Learning from Home – 14 April 2020

I hope your Easter weekend was relaxing and that you managed to find ways to have fun, and perhaps even learn a new skill. My partner and I attempted to make pasta for the first time, but perhaps the less said about that the better!

Today I thought I’d put the focus on creativity, so I have a range of suggestions for teachers and parents. Many of these would suit students of all ages.

Jude Rossell is an Australian author and illustrator, whose work you will probably be quite familiar with. She’s the author of the Stella Mongomery series (if your 8-12-year-old hasn’t discovered these yet, you need to get hold of them, pronto!), and the illustrator of the wonderful Pink and lovely You Are a Star. As part of her way of trying to help while we’re all spending more time inside, Rossell has been posting art challenges. These include drawing monsters, constructing tiny houses (a particular passion of hers), and making rainbow stars. She helpfully includes instructional videos, and links to templates. A great resource for teachers, and for parents looking for things to do with their children.

Many of you in Sydney will know the wonderful Better Read Than Dead bookstore in Newtown. They are well known for their excellent range of children’s books, as well as their special events for children. They are currently running two competitions – open to children across the country, not just NSW – that your children may be interested in. The first is open to children ages 4-14, and is to illustrate the cover of their Mother’s Day Reading Guide. Entries close Saturday, so you’ll need to be fast. The other is a Kids Writing Competition for children 6-12 years, with the theme of windows. This closes at the end of May, so there’s plenty of time to compose a winning entry of up to 1,000 words.

While it’s not currently possible to visit art galleries, many of them are finding new ways to engage with audiences. The Art Gallery of NSW is running a new project called Together in Art. The series incorporates artist talks, virtual guided tours, and some short videos about making art. It was this last resource that really caught my eye. The first of these is a brilliant video of Ben Quilty and his daughter showing us how to draw a face. Funny, fun and suitable for artists of all abilities. I understand there will be more of these instructional videos, and we can only hope they’re as great as this one.

The National Gallery of Victoria is also providing some new ways of interacting with their collections. For teachers (mainly secondary) there is the opportunity to book classes into a (free!) virtual excursion. I love this idea, particularly for schools who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to visit the gallery. For teachers, parents or children who can’t take part in a virtual tour, there are also some excellent resources on the Learn and Kids at Home pages, with everything from worksheets and videos, to a free iPad app to make stop-motion videos.

Until the next post on Thursday, have fun, and hopefully there’s not too much mess (important life skill lesson for the kids perhaps?) from all the art and craft.



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