One and a half fun days of printing for five groups of children to create covers for their story set in Victorian times. They voted for ‘The Runaways’ as their title (also the name of one of the first all-female rock bands!), so I made a lino stamp that was strong enough to be used by all thirty children to print with.
One of the school’s aims for the project was to encourage children to be more ‘daring’, original and confident in their own ability. Printmaking required the children to develop skills of perseverance as they navigated a learning challenge that was unfamiliar to them, and to develop other creative habits of mind: imagination (designing their covers), inquisitiveness (looking at Victorian designs as inspiration), and discipline (displaying self-control by not becoming distracted). It was also a chance to engage with traditional skills of etching and printing with ink as a balance to working with technology in the classroom on laptops and interactive screens to write and develop their story. It also means that the school has the resources to take this activity forward and use in the following years.
First, the children choose a background colour for their cover, bearing in mind that their styrofoam print would be added on top. They had made drawings and planned designs for their print earlier and had etched it onto the styrofoam tile. They decided on a mix of colours for their image, rolled on the ink and applied it face down to the fabric.
It was nice to see children who had lacked confidence with the drawing and acting feeling like they could have a go at the printmaking as it was new for everyone. The final stage was to embellish their cover with leaf monoprints or rubber stamps if they chose to. The covers will be wrapped around and secured to cardboard that we cut out from cereal boxes the children had brought in.
Some of the finished covers – all completely different. From the children’s designs and colour choices.
Meanwhile, in the classroom, the children worked in pairs to write out their stories on the laptops, ready to put into their books. There has been lots of opportunities for the children to develop their literacy skills during the project, and I was impressed with their use of dialogue, characterisation and detail that has developed from all the role play, group work and class work on each of the scenes.