23 March 2020

Get tips for visual art in the classroom – Skills not Frills video series – Visual Art #3

Empower your young learners to be independent and original in their Art work by encouraging allowing them to access the Art resources independently, and sharing the vocabulary to develop the ability to evaluate Art works and choose their own Success Criteria. 

The independence allows the children to really use their creativity and make choices, perfecting techniques they have learnt, and experimenting with different materials.

Download this blog as a resource sheet.

Visual Art #3: Develop independence in your learners

Make a Creation Station

Designate an area of the classroom that is well stocked with art materials and resources.  Consider including:

– a mix of plain and coloured paper of different sizes

– paints and brushes

– pencils, charcoal and pastels

– 3D collage items such as corrugated cardboard, tape/pritt stick and scissors. These could be related to your theme- silver foil for a Space theme, straw and clay for the Celtic times. 

Allocate a learner to be ‘manager’ for the term/half term responsible for stocking this area, with a tick list to check the stock, a responsibility to let the staff know if items need replenishing. Older children could have a budget to spend and need to look up items online they want to buy. This is a fantastic way to ensure the Creation Station is well looked after and maintained, whilst integrating real-life learning into your classroom.

Learners set the Success Criteria

By analysing and discussing many different types of artwork you will be consistently allowing learners a chance to identify what choices are available to them when making visual art work. Creating and familiarising the learners with a word display or set of cards that clearly show the key vocabulary for evaluating visual artworks will support their independence. 

Vocabulary on display could include: colourful, vibrant, dark, atmospheric, light, delicate, bold, unusual, central framing or off-centre framing, busy, sparse, structured, detailed, blurred, sharp, contrasting, repeated pattern, symbolic, original, innovative, striking

Don’t forget to include Creative skills, Citizenship and Growth Mindset vocabulary, which will support learners to reflect on the process of creating the art rather than the just the end product: Collaboration, Perseverance, Imagination, Discipline, Inquisitiveness, Well-planned and Researched, Passionate, Thoughtful and Ethical, Ambitious.

Display these key words so that learners can pick and choose their own Success Criteria when embarking on a project, using them as a menu for a Success Criteria rather than a to-do list. Many of these are relevant across the curriculum so feel free to cross-pollinate!

What next: Find out more about teaching art in schools

National Society for Education in Art and Design has many resources and news: http://www.nsead.org/ 

Use this link to identify a gallery local to you, and contact their education officer for more advice and ideas for arranging a trip:


Discover more Welsh artists here:


This is a series of 15 ‘Skills not Frills’ resource sheets, each accompanying a short video.

This is no #3 of 3 visual art resource sheets and accompanying film. 

A2 Connect Arts Champions are teachers who work with us to share their practice and expertise with other schools/teachers in the region.

*Create and discover opportunities for your school and pupils, or your creative business*

Whether you’re a teacher looking for a creative person to share skills and inspiration with your pupils … or a creative person looking for teachers and pupils who can benefit from your input: make sure to CREATE as well as SEARCH for opportunities on Plwg.

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