Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Big Arts Week

I have been into Heathwood Lower School today as part of Big Arts Week 2005. The children and I worked on a computer-mediated poetry piece themed around the Ancient Egyptians.

We had a fun-packed morning; a mixture of me performing my school's poems, and a poetry workshop about Egyptian life and beliefs.

I was amazed at how much Year 3 knew about the Egyptian gods, Egyptian monuments and the importance of the Nile to Egyptian life. We used all this knowledge to create the background to our Egyptian mystery poems.

The poems began with the line " You do not know who I am!" - and from this template the children built-up a wide variety of images that teased the reader with key details about their narrator but did not reveal whether it was the god, Thoth, a slave girl or the River Nile who was speaking. This kind of poem works very well in a digital form because it creates a game-like framework which encourages the reader to engage with the details of the poem and to guess who or what it is about!

In the afternoon we moved into the IT suite. I gave a short presentation about Habitatiad (the project I produced for Big Arts Week 2004). I then explained the design process and asked the children to help me mock-up an interface for our new project. We then finished the day producing artwork. I enjoyed the vivid colours the children used to illustrate their chosen god or person. I also enjoyed their enthusiastic responses to my poetry and workshop ideas.

Perhaps the best part of the day was the fact that this was a genuine collaboration. I found myself quite content to lose control for many parts of the project. I found the class's ideas quite stimulating and I am looking forward to hearing what they decide to call the final piece!


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