As we always do, the message this week – second week of the half-term – is all about the new topic. The message comes from Mr Wilks, who leads Science and foundation subjects across Sphere Federation. The message ends with some important guidance to help tackle online bullying…
What do we mean by topics?
Topics are the vehicle for delivering much of the learning in the foundation subjects (eg History, Art, Geography, Design Technology). Each half-termly topic has a driving subject – the main focus for teaching pupils the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. The driver changes with each topic to ensure a broad and balanced curriculum.
Although the learning in each topic is provided by the driving subject, there are opportunities for enrichment through other subjects. For example, learning in an art topic may be enriched by geography learning about where an artist was born and lived.
Read more about the intent, implementation and impact of our topics.
What is this half-term’s topic?
This half-term, we’re artists. We’ll develop our art knowledge and skills.
The learning this half-term has two aspects to it:
- art history: your child will learn about some specific artists and their work
- art process: your child will practise and develop skills by creating art
Each phase has age-related knowledge, skills and vocabulary that they’ll learn, use and apply across the topic. Please see pages 11 and 12 of the Curriculum Statement document.
Children in Years 1 and 2 have two featured artists who they’ll study across the half-term: Georges Seurat and Bridget Riley. They’ll compare their art, talking about similarities and differences. They’ll discuss what they like and dislike about the art and how it makes them feel. They’ll also learn about the artists’ lives and where in the world they lived.
In practical art lessons, children will hone their artistic skills and knowledge by sketching objects using pencil and creating sculptures inspired by Bridget Riley’s art.
Children in Years 3 and 4 will learn about the work of two architects: Christopher Wren and Zaha Hadid.
They’ll compare and contrasting the buildings that these architects designed. They’ll look at the influence of classical Greek architecture on the two architects and look for examples of this in buildings locally. In practical art sessions, children will develop observational drawing skills, before focussing on digital art by manipulating images of buildings using technology and creating pieces of art using these images alongside digital art software.
Children in Years 5 and 6 are learning about and studying the work of two designers: William Morris and Orla Kiely.
They’ll look at examples of products that use their designs and then focus on the designs, analysing them using technical vocabulary. They’ll also compare the designs, spotting similarities and differences.
In practical art lessons, children will sketch their own designs inspired by Kiely or Morris. They’ll then create relief prints of their own designs which they’ll turn into a wallpaper design using a design website.
How can you help?
Talk to your child about what they’ve been learning. The Class News page of our website is a good place to go to find out more about what your child is doing.
Familiarise yourself with the artists and the artwork that your child will be learning about in class. Look in books or on the internet for pieces by the artists and talk about them. Find art by other artists that you like and compare it to the featured artists. If you feel confident, you can go into more depth using the topic-specific vocabulary. However, if not, leave that to the teachers and just enjoy looking at the pieces and asking general questions:
- What do you like or dislike about the art?
- How does the art make you feel?
- What colours can you see?
- Can you spot influence of Greek architecture in buildings (eg columns or pediments)?
The Tate Gallery has a good children’s website with games and activities which children can explore.
If you’re in Leeds, the Leeds Art Gallery and Henry Moore Institute are both free to enter and if your child has already visited during a trip, they can be the tour guide and show you around!
Moving on… Did you know next week is Anti-Bullying Week?
In our school, STOP stands for both the problem and the solution for bullying:
- Several Times On Purpose is the definition of bullying
- Start Telling Other People is the solution – encourage your child to tell any trusted adult if there’s a problem
We’ll mark the week with our Anti-Bullying Day on Monday, which happens also to be Odd Socks Day.
According to Ofcom’s 2022 Media Use and Attitudes report, children are now more likely to be bullied via technology than they are to experience it in person. 84% of 8 to 17-year-olds who reported being targeted said it had taken place via messaging, social media, online gaming and so on, as opposed to 61% who had been intimidated face-to-face.
Just like its offline counterpart, online-bullying creates feelings of isolation and anxiety in its victims along with a loss of self-esteem.
Read about how to support your child and tackle this problem.