Conference sparks artistic creativity

Ms. Sabrina, group 6 teacher, attended a Dutch International Primary School (DIPS) conference in Amsterdam last Friday. The purpose of the conference was to inspire art specialists and class teachers to incorporate more visual arts, music, and dance at primary schools. We are starting to implement these strategies in the classroom already!

By Sabrina Guzman, Group 6a Teacher

Creating art that connects to us personally

The visual arts portion of the conference was all about encouraging students to reflect their personality and creativity in art inspired by other cultures and events in history. We learned about the lifestyles of the indigenous people in Australia. We saw traditional painting methods on hand-made drums that were used to tell a story.

Afterwards, we were asked to use these art techniques and symbols as inspiration to create art that connects to us personally. We discussed the importance of sensitivity and communication regarding the ability to appreciate culture rather than appropriate it. This art teaching strategy can be applied to many units and lessons. It allows students to learn hands on, create instead of craft, and connect to another time or group of people.

Connecting body movements to a topic

The second half of the conference was about movement and dance. The goal of this task was to connect the physical body to a topic. In this case, our focus was nature. Along the room there were pictures of animals and geography (zebra stripes, honeybees, trees, barren desert, and ocean waves).

We first warmed up with simple movements which allowed the group to connect with each other and let our guards down so we could become vulnerable. Then, we found a picture that we connected to and created a movement or a dance that we felt matched the energy of the picture. We partnered up and showed each other our movements with, as the dance teacher called it, a “transfer of energies”. We ended the session by teaming up and creating short choreography to match a picture of our choosing.

Putting it into practice in class

I was so inspired by this lesson that I immediately introduced it to my class the very next school day. The students enjoyed moving their body in an unstructured way. You could see the energy that they had that day in the picture that they chose and the way they moved.

Although this lesson was new and required vulnerability, the students really opened up and participated with bravery!