Llanishen Fach Primary School: Art and Thinking Skills


Title of case study: Art and thinking skills Area(s) of focus:
  • Improve pupil outcomes in foundation phase
  • Improve pupil outcomes in KS2
  • Improve pupil outcomes in the non-core subjects
  • Improve the quality of AFL
School(s) or partnership name: Llanishen Fach Primary School Name of lead person: Mark Barrett Role of lead person: Class teacher / art and design subject leader Lead person e-mail address: llanishenfachprm@cardiff.gov.uk Lead person telephone number: 029 2062 7886 Local authority(ies): Cardiff Phase(s): Primary
Context and background to case study: This case study illustrates a model by which outcomes in art and design in the primary phase are enhanced with the extensive integration of thinking skills. The project started with a chance conversation between the newly appointed art subject leader and a member of the SMT with an interest in developing thinking skills. A common sense of purpose was soon identified, with both recognising the opportunities to be gained by collaborating. Since then the art and design scheme of work has been totally rewritten with thinking skills tasks providing scaffolding for each skills based art lesson. Working from the Welsh Government’s ‘How to develop thinking and assessment for learning in the classroom’ thinking skills activities were chosen for their potential to engage pupils more deeply with the art skills to be taught. Once identified, the thinking skills activities were adapted, becoming art tasks within a ‘four part’ lesson structure. Having redesigned the art scheme of work it was agreed that the specialist teacher would deliver art as part of the school’s PPA arrangements. Soon after, the school began to integrate the Literacy and Numeracy Framework, and far from burdening the newly written scheme, the inclusion of LNF was a natural progression for what was already happening in the art room. The thinking skills art curriculum continues to evolve and is now in its fourth year and being delivered to pupils across the primary phase by both the art specialist and class teachers. Nature of strategy or activity: Art lessons are taught by element (line, tone, colour, shape, pattern, texture and form) aligned to skills progression over three afternoons of work. As each three week block progresses pupils build on the previous week’s activities with opportunities to understand in the first two weeks, investigate in all three weeks and make in the final week. Art lessons start with a modified thinking skills activity, which is devised to engage learners and equip them for ‘success’ later in the lesson. This is then followed by a taught phase in which the application of the skill being worked upon is modelled by the teacher. Then the pupils start their second art task which sees them making investigations which culminate with a third activity where pupils have an opportunity to bring together and independently apply the creative skills gained. In each case the thinking skills activity plays an integral part in the acquisition of the art skill being taught. With the introduction of the Literacy and Numeracy Framework the thinking skills aspect of the lessons evolved to include an LNF aspect; in most cases this was a simple ‘tweak’ as the thinking skills tasks were generally literacy or numeracy based. Impact on provision, teaching and learning and/or leadership: The thinking skills activities are devised to extend learners’ engagement with the art skill being taught by bring about a deeper understanding through active, process based, learning. In addition, the inclusion of thinking skills at the start of each lesson provides learners with a level of experiences which leads to setting higher levels of success criteria against which they evaluate their learning. Examples: Year 3 - Line Yhinking Skills - Paired task, ‘Odd One Out’ Pupils look at reproductions of Welsh artists’ drawings and try to identify the ‘odd one out’ by noting similarities that distinguish drawings as being by one artist. Art Task Pupils make choices about developing drawings with thought given to line weight and complexity as observed in the work of Welsh artists. Year 4 - Colour Thinking Skills - Paired task, ‘Caterpillar’ Working with colour swatches taken from Tudor paintings, pupils take turns to try to mix an equivalent. Before embarking on the next attempt discussion takes place and a plan agreed. Art Task Pupils look at colour used in Tudor portraiture and explore colour mixing and modification through the use of paint and additional dry media.  Year 5 - Pattern Thinking Skills - Group task, ‘Sequencing’ Learners take turns to position tiles, depicting coloured shapes, to devise a repeat pattern, justifying their reasoning. Art Task Pupils make decisions regarding the scale and orientation of the repeat elements within their pattern and also decide on which media to use based on previous experimentation. Where is the good practice recognised?  The effective practice was identified by the lead person for the South Wales Challenge School Improvement Hubs, Jude Brigley and also Angela Satterly, Challenge Adviser. Photos art and thinking skills yr3 art activity - llanishen fach art and thinking skills yr4 art activity - llanishen fach art and thinking skills yr4 thinking activity - llanishen fach art and thinking skills yr5 art activity - llanishen fach art and thinking skills yr5 thinking activity - llanishen fach art and thinking skills yr3 thinking activity -  llanishen fach