Belonging Arts Inquiry image
Level: Foundation Students
 Format: 4 x 40 minute specialist art sessions
Overview: This learning sequence encourages students to find their own personal expression and to combine their individual responses together in a collaborative way to illustrate that whilst we are all unique, we can come together to create something wonderful that is more than the sum of its parts all whilst helping students get to know each other.
I am me - We are us
Rationale: Designed as a unit of inquiry to be explored early in the school year to help foundation students transitioning to the school environment, to develop their sense of belonging. Foundation students come to school at a time where they are forming their own sense of self and learning how to navigate their way through the school community. (Fabian 2015 p. 88) For many Foundation students school comes with a whole host of new rules about what it means to be; wearing uniform, sitting and listening for longer, etc. This formalisation can be confusing to children’s sense of belonging as they previously were much more self-lead in their activities. Encouraging students to celebrate who they are and what makes them unique both as individuals and as new members of their school community is crucial to their ability to engage in their learning and increasing their self-esteem. (Margretts 2007)
Format: The students will be make a visual arts piece that expresses their personality, using colour, line and texture in the form of a decorated stick turned drum beater. When finished the drum beaters will be used in a collaborative music piece that explores beat on a large communal drum, inspired by Daria Music. The beat will be recorded to provide a soundtrack for the following dance lesson in which the students will explore their individual body movement and how to bring these together into a group performance.
Victorian Curriculum: This learning sequence is designed to embrace a sustainable approach to the Arts and is infused with Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander culture aligning with two of the Curriculums cross-cultural priorities.
In the Visual Arts students will explore different ideas and experiences and experiment with different materials to make artworks as well as responding to artwork whilst considering the artists motivations.
The Music component will allow them to explore sound and silence using instruments and their voice The Dance component will allow them to explore body movement to express emotions and ideas and begin to learn about choreographing dance.
Further to the content of the Arts Curriculum this sequence will allow students to explore aspects of their Intercultural Capabilities such as identifying what is the same and what is different and discussions of diversity. This will also engage components of their Personal and Social capability; development of resilience, relationships and diversity   and skills of collaboration.
Victorian Curriculum Foundation Level
Assessment: The Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for each session will inform a formative assessment based on observations of student engagement and explorations. Designed as one of the first units for foundation students this is intended to be highly accessible and enjoyable so the teacher can be better informed about individual student’s capabilities and likes to inform further planning. Evidence of achievement is student participation.
 Introduce the concept of identity & community 1 x 40 min art class
Learning Intentions:Success Criteria:Curriculum Link
Students will recognise that we are all different and all welcome.
Students will be able to choose an appropriate stick.
Students will be able to choose colours that have meaning to them.
Students can name something that is different about them.
Students acquire a stick that is not to large or small.
Students are able to say why they choose their colours.

Materials Needed:
All are Welcome, picture book by Alexandra Penfold & Susan Kauffman available on YouTube.
  • Sticks gathered from the schoolyard/local park/tree prunings.
  • Poster Paint
  • Brushes
  • Paper towel for holding sticks/wiping fingers
  • Newspaper to cover table
  • Students to wear provided art smocks
Preparation for session:
  • Scout the area where the children will collect sticks and make sure there is an appropriate number of sticks of the correct weight and length.
  • Sticks should be 1-2 cm thick and 20-30 cm long.
  • If necessary, collect from a local park or reserve, taking only fallen sticks or ask in the school newsletter or a local arborist for tree prunings.
  • Scatter the sticks around a treed area of the school yard so the children can find them for themselves.
  • Poster Paints should be prepared on tables and covered; a wide selection of colours should be supplied.
  • Brush per child and water for washing
Whole Group Reading
The unit will be introduced to the students by sharing 'All are welcome', the setting in the school provides an easily accessible format for the children to identify with the characters.
Following the reading of the book, the teacher will talk about how in the school in the book the children were all different but came together to form a community, just like us.
Explain that we are going to make something today to show how we are all different.
That we are going to start by finding a stick to paint and next time we will turn the stick into a drum beater to make our own music.
Short walk outside
Explain the rules for the sticks we can use; it has to be thicker than your finger but not as thick as three fingers, ask the children to hold up one and then three fingers as you do this, and it has to be about as long as from your elbow to your fingers, get them to hold out their arm and point to their elbow and wriggle their fingers. Explain that we only take sticks that have fallen to the ground, we never pull a stick off the trees as it hurts the trees.
Take them outside to choose a stick in the pre-prepared treed area.
Individual work at group tables 4-6 per table
When sticks have been chosen, return to the art room and explain that today we are going to paint our sticks, the paints are on the tables and they can choose any colours they like.
Demonstrate how to wash the brush between colour and wipe it on paper towel so it isn’t too wet and drippy.
When children begin to paint the teacher should move around the room and check in with each table.
Questions to consider:
  • Do you have straight stick or curved stick?
  • What colour is that?
  • What made you choose it?
  • Can you think of something that’s special about you?
  • What has happened where the colours have touched?
Explain that the paint needs to dry, and we will add more detail next session.
Example of painted sticksVisual Arts - Express Yourself
Second Session Visual Arts - Express Yourself 1 x 40 min art class
Learning Intentions:Success Criteria:Curriculum Link
Students are learning to experiment with art materials.Students are learning to be artists.Students are learning about the history of stick art.Students choose expressive materials.Students enjoy making art.Students can recognise stick art.
Materials Needed:
  • Access Stick Art page of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander message sticks, digging sticks, spears, clapping sticks, didgeridoos, boomerangs, Native American totem poles...
  • Tables should each have two sets of paint markers
  • Ribbons / Strings / wool / feathers for decoration arranged in tubs on tables a generous selection needs to be available to enable student’s free choice to express individuality.
  • Small coloured rubber bands/loom bands and pipe cleaners are straight forward to apply for children with less developed fine motor skills.
  • Wadding and fleece accessible at the front of the room, this step will require some adult assistance.
  • Slideshow about decorated/ceremonial sticks from indigenous cultures.
  • Teachers worked example
  • Paint markers
  • Woollen wadding / natural sheep fleece / rags
  • Cut squares approx. 15 cm of felt or fleece in a variety of colours
  • Wool / Ribbon / Pipe cleaners / lace / loom bands / feathers
  • Painted sticks from previous session.

Whole group activity: The session begin with students coming together on the floor and reminding the students about the sticks that they painted last week. Show the slide show whilst explaining the different types of sticks. Teacher talks about how many Indigenous peoples used sticks as a way of sending a message or showing what was important to them, sometimes they were used for special occasions and sometimes they were used to make music which is what we are going to do with ours.
Show the children a few worked example of the finished product, talk about the different effects achieved. 
Drum Beater made by 7yr old Dragon LoverFor example, this drum beater looks a bit like snakeskin, well the boy who made it loves dragons and he wanted it to look like dragon scales. 
African Inspired Drum BeaterOr this one looks a bit like it might be from Africa because it has leopard spots.
Try to be very clear that there is no right or wrong way to decorate a stick because each one will be different because we are all different and it would be boring if we were all the same.
Explain that first we are going to use the paint markers to add details to the painting they did last week. Explain and demonstrate how the shape of the stick is a bit tricky to draw on because it is round, and it might be a good idea to use dots and small lines.
Talk about how the colours they choose for the markers will change the effect of the colours they have painted, contrast or harmony. Also suggest they write their name or initials somewhere to make it easy to find next time.
Whilst children are working individually move around the room and talk to them about their choices: responding with things like see how the colour of the marker is a contrast to the paint.
When they have finished the dots and lines they can come up and choose a colour for the top of their drum beater and the teacher will help them attach the wadding. Some children may be able to manage this however most Foundation students will need assistance. Flat wadding is best rolled around the top of the sticks, loose polyfill or sheep fleece bunded over the stick.
Drum Beater with pipe cleaner fixingOnce the wadding is in place a square of fleece is gathered over the top of the stick to create the end. To enable 5-year-olds to achieve this step individually, pipe cleaners are a good choice, wool and ribbon will need to be tied securely, with some teacher assistance.
When they have secured the drum beater head, students can continue to decorate and personalise their drum beater with the supplied materials until class is ended. Again, move around the room and engage children, many will need some help tying ends together.
To close the session, remind children to have their names on their drum beaters and have them place them in a designated tub for next time.
After the session: It may be necessary to check over the knots on the students work and secure more tightly, the drum beater are more than decorative and a drum head flying off in the middle of the following session would be funny for the children but make it hard to make music!
Music - Feel the Beat
Third Session Music - Feel the Beat 1 x 40 min art class
Learning Intentions:Success Criteria:Curriculum Link
Students will explore sounds and silence.
Students will play a communal instrument.
Students will be feel and keep the beat.
Students can use theist drum beater to make a sound.
Students will collaborate and play in time to each other.
Students will be able to say what the beat is.

Materials Needed:
  • Students drum beaters as made in the previous sessions
  • Communal drum
Preparation for session:
A simple communal drum is made from a large circle of sturdy fabric, something that mimics an animal hide in weight and texture gives the best results.
I made this one from a discarded end of role of vinyl fabric from a recycling centre.
After cutting the fabric into as large a round or oval shape as possible simple handles can be made with snips along the edge helping the students to naturally space out appropriately and are easier for small hands to grasp.
Whole Group Session:
To begin the communal drum is laid out, if the weather and situation allows under the same trees where the sticks were collected. Ideally on a large rug so children are comfortable for the session and recognising that some children have sensory issue with grass. If inside hall would be preferable in terms of space for children and noise to move. A selection of earmuffs for children to use would help everyone feel comfortable.
Everyone gets their drum beater and sits in a circle around the communal drum. Teacher explains that today we are going to learn to feel the beat, we all know the beat because we all have a heart. 
We are going to learn to work together because when we all play together, we can feel a stronger beat. How when we all make music together, we all need to cooperate and listen to each other and how people have been making music like this forever.
To start we put the drum beater down and we are going to start by clapping together, when we feel the beat, we count it in fours.
The teacher demonstrates by clapping and counting 1,2,3,4 and then again 1,2,3,4. The teacher invites the students to all clap 1,2,3,4.
When the class is in sync the teacher says now let’s try it using our drum beaters on the floor first and demonstrates 1,2,3,4 tapping their drum beater on the floor.
The children are asked to pick up their drum beater and the teacher demonstrates how to how it gently, you don’t want to grip to tightly or your hand will get tired and you don’t want to grip to loosely or it will bounce by itself.
After a few rounds the teacher says now we are going to keep drumming but count in our heads instead of out loud.
Next the teacher explains that we are going to use our other hand to pick up the communal drum and when we all hold it and pull gently it stretches out like a drum and we can make a stronger sound than on the floor.
The teacher and students hold the drum in their non dominant hand and the drum beater in the dominate hand. Once again, the teacher demonstrated how we feel and play the beat 1,2,3,4 and the children all play together on the drum.
Keeping the drum tight and playing the beat might be enough and take a large amount of time to achieve, then the teacher can record this and a backing track for the next session. If possible, having another adult make the recording would make it easier but a simple phone recording would be possible if it was set and ready to go with just a couple of clicks.
Possible Extension: If playing the beat together is mastered by the group a second element can be introduced through voice. Once the beat is in sync and being played without counting out loud on the communal drum the teacher says now we are all going to say our name in time to the beat, so we will go around the circle and point which way to go. The teacher says their name and looks to the students next to them and so on. Something a little like the below video, but with the communal drum instead.
If the name chanting is mastered, then this can be recorded for use in the next session.
After the session: the recording may need to be trimmed and then it can be made into a loop to play for the next session.
Dance - Find the Groove
 Final Session Dance - Find the Groove 1 x 40 min art class
Learning Intentions:Success Criteria:Curriculum Link
Students will explore how their bodies move.
Students will begin to choreograph a dance.
Students will be feel and keep the beat.
Students find a movement.
Students respect each others dance moves and work together.
Students will dance in time to the beat.

Materials Needed:
  • Reordered track from the previous session
Whole Group Session:
The final session takes place in a hall. The track recorded in the previous session is played for the children’s entertainment initially. Once they have got their giggles out the music is turned off and it is explained that today we are going to make up a dance to go with the music that we made.
Get all the children to find a space so they can stretch out their arms and not touch anyone. Explain and demonstrate how we are just going to make one move that says something about who we are; it might be a twirl or a jump or kick, try and think about how you can make it interesting by using different parts of your body and moving up or down but try and stay in your own space so you don’t bump into each other.
Get everyone to do some warming up explaining that we need to get our bodies ready to move so we don’t hurt ourselves, jump up and down and shake out arms and legs.
Give the children around 15mins to come up with a move, have the name chant/beat playing quietly as you move around the room and talk with children especially any who might be struggling.
Then explain that we are now going to put all our moves together into a group dance. Bring the children back into a circle large standing and have the them go around the circle explain that we are going to listen for when we say our names in the music and then we can take a step into the circle and do our move. Whilst we are waiting for our turn, we are going to continue to feel the beat by stepping in time with the music. Play the track trough once just with the stepping and then everyone gets to do their move when they say their name on the track.
Then cool down by having everyone walk slowly around the room and then sit on the floor in a circle again to go through some simple stretches.
Conclusion: To conclude the learning sequence a sharing circle in which each student gets to respond to the artworks that were produced. For foundation students this would need to be scaffolded by the teaching asking and demonstrating extending observations; I thought it was really interesting how everyone choose different movements. Didn't it feel nice when we all played on the drum at the same time. What was something you thought was interesting?