The children arrived very expectantly on Monday morning, as they knew we were about to begin our exciting fortnight’s project called 'Take One Picture'. The concept was developed by the National Gallery's as a countrywide scheme for schools. Each year the Gallery focuses on one painting from their collection to inspire cross-curricular work in primary classrooms. The challenge is for schools to use the image imaginatively in the classroom, both as a stimulus for artwork, and for work in other curriculum areas.
Not being within easy reach of London, we opted to choose the picture ourselves, from one of the local art galleries. Thus, the School Council, comprising of class representatives from the Form 2 upwards, visited the galleries in January and chose a short-list of paintings they thought would provide suitable material for all subjects and age groups.
The short list of three pictures was then put to the vote by the whole community - parents, children and staff. The ‘winning’ picture is in the Borough Museum, Newcastle and is called ‘A Town on Millennium Eve’ by Tim Lloyd, a fascinating study of the town, people and buildings as depicted by the artist in December 1999.
Teachers have been busy planning and collaborating to produce relevant areas of study, based on the picture and appropriate to the curriculum, for their subject and age group. An example of the cross-curricular approach to planning can be seen below.
In the classrooms I have visited, I have seen children busily engaged and enjoying this new type of challenge. They can see the purpose and the reason for learning, an aspect not always apparent in their world. I am looking forward to seeing the end products of their enthusiastic efforts and the hard work of the teachers!