Tips for Primary School Teachers

Staying up to date with teaching art techniques.

Unleashing creativity in sessions that are fun for you and your students.

 Welcome back to the classroom.

There are thirty two weeks in the primary school term. Please accept my apologies if this is a depressing thought in the first weeks of school term. But, to put it another way, there are thirty two art and craft/creativity projects to be completed in the upcoming term. These must incorporate textiles, music, drawing, painting and anything else that you can inspire both you and your charges.  Don’t panic. You are not the only educators with cardboard boxes full of tubes, paper plates and glitter intended to inspire and motivate the budding Warhol in your care.  If you are among the many teacher frantically  Googling ‘100 fantastic things to make with straws’ the night before class and hurriedly downloading instructions on the day, we have some pertinent advice for you, which will unleash the creativity of your students and release you from the worry of the ‘art and craft session.  Let the fun begin.

Make art, don’t just teach it:  Let your own creativity run free, not just in the classroom, but at home too. Set some time apart every week for your own projects.  This will remind you of the joy of creating and encourage you to see the world in a different way too. Don’t worry about time being short, keep a  journal in a sketchbook, make your own greeting cards, paint on your iPad, decorate your lunch bag…. just do something.

Visiting Artist:  Invite a local artist along to show their work and discuss their methods. This will not only inspire you but will encourage students who may be thinking of making art a career in the future. Choose sculptors, designers or jewellery makers to show that creativity is not restricted  in anyway.

Gallery visit: Every small town or big city has a gallery which is worth a visit during the year. Bring sketch books and pencils and let the creativity flow as the inspiration takes hold.

Digital photography: Digital photography can provide a new form of communication to the quieter child. It provides a new way of seeing the school, surroundings and to document school activities. Try focusing on one subject matter, trees or school bags and conduct an arts project of digital images.

Street Art: Brighten up a blank wall with a mural. Street art is mainstream now.

Computers: Your computer is a versatile craft tool.  Use it in the classroom to create amazing artworks.   

Read Blogs:  Keep in touch with other teachers by reading an art teacher blog a week.  The best way to have virtual colleagues who understand what you go through each week! Good ones here

It’s a new term and like the optimism and possibilities which present with a blank canvas, we wish you a great term of creativity and expression.


The Write Stuff

Back to school with the right materials and equipment is more important than you may think.

 The first day of school days or the first day back to the classroom is bitter sweet for parents and children alike. It marks the end of the summer and a rite of passage for the child. We also have to knuckle down to the daily routine of school lunches, uniforms and homework, and can no longer enjoy day time TV in our pyjamas.

To make the whole process of back to school a little more tolerable, it is vital to be organised and getting the right equipment for children is part of that. For children, having the correct school supplies makes facing the school term ahead a little easier.  While all school children love the thrill of new pencils, a fresh sharpie and a snappy new felt pens, it seems that having the right equipment may be more important than you think.  In a survey   by a U.S. Children’s Charity, teachers reported a 82% increase in class participation and a 78% increase in learning interest, when children were provided with the school equipment which they needed.   Knowing that you are fully prepared for school makes the transition a little smoother and more pleasant. When you put thought and effort into getting the school bag and homework station organised, it sends your child a message that you take schooling, homework and study seriously. Children who are compelled to borrow a pen or a colouring pencil from other students or teachers are put in an awkward situation. Of course, sharing is something we must encourage, but if a student is always without the recommended school equipment, it will over time, undermine their confidence.  It also gives the message that studies are not that important. Thankfully, these days there is a huge indexselection of inexpensive back to school stationery that will ensure that your child is well stocked up for those vital first days back at the desks.

Children love stationery and arts and crafts supplies.  The extent of brand marketing, from favourite Disney characters to business logos on backpacks and pencils etc. is testament to the selling power of Minions, Frozen or Nike and the popularity of a cool pen. The hip kids are secretly waiting for term to start so they can show off their new pencil case, full to the brim with smelly gel pens, brand new sharpies, handwriting pens and the cleanest erasers you will ever see.  Glue pens, glitter, bright paper and felt pens are on the wish list of every student.   Here are a ten top arts and craft/stationery items which you might like to pop in a cool school bag.

  1. Show –me Medium Dry Wipe Pens: Specifically designed for smaller hands to use and sporting a pressure resistant tip
  2. Shatter-Proof ruler: Classic. Survives all kinds of horseplay and functions well in class. Who hasn’t been whacked with a shatter proof ruler?
  3. Coloured Pencils: Perfect for writing your name 50 times on the back of a copy in joined up writing.
  4. Sharpie Markers: The #1 brand in permanent markers, these are famous for their water-resistant, permanent ink that adheres to most surfaces.
  5. Glue Stick: Safe, practical and economical.  As used in history projects, father’s day cards and in sticking paper flowers on book covers.
  6. Tipp Ex Shake & Squeeze Pen: Avoid tipp-Ex spills and fumes with this amazing correction pen.
  7. Crayons: It’s all about the colours. You can stay within the lines later.
  8. Topper: Pencils are an obvious choice for the ‘pencil’ case, but if you have no cool topper to make those lovely pencil curls, they are just incomplete.
  9. Folders and A4 Pockets: So much loose paper/information sheets are distributed in schools these days. A colourful selection of folders will ensure all is kept neat and tidy and accessible for study.
  10. Scissors: A good craft scissors makes life so much easier for the older student. No running though!

An added extra to make you all smile

Talking Hot dots Pen:   Not strictly for school but definitely for making learning fun. With brand new sound effects and phrases, the audio and visual feedback, this pen gently redirects incorrect answer choices and congratulates correct ones. Sounds can be muted for quiet classroom use.