THINK inside the sketchbook

on may 9th we launched the book 'Think inside the sketchbook' at Liverpool Wild flower Centre. it was attended by representatives of all key stages from university down to year 1. After introductions we discussed the value of using the 'ideas' book as a personal, reflective and self initiated learning tool.

The book was understood to have a powerful role in developing individuals as researchers, thinkers and explorers.
all participants then were led through a creative process of book making and developing in response to the inspiring wild flower centre.

The output was beautiful and the outcomes affirming.

thank you to all that were there

nsead organised cpd events to launch think inside the sletchbook
click on links below
cynon valley museum


national wildflower centre liverpool

russell cotes museum bournemouth

wysing contemporary arts cambridgeshire

norwich castle

ikon birmingham

harley welbeck notts

year 2 ideas books
recording autumn

Am i a book?

Sophie Houghton - Year 5
"I learnt that in a book you don't just have to draw pictures of something spesific, you just can draw what you feel, like When we did the books on all of my memories.  When we linked the two topics it made me think how we could link the pictures in our books."

Paige Horton - Year 5
"With Dave I learnt a lot about making the books, here is what I learnt: I learnt how to make a picture and turn it into a book; Then I leart it didn 't have to be a proper picture, it could just be things on the paper; after that i learnt you could overlap things.

Murphy Ryan - Year 5
I leant how to make a book. I also learnt that you don't hve to make art neat, you can have messy, however you want art.  Making the books made me think differently.  I learnt that art is my second favourite subject.

Paul Patterson - Year 5
I thought about textures and textiles - The book will create a picture in your mind - I thought about what would get damaged when I folded it in half and quaters - I thought of trials and journeys I was going to make.

Ciara Jones - Year 5
I have learnt to paint pictures in other peoples minds.  I learnt how to drag felt with water.
(Ciara had written more, but I found it difficult to desipher!)

Edward Gibson - Year 5
When we were making the books it made me think about my past so I could put it into my book. Dave told us to not make pictures or patterns and just to put anything anywhere.  We put a line of sort through the whole book to resemble our journey through life.

Ryan Sage - Year 5
I thought that the books looked cool and the books had lots of colourful patterns on them, some books made a pictures and some didn't because we stuck the pictures on 1st instead of last. Some pages made pictures that people didn't even think of it.

Lewis Weedon - Year 5
I have learnt how to make a normal piece of paper into a book.  I have learnt how to make secret codes.  I have learnt how to do really good stuff with paint, like writing your name in plain white crayon then put paint over it and you ger a perfect name.  I have learnt how to sew a piece of paper onto another piece of paper.  I have learnt how to do really good windows and flaps.

Natasha Higham - Year 5
I learnt about the different textures, how the book will change, the book will make your picture look very different.  It makes you think about what to do.

Owen Jones - Year 5
What I have learnt at art - making books with massive pieces of paper that is full of materials like paper, foam and all that.

Emma McLarney - Year 5
With Dave making the books gave me a lot of experience with art.

What are the main benefits of using sketchbooks throughout primary?
Using a journal allows the children to take control over their own learning, offering a space for idea development, exploration, play and self evaluation and reflection. Reluctant writers are encouraged to make marks, give meaning and tell stories in a none threatening and creative space. It a space they have control and ownership over and is therefore more engaging and inspiring. If we are involved, have a personal interest and emotional connection with our learning then we are less stressed and under less pressure and ultimately content. Under these conditions I believe we learn
How exactly are they used throughout each school, how much say does each teacher have in how they are used?
Some schools are using the books as diary spaces alone, offering time to the children where they reflect on the day, with a focus on what they have learnt. This may be in the academic or the emotional curriculum. They are not simply written accounts of the day, with focus set on full stops and capital letters but often pictorial representations or poetry, collage or mark making or colour expressive responses.
Other schools keep track of the learning in history, geography or p s c h e learning in art ideas books and journals. Here the art schemes are strategically linked the subject, extending the opportunities for learning with arts activities that have an output that can be recorded in the books. Sometimes visual, sometimes written, often both. Drama lessons linked to an historic focus might be summed up in the journal using collage techniques, music lessons may be incorporated into visual art lessons, combining text and image, then extended into ICT work. The important aspect of this, is that the journal becomes a way of tracking the learning journey. True cross curricular work.
Are parents involved?
We have started running workshops with parents at nursery level to introduce them to the techniques and power of journal keeping with their children. I believe this can be abn important bridge between school and community. family history projects and local focus work is a great way of developing understanding in a cross cultural context. Sharing work with one and other through the books, having school events where the work is exhibited, has also added weight and importance to their use
Do children take their books home?
Children do not take the book home but are encouraged to bring in things from home that are inked to the learning. Challenges are often set to try and encorporate something from home into the book, in a creative way, sewing collaging, scanning, layering etc.
Do children use them as unique, personal books at all or are they always based in aspects of the curriculum?
I try to find a relevance in the learning so a learner becomes empathetic, therefore bridging or connecting the person with the subject. This works in particular with historic learning, thematically. Transition, war, migrancy, social order, power, relationships.
What are the costs involved?
Commitment and time. Cost are minimal