KS2: Dylan Thomas

Year 3 and 4 learners, Llangiwg Primary School with artist and poets

Overview

Using the poetry of Dylan Thomas as a stimulus, artist Keith Bayliss helped pupils to produce art in the style of Ceri Richards, whose work was influenced by the poetry of his friend Dylan Thomas.

Poet Cheryl Beer helped learners to explore ‘Under Milk Wood’ and write their own poems in Dylan’s writing shed - a pop-up tent hired from the Boathouse in Laugharne.

Pupils learnt to recite passages from ‘Under Milk Wood’ and listened to Gillian Clarke read ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’.

The project lasted half a term, beginning with a two-day visit by Keith Bayliss. It benefited from the involvement of the Dylan Thomas Centre and the local authority Arts Development Officer.

The results were celebrated with parents and the wider community in an open day.

dylan thomas
Background

Llangiwg Primary School plans collaboration with artists every year as part of its programme to widen learners’ experience and promote engagement.

This project was developed as part of the school’s drive to improve standards of literacy in Key stage 2 and embed literacy across the curriculum. It enabled teachers to deliver the relevant sections of the national Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) for Years 3 and 4 in terms of Literacy, specifically:

  • Oracy – Developing and presenting information and ideas – Speaking, Listening, Collaboration and discussion
  • Reading – Responding to what has been read – Comprehension, Response and analysis
  • Writing – Organising ideas and information – Meaning, purposes, readers, Structure and organisation.
  • Writing – Writing accurately – Language, Grammar, punctuation, spelling, handwriting.

It fulfilled many areas (Skills and Range) of the programmes of study for Key Stage 2 for English, art and design, and ICT. It was also an opportunity to address the Curriculum Cymreig and to celebrate the Dylan Thomas’ centenary. The starting point for the collaboration was the Year 3 and 4 teachers’ medium-term curriculum planning documents.

In preparation for the visit of artist and poet, the pupils were asked to find information about Dylan Thomas and Ceri Richards as homework.

Outcomes

The poems and artwork were displayed in a frieze in the school corridor, and readings of the poems were recorded using presentation software.

The children wrote instructional text for Year 5 and 6 learners to enable them to reproduce the work they did with Keith Bayliss. The pupils in Years 5 and 6 then evaluated the instructional text and gave feedback to pupils in Years 3 and 4 on its effectiveness.

outcomes

Teachers noted improvement in understanding of poetic language, structures and devices, resulting in higher levels in reading and writing.

outcomes two

Development

The school decided to extend the Dylan Thomas theme throughout Key Stage 2 for the following half-term and the pupils visited Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse in Laugharne.  

Reflections

The children enjoyed collaborating with the artists involved and worked with enthusiasm and gusto. The project took a creative approach to introducing Dylan Thomas as a person and his works, to a young audience, inspiring the children to develop their own ideas and works of art.

More information

There were many cross art form initiatives encouraged and supported by Literature Wales during the Dylan Thomas Centenary Year. For more examples of a wide range of work produced as a result of the creative workshops, see www.developingdylan100.co.uk The website hosts films of writers and schools involved in creative initiatives, through prose, verse, music and art; online resources for creative writing workshops for Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, together with other useful web links.