critical and creative thinking
• Personal and social capability
• ICT Capability
Science Year 5
• Biological Sciences – Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (adaptation).
• Science Enquiry Skills - Questioning and predicting, evaluating.
• Science as a Human Endeavour - Nature and development of science, use and influence of science.
Science Year 6
• Biological Sciences – The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment.
• Science Enquiry Skills - Questioning and predicting, evaluating, communicating.
• Science as a Human Endeavour - Nature and development of science, use and influence of science.
In a class of 24, year 5 and 6 students in a country school, had an initial idea of incorporating the Science Week theme of The Future of Food into something that could also be shared with a younger class of students developed into an exploration of design and technology elements of food and fibre production along with sustainability, project management and science enquiry skills. Working in a digital format using iPads for communication as opposed to a classroom presence required an adaptation of delivery methods while still maintaining the Creative Schools documenting and planning between Creative and Teacher. Through reflective practice, student responses and trial and error, we were able to develop a format that allowed room for modifications, opportunities for student lead enquiry and increased collaboration and engagement through experiments, alternate forms of documenting and by lessening the provision of answers. Student reflections and resulting behavioural changes demonstrated that personal and social capabilities improved along with their ability to question and transition into considering multiple possibilities.
WHAT WE DID
Building on achievements made in term 2, students collaborated to develop methods of sharing ideas and lessons with younger students in years 1 and 2 as well as communicating with teachers and family through the questioning of what, why and how in relation to food waste. Considering what food, they may need and how to extend its use if stranded on a desert island, the class were encouraged to remove fear and vulnerability of getting a wrong answer by transitioning into considering multiple possibilities for food use.
Could it be saved, planted, shared, preserved, or used? Through group collaboration they shared their current knowledge of recycling, composting, FOGO bins and the keeping of animals with experimentation to determine possible alternate usage for food waste.
Using a weekly comic strip as a method of interviewing staff and students, the class were able to conduct research that questioned others understanding of what to do with waste using the response ‘and then what?’ The resulting lack of answers from younger students encouraged them how to reframe questions, expand on information to elicit responses and encourage others, in turn learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It also increased their inquiry skills by enabling them to reflect on questions, what they are, why they are asked, what can be done with the knowledge gained and how this can be shared.
Using collected fruit and vegetable waste from home students were challenged with designing and conducting experiments using found objects to determine what and if, food could be regrown rather than composted, put into landfill, or fed to animals. Working digitally, this also meant that they were able to use iPads for documenting and sharing ideas and processes as well as a verbal communication tool. For us as the Creative Practitioner and Teacher, it enabled a way of recording student responses and reactions through a chat function and photography.
Activities were conducted specifically to reduce anxiety with the unfamiliar by encouraging the unknown and playing with possibilities providing both verbal and visual communication options. How many ways can you conduct an experiment? How can results be recorded? What do you want to know? Scaffolding of warmups, main activities and reflections encouraged curiosity and self-reflection on curious questions, considering ‘what if?’ Outdoor spaces were utilised for observation and experiments in between sessions while strategies were applied to accommodate learning difficulties. Using teams for question-and-answer games encouraged curiosity and possibilities and provided opportunities for different group collaborations with often, surprising self-awareness.
“I was getting anxious for other people. I’m a fixer and wanted to step in and make things right.” - Student
As experiments of growing food including corn, spring onions, garlic, bok choy, potatoes, onions, and carrots both failed and succeeded, students were continually challenged with how they could share this with a younger audience. Their idea of designing board games utilising visual cues for ease of understanding, along with questions and answers to educate and inform, grew. After a day spent in a face-to-face capacity, the class formed new groups based on the strengths they deemed needed to turn their ideas into a reality.
Some groups communicated effectively, each working on their own game component with a focus on bringing these together. Others began with too many leaders and a lack of direction. Rather than adult intervention, they were challenged to find a solution.
WHAT WAS THE IMPACT?
Ongoing self-reflection had students considering what they did well, what could be improved and what they questioned along with a teamwork score out of ten.
Increased collaboration as students worked towards common goals resulted in curiosity and the mutual sharing of ideas. They were able to transfer thoughts into actions resulting in improved understanding of how to implement persistence, more effective communication, and discipline.
“I was so impressed with the change in the group that were so reluctant to work together last week. We had a big chat about how important it is to learn how to get along with all group members and to listen to what others have to say. We had a terrific discussion about how the 2 games could be integrated and the kids came up with a fantastic solution. Their reflection today was interesting as they gave themselves 1 out of 10 for their cooperation skills last week and 8 out of 10 this week. I think they realised that by working together they actually had a better game. At one stage 3 of them were drawing on the game board at the same time and they were focused and giving each other fabulous feedback.” - Teacher
"I thought I changed a bit, maybe giving them more options. I think I am letting the kids direct a lot more where we are going. Normally I like to have everything lined up, but now I would give guideline and say: figure it out.
The garden is going so well because we had all the creative activities to build up to it. To begin with I thought: oh, my goodness, how I am I going to assess it? But as I was doing my reports, I realised there is so much visual evidence of their learning and areas like collaboration has just developed so much. They were so resistant to working in random groups. But they have learned to work beautifully together and the way that they step in and help each other out and share ideas is wonderful. The garden project pulls it all together and is going so well. Everything belongs together, from all subject areas. It’s freeing for me as a teacher to let the kids go and run with it.
The 5 children with dyslexia are thriving because they can show their learning in different ways. I have learnt from Jodie – what if …? Have a go. And if it doesn’t work – we’ll try something different. I will definitely keep that going in my teaching.
I would love to now get the community involved in some creative learning here. We can maybe look to that going forward, involving people with passions to contribute.
I loved working with Jodie and Paul, but I feel I missed out on not having had them in our classroom.
We get so bogged down with the content of the curriculum. Doing their reports, I realised different aspects came out. One of the big positives is that they were so engaged – we had no behaviour issues. Busy kids are happy kids."
“We are not working with our friends in Creative Schools. We work in random groups. You feel out of your comfort zone, but then you lean to talk to other people. It helps you get to know a different side of people. Towards the end we learnt to work together really well.”
“Creative Schools gives us the freedom to choose what we want and an option to use our creativity.”
“It’s math and art and design and English and science all together. It’s creative thinking.”
“The stuff in Creative Schools kinda made me a better learner.”
“As an only child I was never very good with teamwork. My 5 habits of learning wasn’t that good. I have now improved these skills.”
“We got to know each other better. The class has finally settled down, the class became a bit more creative and more collaborative and a bit more chilled out. People are also questioning more.”