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Storytelling with the Greeks

Key facts

  • Suitable for: Key Stage 2
  • Subjects: Art and design, English, History
  • Session type: Gallery led
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Class size (maximum): 30
  • Venue: Walker Art Gallery

Summary

Storytelling with the Greeks begins with a very warm welcome to the Walker Art Gallery. There is discussion about what the pupils will see during their visit and how Greek mythology has inspired artists. There is an opportunity for questions a chance for pupils to share prior knowledge about the Ancient Greeks and Greek myths, before exploring the painting Atlanta and Meleager through storytelling and drama.

Further details

The class is introduced to Atlanta and Meleager, a painting by Charles le Brun, a 17th century artist. This painting shows a scene from the Calydonian Boar Hunt and forms the basis of our session. The pupils are invited to study the painting, identifying the main characters and their attributes. They discuss what imagery the artist has painted to allow us to ‘read’ the story, developing their visual literacy. The member of staff then tells the story of the heroine Atlanta, mortal Meleager and hunt to the pupils. The story telling is punctuated with opportunities for pupil participation. Discussion is around what they see, their thoughts, feelings and what may happen next. This approach allows the pupils to help read the painting and tell the story, developing their confidence in interpreting paintings, visual literacy and critical thinking skills. The pupils knowledge and understanding of Greek myths, characters from Greek mythology and vocabulary is also expanded.

The storytelling is followed by a practical element which gives pupils the chance to develop the beginnings of a play script using the painting as a stimulus. As a group pupils consider what style of writing they may use, the purpose of the written work, and what punctuation they may use. In pairs they then discuss key words and themes to get ideas for their writing and develop a dialogue between the characters. They are then invited to share their writing with the group.

The session concludes with a drama performance. The script and actors are selected by the class and the piece is acted out in front of the painting Atlanta and Meleager. This session is a unique opportunity for pupils enjoy and engage with storytelling and use a visual image to inspire creative writing within an art gallery setting.

Curriculum links

English

  • noting and developing initial ideas, drawing on reading and research where necessary
  • in writing narratives, considering how authors have developed characters and settings in what pupils have read, listened to or seen performed
  • discussing and recording ideas
  • selecting appropriate grammar and vocabulary, understanding how such choices can change and enhance meaning
  • composing and rehearsing sentences orally (including dialogue)
  • in narratives, creating settings, characters and plot
  • assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing
  • proposing changes to vocabulary, grammar and punctuation to enhance effects and clarify meaning
  • proof-read for spelling and punctuation errors
  • assessing the effectiveness of their own and others’ writing and suggesting improvements
  • read aloud their own writing, to a group or the whole class, using appropriate intonation and controlling the tone and volume so that the meaning is clear.

Art and Design

  • evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design
  • view artwork by great artists, craft makers and designers, and understand the historical and cultural development of their art forms.
  • learn about great artists, architects and designers in history.

Key Stage 2 - History

  • the legacy of Greek culture (art, architecture or literature) on later periods in British history, including the present day
  • Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • Understand how artists use visual symbols to communicate information
  • Understand how Greek Myths have influenced artists
  • Know about Greek Myths and their features
  • Understand how a still image can be used to create a script

Skills

Pupils will:

  • Improve their speaking and listening skills in a group discussion context
  • Learn to give reasoned answers backed up by evidence
  • Experience developing dialogue for a character
  • Develop their drama and role play skills

Concepts

Pupils will be introduced to these concepts:

  • That pictures can communicate a story
  • That a myth is a fictional story
  • That a story passed on orally will change over time

Attitudes

Pupils will:

  • enjoy a focused visit to the gallery
  • be confident at interpreting paintings for themselves
  • see the Walker Art Gallery as an enjoyable and creative place to visit