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.