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Who Am I?

December 21, 2021
Naomi Bell
Jodie Davidson

Who Am I?

Creative Practitioner: Jodie Davidson

Creative Practice: Visual Artist

School Name: Wembley Primary School

Teacher: Naomi Bell

Year Group: 4


Personal, Social and Community Health

Being healthy, safe and active

• Persistence and resilience

• Strategies to manage changes

Personal behaviours and strategies

• Communicating and interacting for health and wellbeing

• Respect and empathy

• Self-regulation

• Self-management

General Capabilities and Cross curriculum capabilities

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

• Critical and creative thinking

• Ethical understanding

• Personal and social capabilities

• Intercultural understanding


Health - Exploration of Self

• Who am I?

• Who are we?


In a non-traditional classroom layout of mixed seating styles with some at desks, others on the floor, high and low tables are arranged with various viewpoints depending on the location within the room. Paired groups through to larger clusters feature the regular assortment of abilities within a year 4 class of 30 students. Our goal for the term was the effective use of creative habits. This year 4 class was like many. Students range from high academic achievers to quieter students who hide in the shadows of stronger voices along with some who struggle socially and academically, often resulting in both audible and visual disruption.  Our term plan was to focus on activities that would provide opportunities to develop self-regulation, critical and creative thinking and self-management.


Through exploration of what the children feel, believe and understand makes them who they are, we sought feedback on their ideas of how and where they would like to learn. This enabled them to establish their own set of procedures and rules around attention, usable space and movement, along with how to incorporate curriculum links. Nature, making, exploring and problem solving became the children’s chosen starting point from which our activities grew. The school grounds provided an assortment of materials and spaces in which to work, moving away from the familiarity of the classroom and automatically altering the engagement.

It was important to establish the students’ perception of the creative habits and how they could display this visually. Using materials collected in and around the school grounds, in groups, they built their ideas of the meaning behind each creative habit. Through thinking and working collaboratively they considered multiple points of view to achieve a successful outcome, orally presenting their ideas and reasoning to support their choices. This also provided opportunities to understand further the materiality and sustainability in their use and manipulation of recycled and biodegradable materials.  

By reflecting on the life cycle, local geography, local government and the role of green spaces in their immediate environment, students explored story books including Helen Milroy’s Wombat Mudlark and Humanimal by Christopher Lloyd with their teacher. This fed into activities where they were able to consider and discuss who they would be if they were in animal form. By daring to be different in their choices, they began to reflect what makes us different and individual. This process also increased their communication skills. As they built, they talked. As warm-ups and reflections progressed, the class dynamics began to even up.   More voices began to be heard as they realised that they all had something important to contribute.

“The children working as a group has improved. Interestingly, the alpha kids have not been so alpha. The quieter kids have risen up. Some of the alpha boys struggled when they lost this power base and they moved to being silly to find another avenue to contribute. It’s been an equaliser.” (Teacher)


For a dyslexic student with ADHD, frustration often resulted in crying so that the rest of the class was also aware of his irritation. As the sessions and the children’s animal totems progressed, the attention-seeking behaviour reduced.  He was engaged as a class member. “What would happen if a squirrel was in a tree with all its food and the tree got chopped and it was trapped?  Was that a good question?" He received a thumbs-up by a student on the other side of the group.

Frustration gave way to concentration. Giving up was replaced by persistence and outbursts were exchanged for providing feedback to other students who were struggling with techniques by offering them suggestions. Whereas in academia he had found difficulties, in construction, critical thinking and successful problem solving, he had discovered his strength. He represented this in the physical form of a mud crab, complete with an exoskeleton and trampoline spring pinchers.

“We’ve been doing more activities in creative ways. Not so much pencil and paper and iPads. We are getting into different areas of the school more now. Normally we have been in the classroom the whole day. Now we are going out more and doing lessons. It makes me calm and relaxed. I don’t like being in loud cramped classrooms. Nature calms me down.” (Student with ADHD/Dyslexia)

Students demonstrated persistence. Some worked with handsaws to determine which angle was most effective. Others changed materials until they came up with a solution. Reflection would extend into lunchtime but no one was ever racing to get out the door. Recognising their own successes and challenges, students were always asked where to go next. Minecraft was replaced with a curiosity about morphing creatures, surviving in different habitats and how they could create a giant diorama to display all of their animals. They recognised difficulties and persevered with them by asking friends for help, and trying alternatives rather than relying on the adults in the space.

Through physical three-dimensional construction, the students began to rethink, observing things in different ways, looking at nails and screws as tools by using them to make a hole rather than waiting for the drill. Some changed tactics, recognising their implementation of creative behaviours and habits by recreating parts of their animal to fit in with another part that were more successful.

Working outdoors generated excitement in the students. As soon as they arrived, they were wanting to begin, planning their next step, looking for the tools they'd need and deciding on where to work.

For one student, after trying to cut off a piece of wood that proved too hard to do, a change of heart meant he proceeded to add a screw for a nose and turned the previous wooden nose into an ear. When persistence didn’t work, imagination and alternatives kicked in.

“They are looking more specifically at the smaller habits within the habit. We're observing students showing a huge amount of patience and genuine excitement for each other's achievements and progress. These are the responses that demonstrate their improved ability to cope when something doesn't quite work. They are becoming more confident in trying other methods and finding solutions. I have a student with ADHD and dyslexia who has found the combination of movement and being outside during Creative Schools sessions really beneficial. I have seen a big improvement in him compared to when he is in the classroom. He’s articulate in Creative Schools in a way that he isn’t in a traditional classroom setting where there is more writing. I don’t see signs of ADHD during the Creative Schools sessions, it’s more noticeable during day-to-day classroom lessons. Some of my quiet kids have come out of their shell. There are no right and wrong answers during Creative Schools which some of them feel there are during class time. In Creative Schools they have more of a voice. Some of them have really excelled. One of my students said that Creative Schools is being able to be yourself.” - Teacher
“This is what it really means to be 'crafting and improving' and really I should go and change my graph because I didn't really know what it meant.” - Student
“I’m learning how to work in a group better. Normally I work on my own and do my own ideas. Now I’m getting better at listening to other people’s ideas and using their ideas, not just mine.” - Student
“Every single one of your kids are engaged! The wood was wobbly so the kid next to him put his foot on it without being asked so it wouldn't wobble.” - Relief EA
“It has been fascinating to see their creative methods of joining pieces together. For one sculpture, rather than drill, screw, wire or nail ears and a tail on, the student decided to saw a slit in the wood, wide enough so that the Cassia seed pod could slide in, wedging itself into the wood.” - Creative Practitioner