Robin Hood Primary School
Teacher Gaynor Dale
Artist Abigail May
Year 1/2, age 5-6
To develop vocabulary linked to feelings; to develop empathy;
to understand that drawing can be used for different purposes.
The initial sessions were linked to the topic of Captain Scott’s journey in Antarctica. Children experimented with oil pastels and charcoal to explore how colours and shapes might express different emotions. After listening to the story, which they already knew, the children worked on a large collaborative drawing to describe the environments the explorers encountered, and to express the emotions they might have felt. They used smart screens showing photographs and annotated them with words to consider what the men felt as they travelled on their journey.
They explained that their drawings showed Captain Scott was:
… confused and had a broken heart…
… a bit happy and a bit sad …
… a bit nervous and upset. His brain’s gone wonky…
… the black star shows he is going mad …
… the purple shows the cold of the South Pole …
… the circles show how he trudged along …
One child was seen stamping on his work. He explained that this showed …
how captain Scott’s brain was all muddled….
A close-up image of a section of the journey was projected on a large scale on
to a large sheet of paper on a wall. The children were then invited to work with various drawing tools, exploring and recreating the existing lines within this projection. This gave them powerful opportunities to work from a different angle, on a different scale and use a hugely collaborative approach. The level of engagement was high and the work was visually stunning, sparking further dialogue about the importance of drawing in different ways.
The children then set off on their own journey and explored different areas around the school. Looking for interesting spaces and favourite places, and
using sketchbooks, they mapped how they felt in different places. They were encouraged to record what they saw, not what they imagined they saw. They made use of a visualiser to share their drawings and talk about them. They then worked on photocopied images of the playground, adding marks and symbols to them to indicate different kinds of feelings triggered by the various spaces. They constructed keys to help viewers interpret their drawings. Children took it in turns to photograph the drawing activities, providing excellent material that they used later as prompts to reflect on their experience and discuss ways of working.
The children learned that different colours could be used to symbolise emotional states. Their use of vocabulary was enriched. They realised that sketches could be used as a means of helping them to observe and to record information. The artist shared her sketchbook to highlight and model this aspect. The children understood that drawing does not always have to involve a polished, finished outcome every single time and can be an exploration that allows for mistakes and experimentation. They found that you could do experiments in art as well as science. They enjoyed the experience of sharing drawings in progress to help the class think about the process of learning.