School Map – A French Twist

Term: 2 Year: 2014

From Thomastown West Primary School:

The journey began with wanting, and needing, to set up a Lunchtime craft activity group. 

I remembered my ‘long ago’ school days…..spending time chatting to my friends, while knitting, with a wooden cotton reel.  So, I made up a simple device using pop sticks, satay sticks and cardboard tubes.  After the first session, French Knitting went viral, infecting the whole school.

As a consequence, long lengths of knitted pieces were appearing everywhere.  What could we do with them?  Many solutions presented themselves.  The Grade 1 & 2 students had been working on an Aboriginal unit, with an Art and SOSE focus.  In Visual Art, the students had been studying a number of different Aboriginal artists, and seeing how lines, patterns and symbols were their way of telling a story.  They began to learn how ‘to read’ the artworks.

TWPS had recently moved into a newly built facility, after spending a year in a ‘portable city’.  Different buildings had been coloured coded for ease of reference, and emergency procedures.  The students had quite naturally, started ‘drawing’ lines, shapes and patterns, with pieces of knitted fabric.  Quite accidentally, as the students experimented, coils began appearing, and discussion led to these coils representing the buildings and actual rooms of our school.  Curved pathway lines were added.  They decided pompoms would be ideal to mark the treed areas of the school.  This idea then led to buttons being attached, not simply as a decorative feature, but also to symbolise the students of TWPS.  They loved entering the Art Room each week, and finding themselves on the map.  Equally, they enjoyed referring to the map, as a means of telling their own schoolyard stories.

The exercise also initiated discussion about interpreting artworks, preferences, balance, composition, and viewpoints.  Other grades, who were not aware of the Map concept, would confer as to which way the artwork should be oriented.  It was a truly amazing journey, which started out with very simple goals and ended with truly amazing results.  Many, many children spent many, many hours sitting contentedly with a card tube, some wool and their friends knitting, knitting and knitting some more. 

And the knitting mania continues……………

Margot Sheean
Visual Arts
Thomastown West Primary School