Sunday, 17 July 2016

Our Workshop Day !!!!

We arrived at Red Gates School for our workshop on a Friday.
When we arrived at Class 7 our teacher have received our lesson plan and had gathered a wide range of  materials which was really helpful she had created a box for each activity. We had a look through the boxes and found all the materials we had asked for as well as large trays to roll the balls in which saves us having to clear up the floor as much.


Before the children arrived we decided to set up as much as possible. Myself and Mia laid the two large trays on the ground before we taped a few sheets of different coloured paper on them. This was pretty much all the preparation we could do as if we brought all the paints out the children would get distracted.

When the children first came in they completed their normal routine the morning hello, when this came to a finish it was our time to step in. The children were quite hyper and were ready to get involved in a activity.


The teachers sat all the children down while we got two mini trays out of the cupboard ready to begin a demo for the children. Myself and Mia prepared a small tray with paper in an another one with paint in, we then dropped the ball in the paint tray before rolling it around on the paper in the small tray. We showed the children and let some of them have a go. By doing a demo for the children it really helped them later on when they were completing the task.

The Workshop

The teachers helped us to split the children into two groups myself and Mia worked with the separate groups to complete the workshop. We had three trays each filled with paint and we separated the different sized balls between us. In my group we got all the children to sit down around the large tray and I began by dropping and ball in paint and rolling it around the large tray. The teachers helped me to get the children involved handing them the ball and really getting the workshop going We spent a good 10 to 15 minuets helping the children to roll the balls around. Some of the children needed help holding the ball as their grip wasn't as good. The children began to print with their hands so we decided to bring in the second task Mark Making. We bought in some foam stamps and rollers which the children responded to very well they used these over the top of the marks make by rolling the ball covered in paint. A couple children watched but did not get involved as they find it difficult, I helped one boy who needs routine for everything an soon enough he got really involved in the workshop. Once we finished up with the workshop we let the children play outside while myself and Mia cleaned up. We spoke to the teacher afterwards she said that the workshop went really well and it was good to do something with the children that they had never done before. She said that it might have been easier it put the big trays up on the table but other than that the teachers thought the workshop was very successful.


Overall I thought the workshop was very successful it ran very smoothly and I feel that it was stimulating and exciting for the children, I've really enjoyed planning this workshop and getting to know and work with the children. Helping at Red Gates School I've learnt about teaching children with severe learning disabilities, and how challenging it can be, but also how rewarding it is. Planning a lesson suited to your pupils its difficult but it really benefits them in the end. I learnt a lot while doing this project and how helpful art can be for all different people.

These are the large trays with paper before the workshop.

Here is a photo of the work during the activity.

A ball covered in paint.

                                                 These were the stamps the children used.

Class 7 Workshop Plans

This is our lesson plan which we emailed to the Art Coordinator 

Activity 1 - Rolling Ball in Paint
For this activity we could tape down large sheets of paper to the floor in the classroom. We would then make up paint pots in different colours and get different sized balls so the children have a choice between what size they want to use. We will get aprons out of the cupboard. We plan for this to be a whole class activity rather than small groups but if needed we could split them up. We can play music in the background of this task as we know that they respond well to music.

Before the children do the activity, we will do a quick demo so they have an idea of what to do. As we had already prepared the classroom we could start the activity straight away. The children could drop the balls into the paint colour of their choice and then onto the paper and roll it to create different marks and combine different colours. It is all about the movement, expression and keeping them engaged with the activity. We will clean up as the children play outside/listen to music.

Materials List:
-Large sheets of paper (can be coloured).
-Paint (around 4 colours)
-Selection of different sized balls.

Activity 2 - Mark Making
For this activity we would use the box of different painting tools for the children to choose from and set up the tables so that there is two children per table with one large sheet of paper. We will put a tool basket on each table.

We will bring the paint out and we and the TAs can hold the paint and the children can use it when needed. We will guide them into creating different marks will he tools and their hands if they wish. This helps them create different marks they’ve never done before because there’s a large range of tools to choose from, as well as their own hands, that create different marks. Once again, we will clean up as the children play outside/listen to music.

Materials List:
White paper
Paint (mixture of colours)
Tool box (which is kept in the cupboard Class 7)

Finalizing Ideas / Meeting with Art Coordinator

After reviewing all the ideas myself and Mia had come up with we made our decision based on three points.

It needs to be engaging as the children loose interest very quickly.

As they are a very sensory class the activity has to be sensory based.

The art activity should be expressive and something they have never experienced before.

From observing their lessons and studding art for autistic children we came to the conclusion that marking making and ball rolling (rolling ball covered in paint ) would be the best activity's for class 7.
The next step was to bring our two ideas to the head of art at Red Gates School to see if our ideas worked well, we also discussed materials and how these activity's benefit the children.

We had a meeting with the art coordinator and presented our ideas. We talked about how we create two simple very free expressive activity's as the children are so sensory. The teacher agreed with us and really liked the fact we had taken the classes ability into account. The teacher liked the ball rolling activity as the children had never done something quite like this before. Once she gave us the all clear with out activity ideas we then went on to discuss what materials we needed. We talked about paper a mixture of paints trays and different tools for mark making and stamps.

At the end of the meeting she told us to write a lesson plan and a materials list to be emailed to her so she could send it on to the class teachers.

Observing a Second Lesson

Myself and Mia when back to the school on Friday to observe another lesson, this time we met a different teacher as they change throughout the week, it was good to see how the children interacted with a different teacher. The children had different subjects to the last time we observed them this day had a session in a sensory garden and a English lesson.


Once all the children were settled after playing they began the hello. On this particular day they had a colour and a smell to associate with that day. As it was Friday the smell they had was lavender and the colour was purple. This routine helps the children learn the days of the week by associating senses with words. They carried on with the same routine where each child had an individual hello like the last session.

Sensory Garden

After we finished the hello session we helped the teachers and TA's lead the children into the sensory garden. The sensory garden is a great place for the child to explore and feel different surfaces and textures like tarmac, AstroTurf, brick walls, chrome dome and wood foundations. Using board markers we helped the children draw the first letter of their name onto the chrome dome, some of the children really benefited from this task as it gets them to understand writing, Although some of the less able children found this difficult and lost interest quickly. The children spent a lot of time running around and touching as many surfaces as possible. Once the children found a texture they liked they spent most of the lesson feeling it. The children were given large chalk sticks which are easy to hold as they have limited grip, they used these to draw on the tarmac. The teachers created these plastic sheets which held paint between to sheets. This meant the children could move the paint and make shaped in it without actually getting covered in the paint itself.


For this lesson the children were split into two groups of four. One of the groups stayed in the classroom while the other along with myself and Mia headed of to the library. They split he children up and some were very hyper and needed to relax. The children that were hyper came to the library with two teachers myself and Mia. In the library they split the children up again so there were two children per teacher. The teachers read them stories using sensory books with lots of different textures so that the children could read and feel the textures at the same time. The also had a box with toy animals that made noises these tied into the stories.
It was very helpful to observe another lesson it really helped me to understand that the same children can react very differently depending on their mood. We found that the children were happier and move engaged on a Friday it was great to see them do different activity. Seeing how sensory the children were it has helped me understand that this we be a major factor we need to consider when planning out lesson.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Generating Ideas for Workshop

The next step if to begin thinking of what art workshops would work well with the children. Class 7 are a very sensory class therefore there ability limits them from completing complicated tasks, I have taken this into account as well as their p levels when generating ideas for Class 7.


Using paper and either chalk of graphite we could then take the paper into the sensory garden over different textures so that they children could feel them, place the paper over and using the tools create rubbings. The only issue is that not all of the children have good grip so they might find this activity challenging.

Rolling Ball in Paint 

For this activity we would tape down large sheets on paper to the floor in the classroom. We would then make up paint pots of different colours the children could drop tennis balls or ping pong balls onto the paper and roll them around creating a large piece of abstract work.


Using Red Gates collage materials we would let the children feel different textures and then they could stick them down in different shape.

Using Their Body 

For this activity the children could use their hands and feet by putting them in paint and printing onto the paper.

Teaching Children with Autism

I have taken a look at these websites to help me create a really successful workshop I want the children to have the best possible experience and be engaged with the artwork.  Looking at these websites one realised that the lessons need to be simples and engaging. The children need to have a choice of materials but not be overwhelmed by the range of materials on offer. Its very important for these children to have a short demo so they can have an idea of what to do.

The lesson should be very free and expressive and many of the children can't follow difficult instructions. Many of the children struggle with their grip so working with paint and rubbing can't be a great way to get them involved.

The workshop we create should be something brand new to stimulate the children so they can learn new skills and have new experiences.

Communicating with the Outside World

Discuss within your group and complete this sheet as an individual.

What have been the barriers to the project so far, please describe in as much detail as possible?
First of all our original placement pulled out so as a group we had to find a new placement which is now the Red Gates School.  Due to working with autistic children who also have other learning disabilities and observing their lesson it's clear that when planning a lesson we have to take into account all the children's personalities and their abilities the hardest thing will be planning their lesson as we can’t be sure if they will cooperate or how they will react to us being their new teachers for a session.  
How can you overcome these barriers, what have you done so far?
We have spend a morning with the children so they can become familiar with us, we are also planning to email and find out the children’s levels. Spending time with the children has relly helped to understand then and how they react in different situations.
What are the themes and issues surrounding your community group?
i.e: disabilities, attention constraints etc.
All the children have learning difficulties with many also being autistic, due this this our particular class are non verbal so the teachers communicate using macaton a sign language but depending on ability they don’t always respond and some get irritated by noise so their our headphones to cancel out noise they also don’t have  very long attention span they need to be constantly occupied.
How does this affect your workshop and do you need to explore further?
Our workshop needs to be engaging and very interactive as the work needs to be sensory. We need to have backups and be quick on our feet no matter how much we plan the children constantly change and so do their interests and reactions. We are going to email the teacher as she knows the childen best to see what would be the most effective as some and more physical than others.
How do you think this will shape your workshop?
The workshop with be split to the different children and will consist of mainly marking making and feeling different textures as the children really respond to it we plan to play music throughout the activity using lots of music.

Preparing for Workshop

Before myself and Mia could begin to plan our workshop we needed to find out the p levels the children in Class 7 work at in the form of the p scales. The p scales are used for children studying below the national curriculum. There are different activities in art and design suited to the children needs. My learning their p scales we can plan a workshop tailored to the children's individual needs, so what they can have the best learning experience. Mia emailed the teacher to ask the questions we had. 

“Dear Louise,
Hello, I was one of the Brit School students observing your morning lessons with Class 7 at Red Gates School today. It was such a good experience to witness how a lesson was run and the process of delivering art workshops to the children and how they differ from other primary schools.
I would like to ask a few questions before me Ellie begin to create ideas for workshops for the children:
1.What are the ability levels for the children of Class 7? I am aware that the school use P scales to measure the ability of the children and it would be helpful to know that myself so we can begin to think of workshops which keep that in mind.
2.Is it okay if we take photographs in lessons we direct? We would only take photographs of the work they have produced and the process but not involving faces, eg. over the shoulders, focusing on the hands and what they’re doing with different materials and paints.
Thank you for your time,
Mia Cook”

“Hello Mia and Ellie,
Thank you for your message Mia.
It was lovely to meet you both and I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed seeing the children working and observing our art and music lessons.
In response to your questions, the level that the children are working at are mostly around P4. However there is one  child who is working at P2ii.
Your suggestion about taking anonymous photos, with no faces showing, is in line with our policy so yes it is fine for you to take photos of the children’s work or their hands or back of their heads in creating the process of artwork. Thank you for understanding and respecting this.
Please feel free to forward any other questions in the mean time,
I look forward to hearing your ideas.
Thank you and kind regards,

“Hello Louise,
It was lovely to meet you too as it was a very informative lesson.
What type of activities work best with your class specifically because currently, me and Ellie are looking at mark making or interactive workshops were they could make their own (safe) tools such as using a feather or something else safe and friendly to use to paint to create different marks.
Ware still he eating ideas so any feedback on our ideas would be appreciated so we can adapt to your preferences.
Thank you,

“Hi Mia,
That sounds lovely. Our main aim is to give children choices so that they are making decisions as their means of expression, so choices of their own tools, the colour and size of paper, the actual media used- eg. paint/ chalk/ crayons etc, without  offering them too many things as that also overloads them. Getting the balance right is important.  Also, encouraging them to watch simple demonstrations and for them to imitate by performing simple actions also really helps.
Kind regards,
We found at the children's p levels so now we can plan out workshop. 


Makaton is a language programme. It is used by the teachers of Red Gates School to communicate with non verbal children. The children use signs and symbols to communicate with the children.

Makaton can be used to
  • share thoughts, choices and emotions
  • label real objects, pictures, photos and places
  • take part in games and songs
  • listen to, read and tell stories
  • create recipes, menus and shopping lists
  • write letters and messages
  • help people find their way around public buildings
Makaton is used frequently at Red Gates with the teachers constantly signing, not all the children can respond but signing still help them become aware. 

Pre National Curriculum Levels

Here is a link to the pre national curriculum levels
These are the levels that the Students of Red Gates School work at, these levels display the abilities of child and what they are capable of. These levels are very detailed and tailored to the children's needs. My partner Mia plans to email the teacher of the class we are working with (Class 7) to see what P levels the children are working at. This will help us to plan out workshops specialised to the eight children we are working with. 

Friday, 17 June 2016

On Tuesday the 14th June we make our second trip to Red gates school this time we would be observing our classes in our pairs.

In our pairs we went to our classes ours being class 7 at met with the teacher and the 3 teaching assistance's.
We needed to observe the lesson and see how the teachers work and communicate with the children ad this vital for when we go to plan our own workshops.It was very important to get to know your class as all four and so different.

Before the children arrived myself and Mia spoke to the teacher to come up with a plan, I asked if we could first observe and take notes and this would be vital in our personal workshop preparation. We discussed how long we would be with the children and found out we were observing for 2 sessions and snack time. The children are in middle school aged 8-9 but their mental ages are considerably lower, we are working with middle school as the art coordinator is in that department.

Arrival and Hello

The children began to arrive and the children had a little play before everyone arrived, they were full of energy and notice us within their class room. We has previously seen names and pictures so we knew who was who. The next step was to sit all the children down in a circle, this was quit a task as some refused to sit some sat on the floor while other wanted to sit on the TA's, each children was given this object like a bendy straw which they played with, it keeps them occupied. Once all the children were sat down the "hello" greeting session begun. The teacher sat in the middle with cards each card had one the first letter of one of the children's names made from different textures. She sang a song and went up to each child individually they saw the first letter of their name she then turned it around and they saw a picture of themselves. She then presented a yellow scarf and a orange one she also singed this using makaton as the children are non verbal. Once the child picked a scarf she placed it on their head, it was then removed. All the teachers sang" here i am here i am how do you do" while the teacher presented a mirror to each child so they could see their refection. Once the register and toilet breaks were finished, she presented a chart which displayed the next activity in this case art. 

Transition Period

Once the introduction was over the children have a short amount of time before the next lesson begins. To get the children settled they played music (rainbow song). The effect this has on the children is really interesting, it calms them down before the next lesson begins. Some of the children become louder when there was more noise from the music the staff gave them noise canceling headphones with calmed them down and they stayed quiet.

Art Lesson Part One

The teacher bean my communicating that art what the next lesson, she brought over wooden stair for the children to walk up. The teacher also brought over a huge sheet of paper and placed it at the bottom of the stairs. One by one she got the children to sign me in makaton she then picked that child and brought them up the stairs and handed them a cotton ball soaked in non toxic paint. The children went on to throw the cotton wall balls which they really enjoyed, it was interested to see how they picked the colour they wanted to use. Once they finished then walked down the ladder and sat back down. This was a very interactive task which is something I take note of when planning my own workshop. 

Art Lesson Part Two

The teacher and the TA's split the group into twos and sat them at tables around the classroom. Mia and i helped the teacher by giving each table a large sheet of paper a bottle of paint and a box of different tools (sponges, comb, paintbrushes ect). The children began experimenting they really enjoy feeling the paint/tools and smelling everything they touch. Some of the children put the tools and paint in their mouth for them this is a way of learning different textures. The teacher asked Mia and I to work with a pair as another group wouldn't sit down and needs more attention. While watching over the pair I realised how different the children's personalities and reactions are to the activity. One of the children ate everything he was given while the other one picked up the paintbrush and make marks. All of the 8 children completed the task invert different way some and more physical than others while some are very confident. Once the task was complete we cleared up with the help of the children and asked their hand.

Music Lesson 

After we finished clearing up there was another transition period where music was played and the children sat in the circle again. The teacher and TA's moved around so there was one adult paired with 2 children. The teachers each had a bag of different instruments witch they paired with a music powerpoint presentation. The used different instruments with each slide and demonstrated to the children how to play them. This was a very successful lesson and it was obvious that the children enjoy it very much. Once the powerpoint was done they packed up and has a transition period while the staff got snacks and drinks ready for the children. At this point we left.

My Experience

I really enjoyed observing the lesson and without it i feel that i wouldn't be able to plan a workshop suited to class 7. I got to observe how the children work as a group but also what each child id like individually and how they reacted to us. Before observing the lesson i didn't have a clue how the lessons worked nor did i really understand them. I now have a strong insight into their daily routine and how important art is for helping the children learn.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

We next met up for a meeting on Friday the 10th of June with the Deputy Headteacher of Red Gates School, Melissa Hendry, and the art co-ordinator of the school. Our group and our teacher met up to discuss what we would like to get out of the meeting, we wanted a plan so we could have a successful meeting and get as much information as we could. We decided to write out some questions that way we could really get an insight into how the children work and what we could and couldn't do with them when we can to plan our lessons.

The meeting was a success we fund out so much and both teachers were really open to all off our suggestions. We also found out the project not only helps us but the school as well. The art department are working towards getting an art award for the school and working with us helps them a lot. During the meeting all our questions were answered and we really got an insight into the school. 

These are the questions the group came up with written by Liberty 

Questions and answers from the meeting:

What we can and can't do?
- we aren't limited so we can do a lot and are free what most ideas we will just have to run it through and check that it will be ok with the school 

How long are the session(s)?
- longest half an hour but we are welcome to have more than one workshop at the school as half an hours work might not be enough for our work. The reason for the sessions only being that long is due to the concentration of the children. They have learning difficulties meaning that their ability to concentrate is harder and they could become distracted if the session is longer than half an hour.

How many classes will we be working with? 
- in pairs so around 4 classes in the middle school department I think she said years 3 and 4

Rotating workshops or specific workshops for the classroom?
- decided on each pair sticking with one class through the whole thing and working with one class, so that means when we find out the different abilities of the pupils we can revolve our workshops on what kind of thing they are able to do.

What time of day would we do the workshops?
-Melissa did say any part of the day but the best thing to do is the morning so that we are there when they start and don't disrupt their day as routine is very important.

What's the best date?
- they were very flexible with dates except school trips but our next visit is Tuesday 14th June where we will just observe the lesson, see how they work and get to know the students.

Anything we need to consider?
- as the pupils have special needs they can kick, punch and bite.

What do the student enjoy?
- they are very visual and also would involve lots of movement.

What kinds of learning difficulties?
- autism, all round severe learning difficulties in general, meaning their cognitive developing age is around 3months - 2 years old but their actual ages are around 7-9 years old.

How could we communicate best with the students?
-many students are non-verbal so lots of pictures and signs and also simple sign language called makaton.

Has she got any concerns or ideas?
- same with the things we need to consider really, just to be aware and also said about movement!

Extra information from meeting:
- we can do more that one session if we wanted to as we might need to do more as each session is only half an hour.
- 8 children in each class same age but different abilities which she will send an email to us for which we should consider our activities as there will be a range.
- is we need any signs or symbols printed out we can email them to her and she will sort it out for us.
- if we use any equipment, it needs to be non-toxic as they like to put everything in their mouths

 I think that one of the most important things that they said to us was that: - it is more about the process and experience the children have with doing art rather than the outcome 

                                                    Picture outside the front of the school
For this project were are working with the community to explore art in a variety of ways. Our group was partnered with The Valence School in Sevenoaks, sadly the school had pull out. Due to this as a group we had to find a new placement.

As i was not here for this lesson I've received information from the group on how they approached finding a placement. The group researched different placements around London and Kent. The group looked at schools Nursery to Secondary, they also looked at school for physical and learning disabilities, care homes, hospices, charities, organisations and foundations. Once the group had found a number of different options swiss cottage, Woodcote Priamry school, Beyond Autism, Linkprim, Northease School, The Holmewood School of London and Insightsesc. Liberty (a member of our group) sent an email to numerous places.

"To whom it may concern,

I'm a student at The BRIT School in Selhurst, and at this time of the year us as students are asked to be involved in a community based project.

I am one student from a group of lovely Year 12's who are supposed to be starting a project today with a special school for students with physical disabilities and complex needs, however unfortunately the school this morning have had to withdraw.

The aim for us 10 BRIT School students along with my teacher Claire Gildersleve, is to develop drawing-based workshops for people who need particular provision. Ideally we would visit the group of individuals we will be working with early on (next Tuesday or Friday would be ideal, but we could push it back a bit) and then we will spend some time back in our lessons generating ideas based on our experience of meeting our 'clients', and then in around the second week of July we will deliver the workshops to the people we have catered for.
Would there be any possibilities that we could run this project with your organiastion?
If you have any queries about our project and the logistics, please don't hesitate to contact me or my teacher at email: We will also make a courteous telephone call this afternoon to inquire further as to whether this could be a possibility.
Thank you for your time,
Kind regards,
Liberty Rose Cheverall
BRIT School Student." 

The group received many replies but were unsuccessful. We then received an email form Melissa Hendry who is Deputy Head Teacher at Red Gates Primary School, she sounded very interested. Melissa was very interested in meeting us and set up a meeting right away. We set up a meeting and visited the school on Friday the 10th of June. Melissa spoke about the school and how many of the children have autism on top of other learning difficulties. Melissa felt it best that we split up into groups of 2 and 3 as this would work much better with the children; this also mean that we could spread out to the hole of the middle school department and work will all 4 classes.The next step was to set up a meeting so we could see the school and speak to Melissa and the art coordinator.