Inside the Art Classroom
Term: 2 Year: 2022
Ideas for classroom art projects to celebrate Book Week. The brief: to involve shortlisted books and to work within the theme Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds.
Early in Term Three 2021, our literacy leader was seeking ideas for classroom art projects to celebrate Book Week. The brief: to involve shortlisted books and to work within the theme Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds, keeping it manageable for classroom teachers while also engaging for students. No problem. What we needed was simple creativity with a literary twist. After looking through the shortlisted books to share, we chose ‘Busy Beaks’ by Sarah Allen and ‘How To Make a Bird’ by Meg McKinlay. The link with birds would provide many potential paths for our students to explore. Unfortunately, as Book Week approached, so did more lockdowns.
Fast-forward to Term four and we arrived back at school with a need to reconnect and foster a sense of belonging and community in these unusual times. Coming together through art seemed like the logical choice. Albeit months late, our Book Week art project would finally go ahead.
Using the Bunjil feather template from Museums Victoria, we made copies of feathers for every class. Junior classes received large feathers and seniors received smaller versions. Although the same books were shared throughout the school, each class put a different twist on how they approached personalising their feathers. Ideas included: favourite books, positive quotes, writing common or scientific names of favourite birds, and words associated with feathers or flight. Our students’ literary-inspired art pieces were combined to create a colourful set of wings at both our West and Haven campus.
It was uplifting to see students viewing, admiring and discussing the wings, eagerly searching for their own feather or dropping by for a photo opportunity with their teachers. The art created a lot of conversation. Culturally, feathers symbolise many things: freedom, courage, flight, creativity, peace and hope amongst others. Our wings combined all of this, helping students strengthen something highly valuable: their sense of community. It gave them an appreciation of what can be achieved when we work together.
Michelle Watson & Breanne Mills
Visual Arts Teachers
Horsham West and Haven Primary School