Category Archives: Art and design

Who needs Lesson Plans for Painting in Primary Classes?

Painting is a Class Act

Teaching painting can be daunting for the non-specialist. This set of three books ( for ages 5-7, ages 7-9 and ages 9-11) takes the hard work out of planning art activities. The books set out the progression of skills to be taught for colour mixing, colour theory, composition and using watercolours and other media. They use works of art to provide examples of how skills can be applied.

Painting is a Class Act is aimed specifically at non-specialist art teachers, but more experienced art teachers will find it inspirational too. It contains carefully planned, clearly laid-out lesson plans which Introduce pupils to the skills of painting and which use the work of great artists and of children  as examples.

Painting is a Class Act:

  • Provides a structured, skills-based approach to developing painting skills
  • Helps pupils develop a knowledge and feel for paints and colours
  • Provides pupils with a way to express their ideas and feelings – confidence and pride will ensue.

You can order Painting is a Class Act: in any of these ways:

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Filed under Art and design, Brilliant Publications, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Essential art resources needed in primary schools

What are the absolutely essential art resources you need to deliver high-quality drawing lessons in primary school?

We all know school budgets are tight. And, sadly, art and design are rarely high on a school’s list of priorities for expenditure. Meg Fabian, the author of Drawing is a Class Act, says you can get by with surprisingly few absolute basics:

  • 2B pencils
  • fine line pens (tip size 0.4 mm)
  • charcoal, medium thickness
  • white chalk
  • fixative
  • oil pastels

Discount stores are often an excellent place to pick up art resources cheaply, but make sure you check for quality. Gradually extend your range a little at a time.

If you are lucky enought to have a bit more money, here are Meg’s recommendations for what a well-resourced art cupboard should have:

9781903853627 Drawing is a Class Act, Years 5-6 Brilliant Publications

Drawing is a Class Act, Years 5-6

9781903853610 Drawing is a Class Act, Years 3-4 Brilliant Publications

Drawing is a Class Act, Years 3-4

9781903853603 Drawing is a Class Act, Years 1-2 Brilliant Publications

Drawing is a Class Act, Years 1-2

  • H, B, 2B, 4B, 6B pencils
  • Fine line pens (tip size 0.3 and 0.4 mm), water-based
  • Fine (tip size 0.4 mm), medium and broad permanent pens
  • Charcoal, thick and thin
  • Fixative
  • Oil pastels, 25 colours, bright and subtle, extra white and black
  • Art pastels, good range of colours, including landscape colours
  • Conté crayons (soft pastels), black, white, earth colours, sepia, burned sienna, etc
  • Pens (with nibs) and drawing inks, including white
  • Good-quality crayons, some sets in people colours
  • Art quality coloured pencils, landscape and portrait sets
  • Water colour pencils
  • Graphite
  • Metallic crayons
  • Metallic pens –fine and broad
  • Sketchbooks with cartridge paper pages
  • Clipboards for outside drawing
  • Black plastic viewfinders
  • Magnifying glasses with flexible necks that clamp onto desk
  • Lamps with flexible necks
  • Collection of reproductions of works of art, filed according to topic or subject, or QCA art documents
  • Collection of CD-Roms featuring works of art for use on computer and white boards
  • Collection of artefacts for drawing

For more tips and lesson plans to support a skills-based approach to drawing, get Meg Fabian’s Drawing is a Class Act series for primary schools.

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Filed under Art and design, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Primary school

Top 10 summer activities for the early years

Looking for fun preschool activities now that summer is here? Here are 10 fun activities that young children will love – whether you are at home or in a nursery, mother and toddler group, playgroup or other early years setting.

9781903853719 Creative Activities for the Early Years Brilliant Publications

Creative Activities for the Early Years

  1. Make giant ice creams. Use light brown A4 paper rolled into a cone and fastened with tape. Fill with scrap paper and glue cotton wool on top as ice cream. Add details like rolled up tubes of paper as a flake, or coloured paint drizzled over as sauce.
  2. Talk about: Has anyone been to the seaside? What was it like?
  3. Make sandcastle pictures by spreading glue all over sandcastle-shaped pieces of card. Decorate with paper shells and flags, and make seaweed from scrunched-up tissue paper.
  4. Sing ‘The Sun has got his Hat on’ – excellent for dancing to and can be found on lots of children’s recordings.
  5. Put out paper, brushes and paints and allow the children to ‘free paint’.
  6. Talk about Pirates: keep it simple and do not make it too true to life! They sailed the seas in big ships, buried treasure and had parrots on their shoulders.
  7. Cut out some simple paper ships and allow the children o paint them. Encourage the children to paint their own flags. They don’t all have to paint the Jolly Roger!
  8. Have a summer picnic outdoors. If the weather is bad, just hold the picnic inside. You could even decorate the room with branches and flowers.
  9. Why not ask the children to bring a teddy and have a teddy bears’ picnic?
  10. Hold a treasure hunt outdoors. Give children a list of things they have to find such as – three different leaves, a red/blue/yellow flower, a small stone, a daisy, a twig – these can be swapped for cut-out coloured shapes if you’re indoors.

For more summer activities for young children get Barbara Melling’s Creative Activities for the Early Years. This book contains over 160 art and craft activities for use by reception classes, nurseries, playgroups, and mother and toddler groups –as well as by parents and carers, on a variety of popular early years themes.

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Filed under Art and design, Early years, Key Stage 0

Top tips for getting inspiring resources for art lessons

Try these ideas, taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Art Activities,  for gaining extra resources for art lessons/children’s clubs/artwork at home.

100+ Fun Ideas for Art Activities - Brilliant Publications

100+ Fun Ideas for Art Activities

  • Picture bank – It is of huge use to keep a constant look out for pictures from sources like magazines, the Internet and postcards. Cut these out and back them on cardboard and arrange them into themes. If you can laminate them, the pictures will last longer.
  • Internet – An excellent resource for finding pictures and information on artists, cultures and religious artefacts.
  • Visitors – Many county councils will have a list of working artists who may be willing to come in and do an art activity for your class. You may have to pay for this, but children tend to benefit greatly from meeting a ‘real-life’ artist. Other visitors, such as art students and historical experts, may also be used as ‘human stimulus’ for learning in art.
  • Libraries, art galleries and museums – librarians and curators of galleries and museums are usually very helpful in providing support with resources of information, so too are tourist information centres and historical/religious societies.
  • Teaching centre – your local teacher support centre may have boxes of artefacts or packs of pictures on a specific theme that you could borrow for a period of time.
  • Scrap stores and local businesses – in some areas you can find scrap stores or recycling centres that may let you have resources for free, or a minimal cost. Local businesses such as printing firms or fabric shops may donate cardboard from packaging or fabric remnants.
  • Parents/carers – Ask the parents/guardians of your pupils if they have any materials like fabric, wool or buttons that they could donate to an art project.


These ideas have been taken from 100+ Fun Ideas for Art Activities that are easy to prepare and children will love by Paula Goodridge.

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Filed under Art and design, Key Stage 2, Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Art and design education “seriously eroded”

Opportunities for young people to study art and design have been reduced by the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) according to a new report compiled by The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD).


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Can art lessons raise self-esteem?

Is it really possible that an art class can raise the self-esteem of every pupil?

Put another way, can art, where children’s innate abilities seem to vary so greatly, have a positive effect on the social and emotional development of all pupils?
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Filed under Art and design, Primary school, PSHE

Arts have a positive benefit on learning

A recent study by the Kennedy Center for Education shows that students in arts-integrated classrooms are more creative, positively challenged, and more engaged in their schoolwork than those not in arts-integrated classrooms.

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Filed under Art and design, How children learn