A while ago, I asked if anyone would be interested in seeing how my brilliant TA (I don’t think he ever reads my blog, but if he does: HELLO!) planned some lessons on printing and how we did it!
I have my PPA on a Friday and my TA covers my class, so on a Friday afternoon, my Y6s do some art, have a little break, then we have achievement assembly/celebration assembly for the week. My TA is brilliant and he is an art specialist, so I feel very very blessed to have him with me (Art isn’t my strongest point, I can’t lie!). The week schools closed, our numbers were starting to dwindle across school (I still had 21 in my class by the Friday) so we were using our time for more creative endeavours, which meant we got to do art every day! Woohoo! As I was there, I got to be one of the students in the lesson, learning along with my Y6s.
So, without further ado, here’s how we did a bit of printing in the classroom!
We spent a lesson doing a bit of Zentangle: a lesson they absolutely loved doing (and a lesson I loved doing too! I have been doing a bit of Zentangle in lockdown and it’s just very calming). Mr R did some demonstrating on my whiteboard and they talked about what they noticed about the art they were making and how they felt while he did it. Then we got a piece of paper with 12 rectangles on and were shown a short video of zentangle. We then had the rest of the lesson to do a bit of zentangle art themselves: we had some calming music on and just worked quietly on our own work. At the end of the lesson, the children were asked to cut out their favourite zentangle designs and write a short sentence about why they liked them most.
The next lesson, we were given a piece of polystyrene and Mr. R demonstrated how we were to tranfer our favourite design onto the piece of polystyrene using a pencil (not too sharp, not too blunt; don’t press too hard otherwise you end up ruining the piece of polystyrene: press gently the first time, then keep repeating it until you see that there’s enough of an indent). We then had some time to choose one of our designs to put onto our polystyrene. We had some brilliant discussions about which ones would look the best when made bigger and which ones wouldn’t be appropriate. You can see in the pictures above the children’s sketch books and them putting their designs onto their polystyrene tile.
Once they’d had some time to put their design onto polystyrene, Mr R called us over to his printing station (there were 4 set up around the classroom for the different groups). He demonstrated using the ink and the rollers (you need 2 rollers: one for applying the ink and 1 for rolling the tile on the paper). We just had plastic boxes (usually used for storing paper in our stationery cupboard) for the ink. Mr. R demonstrated rolling the ink onto the tile and then how you transfer the ink onto the piece of paper (we have a massive roll of paper in school that we just rip off – you’ll probably find one in your EYFS classrooms if you don’t have one!)
Once the kids had watched the demonstration, they had time to go and finish copying their design onto their tile (this is where it’s really important they don’t choose anything too complex: one of my boys was on like half an hour copying his design so didn’t get as much printing time as his friends). We had 4 printing stations around the room: blue, red, yellow and green. The children were split into 4 groups and had to take it in turns to practise printing. They worked really well in their groups! We had some total printing stars – a few of the groups even got their whole long piece of paper filled.
This was the finished 4 pieces of paper that the children had worked on:
The finished products looked amazing… but that wasn’t where we stopped!
We then decided that they’d mastered the skills well enough to print onto ACTUAL material. At the back of my classroom, there’s a fire exit with a blind on. It was just a plain white blind and Mr. R and I decided that it would be fun to give it a bit of a makeover, so that’s what we did! Mr. R had divided up a block section of the blind into 44 sections (I think) so each child could choose 2 rectangles (Mr R and I both got to print our designs onto 1 section each). The first question we got was “HAS MR O’B (our headteacher) SAID WE CAL DO THIS?”. We asked them to think about their placement of colours so that there was a mix of colours throughout the blind!
And here’s the finished blind with all of their printed zentangle designs
I think it looks amazing. The kids were all incredible and it’s going to stay there forever. A bit of their legacy in the classroom. They took such pride in what they were doing and it was a brilliant experience. I know it will make me smile every time I see it!
I would now know how to go about giving teaching printing a go (albeit not perfectly) with a bit more confidence! I’m always learning as a teacher and this was a lesson I thoroughly enjoyed being part of. I think if I’d just had to have a go at this myself I would have been SO stressed: it’s messy, so much could go wrong, we wouldn’t have ended up with such a brilliant finished product. Had it not been for MR. R’s suggestion, I probably wouldn’t have a lovely blind to look at now! I can’t wait to go back into school and see how it’s looking now.