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Hi,

 

I'm on teaching practice and I'm struggling with creative development and knowing how much input I should give the children. My tutor feels that the children's work has not been individual enough so far and almost mass produced though I feel I have left them to do their own thing pretty much. If i ask the children to produce something in particular, surely thats not allowing them to be fully creative is it? So what should i do?!

 

I have to plan for the next few weeks and would really appreciate your thoughts on how I should approach the creative activities to ensure that the children are being creative!

 

Thank you in advance :o

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Hi peaches, difficult one this!

I always think there is a place for teaching children techniques and encouraging them to explore materials and media to enhance their awareness. It is very difficult to find that happy medium where the children have been creative and yet have not had an excessive adult input.

 

I was supply teaching yesterday in a class with a mothers day card to make. The LSA carefully cut out every last bit of coloured card and the "this is what we're going to do" model was, for me, quite unexciting BUT the end results were superb. Mass produced may be but everyone an individual as I did not dictate to the children what to do with their bits! I would have preferred the children to do their own cutting out but we would not have got the task completed had that been the case.

So their is a balance that can be acheived and I expect your tutor is trying to encourage you to give the children a greater choice in the range of materials that they have available to them at any one time and how to use them. Is this possible?

 

We have discussed this sort of issue elsewhere, have you found that?

Can you give us some sort of idea what your topic or focus is? As it might be easier to help you with a direct goal in mind!

Also how old are the children?

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Its a reception class Susan and the topic is ourselves.

 

I also made some mothers day cards and the children drew their mums which I thought were quite individual but it was said that they all looked the same. I think you're right in terms of offering more materials, this is probably where I am going wrong.

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I find it hard to see how they could all be the same peaches!! We have done this as a mothers day gift in the past and they have been very individual-from those with everybody part in place (well almost!! :o ) to big fat circles with blobs for eyes etc.

One of the things we do every now and again is give the children a table with masses of bits and pieces, paper, glue etc. and just let them go for it. Some have two things glued to the paper some need a forklift truck to carry them home! But even this may be considered limited because of how much that can be put out.

We are a pre-school and that can be very different at times to what is expected of reception class children. Could you give them a variety of media to use, like paints and glue and pencils and crayons all at the same time??????? They could then choose for themselves and not be limited by what you have put out. I have to be honest and say that I have not tried this myself so don't know how it would work. xD

I must say I feel this is a hard one as no matter what you do it will most of the time be limited by what you provide.

Linda

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By the way don't worry that you are doing it wrong! It's not always the case and we all go there from time to time. I hated the mothers day gift we did this week-I felt it was too contrived and adult led. And I am the owner of the pre-school so I can have the final say! But my staff wanted to plant sunflower seeds and the way we did it I felt they were too samey at the end and we had done too much of the work! So we won't be doing those again!

Linda

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In our "art" area, we have a 15 draw unit , each draw has different media in it and the children self select from here. They can also self select paint or glue pots and other larger items from a nearby table, as they require. We offer a table work surface, an easle and a cover on the floor.

We used to label the draws to show what was inside ( advise from EYAT) but found apart from items like material scraps ( a peice of material is stuck on the draw as a label) we don't label because according to stock, items may change. The children enjoy looking through these draws to see what is new.

Hope this helps.

Peggy

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Well thats reassuring Linda. I just hate having to send things home that I think arent very good because of me! :o I guess we can't be fantastic all of the time hey?!

 

I really like the idea of having lots of different media available at all times for the children to access Peggy and this is something I would like to set up as there isnt much in the creative area at the moment. Will have to think more about this, it could be all I need to ensure that the children really are creating themselves.

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I have a creativity table available all of the time for the children to choose from after they have finished a set activity, just as i do with a writing table and counting area. The children can use anything from the creative tubs on a shelf-

material

felt

paper

card

crayons

paint

chalk

sequins and sticky bits- pompoms etc..

pritt stick

scissors

rulers

wool

embroidery threads

lollipop sticks

tissue paper.

The children had worked with each of these media before during activities led by myself. They have made boxes, cards, signs, puppet theatres, puppets- all child led. they produce some amazing things- often more creative and technical than i would have thought!

 

The children are very aware of their responsibility to tidy up too!

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That sounds really good and youve just reminded me that Im setting up a puppet making table this week Dougal! How did you approach the puppet making when you did it? Did the children manage themselves with this activity? :D

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Yes, they did manage independently. At the beginning of Sept- I showed them how to make a variety of puppets- card on lollipop sticks- felt, finger and sock. They now adapt the skills that i taught them into producing puppets of their own design. I personally wouldn't expect them to know what to do without giving them some ideas. Once you have shown them the basics they do their own. Last week my BA group produced duck puppets using card and lollipop sticks with feathers and felt tip pens- they were great. I had not shown them how to do this - they had chosen to do this on their own and it was sparked by our topic on growth- we have chicks in the class and we were doing Farmer Duck.

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And Dougal you took some photos for your profile evidence I hope!!!

Sounds fantastic!

 

Peaches, if you were told your Mother's Day picyures were all the same then I think you were being unfaily critisiced as unless you directed the children exactly what to put where etc they can not have been! But I would suspect that your tutor would have preferred to have seen mum drawn or painted with a variety of different media. In an ideal world of course we could do all these things all of the time but you were probably limited by time and resources.

However if you can have a creative area which the children can accessa t all times and not just in those times predetermined by you to be creative, then I think they would be hard pressed to find fault. You then determine your focus and teaching opportunities and allow children free access to develop their ideas later.

Try also to justify what you do through your learning intention---ie: to paint a picture of mum using water pencils or to experience water pencils and their different effects, This will also make it more difficult for you to be critisced if you have achieved what you set out to.

 

I have found the free approach very difficult to operate in my classroom as art resources were very carefully counted out and allocated and neither did I have the space. We are always limited by resources, of which time may be one, but you need to do the best you can within the constraints imposed upon you. Timetabling may also impact upon? These things are easier to operate in an integrated day situation.

Good luck!

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I have a workshop area with all sorts of things available just like Dougal really except that the items are there all the time in one of those stands with lots of tiltled boxes. i also have an open shelf unit with different pencils, crayons, chalks and scissors, glue, and joining items. The children do thier own thing most of the time and some of what they do is amazing. I also demonstrate skills and have directed activities where they are talked to as they work on something. This week we did '9 ducks 9' and they have been painting ducks and adding feathers and bits for trees and leaves. The work was the childrens but they were shown different ways of using tissues, green netting and such like. When they were painting the book was close by for them to look at and talk about.

They need to be shown different skills to stimulate and need to be talked to to encourage them to try new things and to extend thier idea, they can then practice and develop these in thier own time and in thier own way.

What is your theme Peaches perhaps between us we could come up with some ideas?

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Thanks Linda, I'd really appreciate any ideas. My theme for the this week is 'My family' so I am going to ask the children to make puppets on the creative table based on members of their family. This will be an ongoing activity throughout the week though I am thinking of the best way to approach it. I will certainly make sure there are plenty of materials available! Do you think this sounds ok?

Thanks so much for your help. :D

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Sounds OK to me. You could show them a few different ways of doing it first and ask them if they have any other ideas. Perhaps they could first draw whoever they are goin to make if you don't think they will be bored by doing that. Then off you go.

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